Good as my word, the next afternoon I dragged Liara along to view some apartments closer to the University. I had to wait for her though because she had been in class all morning. It was fine though. I woke up and felt the need to do something unusual. Maybe my memory was coming back but I found myself doing katas for most of the morning.
My back twinged quite a few times during the time I basically centered myself. I got the feeling that there was nothing I could really do about it. There was just something relaxing about the movements and things came back to me, names for each kata. I regretted I didn’t have a sword because some of them were designed for just that. I knew it but I couldn’t explain why I knew it.
I stepped out mid-morning to hit the café just across the street from the apartment building. The server brought me a coffee and I picked up a tablet with the local news. It had a story about the shot fired but the assailant was never found. I snorted at that and took a sip of the coffee as I continued to read. By the time I was done with my coffee and the overly sweet pastry, it was almost noon anyways.
I left the tablet on the table and a tip then walked out of the café and headed back up to the apartment. There I pulled out the pistol and took it apart, cleaned it then put it back together again. There was nowhere I could put it that wouldn’t be visible so I dragged over the smaller case that I brought with me.
It opened for me and I carefully pulled out all the cards and chits, setting them down off to the side. There was a folder I hadn’t noticed the day before. I took that out and opened it up. A single sheet of paper, by honest to god paper, fell out. I picked it up and furrowed my brows at it as I read it.
‘If you are reading this then it is possible that the person known as Alex Stefanos is alive. If this is not her, what is in the weapon cases should go to Alliance R&D to study. The credits should be donated to the Winthorp Foundation and the rest should be sent back to Earth: Greece to her father Akakios Sefanos. If Alex is reading this then I thank the Gods that I survived the encounter. There is not a lot to say.
I joined Them at the age of 26. At first the training was like any other military. I quickly gained rank in the agency as a highly skilled solider. I was sent to the research station and underwent gene therapy to make me an even better solider. What I learned of that time was that I healed faster, was stronger. My body could take more punishment than any man or woman should be able to. There is a lot I do not know about during the time only because it is blank to me. That is what worries me.
I dug into things and then I was assigned to a mission. Maybe it was because I dug into things that I was assigned. There was a warlord, a turrian that needed to be taken down because he was about to repeat the actions of the First Contact War on a frontier world. This was a lie and I almost killed a good man. If not for Shepard I would have been killed.
At this point I made the connection between what I had dug up and what had almost happened and it was not a good thought. They wanted to enact an event that would have kept the Human race from truly joining the galactic community. With Shpard and his friend’s help I defected with all the data I had collected, joined the Alliance Marines as a cover story with a rank of Lt. Commander and was assigned as an instructor for the N7 program.
Before I could travel to Rio I was requested to do a mission. If you are reading this then that mission either was a failure or a triumph. If you go to this extranet site 2343.8347-992201_7734, post a message with this phrase: Numb3rs. Then erase the address and burn this paper. Godspeed.’
Well that was interesting. It gave a little more info but not enough to satisfy me really. I tore the sheet up into pieces then set them alight in the sink. Once they were burned I washed the ash down the drain. The folder was put aside and I dug more into the case after, finding a shoulder harness that pleased me. I put it on and stowed the Karpov under my right arm for easy draw then made sure it couldn’t be seen with my jacket on. It was perfect. The jacket was just baggy enough that it hid the pistol.
The last thing in the case was a lid that when I opened it I found the armor. It was a dark mottled grey pattern that I knew was made to walk in the shadows with. I laughed when I noticed the darkened outline of the N7 that if you hadn’t been looking closely at it, you would miss it for the rest of the camo. There was a dark, non-reflective nameplate too and it had the world Schattenjager on it. My mind supplied the translation of the German easily enough. Shadowhunter. It was apt.
At that point I pulled up my omni tool, loaded a program and went to the address given. I posted the phrase and then shut down my omni tool. It beeped at me moments later and I glanced at the message that only said “mazel tov”. Good luck. I shook my head at that and lowered my arm briefly before realizing I should search for suitable locations around the university for me and Liara.
It only took me 10 minutes to narrow down the search to two locations. One location was on the south side of the campus and one on the south east side. I would ask Liara when she returned from class. I saved those two searches and then put everything back into the case. That I put off to the side and opened up the weapons case with the Titan, named Widow, and Punisher.
I first took apart the Punisher and cleaned it then put it back in its resting place. The Titan I took out reverently and set it down. I couldn’t stop touching it. To me this was a perfect weapon though the grey camo matte needed to be changed. I was thinking more along the lines of flat black. That I could fix in the future.
