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/qst/ - Quests

The power of love is a curious thing.

Aside from its capacity to drive man to tears of despair or songs of joy, it has been regarded as a fundamental force, one that could transcend time and space, mostly for good, sometimes for ill. Not merely in human folklore, it's a recurring pattern that has emerged in culture of other known sapient races, including records of precursors, whenever they could be translated in sufficient degree for the phenomenon to become recognizable.

In some cases, the notion was what made the translation possible in the first place.

Be that as it may, there were account, presumably mostly fantastic, of love bringing dead men to life, driving them to struggle against impossible odds or taking risks no other reason could justify.

Perhaps that alone, this omnipresence, was enough to prove the concept to be intricately ingrained in the weave of the universe itself that simply manifests itself from time to time in lives of the countless tiny individuals, warping their paths through time and space just as any newtonian force could.

And if that were the case, what would be limitations of such a force? Would it truly, as the legends have it, conquer all?

You are doctor Henri Ford, special consultant for the Citadel Institute of Xenoarchaeology, and none of that is any of your immediate concern as you idly browse through one of the many media libraries available on the Extranet, picking out titles that could serve to provide pleasant enough ambience for remainder of your journey, you find yourself wondering...

Have you been going too hard? Have you been driving yourself, and your crew, too hard over these last few days?

Admittedly you did get a lot done, saved innocent lives from death, pain and domination by ancient eldritch aliens and most recently (fingers crossed) brokered a deal between multiple alien factions that would hopefully prevent some tensions from escalating into a disaster. And you could see in the eyes of your crew that they enjoyed those triumph at least as much as you did. Never once did they express any desire to ease off, or tried to talk you down from taking on more and more responsibilities.

Perhaps they were in the same boat as you, figuratively as well as literally. There were things you could do. You had the means, and so you did. Imagining consequences of omission could have been a factor, but it's not like you didn't take some time off to eat and sleep.
Still, perhaps some dedicated downtime might be something to look forward to, once the imminent threats have been dealt with.

"So ladies," You begin. "I was thinking with all this adventuring we seem to be doing we're becoming due a vacation."

"What?" Lea asks. "You burned out already, cap?"

"According to existing, though not really applied due to the global circumstances, labor regulations the duration of our employment, including overtimes, weekend and holiday work, would create entitlement to one point twenty three hundredths of a day of paid leave, assuming standard employment contract." Eve adds.

Well, that didn't go as you imagined it would.

"That's... not what I meant." You explain. "I was just wondering if maybe I'm driving you too hard, jumping from one adventure straight into another."

"I love it." Lea says emphatically and winces. "Well, most of it." She corrects herself, touching her helmet, for whatever good it could do her. "Really, though. My biggest fear was that I'd end up with nothing to do until the relays reopened. Instead we're saving the world, one adventure at a time! I wonder if that's how it was for admiral Zorah when she joined Shepard's crew."

You flinch a little. Did you just get compared to Shepard?

"What about you, Eve?" You divert the conversation.

"Our travels have given me a lot to think about." Eve says. "I'm looking forward to more."

"Guys..." You shake your head, smiling. "Still, though. Once we have some time, we could make a leisure trip. Nobody shooting at us. No stressing out about diplomacy or politics. Just taking in the sights of the world reawakening to the new dawn."

"Well, when you put it that way..." Lea says wistfully, trailing off, losing herself in thought.

"...it does sound somewhat appealing." Eve finishes for her.

"Hey!" Lea cries with mock indignation.

"Alright. Then how about we draw up a list of places to visit? Maybe let's begin with natural wonders first, since man made landmarks will for the most part take some time restoring."

"Good idea." Lea says. "I'll get to it straight away."

"I'll compose a list of candidates for you to go through." Eve offers.

For a while you drive on in silence, the skycar zooming above the rolling dunes, the desert reclaiming what neglected desalination and irrigation systems, cut off from power and maintenance, could not safeguard for the time being. There would be more examples of low priority infrastructure like that around - after all, Earth now had considerably less mouths to feed.

To ward off this reminder you move your thoughts further into the present and, leaving the playlist unfinished, bring up the News service, hoping for the best.

