Disclaimer- I definitely don't own Mass effect, if I did, well lets just not go there…
Okay so if anyone here has read my other story "Cold" then good for you. If not then go check it out in the fallout section and leave comments and reviews (There is no such obligation I figured I'd just throw it out there).
Anyway here's my spin on a little side story going on inside the mass effect universe. Not directly related to Shepard, but interesting enough to keep your attention. (Confidence or arrogance, you be the judge).
The cycle started like any other, the alarm clock blared to life. The small application in the owner's omni-tool an annoying wake up call to the sleep deprived individual. Unfortunately, Harrison couldn't ignore the device: the clock was ticking, and he had his rounds to make. Drowsily he smacked at his arm, hoping that the spirits would grant mercy upon him and allow him to turn off the offending noise emanating from the orange-glowing device.
Whatever forces may be did pity him, for soon after he made his attempt the droning sounds from his omni-tool did indeed stop. Rubbing at his eyes he turned over to the side of his bed and propped himself up with his arm, soon he was sitting at the edge of his bed. Glancing down at himself he noticed he had fallen asleep in his working cloths, again. Finally standing he made his way over to the small storage compartments located adjacent to his bed.
With a whir of his omni-tool the draws popped out; exposing the various tools of his trade. Pulling out the tool-belt, the only thing he had to remember his father, he fastened it with practiced speed. He then set about putting the various tools into their respective places upon the belt. That accomplished he walked toward the door to his apartment, undoing the various locks both electronic and archaic manual ones.
"Another day in the piss-hole of the Terminus," he sighed, taking in the stale air of the station. "Well, at least it's civilized," he soon after let out a snort of contempt "Yeah, right."
Chuckling at his own grim humor he pulled out a tube from a pocket on his belt. Popping open the tube he quickly downed the nutrient paste within and threw the trash at a nearby receptacle, missing by a large margin. Then he stopped walking, as though gripped by some revelation; however, the strain on his face said otherwise.
"Goddamn, thing." He uttered.
After a good moment or so he proceeded to walk down the dank halls, the only occupants being vorcha, chattering eagerly amongst themselves snapping looks this way and that. Harrison walked past the small group, giving them a cautious glance as he did so.
Eventually he was out of the seemingly endless maze of halls and found himself in district three. A sprawling market of sorts, dealing in various 'scavenged' tech and parts. It was ripe with shady merchants of all shapes and races ready to rob the naïve blind of any credits they had.
He made his way toward a rather haphazard looking stand; the batarian who manned it squinted all of his four black pearls at him as he waltzed up to the counter.
"Hey… Ralek," he looked to the batarian who nodded. "Yeah, well it appears that you contacted me because of… a malfunctioning extranet terminal. That is correct yes?" he asked looking up from the display on his omni.
"Yeah, but the ad didn't say anything about you being human," the batarian growled back.
Harrison sighed, "Yeah well, if it did I'd be losing half my customers. Look, do you want it fixed or not?"
"I suppose you're as good as any other on this rock," stated the batarian.
"Right, well glad that's out of the way. Now where is this terminal?"
"This way human," motioned the batarian.
Harrison followed him into the room behind the front of the stand and into what appeared to be where the alien lived. The batarian gave a rather annoyed look as he pointed toward a lone desk at which sat the malfunctioning terminal. Harrison quickly linked his omni-tool with it and began to fiddle around with the internal systems while the batarian stood around impatiently.
"This better not take long human. Every second you waste is another that I'm losing money." He stated.
"Why's that?" asked Harrison not really interested in the answer.
The Batarian's answer was some muddled crap about storing his credits in his extranet terminal. Rather stupid move considering where he lived, better to have a chit, or several incase of muggings and such, or hacking.
"Well sir, that is an issue with electronic equipment, even in this day and age." Harrison paused for a moment and made some final inputs into his omni before closing the display. The terminal whirled to life as the final inputs were made.
"Alright, seems someone planted a virus into your kiosk, which transferred to your terminal, and in turn into your private account." The batarian stared, all fours wide and baring his teeth.
Harrison continued, "Luckily, I was able to isolate the issue and most of your funds seem to be intact, except for a few hundred credits. Just to let you know this could have been a lot worse. The fee for this sort of job is about 500 creds, that's for the expense of the programs I had to use in order to save and restore your systems."
"Are you kidding me!" the batarian said indignantly. "That's robbery, I bet you don't charge your human customers as much. Get out of my shop now!" he practically yelled.
"Sir I feel you're over-exaggerating, this type of job would have cost twice as much if you had gotten anyone else. Just ask around, look you can give me the creds, or I could just reinstall the virus and take my programs back and it will be as though I never came here." Harrison replied calmly.
The batarian seemed to be thinking the idea over, before he drew the pistol from his side aiming it pointblank at Harrisons head.
