Saren versus Renegade!Femshep from Settling Disputes, this time with bondage?
The stun grenade exploded, right in the middle of the group of incoming mercenaries, and decidedly too close for Shepard's taste. She knew Saren only had a loose concept of safety distances where grenades were concerned, and these were even more subject to being reduced when it was only her who was immediately concerned.
She definitely felt the effect. It wasn't much, just a moment of disorientation and dizziness, and she was far from being in danger of blacking out like most of the mercs had, but it was enough to disrupt the flow of her own motions.
After all, that was what stun grenades did, they disrupted nervous and brain activity with a very short electromagnetic pulse of the correct frequency.
The foremost of the group was likewise only slightly affected, and since he was a turian, he held up a bit better than her. Probably less brain patterns to disrupt, she thought sourly. It meant, however, that he was now understandably pissed off. And far too close to her.
Shepard cursed and ducked as the turian merc took a swipe at her. She was at a disadvantage with her rifle at close quarters.
Before she could decide upon a tactic, a single shot rang out, and the merc dropped down, a tidy hole just in the center of his forehead.
"Shepard, stop playing with the hired help and try to catch up, if it's not too much trouble." Saren's voice over the comm was a bit distorted, but the sneering tone carried over far too well for her taste.
She looked up, almost annoyed, but a bit ahead Saren had already turned his back on her again and continued forward, almost at the entrance of the certainly expensive but in Shepard's opinion hopelessly tasteless mansion. With an angry growl, she kicked the dead merc out of her way and lengthened her stride to close the distance between her and the Spectre.
She hated it when he showed off like that.
"Next time don't throw grenades so close to me." she snarled into the comm, voicing that particular complaint not for the first time.
"Why? After all, one needs to actually have some brain activity for it to be subject to being disrupted. I would judge you to be quite safe."
"I liked it better when I thought that you didn't have a sense of humour" she growled, not quite under her breath.
He pretended not to have heard.
They were on Neferis, a rather insignificant world out in the Traverse, after some local drug lord whose name escaped Shepard at the moment. Not their usual kind of mission, really, but for some reason this local nuisance had managed to sufficiently piss off someone on the Citadel who had enough influence, so Saren, who had the bad luck to be the Spectre closest to the system, had been chosen to apprehend the criminal and return him to the Citadel for questioning.
Predictably enough, he wasn't very happy with the assignment, which meant he was in an incredibly foul mood.
Shepard wasn't surprised in the least. She wasn't thrilled either, but she figured a criminal was a criminal, and mercs were mercs, which meant a decent chance at some entertaining target practice with the additional side effect of doing the law-abiding part of the galaxy the favour to remove some of the scavengers. The fact that they needed to bring the low-life back alive soured things considerably, though. She had read the file on their target, and the fact that it was a human just made it worse. She'd retire him from the species, permanently, if it was her choice.
Moments later they were fighting their way through the mansion, clearing rooms and removing surprised and rightfully panicked body-guards from the equation with frightening ease.
Saren had just once bothered to question one wounded salarian merc for the whereabouts of their target, but upon not receiving any satisfactory answer, he snapped the salarian's spindly neck and dropped him with a disgusted expression.
"I wouldn't worry. He'll turn up eventually." Shepard said in a mock consoling tone.
Saren snorted but didn't deign to reply, already in the process of kicking open another door.
Sudden gunfire forced him into cover, and he looked even more annoyed. "Let's get this over with." he snapped, then threw a frag grenade into the room.
There was the by now familiar sound of explosion underlined with screams, but both cut off at almost the same time.
Shepard winced. She really hoped their target wasn't in there, because she hated going over what was left after a grenade explosion in a small room to ascertain identities, and she knew from past experience that that duty would fall to her if he deemed it appropriate.
A quick survey of the room showed that all of the bodies wore merc armour, however, so that had to be indication enough.
Her prediction became true, when they finally made their way through their target's private rooms. Shepard winced at the decor. "I don't care what else he has done, but I think he should be shot just for this display of bad taste. On general principles."
Saren snarled. "That can be arranged."
