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/qst/ - Quests

File: krogan rise.jpg (287 KB, 1600x856)
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The Milky Way galaxy, or at least the fraction of it clustered in vicinity of the ancient Relay network, was home to a wide variety of societies and civilisations, much more so if one counted the ones that the Reapers extinguished over the course of millenia. Although some similarities that could be drawn among them could be credited to influence of the very same genocidal machines setting up their cycles of extinction, the richness and diversity of life itself still shone through - from chemical composition and environmental preferences, through forms of expression and language down to systems of governance and cultural values.

Although some of the communities pushed boundaries of what Earth's scholars were willing to accept as sapient life there were patterns that tended to recur even in most alien arrangements that eventually ended up being recognized as a society - and one of such hallmarks were the ways in which the societies regulate mutual relationships between its members.

As it is, you find yourself right in the middle of one such event. You can almost feel the invisible bonds that materialize between you and other participants of the meeting who, in spirit of tradition, have gathered in the Gazebo to hammer out the finalized deal.

You did not quite expect the meeting would be held to this sort of transparency until it was mentioned in the exchange of extranet messages you've been going through on your way here. It appears the host have decided to conclude the dealings in the format of an open negotiation with presence of media, a model that - as Eve helpfully dug out of the historical archives - gained some notoriety during the second reform of African Union, around the time earmarked as beginning of Consolidation and credited by some by its success, all the while being criticized by some as too susceptible to political grandstanding.

Well, you were hardly the one to argue against it considering all human parties involved consented to it, Quarians took it in stride and Kara simply shrugged it off - as far as he was concerned, the only thing that truly mattered was the result.

And so you, Henri Ford, special consultant for the Citadel Institute of Xenoarchaeology, find yourself seated at the circular table that has been set up in the middle of the gazebo with quite an eclectic company seated around it. At your right hand sits Kara, who in turn sits opposite the bishop. At either side you see familiar faces alongside strangers. All illuminated, all observed by several camera drones hovering just outside the circle of light.
You're glad you've been forewarned what the meeting is going to look like in the messages, giving you a chance to (pick one)...
>put your helmet on to obscure vision of your face. Your name will inevitably be connected with the project regardless but you decided to mitigate having your face known for now.
>make yourself look presentable for the camera. There's no escaping the media attention anyway considering you promised miss Wong an exclusive at some point anyway.

"Welcome, friends and honoured guests." The Secretary Lumiere opens the discussion on behalf of the hosting party. "Allow me to formally introduce myself. My name is Roberto Lumiére and I serve the Kinshasa diocese as a secretary and support for monseigneur Pascal, and it is my pleasure to also serve as host for this occasion." The man smiles and makes a brief pause. "As all of us know, we have gathered here to formalize and pledge ourselves in front of all whom it may concern to the cause of a public works project proposed by chieftain Bant Kara, leader of the recently founded Krogan community."

Kara gives a grunt and a nod in acknowledgment. Secretary takes it as a cue to continue the presentation.

"The proposal in question entails construction of an augmented reality sports arena geared towards state of the art mass effect projections, with hardened design purposed to withstand discharge of military grade hardware. In short, principal capacity of the arena is meant to handle martial sport - of course with all suitable safety measures included to ensure harm prevention for the athletes and the public."

That last remark prompts Kara to shift slightly. You notice him stealing a glance towards the shaman who gives a barely perceptible nod in return. Lumiére betrays no sign of noticing the exchange as he goes on.

"Contributing parties to the project is the Systems Alliance, here represented by the commander Kang..."

"Jean-Baptiste Kang, Kourou spaceport commander. A pleasure." The soldier inclined his head in a small bow. "Alliance command has authorized me for this affair. The Alliance has tentatively cleared the project and will be taking responsibility for its legal status if agreement is reached. Furthermore, the Alliance shall contribute logistical support and fabber time for construction."

"Thank you, commander. Alongside the Alliance, the cause has earned support from the Quarian migrant fleet, represented here by captain Masi'sin vas Namek."

Attention shifts to the quarian captain who arrived accompanied by a female aide you don't recognize.

"Yes, it's a pleasure to participate in this endeavour, indeed. The Migrant fleet is happy to assist its Human allies with a cache of salvaged Element Zero and engineering support for adjacent projects."

"Thank you, captain." Secretary says. "As for the Holy Church..."
Monseigneur Pascal takes the vote. "The Diocese will be delighted to contribute this piece of land. After more than a century it is only right that this land, opposite to the Armistice monument that commemorates events preceding the second reform, is committed to a cause that fosters spirit of cooperation between the peoples." The bishop says, then adds: "Additionally, the Holy See has negotiated extension of the licencing with Armax corporation for this purpose. The software used by papal guard in its training regimen will be made available in the arena."

You feel a shiver run down your spine at that announcement. Among all the issues that have been running through your head and around it recently you've all but forgotten about this technical, but possibly crucial, element of the battle arena - it was a stroke of good fortune that the bishop was in position to resolve it so easily.

Surveying the gathering you automatically suppress a grin. With all these statements made publicly into the camera it seemed like nothing could thwart the arena project...

"On behalf of Kinshasa Regional Development Office, I welcome the good will and entrepreneurial spirit of everyone participating in this effort. However, there are several points that need to be addressed."

...except bureaucracy.

"Of course, Mr. Zmeyevitch." Lumiere says, his features slightly less relaxed than they have been up until this point. Maybe they have some history? "This project is meant to benefit the entire community. It is of critical importance that no doubt may remain to its benefit. This gathering shall make commitments to this effect." Secretary's eyes dart in your direction which you take as signal that you're not out of the woods yet. "Please, go ahead and raise the issues to be resolved." Lumiere says, his full attention back at the bureaucrat.

"Very well. Thank you. First issue to be addressed is the impact of arena's construction and subsequent operation on logistical situation of the region. Even assuming the direct expense is covered by commitments of the present parties there are secondary effects to consider - strain placed on infrastructure that is still under process of reconstruction, strain placed on the traffic lanes and availability of services and amenities for the projected influx of Arena visitors compounded by secondary demand this is expected to cause. There is a justifiable concern that these considerations require significant revision to reconstruction schedules with possible knockoff effect on entire greater region as necessary resources are reallocated away from locals towards facilitation of this project.

Chieftain Kara, did you take these impacts under consideration?"
Luckily, the challenged Krogan resisted impulse to answer with a simple "No." and instead turned to you for your input...

