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"Chasing Shadows Pt. III"

//Collab. between LegacyCloud & AnnCarise//


Gabe smiled back, "This is a very useful skill. Thank you for giving me that package. And teaching me how to use it."


As Gabe spoke, Mischa's omni-tool projected a holographic dossier of the lead scientist of Project Generation. Gabe moved behind Mischa, reading the displayed dossier with a hint of surprise, "Dr. von Lauer worked with Conatix? She never told me that..."


"You knew her?" Mischa asked, turning her head back slightly to look at Gabe, "So... what's the deal with her and this Conatix then - is it relevant?"


Gabe shook his head, "She worked for Conatix R&D, not the BAat program. She probably didn't mention it given my history with Conatix, but I know not everyone who worked with the company is bad. Not even everyone on the program was, we had some good teachers before the turians came along." "And I wouldn't say I know her. Talked to her once when I took the teaching position and she gave me the rundown of the project, which is more or less what you had on that datapad."


Mischa looked back over the dossier, "hrmm... well there is nothing decisive here to indicate what I was hoping to find out - one way of the other. Perhaps I should come back to review the rest at a later time." She glanced back over her shoulder to Gabe, "So what's your history with Conatix - I'm... assuming they were something to do with your implants?"


"They're the ones who ran the BAat program, the training I told you about," Gabe responded. "My implants are also theirs, but I don't blame them for the L2 side effects, they were new to this kind of tech. It's better than the L1s, at least we could do some of the things the turian instructors wanted after we switched over."


"Fair enough" Mischa smiled, "Well I don't know about you Gabe, but I think I could probably use a decent rest before Omega. I'll go get my head some; just shout if you need anything though" She says with a friendly wave as she heads back up to the main living area of the ship.

Gabe nodded, "It's best we all get rested. We'll need all our energy for Omega." He followed Mischa out of the engine room, heading to the crew quarters where he proceeded to prepare an empty bunk.


Mischa awoke some hours later feeling the most well rested she had done in some time. After allowing herself the luxury of enjoying the warmth of her bed a few minutes more before rising, she looked around the crew quarters when she did finally swing her feet down onto the cold metal floor and saw that nobody else was around. Once suitably freshened up, she headed up towards the bridge to see if Gabe was there and check on their progress towards Omega.


Gabe was not on the bridge, but the pilot Aditi turned to Mischa as she approached. "We'll be approaching the relay soon," Aditi informed her. "I was gonna call you if you slept any longer than you already had but seems you're just on time. Don't be telling me biotics have some magical clock in their heads now."


"Magical clock?" Mischa asked with a slight chuckle, "Maybe Gabe forgot to tell me about that one. Still, since I'm here; mind if I hang around and watch while approach? I am somewhat curious about this Omega place having heard so much about it, so wouldn't mind seeing a first glimpse"

"Oh, we aren't going to Omega, you are," the pilot replied. "We've got cargo to pick up so we're dropping you off in the shuttle. Gabe's waiting in the hangar bay for you."


"Right" Mischa nodded, "Well then, this should be interesting; thanks for the heads up" She smiled turning to leave the bridge, though she stopped short of taking a step and turned back to her with a smirk, "Oh and, thanks for letting me know about that biotic alarm clock; I'll have to ask Gabe how to set the snooze button for it next time!"


Aditi chuckled and turned back to her console, resuming her work as Mischa left the cockpit.


Following a brief stroll down the corridors, Mischa soon found herself back in the hangar bay where Gabe was already prepping the shuttle for launch. "Are we all set or... I mean, is there anything I can do to help? Retrieve things from the armoury or anything?" She asked as she approached Gabe and the shuttle.


"We're just waiting for-" Gabe was cut short as the hangar bay doors slid open once again. Rogan stepped into the room, wearing pieces of rugged armour. While Gabe's plating was polished and clean, signs of wear and tear were not only visible on Rogan's equipment, but so striking that it was the first thing one would notice about it. Much of the black paint had fallen off and revealed the original grey underneath, giving the armour a mottled black-grey camouflage. A long gash ran diagonally across the largest chest piece and the others showed dents and scrapes everywhere. Some of the damage had been roughly patched up using dark grey metal that did not quite match the black of the paint or grey of the material. The one shoulder guard he wore had a hole that penetrated through both sides, bullet damage that was not yet repaired. "I'm not late, right?"


