A/N: This is an incredibly rough draft of a potential Dragon Age and Mass Effect crossover. Because apparently, I'm insane. Enjoy!
"That quarian bitch went around this corner! Don't let her get away!"
Not for the first time, Merrill realized that krogan and vorcha were in fact very scary when they were charging after you.
Oh keelah, what in the world had she been thinking, coming to Omega? Marethari had warned her. Everyone on the Dales had warned her. Omega isn't the place for quarians on their pilgrimage, child, do not waste your time and spirit. She should have stayed at Illium, at least they had less mercs with guns there. Even with the training she'd gotten, she still was shaky with a gun, making her aim less than savory. More than once she'd lost control of the recoil, and the gun had been flung out of her arms. Thank goodness she had remembered to charge her omni-tool. Oh why, oh why had she angered that krogan that day? Another bad decision. Merrill'Sabrae Narr Dales was famous for them. That and rambling, and thinking too much when she really really should be looking for a place to hide.
She crouched behind a dilapidated crate in one of the many damp and filthy storerooms lining Omega, willing the mercs who had discovered her theft to suddenly vanish in thin air. It wasn't that bad of a theft, really. She had come to Omega in search of a way to get to an unexplored, potentially dangerous planet that the Migrant Fleet had picked up some geth transmissions. She had heard a tip that some maps were in transport, and waited for the right moment to copy the data. She hadn't exactly planned ahead too far, which was a mistake, because Omega was crawling with people who would gladly stab you in the back if you wronged them. Like the krogan who was still searching for her, for instance.
Speaking of the krogan...
"There she is!"
Keelah, keelah, keelah! Merrill scrambled from her discovered hiding place, and not soon enough, because now she found herself at least three feet above the ground. The vorcha who held her snarled in her face, eyes ready to kill. Her feet kicked the air, and she gasped as the vorcha squeezed her exo-suit covered throat. This was it then, killed by a bosh-tet vorcha. Marethari was going to be disappointed in her, for sure.
"So…I've been wondering if intentionally torturing mostly innocent quarians was a favorite past-time here, and…I'm pretty sure this confirms it. What do you say, Bianca?"
In retrospect, coming to Omega was a really bad idea.
It actually may have been the worst plan she'd ever been a part of, and that incredibly the time a krogan challenged her to a beer drinking contest, and she accepted with much enthusiasm. Aveline had nearly killed her for that one, considering the next day was her first day as an Alliance recruit. Her recruitment officer hadn't particularly liked her since then, never mind that she had gotten some of the best shotgun and assault rifle scores since Commander Shepard herself.
She tapped the Alliance-grade pistol strapped at her belt, and suddenly realized that she should have left that at home. If anyone realized she was Alliance, she would probably make it to the top of the Omega shit-hit list for the night. Then again, if the Alliance knew she had a notorious pirate for a lover, they certainly wouldn't make an effort to help her out. So she was sort of at a stale mate.
She groaned. Aveline was really going to kill her.
"Hawke. If I knew you were going to be such a downer today, I'd have left you with our glorious Lady Man Hands on the Citadel."
Isabela was seated across from her, her incredibly relaxed stance suggesting the scene of Afterlife wasn't something unusual for her. She was probably the most peculiar pirate Hawke ever encountered, mostly because she dressed like an actual Earthborn pirate from centuries ago. A corset, high buckle boots, a blue bandana, and a pair of gold earrings combined with a modern twist of armor on her arms and shoulders, and shotguns and strapped to her back, along with two elegant curved daggers formed the persona Isabela had maintained across the Thedas System, as well as most parts of the galaxy for years now.
"Well, you know I cannot pass up seeing asari shaking their asses." She said, partly sarcastically.
Isabela scoffed. "If you wanted just that, you could've gone to Chora's Den and saved yourself the inner turmoil." She waggled her eyebrows, and leaned in on her elbow pads and gauntlets.