>Redirect the question at secretary Lumiére, he's certain to have a good reply. However, this deflection might not inspire confidence in public...
>Argue with the civil servant. Why is he specifically asking Kara when he could be asking the priests or Kang who have closer connection and responsibility for the locals?
>Suggest that the proposed problems are actually an opportunity in disguise that will promote the reconstruction efforts rather than hamper it.
>other suggestion / other course of action (specify)

Story thus far:

First thread:
subsequent threads:
>Suggest that the proposed problems are actually an opportunity in disguise that will promote the reconstruction efforts rather than hamper it.
>put your helmet on to obscure vision of your face. Your name will inevitably be connected with the project regardless but you decided to mitigate having your face known for now.
Give us some time with some anonymity at least.
>Suggest that the proposed problems are actually an opportunity in disguise that will promote the reconstruction efforts rather than hamper it.
A test on current infrastructure can show bottlenecks and weak links, and allow for them to be expanded or reinforced.
Fortunately the question is an easy one to come up with a reassuring answer for.

"What you describe as an issue, mister Zmeyevitch, is actually another opportunity for regional development. Even in its initial construction phase the project will provide valuable insight in capacity of the new infrastructure to facilitate future growth spurts, with my client's initiative being hopefully but the first among many."

The clerk doesn't bat an eye, having probably heard more than enough comments that might with a touch of egocentrism be construed as backhanded challenges to work of institutions he's meant to represent. What may be a little bit more worrying is he might have smirked a bit, but you don't allow yourself to be deterred.

"What's more, once the venue is finished and open to public it will in itself form a landmark that will boost economic prospects of the city, attracting further investments and inviting new services. Any strain on short term development will be paid back many times over in longer term!"

You conclude on a high note, satisfied with your reasoning.

"It is as the... consultant says." Kang chimes in, respecting your choice to remain relatively anonymous in this affair, "I can offer assurances disruptions to other civil engineering projects in the region will be kept minimal, and indeed I am able to spare some of military's capacities from Kourou base to smooth things out."

This is a surprise to you, but a pleasant one. Between Quarian help, the derelict Reaper and this publicity play Kang must have surmised that no effort to support this enterprise would be wasted.

"We have naturally anticipated the task before us would be an ambitious one," Secretary Lumiere picks up. "and I have discussed the circumstances with your colleagues, mister Zmeyevitch. I reiterate our commitment, and I assure we already have a number of civilian volunteers pledging support, alongside assurances issued with our partnered charities."

"I'm aware, I'm aware." The bureaucrat nods. "Please, don't misunderstand. I'm taking all those pledges under advisement and in truth our office's predominant reasoning follow the direction outlined by mr. Consultant here. However, it is our duty to consider the risks and threats, however small."

There's the smirk again.
"That being said, I concede that in this case the risks can be considered secondary to the opportunities involved... however..."

This time the man looks you directly in the eye, or at least where he expects your eye would be were you not wearing your adventuring suit including the helmet.

"The same reasoning leads me to the second issue I needed to raise that needs to be resolved, and that is the issue of security. Although I am certain all parties involved have the best of intentions, the enterprise being discussed here is by its very nature a potential security hazard. I have with me c-sec reports from vicinity of the Armax arena which I believe is relevant and relatable data and the data undeniably illustrates that the violent arcade attracts violently minded individuals that inevitably allow their entertainment to spill outside the walls of the establishment. And since by your own admission the facility is expected to invite traffic of persons specifically interested in the violent entertainment it offers, I believe you took under consideration the implications for public safety? This issue is especially considering expected demographic composition of bulk of the fight participants at very least during early stages of the venue's operation."

Well, it seemed the clerk was determined to find something to harp on and part of you wondered if he was planning to segue with the security issue to begin with. It was probably one of the issues we mentioned from the start, though. Regardless, you now had to figure out how to best handle it...

>Argue with the man, accuse him of bigotry.
>Although he may have a point about the Krogan... you are still confident in Kara's rebels having sufficient discipline to keep their violence to the arena, especially if the opponents outside it would prove much less challenging... Shaman is here with you and might be able to back you up on this.
>Bring up participation of Church on the project and use its authority as guarantee of proper conduct... although that might not be too credible considering your earlier argument to refrain from exerting too much control over the project.
>Point out that Alliance is participating in the project; if anyone is capable of enforcing order and security, it's the military.
>other rebuttal (specify)
>>Although he may have a point about the Krogan... you are still confident in Kara's rebels having sufficient discipline to keep their violence to the arena, especially if the opponents outside it would prove much less challenging... Shaman is here with you and might be able to back you up on this.

you should stop while you still have players QM. its sad to see a quest without any players.
Remember you can always start a new quest
>Is that data general or in comparison to sporting events and things like that? Soccer causes riots, and it's not a violent sport.
There were more people before hiatus, but most people don't check around unless they have nothing to do.
>Is that data general or in comparison to sporting events and things like that? Soccer causes riots, and it's not a violent sport.
It could not be denied that to some extent the concerns mr. Zmeyevitch was presenting were valid ones. However, they were well manageable as long as sufficient goodwill was present. Meanwhile, the clerk seemed to make no effort to avoid confrontational tone. Was that blunt honesty, arguably something that might work well when dealing with the Krogan, or was he playing for benefit of the audience? One way or another, the first step would be taking a closer look at this report he was referring to - it was possible he was twisting the findings to suit his goals, after all.

"These reports you mention, how do they specifically link statistics to the exact nature of entertainment in the Arena? How do these findings measure up to other forms of mass entertainment - or sports events that do not involve fighting?"

"I'm talking about a C-Sec report, mr. Consultant, not a thesis. However, the facts are irrefutable and their implementation straightforward - amount of violent cases has surged since Arena's opening." The bureaucrat responds.

"Ford, I took liberty of going through the report he's referring." Eve says into your ear. "You are both correct in your conclusions - the results don't set the Arena's impact above that of other sports venues; however, the additional violence is easily linked to Arena spectators and contestants, including coincidence and correlation with more popular events. However, there is a lot of factors that are only mentioned in passing or omitted entirely, including the Reaper conflict itself which took place during majority of Arena's existence."

"-are no strangers to dealing with unruly sports fans, and we all know the society never refused a new modern stadium over this kind of concerns." Kang seemed to have picked up on direction you were taking. Whether he was aware he was implicitly shouldering some of the responsibility on Alliance's behalf you couldn't tell.

"I am familiar with the statistics you are referring to, mr. Zmeyevitch. They are indeed well in line with similar circumstances in other sports venues in other population centers, with some variance attributable to cultural makeup, development status or other circumstances pertaining to the region as a whole - or, as is the case with Reaper crisis, the entire society." Secretary Lumiere joins in easing the concerns. And that is the moment when chieftain Kara chooses to speak.
"Besides, if anyone is going to be starting trouble outside the Arena it is not going to be any of my people." He says confidently. "We expect this thing to be capable of providing a challenge and, no offence intended, your hoody-khans are not it."

Ah, there is that honest Krogan charm you've been looking forward to. For a split second you consider whether to say something to gloss over the edges when the opportunity is taken from you.

