With everyone off chasing leads on proving Saren’s betrayal, Chessa and Kaidan stop at the bottom of the stairs in the council audience chamber as she notices a salarian kneeled down near a keeper.
Kaidan raises a brow speaking softly not wanting to draw his attention. “What is that guy doing? Messing with the keepers is illegal.”
“I dunno, let’s find out.” Chessa just says and starts walking towards him though Kaidan tries to stop her, but the feline was already almost by him.
Sensing someone near him the salarian jumps up turns to face the pair, “What? I wasn’t…err never mind.” He shakes his head and steps abit away seeing Chessa tilting her head questionably at him and Kaidan stepping over beside her with abit more of a stern look. Deciding to change the subject in hopes to not get turned in, he looks over Chessa smiling, “Ah you must be one of those Anthros, huh? I must say for what some call a failed experiment you all have really turned out to be a good investment.”
Chessa blinks looking at him weird but knowing that was meant as a compliment in the salarian scientific mind. “Oh um thanks, I guess.” Kaidan looks to speak up, but Chessa cuts him off smiling and motioning to the keeper. “So what were you doing to that keeper? It’s illegal to mess with them as they goo-ify themselves if attempted to be captured or stopped from maintaining the citadel.”
Kaidan turns and looks at Chessa like he couldn’t believe what she just said, but the salarian just chuckles shaking his head. “Goo-ify…that’s a new one. But yes, the keepers do self-destruct if their progress is hampered, and it’s not a pretty image. Possible self-defense response as they seem to be a very peaceful race or it’s a way to keep anyone from studying them. Not that I was trying…”
“Stop trying to change the subject.” Kaidan cuts in narrowing his eyes at him. “What were you doing to that keeper?”
The salarian begins wringing his hands together and stammering abit, but Chessa smiles holding out her hand to calm him. “Don’t worry we aren’t going to turn you in. If you were hurting the keeper or trying to capture it then as you said it would’ve destroyed itself.” She crosses her arms and leans to one side in her calm stance. “So wha were ya doin?”
The salarian again starts wringing his hands muttering abit before sighing. “Well I guess there’s no getting away now. I have this small device to scan the keepers, but it’s hard to get close to them without drawing attention.” He crosses his arms now and twirls his hand some. “I’d like to do it more openly, but I’m not getting arrested for it.”
Chessa stays in her stance seeming to be thinking it over. “And you’re doing this why?”
“We know next to nothing on the keepers, and as said we can’t capture them for study. Being a scientist it’s my job to discover the unknown, and I want to my discovery to be finding out more about the keepers.” The salarian smiles wide showing he definitely had pride in his work even if illegal in a sense.
Kaidan goes to turn away wanting nothing to do with this, but Chessa speaks up quickly. “What if I help you? Two people will surely be faster than one.”
Kaidan turns to her his eyes wide in disbelief. “Commander you can’t…”
“Oh hush Kaidan. This is important, and could help further science. ” Chessa glares at him waving an arm at the salarian. “Its people like him that have helped my race even when others refused.”
“But Commander I…”
“Don’t worry this is all me doing it. If something happens I’ll take the fall.” Chessa offers a smile at Kaidan then turns back to the salarian. “So names Chessa and what I gotta do Mr.…?
The salarian was looking back and forth between the two armed and suited humans arguing debating to slip away, but smiles hearing she was going to help him. “Just Chorban is fine, and all you have to do is just activate this device near a keeper. It’ll do the rest and upload the data to my database.” He hands her the small device smiling wide. “We don’t want to scan the same keepers so where are you heading if I may ask?”
“We’re going down to the wards. See if there’s a more down to earth place to grab a drink and meal.” Chessa just blabs out plainly much to Kaidan’s disdain and audible groan.
Chorban nods still smiling. “Good. I’ll scan the ones on the presidium then. Don’t want to scan the same one twice, though that might be easier said than done.”
Chessa returns the nod giggling. “Yeah cause they differ so much. How many scans and where should we meet when done?”
“Hmm…Five to ten scans should do fine. Don’t risk drawing attention though.” Chessa nods while Chorban rubs his chin thinking. “As for a meeting place I’m not too sure yet. When you finish contact me, and we’ll meet up at wherever is between us currently.”
“Sure thing, I’ll be in touch.” Chessa and Kaidan head off into the wards where they stop to admire the view at a balcony type spot.
Kaidan looks out over at the many buildings, lights, and cars flying about, and gives a small whistle. “Man this place is huge. Dwarfs Jump Zero by far.”