"Human, I will give you one warning, get out of my shop and don't do anything else to my systems, or I will shoot. And don't even think for a second that anyone will miss human scum like you." Said the batarian venom dripping from his voice.
With an unnoticed wave of his omni-tool Harrison made the small pistol seemingly explode with an overload program. The batarian taken aback by the sudden sparks didn't notice Harrison's left hand as it shot forward and grabbed him round his neck. He gurgled as the appendage gripped his windpipe with amazing strength. Using his other hand
Harrison pulled a sizeable wrench from his belt and held it in-front of the batarians four wide eyes.
"Look, I don't care what you think. I either get my credits, take back my programs, or I could bash in that four-eyed skull of yours." He breathed, "Oh, and don't think anyone on this station will miss a dime-a-dozen blink like you. So what's it gonna be?
"J-just take your credits and leave, human," snarled the batarian with contempt.
Harrison let him go and put the wrench back in its assigned area.
With a final whir of his omni-tool in the direction of the terminal he extracted the sum owed to him.
"There it's done and sorry about the pistol."
With that he turned and left the shop exiting out the front. The crowds outside were unaware of what had even occurred moments before, or probably they just didn't care; after all things like extortion happened on an hourly basis on Omega.
He continued though the market to go on his way to his other customers.
"Great start to what is sure to be a craptastic day." He remarked.
Walking to the transport hub he noticed the thick, racially separated groups of varying aliens: Blinks, tentacle heads, jellyfish, twitchers, and so on even including his own kind.
Although, he wasn't particularly fond of them anymore anyway, so that just left him. Walking through the varying crowds toward an awaiting transport he got into the rather rancid smelling cab and transferred a few credits to the onboard terminal.
"Shipyard if you would." He stated to the lone driver of the transport.
"Yes sir, no problem," said the driver.
Harrison smiled a little, it had been a while since he heard someone not address him as 'human' with a condescending tone. The ride was a short one and soon the shipyard was in view. The driver skillfully landed on a platform overlooking the enormous hanger-like area where various ships of every make and model were held to be refitted, repaired, or scrapped. Harrison was here for thanks to a call he had gotten about a malfunctioning drive core. Luckily the ship in question was only a small shuttle according to the specs sent to him. So in theory the job would be fairly simple if a bit tedious. His OT flared up for a slight moment as he transferred the credits required for the ride as well as a decent tip for the driver.
With that done he consulted his OT for direction to where the owner and their shuttle were currently being held. The information was quickly displayed and he followed the small guiding arrow through the maze of docked ships all of which were at least smaller than a frigate. Soon enough he came upon the sight of the shuttle which he was contacted to fix. It was a rather beat-up looking thing some type of Alliance design if he remembered right.
However that was to be expected considering the apparent owner. It was a Quarian girl who was at that moment arguing with some blink over something. As he neared the two he picked up a small bit of the conversation.
"Look if you don't give it up then I'll be back with some friends and we'll just take it. Then afterwards I'll just sell you into slavery and believe me then you'll be sorry," said the blink.
"And I told you to get lost you Bosh'tet. Unless you want to feel a mass accelerator round going through your head," the Quarian snapped back.
The blink gave her a glare as he walked away and bumping into Harrison as he went by.
"Out of my way human or you'll be next." He said walking past and off to the transportation terminals. Harrison turned to the Quarian and gave her a questioning look.
"Miss Elav I take it." He said while checking off the details on his OT.
"That's Nary'Elav nar Ober to you human and what is it exactly your after hmm. I've had no end of trouble with that batarian and just about everyone on this Ancestor forsaken station." She replied her arms making wide gestures in frustration.
"Right, how rude of me. I'm Harrison Stalter you made an appointment with me to have your shuttle looked at," Replied Harrison smoothly without missing a beat. It was something you picked up on very quickly when you lived on Omega for more than a year.
"Oh, keelah I'm so sorry. It's just this whole month has been nothing but trouble for me. I should've listened to my mother and just avoided this place. It's just that I thought with the whole station breaking down that there'd be plenty of work. Then my shuttle breaks down and it's the only thing of worth I've found so far. I should have quit while I was ahead and just gone back to the flotilla. But no I just had to try and get something more…" She replied and seemed ready to keep going before Harrison interrupted her.
"I take it your pilgrimage isn't going so well is it." He stated, although it sounded more like a question.
"Well yes and no. I had this shuttle to take back to the fleet but as I said I just had to try and get more. That's how I ended up here and on the first day my shuttle breaks down. I've been trying for weeks to get it back up and running but then I started getting harassed endlessly by those bosh'tets." She said starting to sound exasperated.
"Alright, well let's just take a look and see what the problem is. I know this make and model so shouldn't be too hard of a job." Harrison interrupted, somewhat because he wanted to get the day over with and somewhat because he wanted to have an excuse so he didn't have to hear the whole story. Not that he had anything against Quarians; in fact he believed they were very much wronged by the Council. But, he knew an upset person when he saw one and he knew that if he let Nary continue that he'd be here the entire cycle.