Mischa turned to see Rogan approach; her eyes widening slightly not only at his unexpected presence but also the visual statement that he was. Her mind flashed with wonder at at the possible stories behind his armour's wear and tear, "Rogan, you're coming also?" She asked, almost instantly turning to Gabe with an inquisitive look on her face.


"Just on time," Gabe said to Rogan before addressing Mischa. "Neither of us have been to Omega. We need someone who knows the place and Rogan is the only one on this ship with that kind of experience. Plus, we might find ourselves needing a little extra muscle." "You can't rip things apart with your mind all the time," Rogan chuckled. "Sometimes you want the good old guns n' bullets." "Speaking of which," Gabe stepped into the shuttle and returned with a Phalanx pistol, the weapon which he had been holding for Mischa when the guards at Len's house would not let her enter armed. He handed the gun to her with a nod. "You'll need this."


Mischa smiled as she took the pistol, "I wish I didn't believe you, but from everything I've heard about this place..." she turns to Rogan, "Something tells me it's a good thing you're joining us". With that she stepped on board and found herself a seat.

Rogan boarded the shuttle behind Mischa, taking a seat opposite her. Gabe sealed the craft and moved to the pilot's seat, checking over the launch preparations one more time. When Aditi announced that they were approaching the Antaeus system, the hangar bay doors clunked open and with the press of a few buttons, the shuttle hovered into the air before flying out into open space. After a brief FTL jump they had already found themselves next to the relay. As Gabe inputted the shuttle mass and selected their path through the mass relay system, Rogan took an M-7 Lancer rifle from his back, examining the weapon. The rifle was clearly used and customized, but unlike the armour, it was not battered and appeared relatively well taken care of. There was a degree of customization, as indicated by the scope and barrel modifications as well as the red-black paint job.


Mischa watched Rogan with an undeniable air of curiosity about her, "That's quite the impressive piece of kit" she commenting while inclining her head towards the Lancer, "You must really be expecting trouble on Omega on bring that?" she asked looking back up to him; her head tilted slightly in an expression of her scientific curiosity.


Rogan shrugged, "Depends on what district we end up going to, but always better to be safe than sorry. Gun like Ally will probably scare trouble away if nothing else."


"She's the only one I've stayed with since meeting her, so thought it was a fitting name," Rogan explained. "Wasn't always mine, got her off a Blood Pack goon I gunned down. Helped me keep his buddies at bay so I kept her. Best gun I ever got my hands on." He took a brief glance at the display in the passenger section as they made their first relay jump, being propelled across vast distances of space in a split second. Rogan didn't even observe for long enough to see them emerge on the other side, seemingly having no interest in the scenery.

"So... you named your rifle..." she surmised, idly taking the Phalanx from her hip and looking it over as she wondered what it's name would be. Mischa was however considerably more distracted by the relay jump, resting the pistol in her lap as she craned her neck to get a better view.


Rogan also peered forward but to look closer at Mischa's pistol, "Thinking about naming yours too?"


With her attention snapping back to the shuttle interior, and the pistol lay in her lap; Mischa flushed slightly with the realization that not only had she briefly allowed herself such a silly indulgence - as she felt it - but was caught doing so too, "I, err... well I mean; I have no history with this thing like you and, err... 'Ally'. How exactly do you go about naming a weapon anyway?"


"I dunno," Rogan shrugged. "Just comes to you. Not something you force, just...when you do something great with her you'll know what to call her."


Mischa again lifted the pistol from her lap to study it's angles in front of her, "Well... apparently we at least know it's a girl. I always wanted a daughter too!" she smirks, holstering the weapon once more and looking briefly to Rogan again before turning her gaze forwards once more to see how they're progressing as she didn't want to miss the Omega approach.

