Night 1

First meeting

Something cold and wet hit her on the face.

“Ugh!” Ky’yn yelped in shock, snapping awake. Looking up from the improvised bed she made that morning, she saw that the roof of the abandoned building she was sleeping in was leaking. Great, rain, she thought with a grumble. Looking out the window, she noticed it was sunset, so no point in trying to get more rest.

She stretched, briefly, feeling the greater tension in the skin of her left leg, which was heavily scarred on the back left side due to an old injury. Hopefully the weather didn’t cause that leg to act up too much: it was bad enough she often walked with a slight limp. Once she was fully up, she did a quick scan of her surroundings. It seems this storm only recently started, for while she could see many spots on the floor where rain had seeped through, they weren’t very large.

Ky’yn did a quick check of her few belongings, which only consisted of the clothing on her back, a hood jacket she used as a blanket and her omni-tool. Her jacket was thankfully dry, so it would give her some protection from the storm. She was more concerned about her omni-tool, however.

She slipped the device over the stump of her left forearm: a result of the same incident that gave her the scarring on her leg, and ran a diagnostics check. Ky’yn had activated a self-repair program on it before going to sleep that morning, but from the diagnostic results, it did little good, for there were still a number of problem sectors in the software. Unfortunately, she doubted she would be able to find someone that can repair or replace it in this day and age, especially the prostatic hand program.

The rumble in her belly told her she had more important things to worry about than a damaged omni-tool. Ky’yn had been unsuccessful in finding a meal the last couple of nights and was nearly at the limit of her reserves. She had to find a meal tonight, before the hunger drove her to do something she’ll regret. With a sigh, she slipped on her jacket and headed out into the rain soaked streets, hoping luck would be with her tonight.

A sigh escaped past the zig-zagged lips of the figure standing hunched over a work desk. Reimutus was in the process of cleaning and checking his handgun, an action he'd done literally thousands of times, but continued to do for two reasons. One being the obvious benefit to the firearm itself, two being the opportunity for the vakar to let his mind wander, or more often, ruminate.

For too long he'd been tolerating the ways of his sect. Decades passed by as he watched the Elder pull the strings of a criminal organization known as the Red Varren (OOC literally came up with that on the spot, ideas for less lame names are welcome XD). It was the 'perfect' plan: allow the crime ring to flourish, but not overly so, and the sect could control the crime flow while maintaining a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet. What's more, some of the sect were actually MEMBERS of the organization. Discretely providing intel to the sect and, what's worse, luring in misled turians into joining the 'family', only to be fed upon once they actually committed a crime.

Reimutus shook his head as he finished the routine of checking his pistol. He placed the cleaning kit in its place under his mattress, continuing to mull over the past. For many years he'd considered leaving the sect for a more 'clean' one. One that still placed the importance of lawkeeping and protecting innocents over all else. But he'd had too many comrades in the sect, including influence-able young vakar whom he'd still hoped to change the minds of. What's more, there was no way he'd incur the wrath of the Elder should he have left. He didn't want an entire sect of vakar AND a criminal organization hunting him down.

Then the Reapers arrived. Dashing the sect's numbers by large fractions at a time, until only a few remained at all. The sect was growing weaker as the Varren grew out of control. It couldn't wait any longer. There was no way he would continue on aboard a sinking ship he never liked sailing. The time had come for action. The time had come for him to escape. The time had come for–

*GROWL*

“Yes yes, I know. I understand now, you're a stomach, yes,” Reimutus chattered out loud, he would often fall back on humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanism to hide his agitation, “I'm leaving I'm leaving, don't get a hernia”

He slid the handgun into its leg-holster and, using his ability, made them both invisible on his leg. He also picked up the police-grade baton that had appropriated from a crime scene after a feeding, turning it invisible in turn. To the naked eye, Reimutus looked like an unassuming everyday turian with pale yellow face markings, a gray jacket, and black pants. Little would any outsider know what kind of creature he really was. He stepped out of his dwelling and headed out into the cool evening air, ready to find a Red Varren member to feed on.

After a couple of hours the rain had eased up a bit, much to her relief. Hard rainfall made it unlikely for citizens to be out and about, which meant less criminal activity in general. Of course that depended on the criminal type: the more organized crime types didn’t care what the weather was. Hell, they typically used weather like this to cover some of their activities. The Black Syndicate certainly did.

