#6 If you don't stand by your standards, you don't have any.

Lorik Qui'in never did understand his own fascination with carpeting. It was a fairly new thing, something humankind had introduced once a truce had been called after the Relay 314 Incident and civil trades had tentatively began between the two races. For turians, it was either you hated it or you loved it and Lorik knew which category he belonged in. His father however, did not share the same sentiment. His old man scoffed at the soft, fabric floor covers, insisting that they were eyesores and, given their trip-inducing ability, accidents waiting to happen. But Lorik found that he rather liked the feel of fuzzy/furry cushion-like softness under his turian toes. Which was why he had taken the liberty to order several deluxe Persian carpets from a human extranet site for his office. Nothing but the best for his pampered, turian soles.

One had to admit, he thought smugly as he walked around his office now tastefully floored with the luxurious things, they added just the right touch to the drab room. It no longer looked like any of Noveria's other boring grey, washed out-looking halls and interior. And sometimes when he was sure he was alone during lunch break or in the wee hours of the morning before anyone was in, Lorik would remove his shoes so he could pad his feet upon the carpets and feel the natural, woollen fibres between his toes. It was a guilty pleasure he indulged in almost every time the opportunity presented itself.

Which was why he had not been happy when Anoleis had had him taken out of the picture and sneakily gotten Captain Matsuo's men to ransack Synthetic Insights. Of course, his main gripe was about his removal from office and the precious data that could have put the administrator of the executive board in a very tight position indeed. But he still worried over his treasured, Persian carpets. He hoped fervently that the investigators – intruders – wouldn't think that the evidence could be hidden within the carpets and end up tearing them to shreds. Lorik shuddered – he really hoped that wouldn't happen. He had taken a real shine to the royal blue, oblong one on the corridor of the second floor.

So when salvation arrived in the form of the Citadel Spectre Commander Shepard, he leapt at the chance.

The commander seemed wary at first, though rather agreeable to his proposal once he offered his garage pass in return for clearing out his office for him. Agreement reached, he watched as the odd motley trio of a human, turian and asari left his table and headed for the lifts. As he watched them leave, he gave them a parting shot, "Oh and do try to keep the bloodstains off the carpet."

He should have known better than to hope.

When Shepard returned with the good news, he was elated. Sure, it was dampened somewhat by the commander convincing him to use his data to testify against Anoleis but at least he had his office – and his carpets – back. As he rode up the elevator to Synthetic Insights, he couldn't help but flutter his mandibles in suppressed glee – he couldn't wait to get there so he could prance barefoot around the place – no, Lorik Qui'in does not prance and no one knows anything. Anything.

He was not prepared for the carnage that greeted him when he exited the elevator and the automatic glass doors at the end of the corridor slid open to admit him into the space.

His Persian carpets. His carpets. Blood and gore. On every. Single. One.

He mourned and moped for weeks after that, until the people around him finally got sick of his whining and told him to just buy new ones. Eventually, he did do so albeit reluctantly. It was like trying to replace a deceased best friend – they may come close, but it was never the same.

Still, the turian felt slightly heartened at the fact that one of those blood stains were probably all that was left of a certain irritating human by the name of Kaira Stirling. The bare-faced she-dog had it coming to her.

#7 Bitches love smiley faces.

Tali seemed to straighten up as they entered Chora's Den. Quarian dancers were usually held in high regard – it was difficult art to master in their culture. But to see practically naked groups of asari flaunting all their curves, slinking about and shaking sensually to the music as males of all races drooled over them was a rather… eye-opening experience. Perhaps not all dancers were given such high regard.

She heard Kaidan make a nervously appreciative comment about the view and gave him a strange look – not that he could see her face but the turning of her head in his direction was enough to make him blush to the roots of his hair and look away abashedly. Tali could have sworn that he was giving their commander furtive glances from the corner of his eye but maybe she was just overthinking things.

Shepard ignored the provocatively-dressed asari even as one made a 'come on' sign to her. "You guys just wait here, I'll go talk to that guard over there and tell him about that idiot Finch."

"We'll be right here, Shepard." Tali responded immediately.

