~Author's note - Inspired by another prompt on the kink meme, just with less porn then what the OP was looking for so I worked on this for myself.

Thanks to Mordinette, again, for agreeing to beta this along with Hierarchy. Thank you!

I'll try and update weekly as well as my other story but I make no guarantees. I'm probably insane for trying to maintain two stories at once but this one compelled just as the other did.~

A faint shimmer outlined a body where it paused briefly in the moonlight before it resumed edging along the wall. The asari sleeping in the room neither heard nor saw it before the muzzle flash of a gun signaled the end her life. A human appeared beside the bed; she holstered her gun only after verifying that the asari was dead.

"The Council sends its regards, Nassana."

With the target out of the way, the human systematically searched the room, throwing various things into a pile. Her target had foolishly thought that the remote location and fancy electronics would keep her safe. Agent Shepard shoved all the computer bits and pieces she had piled up into a large duffel bag she had found in a closet. Opening the door into the main living room, she flipped on the lights. The sight that greeted her caused her to swear aloud.

"Son-of-a-bitch," she growled to herself.

On either side of the living room, a turian had been chained to the wall from the collar around its neck. Both blinked at the sudden light and low growls reverberated from their chests. She had to give it to Nassana; her watchdogs were impressive, especially when they gracefully stood up, attaining their full height. The pale silvery one with his distinctive long cheek fringe glanced over at the dark chocolate brown one with the ornate white breeder's mark on his face before they both turned their attention back to Shepard.

She tugged off the hood that covered most of her head and stuffed it into the bag. One hand attempted to smooth down her short black hair while she pulled out her pistol and gestured at the pair with the other.

"Listen, I have no quarrel with you two. Your owner is dead, by Council orders. The way I see it you have a couple of options. One - I can shoot you both and put you out of your misery, two - I can release you to either die from starvation or be shot as vermin, or three - I can take you with me. Of course I reserve the right to invoke option one should the need arise. Do I make myself clear?"

She looked them both in the eyes; she knew turians were regarded at best as only monkey level intelligent, but she preferred to make her own assessment. The pair looked at each other. They tilted their head, apparently confused by her talking to them rather than at them. A series of chirps came from the brown one and the silver one replied in kind. Their head fringes identified them as both males and they stood a good foot taller than her, so she wouldn't get any closer to either of them until she had seen some sort of positive response from them.

The exchange continued, with the silver one even giving a low growl at his companion. The brown one threw his head back defiantly and then turned to look at Shepard where she stood. His green eyes watched her for a moment before he sank back down to his knees, giving a soft chirp as he tilted his head to the side, allowing her access to his collar.

She crossed the room to reach his side. A flick of the latch and she released him from the chain and it was there, in elegant writing: a name had been inscribed on the collar - Nihlus. She noted that the chain was short, barely long enough to allow the six-foot plus turian to stand and take a few steps away from the wall. There was nothing along the wall for them to sleep on and no way to get any water either. Now she wished she had made Nassana pay a little more; hell, back on Mindoir her family's dogs had been treated better than these two.

"There you go, Nihlus."

Shepard stood back and waited while the silver one made up his mind. His icy blue eyes never left her even as he gave a frustrated growl before he, too, sunk to his knees as his companion had just done. She walked over and released him, noting that the name inscribed on his collar was Saren.

"Alright you two, give me a few minutes to sweep the rest of the house for what I came for and then we will be off."

Her omni-tool had a special program to help her find hidden compartments and she systematically swept the living area for any secret caches. She only found one ,but it contained several more datapads and even some credit chits. All of this went into her bag before she headed into the kitchen area. Amala had a few dextro rations on her ship, leftovers from when Tali had given her a hand on a mission a few months ago, but there was little else. The turians stayed well behind, although they still followed her into the area. Amala flipped open several cupboards, looking for anything that they could eat. She pulled out several boxes of various flavors of what the package advertised as 'nutritionally sound for your adult turian'. She opened one and the smell that hit her turned her stomach. Wrinkling her nose in disgust, she turned to the turians.

"Do you guys really like this shit?"

They looked at each other again and then at her before they slowly shook their head 'no'. Her eyes hardened in disgust at what she had always suspected were true and now she had proof, standing in front of her even. Turians were intelligent, far more intelligent than was portrayed by popular media and government public service messages. But that problem would have to wait for now.

