Purgatory Bar was full of noise. The music blared, hypnotizing the people on the dancefloor. The bar was full of people, as was the open floor. People mingled in groups, drinks in hand, laughing and talking. If anything, it spoke volumes about what was going on. Anyone could see the uneasy shifts in the conversation when it struck too close to any subject related to the war. The tension practically hung in the air like steam, hot and frustrating, but not necessarily suffocating. The lone bartender for the evening, a turian, looked out of the corner of his eye at clock on the nearby wall. His business partner, a friend, should have been here almost fifteen minutes ago. She was known for being late, but never more than ten minutes or so late. And even then, she was usually late to make a point. But not tonight, no, he had a feeling that she was doing a little errand before she came into Purgatory tonight.
He could see the other one sitting in the VIP lounge, facing down towards the bar, with one leg hooked over the other. She must have been searching for her as well. Hell, he thought to himself, she probably had someone outside the bar waiting to ping her when she finally showed up. A patron suddenly tapped on the counter, drawing his attention. A woman, an asari, looked skeptically at him.
"Can I order a drink?" she asked, trying to be louder than the music and other people around her.
"Sure, what do you want?" He asked, motioning to the bottles over his shoulder.
The asari looked over her shoulder and licked her lips. "There's a human drink I had once...a vodka martini?"
The turian nodded. "Sure thing, coming right up." He moved down the bar, finding a glass and the ingrediants he needed for the drink. When he finished shaking everything together, he returned to the asari, pouring the contents of the shaker into her glass. "Here you are."
"Thanks." The asari said. She looked up at him suddenly, a glint in her eye. "So tell me, where's that infamous Hackett at?"
The turian did a double-take. How did she...He shook his head. "Don't know what you're talking about."
"Look, Derimus," the asari took a sip of her martini. "I know that she's here. I know that she's here under an assumed name. I know that she's not here, and I want to know where she is."
Derimus narrowed his eyes and put his hands on the counter, leaning as intimidatingly close as he could to the asari. "Who the hell are you?" He demanded.
"Not important. What's important is that a friend of mine asked me to look into her whereabouts," The asari said, swirling her drink. "Considering that she hasn't been easy to find since that assassination attempt."
His mandibles twitched. This asari knew too much. "Whose your friend?"
The asari smiled smugly. "I'll tell you if you tell me where she's at."
Derimus motioned his head at the door. "You might want to leave. Aria doesn't like people asking about her."
"Of course she wouldn't," The asari said as she set her glass on the counter. "I wouldn't want anyone around asking questions about my girlfriend."
"How the hell-"
"Look," the asari leaned against the counter. "I work for Commander Shepard."
"That doesn't mean shit to me," Derimus said coldly. "Shepard has no influence here."
"I beg to differ," the asari said, straightening up. "Thanks for the drink."
Derimus watched her set down a credit chit and leave, walking to the entrance to Purgatory, vanishing from his line of sight. He didn't tear his eyes away until his omni-tool chimed. He turned it on, clicking on the message from Aria almost immediately.
D:That depends on what you definition of problem is.
A:Was she asking about Lauren?
D:Yeah. Said she works for Commander Shepard.
A:That's because she does. I'll handle it.
Aria closed the conversation and turned off her omni-tool, looking towards the door. The older asari knew who the younger asari was and was a little surprised that she didn't come up to Aria and ask her directly about where Lauren was herself. Aria looked at her omni-tool and then at her nearby guards. She beckoned Bray forward. The batarian obliged, getting close enough to her so that the others wouldn't overhear their conversation, granted that they could hear over the music.
"She's never this late. Start looking for her," Aria said quietly. "But be discreet about it. I don't want anyone knowing."
Bray nodded, turning on his own omni-tool and walking away. Aria had faith in the batarian to an extent, but she was still worried. Lauren had said she would probably be late because she was doing something before she came in to the bar. She'd left early this morning, long before Aria would have even considered getting up. Something in the pit of Aria's stomach told her that something was not right. Something was not right at all.
SLAM. Lauren's back hit the crate harder than she expected. She groaned, inwardly thanking Athame that she had put on her armor this morning. This biotic that she was fighting was stronger than she expected. She looked at the biotic, her hand gripping her pistol, which was still in its holster at her waist. The woman was wearing some sort of ungodly red armor and was carrying a top of the line submachine gun in her left hand. If Lauren had to guess who she was on the spot, she'd say the bitch was an assassin. She kept running into those lately.
"Alright," Lauren said as she stood up. "Let's try this again. When I ask who you are and who you work for, you're going to tell me. You're not going to throw me into a packing crate."
"And why," The assassin raised an eyebrow. "Would I do that? You can barely stand. You aren't as much as a fight as they said you'd be. I put on this armor for nothing."
Lauren grinned inwardly. "So they did warn you? Good. That means I don't have to go through the courtesy of explaining why the hell you're about to get your ass kicked."
Before the assassin could laugh at Lauren's comment, she found herself staring at a very large shockwave. She dodged it, only barely, and looked back at the human. All she saw was an empty space where she'd once been standing.
"What the hell?" She felt a sudden crackle of energy at her back. She turned, only to see a glowing hand, before she was violently thrown across the room. Her body slammed into a wall with enough force to knock the air from her lungs.
Lauren watched numbly and rubbed at her wrist. Whoever hired her had warned her of her biotics, but had not warned her about how much energy Lauren actually threw into her attacks.
"Everybody underestimates the short, little, blonde human." Lauren said casually. "Tell me, assassin, who hired you?"
The other woman moved slightly, still attempting to recover from hitting the steel wall. She had hit her head pretty hard, and if Lauren had to guess, she probably had a very large concussion right about now.
"Fuck you," the assassin groaned.
Lauren scoffed. "Oh please, you're not my type, sweetheart." She walked over, aiming her pistol at the other woman's head. "Who hired you?" she demanded.
"Kiss my ass."
Lauren frowned and put her pistol away, bringing up her right hand. The assassin's body glowed blue for a brief second before she was thrown up in the air and slammed back down. Lauren thought she'd heard a scream, but it was drowned out by the noise of a limp body slamming into steel. She walked over and nudged the assassin's shoulder with her foot.
"I didn't throw you hard enough to kill you. But you must be in a lot of pain right now," Lauren said coldly. "Tell me who hired you and I won't do that again."
"H-his name is Sedgewick," the assassin groaned. "He works for the embassy."
"Thank you," Lauren said, pulling out her pistol. "I'll make sure to tell him you're sorry for failing to kill me."
Lauren pulled the trigger, effectively shooting the woman in the head. She didn't know why every assassin she met didn't wear a damn helmet. It would save them the trouble of being executed quickly. Not that it matter really, Lauren didn't mind not having to clean herself up. But there was something about strangling someone to death. It was just so satisfying.
"I'm starting to sound like a serial killer." Lauren shook her head and holstered her pistol. "Anto should be rolling in his grave right about now."
She looked up towards the center of the Citadel, at the ring that was the Presidium. Aria would kill her if she went there instead of going straight to the bar, but it was still early.
"I'm sure she wouldn't mind." Lauren turned on her omni-tool. "I have two hours before I'm late. Looks like I'm making a trip to the Presidium today after all."
Author Notes: Bioware owns every scrap of the ME universe. This story is not canon. I recommend reading my story When the Mind Forgets first. Thanks for reading!