"Alright, no need to what is the human expression; break my leg about it," Nary replied back shifting from foot to foot ever so slightly.
"I think you mean 'bite my head off' Miss Elav." Harrison said back as he entered the small shuttle to get at the guts. In a few moments he found what was wrong; there were at least two major components missing. The reason the ship wouldn't start was because some eezo-flow capacitors were cut rather crudely from the modest drive core along with a few stabilization gyros. The onboard VI wouldn't let the ship be started up because of standard safety protocol. The missing components weren't exactly easily visible and an inexperienced person probably wouldn't notice their absence.
"Well, it seems that you have been the target of some rather nefarious individuals Miss Elav," Harrison said as he pointed out the missing components. He continued, "If you don't mind my asking how did you miss this? I mean most Quarians I've met are usually pretty good with ships."
"Normally you'd be right; most Quarians are good with ships. But, my talents have always been geared more toward flying them than repairing them. I've been trained to be a pilot since I've been ten." She stated matter-of-factly with a somewhat snarky attitude. Harrison ignores the slight attitude Nary gives him on the basis that he did base his comment on racial-profiling. He turns back to his work, then lights up his OT, and checks his sources to order the replacement parts he would need. After signing off on the necessary paper-work, so to speak, he turned back to Nary.
"Okay, so I've placed a few orders in for the replacement parts required. It should take about half a cycle for them to make their way to my person. At that time I will be back to finish the repair and afterwards collect my payment." Harrison stated in his practiced professional matter.
"So, if you don't mind my asking, how much is this going to run me," Nary questioned nervousness evident in her voice.
"Covering the cost of the parts and minimal labor required to incorporate them into the shuttles systems the job will probably run around 1,500 credits. Mind you that is just a rough estimate, but it shouldn't be too much more than that I would think." He answered with a small sigh at the end of his estimate. If Harrison's past dealings with Quarians were to be trusted then he knew where this was going.
"Keelah! Bosh'tet, bosh'tet, bosh'tet I knew it was too much to pray to the ancestors for a complete and utter nonsensical miracle." She paused for a moment taking a deep and somewhat angry breath, "Listen I'm sorry for wasting your time. I just don't have the money to pay for this; I'll pay for your time but I can't give more than 100 credits."
Harrison took a deep breath letting the situation sink into his mind; he knew that he was going to hate himself later for what he was about to do. However, in this particular case it was the right thing. He knew that even though this girl had some fire in her that if she didn't get off the station soon that Omega was going to chew her up and swallow her whole and that would most definitely be a shame.
"Look how about I pay for the parts, get you on your way and then you pay me back when you can. We'll exchange extranet accounts so that you can contact me when you reach the fleet and can pay me back. And since I'll have your contact information I'll be able to pester you to no end if you refuse to pay me. Not to mention I'm a mean hacker." He said adding the last part as a slight joke to loosen up the tense atmosphere.
"T-that'd be great. B-but why would you do that for me? Just about everyone else I've met on my pilgrimage has looked down on me," Nary replied shock evident in her voice.
Harrison sighed before replying, "Let's just say that I know how it's like to be treated harshly for something that's not your fault."
"I can't thank you enough for this." She said in a rather stunned voice ebbing away to near silence at the end.
"Yeah, well don't mention it around the station though. My other customers would start to get delusions about getting half-price and other such nonsense." He said semi-serious and somewhat jokingly.
Nary gave a small chuckle, "Don't worry, my voice modulator is set to mute. Besides, haven't made many friends here anyway."
"Right, well it will be a wait for those parts. One cycle on this shithole is the equivalent to two standard galactic days. So it'll be about thirty hours before the parts actually get here. If you don't mind my asking, what will you be doing for that time?" Harrison asked.
"Nothing really just hanging around I guess," Nary replied with a dismissive shrug.
"I'm gonna be going for a drink, you were my last job for the cycle, business has been slow. You can join me if you like, it'll be on me; I could use the company, don't get many people who would talk to me on this station anyway." Harrison said as he reflected upon his time spent on Omega.
"Heh, you know maybe it's your attitude that's at fault on that one. Then again you're just about the only decent person I've met on this bosh'tet filled waste heap." Nary paused for a moment, "I suppose it might be nice and if you throw in food with that offer than I'll gladly take you up on it." She said the hint of a smile in her voice.
"Sure why not, just so long as you pay the bills I send to you when we get back to the fleet I'll consider it a small price to pay." He replied with a small smirk.
Nary gave a small giggle at the comment, "You've got yourself a deal. But, on a serious note if you try anything inappropriate at all I'll neural shock you until your eyes turn to goo." She said in a serious and joking tone.
"I'd feel insulted if you felt otherwise; considering the setting that is." Harrison replied.
