Amala hooked up yet another one of the electronics she had removed from Nassana's house to EDI's interface - they needed to be done before the ship arrived at the Citadel. She looked behind her to find Nihlus watching her, while Saren stood behind him. The turians had spent much of the trip conversing in low tones[not that she could understand them anyway].
"Hey EDI, is there any translator program out there that could let us know what they are saying?"
"Well shit. Do you think you could make one?"
"With adequate reference material it would be possible to accurately translate their language."
"How do we get that?"
"If they could read a sufficiently long text that I knew the translation for, then it would be relatively easy to adjust your translator implant to allow you to understand them."
Shepard scrambled around in a storage bin looking for the novel she had started a few days ago. She pulled out a datapad and handed it to Nihlus.
"Can you read this?"
He glanced down at it and shook his head before handing it back to her. She pushed a few buttons and brought up the text now written in asari.
"What about this?" she asked, offering the device to him.
He looked at it and a soft sigh escaped him before he handed it back to her. She then clicked through all the language variants available for that text, but each one had the same result.
"Well, hell. They can understand us, but we can't understand them," Amala grumbled.
Nihlus pulled his collar down and with one talon he pointed out the small scar and bump hidden under it.
"Of course! They implanted a translator in you. Wait, that means your language must be encoded on it. EDI, can we use that?"
"It would have to be removed for me to access it, but yes, that would work."
In a flash, Saren stood between Nihlus and Shepard, a low menacing sound directed at her. Shepard narrowed her eyes at him.
"Listen, I'm not going to hurt either of you unless I have to invoke option one. So back the fuck off. I'm not like any of your previous 'owners'," she snarled at Saren.
Nihlus tugged on Saren's shoulder, a reassuring rumble emanating from him. Amala stood up, preparing to meet any attack the turian might choose to use.
"Listen, if you can't curb your impulses, you are likely to get us all killed. Or at the very least, force me to shoot you myself."
Saren's angry snarl was his reply. EDI intervened by spawning a small drone, zapping Shepard with a light electrical pulse.
"Fuck, EDI! I hate that damn thing."
"No fighting in the cockpit," EDI answered mildly. "They have no reason to trust you, Amala."
"You mean besides me saving them from their situation at Nassana's?"
"Yes, but how do they know you aren't taking them somewhere worse? They don't know you. Perhaps if you explained why you are risking yourself for them they might trust you more."
Still rubbing her arm, Shepard sank back down into the pilot's chair.
"Fine, you're right as usual," she grudgingly agreed. A small sigh escaped her before she began, "I grew up in a small settlement on the planet of Mindoir. My family was just a bunch of farmers."
Amala paused for a moment, ruffling her hair with one hand. She had avoided talking about her life before, and she could count on one hand the number of people who she had told this story to. Taking a deep breath, she continued on, both of the turians watching her intently as they listened. "I was sixteen when the settlement was attacked. Slavers, they said. If they were slavers, they were piss poor ones. Mostly they just slaughtered everyone, men, women, and children. I was one of the few who escaped. Everything I knew, everyone that mattered - I lost them all that day."
She stood up and turned towards the window, watching the stars go by.
"I joined the military as soon as they would let me. Hell, I would have joined immediately after the attack, but they said I was too young. So I waited and trained and read every report I could get my hands on. Even then, I knew it was just so much bullshit. They were too well armed, and somehow they just missed the Alliance patrol that had visited our colony. So I've been hunting for the truth ever since. Slavers who cross my path, well, let's just say I show them the same mercy they showed my family."
She swung around to see the turians' reaction to her story. Saren gave her a curt nod; apparently, he was willing to call a truce again. Nihlus's expression was harder to fathom, but he also nodded. Amala returned to plugging in the various electronics, letting EDI scan each one. She dropped the last piece back into the duffle bag and looked up to see the ship fast approaching the relay.
"Anything useful from any of those?" Amala asked EDI.
"Negative. Preparing to enter the relay; we'll be at the Citadel within the hour," EDI announced.
"Oh well," Amala sighed.
Shepard zipped the bag up and stood up stretching her arms and shoulders. The turians' eyes were riveted on the sight of the massive structure as the ship drew closer to it. She waited until the ship had entered the corridor and not much else could be seen before turning back to them.
"Have either of you been to the Citadel?"
Their heads snapped back to her and they shook their heads no.
"This place is huge, so stick close to me and keep your head down no matter what. There is no second chance, so be meek and don't react to anything. And if, god forbid, we run into another turian, don't try and talk to them."