"Aye, aye, ma'am." said Kaidan rather quickly. Hm.

Shepard walked away, calling out to the turian guard to get his attention. They stood there for a minute, the silence between them thankfully not awkward. Until an asari decided to get up close and a bit too personal with the L2 biotic. The human stammered and took a step back as the asari's graceful hands began wandering all over his face and upper body and leaned into his personal space to whisper something in his ear. Tali watched amusedly as his face turned an impressive shade of red and he tried to reject the dancer's advances. Were those movements really sexually appealing to human males? Interesting.

As Kaidan blushingly tried to get his point across – he was not interested, thank you very much – Tali did not realise she was garnering some attention of her own.

Two young soldiers, obviously fresh Alliance recruits, were snickering in a corner and elbowing one another in the ribs as each pointed out the only quarian in the room. Several bright purple bottles littered their small table. It was obvious they had had one – two – perhaps five drinks too many. They spoke in harsh whispers to each other.

"Hey, check out th' quarian, mate. I say she's got quite the bod."

"Damn, those quarians got it righ' when they made those suits. Just look at those curves! They don' hide anythin' do they?"

More lecherous snickers.

"Hey mate, a hundred credits says you can't cop a feel by th' end o' th' night."

"Th' hell? A quarian, bud? You outta your mind?"

"Why th' hell not? Listen, at least it ain't a salarian I'm askin' you to – "

"Aw, jus' shut up, Ben."

"It don't matter if it's human, asari, quarian… at least they have boobs."

"Alright, alright – jus' shut up already."

"Awright, that's m' man! Go get off your ass and talk to her, then! Hey, what the hell you doing?"

Ben grinned tipsily as he fiddled with his omni-tool, his drinking buddy frowning at him from across the table. "Hey mate, they could be leavin' any time soon. You better hurry up n' go- "

"Dude, how d'you think she'll react if some random guy just comes and dumps himself all over her? No man, you wanna get some, you gotta do it nice n' proper – just the way women like it." He grinned as he tracked her omni-tool via the wireless interface (it was pretty obvious which was her's, she was the only quarian around) and began hacking it. Ah, the perks of being an Alliance engineer.

"What're you doin' mate?"

Ben tapped at the omni-tool with a flourish and grinned up at his friend with drunken triumph. "I sent her message wit' a smiley face. Bitches love smiley faces. She'll b' all over me before y'know it – get your wallet ready, Jones."

"Ain't seein' no money till I be seein' that you seein' somethin' t'night, mate." Said Jones as he knocked back another gulp of… whatever he was drinking.

There was ping as Tali's omni-tool lit up, distracting her from watching Kaidan flusteredly attempting to pry off the asari's hands from his waist. She glanced down quizzically at it, to find that someone had managed to hack her omni-tool's encryption to leave a personal message on the main screen.

She quietly cursed herself for being so lax as to not updating and fine-tuning her omni-tool's programs recently. But she had been rather busy after all – going from running away from Saren with compromising evidence against him to downright chasing his turian ass around the galaxy.

Tali nevertheless allowed herself to skim through the message. Updated or not, whoever hacked into her omni-tool must have been known what he was doing.

'Hey there, sweetheart. 3 Care to have a chat? I can make it worth your while. ;) '

Outwardly, the quarian showed no reaction. But under her mask, she could feel her left eye twitch. Tali was not sure whether to be angry or to laugh.

Well, this anonymous sender wasn't the only one with superb hacking skills. She was good – better even. Probably the best. Her fingers flew across the orange screen as she entered commands and prompts. Successfully hacking the mysterious sender's own omni-tool, she found his location – mere feet away. She glanced up without moving her head. Directly across the room, she could make out two young human men chortling as they sent periodic looks at her.

Fine. Two – or three – could play at this game. After all, she wasn't known as the Normandy's master engineer for nothing. Tapping away at the omni-tool, she began composing a reply.

At the sound of the ping of an omni-tool, the two soldiers crowded around it.

"Whoa mate, she actually sent somethin' back? What'd it say?"

"Hang on t' yer horses, I'm openin' it, I'm openin' it."

