Mass Effect (c) Bioward and Associated Companies
Author's Note: Sorry that this chapter took so long. I had five different versions of it written, and I'm still not fully satisfied. In fact revisions may come later. As it turns out, I've let my university work get away from me. I don't expect the next chapter to come out for a few weeks.
I'm not adept at writing Kaidan, especially from Mass Effect 1. This is actually my first attempt at writing him, and I fear I may have gotten his character quite wrong. Feel free to critise to your heart's content.
Not for the first time, Katelyn was simply astounded by the sheer speed of change in the Presiduim's level of activity. Not a moment ago when she had been speeding away from her brother with Alenko in tow, the Presidium was nearly completely barren - save for a few turian groundskeepers and the Keeper creatures themselves, going through the various motions and tasks that no one completely understood.
Now, it seemed like some kind of universal alert went out to the various office facilities. Dignataries and other workers seemed to flock like lost sheep in the walkways and gardens. Crowding the pathways and making it infinitely more difficult for Katelyn and Alenko to push through.
"He gave up the information too easily." Kaidan commented grimly behind her. Katelyn silently agreed, slipping her hand into her pocket to retrieve the optical disk that Barla Von had offered to them.
"If a genocidial maniac betrayed a deal with me, I'd want them dead too." She replied nonchalantly, earning a slightly uneasy chuckle from the Lieutenant.
"Remind me never to get on your bad side, Ma'am." He tried to joke lightly.
Katelyn afforded him a half-smirk and rolled her eyes at the comment before finding a quiet spot out of the way from other people, towards a small balcony that had a clear view of the fifty foot tall fountain. Her omnitool glowed bright orange as she interfaced it with the datadisk. The data was encrypted, but it wasn't a challenge to someone who knew what they were doing. The Lieutenant stood off to her side, leaning against a rail and staring up in wide-eyed awe at the other ward arms.
"Big place... !" He gushed to himself in quiet awe, looking up past the artifical sky and towards the other ward arms. The spenldor of lights were tiny, scurrining up and down the lengths of the wards, standing out light a field of fireflies in the dark of night.
"Professional opinion, Alenko?" Katelyn asked, a hint of teasing in her tone, glancing up from the optical disk for a second. Data transferred to her tool after the encryption had been broken, showing information about the Shadowbroker, his dealings with Saren and the resulting fallout.
"Sorry ma'am, its just -"
"First time on the Citadel, LT?" Katelyn wanted to know, her lips threatening to show a small amused smirk. For a split second the Lieutenant looked embarrassed by his previous nonsequiter comment. Now, the data flashed on her tool, a transcript of Saren's past histories with various mercs in the past few months, each listed dead save for one thousand year old battlemaster that used the name 'Wrex'. Finally, a transcript of the exchange between the broker and Wrex overtook the display, the Broker offered this bounty hunter a mountain of credits to off one man. There was no further information save for a second name - 'Fist'. An Alias. Gotta be. Katelyn concluded, saving the files for later.
"Yes Commander." He answered, Katelyn's tool shut down and she joined Alenko at the railing, leaning her hands over the edge, casually tossing the optical disk between her hands.
"I've been here for a month's extended leave, and I still don't know my way around the wards." She commented, shaking her head. She gave a shrug, and added half-joking, "Admittedly, I was more focused on emptying my bank accounts than exploring."
Katelyn laughed at the self-drepication, and Alenko joined her before glancing back over his shoulder waching the various races mingling. He faced forward again, staring at the fountain. "I just can't believe that all these races seem to get along so well. It must wreck havoc for the Council if just one of them doesn't play by the rules."
"I suppose the Council has to be careful. Its all nice, prim and proper up here. But I personally hate it."
"There's no life. No excitement. Just bullshit artists that get paid ridiculous sums of money for spending precious hours everyday, arguing at some table arguing over whether to paint the walls gray or slightly less white." The statement dripped with her usual cynicism and bitterness.
At times, Katelyn couldn't stop the feeling that the only reasons politicians and politics existed in the first place was to prevent her and others like her from doing their jobs. The amount of red tape she had to suffer over the years only increased her loathing for the profession, especially after her promotion to Lieutenant Commander. The aftermath and controversy surrounding Torfan in particular was hell. The ordeal raised a few eyebrows and ruffled everyone's feathers - or scales, whatever. In retrospect, it only added to the general stigma against humans and their reputation of being intimidating and a race to be wary of.
"I doubt that painting walls is all they talk about." Alenko said, sounding a little dumb. Katelyn let out a chuckle and gave a honest grin.
"Yeah probably not, but I want it known that it would not surprise me at all." She replied.
"Noted. Commander." Alenko smiled, Katelyn brought her hand up and rested her freckled cheek against it, watching the fountain. It seemed to opperate on a cycle, now smaller gysers were forming with the singular large gyser dying down.