"That's exactly right." Shaman nods. "Make no mistake, we are here to crack skulls, but only skulls that can handle the cracking. We won't be the ones to pick fights with the weak. However, as a gesture of respect for the host, and in honour of blood shed against a shared enemy, we are committed to preserving host's sensibilities."

"Is that so..." The clerk steals a glance at the holographic notes projected before him. "...Shaman? Those are high and noble words I'm sure we would all appreciate considerably more if not for the very affair that in the first place initiated the chain of events that led us all to this meeting, and another issue I was going to raise for this esteemed company's consideration - the concern for Earth's wildlife and natural environment. Is it not true that your people established an illegal poaching operation, in clear violation of the same principles you are now espousing?"

Well, it looks like the genuine Krogan bluntness was a bit more for the man than what he could shrug off. Although, considering his career in bureaucrat you would have expected him to have thicker skin than that - perhaps he was deliberately escalating this in hopes of creating an incident? Whichever the case might be, things may yet turn into a disaster on live feeds if you don't intervene somehow...


"H-Hold it! O-o-objection!"
The new voice comes, taking everyone by surprise. All the gazes, and within a one second delay, also a spotlight of a camera drone, is turned to a trio of new arrivals approaching the gazebo; You recognize Nicholas and two other adventurers, a powerfully built woman and a man who looked scrawny in comparison. The latter was the one responsible for the outburst. You'd almost expect him to be momentarily stunned by the sudden shift of attention but instead the man steps forward and speaks without hesitation.

"My name is Joshua Hofsted, and I work for the NHA and I submit that the Krogan presence caused no lasting damage to the planet's ecosystem. In fact, they may well have preserved small fraction of it from re-extinction by committing a cache of valuable biological samples into NHA care -"

Natural Heritage Association? That did explain both the man's passion for the cause and why he was allowed to walk in on the meeting, though perhaps not quite. Regardless, it was a good thing Kris managed to reconcile the vigilantes with the Krogan - and have them share the samples they collected.

"My sister is here." Eve's voice comments and you notice fourth female figure hanging out some distance behind the group of three vigilantes, though still apart from the ring of spectators that briefly parted to let them through - sure enough, it was without a doubt Victoria Scout, and probably remainder of explanation for the vigilantes' timely arrival.

"-concluding, I submit that entity's conduct can be viewed as environmentally sensitive for purpose of procedural considerations, naturally subject to regular review and oversight." Josh closes his incursion into the deliberations with a formal phrase mr. Zmeyevitch needed, though probably did not want, to hear.

Silence descended on the gathering, just briefly enough that you could quickly take in the mostly surprised expressions, most notable exceptions being Kara's wide grin, Shaman's neutral poker face (with maybe a tiniest twitch of a grin of his own in the corner) and Helmut's mixture of humiliation and rage.

"U-um, that was all I wanted to say." The adventurer pipes up when the pressure of silence becomes unbearable for him.

"Well, I believe that is a rather helpful expert's insight that should settle remainder of the issues, is that not right, mr. Zmeyevitch?" Secretary Lumiere comes with aid to return the general attention back onto the conference table.
"I... one moment, please..." The clerk hastily taps a brief query into his omnitool and soon enough you watch his brow furrowed in concentration shift into a grimace of defeat. "...very well, I accept the expert opinion and have no more... issues... to bring up."

"Splendid!" The secretary beams, oblivious or uncaring towards the inner turmoil of the bureaucrat. "In that case we have on record statements, commitments, points, counterpoints and reservations of everyone involved, is that right?" There is a round of nods and other gestures of assent around the table. "Therefore, without further delay, we may proceed to the stage two of the meeting where parameters for the technical solution shall be outlined. From there the engineering crews shall take the matter into their hands and fabricators. And so, let us view the first proposal..."

With a wave of the secretary's hand the spotlights dimmed until the most prominent source of light amid the darkening evening became the holgraphic projector in center of the table, and a wireframe image of a bulky structure hovering over it.

The rest of the meeting thankfully goes without further incident. Several variants are proposed, presented by the secretary and then commented on mostly by Kara and Kang with occasional feeble challenge from the clerk - the proposals seemed to have been prepared with care, though, so none of the formal objections stick.

Captain Masi'Sin remains quiet throughout the debate. If he is bored or frustrated at the waste of time he does not let it show, performing his role as Quarian representative dutifully and without complaint, or perhaps even with a measure of interest at this novel format of deciding things. Meanwhile, the other silent participant, monseigneur Pascal, seems quite content to leave matters in hands of the secretary, observing the proceedings with a reserved smile and a steely gaze which seems to turn a touch colder whenever the old cleric turns is towards the recalcitrant bureaucrat.

Eventually, and after making some adjustments, such as stretching the surface area of the future arena to its technical limits and making the entrance portal large enough for a Kakliosaur to fit through, the decision is made and agreed on by everyone involved. Even Helmut gives a begrudging consent, which comes as a slight surprise to you. One possible explanation for his behaviour would be that overstepping his bounds in such a public affair could cost him his position, which would already be precarious enough after his earlier antics...

You are broken out of your musings by the shift in lightning as the projector is deactivated and spotlights once again focus on the meeting participants themselves as a final round of thank yous for the fruitful meeting are passed around and the gathering is formally concluded and dissolved.
"Finally." Kara exhales as he leads the way to the catering table. "This was frustrating. How can you deal with not being allowed to strike a pyjak that's clearly bullshitting through his teeth on these meetings?" He grumbles a no doubt rhetorical question.

"Yeah, that would have been a nice change of pace." Shaman nods. "But you did well, my boy." Then the elderly Krogan turns to you. "As far as your customs are involved, the matter is essentially settled, isn't it, doctor?"

"That's right." You say with a slight frown. "With this sort of agreement no party can go back on its word without losing credibility, and especially with the election coming around nobody will want to risk that."

"Politics." Kara snorts. "Nice to see them working in our favour for once."

"Sure is." You nod, then turn back to the Shaman. "You expect more trouble, don't you?"

"I usually do." He shrugs. "But you saw that suit for yourself. That was not a face of someone who's accepted defeat. Be on a lookout, doctor, or you'll learn why sparing an enemy is considered a gesture of conceit among my people."

You give a nod and open your mouth to say more when another familiar voice grabbed your attention.

"Good job, Ford. Looks like we made it." Kris says, announcing that your crew has succeeded in disentangling itself from the spectator crowd milling around short distance away where more tables with refreshments have been set up.

"This calls for some celebration, no?" Lea asks, raising a glass of some presumably quarian-compatible fluid with a straw (and a little umbrella) that she picked off one of the trays somewhere.

"That may be premature." Eve echoes Shaman's sentiment.

"Whatever the case might be, we might want to take it somewhere more private." Kris remarks.

Looking around the increasingly populated catering area you take stock of your options...

