Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 5

Jumpus Interruptus

Unfortunately, it was not time to go home. No sooner had I left the bridge than Kelly cornered me by the galaxy map and told me that I had messages on my private terminal. I must have looked confused, probably because I was trying to figure out why the hell she was checking something labeled “private”, so she explained again that it was part of her job as my personal assistant. The simpering way she kept emphasizing personal in that phrase promised that I would be finding myself locking her in a room with Miranda at some point in the near future to keep from lining them up for a double slap. The only personal assistance I wanted involved Kaidan and breaking in my new quarters.

I opened my messages to find that TIM had sent me more dossiers on possible recruits including the minor detail that he had purchased a convict named Jack for me from a prison ship. I already distrusted his choices after meeting Zaeed and now he wanted me to bring a violent criminal on board. Maybe I could lock him up with Miranda and Kelly. That ought to solve some problem or other and I'm sure Joker could pick up some extra credits broadcasting video of the results. Then again, a man long deprived might be susceptible to their feminine flaunting and they'd all survive the encounter. I derailed that train of thought before it could reach its repulsive station. The warden of the prison ship, some Turian named Kuril, had imposed a time limit on our pick-up which meant that my wool-gathering would have to wait. I fed the coordinates to Joker and he changed course accordingly.

When we got there Miranda insisted that they wouldn't release Jack to us unless she provided some super-secret password so I let her tag along. I asked Garrus to join us because the whole place gave me the creeps. The idiots guarding the airlock tried to disarm us and I thought we were going to have to shoot them before Kuril finally showed up and bragged that they could handle three armed guests. He blathered on about their security as he walked us into the main facility then disappeared to “arrange” our pick-up.

My radar pinged at that. Why would he send us across the detention area alone if he had already known we were coming? I signaled Garrus to keep his eyes open. Halfway down the hall we came upon a guy watching two other guards kick the crap out of a prisoner. I gave him a full dose of contempt on our way past and shook my head. I'll bet Zaeed would have offered to help.

When we got to what purported to be the pick-up area it was an empty office with a door on the far side. Thinking he was some sort of evil genius, Kuril addressed us over the intercom. Gee, a double cross! I hadn't seen that one coming. Garrus, Miranda, and I took out the dolts who popped through the door, too stupid to consider that they had to pass the bottle neck before they could actually approach us. We made our way to the “high” security area and released Jack, who turned out to be a thoroughly-inked and half-nude young lady in cryostasis.

No sooner was she thawed than she blew up half the room and ran off toward the airlock. I couldn't blame her but it made our job a lot harder. She'd wrecked the short route and we had to wander through half of the ship to find our way back to the Normandy. The idiot warden tried to stop us again and got a slug in the gut and a spare in his brain for his troubles.

Handily, Jack was pacing in the hall outside the airlock, ranting about Cerberus because she’d seen the symbol on the Normandy. At least we wouldn't have to go back and find her. I told her that I'd give her full access to the Cerberus files and she agreed not to try to kill us. What did I care what they considered classified? Miranda objected. Jack called her a Cerberus cheerleader, which made me promise to help her in any other way she needed. Having a new nickname for Miranda, and enjoying the expression on her face, was worth the bitching she was sure to do every time I saw her for the foreseeable future.

Once we were back on board and jetting away from the disintegrating prison ship, Mordin found me on the bridge. Before we'd even made safe distance he'd asked me to send down probes to planets in the nearby systems to pick up raw materials he needed for his research. Since he was working on a way to keep us from being frozen by the Collectors' little buggy friends it seemed more important than my trip to the Citadel.

With a sigh, I told Joker to do it. While the two worked with EDI to find promising sources and pick up what was needed I meandered back to the elevator. I'd intended to head for the crew quarters to evaluate some more of the folks I was trusting not to screw up my missions or my ship but Kelly intercepted me. “Commander, you have new messages at your private terminal,” she chirped at me.

“Yeah, I'll check them later,” I said.

“But they might be important,” she simpered with wide eyes. She may have been trying to look innocent, as though she had no idea what could be in them, but we both knew she'd already read the things. Maybe locking her and Miranda in that room with Jack wasn't such a bad idea after all.

“Yes, thank you. I'll check them in my quarters.” I started walking again but pushed the button for my cabin instead of Deck 3. At least I could have a little quiet time if I hid in there. The elevator button for Deck 1 responded only to me and anyone I cleared, assuming that EDI deemed it necessary to play by the rules and didn't just let anyone with a Cerberus-y enough reason up there. I hated relying on an AI that they'd programmed to enforce the rules of a corrupt organization. It seemed so stupid but what choice did I have?

I settled into the chair at my desk and booted up my terminal. I had a few notes, including a freaky one from a murderer who'd escaped from the prison ship. He promised to kill some people in my honor and would apparently carve my name on them so that I could tell it was him. Wow, what a guy. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Okay, I felt warm and nauseous. But the next one I opened swept him right out of my head. It was from Admiral Hackett and he needed me to come to the Citadel.

Huzzah! I had finally found a reason to make it our next stop without having to admit that it was because I wanted to find Kaidan and haul him into the elevator of the Presidium tower so that we could enjoy the ride. Well, that and I couldn't get away from this inept bunch of psychos fast enough. I bolted out of my chair and into the elevator. I was so excited to tell Joker that I completely forgot to use the intercom.

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