"...and now for the recent opinion polls." You grimace. There goes the hope. "It would seem Ambition's march of victory has been halted as for the first time in last few days its projected result sees a drop, Alexander Johnson's loss split between the Old Guard and the League's gains. First releases regarding the recent Alliance raid in Nashan corporate headquarters are frequently mentioned to be the cause - as it turns out, the company had quite a sizeable skeleton in its basement and was working on more. Shortly afterward the Extranet forums have been flooded with documents more or less vaguely linking the company's sinister practices with Ambition's, well, ambitions. Mr. Johnson has denounced this information as baseless propaganda while at the same time condemning the crimes carried out by the company."

Well, that was not that bad, you muse. Who was behind this information leak, though? Could it have been Graves's doing, or...? You were rather certain Eve would not do so without telling you.

"However, this setback could be only temporary, as the scandal comes up during an unusual lull in another story that has captivated our audience in recent days - activities of the rogue Krogan clan in African jungle. Analysts agree that voters may be willing to forgive an unproven conspiracy over a burgeoning interspecies crisis. However, according to most recent news from our sources in the field, the renegade Krogan have actually met with the vigilante representatives without violence breaking out. Could that be the beginning of a peaceful resolution, or are we about to witness an escalation? Stay tuned, and thank you for listening..."

Perhaps you spoke too soon. Hopefully, the warning Kris brought to the both sides would keep them vigilant enough to thwart any attempt at provocation.

You bring up the media interface once more and resume putting together that playlist.
By the time you reach Rouen the sun has already advanced into afternoon and your omnitool was heavier by a selection of varyingly ancient music on one file, and list of natural landmarks on another.

However, both of those would have to wait. You guide your skycar past the sleek spires of the Asari outpost as well as the gleaming new cathedral tower as you head towards the destination listed as contact in the job ad the girls had previously brought to your attention. You begin your descent on outskirts of the city, separated from the more or less populated area patched with prefab housing and partially repaired structures by a belt of ruined suburbs.

"There's people there." Lea remarks. Following her gaze you realize there's indeed several groups braving the ruined suburbs. "Scavengers? No, they're all heading in the same direction." She comments.

"They seem to be converging towards our destination." Eve observes.

The destination in question turns out to be an amphiteatre laid out where the suburb gave way to a formerly more luxurious, though at the moment no less deserted, villa district. The address you were supposed to come to seemed to be one of those mansions adjoining the amphitheatre, and though the mansion itself looked like it was caught on the business end of the Reaper eyebeam, there was a prefab dwelling in the grounds.

"I guess the client is as popular as we've been led to believe, judging by this procession." You say as you look for a spot to land the skycar. It seemed you arrived just in time to attend a performance.

"Sweet!" Lea exclaims.

>Well, some live culture can't hurt. Let's all go.
>Actually, we don't know enough about this gathering. They may react poorly to an Alien. (Lea stays behind for now)
>Actually, we don't know anything about this event. They may not be accepting of strangers. (Stay in car, visit the singer after event's over)

>Well, some live culture can't hurt. Let's all go

Let's get some seats on the backrow, preferably on a dark corner like an edgy character would chose


Holy shit you are back! Thank you!

>Well, some live culture can't hurt. Let's all go.

>Actually, we don't know anything about this event. They may not be accepting of strangers. (Stay in car, visit the singer after event's over)

Good to ser tou back

>Well, some live culture can't hurt. Let's all go
>>Well, some live culture can't hurt. Let's all go.
A brief flicker of hesitation passes your mind, as it occurs to you that Lea will likely stand out in her suit, but you shrug it off - you can't be getting too paranoid over one small anti-alien protest that you managed to scatter. Besides, you were just recently considering how to arrange some down time for your crew, and a little bit of live culture, although possibly work related, might be a step in the right direction.

"Alright. Let's head to the concert." You nod as you guide the skycar down onto what used to be a parking lot in front of some derelict structure, only a brief walk away from the amphitheatre.

The three of you get out of the skycar and head towards where the event is likely to be going to take place. You decide not to put the armor on as that would definitely stand out, though you do take Libella's gift with you. Lea, after some hesitation, decided to leave her sidearm behind and while Eve does not carry a weapon openly, in her human guise you know she has a concealed one.

It takes you a few minutes to reach the amphitheatre and, judging by the fact you pass by several slower walking groups of people, you are well in time before the event begins. The people you meet, on the way as well as upon reaching the destination, don't pay you much heed. Even so, you can tell some of them pay slightly more attention to Lea, and not always to admire young Quarian's form fitting suit. Fortunately, none of those who give your alien companion a stink eye press a confrontation.

As you move to take a seat - not wanting to draw more attention than necessary, you decide to look for seats at the edge of a back row - you find that the event's security is being handled by several Alliance marines. You identify yourself to them and after running you through their database the one checking you out gives you a salute and lets you pass.