>Now is as good a moment as any to catch up with your crew.
>Kara and his retinue is back to ravaging the buffet. Maybe you could get them to depart earlier, or conversely get them to speak with someone (specify which/who)
>Kang and Victoria are discussing something... with Kang occasionally glancing in your direction. Maybe you could talk to them.
>The Media are here as well... was that Wong over there? You kind of promised her an interview and now would be a good opportunity to get this over with. You're reasonably certain she'll honor your request to hide your face - she did not disclose details of your identity yet.
>Arrival of the Vigilantes was fortuitous and timely, perhaps you could thank them and see if they learned anything new?
>You did what you could here, there's little point in sticking around. Take your skycar and head out.
>other course of action (specify)
>>The Media are here as well... was that Wong over there? You kind of promised her an interview and now would be a good opportunity to get this over with. You're reasonably certain she'll honor your request to hide your face - she did not disclose details of your identity yet.

get this over with before we have to purposely go somewhere to meet her

fucking hell I just stumbled upon the thread,glad to see it back

but make sure to

>Now is as good a moment as any to catch up with your crew.
after the interview, I want an umbrela drink too

>Now is as good a moment as any to catch up with your crew.

Damn, wish we had shown our face

>Kang and Victoria are discussing something... with Kang occasionally glancing in your direction. Maybe you could talk to them.
Uuuuh. Hmmm. Maybe Kang and Victoria, then Wong, then the crew? We do need to keep up with schmoosing and past promises... but also talking to our crew is something I really want to do.
I can Agreed with that. If the conversations don't take too long, I really want to unwind with the crew too

Aww yiss, I the quest is back. Good to see your return!

>Kang and Victoria are discussing something... with Kang occasionally glancing in your direction. Maybe you could talk to them.

Eve's got a hunch that something could go south soon, and I'm inclined to trust her judgement. If Victoria is anything like her sister, now would be a good time to compare notes with her and Kang.

We know how to get in touch with Wong later, so that's less of an issue. We'll catch up with our crew once we're sure our work is done.
"Perhaps later." You say. "For now, I have all the privacy I need." You add, tapping the vague area of your suit where the helmet is currently compacted. You put it momentarily away for the buffet, after confirming that camera drones have been stowed away after the meeting. Still, proprietor of at least one of them was in attendance and you kind of promised her the interview...

...but first things first. The way Kang and miss Scout kept glancing your way could mean a number of things, many of them you'd prefer to have some forewarning about.

"You can get started on the celebrating. I'll try to see if we get to finish, as well." You tell Kris and the girls, with a slight nod towards your Alliance contacts. Your crew acknowledges your choice with a round of nods and as they make for nearest table you head towards commander Kang and his synthetic companion.
"Ah, doctor Ford." Kang greets you, his voice subdued enough that you're not concerned with someone from the outside overhearing. "It is a pleasure to meet in person again, and please accept my compliments on this get together you've facilitated. I must say if someone told me a week ago what sort of company I'd be drinking in next week, I'd have laughed in their faces."

"The pleasure has been all mine." You grin. It might be self-indulgent but you have to admit you're quite happy at how things seemed to be turning out to pretty much everyone's satisfaction. "I'm glad you are not bothered I ended up getting a third party involved in your project."

"Not at all. Well, I admit, initially I was a bit concerned that additional publicity may lead to detrimental changes in project's direction but our Quarian allies seem quite happy treating it with discretion that will allow us all to focus fully on the development of a facility that will serve us and our allies to fullest possible extent."

"That's good to hear."

"So it is, but I expect this is not what you approached us to talk about." Kang notes. "I understand you and miss Scout are already acquainted with each other?"

"That's right." You say as you exchange glances with the gynoid. If you didn't know she was Eve's "sister", you would not recognize her as such at a glance - the machine woman demonstrated versatility of her body's malleability by adopting a look quite distinct from the one Eve adopted as her human guise. The small smile she sported seemed just as genuine, though.
"Indeed, in a way you could say doctor's activities made my current career." Victoria says, referring to both her nature and your role in facilitating her reanimation. You're unsure whether Kang picked up on either.

"Very well, then. So introductions are unneeded, and you will understand the concerns I am experiencing now since miss Scout was briefing me on..." There is a slight hesitation as the commander checks Victoria's body language - she's giving him a very slight nod with her head inclined - "...the security risks I am now apparently going to have to account for in development of the spaceport project."

This was somewhat worrying. Although you derived no small amount of smug satisfaction at how you managed to wrap several problems simultaneously under one roof in a manner that could not be described as anything but elegant, it was also beginning to dawn on you that in the process you managed to create quite a juicy target for any nefarious force behind the scenes that would be antagonistic to cooperation among spacefaring sapients.

"The doctor is well aware of the caveats." Victoria remarks, having gotten a good read of your face. "However, as I've said previously, your project was quite ambitious to begin with and now that we are forewarned of hostile activity, effective steps can be taken to ensure its safety."

Kang sighs. "As you say, miss Scout. At very least we are not oblivious now. And I am very grateful for the support from the Alliance command." Kang turns back to you. "It appears that offer of our Quarian allies, together with the gift of salvage they brought with them," He smirks a little at that. "...finally convinced the command to fully endorse the orbital project and commit additional resources to it. With this support I expect the timetable will be compressed significantly. Although it will still be weeks before the facility is able to take on more complex tasks and house some permanent crew, I expect that by the end of the week we will have basic framework in place along with some provisional scaffolding for ad hoc operations. Quarian expertise in improvisation and microgravity engineering will be exceptionally useful during this stage, as will assistance of their service tugs, considering our vessels and their crew are occupied... elsewhere."

"On that topic, before commander Kang resumes his gushing I'd like to relay to you an... invitation, doctor." Victoria speaks up before Kang can pick up thread that apparently lead him somewhere it wasn't supposed to.


"In the light of your displayed competence and committment, and endorsement from several Alliance officers," Kang quickly nodded at this, making it clear he was one of those; Victoria didn't miss a beat as she went on: "...you've been invited to meet admiral Hackett aboard Orizaba at your earliest convenience where you will be offered an assignment. Bring your current crew."
As the gynoid finishes speaking you can only hear the quiet, uninterrupted murmur of other conversations being held around the catering tables. Kang keeps quiet, letting you process the summons.

Briefly you consider asking for more specifics of this assignment but immediately realize it would be a waste of breath. Victoria chose her words carefully - if you wanted to know more, you'd have to ask the admiral yourself.

"I can only add this much: the assignment is related to a concern considered the priority for Alliance fleet." The gynoid decides to throw you a bone - and it's a genuine artifact bone you are quick to identify.

You were being called to the Citadel.

>Assignment unlocked: Priority: Citadel
>in honour of the source material this story is based on, tackling the "priority" mission will lead to closure of the story chapter; all other open/optional side-quests will be auto-resolved
>that said, you might want to not leave the admiral hanging for too long... people are counting on you both after all.