“This ain’t no station it’s a city. There has to be millions living here easily,” Chessa states looking on in abit of awe.
Kaidan chuckles glancing over at her, “Hell I bet each arm could easily hold a couple million people. Not including the keepers. Speaking of…are you sure it’s wise to help that guy?”
Chessa sighs slumping against the railing. “Kaidan really? I know it’s illegal to mess with the keepers, but that’s only if you are stopping them from doing their jobs. You seen the keeper was fine, and wasn’t disturbed otherwise it would’ve did their little melty thing.”
“I know commander it’s just…How do we know he’ll use the data properly, and not have an alternate agenda? Maybe use it to like control the keepers or something?”
Chessa looks at him giggling some. “Seriously Kaidan? Mind controlling the keepers? Think you’ve been watching or reading too much sci-fi. Also when did I say you could call me commander?”
“Ah right, sorry Chessa. Still the chance is there for him just to be using you and if something happens you take the blame. Too many unknowns to risk learning something new.”
“Possibly, but as I said he’s the type that jumped at the chance to learn about my race. Willing to bend some rules to help the greater good. Like what was done to create me, and possibly give humans biotics.” She looks over at him smirking some.
Kaidan sighs looking out for a long moment before responding. “Those are just rumors Chessa, but I know the timing is abit too convenient. You make a point though, they did do a good job on you…err…ah…your race.”
Another giggle is heard and she turns around to lean back on the rail some in a flirty manor. “Glad you noticed major, but we should get to that club.”
“Right behind you.”
Chessa just lets that last bit slide with a smirk as they both head towards the sign that says Flux, yet are halted by an investigative journalist, Emily Wong, asking for help with a story about organized crime on the citadel. Shepard agrees to give her some evidence if they find some, but can’t make promises. In Flux yet another asking for help in getting their sister out of Chora’s Den, made Chessa let out a sigh surprised at that it seemed everywhere they went someone needed help. Hell there was even news reports talking about people that needed it out in the galaxy. After abit of shopping in the wards and some keeper scanning they reach Chora’s Den. Chessa pauses though lowering her ears some able to hear the thumping club music through the door.
Kaidan looks over at her questionably. “Something wrong, Chessa?”
She sighs softly looking down abit. “It’s that music can’t really stand it. No flow, no passion, just thudding base every other note.”
Kaidan nods. “Yeah. It’s that so called ‘music you can dance to,’ and the beat gets you moving.”
“Exactly. It’s so fake, and you can tell they put no actual heart into it. Have the console just throw it together then ship it out.”
Kaidan chuckles some taking a step forward to trigger the doors to open. “Still we have to go in. I’ll stay towards the speakers to help dull the sound some.”
Chessa points her ears back some moving forward and noticing the dancers. “Alright just don’t get lost oogling the dancers, major.”
Kaidan smirks looking over one. “No promises commander.”
Slipping inside they talk to Jenna who says she refuses to leave the club and return to Flux. Shepard didn’t openly talk about her involvement with C-Sec but did hint to her that she knew talking about how Chora’s Den delt with people working for other ‘clubs’ severely. Afterwards she was bumped into by a turian that whispered for her to meet him in C-sec. Kaidan raises a brow seeing him whisper something to her. “What was that about Chessa?”
“Hmm?” She looks at him a moment before it clicks. “Oh…just seems like we have another pit stop to make.”
Kaidan looks at her in slight confusion, but just shrugs figuring he’d find out in a few. On the other side of the club she seen a rather burly looking krogan talking with a bouncer but couldn’t hear what they were talking about. The krogan leaves at the request of the bouncers with Chessa and the krogan catching the other’s eyes, before Chessa moves on to speak with Septimus then Harkin.
Septimus was fairly easy to fix by sharing a drink and a small heart to heart to get him to see the error of his ways. Harkin was another matter entirely to sway into sharing information. He was quite the sleaze, and Chessa knew this the second she came in range of him.
Harkin was a balding middle aged human male. His hair was black, and he had a short shaved goatee. He was reclining abit sideways in his chair and smirks wide when Chessa moves in front of him. “Hey there kitty. How’d you like to come play with old Harkin? I’ll get us some drinks, and maybe we’ll see if those curves are just extra padding, or because you fill that armor out just that good.”
Chessa stops and looks at him abit glaringly. She liked a good flirt and teasing, but this guy wasn’t either of them. He was making no attempt to hide his motives and being rather rude about it. Still he said his name was Harkin so she’d have to not tee him off at least until they got their info. “Harkin huh? Sure your seeing straight there? I’m not exactly a human y’know.”
