I think that some of you might be hesitant to download an *.odt file, some of you may not even know what that is. (It’s a file created by libreoffice, more specifically librewriter, a MicroSoft Office alternative. )
So, I’m just gonna cut and paste. Enjoy.
As the Ulysses set down, Nico sighed. Omega, home to some of the universe’s biggest thugs, criminals, and gangs. If you wanted something that you couldn’t find otherwise, Omega was where you went. From red sand, to hilium (grey sand, distium) (drug that causes you to become catatonic), to weapons, to explosives, to information, and to people. It was at the edges of civilized space, and it showed.
As he and May got off the ship, they saw the binary nature that was Omega. Right next to extremely nice places, were extremely shitty places. Right across the street from massive hotels that catered to exclusive clientele, were slums. Everywhere they looked, they saw disparity. Rich people in their exclusive towers, and the poorest of the poor. What amazed Nico & May was that there weren’t revolutions in the streets.
They already knew the problem. Rich people don’t think of themselves as rich. Rich people just think of themselves as middle class, no matter where they started. Everybody else just needed to pull themselves up, by whatever means necessary. Only Aria ruled Omega with a cold blue steel fist. Whatever she couldn’t get with melee, she would get with guns. And she was a master at getting street justice, no matter what airs she put on. And Aria didn’t like anybody taking shit from her pockets, and she had a piece of everything on Omega.
They finally decided on an accounting place, a place where Tima used to work. A front for a sham. “We’ll buy all of your used titles! Need some extra credits? Sell your titles!” What they didn’t tell you was that they were more than ready to sell you into slavery, either to the Batarians or the “good” type, on Asari worlds.
They didn’t learn much at Cred4Titles. They did learn that Tima frequented a bar in one of the worst neighborhoods on Omega.
Tima relaxed in her special seat, as Nico walked in. She took a long sip through her pressurazation chamber. Sure, it look like a straw. It was atually a complex series of pressurazation chambers. After all, volus did live in a pressure greater than that of most species. A lot greater.
Nico stepped into the bar, and immediately scanned it. He spotted only one Volus. Tima. He recognized him by red stripe going down the center of his helmet, and green lights behind the eyes.
“Tima.” Nico said, as he and Mila sat down.
“What do you want?”
“Come on now, that’s no way to treat a guy who busted you.”
“You’re no friend of mine. As a matter of fact”
“Okay, okay,” Nico said interrupting him. “Well, lets put it this way. I need information, and I think you’ve got it.”
“Information is one of the most deadly things in the known universe.” He took another sip, and emptied glass. He looked down at the bottom of the ice filled glass. He took another pull at the straw, making a gurgling sound. He shook the glass when he was finished. “Information is costly.”
“I’ve got 2,000 credits. Whether your information pans out or not.”
“4,000. The same terms.”
“2,500. You haven’t even asked me what I wanna know yet.”
Tima set the glass down on the table. “Fine. What do you wanna know?”
“You hear about the bombing on the Citadel?”
“Ahhhhhh. Hah. You wanna know who’s behind it.” He said it as a statement. That’s gonna be about 40,000 credits.”
“Yeh. Why so much?”
“I have to look out for myself. If tell you and an info broker at the same time, I can charge you both. But this… this is special. Very secretive, and extremely concise. Only the best hackers and very few people have knowledge of it.”
He pushed the glass away from him. “But if I tell you, and then tell the info broker, that would make me a target of the shadow broker and the people responsible.” He put his palms on the bar, “Not a very good strategy, do you think?”
Nico sat stonefaced. “But if you just tell me, then that will limit your profit.”
“And, I’ve gotta cover my tracks. That won’t be easy.” The bartender brought Tima another drink. He took the empty glass as he left. He seemed to relax. He grabbed his drink sloppily, as some spilled. He settled into himself and sat back.
Nico didn’t have that much. He sat there with a dejected look on his face.
“I just want to find out who killed my mother. I don’t care what it costs. Tell us what you know, you’ll get your money,” Mila said. She sat forward, as if to double down on her point. “Spill it.”
Tima, swirling the ice around his glass, started out slowly. “Well,” he paused, and put his glass down. “Can I get a guarantee that you won’t send me back to jail?”
Nico was honestly surprised by the question. If Tima knew about the bombing, he surely knew about Nico getting forcibly retired? “Uhh, no. I was canned because of the bombing. I’ve gotta find this guy to clear my name and receive my pension.”
“I just want to see the fucker who did this pay.” Added Mila. She inched up in her seat, obviously eager to hear who did this.
Tima finished his drink. “Here’s what I know,” he said in a hushed voice. “There’s a female Batarian who I was in jail with. Council races have no idea what sex we VolClan are. I think it has something to do with what color our environmental suits are.”
“Batarians? I mean, I knew that they were still around, but I thought that they were destroyed during the Reaper War? I mean, I thought their numbers were in the thousands?”
“Common misconception. In fact, so common, it is almost a joke,” as the bartender brought him another drink. He waited for the bartender to leave before continuing. “No, the Batarians had several worlds before the Reaper invasion. Some say that they rivaled the asari for economic greatness, others say that this was held up by the slave labor that the Batarians held. Remove that slave labor, and a pillar has fallen. Ufortunately for the batarians, it was a main pillar.”
“At any rate, they had many worlds. Enael was one of those worlds. While the rest of Batarian space was decimated, Enael held out. They did so by electing a guerrilla strategy, ya know? Hit them where they are weakest, run from where they are the strongest. Or bomb them.”
“From what I understand, they were on the brink of starvation, exhaustion, they were running out of ammo, when the reaper war ended.”
“Huh.” Said Nico, he turned to look at Mila. “You know about any of this?”
“You mentioned a female.” Without turning her gaze from Tima.
“I’m getting there, I’ve gotta give you a history lesson, though.” He sipped his drink, which was empty again. He raised his hand to catch the bartender’s attention, and pointed at his drink. The bartender brought over another one. “Keep ‘em coming.”
“That’s gonna be at least 200 credits. Added on top of the 800 you already owe.” The human bartender said, matter of factly. “You ain’t got that much.”
Tima was quiet for a moment. Tima looked embarrassed, at least as embarrassed as one can look in an environmental suit.
Mila slapped down a credit chit. “He’s good for it.” Nico wondered where she ha pulled it from, much less where she was shitting all this cash.
“Anyway, so Enael survived the Reaper war. But one worlds when the asari, humans, turians, salarians, have dozens a piece.” He slurped his drink. “The numbers just didn’t stack up. Batarian relations with the Citadel and the Council weren’t great to begin with. And they got a lot worse after. They elected an batarian extremist.”
The bartender who was washing glasses, left.
“You ever hear of Balak? Fought with Shepard a couple’a years before the Reaper War.” he said, preemptively interrupting him. “Well, Balak came from Enael… Just to give you an idea of the kinds of people that you’re dealing with.”
Mila had heard about enough, “The female… Now.”
“Name is Navalic,” he continued. “She was the wife of the leader. She got busted smuggling explosives. Maybe for a job like the one you’re after. All I know is that it must’ve been one hell of a lot of explosives, and they were military grade, for the time she got.”
Mila leaned forward, “Batarian?”
“Hah, oh yeah. Do you know wha” was all he managed to get out before the shot rang out. Nico and Mila both ducked for cover.