There, the message flashed across the orange screen.

01001110 01101001 01100011 01100101 00100000 01110100 01110010 01111001 00101110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100100 01101111 01101110 00100111 01110100 00100000 01101011 01101110 01101111 01110111 00100000 01110111 01101000 01101111 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00101100 00100000 01100010 01110101 01110100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101011 01101110 01101111 01110111 00100000 01110111 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101100 01101111 01101111 01101011 00100000 01101100 01101001 01101011 01100101 00101110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01100001 00100000 01110011 01101000 01101111 01110100 01100111 01110101 01101110 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110100 00100000 01100001 01100110 01110010 01100001 01101001 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110101 01110011 01100101 00100000 01101001 01110100 00101110 00100000 01000010 01101111 01110011 01101000 00100111 01110100 01100101 01110100 00101110

#8 Don't be so reserved. She's not going to flirt with a brick wall all night.

"Just a moment, please. The Consort will be with you shortly."

The old turian rumbled in assent and the asari acolyte – whose name he had already forgotten – beamed at him and departed, the door sliding shut behind her with a smooth swoosh.

Grumbling to himself, he leaned back on the couch and proceeded to glare at the opposite wall as if it had done him some great wrong. What was he thinking, coming here of all places? He, General Septimus Oraka, retired turian military, coming to see the Citadel's asari Consort? Hah. The idea was preposterous; laughable – if it weren't so true.

Discontent with retired life and longing for the familiar routine of the military, Septimus had taken to lounging around the Citadel in a mopey manner. His regular acquaintances – mostly former comrades in arms – had finally gotten tired enough of his sulking that they decided that he needed something to occupy his time, take his mind off retirement. Why they seemed to think that sending him for a visit to Sha'ira was a good idea, he did not know.

Heck, he didn't even know why he let them convince him to agree to this blasphemy.

Septimus tapped his fingers on the cushy armrest, alternating between two talons – tip, tap, tip, tap, tip, tap – forming a hypnotic metronome-rhythm. The noise resonated within the room, the simple sound loud in the tranquil silence. Tip, tap, tip, tap – his eyes darted to an ornate clock on the adjacent wall. Not too long had passed since the acolyte's departure. Should he take this chance and leave? There was nothing to stop him from doing so. The money for this visit wasn't his anyway – and it would teach those nosey pricks not to set him up for anything so ridiculous ever again.

Tip, tap, tip, tap, tip, tap – All right, this was about as far as it went –

Septimus had already risen half out of the couch when the door slid smoothly open once more. The turian quickly dropped back into his seat and snapped his head toward the door. Standing in front of it, smiling sweetly at him with soft blue lips and bright, amicable eyes was Sha'ira, the asari Consort of the Citadel.

"Good day, General. It is a pleasure to see you." She greeted warmly as she entered the room and approached the couch. The doors slid closed behind her. "Is there anything I can get you? A drink perhaps? Not to worry, I do have some fine dextro-friendly wine in my collection – "

"That will be unnecessary, thank you." he replied stiffly. He hadn't meant to come across as unfriendly – no matter how foul his mood, there were certain standards of behaviour that he as a turian general was expected to practice. But the tensing of his muscles and the anxiety in his mind had made themselves known when she had walked into the room. Oh Spirits, this felt so awkward. How was he even going to walk out of this room alive?

She still had that warm smile on her face despite his tone of voice. "Of course, General. Whatever you say."

For lack of a better response, he merely grunted and looked the other way – mandibles twitching erratically. She stifled a giggle. He shot her a sideways glare, albeit half-heartedly. Spending his entire life dedicated to the military had prevented him from having a life outside it and as such, he had no idea how to act around women. Sure, he had female turians serving under him before and even had a few he had reported to but those relationships were strictly professional and on a soldier to soldier level. Well, there were the 'blowing off stem' sessions but those didn't really mean anything –

"General, I know you must feel very foolish right now," the asari's rich voice drops a few octaves, speaking quietly to him. "Please know that you need not strain yourself in my presence and that within these walls, you may say or do whatever you wish."

