I'm Offered a Job
There was no way to sugarcoat it. Omega was a hellhole. A wretched hive of gangs, smugglers, scum and villany. You had to be a real hardass to live here. Or have a hardass looking out for you.
Fortunately for those underdogs, that's what I did for a living. For a price anyway (man's gotta eat and all that). Name's Logan Crest, better known in this cesspool as Ghost, the man-for-hire.
You were most likely to find me spending my days in my home, for lack of a better word, in one of the old apartment blocks not far from Afterlife, a nightclub ran by Omega's quote-unquote "queen", Aria T'Loak.
She wasn't a bad woman... okay, that's a lie. She was a very bad woman. But she was fair, in an tough-as-nails-mob-boss kind of way. I would try to avoid making too much trouble for her or her goons, and I wouldn't get spaced. Fair deal if you ask me.
The jobs were never too unsavory, strange given the condition of this place, and the pay kept me fed (most days).
The main problem was that due to my samaritan tendencies, I wound up being a big brother to the little fish in my street, and the majority of my money went to them.
In fact, our story starts with me going off to visit one of them now. A quarian named Kenn.
Kenn was a good kid, if a little naive. He was on a Pilgrimage, a sort-of coming-of-age journey all quarians have to do. The only problem was that Kenn wound up on Omega and lost every credit to his name within a matter of days, and was stuck selling secondhand tech.
"Hey Kenn!" I called as I came to his counter.
"Oh, hey Ghost" he greeted me. He seemed a little dejected. You'd never be able to tell by his face (what with their quarian suits and all), but you learn to tell through voice alone.
"Something up?" I asked him.
"It's... it's nothing. I don't want you to get in any trouble" he answered.
"Is it Harrot?" Harrot was an elcor shopowner with a salvage store nearby. Big guy, had a tendency to bully lesser shops into keeping prices high, making his own shop look cheap in comparison.
"Yes. It's him"
"What does the fat bastard want now?"
I never liked Harrot, or bullies in general, comes with the hero complex I have going on, but I tolerated the deal he had made with Kenn (or should I say strongarmed him into).
"He's been asking for cuts of any sales I make"
My blood began to boil at the thought "You've not got much to start with" I reminded him "Don't do it"
"I have to, Ghost" Kenn said "If I don't he'll shut me down"
"No he won't" I growled "I'll make sure of it"
If I could see Kenn's eyes, I probably would have seen them go as wide as saucers or something "Ghost, please don't do anything stupid"
"I'm not. I just going to go and... have a "chat" with the guy"
"Just... try not to hurt him too bad" he sighed
"Please, Harrot will agree to whatever I say long before things get violent" I smirked.
So off I marched to Harrot's Emporium. It wasn't that far a walk, and most people had the common sense to get out of the way when I came marching past.
I've been told that I look somewhat intimidating and well, maybe I did. But only to the people who didn't know me, or were too stupid to know any better. I was clad in a gunmetal grey armoured vest, vambraces and greaved boots, with a black undersuit for my torso and legs underneath. I carried a standard Scimitar model shotgun on my lower back and a sword hanging from my utility belt, along with the bog-standard frag grenades.
The most curious thing about me was my left arm, or at least my forearm. I didn't wear a vambrace on that arm, merely because the arm itself was made of metal and circuitry. How I lost the arm is a story on its own, but the funny part was that because Kenn made it for me, well, he didn't have the specs for a human prosthetic so he just kept a quarian design. My hand only had two fingers and a thumb. Not that I minded. There were rumours floating around about how I had stolen the arm from a geth that I had killed with only my other remaining arm. A badass story, don't you think?
I marched up to Harrot's counter, all business-like. "Harrot"
The elcor slowly turned to face me. "Tentatively excited: Hello Ghost, how may I help you?" That was a habit of the elcor people, prefixing whatever they wanted to say with whatever emotion they were feeling.
"I'm here to talk about the new "deal" you made with Kenn" I growled
"Confusedly: What deal do you mean, Ghost? I had thought you had approved of the deal I made with your friend?"