"I... see. Very well, thank you for the information, miss Scout. I'll make appropriate arrangements." You respond with the maximum amount of committment you are willing to give on the spot.

"Thank you, doctor. Commander, if you would, there are some issues I was asked to discuss with yourself and captain Masi'Sin vas Namek..."

"Of course..."

And so the two representatives of human military excuse themselves and leave you standing next to the table with tastefully arranged morsels. You absently sweep one as you survey the scene once more, looking for your crew. You find that Kris has joined the Krogan delegation near the impromptu cooking corner from which catering workers were replenishing the buffet while Lea'Fari and Eve were engaged in conversation with the trio of Adventurers that came to rescue during the meeting. You mull over your options...
"Doctor Ford! I'd say it's a pleasant surprise but that would be a lie." A vaguely familiar voice derails your considerations. "...the surprise part, anyway. I am quite delighted to find you here - in fact it would have been a disappointment not to!"

"Miss Wong. A pleasure." You acknowledge the eyepatched reporter with a nod as you turn to face her.

"Now that you're not hurrying off to save the world again, could I impose on you for a few minutes? I am figuratively dying to hear your side of the story for all the material my team has gathered over course of last two weeks!" She asks with an enthusiastic smile, her good eye shining with hope.

>Well, you're not likely to find a better opportunity to get this over with. (
>Funny she should mention hurrying off... (Shore leave's over, gather party & venture forth)
>Politely excuse yourself and go look for someone else (Kris and the Krogan? Lea, Eve and Adventurers? Someone else?)
>other course of action

If the interview wins, how would you like to approach it? You have no intention to lie or mislead but there is some leeway in what you can tell her without spilling state secrets.
>Secretive (don't volunteer any additional information and cast doubts on what she thinks she knows)
>Factual (supply her findings with your account, correct and clarify as needed)
>Dramatic (play it all up, put Blasto to shame with your antics!)
>other (specify)

>additionally: Helmet on / helmet off?
tell her we can make it quick since this is the first brak we have in a while and we want to be able to enjoy it with our crew

aside from that

>Factual (supply her findings with your account, correct and clarify as needed)
she probably did her homework so we better be careful to not be cough lying BUT be very secretive of our adventures in that frozen rock, that shit is very much classifyed

>Politely excuse yourself and go look for someone else, Lea, Eve and Adventurers

>Well, you're not likely to find a better opportunity to get this over with.

Can we do the interview along with our crew? That way we can jump right into the party

>Factual (supply her findings with your account, correct and clarify as needed)

About the helmet, she has our name right? I imagine that our face is a quick extranet search away, if that is the case I don't see a point of leaving it on

>Funny she should mention hurrying off... (Shore leave's over, gather party & venture forth)
>Factual (supply her findings with your account, correct and clarify as needed)

Leave the more sensitive info out if you can.

>helmet on
Unless there’s a reason why we want our face to be seen all over.
>Well, you're not likely to find a better opportunity to get this over with.
>Factual (supply her findings with your account, correct and clarify as needed)
Hopefully she doesn't make us say "no comment" too much.
On one hand, you really wanted to take advantage of this chance to wind down with your crew after what from your perspective was a job well done.
On the other hand, you did sort of promise miss Wong you'd find some time for her eventually. Although in these circumstances, maybe you could pass that off as a word given under duress?
But no. You were not the sort of person who could say no to such masterfully employed puppy eyes. Eye.

At the same time, there was no reason you'd have to face this menace alone. Although your crew seems to have found some pastimes while you were talking to the Alliance officers, a brief message to their omnitools would bring them along momentarily. You'll just have to weather the moments until the backup arrives...

"Alright, miss Wong. I'll answer your questions. Although naturally I hope you'll understand I won't be able to share everything."

"Of course. Do tell what you're comfortable with, we'll find out the rest on our own." She smiles back confidently. With that she makes a few taps on the omnitool of her own and motions for you to follow her short distance away from the tables where the background noise of people talking and eating would be easier to filter out. By the time you come to a halt you are joined by a technician guiding a camera drone. He gives Wong a nod and then, as a circle of light engulfs you and the reporter, the battle is joined.

"Good evening, dear viewers and listeners. It is my pleasure to finally introduce you to the heroic captain who helped thwart the terrorist attack against the Quarian fleet in an incident that took place several days ago: doctor Henri Ford, associate of the Citadel Institute for Xenoarchaeology. Captain Ford, thank you for consenting to this interview."

"My pleasure, miss Wong." You answer politely.

"In spirit of our agreement let us skip over the pleasantries and get straight to the fuzzy spots of our coverage. What drove you to volunteer your expedition ship for a trade mission on behalf of the Turian Hierarchy? Was it boredom, or did you have a specic motivation?"

"Boredom was certainly part of it," You admit. "but as corny as it may sound, it was a welcome chance to help those who helped us take the Earth back. And I suppose professional curiosity was also a factor - it was a valuable opportunity to observe Quarian way of life up close."

"I sure hope that bit of information will soon prove obsolete, cap!" comes Lea's voice as she arrives to back you up."

"Oh? It appears you approach everything as a team effort, is it?" Emily comments with raised eyebrow.

"I did my share of solo undertakings but there is comfort in being able to rely on a dependable ally." You admit. "This is the most junior member of my crew."

"Lea'Fari nar Namek, a pleasure." Lea introduces herself. "I joined doctor Ford's crew after he saved the fleet from the... from the attempted terrorist attack."
"I see, we were going to work towards that." Wong made no sign of having noticed Lea's brief hesitation but you didn't fool yourself she didn't smell blood. "Miss Fari, would you say the threat was genuinely threatening survival of the Quarian fleet as a whole? And the Geth?"

The young engineer inclines her head in thought. "Well, it's hard to say. If it worked as the culprits envisioned, it may very well have. But I think they gave my people and the Geth both too little credit."

"Culprits? So it was not an action of a lone, disillusioned lunatic as the provisional reports seem to agree?"

To her credit Lea quickly realized her mistake and came up with a recovery strategy. "I haven't read those to be honest. I just find it hard to believe someone would penetrate Turian security by themselves. But maybe that's me underestimating the bad guys."

"I see..." Miss wong switched focus back to you. "Moving on to your role in thwarting the attack, is it true you battled the rogue Turian on the precipice of a liveship reactor pit, as one of the locals colorfully testified for us?"

"Keelah..." Lea raises her hands to her forehead in embarrassment. She must have recognized the narrative style of the testimony.

"Nothing quite as dramatic, I'm afraid. Once the rogue's intentions were revealed I simply participated in pursuing him and happened to be the one to subdue him. There were no reactor pits, rising flames or dark matter monsters in attendance." You allow yourself a bit of levity.