Nary took a moment to lock down her shuttle and with that done the pair departed for the transportation terminal toward one of the other districts.
"District eight please." He stated while swiping his OT to transfer the necessary credits to the onboard terminal.
With that the two settle into the cab comfortably waiting out the ride in mutual silence. The cabby for their part hadn't commented on the fact that a Quarian had just entered his vehicle so the ride was actually a little pleasant. Soon enough they arrived at their destination in district eight known widely for being one of the cleanest districts; if only for the fact that it is a major epicenter for restaurants and other such food-based establishments. Not to mention the hired muscle which is employed by said restaurants keeps criminal activities to a minimum.
"This district seems somewhat civilized compared to the rest of the station. Where are we," Nary questioned as she surveyed her surroundings.
"We are in district eight; it's pretty much the only safe place you can find something to eat on Omega. The reason it's so nice is because the entrepreneurs who own the bars and the restaurants like to keep crime to a minimum seeing as its bad for business. I know a bar round here that makes the best flavored nutrient paste this side of Terminus space." Stated Harrison slightly hungered by his own words.
"Wait, you eat nutrient paste. Why would you if you can actually eat solid food," Nary questioned clearly perplexed as to why anyone would willingly eat paste if they didn't have to.
"Well, long story short I had a small accident when I was in Alliance military and I haven't been able to eat solid food since. Just as well I suppose paste is efficient and cheap, not to mention it's great for keeping in shape." Harrison stated off-handedly as they finally reached their destination.
Moving to the old-fashioned doors which most establishments on Omega seemed to favor he opened the doorway and allowed Nary to enter before him. There was an immediate response from the bar-tender and owner.
"Stalter you son of a bitch, haven't seen you in a while. Who's your friend," He said motioning to Nary with the hands he was presently using to clean a glass.
"This would be Miss Elav." Harrison replied while walking up to the bar, "Got anything that's sterilized and hasn't lost the flavor?"
"Yeah, actually just got in a shipment of some Turian drinks all clean of course. Just take a look at the menu and take your pick Miss Elav." The bar tender said, "Just the usual for you then Stalter?"
"Yeah Bill that'd be great," he replied back while handing a small menu to Nary.
After a few moments of looking over the various choices Nary decided on some type of fruity Turian drink along with some kind of meat flavored nutrient paste. With their order placed and served to them Harrison lead Nary to his usual booth which faced the entrance to the bar and where he usually spent most of his time at the bar alone where no one would bother him.
Nary was the first one to open up the conversation, "So how'd you end up on Omega."
"Well, about two years ago when all that big shit was going down in the traverse and the Citadel was attacked I just figured it was time to get out of dodge and headed into the Terminus. Figured I could find work on a colony but most human colonies out here don't trust or even allow Alliance vets near their homes. They all think that anyone involved or previously involved with the Alliance are spies or trying to undermine their rights. Meanwhile they forget that the Alliance were the ones who opened up the opportunity to colonize out here and ultimately protects them." He took a breath, "Anyway, I ended up here because I ran out of credits and I've been working ever since."
Nary took a slight slurp of her paste which she practically moaned in pleasure because of the taste. In-between mouthfuls she asked another question.
"So haven't you ever wanted to get back to Citadel or even human space? I mean I've only been away from the fleet for a few months and I've been homesick all this time. I can't imagine what it must be like to be away from ones home for two years."
"I've given some thought into going back to civilization. But, really I've been a spacer about all my life anyway so I'm not really homesick. Not to mention despite what the Alliance and the Terra Firma party would have all others believe Earth is just as bad as Omega. Most of it is overpopulated and at least one fourth is still an irradiated wasteland from our third world-war. Besides I've always found the rest of the galaxy much more interesting, part of being raised on spaceships I guess." Harrison said as he took a sip from his own drink.
"Sorry, I hadn't known any of that. But why would your people do that to themselves. Practically ruin the earth I mean," she asked.
"Why did the Krogan do the same to their home world? Or, and pardon me for saying this, why did your people in a different fashion do the same to your own home world. In my opinion it's just part of what makes us all sentient, our outstanding ability to make monumentally stupid mistakes. At the time Humanity was fighting over failing resources; the only reason the war ended was because of the discovery of the prothean ruins on Mars and the technology we were able to make as a result of it." Harrison stated no animosity whatsoever in his voice.
Nary was slightly taken aback by the cold logic in the answer and the apparent casualness with which Harrison had said it.
"Oh, well anyway getting back to a less morbid topic what would be your full name then?" she asked.
"Pardon?" he questioned back.
"Sorry I mean what would be your full name. You were born on a ship right. So what would be your full name?" she questioned cocking her head to the side slightly.
"Oh, right. You want to know what my full Quarian name would be right," Nary nodded slightly let him know he got it right. "Well I suppose it would be Harrison'Stalter nar Archimedes vas nedas." He replied pausing for a second, "Well I suppose it would be nedas since I was at one time crew of a ship but, now I'm not and I'll be damned if I'm ever associated by name with this place."