Septimus glances at her sideways, regarding her with one avian eye. "Who are you calling foolish?" he tries to sneer, but his voice holds no malice.

She merely gazes calmly back at him, that sweet smile never leaving her face. "Why, not you of course, General."

He snorts, ignoring her playful jibe as he settles an elbow on the armrest and rests his chin on his hand. "I just want some peace and quiet."

"Of course, General Oraka."

Silence reigns over the room for the next hour, neither of them saying a word. Septimus finds himself gradually relaxing and the tenseness of both mind and body leaving him. The silence isn't so bad; quiet, like one shared between friends. Eventually he allows her to sit closer and pour him a drink – all without saying a word. He finds that he rather enjoys her company. Most people he knew were loud and obnoxious and probably couldn't last ten minutes in solitary confinement. But she, she was tolerable.

When his time is almost up, he drains the remainder of his drink and rises from his seat. She does the same – though with a lot more gracefulness, he notices.

"Thank you for coming here, General." There is sincerity in her tone as turns her captivating eyes to him. "I have enjoyed your company very much."

Septimus is momentarily frozen by her mesmerising aura but hides it with a scoff. "Hmph. I doubt it. How can you? All we did we just sit there and do nothing."

"On the contrary General. I beg to differ." she says smilingly as she escorts him to the door. "You make for very interesting company."

The door glides open and Septimus steps out, thinking he would be glad to leave and thought he had been looking forward to it. Instead, now he was having second thoughts…

"Farewell, General. I hope your time here has been enjoyable."

He doesn't say anything, merely nods in acknowledgement before turning and climbing down the stairs towards the exit.

Just before he steps out the door, he stops at the help desk where the acolyte who had shown him in now sat. He turns and addresses her, "Make an appointment for me – same time next week."

She looks up at him from her work, a knowing smile on her lips.

"Of course, General Oraka."

#9 Man the fuck up.

"You're kidding me. You've got to be fucking kidding me."

"Not kidding, buddy. We'll just have to rough it out."

"No way. No way am I buying this. Hey! Hey, Rupert! What is this stuff supposed to be?!"

The mess sergeant looked up from his post at the kitchenette, pausing in the middle of wiping some glasses with a clean rag. "That's fish and chips right there, stone eyes. Gotta get protein somehow. And fish is good for you, Hawthorne – 'least it can give you some brains to put in that cavity between your ears."

Goldstein sighed, raising a hand to her shaking head as Hawthorne retorted, "Fish and chips?! This looks like something off of the Mystery Meat Tuesday menu back in basic! And you call these fries? They taste chalky!"

"It's not my fault all we've got are ration packs that look like they've been deep-frozen twenty times over and so cheap they might as well have been free." Gardner shot back sulkily. "'Least you could do is stop complain 'bout it, be glad you even have any food and keep your ass shut."

"Yeah well, the food tastes like ass anyway." grumbled an equally sulky Hawthorne.

Gardner clicked his tongue impatiently, returning to his cleaning. "Arh, quit your whinin', Princess or it'll be vorcha meat you be getting next." He started stacking the glasses in towers, five at a time, and stowing them away in the storage unit below the counter top.

Hawthorne turned slowly back to look morosely at his plate of food, then turned his pleading eyes to Goldstein. "Please don't make me eat this. I'll die from food poisoning."

"I heard that!" came Gardner's muffled shout from under the counter.

Goldstein sighed, picking up her fork. "Just man up and chew, Hawthorne."

#10 If you have to try to impress people, I'm afraid I have some bad news.

"… and I was the only one to make it out alive," finished Zaeed, leaning back in his chair with all the swagger of someone who'd won an Olympic gold medal. Legion's face plates shifted slowly, as if digesting what it had heard.

"That was a remarkable escapade, Hunter-Massani. Based on your recount, we calculate that chances of survival stood at only 2.3276 percent. Rounded down. Your escape was a great accomplishment."

"You got that goddamn right," snarled Zaeed, leaning back further so that the chair balanced on two legs. "Bastards never knew what was coming."