You take your seat and wait for the event to begin, looking around at the diverse gathering filling up steps of the amphitheatre before you, some of them coming in groups engaged in conversation, some couples with their hands interlocked and a few solitary individuals.

The light of day begins to recede as you wait for a short time until all conversation around you stops as a figure enters onto the stage. It's a woman bearing a confident stance, clad in simple formal robes you would sometime see on your rare visits to Citadel Presidium. Soft wrinkles and strands of silver in mostly dark mane of hair together with decent, modest touch of make-up gave her an air of a dignified lady, and her rich voice was in line with the impression when she addresses her audience.
"Good afternoon and be welcome, friends. I am honored that so many of you would take a time of day to come and listen to an old woman expressing her feelings in the only way I know." She gave a small bow. "Tonight I intend to share with you my newest song. Please, make yourself comfortable."

She makes another pause and then begins to sing.

When the darkness took the heavens and enveloped the stars,

I was afraid...

As far as you can tell, the singer does her best to convey the feeling of crushing despair when the Reapers came to Earth and she was only allowed to keep hope by virtue of her close ones being off world. There is a brief outburst of hope reflected by a joyful, lively tune, as the Reapers fall and the singer is reunited with her child before the song turning somber and tearful for its grim finale.

As the fallen stars that once brought hope turn into embers of Acheron,

And take my most precious treasure away from me.

Now I am alone.

The song trails off and silence descends on the amphitheatre. After several moments of it, someone breaks it and the spectators join in an applause.

"Thank you, my friends. I hope that my little performance stirred you enough that you found your visit here worthwhile."

With that, and another bow, the woman withdraws from the stage. Amid subdued murmur the audience begins to break up and scatter. You decide to make yourself scarce as well and turn to your companions. After a wordless exchange of nods you make your way out of the amphitheatre.

You notice that Lea is rather downcast, her step less energetic than it was on the way here, her gaze set lower than it was before. Eve also looks pensive, likely because she feels it appropriate at this time.

>Head towards the "backstage", a prefab cell next to the amphitheatre. The singer is likely to have stopped by there to ensure everything's turned off and locked down after the performance.
>Head towards the singer's home listed in the contact for the job - it's the prefab housing cell you saw earlier in a mansion's grounds. The singer is likely to be going there after she finishes up here
>Talk to your companions about something.
>other course of action

(Sorry for taking so long, friends.)
>Head towards the "backstage", a prefab cell next to the amphitheatre. The singer is likely to have stopped by there to ensure everything's turned off and locked down after the performance.
If security stops us we politely explain that we were coming to the area to talk to her originally, and decided to enjoy the show while we were here.
>Talk to your companions about something.
See what got the quarian down
And then

"Lea?" You address the Quarian.


"What's wrong? You seem distraught."

"Oh... Uhm, well, I guess it hit me a bit."

"That song?"

"Yeah. That lady seemed really hurt by her loss... and it seems, well..." She pauses. "That we are those embers she's blaming."

"The Aliens." You frown. "Or maybe just Asari. Maybe she doesn't feel that way about your people as well."

"Miss Fari's assessment is in line with my estimations. Madame Blanc's grief manifesting into local culture is a contributing factor to tense sentiments in the area. It's why we pulled the job listing in for your consideration." Eve pipes up.

"Besides, it's not as if I can't sympathise either way, as a suit rat." Lea adds.

Of course, the Quarians did use to have a rather undesirable reputation in Citadel space. You never paid much attention to that, and are not sure if the label will remain relevant now after the star nomads contributed substantially to defeat of the Reapers... although as it turns out, that fact held for much every species in the galaxy right now and you are to your dismay finding how little it seems to count for.

"I see." you say aloud. "Well, not much we can do about that, save for doing our best. Whatever is happening here, we'll get to the bottom of it - and if at all possible, set things right."

"Yeah!" She says, perked up a bit, prompting a small smile from you and Eve both.

With that matter addressed you decide to try and reach the singer before she leaves the area. You make your way to a structure erected nearby, linked by cables to various devices around the amphitheatre.

"Madame Blanc does not hand out autographs." The marine standing guard before the structure says as you approach.

"Understood. However, that's not why we're here. I've come because of a job listing."

