Mass Effect (c) Bioward and Associated Companies
Author's Note: Nothing to report at this time.
If the past were any indication, than Katelyn Shepard could be a truly ruthless bitch.
Often projecting the air of confidence, she was laidback and a pleasant, if somewhat cynical conversationalist. Hidden under that façade was a cunning, relentless and efficient combatant with a passion for violence. In her grander moments, she was capable of casual acts of what most sapient species would classify as barbarism. The horrifying reputation of a monster wearing a semi-attractive young woman's face was one she had worked for and carefully cultivated over the past five years. Since the events of Torfan thrust her into the limelight - The infamous stage of revenge against the Batarians and slavers for attacking Elysium two years prior.
The series of events culminated the political debacle of the century that cast the Shepard twins as exact opposites. John had been portrayed at this grand hero, an infallible man that stood in the face of impossible odds and succeeded. Katelyn had been cast as a villain; the ruthless monster who would gladly sacrificed the lives of her subordinates to obtain victory. Despite the negative portrayal however, Katelyn did partially agree with the assessment. Her professional choices certainly made her a difficult person to like and she possessed of a lone wolf attitude among other things – something that got her into more than her far share of trouble during basic and N training.
She knew beyond any reasonable doubt that such a brutal and finely honed reputation easily made her into the most hatred, most feared human being alive. Especially, among members of the Batarian Hegemony.
In the years since that day, Katelyn had heard rumours from the underworld that a bounty had been placed on her head. She supposed she should have felt honoured.
But right now, she was just feeling mildly annoyed with a Batarian in sage-coloured Commando's armour pointing an assault rifle at her, in addition to two more commandos behind them. Not because they were in her way and aiming weapons at her – that part was the job description really – but because they were in her way while she was trying to finish a mission objective.
One to Kaidan's left, garbed in the same model armour with black and white trimmings, scoped up their discarded firearms. The Second stood besides Katelyn with his hand comfortable relaxed on the stock of his shotgun.
"Our bosses wanted you alive," That was a new one, Katelyn thought as the Batarian approached. "But I'd say you've had this coming for a long time, Butcher."
"Gek. Put a bullet in their heads and be done with it!" The one behind Katelyn growled. Gek walked a few paces closer now, just within arm's reach. He raised his rifle butt and struck down on Katelyn's face, resulting in a loud crack. She grunted in pain and stumbled briefly, tasting copper on her lips. Gek's weapon collapsed, and he pressed it into the clasp on his back, deciding to favour the Turian talon strapped to his belt.
Kaidan swallowed as the serrated edge wandered perilously close to Katelyn's right eye. Gek's jagged teeth twisted into a beastly grin. "You won't go quickly, Butcher. I will make you suffer."
In that second, Katelyn sprung into action. Her right hand snatched Gek's knife hand, forcing it away from her face and twisted the wrist so hard and fast the bones snapped. His face twisted with equal parts shock and anguish as he cried. Katelyn's left pried the knife away from Gek while he was still stunned, expertly securing it into an icepick grip. Her arm swung outwards, the serrated edge easily cleaving the exposed flesh of Gek's neck in a perfect line, spewing a geyser of blood onto her shirt and the ground between them.
Moving with practiced grace, she yanked Gek backwards and ducked away at the last second, sending him crashing into the Batarian behind her and forcing him off balance. The Mercenary had only mere seconds before Katelyn's heel landed on his temple in a swift roundhouse kick, knocking him onto the ground.
At that moment, Katelyn was certain that the remaining mercenary would surely fire their weapons at her back. Instead, she saw the Batarian and Kaidan embroiled in a vicious melee.
Kaidan struggled, both hands on the Batarian's rifle trying to force the muzzle away from him. A fast hook landed on his cheek and retaliated, delivering a quick hard kick to the Batarian's knee, causing it to buckle. The four-eyed menace dropped with a cry of pain. Kaidan wrenched the rifle away, a blue aura flared over his skin and he unleashed a powerful biotic attack flinging the Batarian into the far wall with enough force to knock him out.
Katelyn ducked down, snatching up their confiscated pistols and fired two shots. Both of them perfect headshots. The pistol pointed down and fired two more, then she turned to Gek, still barely alive on the ground with watched what little light left in his eyes fade.
"Should've listened to your friend." Her cold eyes narrowed, she ended his diminishing life with a bullet.
"Well," She announced with nonchalant cheer. "That was annoying." She turned to Kaidan, offering him back his weapon. His expression was solemn.
"Search them. I want to know who they answered to."
He nodded mutely, obeying her order without hesitation. Katelyn brushed her nose gently and sniffed before activating her comlink once more, trying to ignore a sudden dizzy spell. "Riddle me this: Why are Batarians on the Citadel?"
C-Sec wasn't busting with activity like Katelyn expected it to be. A few officers patrolled the area, some occasionally glancing over curiously at the two bloodied marines being tended to by a medic. Unfortunately, both marines were detained almost immediately after C-sec's headquarters when news of the three fresh corpses just upstairs reached their office.