The thought of that particular group brought a sneer to her face. They were the ones that ruined her pre-vakar life. The Syndicate had taken everything from her: her job, her family, her arm….

A commotion ahead brought her back to the present. Just ahead she could see a young man and an older woman in front of a store, the pair having a heated discussion, though the ‘heat’ was coming more from the man. Ky’yn sidestepped into the alleyway between the store and another building, so she could listen a bit without being spotted.

“I told you, I don’t have the money right now!” the woman was pleading. “Business has been bad.”

“You know we don’t care about excuses,” the man said threateningly. “We don’t get our share, things happen….”

“Please don’t…this store is all I have left….”

A shakedown, Ky’yn thought, growling faintly. She had witnessed, and stopped, many such shakedowns back home. That this guy was doing this right outside meant he was likely every confident he wouldn’t be stopped. Well, he was about to get a surprise: she finally found a meal….

“So THAT'S why it was such a pleasantly cool evening, stupid rain”

Reimutus had taken cover under the awning of a closed shop, hoping to keep from getting soaked in the downpour. It was bad enough he was hungry, getting wet would only add to his troubles.

Soon enough the rain subsided and the vakar set out, using his second power to mask the loud splashing of his feet in the street puddles. He could be singing at the top of his lungs and no one would hear a sound outside of his 'quiet bubble'.

That opportunity didn't present itself. Reimutus's attention had been piqued when he heard yelling in a nearby alleyway.

“Listen lady!” A vicious male voice rang out, “I came here for our money, and I'll be damned if your crying slows me down!”

“Please! Just give me a few more days!” cried a female voice, shaking on the verge of weeping.

“I've had enough!” was the angry response.

“Yeah you have,” Reimutus whispered, more to himself than to the assailant. “I think you're past the point of no return here.” The vakar withdrew his gun and moved with a hasty –but still inaudible– pace towards the commotion.

“Dinner bell's ringing!” He thought eagerly.

Ky’yn whipped around the corner, just as the assailant pulled out a knife. Having a good guess as to what he was about to do, she charged. Just then though, she felt it, the presence of another vakar. Oh fuck, she thought. I must have wandered into a sect’s territory. Unfortunately, she had already committed to her course of action, movement wise. With her mind now distracted, she forgot to actually tackle the guy when she got in range.

The result was a somewhat comical collusion. She still knocked the guy to the ground, his weapon flying from his hand, but it left her dazed. By the time she got her senses back, the man had managed to get up and was hoofing it, apparently spooked by her act. “I’ll be back lady!” She heard him yell back.

Oh no you don’t! Ky’yn thought with a growl, scrambling to her feet. For a second she remembered there was another vakar in the area, one that may very well kill her for intruding on his or her territory. This may be my only chance at a meal, she reminded herself as she took off after the man. If I don’t feed tonight, I may as well be dead!

Reimutus almost screeched to a halt at the sight he'd just witnessed. Another woman had come flying out of nowhere and charged headfirst into the male assailant's ribs. He fell to the ground, dropping the knife he must have procured. The unknown woman stood there, looking almost dazed, while the man scrambled to his feet and took off.

“Nuh-uh!” Reimutus thought, snapping out of his own confusion. He took off after the mystery woman, who'd also regained her composure and began her own chase for the gang member.

“'Scuse me lady!” He called, rushing past the shop owner. With his joke said, he turned his brain on towards more pressing matters. “It's a vakar” he inferred, “But she's not ours, this demands more attention”

Times like this I wish I had a power like earth control, Ky’yn thought, already starting to breath hard, more due to her energy levels than her physical shape. She was gaining on her target, but slower than she’d like given her condition. If she didn’t catch up to him soon, she’ll have to give up the chase due to exhaustion.

Something else nagged at her mind as well. She still felt the presence aura of the other vakar, when she was certain she had already covered the distance where she would be out of the range of even an elder. That could mean only one thing: this vakar was in the chase as well. Spirits…give me a fucking break already!