The marine sizes you and your companions up before turning to the door terminal. You can hear murmur of a hushed conversation before the soldier turns back to you and nods at you as the door opens.
You are met with sight of the singer lady sitting in a chair before a toilet table, sipping at a cup of hot chocolate, looking at a holoprojection of two young people hovering above the table. The woman is holding a baby in her arms, and taking a closer look at her features you recognize the woman as the singer sitting before you - madame Amelie Blanc.

She looks up to you. "Forgive me if I don't offer you a seat, there doesn't seem to be enough available." She says wearily.

"There's nothing to forgive, madame Blanc." You say. "I'm Henri Ford, special consultant for the Citadel Institute of Xenoarchaeology, and I've come to offer my services to you." You introduce yourself and your two companions. "My associates, miss Lea'Fari nar Namek and Eve Ferrum."

"You would like to help me find my boy?" She asks. "Pardon me if I am rude, but that does not sound like a task for a scholar. And his two lady assistants."

"I understand, madame Blanc. If it helps, I am also a member of the Adventurers' Guild, as I understand your son is."

"I see." She nods slowly. "Yes, that would explain both your confidence and your interest in helping out a comrade. Very well, then." She drains what's left in the cup and stands up. "Please, walk with me. I'll be able to offer better hospitality in my dwelling."

With that she reaches for a light coat that was hanging off a rack of instruments at the wall behind her and indicates for you to leave the cell.

"Thank you for your service, Marc. I appreciate your and the boys' care." She says to the marine as she comes out behind you.

"My pleasure, ma'am." He salutes and locks the structure down as you leave, making your way towards the mansion you saw earlier.

>Walk in silence
>Ask the singer about her son
>Ask the singer about the fiancé that went missing afterwards
>Ask the singer about the Asari she apparently suspects
>Ask the singer about something else (specify)

>Ask the singer about her son
>Ask the singer about the fiancé that went missing afterwards
>Ask the singer about the Asari she apparently suspects

In this order, make sure to start the conversation after we are away from other people.

Having Lea with us on this mission might ease up her distrust of aliens....if....we are successful

>Ask the singer about her son
Having walked short distance in silence, you make sure that you left the other spectators behind or well on their way away before you move to engage the singer in conversation.

"Madame Blanc," You say. "Could you tell me about your son?"

She nods silently and you give her a while as she collects her thoughts. Eventually, she speaks. "He's such a sweet boy, my Marc. And such a reckless one, too. It was happiest moment in my life when he emerged from that shuttle after the Reapers fell. I was clinging to hope, of course, but still, it was the end of the world just days before." She falls silent for a moment. "Forgive me, I digress. I suppose you're interested in the boy's profile rather than an old woman's ramblings. So then..." She sighs. "He was an accountant, before the Reapers. Found a job with one of the corporations on the colonies - Bekenstein, yes. I suppose that is also where he enlisted with this "N7" movement. Not something I would've expected from him, but I would not question my good fortune - that is how we were reunited."

"You were reunited right after the Reaper fell?" You ask, confirming the timeframe.

"Yes. It was a week ago, with one of the few alliance shuttles that you see sometimes carrying the troopers around. It was happiest moment of my life, just as I was wondering what was there left for me in this ruined world." She makes another pause and sighs. "Only for it to be taken away..."

"When did your son disappear?"

"It's hard to say precisely because he was not really spending much time in one place. But last I saw him was maybe... four days ago, I think. That's the last time I saw him and Rita together, too."

"Rita... that is the name of the fiancé?" You ask.

"That's right. Rita Rouge is the girl who accompanied Marc, apparently she is also one of those Adventurers. Very nice girl. Pretty. Proper. Clever. Really, a fitting match, I dare say. In honesty, it seems like a waste for such a young lady to be playing soldier."

"So you haven't seen your son since that encounter? Do you recall anything about the circumstances of when you saw them together? Were they talking about anything in particular, for instance?"

The singer frowns, lost in thought.

"Nothing that would have struck me as odd at the time. I think Marc was telling her about his childhood memories of Rouen. They were certainly not fighting, if that's what you're asking about."

You nod silently. The thought did cross your mind.

"Besides, Rita was genuinely worried when she met me next day and asked me where Marc was and I was unable to reply. It seems he told her he'd be coming to see me." The woman sighs again. "Of course, you won't be able to ask her what exactly he told her because that was the last I, or anyone I asked, has seen her, too."

"Do you think she went looking for him?"

"She said as much."
"Did she tell you how to reach her? Where she'd be going?"

"No. Whatever it was she suspected, she likely wanted to shield me from it."