"Yes, that would definitely be a shame." Nary said sincerity in her voice, "So, now that that's out of the way would you mind telling me about how you can only eat paste?" she paused for a moment thinking about the possible sensitivity of the subject, "I understand if you don't want to."
"No, it's alright. It'd be good to talk about it anyway; it's somewhat of an interesting story." Harrison took a moment to pick through his mind about where to begin, "It happened in 2178. I don't know if you've heard of it but the Skyllian blitz had happened two years earlier. A huge coordinated attack made by Batarian pirates on the human colony of Elysium. Despite having repelled the attack thanks to one Commander Shepard the Alliance wanted blood. So they launched a major offensive against Torfan, a rather infamous pirate base. I was part of the offensive, freshly promoted and leading my very own squad. I got all of them killed assaulting that hellhole. I don't quite remember what happened but apparently I had completed our objective of overriding the bases automatic defenses so that the rest of the offensive force could get through. They found me in the main security hub with everyone around me dead. I was barely clinging to life; the only thing that kept me in one piece was ridiculous amounts of medi-gel. I lost both legs, my left arm, and my neck was practically ripped out. Oh, and my heart was nothing but scar tissue. They said it was a medical miracle that I was still alive, heh I think they actually used it to further justify medi-gels legitimacy to the council. To this day I'm pretty sure I hold the record for the most cybernetics needed to put an Alliance soldier back together. And as a bonus I gained the nickname 'The Butcher of Torfan', more to insult me than for anything else. No one really trusted me after Torfan; part of the reason I retired after the whole Citadel attack." Harrison took a breath after telling his fairly long story, one which he had not told anyone in quite a few years.
"So, wait your telling me that practically half of you is synthetic. I didn't even know the Alliance had that kind of technology." She replied.
"Heh neither did I; Until I woke up in a military hospital with new legs a new arm a sore throat and a chest that felt like it was ripped open and stomped on." He said.
"Well, if it's any consolation they did a good job. I couldn't even tell that your arm was synthetic until you told me," Nary said trying to lighten up the mood. Harrison chuckled slightly and then continued on with the last part of his story.
"Anyway I put up with the crap reputation and the distrust of those around me up until the attack on Eden Prime. After I helped out groundside for the op I decided to finally retire from the Military. So how 'bout you, any interesting stories."
The sudden shift to her surprised Nary a little bit, but she quickly recovered forming a response. "Nothing as interesting as your story, but I have a few tales from my days both during and before my pilgrimage."
"Please, go on I'd like to hear about it." Said Harrison genuinely interested. First hand knowledge about Quarian life aboard the Flotilla was rare and few individual got to hear about it from a first-hand source. For her own part Nary began her tales in earnest.
"Well, when I was about eight years of age I had unknowingly locked myself into one of the shuttles on my home ship the Ober. To make matters worse I accidentally managed to start it up and the automated VI began to pull the shuttle away from the Ober. I only had two hours experience in the flight simulators so I was really going on instinct. It caused a big ruckus among the fleet and when I got the shuttle back to the Ober I was put on latrine duty for a few months. Other than the punishment that was mandated by the captain my father and mother were both extremely proud of me. How many parents can say their eight year old managed to steer a shuttle perfectly and bring it back to dock with no scratches on it and with only two hours of simulated flight training?"
"I know I couldn't do something like that. I was still in the passenger seat watching my mother pilot the ship when I was eight. Didn't start to learn the basics until I was fifteen and to be honest I'm really not that great a pilot only rated for civilian shuttles."
"I'm sure you can't be that bad," Nary replied finishing off her paste.
"Believe me you don't want to find out. I'll leave the flying to you." He replied with a chuckle. "So got anything else for me? How about your pilgrimage? Meet any interesting characters, or see any particularly amazing planets?"
"Well, I was on the Citadel for a time. During the clean up after the Geth attack, amazingly enough I was able to find a job helping clean up some of the wreckage and to pilot a transport shuttle for the supplies needed. That's how I got my shuttle; it was a gift as well as partial payment for my work. After that I traveled for a little while; getting jobs on back water colonies and gathering more salvage and credits," she sighed for a moment. "And well you know the rest of the story; I ended up here. Ironically this is the only place I've actually met someone who talked to me about more than something business related or saying threats or racist comments."
Harrison was slightly taken aback by the comment as well as a little shocked.
"I'm happy to hear that you enjoy my company. But you can't tell me that there hasn't been anyone else out there that was at least a little decent to you. I mean I know that most of the galaxy views your people unfairly, but no one out there was even the slightest bit civilized?"
"Well, there have been a few, but mostly other Quarians one their own pilgrimage. Just about everyone else was outright hostile or avoided me like the plague. I was really lucky to convince the volus recruiter to hire me for the job I got helping with the reconstruction," Nary answered.