There was a soft hiss from the elevator and the click of heels echoed in the mess hall before Samara appeared around the corner. Her face was neutral and tranquil, as it always seemed to be. Her back ramrod straight and perfect posture that almost looked painful to maintain. She walked through the mess hall with her calm, even steps and slowed to a stop at the table occupied by the mercenary and the geth.

Zaeed didn't quite like her – hell, he didn't like her from the start. Prissy little bitch swinging that 'Justicar Code' thing around like a damn zealot. And then she spoke, and he remembered he didn't like her damned posh voice either.

"Mr. Massani, Legion." she greeted simply. Zaeed merely grunted, not acknowledging her presence in any other way. Legion turned its flashlight head toward her – Zaeed momentarily wondered if weirdos like her were capable of being blinded.

"Justicar-Samara," it said, "We presume that you have come here to obtain your thrice-daily sustenance?"

Bloody geth talked weird too.

"That is correct, Legion. I thought an early lunch before meditation would do me some good."

Legion raised his face plates to their fullest height and Zaeed was forcefully reminded of a child whose face had brightened up at the prospect of a new toy. Wait a minute, had he just compared a geth to a human child? Bah, he must be going senile. Maybe it was time to seriously consider blowing up Omega as part of his retirement plan…

"Would Justicar-Samara be hospitable to our request of an 'exchanging fucking battle stories' session?"

The justicar paused, her silence and lengthy stare expressing her surprise. Zaeed was grinning on the inside – finally, some emotion on that stone face of her's.

"Where did you learn that word, Legion? Beginning with F."

Zaeed took a swig from his flask – he always prepared and carried his own drinks. Being on a Cerberus ship, you never knew when someone would sneak some fucking arson in your beverage while you weren't looking.

"We first heard the word 'fucking' – root word 'fuck' – used exactly in the previously stated phrase by Hunter-Massani 46 minutes and 29 seconds ago when we were invited to share data on previous records of successful missions. We perceived this as an opportunity to improve our data network and expand knowledge on organic hive behaviour, so we accepted. Since then, further extranet research has shown that the word 'fuck' is believed to have first been used during the 15th century but only began its rise in social culture in the 20th century."

Bleeding piece of scrap metal, thought Zaeed. Was it really talking about this shit?

"'Fuck', depending on the context, can lead to slightly different meanings. According to an extranet site over two centuries old and consisting of more than a million words in standard human-English. 'fuck' can be used as a noun, verb or interjection though the most common use of the word suggests copulation between two organics either for the purposes of reproduction or sensual pleasure. Hence, 'fucking' is taken to mean the act of sexual intercourse between two organics. For example, we have noticed increased rapport between Shepard-Commander and the Calibrator-Vak– "

"Thank you Legion, that will be enough." Samara finally interjects, still with her normal and composed manner. "I accept your proposition to recount a few of my own adventures if you think it will help you. Please allow me to collect my meal and we can have our discussion as I partake of it." But there some form of rigidness in her tone now, like a peacock whose feathers had been rubbed the wrong way. Hah, Zaeed smirked around the lip of his flask. That sure got that bitch good.

"You are welcome, Justicar. Your contribution to the network is much appreciated." Legion replies politely with a slight bow of his flashlight head. Goddamn, you would think an AI like Legion would recognise vulgarity when it saw one – it didn't know shit. Just look at it, pissing the word all over the place like he was some freaking lame-ass mascot giving out freaking candy to kids. Heh, maybe he could teach it a few more choice words and see how that ran with the rest of the crew –

A soft clink interrupted Zaeed's thoughts as Samara settled herself down at their table opposite him and next to Legion with her tray of what passed as asari stew – looks like fucking rotted pyjack with applesauce, Zaeed inwardly sneered. She primly crossed her ankles and tucked them under her seat before making a strange gesture with her hands, murmuring a prayer to her Goddess. Legion's 'brow plates' raised quizzically at this while Zaeed just rolled his eyes to the ceiling.

"Very well then, Legion. How do you wish to share this exchange of tales?" she began, picking up her cutlery as she did.