That was one possibility, you think to yourself, although prematurely guessing motivations from what you now know would be risky.

"I see. And how does this Asari factor into it?"

"You've done your homework, doctor Ford." She smiles wryly. "Yes, it's true that I suspect she's involved. I have it on good authority that Marc was seen in company of an Asari harlot on the day I last saw him."

Before you can ask just how reputable this authority can be, the older woman activates her omnitool and brings up an image she then sends over to you. Without a doubt, it shows a man and an Asari sitting together at a table in some dining establishment. If their expressions and body language are of any indication, they seem to be having a good time.

What puts you slightly off is a caption made in a brightly coloured, outrageously oversized font above the picture saying "Drama Prince! Prodigal son branches out!". It looks like the picture was taken for a tabloid.

"Eve?" You ask your synthetic friend, forwarding her the picture.

"I shall analyze the picture's veracity in depth. However, at a glance it does not seem to show any signs of tampering." Eve says, which you interpret as 'I've run a scan and it looks legit to me'

"Except for the atrocious labelling." Lea chimes in.

"I see..." You nod slowly.

"You won't find anything." madame Blanc says bitterly. "One of the boys that make me company during my work has a friend who is specialised in forensics and they confirmed that the picture is unmodified."

"Very well then, however..." You consider how to put this tactfully, "Isn't that one picture too little to pass judgements on?"

"Is it?" the singer asks coldly. Her gaze drifts to Lea for a split of a moment. "Maybe you would think so. Rita told me the same. But then she disappeared as well." The woman sighs again. "You'll have to forgive me, but until I see a better explanation, I'll be sticking with what I suspect is most likely one. I know you 'adventurers' take all kinds in... Marc told me as much. So I understand why you'd think every one of them is as trustworthy as your comrades. But that was back when we were all facing a common enemy. This is gone now, and everyone will be out for themselves now."

You keep quiet, maintaining a neutral expression. Partly because you could see first hand how true her final point was, though along finer lines than those of one's genetic makeup.

The other reason was that you were by now aware of at least one force that could warrant no less cooperation than Reapers to withstand, along with a myriad of minor threats, where 'minor' descriptor could only be used by virtue of contrast with what has already happened.
"I hope you will forgive me the dreary environment. I'm afraid what little was left of my service is... otherwise occupied." Madame Blanc says and you realize you've passed through where a gate used to be and were walking through somewhat overgrown estate garden. Ahead you could make out what was left of the estate proper. Its windows were broken, part of the roof was missing and the walls had clearly more openings in them than what they were designed for. As you approach, you can tell a wing that is not entirely within your field of view, is likely to have collapsed.

"I'm afraid I can't afford you hospitality of my home either. It has been picked clean by scavengers first, which I don't begrudge, and then by Reaper monstrosities as they roved through the area. It will be a while before it can be restored to some semblance of service."

"Madame Blanc's one surviving butler has been assigned to the central reconstruction crews, at request of Madame Blanc herself." Eve remarks.

"Oh, don't mention that. I am quite content with my temporary arrangements." She points towards a prefab housing structure you are headed for. "At very least, though, I can offer you all a seat and some tea."

>Accept the invitation, you'd like to ask the lady more questions about the case.
>Accept the invitation, you'd like to talk to the lady about something else.
>Actually, you've heard enough for now. You will look for the paparazzi who took the picture, maybe they will be able to tell you more of Marc Blanc's movements after the photo was taken.
>Actually, you've heard enough for now. You will find the diner where the photograph has been captured. Perhaps you'll be able to pick up the trail there.
>Actually, you've heard enough for now. You will head to the Asari outpost and inquire into this Asari in the picture.
>Actually, you've heard enough for now. Since both Marc and Rita were Adventurers, maybe you could look for local representation of the Guild for more information?
>Actually, you have another idea... (specify)

>Actually, you've heard enough for now. You will head to the Asari outpost and inquire into this Asari in the picture.

Ask for a way to contact her

And ask where Marc and Rita usually stayed, we could maybe find some clues at their quarters

>Actually, you've heard enough for now. You will head to the Asari outpost and inquire into this Asari in the picture.

Let's not make Lea suffer through this woman's hospitality and I don't think she has any more info now.
We should find that asari, she is probably the last one to have seen Marc.

>Actually, you've heard enough for now. Since both Marc and Rita were Adventurers, maybe you could look for local representation of the Guild for more information?