After the medic had treated them, Katelyn and Kaidan were split up and taken to different holding rooms for interrogation. So, for the last ten minutes, all Katelyn could do was sit and wait patiently in a dimly lit interrogation room. Her wrists fastened to the table by thin, metal cuffs with inbuilt biotic inhibitors. Not that it would matter in the first place. Her biotics were so pathetic right now that she couldn't lift a pencil even if she wanted to.
A knock came from a door to the far left, partially obscured by shadows. It opened a second later. "Commander Shepard?" A gruff male voice came from outside, though it lacked the same metallic quality of the Turian guard.
"One of them." Katelyn replied evenly, glancing over at the human form, silhouetted by the hallway's lights.
"So it is. I'll be damned." He replied as he paced into the room, striding with every footstep. His hair was nearly, kept in a high and tight cut. Wrinkles etched into his brow and cheeks and with dark blue eyes, narrowed and impatient. In his hand was a silver and blue datapad - an incident report no doubt. Scanning over the contents he took a seat down across from Katelyn.
"You have me at a disadvantage here, Officer...?"
"Bailey. Lieutenant Bailey." Bailey grunted, tapping a few keys on the pad. Katelyn's bindings deactivated, swinging wide open and hitting the surface of the table with a dull thud.
"I take it I'm free to go?" She asked mildly surprised, rubbing her wrist absently.
"I double checked into your story with Ambassador Udina. About this Council investigation and that crap with the SpecTRe gone rogue." Bailey waved his hand dismissively. "And we took the statement of your Lieutenant Alenko. Blah, blah, blah. Standard housekeeping stuff."
"Oh, I bet Udina loved that..."She chuckled perhaps sounding a little too delighted. Bailey groaned in response, rolling his eyes. "So, what did the Gods in the Marble Halls say?"
"I think the Ambassador's gonna have some choice words for you later." He warned evenly, letting his report fall to the table. "But, your story's solid. As for the business upstairs however..."
"It's just like I stated when your cohorts detained Lieutenant Alenko and I: The Batarians shot first, I was acting out of self defence." Katelyn stated clearly, all good humour evaporating.
"And that's exactly what I'll tell to the bosses." Bailey said. He scrolled over the report once more.
"Speaking off. My subordinate, Lieutenant Alenko?"
"He was released about ten minutes ago after we took his statement, which confirmed your story. After I told him the criminal charges against you were dropped, he said something about wanting to interrogate another detainee." Bailey looked pensive, folding his arms and leaning back into his chair. "Some Krogan Mercenary, we caught shaking down a local thug a few hours back."
"Good. I hate time-wasters." Katelyn smiled pleasantly to herself, her fingers folded together on the table. "So Lieutenant Bailey, if the charges are being dropped, then what can I do for you?"
"Well Commander. I've got three corpses in the morgue, all of them armed to the gills and killed right in our backyard. My bosses aren't going to be happy without a reasonable answer why."
"And I take it that a justifiable case of self-defence wouldn't fly with them." Katelyn paused for a moment, curled her hand into a fist and propped her jaw on up.
"Oh it will. They'll just bitch and moan about it." Bailey countered with certainty. "Especially, when the reputation of the defendant comes into play..."
"In other words, A monster can't kill in self defence without creating the perfect opportunity to paint another instance of barbarism." Katelyn remarked, rolling her eyes. "Joy." She added sarcastically.
"Uh huh." Bailey nodded, with a mix of fatigue and sympathy. "Politics is a bitch, huh?"
"Look: I'm not the person that your Commanders should be focusing on. The question they should want answered - if they had any kind of sense at all - is how in hell did a heavily armed Batarian hit squad get onto the Citadel undetected in the first place?"
"That's a question way outside of my pay grade, Commander." Bailey answered wearily, "I'm not a techhead, but we've got a team working on it." Bailey swiped two fingers over the datapad.
"According to them, some kind of Virus-like VI managed to hack into the system. Erased every trace of their presence." Bailey slid the pad across the table. Katelyn leaned in to examine it, her brows furrowing curiously.
"That's... not a Batarian design." She muttered, taking the pad in both hands and read every detail carefully, she pressed a few keys. "I'm no expert in VI matrixes either, but I haven't the faintest clue who designed this. It's nothing like I've ever seen."
Bailey shook his head. "Our Techs have no idea what it is either. They couldn't tell you if it was from the black market, but its definitely military grade. Maybe even better. But, whatever it was, it wormed its way into our computers two weeks ago from what they could gather."
"A delayed action virus then?" Katelyn muttered, she paused and swallowed uneasily. "Are you saying these guys were targeting me for at least two weeks now?"
"So it seems."
Katelyn nodded slowly, taking in the information. "Before we came here, Alenko and I were trying to figure out who they were. We came up empty. Have you had any luck on that front?"
"Not a damned thing."
"I don't like being kept in the dark about my enemies."Katelyn tossed the pad away then slumped, frustrated and glaring holes through the table.
"I know the feeling, but unfortunately we're stuck for the time being." Bailey said. "And they could still try to target you again."
"Great. Another target painted on my back." Katelyn looked over the pad one more time before shoving back across to Bailey. He shut it off and stood, ready to depart.