For a couple of seconds, she ‘pulsed’ her own aura, hoping in her weakened state it would reach the other vakar. Normally she kept it suppressed out of habit, but she decided to make an exception. For one, it would let the other vakar know that she knew he or she was there, and second, it would like this vakar know she was famished and really needed this meal. Hopefully, this vakar would be sympathetic and let the intrusion slide. With the luck she’d been having lately, however, that may be asking for too much….

Having done all she could in regards to the other vakar at the moment, she focused on catching her meal.

Slow down, darn you! he wasn't getting tired, but he was never the fastest runner. He had kept a distance behind the woman, waiting to see if she would make a move. If she had some offense ability, she'd have used it by now, unless it was too dangerous, or maybe–

Then he felt an aura pulse. Weak it was, and desperate-feeling. She was reaching out to him, implying that she was saying “I'm here, I know you're there too. I'm starving

The message was received loud and clear. Reimutus stopped in his tracks and raised his pistol. He took careful aim and fired. He had no fear of hitting his vakar sister, decades of practice had made him an expert marksman. The gunshot made no noise thanks to his ability, and likewise the mobster was silent as the bullet pierced his thigh, though he tried to scream out.

Gotcha bastard He thought, pleased with his work. Now it's time you and I had a little chat His eyes turned toward the woman, who'd stopped to stare at the now downed criminal.

What…?

She wasn’t sure if the man tripped, had a very bad leg cramp or what, but the man she was chasing suddenly dropped to the ground and was now clenching at his leg. Even weirder was that he didn’t scream, as far as she could tell. Figure it out later! she chided herself.

Ky’yn reached down and grabbed the moaning and cursing man with her one hand and dragged him into the nearby alleyway, out of direct sight of any witnesses. By now the initial shock of pain was fading, as the man started to struggle with her directly. “Be still will you!” she hissed, activating her omni-tool. With a specific twitch of her stump, she activated the prosthetic hand program, then slammed the fist of the holographic hand into the man’s temple, knocking him out.

Knowing the other vakar had to be close by, she knew she had to feed with haste. Kneeling down, she quickly she exposed the man’s neck and bit down, feeling almost immediate relief as the blood started to fill her stomach. She was grateful vakar biology allowed her to breathe and drink at the same time, as she was terribly out of breath. A part of her felt a bit guilty though, as the other vakar would lose out here: even if she didn’t kill this man, that vakar won’t be able to feed on the ‘leftovers’. She was in someone’s territory, after all…

Oh you have been a very bad boy, haven’t you? Ky’yn thought as the man’s memories came to her, distracting her. Hmm…Red Varren…sounds similar to the Syndicate back home…wait…. Her eyes widened in shock. Vakar are among their membership!? It’s possible the group didn’t realize what they truly were, but the thought was still disturbing to her. So much so she stopped feeding.

“What vakar in their right mind would join a criminal outfit…?,” she muttered, still in shock.

“Dirty ones,” Reimutus answered the rhetorical question out loud. He had watched and followed the female vakar as she dragged the wounded punk into an adjoining alleyway. “Vakar who put their own desire to feed over what's best for the community” He stated bitterly.

He had holstered his gun and held his hands outward as a display that he meant no harm. He kept his baton hidden, just in case the woman became hostile after her meal. Can't be too careful

“I'll bet that guy was a Varren, not the animal the gang” He gave a small guffaw, trying to break the tension. He also allowed his aura to touch that of the woman's, proving to her that he was the other vakar that she'd sensed. “Don't worry, you can have that one. Unfortunately, there's still plenty for me to get my hands on”

Ky’yn startled a bit at the voice, reflexively jumping back a bit. She started to activate a lighter program on her omni-tool, but the device decided then to glitch out and shut down. Damn thing, she thought as she watched the other vakar, a male around her age, physically at least.

Perhaps the omni-tool failing on her was for be best, as the male vakar wasn’t making any threatening moves toward her. He even put away his pistol, which explained what happened to the man she just fed on. His aura agreed with his body language, it telling her he was more curious, though slightly cautious, of her than anything else.

She straightened up, but kept her own body language non-threatening as she listened to him. Ky’yn felt disgusted at what he told her: vakar that were more concerned about ensuring a food source were little better than rogues. “Yes, he is a Varren,” she confirmed, using her one hand to put down her hood: the rain had pretty much stopped by now. “One worthy of death from what I’ve ‘read’.”