Legion responded promptly, "Hunter-Massani had just concluded an interesting episode in which he escaped a derelict frigate populated by mutated vorcha-hanar hybrids. The method of slaughter of his deceased teammates by their enemies were most intriguing."

"So I guess it's your fucking turn." Zaeed growled, not looking at the justicar. Heh, not like she had anything on him – whatever she did, he could do better. Though that's not to say he wasn't enjoying the view…

Samara's eyes twitched for a moment with some brief expression, but it was gone before he could place what it was. "Very well, then."

"Please feel free to begin whenever you are ready, Justicar-Samara," added Legion, shifting in his seat almost like a person would do to get comf –

No, Zaeed shook his head vigorously, geth couldn't feel. He was being stupid. Blasted piece of machine, screwing with his mind.

Samara's face transformed into a warm smile as she glanced at Legion and Zaeed had to, albeit grudgingly, admit – she was a real beauty when she smiled.

"All right then. Well, let's see…" she murmured, looking pensive for a while. There was silence for some time until Samara finally spoke, "When I was a maiden during my years as a mercenary, we were once tasked with exterminating a cargo ship carrying goods to a batarian outpost in Xamarri. We believed to be managed by a small crew of many six or seven fighters, so only three of us were deployed with minimal arms. My weapon of choice had been an assault rifle, Rosen-kov."

She speared a piece of stew with her fork and popped it delicately into her mouth, chewing thoroughly before swallowing. "When we infiltrated the ship, there was only a small team present in the cabin which we dealt with quickly. We altered the ship's course slightly to crash planetside right into the batarian camp so as to eliminate them as well – our client was keen on it being a clean job."

A piece of what looks like purple carrot passed her lips next. Zaeed feigned boredom, one elbow on the table and a foot on his seat as he pretended to inspect his greaves. Legion was completely still in rapt attention.

"With only ten minutes to spare, we made our way to the cargo hold – the final stage of our mission was to destroy the crates so any survivors wouldn't benefit from them. The moment we entered, I sensed that something was amiss – there was a strange feel about the air. Too silent, too still – even for a deserted ship. The crates were unusually large to be carrying provisions and considering their size, too many for the use of a single, remote outpost.

"Once the doors to the cargohold shut behind us, forty of the crates split open from the inside and me and my two other teammates found ourselves surrounded by forty, hulking, hostile krogan."

At this point, Legion tittered like a human would give a low whistle. "That is quite a reversal of the odds. But it does beg the question of how and why the hostiles were positioned there."

"Indeed," Samara agreed with a smile. "Apparently, the Blood Pack mercenaries had also been hired for the job. It is a common tactic among clients – hire more than one and pay the one that succeeds. It's how mercenaries end up fighting each other plenty of times. Naturally, they weren't very happy to see us, as we seem to have stolen their job and their pay. So they attacked." She had Zaeed's full attention now. Forty bleeding krogan in the close quarters of a fucking cargo hold right smack in the space with nothing between yourself and hell except a shitty Rosen-kov assault and two teammates? And the voluptuous bitch was still here and talking? This had to be bullshit.

"Through use of ammunition and biotics, we managed to keep most of them at bay but they were fast closing in on us and time was running out." she continued. "Our ammunition was also limited as were our options. With the timer at five minutes, things were getting desperate."

"What did you do?"

Zaeed was surprised to hear the question come out of his own mouth, but his companions showed no reaction and Samara now turned her unsettlingly piercing gaze to him. "I noticed that some of the crates were still intact, and I reasoned that those probably held the actual provisions for the outpost." Samara explained. "A common commodity being oil, I thought of the only thing that came to my mind then.

"While my teammates served as a distraction, I blasted open the crates. By chance, the third one contained a vat of cooking oil." Now Samara was smirking conspirationally – it sure wasn't an expression he saw often on that stone-stiff face of her's everyday. "With biotics, I lifted the vat into the air and heated it up. Once it was at optimum temperature, I biotically released the seal and the boiling oil poured over all forty krogan – cooking them alive in their armour."

