Chapter One: Missions and Meetings

Why is it that the most popular drinks at these places were also the most revolting? Thane Krios sat in the darkest corner of the seediest bar in the district. Smoke and dust made the stagnant air hazy around him as he sat hunched over a questionable looking tankard of whatever was on tap.

He wasn't actually drinking the filth but his training allowed him to appear to be nursing his beer-like substance while maintaining his keen awareness of the surroundings. None of his contacts had sent any jobs his way in weeks and his account was beginning to run dry. A scowl rippled across his handsome, scaled face as he considered what he would have do if the balance ran too low.

Thankfully he was saved from having to take any drastic measures by the lighting up of his omni-tool alerting him of an incoming contract. His hand waved instinctively, opening the message containing his new directive. His large midnight eyes darted across the sparse lines of text, committing them to his perfect memory.

PRIORITY ALPHA

Contract Sponsor: RESTRICTED

Target: Commander Shepard

Current Location: Unknown

Frequented Venues: Omega, Citadel, Illium

Objective: Convert the Commander to the cause or eliminate her. A sizeable bonus will be provided should you succeed in convincing her to support the Terra Firma platform. This outcome, however, appears unlikely based on previous attempts to recruit her.

Method of termination: At individual's discretion, prefer death to appear accidental but are flexible on that point. Elimination of target's interference in our objectives takes priority.

Contract Value: 1,000,000 credits, 500,000 credits bonus

Contract Time-frame: ASAP

Recognizing the name of the late Commander, Thane opened the personal information archive he used for gathering data on new subjects and opened up her dossier.

Subject: Commander Shepard

Sex: Female

Command: Normandy SR2

Status: Formerly Deceased Alliance Commander, Recently Reconstructed by Cerberus

Worth Noting: Achieved Spectre Status pre-mortem, reinstated after her revival, credited with defeating Saren Arterius, the late Council Spectre, and his Geth as well as the purported Reaper, skilled in biotics as well as with weaponry and numerous hand-to-hand combat techniques

So the Alliance's golden girl had gone rouge. Thane's soft, full lips curled slightly downwards in a suppressed frown. He had seen all the vids on the prominent Spectre and had admired her fierce adherence to her moral code. Why she would join an organization with as horrific a history as Cerberus he had no idea, but it wasn't often quarry as worthy as a Spectre came his way and he was going to make the most out of this opportunity.

It didn't surprise him that Terra Firma had contracted him, "an alien", to do their dirty work. Word on the street was they didn't who did it as long as it got done. Not that they'd ever admit it of course. There was even a rumor about them having some nasty batarian connections though he wasn't sure if anything had ever come of it. He sighed, turning back to the matter at hand.

All the data told him what he had already suspected, neutralization rather than conversion would be the way to go; he would stake his considerable reputation on it. People like Shepard would never be bought, not with credits anyway and he doubted that anything he could say would convince her to support a Party that touted humanity's ultimate superiority regardless of what company she kept these days. No, this mission called for an assassin not a negotiator, and he was the best in the business. Those who abused their power, whatever they had done to earn it previously, did not deserve to continue existing and he would see to it that her life ended promptly.


Commander Shepard stormed out of decontamination and down the hall straight to the elevator ignoring the welcomes and curious questions as she slammed the elevator button. Why did the damn elevator always take an eternity to get anywhere?! She could hear Kelly Chambers behind her asking how the mission had gone and if everything was alright but she just held up a frustrated palm and the yeoman stuttered to a halt.

"I guess I'll talk to you later," she could her trail of confusedly as the elevator finally arrived and her Commander practically leapt into it, closing the door behind her.

Finally alone, she leaned one hand against the cool metal of the elevator as she pushed the button for her cabin with the other. She could hardly wait to wash away the stench of this day in her private shower. I guess there are a few perks to working with Cerberus, she thought dismally, grimacing at the memory of Kaidan's harsh accusations as she stepped out of the elevator and headed for the bathroom, turning the water on to warm it.

Stripping off her armor and under things, she stepped into the hot, nearly scalding water and just stood there for a moment, lost in her thoughts. Her former teammate and lover had appeared seemingly out of nowhere just as her mission on Horizon had drawn to a close. Her heart had skipped a beat when he had hugged her, holding her close, and at first she thought everything might be okay.

Then he had unleashed his assault on her, berating her for what she put him through when she died and for not contacting him. He had said he had loved her and wanted to believe she was alive, but it sure hadn't seemed that way as he accused her of turning her back on him and everything "they" believed.

How he could ever think she would betray him was beyond her, but if anything was clear from the entire fiasco it was that he was no longer the warm and steadfast man she had once cared for. Shaking her head wistfully she poured a generous amount of her cherry blossom scented shampoo/ body wash into her cupped palm and went to work scrubbing away any and all evidence the day had ever occurred.