"So, will you finally tell me where we're headed?" Garrus was padding alongside her as Shepard led the two of them through the winding passages of a district of Kithoi Ward. She smiled. "You once asked me who told me about turian-human relationships, and I promised you that once we made it back to the Citadel, I'd have you meet my sources. So I'm making good on that promise."
Garrus gave an amused rumble. "That is bound to be interesting." He refrained from any further comment as she used her omnitool for a quick look at the district map again, then turned into a small passage.
A few twists and turns later, she found what she had been looking for: a small pub tucked into a out-of-the-way corner of a small plaza. There was no sign giving the name of the establishment, and the outside looked just the slightest bit disreputable.
She nodded with approval. Perfect.
The interior of the place matched the outside. It was small, the decor definitely not flashy or fashionable, and a rather odd mix of different cultures and species.
The customers were the usual mix of Citadel species, mixed with quite a few odd shapes she couldn't quite identify in the booths along the two walls leading to the bar.
She scanned the place, then determinedly made her way to a booth on the far side where a dark-faced turian with white markings and a blond human female, both in C-sec uniforms, were seated. They were spotted on approach, and the woman waved a greeting.
Shepard grinned as Garrus behind her produced a trilling click that she'd come to associate with extreme surprise.
"Oh, you have got to be kidding me."
"Hey there, Shepard. Glad to see you could make it," the woman said, her voice warm in welcome as Shepard clasped her hand briefly, then slid herself onto a seat opposite of the two. The turian gave her a quick nod, yellow eyes sharp as he took in her appearance and that of her companion.
Garrus' mandibles were still splayed in a almost spooked expression as he took a seat at her side.
"Garrus, meet C-sec captains Fisher and Nisus," Shepard said, not bothering to keep the smile off her face. "Fisher, Nisus, that's Garrus Vakarian. We, uh, talked about him last time."
"Among other things," Fisher replied easily, then raised an enquiring eyebrow at Garrus. "Something you wanted to ask?"
Garrus stared at her, then at Nisus. "We have met before, haven't we?"
There was a sudden, faint tension in the two C-sec officers, barely visible, but Nisus replied in a calm, dismissive tone. "You were with C-sec, too. Maybe our paths crossed."
"No." Shepard said, still wondering whether she'd got it right. "I'd say it was on Shanxi. Twenty-eight years ago."
The C-sec officers traded a quick look, then Fisher laughed, the tension gone as Nisus growled in vague amusement. "So it was you. And it was real."
"And I was right. I told you so." Nisus added with a smug expression that wasn't even disturbed as Fisher elbowed his side none too gently.
"You were. No need to be smug about it, though." she admitted grudgingly, absently rubbing her elbow as he snickered. "I still maintain the opinion that it's insane." She looked thoughtful. "Well, granted, no more insane than other things we've seen, but still..." She gave Shepard a long look. "For the record, last time, I didn't recognise you right away. You never gave your name, or his, so there was no way to be sure."
Shepard sighed in relief. "I wasn't sure either. I'm still not sure that I did the right thing there."
"I think you did," Nisus replied calmly. "With the whole situation and with us." His yellow gaze flickered over her, amusement in his eyes. "Your hint with the colony markings helped me remember that there was indeed one individual in my family, a rather distant relation, who had carried markings like these. He was some sort of explorer, and a loner with little regard for proper turian society, always wandering the edges of civilised space, going where he pleased. Frankly, most of my family considered him eccentric, if not outright unstable, and an embarrassment to boot. His name wasn't mentioned often even when I was still on speaking terms with my relatives." He grinned, mandibles flaring to reveal sharp teeth. "He probably met an untimely end somewhere, because he simply disappeared and wasn't heard from again, and I figured he no longer had any need of his identity. So I borrowed it. Incidentally, I seem to have added considerably to the notoriety of his name, because by now I don't think there's any relation of me left who will even talk to me without explicitly being ordered to by a superior officer. I think if he'd known he'd have been greatly amused by that."
"He became his own crazy uncle," Fisher summarised cheerfully. "I think it fits."
Nisus didn't bother reacting to that. "I followed your orders, Spectre. It just took a bit longer than any of us would have thought, and led us into very strange places and situations." He gave her a wry look. "And odd company."
"I suppose I deserved that." Shepard gave him a wry grin, then sobered. "I know that by helping me you both wrecked your careers. And probably your lives."
"Don't worry about that." Fisher said, leaning back easily against her partner. "I won't lie and say that it was easy. For some reason where-ever we went and whatever we did, we always found ourselves hip-deep in trouble." She shrugged, grinning. "Seen some things we rather didn't, helped some people out who'd rather not remember they owe us, made some strange alliances on the way. Met some good people, killed a good number of bad ones. You know. You probably know all about how these things tend to just happen, it's the same with you, isn't it?" Her expression was untroubled and at ease. "It worked out fine, eventually. I'd not trade this life for whatever life and career with the Alliance I could have had if I hadn't sent that message."
"Of course not," Nisus commented placidly. "You'd not have made it far in the regular military anyway. Your temper would have gotten the better of you at some point. Even in human military, assaulting superior officers is frowned upon. Even and especially if they are in the wrong. "
Fisher snorted, but refrained from elbowing him again.
"But for what it's worth, I agree with your conclusion." His mandibles twitched into a cheerful grin. "I don't regret what I did, either. Well, maybe I regret not hitting Saren a bit harder, but I can live with that." Absently, he rubbed his knuckles over the scars on the side of his face.
Garrus leaned forward, regarding the two of them. "How the hell did you end up in C-sec? This isn't the sort of job you can just slide your way in with a false identity. You need a perfect service record for that at least, and special training. And political connections, to even be considered."
That made both C-sec officers chuckle. "Let's just say that this is one of the examples of people owing us a favour. Our identities aren't false anymore, as well. Although I'd say that our service records are a bit incomplete." Fisher said with a smirk. "And I think we're qualified for the job. Don't you?"
It wasn't often that Shepard saw Garrus sputtering, so she enjoyed the novelty. Still, she had to come to his rescue, and divert the C-sec officer's attention away from her target. "All right. I want to hear the whole story, this time."
"And I want to hear about your trip through that relay," Fisher countered, then grinned. "And about your other issue, although from where I'm sitting that looks like it's straightened out." She gave Garrus a very obvious once-over that made him twitch his mandibles in a mixture of mild embarrassment and amusement.
"Deal." Shepard laughed. She waved to attract the waiter's attention and with a lot more hand-waving ordered a round of drinks. A quartet of glasses containing liquid of a rather interesting shade of green was placed in front of them by a scruffy-looking salarian. Shepard snagged one for herself, gave it a dubious look, then mentally shrugged and leaned back comfortably.
"You first," she demanded of Fisher.
The blond C-sec officer gave a good natured shrug and reached for a glass of her own, taking a sip, apparently undeterred by the drink's colour.
With a sense of contentment, Shepard leaned against Garrus, unconsciously mirroring the other woman's pose.
"Well, so there we were on Shanxi, with that shuttle in the middle of nowhere..."