Harkin just chuckles shifting abit in his chair to sit in a more reclined position. “Oh I’m seeing straight, and species don’t matter really to me. It all feels the same on the inside. Now I know you anthro’s and your open nature, so why don’t you come sit yourself down and I’ll give you a time you won’t forget.”
Chessa takes a breath and shakes her head some at his obvious come-ons. She’s known some blunt and forward people, but this guy was like a drunken prom date. Given what Anderson said about him it was likely true. Kaidan on the other hand looked like he was ready to knock him out. Chessa glances at him silently saying to let her handle it. He nods with her looking back to Harkin, “Much as I’d hate to pass up such a wonderful offer, I’m here on another matter. I’m looking for info on another c-sec officer, Garrus Vakarian. More precisely I’m looking for his current location.”
“Garrus huh? That must mean you’re one of Anderson’s crew. Poor bastard is still trying to take down Saren.” Harkin continues to smirk thinking he was in control of the situation, and still wanting something outta this. “I know where he is, but first I wonder if Anderson told you his little secret? About how he was a spectre and really blew it. They kept it quiet, and kicked him out. Bastard keeps saying Saren set him up.”
Chessa rolls her eyes at him and decides to clear some things up herself. “Nice story, but Anderson already told me the truth. He was only a candidate, and while he was doing his job Saren ran off purposely damaging the facility. By the time they finished the mission Saren’s damage had killed many of the people there. Course like our issue on Eden Prime no evidence could be found, and the council refuses to believe their great spectre could do anything wrong. Now that that’s been straightened up, where’s Garrus?”
Another snide chuckle as Harkin looks up and down her body obviously. “Glad to see he has another fooled with his lies. As for Garrus, well I think I need something for me to say. Maybe you could let me see just how much fur is under that armor hmm?”
This time Kaidan really was about to attack Harkin as hit biotic field appeared. Chessa reaches over patting his chest a couple times and shaking her head. She did this not just for Harkin’s benefit, but also as she noticed one of the bouncers looking over at them. Kaidan takes a breath to calm himself while Chessa crosses her arms staring at Harkin. “Alright you sleaze I’m running out of patience, and so is my friend here. I can tell you now, I’m not stripping in the middle of a club, and they don’t have private rooms here. So I’ll make one final offer before we make a scene.” She turns and walks to the bar making Kaidan and Harkin raise a brow. After a moment she comes back with a brownish square shaped bottle which she nearly slams down on his table. “Vintage Bourbon whiskey…You tell me where Garrus is and its yours.”
Kaidan just stares wide-eyed not believing she was actually offering to buy him top shelf liquor just to find out where one man was. Harkin seemed equally floored, but licks his lips at the offer of such a prize. “Oh now that will definitely loosen my lips. I want a shot so I know it’s the real thing.”
Chessa glares and growls abit, before turning and grabbing a shot glass from the tender dropping some credits in the process. Coming back she sets the glass on the table and pours the brown liquid into the glass which Harkin quickly downs.
He sighs feeling the burn and looks satisfied with the result. “Oh yes, that’s the stuff…Fine we have a deal. Goto the med clinic on the other side of the wards, Garrus was heading back there. Now give me my drink and leave me alone.”
“Pleasure doing business with ya,” Chessa smirks and sets the bottle next to him. She then turns and walks towards the exit with Kaidan running up beside her.
“Chessa why did you buy him that stuff? We could’ve just beat it out of him or something. Not like he didn’t deserve it.”
“Oh Kaidan you actually think I’d waste my money on that stuff? No old Harkin will get his just dues when he tries to leave.” Chessa continues to smirk as behind them Harkin takes a large swig of the whiskey.
“Wait does that mean what I think it means? I didn’t think a place like this would do tabs.”
“They do when the one you talk to has been hit on and harassed by that guy nearly every time he’s in here. Hehheh.”
Kaidan joins in on the chuckle as the doors open for them to leave. “I’d love to see his face when that happens.”
On their way out of the club they are ambushed by a pair of assassins. Chessa and Kaidan dive for cover and start trading shots but neither could do more than get the other’s shields down temporarily. Kaidan tries to throw some biotic fields about but the assassins would always just roll, move out of their range, or the other would pop out and fire at Kaidan. Shepard was about to tell Kaidan to try and flank them as sudden rifle fire erupted from the direction the assassins were. Chessa looks at Kaidan confused as no bullets where hitting the walls near them while they heard the gun shots. She glances over the wall when there was a break in the fire and saw Armstrong and Williams standing where the assassins were. Armstrong was waving an arm smirking as Chessa and Kaidan holster their weapons and head over.