He kicked open another door, and Shepard was treated to the view of an opulently furnished bedroom, much in the same style, or rather, lack of it, as the rest of the suite had been. It also held a large bed containing a very surprised human and a very frightened asari, both in intermediate state of undress. Which made it easier to determine that they were unarmed, of course.
Shepard decided that whatever the sound-proofing of this room had cost, it evidently worked as advertised, considering the man's obvious surprise.
"Hope we're not interrupting anything" she couldn't resist saying.
"You can't just come in like that!" the man stuttered, surprise replaced by a mixture of anger and embarrassment. Shepard eyed him critically. Yes, that was the one they were here for, and while he hadn't looked like much in the file, the real life version was no better. A weasel, she decided, that somehow has risen to power. Nothing but vermin, regardless of species.
"Ah, yes. That's original, and I have never heard that one before." Saren said, very calmly, which was not a good sign. "Feel free to continue to irritate me."
Shepard knew that tone, and gave the asari a quick look. The asari visibly shrank back, staring at Shepard. Apart from apparently almost falling out of her negligee, she didn't look all that well, and it wasn't just fear of two armed intruders. Maybe an accomplice, maybe not, but on general principle Shepard didn't shoot unarmed persons. If she could help it. Or unless they really, really deserved it.
"The nice turian here" she said, with a shake of her head in Saren's direction "wants to have a word with your employer here, but I think at the moment he isn't really interested in you. So if you start moving slowly away from there, keeping your hands in sight, and then get the hell out of here, you have a decent chance of survival."
It took a few moments for Shepard's words to get through, but once they did, the asari wasted no time in complying, and that with admirable efficiency.
Shepard wasn't quite sure what the Spectre would do, but he just gave Shepard a quick glare for the presumption, and kept his attention on their target.
The man unwisely, chose that moment to start shouting again. "You cannot do this to me! What are you, anyway?"
Something changed in Saren's stance, and Shepard took a step back as he replied "At the end of my patience." It came as no surprise to her when Saren shot the man point-blank in the head.
The turian turned away, snarling, before the body had even hit the bed.
"I fully agree with that action" Shepard commented mildly, "but I think our orders specified 'alive for questioning'."
"I chose to regard that part as a request, one that unfortunately couldn't be fulfilled." He tossed his head back, still annoyed. "I doubt the Council really expects that one back."
"They should know by now what happens if they send you." Shepard agreed.
The Spectre ignored that comment, already approaching the private terminal at the small desk in a corner of the room. "His records and private notes will just have to suffice, then. Make yourself useful and search those rooms, see whether there's anything else of interest."
Shepard gave a shrug, but moved to her set task without too much enthusiasm. The bedroom held nothing of real interest, although Shepard briefly chuckled at a set of handcuffs from the nightstand.
"What's so amusing?" Saren was still at the terminal, hacking away, but he at least spared a glance in her direction.
She held up the handcuffs, and he seemed confused for a second, then his expression turned contemptuous. And as always, that tempted her to provoke further reaction. She flipped the pair of handcuffs at him, and he caught them reflexively, dangling them from one clawed finger.
She knew she'd probably pay for this later, but that image made her laugh. "So, you do know what those are for?"
He gave her a level stare. "Unfortunately, I do. However, your species' mating practices are dubious enough as is. I don't really want to spare any more thought on the misuse of law enforcement gear in that context."
She grinned. "Oh? Speaking from experience, are you?"
Saren snorted. "Don't be absurd."
"Ah. So you don't." her grin widened. "Maybe that's just what you need to loosen up. Maybe you'd like that."
"I really don't think so." He dropped the handcuffs carelessly, and turned back to the terminal. "Are you done searching?"
Of course she wasn't. And that was a lot less reaction than she'd have expected, which was disappointing. As she was searching through the rooms, she idly considered that she'd have to come up with something else to get on his nerves. In addition, she had to think of some payback for the stun grenade, too.
When she was done, she went back to the bedroom, carrying her findings with her. Saren gave her a quick look, then shut off the terminal.