If they lived here check their room before leaving.
>>Actually, you've heard enough for now. You will head to the Asari outpost and inquire into this Asari in the picture.
"As a matter of fact, I believe it would be for the best if we go and get started doing some investigating." You say, mostly because you didn't believe the lady would be able to tell you more relevant information than she already has, partly because you didn't much appreciate the way she was looking at Lea. Even though you could sympathize with her grief, you saw no benefit in exposing your crewmate to serve as an outlet. "Only one thing I'd like to ask - could you tell us where your son and his fiancé have been staying?"

"Yes, although I haven't been there personally, Marc did confide that he was staying in a bunkhouse in the blue zone where some other Adventurers have been staying. I sought to arrange some more privacy for them in another of these dwellings," She waves at her current residence. "But then..."

"I see. Thank you, madame Blanc. In that case, we're off to get to work. We'll get back to you when we learn more." You nod as you turn to leave.

"We'll bring Marc and Rita back, you can count on us!" Lea says before following along.

With that you get underway, navigating towards the lot where you left your skycar.

"Where are we going to go first, Cap?" The Quarian asks as you walk.

"The Asari outpost." You answer. "With both Mr. Blanc and miss Rouge missing, the Asari in the picture seems our most promising lead on what happened."

"Makes sense. Although..." She muses. "What if she's not with the outpost crew?"

"Then we'll keep looking elsewhere." You shrug. "Gotta start somewhere, though."

"And why not with your own Asari girlfriend, hm?" She asks playfully.

"Libella is not my-" You begin exasperatedly, but fall silent when you realize Lea is giggling at your expense. "Anyway, I was not planning on getting her involved unless we come across something relevant to her job. I'm sure she has enough on her plate without adding our P.I. stunt to it."

"How considerate!" Lea remarks. "Sorry, cap. Couldn't help myself."

"It's fine, just keep your wits about you." You say when you're done rolling your eyes. "Given how things have been going lately, I'd be surprised if we didn't stumble into something... unexpected." You conclude as you arrive back to your Skycar. Moments later you are already speeding towards the Asari outpost.
When the Asari traffic control confirms your credentials they assign you to a smaller shuttle pad compared to the area you landed Chariot in, though it still had plenty of space - mainly on account of being mostly vacant, not an uncommon sight.

As the three of you get out of the shuttle you realize that this may be opportune time to gear up in peace as your next stop may be someplace where a fellow Adventurer has disappeared, and in such circumstances precautions could be advisable.

"Ladies, suit up." You command and open the cargo compartment to collect remainder of your kit.

Lea gives you a slightly worried look as your armor locks snap into place and you fire your jetpack's thrusters in a trial burst but you notice she does once again carry her sidearm. When you look at Eve she simply gives you a wordless nod. Then again, she is likely always prepared.

Satisfied with your outfit you head towards the guardhouse, the two ladies in tow. The base seems to have grown a little bit since your last visit - those biotic builders sure have been busy.

"Nice catches, flyboy!" Speak of the devil. "Still interested in novel techniques?" The worker calls as you pass by another construction site.

"Perhaps another time, miss..." you fish your memory. "...Salira?"

"Hah! I knew you'd remember."

"I'll give you something else to remember if you don't stop pestering passers by this instant! If this greenhouse isn't finished by morning we're wasting another day of sunlight! Get your head out of gutter and your ass back into gear." The foreman is heard from behind some stockpiles.

You give a noncommittal smile and a wave back in response for the worker's thumbs up as you leave the site behind.

"Remarkable." Eve comments.

"You do get around, cap." Lea remarks.

"Spacer's charm." You shrug as you walk on, wondering idly how she recognized you with your helmet on.
"Doctor Ford. You're here for Libella again? She didn't tell me to expect anyone." Tisanna the guard recognizes you when you arrive.

"Actually, I came to see you." You say after introductions are out of the way. "I'm sorry to impose, but I figured you might be able to help me."

"Me?" She asks. "Well, I guess I do owe you. Things have been much more peaceful since you helped us. What do you need?"

"I'm investigating a case of some missing persons," You explain, prompting the guard to give her a curious look. "...and my most promising lead seems to be an Asari who presumably lives in the vicinity. I was hoping you'd be able to direct me to where I could find her."

"...are all Archaeologists so adventurous?"

"Well, of the ones I know..." You say, reaching back to the days before the crisis. "Anyway, can you help me?"

"Yes, well, I'll try. Do you have a name?"