From his tone he doesn’t approve of the…dirty vakar, as he put it. So he’s a proper vakar. she thought. There were questions nagging at her though. For instance, was he in the same sect as the ‘dirty vakar’? If so, why hadn’t he done anything about them? She felt she was in no position to ask, however, seeing he had the advantage over her. Instead, she opted to explain herself.

“I am Ky’yn Nekispo,” she said with a faint bow. “Of the sect on the Revati colony. I have been trapped here on this planet since the start of the Reaper War. Since then…I’ve been simply trying to survive the best I can, while staying true to our ideals.”

Reimutus watched as she pulled the hood off of her head. Not a bad eyeful “Revati?” Reimutus repeated, scratching behind his head fringe. “That's quite the excursion you've made then, then again, the Reapers uprooted a lot more than buildings when they were around”

He paused and looked her over, taking note of her stump of an arm, but tastefully not mentioning it. He wondered what kind of gadget she'd tried to activate from her omni prosthetic. “Reimutus Stensig” He introduced himself, tilting his head down in politeness. “So your sect is still intact then? Mine's seen better days–actually, depends what you mean by better”

He folded his arms across his chest and gave a slight sigh. Not exactly knowing what to do next. That is until his stomach rumbled loudly. He snickered at the other vakar, again trying to ease the mood. “Well, you needed that guy a lot more than me, but I could still go for a bite. Do you… want to come along?”

Well, that explains why I didn’t hear or ‘see’ him until he spoke, she thought with a faint smirk. The ability to silence sounds AND go invisible would have been very handy against the Syndicate

The question on her sect though, dampened the good mood she was in. As far as she knew, no one on her colony had survived. She was about to mention this when Reimutus’ stomach made a rather loud protest. She found herself suddenly giggling along with him.

“Wha…?” Her mandibles flicked open briefly in surprise when he asked if she wanted to come with him. “You are certain you want me to come along?” she asked. “Your elder may not approve of outsiders like me tagging along.”

Reimutus smiled internally to himself that he'd gotten the seemingly stoic female to laugh with him. Great, that's more like it. He finally let his guard relax a little, letting his crossed arms rest at his sides.

“Depends,” He mused, “If you're in the market for a new sect I'm sure my Elder would be be itching to get new members under his wing, we're spread thin enough as it is, but…” he drifted a little, shook his head, and put on a more cheerful expression. “I'd rather we talk more after I've eaten, brain never works right when I'm distracted”

He turned ninety degrees away from Ky'yn, preparing to set out again. “I wouldn't mind the company, maybe if we're lucky I can catch myself another Varren

Distracted by hunger or a pretty face? she thought, smirking slightly. Ky’yn could always tell when a guy found her attractive, at least her face: it was almost always a different story once they saw the rest of her. The shallow bastards.

While she was relieved that his elder would likely accept her, it didn’t escape her notice the slight hesitation toward the idea. She got the nagging feeling that something was ‘wrong’ with his sect and it likely had to do with the dirty vakar she found out about earlier. It was something to discuss later though, as the man needed to feed himself.

“I could use the company myself,” she said. “Let me finish up here first.” Without waiting for a response, Ky’yn turned her attention to the unconscious man she fed on. She flipped him onto his side, facing her, then planted her left foot on his head. After making sure her foot was in the right position, she suddenly kicked out with her right foot, connecting with the man’s left shoulder.

There was the satisfying ‘crack’ of the man’s neck snapping.

She wasn’t done yet though. Ky’yn knelt down and touched the body with her one hand and used her secondary power. Within seconds, the man’s body felt like it had been in a freezer and any coroner would have trouble pinning down a time of death. It was a tactic that kept the Syndicate shills from pinning member deaths on her many, many times….

“OK, I’m ready,” she said, raising back to her feet and joining his side.

She was rather pretty. He thought as she spoke. He noticed the scarring on her face, the same side where her arm was missing. His thoughts were interrupted by the loud snapping noise. Never seen it done that way before

He watched with interest as she touched the body, he tilted his head slightly. As she said he was ready he motioned for her to start walking with him.

