Chapter 20 : Shopping

Room 1406 : 11:34 hours

Tali had made sure both Thane and Garrus were safe and she stood up just as a large fireball appeared in the sky about a half kilometer away. She knew what she saw, the device was destroyed and they were down to only one spare. She had yelled "NO!" But she knew she could not have changed that outcome.

First today's bad news about the actual costs and now this had brought Tali very close to losing hope. Not hope for her but for Shepard and the entire crew. Her home was hulled and she felt she could do nothing to save it.

Miranda, still a little out of it, saw Tali just staring out the window. Her voice weak, she said "".

Lift 11:35 hours

Shepard slaps Grunt on the shoulder saying "Back to the room, Tali may need help." Moving quickly they both board the lift hitting level 14.

Room 1406 : 11:35 hours.

Tali hears Miranda and looks into the room. The doorway was riddled with rounds from the mercs weapons. Pulling her pistol she slowly moves to the door, pressing her body to the wall and peers inside.

Inside on the untouched desk sits the fuel regulator. She can't believe her eyes at first but it's there. Safe. Turning back to Miranda she says "Thank you."

Hallway : 11:37 hours

"Grunt make sure their dead and scan them for anything." Shepard says "I'm checking inside." Seeing that the gas has dispersed he walks in looking at the destruction. He sees the mercenary with his head crushed, one for Grunt he thought. The next body was a surprise. Removing Tali's knife, Shepard uses the mercs body to clean the blade.

Looking up he see's Thane, Garrus and Miranda propped up under the open window. Looking around he sees Tali coming towards him.

"Everyone is alive, just sleeping. John, what are we going to do? The authorities will be here anytime now and look at this?" Tali says indicating the room. "The device is safe but the room is a wreck."

"We can't run from them Tali. If we do, we're criminals. Don't worry." he says. "Give Liara a call and let her know what just happened please. Oh, here's your knife. Never will believe where I found it."

Taking her knife back she says "Thanks, wondered where it had gone to " then casually sheaths it as she walks to the comm unit.

Shepard turns to the bodies and scans them looking for clues as to who they were. Not the normal groups. Not Blue Suns or Eclipse, all human, elite team? Special ops? Cerberus? He was trying to figure out if they were there for the device or him when Grunt enters saying "Company's coming."

"Okay Grunt, behind me and wait" Shepard says. Walking to the door he hears Tali filling in Liara on the events. He can also hear the footsteps of armored men outside. "I'm right inside the door if you want to talk" he says loud enough to reach the new comers.

All sound outside stops for a minute then he hears "Captain Ivanov , District 17 Police. What are your terms?"

The question surprised Shepard but then decided to just play along "Terms? Just clean up the mercenaries that tried to kill me and we can call it even."

"Very funny wise guy, who the hell are you?" came the reply. "Better yet, why not just come out so I can see you."

Tali hears the request and says loudly "Shepard don't go!" She may slip up and call him John but this was a battle situation and she did not make mistakes in a fight.

"Shepard?...THE Shepard?" called in from the hallway then dead silence.

Not being able to resist, he looked at Tali and smiling said "Oh, you have heard of me."

Tali just slaps her visor in disbelief.

"And did I hear a female quarian as well? Miss, state your name please." The captain called once more.

"Captain, these are Summers men." Shepard heard a younger man say.

Tali stood in shock, my name? Why would they need my name? "My name is Tali'Zorah vas Normandy" she said with pride. Looking at Shepard she asks "Shepard, why do they want my name?"

"Hold on in there, I'm just going to take a look." the captain said as his head slowly appeared at the door. Inching in he took one look at Shepard and then at Tali and said "Stand down men. Parties over."

Coming into the room Captain Ivanov extends his hand to first Shepard and then to Tali, shaking both enthusiastically. "Commander Shepard, do you have any idea what these men wanted? This gang of mercs have been causing trouble all over Nos Astra. Nothing was too dirty for them."

"Oh, One sec, better call in" Ivanov says and activates his helmet comms. "Merc group met something they couldn't swallow. Send the meat vans in, got some cleanup to do...5 no 6...yes 6...No, my squad has it covered...Out." Looking back at Shepard he waits for an answer.

"I was trying to figure that out myself. I have irritated a few groups over the years so it could have been revenge. So much for trying to keep a low profile." Shepard states. "Any way to keep this out of the news?" he asks hopefully.

"Well, half the hotel heard a minute of hell and then that little sun showed up. Going to be tough to hide it but we can keep your name out of report."

Miranda, recovered enough to speak again calls over "Put the name Garmen in the report as the occupant."

Shepard looks over at her as she tries to stand then quickly looks away saying "Tali help Miranda please." Addressing Ivanov he says "For your own safety and the safety of your men do not notice anything for a minute."

Tali had been surprised at John's reaction but turning to look at Miranda she said "KEELAH!."

There was one casualty to the Shepard party and that was Miranda's dress. It most likely happened when Miranda collapse on the door frame and snagged her dress. Tali vaguely remembers something tearing when she pulled Miranda to the window but whatever the reason most of her backside was visible. Tali moved quickly indeed to help her stand and hold her back against the wall.

Both men snickered a little but stopped as soon as Tali said "I can hear you." in a tone that meant at least Shepard would be paying for it later. Shepard just said "I'm dead."

Clearing his throat, Ivanov said "Garmen? Okay good enough for a report on dead mercs I suppose." Looking at the mess he continues "Trynia is not going to be pleased about this mess. Revenants in a hotel raid? Wanted you really dead."