"I'm afraid not. But I have a picture." You produce the image in your omnitool and share it with the guard.

"Hmm... I'll try to feed it to our surveillance software. It should recognize if it's one of ours."

Tisanna withdraws into the guardhouse where she interfaces with the security terminal.

You wait for a few moments in silence. Eventually you begin to wonder how long this is going to take but just before you begin to consider your next course of action Tisanna emerges once more.

"Well, I've found her. Sort of."

"Sort of?"

"She's not on outpost's personnel roster, and I couldn't find her in other databases I have access to for naval crews or Citadel personnel..."


"I found her in a security register."


"It's a file where Asari keep biometrics of criminals and suspects." Eve explains.

"So she's a criminal?" You ask.

"Well, not necessarily. According to her file she's simply registered because she has been at some point recorded as Omega denizen. The database is full of them now, for the most part because of integration of Omega forces into the coalition fleet during the war." Tisanna explains.

"So... an Omega mercenary. Or a smuggler." You think aloud. "Or..." realization strikes you.

"A Guild adventurer." You and Tisanna say simultaneously. "That's what it says in her record, anyway." She adds.

"Very well. And I suppose you don't have any idea where she might be?"

"None whatsoever. She never approached this base, as far as I can tell."

"Then it seems our next destination would be local Guild presence..."

"You know as much as I do, then." The Guard says. "I never interacted with them, but I believe the guildhall is somewhere in the blue zone."

"Yes. Thank you, miss Tisanna, you have been most helpful." You say.

"Don't mention it. Or maybe do if you see Libella again." She grins. "Was there anything else?"
>Yes, actually maybe you could leave Libella a message? (what would you like to relay?)
>Yes, actually, it's getting late. Maybe you could crash in the outpost somewhere?
>Yes, actually, maybe there is something else you could tell me about... (topic?)
>No, you should be going. Next stop - the Guildhouse!
>No, you should be going. Other destination (specify)
>other course of action (specify)

>Yes, actually, maybe there is something else you could tell me about... (topic?)
The outpost grew a lot lately, have you guys met any resistence, maybe not protesters but otherwise?

And then we

>No, you should be going. Next stop - the Guildhouse!

(Good thing they had a face recognition thing, don't tell anyone but asari kinda all look the same lol, o noes, we became one of bigots!)
We'd learn to differentiate by their differences eventually, but yeah, their faces are the same to us because of that mind thingy with them. It's kinda like telling someone apart from their docentuplets by their pores and haircut.
"Actually, yes. I've noticed that the outpost keeps growing and I've been wondering - have you encountered more issues with the locals?" You ask.

"Not that I'm aware. The protesters haven't shown up since you talked them down. Well, except for that one guy who asked me out."

"That's good to hear." You nod. "I was worried that whoever was behind this might try something more insidious next. Like sabotage."

"Well, as far as I know there was nothing of the sort..." Tisanna frowns. "Then again, not everything passes through my fingers, especially if it doesn't pass through this gatehouse. But from my end things seemed pretty calm." She pauses. "I guess you have a point, though. I'll be careful."

"I didn't want to inspire paranoia." You lift your hands defensively. "Though I suppose vigilance is in order. In any case, thank you for your help."

"Take care, doctor Ford."

With that you part ways as you head out towards the local Guild hall. Considering its sitation in the blue zone, a short walk away, the three of you set out on foot. You make your way through the transitional area where both Asari outpost and the local authority has room to expand, a belt of urban landscape in varying degrees of neglect peppered with survey markers and odd caches of construction material. Before long however you enter the blue zone proper - what in the past would pass for a run down neighbourhood of a down on its luck municipal area was now a regional center of culture and community.

Or at least it has been until recently. Given some modest but undisputable progress in restoration and greenzoning of the historical centre, owing in no small part to assistance of the stranded Asari, many functions have migrated away from the blue zone prefabs and temporarily refurbished structures back to the dedicated structures. Additionally, much of the civilian traffic found itself diverted towards boundaries of the red zone where the extralegal community was burgeoning. Consequently the blue zone gave you more deserted feeling than what you recalled from, for instance, London.

Your current destination was apparently a former school building that survived the Reaper invasion and subsequent looting in relatively good repair and was repurposed into a community center. Many of the activities and institutions it provisionally housed have since relocated to the green zones, with local branch of the Adventurers being among the exceptions, on account of not having a history to go back to.
The Guild Hall turns out to be the mess hall of the school. Alongside it, the Guild has annexed the adjacent gymnasium and a prefab bunkhouse across from the both facilities. That comes across as not really surprising, considering martial nature of the organisation - the gymnasium is likely used for the members to keep in shape.