Hawke copied the gesture, and then stroked the small part of Isabela's arm that was uncovered.
"You know I came for more than that. This is the only place where I can be with you, without the threat of having to take you into custody." Isabela stopped Hawke's fingers on her arm, and started to put one of the digits towards her lips. Hawke shuddered as Isabela took said digit into her mouth, sucking on it gently before Hawke shook her head affectionately and pulled it back.
Isabela smirked. "Well, you know, the danger of it makes it all the more fun."
"Am I just that to you?"
Isabela's smirk faltered. Her eyes seemed to say not here, Hawke. Omega wasn't a place for love, for affection, for anything of that sort. It was a place of lust, of scheming, of pure chaos. And she knew however much Isabela may feel for her, this was her world. Pure energy circling through the pulsating lights, cigarette smoke and sweating bodies. Besides, they were actually on a mission tonight, of which the details Hawke was still sketchy on. (She was surprised she didn't pass out on the shuttle there, to be quite honest).
The matter of affection was dropped, and Hawke glanced to the side where a familiar figure lounged on a leather couch, accompanied by her usual guards. Aria T'Loak. Isabela's target of something anyway. Two enternal rival pirate queens.
"'Bela, if you're going to accomplish anything tonight with Aria, you'd better start now. Pretty soon even the Queen of Omega will want to catch some shut eye."
Isabela rolled her eyes, and downed another swig of her asari-brand ale.
"I'm waiting for an opening, sweet thing. Can't just randomly approach the so-called queen of Omega at any old time, after all."
Hawke furrowed her brow and found herself tapping the pistol again.
"What even is it that you want with her? Didn't you two already have your yearly pissing match?" Isaebla threw her head back and cackled, causing the drunk turian next to her to glare and deliberately turn his head away.
"Yes, and it was filled with our usual sexual tension." She glanced down at her beer in thought, and shook her head in amusement. The gold on her earrings caught light, and momentarily blinded Hawke.
"I happen to have a sort of…business deal wither her, however."
Hawke glanced at Aria again, watched the familiar crest turn to the center of the dance floor. She was nearly regal, even as she practically slouched. She had a hand in everything on Omega, and she knew it. Did Isabela know it, that was the question. Isabela knew how to take care of herself, however, and knew what she was getting into about ninety-seven percent of the time, give or take. Besides. Hawke trusted her. She ran her fingers through her short black hair as she followed Aria's gaze on Afterlife's ground floor.
Well. That was a strange sight. The woman getting the look over was dressed in N7 armor by the looks of it. How in the world was she not getting knives thrown at her. Maybe she was too paranoid after all. Her hair was pulled back into a bun, and her face was set in determination. She had two other with her, a quarian whose face she (obviously) could not see very clearly and a mother of god attractive dark-haired woman wearing a skin-tight suit, and whose nearly disgusted expression revealed that she would rather be anywhere else. God, Isabela would have a field day getting under this woman's skin. The woman in armor, however, there was something about her face…distinctive high cheekbones, nearly gaunt, curved jaw….
Holy shit. No.
It couldn't be.
"Isabela!" Hawke shrieked and grabbed her arm jerking her out of her reverie.
"Hawke, I was plan-"
"Look! Am I going insane or is that Commander Shepard?" Hawke pointed out the woman in question as discreetly as possible. Isaebla squinted and pursed her lips.
"Could be…who knows? I barely have time to watch the news. And I've been mostly in the Thedas system. I didn't even know about Saren and Citadal until nearly a month after it happened."
Hawke continued to scrutinize the figure on the ground floor.
"I know you have the biggest girl crush on her without it actually being sexual, but…earth to Hawke!" Isaebla waved her hand in front of her face.
"Isn't she supposed to be dead? This makes no sense at all!"
Isaebla was about to reply when a familiar voice echoed from the stairwell up to their table.