“You probably figured it out, but I'm more of a stealth-oriented vakar” He began, “I can create fields that can render things invisible, inaudible, or even both at the same time, very handy for concealed weapons” He gestured his arms around himself and Ky'yn, “You and I are already covered, no one's gonna hear or see us”

They walked for a bit before Reimutus piped in again, “So what was that with the corpse touchy thing? You didn't put him in rigor mortis or something did you?”

Now that they were in full light, she could see him clearly for the first time. He was somewhat dark colored, a med-dark grey all over. The coloration certainly fit with his ‘stealth’ theme, though it did make his pale yellow colony marking stand out a bit. On the other hand, those same colony marking helped bring out a nice set of blue eyes. Overall, he wasn’t bad looking, reminded her a bit of…No, not now, she thought, mentally shaking her head. Now was not the time to think of him.

So instead she focused on what he was saying. “Impressive,” she said, slightly awed, after he mentioned that they were both under his influence field. Most vakar I know can only extend their influence fields a few inches: he must have really put a lot of practice into it. she thought to herself.

“Close,” she said in response to his query. “I have the ability to control the temperature of my immediate surroundings, or whatever I touch. What I did was draw out all the heat from the body, which will make it impossible for a forensics team to determine time of death by temperature, at least. My other ability is to control fire…but that has the annoying limitation of needing an existing flame to use. Normally I use my omni-tool to produce a flame for me when I need it, but it’s been…glitchy since the end of the war. I may have to go back to a mechanic hand with a built in lighter again….”

“Ah, that's interesting” Reimutus didn't bother hiding his interest, “I'm all for anything that makes a feeding less traceable by prying eyes, and I'll bet that ability's really good in bed!” He stopped himself short, noticeably berating himself internally. “FOR HEAT!” he called out surprisingly loudly, “No need for blankets! And, eh, fire's cool too!”

He placed his face into one of his palms and grumbled, continuing to walk. Smooth Stensig, smooth. “Well, now that I've made an ass of myself let's see if we find a nice burglar or something for me to have”

It wasn't long after that that the duo heard the loud noise of glass shattering. The source was that of the front window to a store that sold weapon accessories. A young male turian was carefully climbing over the broken glass and into the shop. Looking to steal the weapon parts, or trying to find the safe? Either way, Reimutus had found his meal ticket.

“Can you wait here?” He asked Ky'yn, “I'll keep you hidden, this won't take long” He unhooked the police baton from his belt and readied it. Quickly, he followed the intruder into the shop. Place like this has got to have a silent alarm going off, better make this fast Without hesitation, Reimutus stalked behind the theif with baton in hand. One swift movement of his arm–

CRACK! The criminal fell to the floor, knocked out cold from the blow to his head. Finally! The vakar eagerly exposed the man's neck and bit down. Common crook He perceived from the memories, Trying to prove himself to the wrong people, but not the Varren, hmm

Soon he stepped back out of the shop and towards Ky'yn. “No need for your thermostat power here” he joked, “Jail will do him some good I think. Now…” His voice got more serious, “Should you and I find somewhere private for a real chat?”

Discussing desires

Ky’yn’s jaw dropped open slightly at his slip up, then snickered at his clumsy attempt at recovery. Honestly never thought about using it for ‘that’, she thought, smiling, a slight blush on her cheeks. Sure, she’s used it to get particularly grabby assailants off her in a scuffle, but not for anything more intimate. She’ll have to keep that in mind. At least Reimutus was honest about himself, a trait she liked.

When they found the burglar, she simply nodded and leaned up against the wall to wait for him. Admittedly she was a slightly disappointed she won’t get a chance to show off her fire control abilities. What I am thinking? she thought with a sigh. I got a meal, but I should spare my energy for when I really need it.

Either way, it didn’t take long for Reimutus to return, as he had said. “A safehouse, if your sect has any,” she replied to his question. “Unless the safehouses wouldn’t be actually safe, if you get my meaning.” Ky’yn sighed and rubbed her forehead at her own slip. “Sorry,” she said softly, keeping her voice purposely low for this. “I got the impression earlier that you don’t exactly trust your sect.”

