[BONUS CHAPTER 2: DOMESTIC]
WARNING: Third-Person Objective perspective only ahead!
Events occur within roughly the same timespan.
Written to: "I'm Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage. Lyrics are somewhat depressing, but overall tone matches.
The three-level house was filled with energy and activity as it's eleven inhabitants bustled about, some working others attempting to clean the truly monstrous amount of mess caused by having so many people living in one space. The interior was decorated erratically, with a wide variety of furnishings from the bare-bone alloy to the thickly padded and each piece a different color. The walls had been left a dull gray, as though its denizens couldn't agree on a color scheme. Random artworks were scattered about in no particular order, and nearly every surface had a potted plant of some kind. The temperature of the dwelling would have been uncomfortably warm and humid for a human but for the salarians that lived in it, it suited them just fine.
One salarian in particular, a tall male with a beige coloring and simple but clean clothes, was standing by the front door tapping his foot and glancing at his omni-tool every once in a while. His waiting was rewarded as his target came in through the door.
"Hyrn! You said you'd get your chores done before you left!"
The beige and green salarian known as Hyrn jumped a little at being greeted like that. "I-I-I thought I-I did."
The taller salarian gestured upwards angrily. "Well, you didn't! Your bed was an absolute mess! And it looks like you destroyed another set of sheets!"
"O-Oh." Hyrn's orange eyes got wider. "U-Um. I-I was g-going to be l-lat-"
"-late to that damn job you didn't even ask permission for!" Some of the others in the house stopped what they were doing and watched, but most didn't. This was not an unusual occurrence in this household.
Hyrn flinched and looked down. "I-I… I-I'm s-sorry. I-I'll go c-clean it u-up."
"No, you won't, because Iren already did it for you!" At this point the older salarian looked apoplectic with rage. As he opened his mouth to say something else, another member of the household stepped up and lightly touched him on the shoulder. This salarian was a very light crème color with red facial tattoos.
"Kiin, lay off him."
"Why? All he is, is trouble! Since the day the dalatrass at Mannovai stuck him with us, he's been nothing but a problem!" Hyrn seemed to retreat even more at those words.
The lighter-colored salarian's voice brokered no argument. "Kiin, go sit down. You've had a stressful day. Don't take it out on family."
Kiin glared at the other salarian, but he eventually left the room. The rest of the family settled back down to whatever they had been doing before. Hyrn looked at his feet and shifted uncomfortably. "T-Thanks, I-Iren."
Iren smiled and patted the younger salarian on the shoulder, who repressed a light wince. "It's okay. He's had a stick up his cloaca today, something gone wrong at work or something." He stopped, frowning, and looked Hyrn over. "How about you? How was work?"
Hyrn's gaze finally left the floor, and he glanced briefly between Iren's face and his chest. "U-Umm. O-Okay. S-Some of my t-teammates got into an a-argument, but I-I didn't get i-involved."
Iren nodded and let his hand slide off of Hyrn's thin shoulder. His eyes focused on something far away for a moment, and then he sighed and looked at the fidgeting Hyrn again. "Hyrn… about all this, Blue Suns business…" Hyrn seemed to stiffen at that, but Iren plowed on. "I won't say that I think it's a good idea, but if this is what you choose to do then I'm not going to stop you. You're eight now, an adult, you can make your own decisions." Shocked orange eyes finally met Iren's green eyes and the older male smiled again. "Just remember that if you need any help, you can always come to one of us." Hyrn nodded, and Iren started to walk away. He stopped midway, and turned back with a grimace. "Oh, and if you could leave your work at work from now on, that'd be great. I'm really not partial to the smell of burnt sheets."
Hyrn's mouth twitched slightly upwards. But as the eight year old salarian looked around at the chaotic place he called home, full of people who were more likely to agree with Kiin than Iren, the small smile faded to be replaced with the look of being rather lost.
A three room apartment sat in darkness and silence. The first room was a kitchen-slash-livingroom, with some dingy furnishings and old but functional appliances. A few scattered personal belongings could be seen, but otherwise it was bare. The second room was a small bathroom, mildly dirty. The last was a bedroom, with two beds on opposite walls and a dresser in between. The beds were rumpled and unmade, but the laundry was carefully sorted and folded.
The darkness and silence was broken by the door opening and two male batarians walking in, carrying bags of food. One was shorter and slighter than the other, with dark brown skin and red tattoos over each eye. The other was bulkier and was a pale green, with a scar over his top right eye. The pair headed to the kitchen and dumped their load onto the counter. The smaller of the two was talking heatedly.