After a series of mass relay jumps, the Kodiak shuttle finally arrived in the Omega Nebula. Gabe kept the forward view on as they pulled away from the blue glowing relay and headed for the infamous station of Omega. It was not yet visible from such a distance, though as they approached, a faint red dot could be seen from the corner of the screen.


Mischa squinted at the display as the red dot became apparent, "What is that?" She asked, calling to Gabe up front.


"It's the Omega 4 Relay," Gabe turned to Mischa as he explained. "It's one of those relays where we don't know what's on the other side." "Lotta rumours about this one," Rogan added. "They say strange aliens come out from it from time to time and take specific people back." "All we know for sure is that ships go in and never return," Gabe continued. "No one wants to cause another First Contact War so we won't be finding out where this leads anytime soon."


Mischa looked between Gabe and Rogan as they explained. She initially found it surprising that such a mystery remained so close to the populated regions, though as they continued their explanations she quickly realized that perhaps there are some secrets to the galaxy that are best left unchecked. She glanced ahead once more at they drew closer to get a better look at this curiosity.


Gabe diverted course slightly as he flew the shuttle by the relay, giving them a closer view of this mystery. The Omega 4 relay appeared physically identical to every other mass relay in the galaxy, save for the glowing red colour, which contrasted with the cool blue of other relays across the galaxy.

"Never actually seen this up close before," Rogan muttered. "Does look kinda creepy."


"I do not envy the poor soul who's job it becomes to investigate that thing properly!" Mischa chuckled as she admired the sight; craning her view ahead in anticipation of seeing their approach to Omega itself.


The shuttle veered again as it resumed its course for the station. A mere few seconds passed before Omega became visible, drawing closer and closer. A large city built into what remained of an asteroid, the station was a dramatic contrast to the lush world of Cybele that they had come from. The uneven rocky top, the red halo of light and the dull grey metals of the exterior gave the station a dark, dystopian feel that matched its infamous reputation.


"Welcome to the bowels of the galaxy," Rogan commented as their shuttle flew past the asteroids surrounding Omega and beneath the looming dome of the station.


"Wow..." Mischa commented as it came into view, "...They really don't do themselves any favours when it comes aesthetics do they"


She continued to watch as they drew closer, noting that the traffic controller who coordinated their approach sounded Batarian too. She swallowed hard as they anxiety swelled within her - could it really be as bad here as everyone's told me - she wondered.


The inside of the station was gloomier than the exterior. Their shuttle was shrouded in darkness, surrounded by tall structures made of what appeared to be the same dull metal as the exterior hull. It was nearly impossible to tell which building was industrial and which was residential, they all bore the same, rough look. Even the vehicles that flew by were old and rusty, though if one had to guess, the people who could afford to fly an aircar were probably among the more privileged of the inhabitants here.


The Kodiak turned into a rectangular entranceway on the side of one of the towers and came to a halt, hovering above the floor of a medium-sized hangar bay. As they started to land, Rogan stood up, returning his rifle to his back. He turned to move towards the exit but paused, instead reaching beside him and ruffling Mischa's hair. "You look too pretty," he smirked. "Gotta blend in or we're gonna get robbed the moment we step off the shuttle."


Mischa's shoulders slumped and a quirked frown formed on her face as Rogan once again ruffled her immaculately styled hair. She blew upwards at the strands now falling across her face and tickling her nose; reaching up with both hands as she stood, she attempted to straighten it out once more. Taking her place just behind Rogan, she patted herself down to check she had everything while occasionally diverting a hand to tend to a stray strand of hair falling back across her face, "Well, here goes nothing then"


The hangar they had landed in was rough and rusty, as was expected from the appearance of the rest of the station. Another shuttle was parked some distance beside them, this one highly battered like its surroundings. Several skycars were also laid out around them, and a raggedly dressed turian laid underneath one, a box of tools by his side as he appeared to be fixing the old vehicle. Rogan paid no attention to their surroundings as he simply led the way out the hangar and through a series of corridors that led into a lift. Once the doors of the lift slid closed, it offered a modicum of privacy, within which Gabe spoke. "Where do we go to find information on our Shadow Broker agent?" "Well, this place is run by an asari crime lord, Aria T'Loak," Rogan explained. "If ya want info about who's here, she's the one who probably has that sort of thing." "We find her, then," Gabe nodded. The bigger, muscular man chuckled, "You don't just walk up to the boss and demand an audience. But that's why you brought me. We can't talk to Aria, but I can take you to the second-best thing."