"What is this galaxy coming to; shunning talented women like you just because of the mistakes of your ancestors," he replied.
"You know I've asked myself that same question for quite a while now," Nary replied back not missing a beat.
"Yeah well, politics and all that nonsense have always seemed to make matters like what happened to your people a living hell. There are instances in some form or another of that sort of thing happening back on Earth in it's past. If it's any consolation I think the Council was wrong; they should have helped your people instead of turning their backs on them." Harrison said taking a sip of his drink afterwards having already finished his paste.
"I wish the rest of the galaxy had your view of things Harrison. If you don't mind my asking how do you know so much about my people? I mean you're possibly the only non-quarian I've met on my pilgrimage so far who actually knows things about our traditions. You also seem much more open-minded about other species than many others I have met." Nary states while taking a slight sip from her drink trying to savor it and make it last.
"Well, you have my mother to thank for that. She raised me to be pretty open minded, not to mention she made me study alien cultures almost religiously. Always said that it would help me understand the galaxy better," Harrison said smile a little at the fond memories.
"She sounds like a very wise and kind woman. Do you keep in touch with her," Nary asked with genuine interest.
"No she uh passed away a few years ago; a year before the attack on Eden Prime actually." He answered a hint of sadness in his voice.
"Oh, I'm sorry I didn't mean to bring up any bad memories," Nary said some concern and in a clear apologetic tone.
"It's alright, you couldn't have known." Harrison answered allaying her slight panic.
"So, what about your father is he still alive or has he also passed on," She asked softly.
"Yeah he's gone, but I guess I can't really miss him seeing as I never really met him. And I never had an adopted father, only my mother." He said.
Nary paused for a moment taking in the information Harrison had just given her.
"So wait, was she your real mother or were you and orphan?" She questioned then suddenly realized the slightly insensitive nature of the question before blurting out, "I'm sorry for asking that you don't have to answer if you don't want to."
Harrison gave a dismissive shrug, "No, it's okay no harm done. Your right, my mother did adopt me; as a matter of fact she and her crew saved me." He paused before elaborating, "You see some Batarian pirates had attacked the small colony where myself and my father lived. I was just a baby so I don't remember anything, all I know was that my real mother died giving birth to me and that my father was the lead engineer in the colony. My Adoptive mother was actually Turian believe it or not. She along with her crew managed to save a few of the other colonists along with me. My father died defending the colony and I had no one else to claim me. So my mother took it upon herself and went through all the laborious paperwork in order to adopt me. Partially because she couldn't have any children of her own and because the Hierarchy is very strict on the policy of adoption, usually any orphan on Palavan or in Turian space would be raised by the government. I was her happy little 'loop-hole' to the policy as she used to put it."
"Wait, how was the adoption approved. Isn't Human-Turian relations a little strained? Not to mention you have different amino-acids wouldn't caring for you as a child have been difficult for your mother," Nary asked slightly interested by the whole idea of Harrison's story.
"Well, in the end the adoption was approved under a small movement for better relations between the Hierarchy and the Alliance, not to mention that our colony was a joint construction between humans and turians so it wasn't completely debunked. As for caring for me my mother was surprisingly capable and as you can see raised me to be quite the model citizen," Harrison stated.
Nary chuckled slightly at the last bit about being a model citizen and it was not lost on Harrison.
"What's funny you don't think my mother did a good job raising me?" He responded mock hurt evident in his voice.
Nary stopped laughing and answered his mock concern, "Oh, no she did a very good job. You turned out to be a very respectable being."
"Why thank you kindly Miss Elav. If you don't mind my asking what are your parents like?" Harrison asked. The quarian paused for a moment in silent contemplation as she mulled over what the best way to explain to the human of her relationship with her parents.
"I suppose they're like any typical parents in the fleet. They love me very much and always expect great things from me. But, like most in the fleet they don't or rather didn't get to spend much time with me. 'Family' time isn't really conducive to the continuing operation of the flotilla. Especially when your mother is an engineer and your father is the pilot of the ship you live on."
"So I guess it's safe to say you have more of your father in you seeing as you can fly that shuttle but not repair it," said Harrison trying to break the slight somberness of Nary's mood as she came to the end of her reply to his question.
Nary gave a slight chuckle at that understanding his attempt to make her feel better.
"Yes well, not all quarians are top-rated engineers; even though most will try to lead you to believe so. It's somewhat of a rather flattering generalization though. Really I think it's more of a cultural thing; quarians have a natural affinity for technology much as I've heard humans have a natural affinity for differing opinions, and how krogan have an affinity for fighting. The list can go on, on but in the end these generalizations are what keep my people stuck in space, and color your people as the arrogant new kid on the ship." She stated.
Harrison gave a pause for a moment. "I've never been one for galactic politics not to mention being raised by a turian didn't really help me integrate so well with the rest of humanity."