Perhaps they too will benefit from the little project you had a hand in initiating down in the Africa?

Returning back to present, what surprises you more is how populated the place is. Or more precisely, the demographics of it.

"Hey Mister! Misses!" A young boy runs towards you, separating from a group of youth and children playing laser tag in the yard. You note there's an adult supervising the game leaning against the wall. "Are you the new instructors Guildmaster was telling would come?"

There is a shrill whistle. "Alright, game's over. I want you all write a brief report for me to review by tomorrow morning. No profanities." The teacher(?) calls out and walks towards you amidst some subdued whining of the team that was apparently winning.

"I'm afraid not, young man." You reply to the boy examining the approaching figure. You don't recognize him personally, but he displays the same cocky confidence in his posture many of the adventurers were characterised by. You'd like to think yours is subtler, though.

"Off to the dorms, Billy. I'll be especially interested in how you defend that stunt that got you tagged in first ten seconds of the match."

"That was so not fair!" The boy asserts.

"No fight that matters ever is. Now scram." The man retorts, indicating the bunkhouse, then turns to you. "Jonathan Barks at your service. You here for something specific, or do you want to sign up?"

"A pleasure." You respond and introduce yourself and your companions.

"Oh, already a member?" Barks says. "Come to hook the ladies up as well?"

Eve's currently assumed identity is not on the Guild roster and none of you felt the need to change that.

"I'll leave that to their discretion." You answer. "But right now we're here on different business. We're investigating disappearance of Marc Blanc and his fiancé, Rita Rouge."

"I see." The man says, his expression darkening. "Alright, you might want to talk to the guildmaster as well. Come along."

With that he departs towards building of the gymnasium, motioning for you to follow.
You are ushered into a common room for the kitchen staff and offered seats around a simple coffee table while Barks contacts the Guildmaster over his comlink. You don't have to wait for long before another person arrives - a stocky Batarian bearing an impressive scar across side of his face, one of his eyes odd colored, presumably a prosthetic one.

"Gorax. Guildmaster." He introduces himself and you respond in kind. "You're looking for Marc and Rita, yes?" The Batarian asks. When you nod in agreement he continues on. "Then be warned. They are not the only ones missing."

"Other people are missing, too?" Lea asks.

"That's what I said." The Batarian says. "At least, that's what Marc told me. He wanted to go look for some creche-mate of his."

"Childhood friend." Barks chimes in.

"Yeah, that. Didn't go into details. Rita was the only one he'd tell more and now she's gone too." Gorax sighs. "And now..."

"It wouldn't be the first time she flaked on the work." Barks says.

"No, it wouldn't. That insufferable minx. But given Marc and Rita..."

"Do you want me to go check on her?" Barks asks.

"Yes. I do. But I need you to watch the brats more." Gorax replies and turns to you. "Doctor Ford. Since I suspect that you would have wanted to talk to her anyway, I've got a favor to ask."

"Let me guess. You're missing another Guild member and want me to check on her."


"Is she, by any chance, this person?" You ask, brinking up image of the Asari you are looking for.

"That's her. Feria Miran. Biotic specialist. Used to deploy with Rita and Marc." He locks gaze with you, which is slightly disconcerting given his numerical superiority. "I'm glad to see you're halfway competent for this."

"Thank you." You say. "Though we were kind of hoping to find her here. I take it she's not staying here then?"

"She hangs out with the anarchists in the red zone." Barks says. "Many like minded individuals out there, I take it. She always had problems with authorities, though her sheer power allowed her to mostly get away with it."

"Barks will give you directions. And access to the bunkhouse and lockers if you need it. Good luck."

With that the Batarian seems to regard the meeting as concluded and turns to leave.

>Stop him. You want to ask him about Marc and Rita
>Stop him. You want to ask him about the kids.
>Stop him. You want to ask him about something else (specify)
>Let him go and talk with Barks about something (specify)
>Let him go and follow Barks to the lockers
>Let him go, excuse yourselves and head out into the Red zone.
>Other course of action (specify)

>Stop him. You want to ask him about Marc and Rita

Whatever he may know could help
And then

>Let him go and follow Barks to the lockers
And their rooms if there is any
>Let him go and follow Barks to the lockers
>>Let him go and follow Barks to the lockers

>Let him go and follow Barks to the lockers

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