"I mean the new one" I clarified, my voice dangerously quiet "You're taking his money now. You know he barely gets customers due to the prices you've got him selling. I understood your previous deal, business and all that, but I'm not gonna let you take everything he has!"
"Accusatory: I don't see how it is any concern of yours"
"My concern? He's my goddamn friend, that's why! He doesn't have to enough money to give to you and keep his own head above water. I'm won't let you constantly bully him. The deals stop. Now. Kenn makes his own prices"
"Gloating: I'm entitled to ask whatever I want of your quarian friend, Ghost. My kiosk was the first to sell here, after all"
I had had enough by then, so I reached for my sword, my voice hissing with malice "Threateningly: I have a deal for you, Harrot. Leave Kenn alone, he makes whatever prices he wants, he doesn't pay you a single credit. Or, I'll gut you like a fish"
Harrot squirmed a little, nearly dropping the cigar he was currently chewing on "With barely constrained terror: You drive a hard bargain, Ghost"
I swung my sword, the blade cutting into the counter like warm butter "I haven't even started yet"
"Panicked: Okay, I will release him of his promise. Just do not hurt me please"
I smiled at him "Don't worry, I'm a man of my word" In a single fluid motion my sword was back in its scabbard.
"Cociliatory: To show you there is no ill will, I will even offer you a discount on my wares, should you feel like purchasing anything from me"
I walked away, satisfied at a job well done "Thank you, Harrot. A pleasure doing business with you"
When I returned to Kenn's shop, eager to tell him the good news, I found him talking to a trio of humans. Two women and a man, all armoured. Well, two were armoured, the third was one of the women wearing some catsuit which looked like a second skin. Now I'm not a perv or anything but I could not deny that it looked very good on her.
Kenn stopped talking to them the minute he saw me "Ghost!" he called excitedly "You'll never guess what? These humans are paying for my ticket off-world"
Alarms rang in my head. Call me paranoid but most people on Omega, hell most people in the galaxy would not give away the money needing for a ticket off-world, not without a price. "Is that so? And what is it costing you?"
"Information" Catsuit-lady responded with an australian accent. Judging from the guns they all carried, I figured it was serious.
"Miranda" The armoured lady spoke to catsuit-lady "I'll handle this".
She must've been the leader. She wore grey N7 Alliance armour, with a red stripe painted down her right arm. Her hair was red too, well red-brown (auburn I think?) and green eyes. There were faint lines running across her face, like scars.
"So," she spoke again "You're Ghost?"
They were too far away for my sword, so I rested my hand on the butt of my shotgun "Depends on who's aksing" I replied.
The woman smiled a little, as if I amused her "I'm Commander Shepard. I was hoping to recruit you for a mission I'm on"
"Wait" I started, the woman's name ringing a a metaphorical bell in my mind "Shepard as in first human spectre Shepard? The savior of the Citadel Shepard? I heard you were dead"
"I got better" she smiled
My hands dropped to sides at ease. If this was the same Shepard I was thinking of, it wasn't worth the fight "Why does such a highly decorated Alliance soldier and spectre want to recruit me, an Omega thug?"
"I'm told you're very good in a fight, and I'm taking whoever I can get" Shepard answered
"It's not like you're not used to taking whatever job you can scrounge" catsuit-lady, Miranda (sorry) muttered.
Pretending to ignore the comment I instead continued to speak "What's the job?"
"Human colonies are disappearing, and we think the collectors are involved" Shepard explained
"What are collectors?"
"A rare alien species that live beyond the Omega-4 relay. To stop them, we need to follow them to their homeworld"
"They're calling it a suicide mission" the man behind her added.
"You think I that desperate?" I asked the man.
"Pays well, kid. Take my advice, it's worth the risk, and you look like you can handle it" he responded. I got the impression he didn't compliment people often.
I looked at all three of them, then turned to Kenn "That credit genuine?"
With a lopsided smile, I spoke to Shepard "Well then, where do I sign up?"