Nary made a slight gesture at that, "If you don't mind my asking where exactly you were raised? I mean was it another colony or a space station."
"It was a small multi-species space station. It out near the edge of Turian space; it was kind-of like a trading outpost. My mother retired from her military service and we moved there. She picked it so that I would grow up around other humans as well as other species. Unfortunately despite her good intentions it was somewhat hard for me to get along with the other kids. Even on a multi-species station there are separate groups; humans stick with other humans, turians stick with other turians and so on and so forth," he paused taking a breath. "Anyway I was a human raised by a turian who taught me to be like a turian despite my mothers understanding and compassion toward other races she still did what was natural to her. So I was shunned by the turian kids for being human and shunned by the human kids for being weird and a 'turian wannabe'. Suffice it to say my years at the learning facilities were not particularly pleasant. Heh, it was really bad when I asked this turian girl to go to a dance with me."
There was a moment of silence before Nary spoke up. "So what happened?"
"Well," Harrison began. "Let's just say that turian boyfriends are very territorial. And I being a 'squishy' human didn't really stand much of a chance. My mother dressed the scrapes and bruises herself; not to mention had a stern talk with my attacker's father. I think it's safe to say that in my youth I was a very confused child." He finished with a slight grin, Nary outright laughed at this the tale simply too funny to actually believe, and to think that it was actually true.
The mutual laughter was cut by a calculated cough and the signature flanging sound of a turians voice.
"Harrison Stalter," she asked, though it sounded more like a pointed statement. Typical of most turians to be by the book and business first types was all Harrison could think as he turned away from pleasant company. He turned to see a rather striking turian female clad in pale grey light armor along with what looked like a vorcha and some kind of modified LOKI mech.
"Yep, that'd be me. What can I do for you?" He replied in the formal tone he had been taught by his mother to speak to other beings that meant business.
"I'm sorry to say that at the moment I can't discuss the exact details here. However, I would implore you to come and meet me by my ship at docking cradle 056 after you lose your present company." She stated in a neutral tone.
Harrison didn't particularly like the way she seemed to dismiss Nary like she had, and judging by the way Nary herself was clenching her three-fingered fists she felt the same. In his no-nonsense command voice he had picked up in the Alliance he spoke loud and clear. "I would advise you to show some proper respect toward Miss Elav thank you very much. Otherwise our business will be done faster than a krogan would jump at a cure for the genophage."
"Please Mr Stalter I meant no insult toward your companion. In-fact I was taking about the rather large Krogan across the way which has been how you humans say 'eyeballing' you for the past few minutes," she replied allaying previous anger and opening up a new concern.
Harrison turned away to look at the krogan in question. The turian hadn't been kidding he was huge; even for a krogan, and he was adorned in some type of heavy amour with various scars from previous battles. Indeed even his face had a horizontal scar going across his left eye and curving up into dull yellow crest. Turning back Harrison was surprised to see the turian and her retinue gone almost as if they vanished into thin air. "Did you see where they went?" He questioned Nary who's only reply was a shrug. For the second time that evening he was interrupted from the conversation he was about to have.
Only this time by a deep rumbling voice whose owner sounded like they ate raw granite for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. "Stalter right," again the question sounded more like a statement. Harrison turned yet again away from Nary to find that the krogan had crossed the room and was now looming over him rather menacingly. The krogan had to be at least eight feet tall from feet to back hump. Harrison answered again using the no-nonsense tone. "Yeah, what do you want?"
The krogan seemed to smirk a little at this; or sneer it was hard to tell. "I'm Gratch." He paused. "There, now we know each other. So, now I can kill you."
At that Harrison's eyes widened and before he could do anything he found himself being lifted up by his shirt collar by at least 500 pounds of krogan muscle. Effortlessly Gratch threw him across the entire length of the bar/restaurant. Smashing into a wall was not on Harrison's top fun activities list. He was just getting back his bearings as he heard a shotgun blast; luckily it was not aimed at him.
"Alright you just stop right there buddy. Ain't no need for anybody to get hurt now," said a rather calm headed Bill. He brandished the shotgun with practiced ease as he aimed it at Gratch whom was looking toward him with mild interest. Nary was conflicted at the moment, not knowing whether to pull out her pistol, keep quiet, or run.
The krogan made a dismissive gesture at Bill. "Stay out of this human I have no quarrel with you." He spoke as if not even considering the bartender a real threat. While the two were speaking Harrison was typing commands furiously into his omni-tool trying to bring up the combat programs and also activating his second one on his opposite arm.
"You got a problem with Stalter friend. So then you do have a quarrel with me." Bill replied still with that calm voice.