"Rivaini! Can you make your lackeys disappear? They're scaring my new friend over here."
Hawke glanced over and grinned as she saw the familiar turian, with his equally familiar crossbow slung across his back. Varric Tethras and Marian Hawke went back a long ways, just after Hawke and her family had escaped from batarian slavers back on the abandoned colony of Lothering. He had helped Hawke acquire the money to get their old family home on the Citadel back through a mission that had taken weeks and nearly killed them, but did get her noticed enough by Alliance recruits for Aveline to get her an appointment. She had also come back to find her brother had left for Cerberus. An interesting family dynamic, Hawke thought wryly.
Hawke glanced behind Varric and noticed the figure trying to hide behind his armor. A quarian, by the looks of it. Hawke secretly thought quarians were adorable, although she didn't particularly want to be called a bosh'tet, so she kept her thoughts to herself.
Isabela didn't keep as much discretion. She gestured to her men to step aside for Garrus and his new friend.
"Varric, what have we said about picking up strays? Look, you've frightened the poor kitten." Isabela patted the quarian's arm in sympathy, and she shrunk back even further.
"She was about to get squashed by a vorcha. I was only following Bianca's bidding." Varric said dramatically, patting his crossbow affectionately. "Anyway my human friends, this is Merrill'Sabrae narr Dales, newly on her pilgrimage."
Merrill gave a tiny wave.
"Oh she's adorable!"
"Isabela, she's not a pet."
"I know that, silly." Isabela said, rolling her eyes. "Have you gotten into some trouble, sweet thing?"
Merrill gulped audibly, and began to pace hurriedly.
"It was really…stupid, actually. I was warned that this was a bad idea, but I'm just so very headstrong sometimes…I wonder how Marethari even managed to raise me, I got into so much trouble as a child…Anyway I needed some maps for a certain planet that was prohibited from being traveled too, and I heard back on...well eavesdropped back Illium...that the information was stolen and possibly being passed on here….and well I thought I could quickly copy it while it was in transmission, but the krogan saw me and…"
Isabela nodded in understanding. "He's after you. Krogans are bad enough as it is, but as I assume you've figured out, angry krogans are about twenty times worse.
Merill nodded francticaly.
"I told her, you two would help her get back to Illium."
Isabela glanced back towards Aria, and Hawke realized she was talking with the possible back-from-the-dead Commander Shepard. The pirate seemed to be struggling whether to keep on pursuing whatever this deal was with Aria, or save it for another day and helping Merrill.
Finally Isabela sighed and glared at Hawke.
"This is your fault."
"My fault? How in the world is this my fault?"
Isabela stroked her hand and upturned her lips in a sort of resigned pout.
"Turning me into some semblance of a good person." She dropped Hawke's hand and shot up from her chair.
"Well! Looks like we're off to the next shuttle, Kitten. Shall we depart?"
Varric coughed. "Rivaini….no shuttles are leaving for hours. This is why I brought her to you two, considering you both seem to be the masters at getting out of a situation when the odds look grim. And they are grim. The krogan and his vorcha are going to appear any minute now, I'm guessing."
Hawke and Isabela looked at each other and nearly groaned simultaneously at the turian's logic. "Always having me put everything in faith, Varric?"
He bowed his head dramatically, a smirk playing on his mandibles. "Always, Hawke."
Hawke glanced at Aria T'Loak again. She cursed under her breath. Damnit, Shepard was gone. But maybe Aria knew where she went. If that actually was Commander Shepard, and Hawke had a hunch it was, and Hawke's hunches were mostly never wrong, (mostly), then she had an idea. A possibly idiotic idea. But kind of Commander Shepard was a Commander Shepard that didn't help innocents fleeing from oppressors?
Only one way to find out.
"C'mon everyone. Let's see if the Queen of Omega is in high spirits today. And Isabela, considering your yearly pissing matches are now becoming bi-yearly pissing matches…I'd hold off on today."