I slowly took it apart and could tell it had some use behind it. It had a mod for warp rounds currently on it and I smiled. I needed to acquire armor piercing rounds for the future, I figured. Never know when you’ll have to punch through metal.
After reassembling the sniper rifle I put it away and tucked the case against the wall out of the way. Checking the time, I figured Liara should be back soon. I was right, she came in within a half hour of me figuring that out. I stood up and grinned at her.
“Let me put my things away Alex. You seem eager,” she said after giving me a look.
Yea I was eager. “You bet,” I chirped.
Knowing how ready I was, she dumped her books on her bed and returned. “I assume you already have a few choices to look at, yes?”
Chuckling, I sent over the saved searches for her and she looked at them. “Hmm, this one is closer to the building I take classes in.” She pointed out the south east apartment.
We both looked at the one that Liara pointed out. I glanced up at her. “Shouldn’t we go look at it?”
Liara looked up a moment and smiled slightly before pressing a button on her omni tool and a 3D view of the apartment showed up. She touched it and spun it. “There is no need to be there. We can view it through this.”
Curiously I moved closer and touched it. It narrowed on the room I poked at and then I shrugged. “Well you tell me. You know better than I do about the price and what is there.”
Liara nodded and gave a thoughtful look to the room then zoomed out and pondered the apartment. “I think it might just be on the side of expensive but worth it for the location near the Archeology class buildings.”
I nodded and sat down, arching a brow at her. “Well I have more than enough to rent the apartment for a year. So I can split the rent.” I glanced over at the cases a moment then turned back to see Liara giving me a curious look now.
“I assume whatever is in that case is the reason why you can split the bills?” She finally spoke after giving it a little thought. She opened her mouth to ask something else and then shut it and shook her head.
I gave a nod and then pursed my lips at her refusal to speak. If she wanted to talk she would but I wouldn’t push her. “Well, is that a yes or no?” I gave her a smirk a moment.
“It is acceptable to me,” she answered. She pushed a few buttons on her omni tool and it beeped before going silent. “I’ve put an offer in.” The tool beeped again and she glanced down before a surprised look crossed her face. “It seems our offer was accepted.” She chewed her lip briefly at that.
“Well you might as well start packing up your stuff then. I can help since all I have is 2 cases and a backpack.” I rested my arm over the back of the couch as she turned away.
“Tomorrow will be just fine. I’ll start tonight and then when I get back from classes tomorrow we can move over. If you would excuse me, I am going to go study a bit.” She walked into her room and closed the door.
I let Liara know I was going out then went in search of a weapons store. After walking a bit I looked up the closest one on the omni tool then grunted and called an airtaxi. It was a bit of a walk a ways and the aircar would be faster. The aircar dropped me off right in front of Armax Arsenal’s store. I slid the credit chit and then walked into the building, glancing around. There was a turrian standing in the back with a datapad and an Asari putting things up on a shelf. Looked like a few pistols.
The turrian turned around and eyed me a moment before setting the datapad down on the counter and walking over to me. He looked me up and down a moment then his mandibles widen a bit. I got the impression he was trying to smile at me so I gave him one, minus the baring of the teeth, back.
“Welcome to Armax Arsenal,” his dual toned voice rasped out. “I am Yelthan, can I show you our latest stock or is there something you were looking for pass that?”
I listened to him a moment to get the dual tone quality and understand what he was saying. “I am actually looking for some weapons mods for a sniper rifle, a sub-machine gun and pistol.”
The turrian paused a moment then gave a grating laugh. “Ah, from one solider to another…,” he trailed off and glanced over at the Asari.
She stopped what she was doing, closed the box and then turned and smiled. “Go ahead Yel, I will take care of the front.” She apparently knew him well enough to know what was going to happen.
I just arched a brow at that as Yelthan motioned me to follow him. He opened a door behind the counter and walked through, closing it after me. “Which sniper rifle?”
“A Titan,” I answered and saw the look of disbelief.
“Ah, we don’t see that at all around here. Normal they tend to show only when non-humans need killing,” he mentioned and then walked over to a bench. With the press of a button the wall to our left moved, a few parts folding down into shelves and showing what they housed.
“As far as I know, I’ve never killed a non-human with it,” I said honestly. I really have no clue but for me, I can say I would never kill an innocent or non-human for that matter.