Chessa was the first to reach them and goes to hug Armstrong but he holds up his hand to stop her though it doesn’t stop her large smile. “Armstrong you beautiful behemoth of a man! Great timing they were giving us abit of trouble. So what did you two find out?”
Armstrong nods holstering his large assault rifle, “You first Shepard.”
“Well I’m helping a bunch of people out around here, but as of Garrus he’s checking with a doctor down in the wards. If those two are any hint,” she motions to the two dead bodies. “I think its best we stick together from now on.”
Williams nods “I agree with that. It took some talking but Barla Von said that Fist betrayed the Shadow Broker, and a krogan merc by the name of Wrex was sent after him.”
Kaidan speaks up after thinking for a short moment. “Commander that krogan we seen talking with the bouncer. You think he was it?”
“Possibly. He did seem to be trying to get into the back room.” Shepard says as she brings her hand to her chin in thought.
“Barla Von said he was brought in by C-Sec shortly after. I’m guessing these guys were meant for him if he returned. But if this is the case and it’s connected in any way. Your turian acquaintance could be in danger.” Armstrong states rather calmly.
“Then let’s move. The doc’s is across the way on the same level as Flux.” Shepard states as she cuts through a back alley with the others in close tow. She scans a keeper which Armstrong questions and she just states its one of those things she’s helping with. They reach the doctors door and Armstrong halts them as they hear a thug threatening the doctor. He motions for them to ready their weapons and Kaidan ready a biotic field. They nod and he motions a countdown of 3...2...1...then pushes the button and they rush in all holding their weapons pointed at each of the thugs.
“System’s Alliance! Drop your weapons! You’re under arrest!” Armstrong yells as he draws his targeting laser between the thug’s eyes holding the doctor hostage. Shepard notices Garrus tucked down behind the pillar pistol drawn and he scooting around. She motions to him but he wasn’t looking as he rounds the corner to make a shot. They all react as the turian makes his shot. Armstrong drops his weapon and activates immunity as he charges forward and dives over the divider as Garrus’s shot nails the hostage taker dropping him instantly. Kaidan puts up a barrier on Armstrong to replace his shield which was quickly shattered. Armstrong tackles the doctor behind some medical equipment as Williams and Chessa down the other thugs pretty easily.
Kaidan and Williams move to check and make sure the thugs are down while Armstrong helps up the doctor and checks to make sure he didn’t hurt her with his bulk. Garrus holsters his pistol and smiles as Chessa moves over to him, “Perfect timing Shepard. Gave me a clear shot...”
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” Chessa yells as she quickly backs the turian to the wall causing his eyes to go wide and mandibles twitch reflexingly. “You never risk a shot when a hostage is involved! Protect the innocent at all costs, you know that!”
Garrus just stared dumbstruck at this anthro. Not only did she catch him off guard, she had him backed against the wall despite him standing like half a foot over her. “Ah, y-you’re right. There wasn’t time to think I just acted. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to-“
“You damn right you’re sorry. If you had missed your shot she might not be standing right now.”
Armstrong looks over as Shepard chews out Garrus shaking his head before asking if the doctor was okay. “Dr. Michel are you okay? Sorry for the tackling, but standard procedure when live fire happens around civilians.”
While she looks shaken Dr. Michel nods. “It’s fine. Better than the alternative.”
Shepard finishes with Garrus and turns to look at Dr. Michel. “So who were those guys?”
“They were Fist’s men. They didn’t want me telling people about the quarian I patched up.”
Garrus nods taking his moment to speak. “That’s what I had found out. Not much but people said she looked wounded and was asking about the shadow broker.”
“Exactly. She asked me she wanted to trade information for safety.”
“The broker never deals in person.” Kaidan states calmly. “Always through contacts and recordings.”
“So she put her in contact with Fist as he was an agent of his.” Garrus adds in.
Armstrong growls abit able to see where this is going. “I’m guessing was means that our so called greatest spectre got to Fist huh?”
“Yes. Fist betrayed the Shadow Broker to get the quarian. Clearly that quarian must have what we need to prove Saren’s guilt.” Garrus nods slapping a fist into his open palm linking it all together.
Shepard nods but looks at Michel. “Slow down people. Dr. Michel did she say what information she had?”
“Just that it was about the Geth, and was important.”
“That has to be it. The Council couldn’t ignore evidence like this.” Garrus speaks in an accomplished tone.