"Well that likely disappointed some of your fans, doctor, but I appreciate your committment to facts. I trust so did the Citadel investigators that appeared on the scene shortly after the incident. In fact I was told that it was your idea to get them involved?"

"I would not presume to usurp Quarian authority over their affairs," You clarify. "It was the captains of involved vessels that made the call. And I'd say it was for the best."

"I see you are not actually denying it was your suggestion." Wong noted. "Still, as you say it seems to have worked out for the best, to satisfaction of all involved parties. Now, according to our findings those parties involved Citadel's Special Tactics and Recon agent. I expect you met her during the investigation?"
At this point, considering much of the investigation was public knowledge, or about to become such, you would have likely revealed your acquaintance with Libella... however, you recalled her unwillingness to be caught in the open with you by miss Wong earlier and so decided to preserve her privacy, for the moment.

"I've talked to representatives of all involved factions but I haven't been introduced to Spectres being one of them, I'm afraid." You evade.

"Fair enough. Returning to the attempted terrorist attack, the official reports are rather vague in regards to the threat itself but they do mention it to be a provocation of hostility between Quarian and Geth, motivated by the rogue officer's personal disdain for synthetic life. Can you say how the lone agent hoped to achieve this sort of thing?"

"Strictly speaking, the attacker intended to attack Geth exclusively with some sort of malware attack." You explain. "Although his plan did hold some potential for sparking a conflict with the Migrant Fleet instead should the malware fail and the Geth decided to attack Quarian vessel instead. But that is speculation behind layers of assumptions, some of which as miss Fari mentioned are less than flattering for the parties involved. In either case we can be glad that we don't get to see how the situation would develop."

"That we can indeed. So, after thwarting this attack you decided to follow through with the punch and got the Quarians to agree to the original deal Turians offered?"

"That's right. It was a good idea that benefited both peoples, it would be a shame not to follow through on it. Luckily the Quarians shared this opinion so when we returned to Earth we did so with hold full of trade goods."

"Only trade goods, doctor? One of the crew our team has talked to mentioned you would take on a passenger... a, quote, 'really cool girl of a spook'."

"Miss Wong, even if I did carry passengers at this point I would have been compelled to preserve their privacy." You answer, quietly thankful Lea maintained her composure.

"That's understandable. Thank you for humouring me, doctor. In any case it appears your heroics - and the trade mission you managed to finalize despite its original emissary turning out to be a terrorist - have won you a measure of recognition. After your return from the fleet you have been seen in company and apparently on good terms with Alliance officers." She makes a pause, then, seeing you are not going to comment, continues: "Would you tell us what brought on your participation in the raid on Nashan Stellar Dynamics, for instance?"
"I believe I can answer that to fullest extent of what the law allows us to share." A new voice enters the fray. "Eve Ferrum, at your service. I'm a freelance analyst and data technician, currently serving in such capacity in doctor Ford's crew."

"Welcome to the show, miss Ferrum. Your impeccable career profile can be found on Extranet, saying that you until recently were contracted with Alliance intelligence." Wong elucidates for benefit of the audience. "Are we to understand you are the link between the doctor and the Alliance military?"

"Perhaps in a roundabout way you could say that, but in truth I decided to work for doctor Ford in hopes I'd get to work with different, more exotic kind of data."

"I see. Well, it doesn't seem like you turned away entirely from your previous career then, considering the circumstances. So, about the raid?"

"As you know, Alliance has already issued a statement that Nashan Stellar Dynamics has been raided because of mistreatment of its workers and unauthorized handling of illicit material. The intervention was necessary and saved lives."

"What does that have to do with doctor Ford and his crew?"

"Doctor's expertise was helpful in identifying some of the illicit material."

"Is that how your colleague, doctor Tufferson, ended up injured?"

"It was just a scratch. Which I've gotten by accidentally hitting my side with a rifle shot of an overzealous guard." Kris growls as he completes your crew in front of the camera. "Yes, there was some fighting. Criminals do that sometimes when found out."

"...thank you, doctor Tufferson."

"Right. Tufferson Kris, special consultant for CIX and partner of this here doctor Ford. Are we done discussing reaper tech tinkerers here?"

"I suppose it should be pointed out that the investigation into allegations against NSD is not yet concluded and the firm has already lodged a protest with Alliance Command, a matter that will likely not be fully resolved until after the elections." Wong decides to let go of this topic for now. "Moving on, this has certainly not been the last adventure where you ended up tangling with the Alliance military. Right after the NSD raid you took on a mission to deliver humanitarian aid to an independent colony on Enceladus."

Oh boy, here we go.
"Sirta Foundation has already made a statement that the mission was a success, though taken over as special interest operation by the Systems Alliance. In the light of what we were just discussing, doesn't this seem suspicious to you?" Wong asks.

"That's a disingenuous question, Miss Wong." Eve objects. "Alliance is the default authority for this system, it's only natural for it to be involved in any sort of emergency."

"Alright, allow me to ask differently. What did you expect when taking on this mission of mercy?"

"I generally avoid making elaborate expectations when venturing into unknown," You answer. "but some sort of technical malfunction seemed likely, or perhaps some sort of conflict between the settlers. If you were asking if we were expecting something specific, the answer is 'no'."

"So... what did you find?"

"That's classified." You and your crew answer virtually simultaneously. Wong holds back a grin at that although honestly she probably didn't expect anything else here herself.

"It's true that Alliance Command issued a strict information embargo on the case but it would not sit well with me if I didn't at least try. Amidst the deluge of wild, baseless speculation some of the circumstances are undeniable and known to public - that a substantial portion of Alliance fleet broke orbit to investigate whatever went down on that moon, Sirta's uncharacteristic lack of transparency on the matter and sudden appearance of the long lost expeditionary cruiser that has yet to be explained by the fleet authorities. Do you have anything to add to this?"

"No comment." You say.

"I understand." Wong grimaces. "But you do realize that obscuring the truth only makes the imagination draw in the worst possible scenarios?"

"I feel this is a question better aimed at the Alliance Command." You say, suppressing a grimace of your own. Perhaps it's the resonance of her question with your own ideals that moves you to follow up. "But I suppose I can tell you this, at least: the way this affair has been handled reaffirmed my personal faith in the Alliance having its heart, and soul, in the right place." You say, and you mean every word, thinking back to the heartfelt thanks in Athena's eyes for having her family reunited, or the surprising amount warmth radiating from the strangely tattooed officer. "For that I'll give my word."

Apparently you say this with enough conviction to even give miss Wong a pause as she collects herself for how to react.