Yelthan shrugged and moved over, picking up a few different upgrades. “This is what I have for weapons at the moment but there are a few that I know of where you can go to get them if that is what you are looking for. I’d suggest a kinetic stabilizer or better for that Titan along with a rail extension. I know someone selling the scram rail upgrade if that’s what you want. And if you haven’t upgraded the sighting on it, you might want to do so. Ammo mods, you might want explosive to go with the rail but you will want a holdout like Tungsten though if you want to do some extreme immediately, I can give you the name of a supplier that sells Talon ammo.”
I gave him a surprised glance at the mention of the Talon ammo. Nasty stuff, on impact it breaks apart and shreds. I gave him a slow smile. “I might take you up on that offer. Never know when you need to put some sick bastard down for good.”
The turrian laughed. “Very true. While its frowned upon, sometimes you don’t want them to come back from a shot at all. I will give you the info for the rail and ammo after we are done here.”
“Ok. I’ll take the kinetic stabilizer, the improved sighting…. Do you have a heat sink or frictionless materials upgrade?” I wasn’t sure if he had either of them and he dug around and finally held up a heat sink.
“This is the best around,” he said and handed it to me.
“Hmm, I’ll need armor piercing upgrade for the sniper, I think I’ll save the shredders for the Karpov. Combat Optics too. A couple of the heat sinks. That’s about it.” I said thoughtfully.
“Alright, let’s get this boxed up for you.” He picked up the upgrades I asked for and then I followed him back out the front where he took a box and put each upgrade in.
I gave him the credit chit I brought with me to pay for the upgrades and he swiped it then handed it back. “Thank you,” I said.
“Here,” he said and typed something out then motioned at me. My omni tool beeped and I glanced at it. “If you go there and tell them I sent you, you should be able to get some of the better things that most retailers are not supposed to sell.”
I nodded. “Thanks for that.”
“For a human, you are pretty laid back. Most would see me and think bad ass military,” he teased and I grinned at him.
“Yes but we still held you off and pushed you off Shanxi,” I teased and he laughed.
“Yup, tenacious is the key trait your race has. Have a good day.” He turned away then and picked up the datapad to go back to what he was doing when I walked in.
I nodded to the Asari with a smile and then tucked the box under my arm and walked out.
When I got back I tucked the upgrades away in the smaller case and then went to find something to eat. Of course I figured out quickly that there was not much there and ordered something to be delivered. When I found there was a restaurant that made Greek food I had to try it. So I ordered a gyros and baklava to be delivered. I figured that Laria would show herself once she smelled the food.
This proved to be true when the food was delivered an hour later. I had just set the packages down on the table and she came out with her brows furrowed from the unusual but savory smell. Laughing at her confused expression I motioned for her to sit as I opened the cartons and slipped one over to her seat.
“Try it. It’s somewhat traditional food from where I am from on Earth. I was rather surprised there was a Grecian restaurant here already. These are gyros, pita filled with meats and vegetables. I assume local and olive oil. And this,” I opened the container with the wedges of baklava, “Is desert. It’s called baklava. Made with honey, nuts and a very thin pastry.”
“This is new,” she said hesitantly then sat down.
Laria seemed overwhelmed with the meal and I said nothing, instead I started to eat. While it was not the same from home, they had tried and it had an unusual flavor with the local aquatic life used instead of fish. Still it had a savory flavor and I enjoyed it. Liara took a cautious bite and chewed though after a moment she dug in with gusto.
“This is wonderful. Your Grecian foods… I think I want to try them all,” she said with one of those bright smiles.
“Maybe some time I will drag you back home with me and we can go to this little mezedopoleía that I know of that serves the best souvlaki and meze,” I said, the foreign words making Liara pause to study me.
“I think I would like that,” she said slowly. Neither of us was sure we’d get that chance though.
A week later the two of us were settled into the new apartment. I had to go buy a bed but it was delivered quickly so there was no hurry for me though I did have to go shop for more clothing so I blended in more with the locals. Something in Asari style made for humans. They tended to wear more robe like clothing and that was not something I would do.
Since my days were filled with nothing I decided to find a job that was part time. No one wanted to hire a human though. It wasn’t till a week after I started looking that I found a job at a bar of all places. Asari are natural biotics, they live and breathe the stuff in. After a long day of searching and not finding a job I stopped at the bar near the apartment. I settled down in the corner and the bartender came over and took my drink order.
Since there was no one in there she hung around due to her own curiosity as to why a human was living here. I told her how I had amnesia and had no clue of my past and how Liara found and helped me. Then unasked, I told her I was unsuccessful at finding a part time job. A group came in at that point and she left me to tend to them and I sat and drank my beer in silence.