"Yeah, think your right. Might be hard getting another room here now. Let me pick up our gear and your welcome to the rest Captain" says Shepard "Oh and Captain, thanks for not shooting first."

"Your welcome but to be honest, seeing all those dead mercs, I really didn't want to have to try and do what they failed at." Ivanov say with a grin.

"Quick question and I'll let you go. Just why did you ask for Tali's name?" Shepard asks.

"That's easy, everyone knows who stood beside you on the Citadel Commander Shepard. You, Liara T'soni and Tali'Zorah are all hero's. Even to my uncle though he wouldn't admit it outside of family" said Ivanov. "I figured if you really were Shepard and there was a quarian it had to be her."

"Do I know your uncle?" Shepard asked.

"Pretty sure you do, he's Admiral Mikhailovich. The way he tells it you actually thought about not letting him aboard the original Normandy. He still gets red faced thinking about that." Ivanov says laughing.

"Alright Captain, was a pleasure meeting you. We'll be getting out of here as soon as my team wakes up." Shepard said as he turned to look at Tali.

Room 1406 : 11:55 hours

He saw Tali coming out of the bedroom with a pair of his pants and a shirt. Watching her, he saw her assist Miranda into the office. Looking at Grunt he said "Gather our weapons please and for now just toss them on a bed."

Walking over to Garrus he kneels down to check on him and Thane. Calling out to Tali "Do you know what that gas was?"

"I haven't had the time to look, was busy saving them while you played with Grunt" Tali called out.

Captain Ivanov picked up a canister and said "Looks to be a standard sleep inducing mix. Most likely wanted to take a few of your people back for an interrogation if they didn't kill everyone first."

A cough alerts Shepard to Thane, turning to look at him he sees the drell's eyes open slightly. His hand tried to move to his pistol. "Thane, relax. You're safe." Shepard said. Hearing Shepard's voice his hand stopped moving. "I'll be right back."

Standing he move's to the comm unit to find a new room.

Gilded Caravanserai Room 2110 : 12:30 hours

"Please don't say that!" Garrus said again. "I don't want to even think about it and if you mention it one more time I'm going back to the Normandy"

Tali stands in front of Garrus and says "Garrus, you were unconscious. You had to be carried! We could not just leave you there or drag you could we? Grunt was the only choice, you're heavy."

Unfortunately Grunt tries to help by saying "Don't be a big baby. Heh, baby...Never mind."

"Argh!" says Garrus "Shepard that's it, call the shuttle now"

Shepard, doing his best not to laugh too much says "Sorry Garrus, the meeting is in an hour and a half so there's no time. "Tali, please get Miranda. There's a bank on the 4th level and we need to get a few chits made."

"Okay John, be right back" Tali replied and went into the office.

"Shepard" Thane asks "how did you talk the proprietor of this hotel into letting us stay after all the damage?"

"That was a bit of fancy foot work, she really wasn't going to let us stay but then I mentioned that after we left she could advertise 'Commander Shepard slept here' for two of her rooms." Shepard replied.

Thane says "Yes, a financially sound idea."

Tali and Miranda came out of the office, Miranda saying "Tali say's we need

to go to the bank here? Something about a company chit? Shepard, what company?"

"Oh" Shepard says "Let me be the first to welcome you all to the newly founded T'S Salvage Company. We needed a name and Tali picked it. Let's go you two, we can fill you in on the way down Miranda."

"T'S Salvage? T'S?" Garrus asks staring hard at Tali.

Shepard looks at Garrus and says "Later Garrus" as they leave the room.

Hotel, Level 4 : 12:42 hours

After filling Miranda in on the current financial status they entered the bank. Trefan had been correct, it was easy getting the new company chits.

Tali had watched John accepted two chits, each one in its own paper envelope from the teller. Turning he looked at the first envelope and gave it to Miranda. "Validate it please Miranda. Once we know what we are dealing with the limits can be increased or decreased depending on your thoughts."

"Thank you Commander, this will make going forward much simpler" said Miranda. Using the device's verifier Miranda had her DNA and voice print taken.

Calling Tali over to another device he hands the second chit to her. Indicating the banking unit he said "Tali, remember voice, key phrase and a key code." Looking at the device Tali thought what to use as she inserted the chit.

The device asked "Please state your name." Looking behind her she sees that John has rejoined Miranda leaving her there by herself. Tali replied "Tali'Shepard vas Normandy" smiling as she said that.

Next it states "Please enter key code." Tali enters the date she first met John. The device asked to verify so she entered it again.

Finally it asks "Please enter key phrase." Tali thought for a moment and then said "Back from beyond, he holds my heart. Lifemates together and never to part." With that the unit beeped and ejected the chit.

On a whim she decided to see what kind of allowance he had given her, checking with the terminal she is surprised and shocked to see she that the data lists her as co-owner of the company and has access to all funds within the account.

"Shepard, I saw some stores listed on the hotels directory. I think I should replace my wardrobe for the meeting, I will meet you two back in the room." Says Miranda as Tali rejoins the group.

"You sure Miranda? Want Tali or me to come with you?" Shepard asks. "After what just happened I'm not too sure about being alone ever."

Tali said "He's right Miranda. I" stressing the word "can go with you. John, you can go back to the room. I have a pistol and the knife, we will be fine."

Miranda says "Tali, I think that's a great idea. Let's do a little shopping shall we?"