"You have to admire the effort though." Alenko offered, "Simply getting everyone to talk, let alone tracking everything coming and going at all on a station this size is absolutely incredible! A monumental feat on its own!"
"Well..." She paused, biting her lip before nodding, "Alright - I'll give you that one. But, I don't doubt that the diplomatic relations are grudging at best."
"Don't envy the dock operators though." Alenko added the last part in, in an effort to make the conversation more lighthearted.
"Nooope." Katelyn drawled in agreement.
Pushing herself off the rail and motioning the Lieutnent to follow her. They had spent enough time standing idle, it was time to meet this Krogan and get some answers, but they could contiune this conversation and walk at the same time.
"Hell - I don't even like doing my own paperwork! I'd hate to imagine how some poor bastard dealing with all the traffic would feel." She cracked her neck, adding the next part in a low tone. "Give me a gun and a battlefield any day."
"On that we can agree, Ma'am." Alenko said, falling into pace beside her.
"Not a pencil pusher?" She asked, glancing at his profile, taking notice of a small five oclock shadow forming. They past several workers, careful to avoid any collisions with the rest of the officials. Katelyn turned a corner, up a flight of stairs and moved over the bridge to the opposite side of the presiduim, and to the C-Sec headquarters entrance.
"It's not that." Alenko backpedaled, "I've got tech training and I don't mind doing paperwork. I'd just rather be in the thick of it, you know? I don't like sitting on the sidelines."
"A nerd. Should of figured." Katelyn quipped, her lip twitching into yet another smirk. "You're an engineer?" She wanted to know, stealing an appreciative look at the Lieutenant.
"Uh, no ma'am. I trained in the Sentinal Program on Pinnacle." Alenko replied.
"Not just a nerd, but a kindred spirit." Katelyn clasped her hands together, and raised her head. "Praise the maker." She joked.
"Haven't met many other Sentinal Graduates I take it?"
"Not a one." She answered, pushing her hands into her pockets. "But, by the same token, human biotics are rare and valuable strategic assets on the battlefields. They're distributed across the fleets. Having two on the same space station is a rarity in itself. So, its justified I suppose." They passed a small communial area, with small advertising boards, holocylinders and a preaching Hanar, praising the 'Enkindlers' - whatever those were.
"Let alone three." Alenko agreed, referring to John's presense too. They reached a second flight of stairs that lead to a long Access hallway, ten meters ahead was the elevator to the Citadel tower, fifty metres ahead was another turn, where according to signs, lead to the C-Sec headquarters and the Zakera ward.
"Oh well." She relented,"You can't say its not an interesting life we biotics lead."
"Commander, I'm recieving a transmission from Shepard." Alenko paused at the first Elevator, his focus entirely centred on the flashing Omni-tool over his right wrist.
"Put it through." Katelyn ordered, her own omnitool once again flaring to life. "Lets hear it, John."
"We found Harkin, he pointed us in the direction of a C-Sec officer. We're headed to investigate now. What's the situation on your end?" John's tone came in with a static quaility.
Katelyn turned the corner then stopped dead in her tracked, focused entirely on the obstructing figure in her path. The Lieutenant spun around. In her periphieral vision, she noticed Alenko reach for his side arm. A glance over her shoulder revealed two more figures behind them, boxing them in on the narrow pathway. All three figures held rifles of turian make and design, though they themselves clearly weren't of that species. All three wore worn down and battle-scarred armor, a design distinctly of Batarian make and design. Katelyn's eyes narrowed into a glare as she met the gaze of her opposition. Four cold black eyes glared back in bitter hatred and fang teeth curled into a snarl. Her eyes glance to his belt where she noticed a standard military issue Turian talon knife shelfed on his hip.
"The Butcher of Torfan." The one in front of her - the leader probably - drawled, hissed the name intensity and ire.
"Katelyn. Alenko? Do you copy?" John's voice came through the speaker, but neither officer answered. Katelyn stared down the Batarian in front of her, whom leveled the avenger assault rifle in between her ice-coloured eyes.
"I've been waiting a long time for this chance." The Batarian growled, tilting his head to the right - the unconscious gesture of disrespect unique to his species. Katelyn had no illusions as to what they were here for, but she still wondered how they got here. And though she momentarily cursed her dimished biotic abilities, there were plenty of other ways she could defend herself.
"Weapons on the ground! Now!" Without a word, Katelyn pulled her sidearm out of its hoister, hands visible the entire time so they wouldn't think she was planning or hiding something. Alenko grudginly did the same.
"Kat! Kaidan! Respond!" John's voice sounded a little panicked, but it was well hidden.
"I'm sorry John." Katelyn begun with a cold tone, casting a silent glance to Alenko then focusing back on her target. "We're going to have to put you on hold..."
To be continued...
Thank you for reading and please review. I welcome criticism.