“Well you're not wrong” Reimutus said sheepishly, “When I mentioned the dirty vakar, that was them yeah” He scratched under his chin, visibly thinking to himself. “There's an old hospital we've used before, was abandoned by regular turians during the Reaper presence, there shouldn't be anyone there now”

As they started walking, Reimutus began explaining his sect's situation to Ky'yn, he'd figured by this point she was trustworthy enough. “Elder Erapax (OOC: I came up with that just today, basically means “There was peace”) had set a plan in motion centuries ago. Why struggle to feed a sect when you can kill two birds with one stone? He set sleeper agents into various crime rings. It was his idea that he could control the flow of crime while finding easy meal tickets for his own. He'd foil gang activities at the source, effectively slowing the crime rate while allowing the gangs to thrive and draw in new members,”

He growled low to himself, “But over time he got more paranoid that the mob bosses would catch onto the convenience that their operations were always stopped. Erapax began allowing crimes to slip through the cracks and into the population, to protect our sect's seeming innocence within the gangs. A lot of innocent people have been hurt or worse,” His mandibles twitched angrily “It's unacceptable!

Not long after their conversation the two vakar reached the hospital. It was old and decrepit. Obviously abandoned for many years, maybe even decades.

Ky’yn growled lowly at the history she was given, wordlessly agreeing with his assessment. “Yeah…I wouldn’t want to be part of a sect that has their priorities backwards,” she sneered. “Yeah, it’s the Elder’s job to ensure the sect’s safety and such, but the safety of turian society is supposed to be above even that.” With a sigh she added. “My sect knows all too well what happens when highly organized crime group gets wise to vakar presence. I’ll…tell that story when we get to the hospital you mentioned.”

Said hospital was now before them, having not seen better days. There was some damage, most likely due to the recent war, but it looked otherwise intact. Looking at the ground, she didn’t see any signs of activity, at least at this entrance. A place like this would be a magnet for homeless turians and other kinds of squatters, especially after the war.

As they entered the doorway that lead to the main lobby, she discreetly spread her hand, using her temperature control ability try to determine if they were alone or not. Unfortunately, she hadn’t practiced that particular variant of her power much, so she couldn’t tell anything beyond how cool the building was. Thankfully, thanks to Reimutus’ abilities, if there was anyone else here, they would be more likely to get the drop on them rather than the other way around.

“Kind of creepy in here,” she muttered, mostly to herself.

“Yeah, this place has surely seen better days” Reimutus wiped his foot across the floor, leaving a streak against the dusty floor. “I used to want to be a surgeon y'know, didn't pan out that way though” He said thoughtfully.

They entered the waiting room at the front of the building. The area showed no signs of activity for years. Reimutus picked up two chairs and set them down facing each other. He sat down and gestured to Ky'yn to take the other.

“So yes, Elder Erapax would surely love to meet you. I could practically guarantee that he'd want to recruit you soon as possible. Imagine how helpful your corpsey ability could help keep us hidden from Varren scrutiny. But…”

He looked her dead in the eye, something he hadn't done since they met. “I don't want you joining my sect. In fact I'm sick of my sect. If anything I'd ask if you'd take me with you wherever it is you're going. I want out, desperately.”

He shook his head, realizing he might be coming on too strongly. “Sorry,” he began, “I forgot you had your own story to tell me?” He rested his arms on his knees and watched Ky'yn with interest.

Ky’yn blinked, a bit…overwhelmed…by the desperation of his statement. It took a few seconds for her to realize she had been holding her breath and she finally let it out in a long sigh. “To be honest, I wouldn’t want to join it anyway after what you told me,” she said bluntly. “Hell, my Elder would have probably loved to have you…and afterward organize the sect to wipe out the bad vakar in yours. Unfortunately, there’s a big problem with that…and I don’t mean the distance involved either.”

She paused briefly, collecting her thoughts. “But first…the story I wanted to tell. To start with, Revati is not officially a colony: it was established as a prison planet to keep the worse of our criminals. Highly classified type deal, I believe. Naturally such a place needed support staff and guards and they brought their families with them. Considering the risks involved, the Hierarchy actually reached out to some of the larger vakar sects to help out: it was one of the few times the Hierarchy admitted to our existence, though vakar positive relations with the general public was at an all-time high back then.