"Well, I hope you are right in this assessment, at least, doctor Ford. Now, there is more I'd like to ask you about but I feel I've taken enough of your time, so just one more question for you. The gradual shifts in progress reports from the Charon construction site show that the Galaxy may be open to travelers once more rather soon. What are your plans for when that happens?"
>To seek out old life and old civilisations in the less explored regions of the Galaxy, as you did before the Reaper crisis
>Actually you've taken liking to the freelancer lifestyle of helping the living. You'll go where your crew is needed.
>Plans? You don't have any. You'll go where the star winds take you.
>other response (specify)

Also, is there anything else you'd like to tell the Media now that you have their attentions?
>Yes (specify)

damn the time flies. It turned out harder than I expected it to be. Sorry about the delay, friends.
>>Actually you've taken liking to the freelancer lifestyle of helping the living. You'll go where your crew is needed.

potentially check on the other species homeworlds to see how the chaos has affected them, we almost became the subject of future xenoarcheologists millions of years from now


hey Lea, so how much do you personally want me to be familiar with quarian with quarian way of life so that information is obsolete, hmmmmmm?

>Actually you've taken liking to the freelancer lifestyle of helping the living. You'll go where your crew is needed.

Maybe find where the Normandy ended up in?
>Actually you've taken liking to the freelancer lifestyle of helping the living. You'll go where your crew is needed.
Also we've found some xeno-archeologically important finds like this. Help people, do what I love, and get paid? What more could I ask for?

>Actually you've taken liking to the freelancer lifestyle of helping the living. You'll go where your crew is needed.
My recommendation? Go to Heshtok, find the biggest, most powerful and influential warlord there, and ask him if he wants to send any of his promising children with you to learn how the greater galaxy is. Then return when babbeh Vorcha is all grown up, and basically put him back in charge when King Daddy is probably old, weak, and deposed. Bingo, you've got Vorcha royalty on your side.
"Actually, I must admit I've taken liking to the thrill of freelance adventuring, that helping out the living is no less rewarding than revealing the mysteries of the ancients. So it may well be I'll find myself traveling where we're needed..." It's subtle, but you can tell Kris tenses up a little. It's only thanks to your familiarity with your associate that you notice his focus snapping from the reporter to you. "...and there will be a lot of work to be done, in the homeworlds, or the colonies. Although I'm not quite ready to abandon my tenure for the CIX, even if we were all that's... left." You make an involuntary pause at that last bit. "In any case, there is much to be done, much to be seen and much to be learned."

"Well said, I believe that goes for all of us." Wong says. "Thank you for participating in this interview, doctor Ford, and best of luck on your adventures to you and your crew. So that we may meet again!"

With that the spotlight covering you and the reporter grows dim and the camera drone floats away towards the technician that has been watching from some distance away.

"Thank you truly for delivering on your word, doctor Ford. And I mean it, I'll be looking forward to next chance to learn your side of the excitement you seem to dive into."

"We'll see if we're within signal range when the time comes." You respond only partly in jest.

And so, with one final round of goodbyes, the reporter makes herself scarce and you are, for the first time in a while, left in the pleasant company of your crew with no immediate crises to resolve.
"Well, at least she's not going to hound us for a while." Kris comments. "You might be getting a fan club started about you as soon as this is aired, though."

"Technically, he already has." Eve says, prompting you to give her an incredulous glare. "I didn't start them if you're wondering."

"Neither did I." Lea pipes up.

"I wasn't accusing... no, wait. Say again?"

"While performing routine surveillance of the extranet I've come across a community that has formed in admiration of the nameless star captain that saved the 'Quarian cuties for the galaxy'"

"There was a lot of speculation about this hero's identity. Some even said it might have been Shepard himself, or perhaps one of the legendary Hackett's Hundred that has been supporting Shepard's operations behind the scenes during the Collector crisis." Lea adds.

"You two have been doing the surveillance together, eh?"

"No... I mean, yes!"

The four of you naturally drift towards the nearest catering table as you talk.

"Is this where you got the umbrella drink?" You ask the Quarian.

"Oh! Yeah, here's the bottle, too. The server said it's been brought specifically for the Quarian guests. I guess they meant the Captain but technically I count as well, right?"

"That depends, are you of drinking age, actually?"

"Hey! I take an expect... expy... bosh'tet."

You two share a chuckle at her antics, with Eve offering an amused smile of her own. Kris, meanwhile, seems to be looking at the buffet table.
"So, how similar were actually our days? Seemed pretty similar from the brief description we heard on our way here." Lea'Fari speaks up before the silence settles in.

"We should probably leave the lurid details for a less formal setting." Kris says without turning to face the rest of you. "But yeah, it's kinda uncanny. It's like something straight out of a bad story."

"Good thing these tales at least both had a good ending." You remark. "And I take it Kara's men and the Adventurers left with decent impression of each other, going by what just happened."

"Yeah. Honestly I almost feel like I have been underestimating Kara when we first arrived. Glad to have been wrong though."

"Do you think the situation would have resolved itself favourably even without our intervention?" Eve asks.

Kris snorts. "Hah. No way. No, he's smarter and more considerate than I expected him to be, but he's every bit as prideful and stubborn as you'd expect of any Krogan in position of leadership. I'm glad that we got involved, and... thank you, everyone."

"Hey, we did it together. And to everyone's benefit."

"That we did..." He drifts off. "What about you? The singer woman was happy to be reunited with her child, was she not?"

"That's putting it mildly." You nod, thinking back to conclusion of your quest in Rouen. Amelie was already waiting outside of the Asari medical compound where you were undergoing final checkups to confirm there are no traces of spores left to endanger anyone you would come into contact with. She wasn't saying anything when you saw her in the reception, she was simply embracing her son, sobbing quietly. You exchanged a nod and a small smile with Rita who was giving the two some space off to the side. You were just about to leave when the singer interrupted her embrace and called out to you, inviting you to stop by with your friends so she can thank you properly.

"Dame Blanc has adjusted her artistic plans since our departure." Eve mentions. "She amended programmes of her recitals."

"Maybe her songs won't be so sad anymore." Lea says.

"A famour writer once said that even if neither pain nor joy could be destroyed, one can be converted into the other." Eve comments.

A brief silence settles in this time. You almost expect Kris to contest the hypothesis or point out such conversion can go in either direction but he too keeps quiet. Lea brought up her omnitool to take advantage of its scanner - and the menu made available on host's local network - in helping her select the next morsel. Eve was calmly observing the general gathering, taking in all the information she could - and given her true nature, that was a lot.

Conversely, that reminded you miss Scout was likely observing everything just as keenly. Luckily you were being careful to not reveal anything that could get you or your crew into any trouble.
>With how busy you've been it's rare enough for you to have this pleasant downtime. Hang out with the crew some more.
>You had enough fun for now and your work here is done - head back to the Chariot and select your next destination.
>Approach one of your crew, ask them something (specify who and the topic)
>Approach another party in attendance (specify who and the topic)
>other course of action
>With how busy you've been it's rare enough for you to have this pleasant downtime. Hang out with the crew some more.

