(This bit should be appended to the last chapter. Releasing it sequentially to avoid any confusion. Apologies.)
They all entered a conference room with a 3 dimensional plot of buildings covering the central table.
"This is Yiralani Center," Rentola began. "It has served as the headquarters for the Linron government for generations."
Shepard sighed and looked at the man with pained eyes, "Tell me he's not in there."
Rentola's lips tightened in what could barely be perceived as amusement. "No, we don't believe so. His itinerary on the day of his disappearance had him travelling to a meeting with donors for a charity he was supporting. That building is here," He pointed to a larger building on the outskirts of the governmental compound, which turned blue. "Former Councilor Valern was leaving from his overnight lodgings, here," he pointed again...and the map shifted away from them to a tall building on the opposite side of the center, which turned red. "Traffic was heavy, according to reports, and there is significant construction around the plaza. All we know is that he called for his skycar from his hotel room at 7 in the morning and the car arrived to wait. Valern never made it to the car."
"Mmn," she murmured with understanding. It seemed pretty clear why Clan Linron would be the suspect, and Narra was nodding and looking at the Spectre expectantly. "Something had to have happened for him to be taken this suddenly," she said musingly.
"Yes," Rentola agreed. "If someone simply wanted Valern there are thousands of ways to accomplish the task. It's unwise to commit such an act in this place, even if it was not the Linron clan. Scrutiny would be very high."
Shepard looked at him again, "But STG found nothing?"
The Salarian shook his head shortly. "His escort says that he exited his room toward the lobby, but stopped short and turned back," he replied. "One of his entourage went with him. They both disappeared. Footage of the hallway was suspiciously missing upon later inspection."
She took a deep breath and released it, thinking. She knew what steps she would take next but also knew she didn't have time for them. If STG was unable to ascertain the facts, she would also struggle. If STG was covering up the facts, she'd waste far too much time going through their ranks to determine the truth. Her eyes flickered to Rentola, and she searched her feelings about him. Kirrahe sent him. She trusted Kirrahe, but knew nothing about his political leanings. Her guts told her that even if he would risk his career on an attempted coup…he wouldn't risk her life.
"Where do you think he's being held, if he's still alive?" she asked.
"No official facility, legal or medical, has reported his presence alive or dead. If he's still alive," Rentola said slowly, "He's being held off-grid. The government does have a detention center for, ahem, sensitive questioning. Details about its residents are highly classified." He said with a shake of his oval head. "Higher even than Kirrahe's clearance."
Shepard ran the edge of a fingernail over the unrelenting itch on her forehead then looked between them both with a serious eye. "And what if you're wrong?"
The two Salarians looked at each other and then back to her, Rentola with grim determination and Narra with mocking disbelief. The Dalatress was the one to answer. "No one has the eggs to snatch so august a personage in broad daylight but Linron. No one."
"If you're wrong," Shepard pressed, "STG is gonna see that you gave me the way in, Rentola." Her green eyes pierced the darkness of Narra's hood. "And Clan Linron will know I've been here to see you today. You'd better be sure."
"Oh that is in fact the point," she replied archly, "But don't worry. Your presence here will also act as a distraction. You'll be giving a speech to some of our most influential members at the same time you break into their top-secret facility. It should buy you some time and confusion if nothing else."
At the questioning look in Shepard's eyes she waved a hand and said, "Let me worry about the specifics." Then she paused, tilting her head slightly and leaning in to peer at something on Shepard's forehead. "Though, we'll need to get some current images so your identity can be verified."
The Spectre's hand came up to the spot she'd been worrying at all day. "What's there?" She turned to look at Garrus who shrugged lightly.
"Insect bite?" He offered. "Whatever it is, you've scratched the hell out of it."
She pulled up her Omni, generated a reflection of herself and zoomed in on a blotched spot above her left eyebrow. She realized it wasn't an insect bite almost immediately...the shape was all wrong. This was an inch-long cut along her forehead in the same place her skin had split during the fight a few days ago, and it was reddened as if infected, with delicate web-like lines expanding from the area in a shade subtly lighter than her regular skin tone.
Strange . She hadn't had an infection of any kind since the Lazarus project. The spot had itched much longer than the sensations she was accustomed to when healing and this wound should have long ago disappeared. She'd just been so occupied she hadn't noticed.
She realized everyone was staring at her and closed the omni. "Well, it looks like I may need a bit of makeup," she covered smoothly, and the Dalatress nodded and snapped her fingers for an aid.