At their quizzical look she continued, "They are broken. It was after a mission where I rescued a few humans from a slaver that I realized what the look on so called 'pet' turians was; they had been broken just like those slaves I had rescued. That's when I first began to suspect the truth, hell, I even tried to talk to one to confirm it. It was like talking to a wall - they are too well trained and won't react to anything. Those are the only ones you see, you two are the first I've come across that weren't so tamed. So yeah, all you would do is out yourselves and then we all will be in trouble."
She hoped the rumbling sound coming from them meant their agreement, or this was going to be a short trip. The ship exited the relay and in front of them, the arms of the Citadel stood open.
"Shepard, you'll be happy to know I took care of the ownership forms for Saren and Nihlus."
"Oh crap, I forgot about that. Thanks, EDI."
"You are welcome. I listed their previous owner as unknown, just in case."
Shepard checked her sidearm while she waited for EDI to dock the ship. She groaned when she spotted which C-Sec officer was waiting at her docking pad. Harkin, that lecherous bastard - she kept hoping someone would shoot him before she had to, solely so she wouldn't have to fill out the paperwork.
"You two ready?" she asked, and at their reassuring nods she opened the hatch.
The human male grinned as Shepard exited the ship, but his eyebrows shot up in surprise at the two turians that followed her out.
"Hey, Agent Shepard, you know you're supposed to have them on a leash."
"Harkin, I'm a Spectre; people try and kill me all the time, so I'm not going to have some damn leash in my hand slowing me down when I have to go for my gun. They are well behaved and will stay next to me. And if they don't, I'll take care of them myself."
Shepard locked the hatch behind them and moved to brush past Harkin. He stepped in front of her, forcing her to stop.
"Harkin, I have to go report to the Council and I'm tired and want nothing more than a hot shower and my own bed, so move before I move you myself."
"Come on Shepard, meet me for drinks later. It will be fun. You're all stressed out from too much work; come and unwind with me. I'll show you a good time," he said with a wink.
Maybe she could just graze him with a bullet, maybe then he would take the hint. No, better to do this with a minimal amount of fuss.
"No, Harkin, I will not meet you for drinks. I will never meet you for drinks. So now move aside," she said, her voice dropping down into a growl.
He took the hint and Shepard moved past him, the turians keeping close to her. The crowds parted around her, giving her a wide berth. She wasn't that imposing, but the turians at her heel, well they were. They made good time and she was happier than ever that she had chosen a place not far from the docks.
The click of the turians' talons echoed in the deserted lobby of the apartment building. She breathed a sigh of relief when they entered the relative safety of her apartment. The lights flickered on upon their arrival.
"I'll be back as soon as I can and I'll pick up some dextro take out on the way home. You guys are lucky I have a friend who is a quarian, so I know where to even find some. Look around, barring a new assignment we will be here for a few days at least."
She spun on her heel and left the two turians standing in her entryway.
Several hours later Shepard finally made her way home, her arms full of cartons of food. She let herself in, but found the flat eerily quiet. She groaned aloud, hoping they hadn't decided to venture outside.
"Nihlus? Saren? You still here?"
An answering call came from the back bedroom. She placed the cartons on the small table in the kitchen before venturing back to see what the pair was up to. She found them going through her weapons, well Saren was, Nihlus seemed content to watch and listen when Saren stopped to say something. Although now that she watched more closely, it appeared as if Saren was explaining the weapons to Nihlus.
"I take it you know your way around guns, Saren?"
He looked up and gave a curt nod before going back to the pistol he was examining.
Again, he gave a curt nod.
He nodded once more.
"Well fuck. They captured you and were trying to break you, right?"
He growled along with the nod this time.
"The next time we get somewhere isolated, you'll have to teach Nihlus how to use one of those. I have a feeling he'll need to know how before long. Come on, I brought dinner."
He carefully replaced the pistol before following the other two out to the kitchen.
The conversation over dinner was pleasant, well at least pleasant sounding. Amala made up conversations in her head to go with the sounds the turians were making; it felt weird though, being the odd one out. At least they seemed to enjoy the change in diet as they passed the cartons of different foods between them. The ping of an incoming message diverted her from her thoughts. She opened it up and it read:
Meet me at Flux, tonight, usual table and time. - W
'Fine' was her reply. She looked up to find both turians watching her closely.
"Message from one of my contacts; I need to meet him tonight. The bed in the room with my weapons, you two can use. Make yourself at home; hopefully this won't take too long."
~A great big thank you to Mordinette for beta'ing this! And thanks for all the follows, reviews and favorites. I'm happy so many are interested in this story!~