>Approach one of your crew, ask them something (specify who and the topic)
the crew
ask them what they expect to happen when the gates open, what are their plans...what they wish to see.....do they still want to travel with us....? (lea pls)
>With how busy you've been it's rare enough for you to have this pleasant downtime. Hang out with the crew some more.

Ask what she was searching when she "stumbled upon" our fan clubs.
>With how busy you've been it's rare enough for you to have this pleasant downtime. Hang out with the crew some more.
>With how busy you've been it's rare enough for you to have this pleasant downtime. Hang out with the crew some more.
So... fan clubs?
"So, a fanclub, hm?" You decide to pick up a lighter topic as you allow yourself to relax, to take advantage of this time where no crisis needs to be immediately resolved. Funny how you end up being drawn into these anyway. The life seemed less hectic even when evading corporate paramilitaries on Illium...

"Oh it's just a bunch of people with more imagination than sense. Which allows me to infiltrate perfectly." Lea takes it upon herself to respond.

"So you are infiltrating them?"

"Well of course! What if there were Cer-tain kind of fiends among them? Gotta keep ahead of the enemy!"

That was a distinct possibility, you realize, if the news of your involvement in thwarting Cerberus operation got to cells that are still active - and going by Libella's ongoing investigation, such ones still existed - you may have been gaining enemies over last few days.

"So, what did you learn, then?" You ask with a slightly more serious tone.

"Nothing we should need to get too worried about, I think." The Quarian replies. "As far as I could tell it's just people who for one reason or another seem attracted to, erm, my people's culture and aesthetics. And some who feel similarly towards Geth. In fact much arguments are going on between those two groups. But they seem to agree it's admirable someone went to be a hero in keeping the two reconciled. Some see you as an adventurer who went to follow in Shepard's footsteps."

"Some of those seem to look up to the Hero of Uranus as someone less unreachable in merit than Spectre Shepard." Eve comments. "You are cited as an example to live up to, Ford."

"That's, ah, flattering." You acknowledge the gynoid's words, feeling some heat rising to your cheeks.

"Anyway, they seemed to have no idea to your identity so far, aside from some speculation that links you to the Adventurers' guild." Lea says. "That's likely to change, obviously. Although... there were some sinister extranet links posted on the boards. I can't risk malware in my suit so I forwarded them to Eve."

"Most of those led to bad prose that made me feel compelled to parse all seasons of the Terminator: Remastered Series over the affected memory segments, several times, to dull the sensation." Eve says.

"...sorry. I didn't know." Lea apologizes.

"It's... a figure of speech. Mostly. Don't worry, miss Fari, I don't hold you responsible for the experience."
Silence that followed felt just a little bit too uncomfortable for your tastes so you decided to change the topic.

"Let's move on to something less unpleasant. What do you think our plans should be once the Charon relay is repaired?"

"Well, I thought I'd get to see your archeological work? Although if you want to go helping people on homeworlds, that sounds great, too." Lea is first to voice her opinion, enthusiastic both at the perspective and the change of subject.

"Don't worry, I'm sure we'll come across something worthwhile for you to bring back in either case. After all, you saw how many mysteries we've come across just by being busy here in Sol." You reassure her.

"I don't doubt it." The quarian nods. "And you don't need to go out of your way for that. It's supposed to be my trial, after all. I'll let you know if I see something."

"Anytime." You smile back. "What about you, Eve?"

"I'd... been thinking about what we were talking about earlier. I think... I'd very much like to try to search for my mother." The gynoid says. "Though of course other matters take priority."

"Hey, what? No way! We're going to head there first thing!" Lea protests. "Aren't we, Cap? Exodus cluster is literally one jump away!"

"Tyr is not in the relay system proper," You muse aloud. "but it does share system with Terra Nova if I recall correctly, so odds are decent if anyone was left stranded there they are not entirely isolated. But I'm sure it should be reachable for us."

"Thank you, Ford. And... thank you." Eve says with a small smile.

"What about you, Kris?" You turn to your Krogan partner. "You've been rather quiet."

"I'd like to think that's how I usually am." He growls. "But... yeah. I've been thinking about what you said. That we'd be helping on the homeworlds rather than pushing the frontiers as we used to."
"Well you have to admit we did a lot of good over the last two weeks." You say.

"Yeah, we did. And I'm right happy about it, too. Still... it's not what I was imagining when I applied for the scholarship." Kris smirks momentarily as he reminisces. "Heh. Thank goodness for Asari xeno development programmes. I feel they may have been paying extra attention to me, on account of being the only Krogan student in the term."

"We've talked about this before." You shake your head slightly. "I read your thesis, you deserved the honours every bit as much as that smug little... well, no need to dwell on the circumstance is what I mean."

"Oh I know, but thanks for embarrassing me in front of the crew." Kris growls.

"Is the implication that you graduated relatively recently?" Eve asks. "Because that is publicly available information."

"Yeah! I was kinda surprised because you play the jaded veteran part so well. Then I think I saw some of the idioms you use in this show..." Lea consults her omnitool... "Right! 'Star Captain Spinalmount's improbable journey', the Krogan mercenary is like a gruff uncle figure there.'

"Sorry Kris but you kind of walked into that by yourself." You raise hands in an apologetic gesture in response to the Krogan's wordless accusing glare. Besides you certainly weren't the one who ever brought up that show. You couldn't watch it with a straight face, with Asari producer's idea of human naming conventions being just the tip of the iceberg.

"Hrmpf. Fine." Your friend snorts and looks away. "Anyway, that was beside the point. I meant to say that I chose to travel the stars in hopes I'd find something that would..." He falls silent.

"That would...?" You prompt him.

"Nah, it's stupid. Forget it."

"Kris, come on. You can't leave us hanging like that."

The Krogan sighs. "I hoped," He says, "I'd find evidence of something that would give me hope for my own people."

You don't laugh, of course. But you don't immediately know how to respond, either.

"Does that mean... you don't currently have it?" Eve is the first to speak.

Kris lets his gaze drift towards the far table where a mass effect flatbed was just delivering a shipment of foodstuffs, some of it prepared, some of it synthesized, some of it raw. It seems the logistical capacity of the event was yet to be reached. Kara's aides must have taken secretary's smugness as a challenge. At least they appeared to be in good humour. Short distance away the shaman was talking with the bishop.

"I have some. After today, I have some more." Kris admits eventually. "But I'm still not sure if I have enough."

"Then," You find the words to say. "we'll do what we did before. We keep looking until we find what we're looking for."

Your friend turns to face you, with a grin firmer than before, and a look of resolve in his eyes. "That's right." He says. "And maybe we'll find it where we'd least expect it."

He extends a hand towards you and you grasp it.
Thread has been archived, thank you for bearing with my glacial pace, friends.

Henri Ford and his stalwart crew will return.
thank you for the run, until we meet again QM

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