While we waited for Samara, Thane told me about his family life and admitted that he hadn’t seen or talked to Kolyat in several years. Apparently, the assassinations he’d performed had brought the wrath of some psychos to hunt down his family in revenge. They’d taken it upon themselves to torture and kill his wife.
When Thane had found out he’d gone a little nuts, something even his controlled nature and training could not restrain. He’d done precisely what I would have: he had exacted vengeance slowly and with great fury on each of those involved, hunting them down no matter how long it took. By the time he’d finished, Kolyat, whom he’d left with extended family, had figured out that the whole thing was Thane’s fault and would have nothing to do with him.
About then Thane had begun to feel the effects of Kepral’s Syndrome and, in his fragile mental state, had decided that it was some sort of divine retribution for the way he’d lived his life and failed his family. That had started him down the path that had led him to join my merry band of misfits and miscreants. And so here we were.
As Thane explained that his seeking personal revenge went against his training and I argued that the morons had brought it on themselves, Samara swept regally through security. Whispers about her occupation rustled like wind in the grass as she passed Bailey’s now-empty desk. Garrus had thought to fill her in so at least we didn’t have to explain the whole situation. I didn’t know what would outrage her sense of justice more: the assassin we were trying to save or the corrupt cop who was helping us.
To keep her from killing the guy we were interviewing, at least until we’d gotten what we needed, I left her to chat about law enforcement with the C-Sec officers in the station. Thane and I headed into the interrogation room to play “good cop, bad cop” with Kelham. How it came to be that I ended up the bad cop in that game, with a professional assassin acting the good guy more convincingly, I don’t know. Someday I should probably think about what that said about my life.
Happily, Kelham folded like inferior armor. He stood p to only a few smacks upside the head and a short pistol-whipping during which Thane artfully appeared to be restraining me while getting in a lick or two of his own. The jerk could hardly wait to tell us that he’d ordered the hit on some anti-human politician named Talid who was in the midst of a campaign. Apparently Kelham thought the Turian’s chances good enough that assassination was worth the investment and he bragged that it cost less than a series of political ads and promised more-reliable results.
Talid was conveniently just finishing a little no-humans-invited rally and we had a perfect opportunity to do some surveillance. Thane, Samara, and I headed off to the district where he was glad-handing other Turians. We scoped out the situation from the catwalks above him, spreading out to cover as many angles as possible.
Thane assured me that the set-up was almost perfect for an assassin and I could see his point as we skulked, unseen, over the heads of the self-congratulatory group. Hell, I could chuck a few grenades down there and clear out half the district’s population before they knew what was happening—not that I would, of course. Unless they tried to kill me; then all bets would be off.
We split up, scouting the walkways for any sign of Kolyat and following Talid’s progress toward his own apartment. Finding nothing, Thane dropped to ground level and searched for his son while Samara and I kept watch from above. We clearly saw the politician send his krogan bodyguard into a store where the hulking man appeared to extort something from the shopkeeper.
I saw Samara’s blue flare from across the open court and had a hushed argument over the comm channel about whether her code required her to exact vengeance on a bad guy immediately or if she could wait until we weren’t in the middle of a freaking covert operation. To my relief she conceded the point and didn’t crush the pair of them right there in the market district, though looking back I suppose it would have stopped Thane’s son from killing anyone.
Our three vantage points would have been perfect, had Kolyat bothered to show up along the route. It turned out that the sneaky boy had been hiding practically in plain sight, behind a pillar just outside Talid’s apartment. Since we didn’t know where that was we couldn’t work back along the politician’s course. We simply missed the kid until he stepped out and shot the bodyguard in the head, thus negating Samara’s impatient restraint.
The little shit was a pretty good shot and I could hear some sneaky pride in Thane’s voice as he sprinted the distance, calling out in hopes of preventing his boy from doing something even stupider. Of course, he was too late to stop Kolyat from hauling the politician into his own apartment by the scruff of his scaly neck. That would have been too easy.
And so Samara smashed down the door with her powerful biotics in the time it took me to slide down the nearest ladder. A bit of a crowd had gathered around the dead Krogan but no one made any move toward the jagged metal hole through which Thane had already disappeared. I dove through it and skidded to a halt as Samara slid her cat-suited suaveness into place behind me.
I grabbed both of her hands and reminded her that, regardless of the fact that a hired killer was holding a gun to the head of a bad person, she should not simply vaporize them both where they stood…or knelt, in Talid’s case. Meanwhile, Thane and Kolyat were busy having the sort of awkward and yearning parent-child moment that reminded me how glad I was to be a childless orphan.
Finally I got tired of listening to the pair of them, on top of Talid’s whining, and shot the gun out of Kolyat’s hand. It was pretty simple, considering how little attention he was paying to anyone but his father. I had all of the time in the world to line up the shot, after all, but it was so unexpected to the three in the tableau that they looked at me like I’d shot the head off a mech from 400 yards. Actually, I doubted Kolyat could see much of anything with how hard he was crying.
I smiled in a perky sort of way, briskly rubbed my hands together, and opened my mouth to announce that it was time to leave when Bailey walked into the room. All I managed to say instead was, “Shit.” Samara stood neutrally to my left, as though she were watching a dull vid, while Kolyat and Talid continued to stare at me, open-mouthed. Only Thane reacted, nodding solemnly and saying, “Indeed.”
Bailey corralled everyone and had Talid and Kolyat hauled off to separate interview rooms. Thane, Samara, and I trailed him back to the station, I with my mind working furiously on how to get us out of this one. Personally, I would have just packed us off to the Normandy as soon as Bailey finished thanking us for preventing half of a crime, leaving the kid to his fate. I knew that Thane wouldn’t be worth a crap on my team if we didn’t so something a little more proactive, though.
Apparently the Captain had a bit of a soft spot for family drama and he tucked Thane into the interrogation room with Kolyat as soon as we returned. I decided to do what I could to help the boy and, in turn, myself. Keeping in mind that Samara’s strict code and close range required careful handling, I asked Bailey what would happen next.
He started making noises about murder trials and rolling over on the guy who hired him but I cut him short by asking, “Samara, would you describe what we witnessed Talid and the Krogan doing while proceeding toward that apartment?” She did. I pointed out that some low-grade police work would surely uncover the sort of extortion and coercion that branded the nameless Krogan a bad guy and that Kolyat could have been reacting to these actions. That would keep Kelham’s name out of it and lose Talid the election, as well.
Counseling and a sort of “scared straight” program working with C-Sec might, I suggested with narrowed eyes, be better for all involved. Happily, I didn’t have to spell out my threat. Bailey appeared to consider what I’d said and nodded reluctantly. I knew he’d have to do some tap-dancing in the press but I had his own misdeeds to hold over his head. Clearly he’d rather get down for the cameras than go down for being crooked.
Bailey outlined the light punishment to Thane when the more-successful of the assassins emerged from his fraught session with Kolyat. When I asked Krios the senior how things had gone he replied only, “As well as can be expected,” and returned in a sort of daze to the SR-2 with Samara. At least that spared me having to explain the situation.