"-and she just kept talking about how wrong slavery was and how we should change and Gods above I just wish she'd fall off a building or something! Aghh…" The frustrated batarian rubbed his scalp as he glared down at the groceries. "…I don't even know where to put half of this stuff."
The pale batarian, who hadn't made a sound the entire time, grabbed a few bottles and moved to put them in a cupboard, which caused the more talkative one to give a start and move to intercept him. "Woah, hey. I'm gonna figure it out, okay? Why don't you go sit down while, Brek?" The one known as Brek looked uncertain, still holding the bottles. The brown-skinned male gave him a mild glare. "We agreed. I'm in charge of the kitchen, you're in charge of laundry."
Brek blinked, then spoke in a quiet and slow voice. "I can put things away, Javern."
Javern momentarily frowned, but then his face became slightly annoyed again. "Yeah, but if I'm going to be working in here I need to know where everything is. If you go and put the stuff away, then how am I going to find it? Go sit down."
Brek still looked unsure but he nodded, put down the bottles and sat down in one of the chairs. Javern turned his back to his friend and looked around the kitchen, his face bearing the same expression of being utterly lost.
After a moment, Javern began to work. Mutters and mild curses could be heard from the kitchen while Brek sat in his chair and idly inspected his recently acquired pistol, occasionally giving Javern covert glances. Fourteen minutes later, the smaller batarian heaved a sigh. "Well, that's all of it then." He looked over at Brek and smiled. "So, what do you want for dinner?"
Said pale green male thought about it for a few seconds, then flicked his hands.
Javern's smile gave way to a frown. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then snapped it closed. He turned to scan the kitchen and then looked over his friend again. After a short silence, he spoke. "How about kikali?" He walked to one of the far cabinets and pulled out a package. "You've had kikali, right?"
Brek took a moment to ponder that. "No. What's kikali?"
That made Javern freeze in place, just as he was about to open the package. "You haven't heard of kikali? How could you-" He abruptly cut off, and a look of pained realization came across his face. He put the bag down and braced himself on the counter, then took in a breath and exhaled slowly. "Kikali's a batarian dish, it was pretty common back on Erszbat. It's kinda like… umm… small, shaped pieces of kurthda meat, with some noodles and stuff." Javern paused for a response, but none was forthcoming so he continued talking and he began opening the bag again. "I had it a lot as a kid. There was a place nearby that made the meat into letter shapes. This one time, Koemi started spelling out curse words in hers. Dad was so mad…" His expression drifted from one of vague nostalgia into a detached, blank look, and he trailed off.
Brek, who had been quietly listening with a fascinated look, broke though his trance. "I'd like to try it."
Javern blinked in surprise, and whipped around to examine Brek's face. Seeing his sincerity, the tattooed batarian broke into a grin.
Skycar lights flickered from a small window, illuminating the room. The reasonably-sized studio apartment looked practically deserted. It was sparsely furnished, with one chair, a table, cupboard, dresser, a restroom area and a bed. Everything was spotless, as thought it existed in a different star system from Omega. The bed was meticulously made, the floor shining as though recently polished, the sink and toilet gleaming in the gloom. No personal effects could be seen. It was as if no one lived there.
This was proven incorrect when the door opened and a turian holding a small bag came in. He was a bit short by turian standards but he had a strong, lean build. His skin was a dark gunmetal gray, with bright white colony markings. Coal-colored eyes searched the room for any discrepancies before he closed the door behind him. As it sealed and locked, the turian's carefully blank facial expression melted into one of exhaustion and he slumped against the door. He stayed there for a while, sitting in the dark. Studying the immaculate floor, he shook his head and snorted in response to a thought only he could hear.
A while later, he stood up and went to the table in the center of the room. He put down the bag in his hands first. Then he started taking off his guns and putting them on the table in very specific positions, as though there were outlines of where they should be on the surface. Once that was done, he sat down and opened the bag, revealing a basic dextro-amino meal. The turian ate quickly and disposed of the bag before returning to the table of guns. He went through each, cleaning and performing maintenance with an almost robot-like efficiency. All too soon, that was done as well. The young turian stared blankly at his weapons, then slowly scanned the room. Nothing caught his interest.
For several minutes the dark turian stared off into space, deep in thought. He looked over the room again, this time really taking in the barrenness of his surroundings. He blinked, and a slightly lost expression fell over his face.
Slowly, he brought up his left arm to face-level, orange omni-tool active and bright in the dark. The black-eyed male searched the extranet for a while before settling on something. He brought up a video titled "Across the Line – Pilot" and pressed play.
AN: I felt horrible. And I felt inspired. The two coincided to create this.
When Chapter 20 gets made and published, I'll add this to the bottom of it for neatness' sake.