The group was a rowdy one and I assumed since it was near the university that maybe they were the typical college teens having a good time. That was about as wrong as anyone could get, especially when three of the group headed over my way. I shifted and stretched out in my seat, taking a unconcerned sip of my beer as they approached. One of them strutted like she owned the place and she had these blue markings on her face and chin like a turrian would have.
“So, what’s a pinky like you doing unwanted here?” That was the strutter speaking with the smooth voice of an almost matron.
I gave her a noncommittal glance and took another sip of my drink before setting it down. “I was enjoying my peace and quiet if you must know.”
“Your kind is unwanted here,” she said and was about to backhand my beer off the table but I picked it up and she missed entirely. Her companions laughed.
Well fuck. This was not going to end very well. “Hmm, well I was minding my own business as a paying customer,” I answered and tipped the bottle towards her before taking a swallow, finishing it. “You on the other hand look ready to fight, yes?”
The two laughed at the third. “Selah, she’s got you there,” one of them said.
“I know that you idiot,” Selah snarled and turned back to me.
I stood up and set the bottle back down on the table. “It appears your mother didn’t teach you manners at all. Then again, I don’t expect Asari to learn them till they are close to 300 years old at least.”
Apparently that was the wrong thing to say because as her companions sniggered at my words, her hand lit up with that blue glow. And the next thing either of us knew was I had moved, grabbing her arm and hitting a pressure point at her elbow that made her yelp in pain. Then I turned, manipulating her arm in an angle that had her face pressed to the table.
“Now I would appreciate if you and your friends would go drink… not near me and leave me alone,” I said softly in her ear. She didn’t even struggle, too stunned from my ‘attack’ to do anything at all. I released her and she stood up, glaring at me as she rubbed her numb arm. “In about an hour the feeling should return,” I offered and picked up my beer, heading over to the bar to get another.
One of the others from the group waved at the bartender, pointed to me then herself as the three rejoined their group. The bartender had another fresh beer waiting for me as I set the empty down. “Well you know how to handle yourself,” the tender said. “This one is on Morlena. You impressed her at least.”
I nodded. “Tell her thank you then.” I picked up the beer and headed back over to my seat.
The bartender headed over with a tray of drinks and said something to Morlena, motioning towards me a moment then heading back to the bar. I sat there and stared at the window for a bit, taking a sip of my beer till someone coming up to me brought my attention back to the bar.
“You handle yourself well. I assume you are ex-military because only a hand to hand specialist could have done what you did to my sister.” Morlena sat down across from me with a smile. “This is my bar actually and Hinema told me you are looking for a job. I have an offer for you if you would like to hear it.”
I studied her a moment but I could feel no malice so I shrugged. “Well I won’t say I am not interested but I don’t dance or serve,” I said with a smirk.
Morlena laughed. “I like you. Just enough attitude and sarcasm. No, the job isn’t to dance or serve drinks. Your talent would be wasted on that. What I do need is a bouncer. The Sisters took my last one and I figure they will not even think of you as Eclipse material.”
I nodded slowly as I finished my beer. “So what would I be doing then?” Considering that the bar was sort of dead to the world except for her group and me and the bartender.
“Things pick up at night. We have bands and shows at night, entertain and close in the early morning. I need someone to help break up fights that happen and to watch the door when we need someone to do that. What do you think?”
I pondered her offer. It would give me a job, true, but it also was an overnight one. I pursed my lips a moment. “Well, I won’t say no to that actually. When would I start?”
Morlena smiled as she rose from her seat. “In two days. That’s when Erribos plays. I will need someone at the door to take cover charges. You get part of the nights take and free drinks. Though I would suggest non-alcoholic ones while you are working. And we will feed you. By the way, what should I call you?”
I smirked. “Alex. Alex Sefanos,” and I offered her my hand which she shook.
“Then I will see you in two days Alex. Come about 1800 and well get you settled in.” Morlena said.
“Oh, I will let you know that I carry a pistol at all times,” I said, not willing to part with the Karpov.
She paused a moment then laughed. “Of course, I wouldn’t ask my bouncers to rely on just their hand to hand skills.” Then she was gone, taking her time to reach her group and I blew a breath out with a whoosh.
It wasn’t something I had expected but I would take it. It was a job and it would keep me from being bored. I got up and brought the empty bottle over the counter and Hinema took it with a smile. “I guess I will see you in a few days,” I said hesitantly.
“Oh you will. Welcome to the Blue Land. I look forwards to working with you. Come see me when you get here. The bar will be closed down for a hour while we get things set up for Erribos. It will give me a chance to tell you what will happen. I tend and manage things here for Morlena.” She smiled at me again and waved after I nodded.