“Then we gotta move to find this quarian. I think this Wrex could prove a useful ally. We don’t have much time to work though.” Chessa says as they turn to leave.
Armstrong nods, “You go get Wrex from C-Sec. I’ll take Williams and we’ll pay Fist a visit.”
“Commander wait.” Garrus holds out a hand to halt the group. “Let me go with you. This proves Saren is up to something, and I want to be there when you take him down.”
Chessa pauses looking back at him. “Oh really now? Just what reason can you give me to take you along?”
Garrus took a breath and stood in the pose he had before when they first met. “Saren is a danger to everyone and an embarrassment to my people. I don’t know why he’s allied with the Geth, but whatever the reason I know it’s not for the benefit of any galactic races. Atleast let me go with you to finish my investigation.” Chessa moves towards Garrus narrowing her eyes and crossing her arms. She stops just short of him and looks up at him staring at the turian. ‘It’s that look again,’ he thought. He stood there staring at her as she just stared at him. The others just look on with Armstrong about to say something, but Ashley stops him knowing what she was doing. She was testing him. Trying to force him to waver and step away.
After a long moment Chessa finally speaks sternly to him. “Alright, but on a few rules; No more jumping the gun, no shoot first and ask questions later, never risk civilians lives, and what I say goes. Get it?”
Garrus blinks a moment looking at her not really sure if he was willing to operate on these rules. It was like C-sec and all that red tape he hated. He was clearly lost in thought as Chessa speaks softly to get his attention before having enough and yelling at him. “Vakarian! Are my rules viable? Answer my soldier.”
Garrus jumps and straightens up from the turians stern military discipline forced into them. “Ah! Yes sir!”
Chessa’s lips curl into a smirk and she lets out a soft chuckle. “Ha-ha very good. Welcome aboard big guy. You’ll come with me and we’ll go get Wrex. Armstrong you take Kaidan and Williams and go get Fist. I’ll see what I can do to stall Wrex so we can take Fist alive, or at least get enough info from him before he bites the dust.”
“Roger that. Let’s move out.” Armstrong states cleanly and takes the two humans with him. Chessa and Garrus follow behind heading down to C-sec.
On the way to C-sec Chessa decides to learn abit on the turian. “So Garrus, if I can call you that. What kind of training have you had?”
Garrus just shrugs shaking his head, “Yes Garrus is fine and I’m nothing amazing Shepard, if I can call you that. I went into the military at 15 like all turians and at my father’s request joined C-sec instead of going through with Spectre training.”
Shepard turns looking at him as they get on the elevator to C-sec. “Hell Chessa if you want. I have no problem being informal with my friends, but yes Shepard is fine. Wait they chose you for Spectre canadacy and you gave it up for work with C-sec?”
Garrus raises a brow when she called him a friend despite them just having met. “I’ll stick with Shepard, it’s a turian thing. We only call family by first names.” He sighs though looking down abit. “But yeah I went to C-sec because well my father hates Spectres. He believes no one should operate outside the law. A very by-the-book man”
Shepard smiles and nods, “I understand. Mom’s kinda like that. Dad not so much. He’s a researcher so he has a tendency to bend some rules to further technologies. They never expected their daughter to be such a wild stallion in a way. Though I still do obey the laws and no one, no matter your rank, is above them.”
Garrus chuckles abit looking at her. He couldn’t believe they were so alike. Sure there were some differences but he felt they connected well. “Let me guess. ‘Do things right or don’t do them at all’ huh?”
“Yup that’s what I’m always told when I try to bend the rules. Sure I agree to it, but sometimes you just have to bend the rules to get things done. Notice I said bend not break. Long as innocents aren’t risked, losses are at a minimum, and the target is taken care of it’s a mission complete. Though, if they chose you for the spectres you’ve had to be good at something.” Shepard states smiling up at him as the elevator reaches their stop.
Garrus crosses his arms and nods as they step from the elevator. “Well not exactly. I mean I’m an experienced sniper as you seen back at the doctors, but that wasn’t the reason. Normally a large handful of turians when they finish training or just if they show above average skill are chosen for Spectre training. Much like how humans select skilled individuals for special ops.”
“Well I’m a pretty skilled sniper myself. Maybe after we bust Saren we could slip down to a shooting range and see who’s better hmm?” Chessa smirks as she looks at him and winks.
Garrus lets out a hardy chuckle as they move into C-sec nodding. “I definitely could go for that. How do you humans say it? ‘Let’s make it a date?”
Chessa giggles and nods, “Well more on just ‘It’s a date,’ but that works.”