Gratch didn't even reply instead he summoned azure energy from his hands and hurled it at Bill who in-turn was shoved back against the back wall knocking him out as his head bounced rather violently against the wall. Gratch turned back to Harrison seeing him getting his OT ready. Just as he was about to unleash another biotic blast turning Harrison into a pulpy mess the OT flared to life and Harrison threw his hand forth seeing to do nothing but disturb thin air. However, as was seen moments later nothing happened, as Gratch seemed himself to be making wild and pointless gestures.
"For some reason people think dampening is an outdated combat program. Personally I find it quite useful at the moment; glad I never discard anything." Harrison stated as he stood up. Gratch was fuming with rage as he listened to the pathetic human in-front of him.
"Biotics or not I'm going to crush you!" With that he let out a roar as he charged straight at Harrison and slammed him against the wall once again. Gripping the human around his throat Gratch began to squeeze slowly savoring the feeling of the final kill.
Harrison on his part was thinking a mile a minute. He knew that it was about time to break out his latest upgrade for his OT thanks going to some shady Alliance type whose ship he fixed a month ago. Moving his fingers in the correct pattern he activated the program on both his OT's at the same time. Instantly they flared as what seemed to be switch blades made from OT hologram flipped forth into existence. Gratch saw this and laughed. "You gonna kill me with a hologram human?"
Harrison wasn't usually one for witty banter to him it seemed unprofessional; at least considering these particular circumstances. Instead he plunged both omni-blades into Gratch's massive shoulders. The krogans face contorted in pain as he let go of Harrison's throat and practically threw himself backward to get away. The omni-blades were sharper than a mono-edge knife; Gratch's regenerative abilities would take considerably longer to kick in.
The moment Gratch had let go Harrison fell unceremoniously to the floor gasping for air. After a fast moment to regain his senses he switched off his right omni-blade and began typing in commands furiously into his right OT.
"Why you damn dirty human!" Gratch roar attempting to go at Harrison again. He never got the chance as he was hit by the neural shock Harrison had prepared a mere moment earlier. Harrison watched as the Krogan convulsed uncontrollably on the floor and then fell silent for a moment. Nary walked over to Harrison out of concern and in utter shock at what had just happened.
"I-Is he…" she was interrupted by Harrison as she helped him up.
"Dead, no big boy like him just get knocked out by that. But not for long, we better get going." He said taking her hand and leading her out of the bar.
"Where are we going? What are we going to do?" she asked still a little shaken.
"Docking cradle 056; I want to know why that krogan Gratch tried to kill me." He replied. With that out of the way the pair made their way toward the transporters with as much haste as they could without breaking into a full-on sprint.
After a thankfully uneventful ride the pair had made it to docking cradle 056 where the Vorcha they had seen with the female turian was standing outside of the entrance to what Harrison assumed to be the turians ship waiting for them. When the vorcha noticed him it put a hand up to what he assumed was its ear and chattered something into some sort of earpiece.
"Reesyna want talk with you; said bring quarian too. You call me Chek, please follow." The vorcha said curtly in his broken up voice a while opening up the outer seal leading to the decon unit within the inner-hatch of the ship. Harrison nodded, followed, and gave a slight gesture of reassurance to Nary as well.
They entered the inner-hatch and went through decontamination which took only moments. They ship was basic turian frigate design; Harrison could tell by the tell-tale shape. Chek lead them down the long walkway leading into the CIC and past toward a door which lead to what appeared to be a meeting room. The female turian was sitting going over a few data-slates before she looked up and acknowledged the group.
"Thank you very much for escorting our guests Chek you can go now." She stated in a polite tone.
"Will be waiting outside door if need." Chek stated as he walked out. The turian gave a nod of acknowledgement to Chek as he left the door sliding shut behind him.
"Well, I assume your Reesyna. Mind explaining why a huge spirit-damned battle-hardened krogan merc tried to strangle me, tore apart my favorite bar, and scared the shit out of my friend." He said quiet anger evident in his voice. Reesyna didn't miss a beat as she replied with a polite yet clear and confident tone.
"I feel that it would be obvious why Gratch attacked you of all people. You are after all the butcher of Torfan among other things; in my mind that means a lot of people out here probably hate you. The Terminus isn't exactly the best choice for a person like you to live commander."
"I'm not with the Alliance anymore. I don't have no formal rank anymore, and for the future call me Harrison or even Stalter but never that name." Harrison stated his tone sending an icy chill up Nary's spine. "Now if you don't mind lets just cut to the chase. I get the feeling you didn't come all the way out here just to warn me about some merc out for my blood."
Reesyna clasped her taloned hands together, "I'm a council spectre on an important mission. I'm putting a team together, only the brightest and the best in the galaxy. I need your expertise and I'm cleared to give you anything you want in exchange for your services." She paused for effect, "so what do you say?"
Why would I write this you may ask? Well mainly because it was a fresh Idea and I needed it down on paper… so to speak. Anyway, I really like this and if enough people review then I will probably continue. So is your interest piqued? Review and let me know if it is, isn't, and hell some constructive criticism is always welcome.