Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 26

Everybody Wants Some

Once I’d discussed our location and itinerary with Joker and EDI, I secured the weapons we’d found and took them to Jacob. His eyes lit up, much as mine had, and he descended upon them with a glee I’d never seen from him before. He promised to check them out and have Mordin verify that no booby traps, infections, contaminants, or other dangers lurked.

From the “ooh, toys” look on his face I knew he’d try them out in the shooting range the second he believed they wouldn’t blow up in his hands. I hoped they turned out to be as deadly as they looked.

In the meantime, I thought I’d get in some quality looming time at the galaxy map. Exerting my autonomy with TIM had purged the worst of my anger but I was still feeling mean. I stepped onto the platform and mentally reached out, plucking suns from their clusters and popping them into my mouth like berries. Take that, Horsehead Nebula! I cried in my mind. Just as I was starting to relax I felt Kelly’s hand tugging the hem of my shirt. Still in my pretend world, I backhanded her with what biotic power I commanded, causing her to fly into the elevator and be deposited in some sub-floor below Engineering from which she could not escape. One deep breath later I found it in me to smile. “Yes, Yeoman?”

“You have urgent new messages at your private terminal.” She stared, wide-eyed and almost whispered her usual message. What the hell? I thought, then realized that the three or four crew closest were also casting glances from the corners of their eyes and probably had been while I brooded over the bright blue image. I suspected that EDI or Joker had recorded my recent chat with TIM and shared it with the crew. Good. Let them see that TIM doesn’t run this ship or me. At least it would save me having to meet with the team and explain that we’d been screwed for our own good, in typical Cerberus fashion.

“Thank you. I’ll check them in my quarters,” I replied. I suited words to action. Let her report to TIM how calm and polite I’d been. After I’d hung up on him twice in one day, a record even for me, an evaluation that I was keeping my cool would make the point that I was angry with him, not just pissy in general. I popped through my door and settled in to check my mail. Tucked between the others I found a note from Admiral Hackett asking me to set a memorial on Alchera at the crash site of my old ship and to find some evidence of the crew whose bodies had never been recovered.

I pouted a little over being put on grave detail, but then I brightened. Wait, I thought, another trip to a space hub where I might “happen” to run into someone from my “past”. I all but skipped out to the elevator and wished things were all on one level so I could traipse all of the way to the bridge. I’d trooped and tromped and even trammeled but I’d never traipsed before. I was rather curious to see how it felt. The brief bit I did across the CIC to the bridge felt pretty carefree but I wasn’t sure I was doing it right.

“Oh, Joker,” I sang as I stepped up behind him. He raised his eyebrows in surprise at my sudden change of mood. “I need you to add a stop on the Citadel to the itinerary.” I told him about Hackett’s request. Rather than pleased he sounded angry.

“Let me get this straight: they want us to travel halfway across the galaxy to pick up this monument and all of the way back to the Omega Nebula to drop it off for them? What is this, a cargo ship? Pft,” he scoffed. “let ‘em hire a mover.”

“Ah, but Citadel equals shore leave.” He cocked his head, considering that. “Give it a medium priority and slot the stop in when we’d have been closest anyway.”

“Aye, aye,” he answered sourly.

As so often happens on a small ship, word of our eventual destination spread like wildfire. By the time I got back to Kelly she’d already heard from Garrus with a request that I see him posthaste. I thought it odd that he’d go through “official” channels like that. When I arrived at the main battery where he was again fiddling with the Normandy’s weapons he explained his request. It seemed he had an old friend-turned-enemy on whom he wished to wreak vengeance and a tip had led him to the Citadel. I promised we’d kick the guy’s ass and left only to bump into Thane.

The man rarely emerged from his berth and it seemed every time he did I ran right into him. This time he had come looking for me, at least. As we walked back to the life support equipment room he told me that he needed to visit the Citadel as well, preferably sooner than later. It seemed he had a son who had fallen in with a bad crowd. I gave him the “yes, dear” response I gave everyone who asked for a favor, the one that sounds supportive and caring but commits me to nothing.

While I was there I remembered to ask him of what he was dying. He explained that the Hanar had saved the Drell from extinction on their desert home world by bringing them to the ocean world from which the floating pink jellyfish hailed. Of course, the Hanar then transformed the survivors into slaves by reminding them of it constantly and taking some of their children and training them from the age of six to do distasteful tasks, as Thane had been trained to kill, or ones physically impossible for the squishy overlords.

As a bonus factor limiting the power and population of Drell, living in the dank environment created the untreatable and incurable Kepral’s Syndrome which slowly filled their lungs with fluid and killed them. Thane seemed affronted when I put it that way to him but he was blind to the manipulation for which he’d been brought up to be grateful.

With this full plate before me, I asked Joker to bump the priority of our Citadel trip up to high. We swung through a few systems surrounding the mass relays along the way, picking up resources and making the occasional quick investigation of a crashed ship or abandoned facility. One had to keep up the flow of credits or one would quickly discover the ports on the fuel depots closed, after all.

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