"Thank god. Is there anything edible she kept for you two?"

The one named Nihlus moved closer to her and brushed past her to open the cooling unit. He rummaged around a bit before pulling out a container of what looked like some kind of cooked meat. He offered it to her. She pushed it back into his hands.

"You can carry it, and if there is anything else either of you want to take with you, grab it now."

Once more, they shook their heads 'no' and Amala lead them out into the night. For their size, they moved remarkably quiet and followed behind Amala as she headed out of the compound. The guards had been neutralized on the way in, and now barring anything unforeseen, their path was clear out of the area.

Thankfully, Nassana's choice in housing had been on the outskirts of the nearby town. The moon overhead illuminated their path and the odd trio made their way to an open field close by. A few commands from her omni-tool and a small ship descended down from the clouds overhead. It hovered low enough that they could jump up into it. The hatch opened and Amala pulled herself up into it with Nihlus and Saren close on her heels. She locked the hatch before turning to the interior of the ship.

"EDI, head to the Citadel and say hello to our newest guests, Nihlus and Saren," Amala said, gesturing at the two turians behind her.

A female voice answered, "Welcome aboard the Wildcat. Really, Shepard? I thought you were against keeping turians as pets?"

Amala groaned, "I am. Think of this more as a rescue. Nassana owned them, so what was I supposed to do? Leave them behind?"

"So, do you believe me now?"

Amala sighed, "Yes EDI, you were right. I'll never doubt you again."

EDI's laughter rang through the ship, "I do so enjoy making you say that."

Shepard turned to her 'guests', as the turians were looking around curiously.

"There is a cabin behind the first door on the right and the only restroom is opposite it. The galley is just beyond those two doors. Make yourself at home; I'll be up here in the cockpit."

Nihlus peered into the cockpit area, but no other entity was there. His confusion must have been apparent, because Shepard grinned at him.

"Ah yes, EDI is an AI."

"Which you were supposed to destroy," EDI helpfully added.

"Actually my orders were to eliminate you from that facility. You are gone from that building, so technically I followed orders," Amala laughed.

"I'm grateful you understood my message."

"Me too. Anyway, she's my pilot, the ship, a friend, and a coworker. While onboard the ship, feel free to take off your collar, but once we hit the Citadel you will have to put them back on. I can use my Spectre authority so you don't have to be leashed, but without your collar on you will be shot on sight by C-Sec."

"Shepard, you have one other problem."

"Only one? Must be a slow day."

"The silver one - he doesn't have a breeder's mark on him. This makes him 'kill on sight' regardless."

"His name is Saren. Do we have anything on board we can use to give him a fake breeder's mark?"

"We still have that blue body paint you used when you went undercover that one time. It should be safe for him to wear and it's waterproof, so it should last a few days at the least."

"Great! Can you pull up a picture of the easiest breeder's mark to copy?"

"You can access it on the terminal."

Shepard rummaged through several storage bins before she found the paint that EDI had mentioned. She dashed into the bathroom and found the small amount of cosmetics she owned and pulled out a small brush. She found the turians standing near the hatch still.

"Follow me," she said, gesturing with one hand.

They followed her back into the small dining area and Amala pointed to a seat.

"Sit down, Saren, so I can hopefully do this without making a mess."

Saren's eyes narrowed a bit and a grumbling noise could be heard, but he sat in the seat as directed. Nihlus, however, seemed to be enjoying his friend's discomfort based on the amused trilling noise that came from him.

Amala called up the picture EDI had helpfully found. It looked easy enough: simple lines on the mandible and the chin. She painstakingly applied the paint, measuring distances, trying to make the lines as identical as possible. She made a small circle on the back of his hand, which drew another low growl from him.

"It should take about twenty minutes to dry. You can touch that mark to see if it is before you touch your face, and try not to scratch it either. I bet those talons of yours would scrape it off. Turians taken from their home world are not allowed in Council space. Even my Spectre status wouldn't protect you, so it's this," she said pointing to his face, "or you have to stay on the ship."

Saren nodded and stood up. Nihlus moved in and gently took Saren's face in his hands, turning it this way and that, examining it closely.

"Will it pass inspection?" Amala asked Nihlus.

He nodded once and then his mandibles spread wide in what she assumed was a turian smile.