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Tysyacha
02-16-2009, 07:30 PM
MASS EFFECT II: REAPING

Chapter VI: Peter's Perfect Plan

Peter McGann had heard all the rumors circulating around Citadel Station concerning Sha'ira, the Asari Consort. To some, she was an oracle, to others, a wise counselor, to still others, a talented poet, and to himself, a partner. True, their coupling only lasted for an hour, but it was long enough for the engineer to let go of his inhibitions and the asari to let go of her long gown!

"Sha'ira," gasped Peter, panting heavily, "I don't know what came over me. My whole world consists of electronics and machinery, and I--I wasn't even going to come see you in the first place. I thought you were a fraud, or else one of the solicitors around Citadel Station I've seen from time to time."

"And now?" asked the asari. "What do you think of me now, Peter McGann?"

"I think you're somewhere between a mystic and a mistress!" he laughed. "I may have lost my head an hour ago, but I haven't lost my mind. May I come see you again if I'm ever back on Citadel Station?" Sha'ira nodded warmly. "I sure hope so, because I don't know if I can go a week without those lips!" He shook his head. "What did you do to me? Are you asari able to read minds?"

"No," smiled Sha'ira, "but we can read the signals of commphones. Yours is vibrating at the moment." Sure enough, the standard red model issued to all Synthetic Insights employees was buzzing loudly inside Peter's jacket pocket.

"Excuse me," he said, buckling his belt quickly and fumbling to put his jacket on. He flipped open his company commphone, which listed a number unknown to him. Peter sighed. It was probably one of those annoying telesalespeople who made cold calls to anyone and everyone in the galaxy, hoping to hook some poor sap on the line of their company's latest cheap product. He knew, because before he'd been an engineer at SI, he'd been one of them. Cursing all the ancient gods of his ancestors and everyone else's, he began to speak.

"Hello?" Silence on the other end. "This is Peter McGann, Synthetic Insights."

"Hello, Mr. McGann." The voice was at once familiar and unfamiliar. "The last that I heard, you were a member of our Citadel Station branch. Correct?"

"Who is this?" Peter was more frightened than annoyed, and his crisp voice conveyed both emotions. Clearly this was no SI extranet telesalesperson.

"The station has seen much in the past two months. Tell me--do you know of a former Spectre named Saren Arterius? Or of his asari executor, Matriarch Benezia?" Peter froze. He had been working on a highly-classified project under his boss, Rihanna Dune, for exactly the same personages. It was all very hush-hush, this project, and it involved Peter's two greatest talents: weapons development and hacking. Saren said he'd wanted weapons for his Spectre assignments with the most advanced and accurate targeting chips that money could buy, and as for Benezia? She wanted techno-biotic mods, and Peter and his team could make them. Peter's heart began to race. He'd hacked into the files of absolutely everyone on rival teams (there was no such thing as "collaboration" at SI) in order to get the data he required.

"What is it you want?" he asked coldly. "Money? Your data files back?"

"How about your redemption?" said the caller. "Look, we've both recently figured out what omni-tools Saren and Matriarch Benezia are--or, should I say, were. The thing is, I know what was going on with Project Skadi. Your boss, the late Ms. Dune, was kind enough to come to Noveria and make sure there were no more witnesses--or, at least, no more suspicious managers such as myself. You see, when a certain Captain John W. Shepard began investigating Peak 15, my interest was piqued. I have my sources, and even though both beneficiaries of Project Skadi are dead, it's in its second stage."

"Second stage?" Peter was outraged. "How do you know this? Monroe, is this you? I swear, if I ever find on you, I'll snap your little pencil neck!"

"That would be difficult, considering my thick metallic exoskeleton," said the caller. "Listen. Project Skadi was cancelled according to official channels, but I know that you and Ms. Dune had been working on it. You've been sending your data back to Noveria, and luckily it was I who intercepted the latest communique. Ms. Dune no doubt told you that you'd be sending it to her boss, CEO Tir Black, but it turns out Black has his own boss: a batarian."

"So?" Peter suddenly felt his bowels turning to water. Batarians were trouble.

"If these two are not eliminated, and their...newest product line...along with them, then this galaxy could be in a whole lot more trouble than we thought." Dead silence followed. "The geth will pale in comparison to what I suspect..."

"Who are you?" Peter was absolutely terrified. "Will this phone explode now?"

"Have no fear," replied the caller. "Lorik Qui'in, most humbly at your service." Another pause. Lorik Qui'in was one of the best in the business, and one of the most trustworthy. "Come to Noveria if you want to save the Milky Way."

*****************************

"We are not going to Noveria," grumbled Medic Nina Ospidel. "Especially not on a lark. It sounds like you got in over your head on some stupid, illegal project for this 'Saren' anyway, and so why should we stick our necks out?"

"This isn't about just us," replied Yeru V'torym. "If what Lorik Qui'in says is correct, then the entire galaxy is in danger from whatever is being produced or manufactured in connection with Project Skadi. We need to listen to Peter and follow his lead, along with Commander Muress's, on this mission."

"I agree." Muress sipped his caf. "You may have done some shady work for Synthetic Insights in the past, but who says that the saviors of all organic life have to be perfect law-abiding citizens? As far as I know, you are on our side and will stay there no matter what happens. Am I right?" Peter nodded.

"Lipstick?" Nina gazed at a smudge on Peter's cheek. "Disgusting!" she cried.

Peter roughly wiped it off with the back of his hand. "Shut up, Ospidel."

"While we're sitting here going over possible leads and strategies in regard to what to do if we find more geth, you were 'having a little chat' with Sha'ira!"

Peter glared at her. "So, what did you guys decide your strategy was?"

Nina glared back. "Nothing," she grumbled. "Just wait and see if they appear."

"That's no strategy," said Peter, and then, "Moron. We need to be proactive!"

"That's enough!" cried Muress, and then, "We're all venturing to Noveria..."

machievelli
02-19-2009, 12:35 PM
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