Mischa looked to Rogan expectantly, "You have an in with her second in command?" She asked, clearly only seeing the one literal meaning of his statement. She staggered slightly along with Gabe as the lift rattled and shuddered through a slightly warped section of the shaft, sharing an uneasy glance with him which just heightened Rogan's entertainment at the two on their first visit here.


"Not an in," Rogan shook his head. "His name's Patriarch. He's Aria's advisor and former boss of Omega, but nowadays he mostly sits around telling war stories. I'm just taking you to where he usually is, anyone can talk to him." "And he'll give us the information we need?" Gabe asked. "Well...he might need some convincing. I'm not exactly the smooth talker." "Great..." Gabe muttered as he exchanged glances with Mischa, as if he was wondering which one of them should do the speaking.


Mischa sighed as her shoulders slumped slightly with the resignation to the fact that she would be doing the talking, "Fine... what do I need to know about this 'Patriarch'?" she asked as they continued through the enclosed corridors which served as city streets in this district of Omega.


The trio turned a corner to a staircase which led them to an open walkway. Though it gave them freedom from the enclosure of the walls, the air was the same staleness as before. The view that greeted them was also no different from everything they saw on their way into the station- more of the dull metallic cylinders that made up most of Omega. Looking up from their position, the rocky surface of the asteroid on which the station was built was visible. If the network of dark corridors and alleyways did not make the residents feel oppressed, the stone they had for sky certainly dig the feeling in. The industrial style buildings dangled from it as if they were an upside-down city; indeed, upside-down was the most perfect description one could give to this decrepit place.

"Well first off, the name Patriarch's supposed to be some kinda joke," Rogan chuckled as he explained. "Never got it myself. Always thought it sounded pretty cool."


"Does he have a real name?" Gabe continued inquiring.


"Beats me," the bigger man shrugged. "All I can tell you is that he's really old. Used to rule this place back in his day, or as close as you can get to ruling a lawless backwater station. Rumour has it Aria challenged him to a big duel and won, so now she owns the place."


"And she kept him around as a second-in-command. An adviser?"


"Not second-in-command, I think one of the batarian fellows have that job. Don't know which, I can never tell them apart. Advisor's his official position but he's more like a trophy. A krogan pet, can you imagine that?" he let out another chuckle. "Sad end for a guy like him. Probably why he spends his day getting wasted in the club."


Gabe narrowed his eyes at the description, "So we're supposed to get our information from a old drunk krogan."


"Hey, you know what they say. Drunk people are the easiest ones to get to talk."


"Sounds charming to the last..." Mischa added with another sigh, "I've not really dealt with any Krogan before but heard they can be a bit peculiar. Any suggestions for how to approach him?"


"Appeal to his warrior's honour, I guess," Rogan suggested. "That's not actually bad advice," Gabe gave the other man a surprised glance. "I didn't know you could read people." Rogan shrugged off the compliment, "It's just what I hear all the time when it comes to getting along with krogan. It's either that or headbutt them, but I don't wanna go home with a cracked skull today." Gabe chuckled, "Fair enough. But your first point stands. He's an old man whose time has come and gone. This Patriarch isn't Aria's second-in-command, but we can make him feel like he is. Convince him that by helping our search he can still shape the future of Omega, or the galaxy, or something. It shouldn't be too hard, Shadow Broker agents are a big deal. If he feels important from helping us, then he might just help us."


Mischa nodded as she listened to the two speak. She had only heard about Krogan, and what she heard did not paint the picture of someone she wanted to confront. Nonetheless, she found herself somewhat put off by what she was hearing, "Wait... headbutt? You have got to be kidding me - I can't do that!" she trailed off and looked to Gabe, "...can I?"






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