"I wish I could help you out, but this is all we have right now. And until our techs identify that-"
"-We have no idea when I'll be attacked again."
Silence passed for a few minutes; Katelyn straightened up in her chair and started down at her folded hands, deep in thought. "And here I was hoping for a generally uneventful return to duty. Now, I've got two investigations to contend with."
The investigation into Saren took priority over an attempt on her life. That much was plain, but Katelyn couldn't deny her own curiosity in the case. There was something intriguing and confounding about the amount of effort the hit squad had put into their little ambush.
"The Council's investigation is paramount." She decided out loud, rising from her seat.
"Gotcha." Bailey nodded his understanding. "Some of our techs will still be sorting through this mess. After the Council's business is over, you can check on progress. I'll make sure you have clearance."
"Thanks. I'll do that." With that, Katelyn turned towards the door pausing for a brief minute. "Where'd you say my Lieutenant was?"
"Follow me." Bailey walked past her and gestured her to follow.
"Commander." Kaidan stood just outside the elevator to the Dock Ring. Just five metres away, Two Turian officers escorted a large, bulky krogan with red, battle worn armour and three long, deep scars over the right side of his face. The hulking beast lumbered casually along before propping himself against a wall with his arms folded while a third, human officer joined them and attempted some form of threat. Based on the intelligence provided by Barla Von, Katelyn could only assume that this Krogan must have been the Warlord Urdnot Wrex.
"We have witnesses claiming you were shaking down Chora's Den, Wrex. I suggest you quietly vacate the station before anyone gets hurt."
"And just what do you pyjaks plan to doing about it?" The scarred Krogan's challenge came as a low growl.
"This is your only warning Wrex." The Officer said sternly.
"Fist is the one you need to warn. I will kill him." Wrex countered casually.
"Glad to see you're making progress." Katelyn gestured to towards the minor squabble across the space.
"I don't think 'progress' is the word I'd use ma'am." Kaidan admitted, tensely. "What about the interrogation. Is that going to be a problem later?"
"It occurs to me that I should have left one of them alive." Her voice was distant and absent, as if speaking an afterthought. "Guess we'll never know what they wanted with me."
"You don't have any theories?" Kaidan asked.
"I have too many to count," Katelyn countered wearily, "That's my problem."
"Yes. Human?" The gruff Krogan stared straight at the marines, blowing straight past the Citadel Security agents, not bothering to pay attention to their warnings or actions anymore. "You're the one called Shepard?"
"One of them," Katelyn countered. "I take it that you're Urdnot Wrex?"
Wrex gave a low growl and shallow nod. "Yes. How do we know each other?"
"A Volus Banker named Barla Von sent us your way." Kaidan supplied, "We're trying to take down Saren."
"And he told us, that you were the man to talk to." Katelyn pressed her hands to her hips and favoured one leg, ignoring a sudden jolt of pain through her jaw as she spoke.
Wrex grunted, his face taking on a somewhat approving expression - at least, that was their impression. "Barla Von is indeed a wise man, and if what you say is true. Then we share a common goal, Human."
Katelyn gave a brief glance to Kaidan, which he returned with a cautious optimism. She felt the corner of her mouth turn up. "That's what I like to hear. Keep going."
"I was contracted to hunt down a man named Fist. He owns a Bar in the Wards – Chora's Den. He did something very foolish." Wrex shook his head.
"Foolish, how?" Kaidan prompted.
"He betrayed the Shadowbroker."
Katelyn nearly groaned out loud, pinched the bridge of her noise and shook her head. "Even I'm not reckless enough to do that."
Wrex nodded. "Indeed. A Quarrian showed up on the Citadel not long ago. She had information that the Shadowbroker wanted – Evidence that Saren was working together with the Geth. No doubt of interest to you."
"My curiosity is peaked." Katelyn admitted with a shallow nod.
"She was on the run from Saren's forces. Desperate, she went to Fist to contact the Shadowbroker. She was trying to trade information for a safe refuge, but instead -"
"But Saren got the call instead?" Kaidan interrupted, earning another grunt from Wrex.
"Dumbass." Katelyn muttered.
"Fist is simply greedy. Saren offered him a small fortune for the information."
"If we get out hands on it, the council won't be able to ignore Saren as a threat any longer!" Kaidan cut in with a new burst of optimism.
"Agreed. But do you know where the Quarrian is now?" Katelyn noticed that an orange light started to flash on Kaidan's wrist. There was an incoming call on his omnitool and she excused him with a curt nod.
"Last I heard, she was headed to Chora's Den. So Fist may have her in there somewhere, or he might have sent her off to Saren's lackeys already." Wrex explained
"Commander? Incoming message from the other commander." Kaidan reported, Katelyn glanced at the Lieutenant.
"His timing is impeccable as ever. We needed to talk to him anyway." She turned back to Wrex. "If Fist knows you're coming then reason says he'll be waiting for it. Is your business here finished?"
"I still have a job to complete."
"Good. I'll check in with our other associates then we're moving out." Katelyn told him, the Krogan's teeth gnashed together in a monstrous approving grin.
To be continued...
Thank you for reading and please review. I welcome criticism.