Zaeed felt his eyebrows rise into his hairline despite himself. From the corner of his good eye, he saw Legion do the geth approximate of the action. Samara continued as if she hadn't noticed. "The smell was putrid and their screams terrible, but it did the job and they all fell dead within thirty seconds. This was very fortunate, as I only had two and a half remaining minutes to spare before the ship crashed into the outpost. I say only I, as my teammates were sadly slaughtered by a krogan warlord while I had been carrying out my plan."

Here, she paused for an almost non-existent moment as if to collect herself. Then she resumed, "I had to climb over dozens of dead, roasted krogan bodies to make my way to the only shuttle. Needless to say, it was an unpleasant experience and I do not wish to repeat again if ever necessary."

"Wait, hold up." Zaeed said gruffly, interrupting her. Samara paused and looked expectantly at him. Legion's lamp-like head turned slowly in his direction as though scowling at him for the interruption. He ignored the geth. "Why couldn't you just use your damn biotics if they were so damn good? Would have made your job a lot easier."

In answer, Samara replied without even a trace of impatience, "As a maiden, our biotic powers are not as developed and we lack the stamina to keep up a continuous flow of biotic energy indefinitely. This is in addition to the fact that I was already worn out from the battle and drained of energy."

"Asari are said to possess only a tenth of their true power at maiden stage, fifty percent at matron stage and hundred percent when they reach matriarch stage." informed Legion. It fell silent before adding, "Though this information is based on asari folklore and lacks legitimate backing as results vary greatly."

"Thank you, Legion. That is correct – we asari have that belief though there is no scientific evidence to prove it." She smiled.

"You are welcome, Justicar-Samara. Please continue."

Somehow, Zaeed had a nagging feeling that the crappy sack of metal wanted to hear the tale more like how a child would want to hear a bedtime story from its parents rather than for the purpose of 'expanding its network'. But he just brushed it off as something in the water that must have made him stupid or something.

"There really isn't much left. With only a minute remaining, I made it to the shuttle and made a swift exit. I did not anticipate however, how low the ship would have already been to the ground and very narrowly missed crashing it into the side of a snow-capped mountain. I managed to avoid collision in time, however and gained my bearings enough to steady the shuttle just as the ship crashed behind me. The resulting explosion was rather… shocking to my already frazzled nerves but it brought a sense of closure that the mission was finally over. So triumphant, I guided the shuttle back to my homeship and reported what had happened to my superiors. I was the only one to make it back alive."

And with that, she finished her food and rose from her seat. "Well now, I really must get going. It was pleasant talking with you Legion, Mr. Massani. I hope we can have equally pleasant chats in the future."

"We thank you for your input, Justicar-Samara." Legion said in response, its face plates shifting as it did that little head bow again. Huh. If he didn't know better, he'd say the machine was a bleeding polite ass-kisser.

As Samara neared the main corridor, she paused and turned back. "Legion?"

"Yes, Justicar-Samara?"

"I ask you to please refrain from using any new words Mr. Massani may pass on to you in the future, including the one you told me about before. It is not a very pleasant word; I doubt the commander would be very pleased about it."


"That is good." she commented approvingly, sweeping back toward Starboard Observation. Before she left his field of vision, she looked back at Zaeed. Their eyes made contact and she delivered him a rather uncharacteristic smirk, before disappearing around the corner.

Zaeed leaned back in his chair again, puzzling over that last action before something hit him so hard he almost lost balance and fell.

"That bloody bitch stole my line!"

Legion looked at Zaeed stomping around in rage as his plates flickering up and down rapidly. "We have observed that organics possess a competitive edge, even across species. New data required for further analysis."

A/N: Yes, it's done! :D

For those wondering about the wall of numbers for fill#7 where Tali sends a counter-hack message, it's in binary code. Google can very easily point you to a binary translator, if you're curious as to what she said. ;D I'm aware fill#10 is ridiculously long - it just didn't want to finish itself (and kudos if you get the forty krogan reference, shame if you don't :D).

On another note, I've finished Winter Be My Witness but am considering splitting the chapter into two, since it's rather long.

14/3/2013: Corrected some mainly grammatical mistakes. Thanks, Pie! :D