"Some more data disks that were hidden" she indicated the items with a shake of her head "I haven't taken a look at them yet, but it might be interesting." She grinned. "Of course, might also just be his extranet porn collection."
It was hard to tell with a turian, and even harder with Saren and his messed-up face, but she thought she saw him grimace slightly.
"Also an extensive selection of weapons, but nothing really unusual apart from this here."
She held up a rather heavy, blunt device for inspection. "I must admit I'm not familiar with that one."
The turian cocked his head to one side. "Interesting. That's an arc projector, and an experimental model at that. I wonder how they got it, that's definitely restricted tech." Noting Shepard's renewed interest in the weapon, he shrugged. "I don't mind if you keep it, but you will not even think of testing it before you have come up with its manual, and you won't carry it on a mission before you have read and understood said manual."
Shepard was too busy grinning with the possibilities of controlled may helm that the arc projector held to remind him that she wasn't that sort of fool. Well, at least not usually. There had been that one incident where they had fought their way through a Cerberus research facility, and she had picked up a strange heavy gun that had been lying around there, and fired that thing into a large group of incoming soldiers. It had generated some sort of miniature black hole, which pulled in everything close to it, alive or not, close being a relative term. The tiny singularity had collapsed into itself before either of them had been in any real danger, but the lab the had been in had been a total loss, and Saren had been livid. Shepard had considered that a bit exaggerated since with regards to collateral damage, he was hardly one to throw stones, but since they hadn't come across any more of the peculiar ammunition that gun had required, the question of it coming into use again had been moot. So far, anyway.
"I think we've done everything we can here." he stated coolly. "So if there's nothing else you want to appropriate I suggest we move on."
He didn't wait for her reply, of course, but she was used to that, and set to follow him.
That was one of the up sides of this assignment. Saren had a refreshingly practical approach to personal property in general and that of defeated opponents in particular. Whoever crossed them usually had no further need for it anyway, and it was unwise to leave the more interesting pieces of weaponry lying around, especially if either of them had any use for it. The Alliance was much more squeamish in that regard.
Saren usually didn't care to use anything else but his Spectre-issue gear, but he did nothing to curb her packrat instinct when it came to new and unusual gear. She had the feeling he even vaguely approved. In any case, there was a small but eclectic and growing collection of weaponry and armour in storage on his ship, and Shepard was getting quite some practical experience with the many different tools the sentient lifeforms in this galaxy had come up with in order to kill each other more efficiently.
The downside of it all was, of course, that she had to suffer Saren's moods for however long it would take him to decide that her training was finished and she could rise from trainee to full Spectre status. She wouldn't even consider the alternative, that he'd at some point just declare her unsuitable and be done with the assignment. Failure wasn't an option here. Then again, it never was.
Shepard would never admit it, but in some way she rather enjoyed their constant struggle. Despite the fact that he was a spiky, mean-tempered alien, their view of the universe was disturbingly similar. As were their methods. And he was good at what he did, no doubt about that, otherwise she'd never stand for his treatment of her.
She'd learnt a lot from him, and was learning still. That didn't come as a surprise, because someone who had been a Spectre for more than two decades needed to have sound survival skills to last that long. She respected that.
That didn't mean she was going to take any sort of insult from him.
One of them pushed in some way, and the other pushed back. Shepard was careful not to take it too far, because technically he was her superior and besides, if things ever degraded into an all-out fight between them she wasn't sure she would come out victorious, but there was no denying that this was a struggle for dominance, and neither of them was willing to concede any ground.
She had no clue how he thought about it, but she assumed that in some way he had to enjoy or at least tolerate their constant competition, because otherwise he'd have ended it long ago, one way or another.
His reactions were still unpredictable to her. She'd pushed too far, once before, and had found herself in a contest of an entirely different nature alltogether with him. She grinned at the memory of that. That had been strangely enjoyable, despite the fact that there hadn't been a clear winner in that game either. Maybe there would be some rematch at some point, to decide that part.
Then a thought struck her, and her grin widened. Now, there was an idea. The only question was how to implement it...