“Anyway, four sects agreed to split their sects and had the split offs establish themselves on Revati, each one covering one of four large penitentiaries. They served as the night guard on the outside perimeter, with permission to feed-to-kill on any criminals that escaped. There was also arrangements to provide fresh blood to the sects for the times when criminals were behaving themselves. It was…vakar paradise…I wish I was around then, but that was long before my time.”

Reimutus listened intently to what Ky'yn had been telling him. He'd literally known nothing of Revati's history, only that it existed, and that it was a long distance from his home. “Sounds a lot like my sect's situation honestly, only a lot more noble. I wish I knew what it was like to have the public's approval of my actions. I haven't even talked with normal turians in ages,” He quieted himself and let the female finish.

“Vakar paradise…” he echoed when she made a pause. “See that's exactly what Erapax said. A world where vakar wouldn't worry where their meals came from. It would've been nice for our jobs to be paid for by friendly means. I'll bet it was nice to get blood packs for free,”

So, why is she so far away from Revati then? What happened that drove her away? He leaned forward again, ready to hear the rest of the woman's story.

“Indeed…unfortunately, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end,” Ky’yn said grimly. “It’s not clear how it happened, but a criminal organization that called itself the Black Syndicate got a foothold in the main city. Then, by bribing and corrupting city officials, they grew in strength and by the time the sects realized what was happening, it was too late. The Syndicate struck out at the sects, using their knowledge they gained from their insiders to strike when we are at our weakest. Most of the vakar population was slain by midday….”

She paused for a moment, shuddering at what the event must have been like. “My Elder was one of the few senior vakar of on the planet left once the dust had settled. He managed to gather the scattered vakar that survived and establish a new sect, making sure our Sanctuary was kept secret this time. Unfortunately, allies became fewer and fewer as the Syndicate continued to grow in power, using fear on the civilians to keep them in line. Those that resisted they eliminated. There was…little my sect could do, we were too few to combat both the Syndicate and keep watch over four penitentiaries. On top of it all, getting new vakar into the ranks was extremely difficult due to how much the Syndicate’s influence had spread. To give you a clue as to how hard: I’ve been a vakar for 128 years…no new vakar have been added to our ranks since me. And well…” She nodded toward her stump of an arm. “You can probably guess why I joined their ranks.”

Ky’yn paused once more, briefly reflecting on the series of events that led her to become a vakar. More than one of those memories were particularly painful. “I left Revati in an attempt to prevent the Syndicate from spreading to other worlds. I had just killed the scouting agent that was on Palaven when the Reapers arrived. Unfortunately…the last I heard…the population of Revati was…wiped out…I have no sect to return too….”

She crushed her eyes closed, fighting back the sorrow. Too much she had lost in her life…too much….

He could feel the sorrow emanating from her as she told the rest of her story. He could sympathize with the sense of dread that comes when one watches their sect weaken as a crime syndicate got stronger, but for them to actually outright hunt them down? It was inconceivable to think how horrific that would be.

He'd had his arms crossed as he sighed and looked up at the ceiling. Mulling over all the information he had to take in. So the Syndicate's responsible for her becoming a vakar. It wasn't by choice, it was by necessity. Otherwise she would've…

He tilted his head down again to see Ky'yn with her eyes squeezed shut in anguish. It struck him hard to see her in pain, enough that he leaned forward and began to reach his arm out to touch her. He hesitated a moment, but then placed his hand on her shoulder. Once again he looked her straight in the eye.

“I'm sorry,” he said in a mournful tone, “I know what it's like to lose members of your vakar family. It's like a wound that can't heal, won't heal. And you take it with you forever”

He gave a long sigh as he let her shoulder go, returning back to lean back in his chair. He folded his arms again and looked like he was thinking hard. At last he said “A dirty sect is better than no sect, at least for the time being. I can take you back to our Sanctuary, it won't be long before the sun comes back up, and you should have a place to stay.”

Her eyes snapped open at his touch, it having startled her briefly. The direct contact was not unwelcome, as it helped remind her that she wasn’t alone. His offer of taking her in despite his own desires to escape however was triggering….

”Ky’yna, please…join them,” he was saying. “It’s the only way you’ll escape this with your life…you know the court is….” “Absolutely not!” She snapped, slamming her fist against the glass that separated them. “Your father and his ‘friends’ took everything else from me already: I will <b>not</b> give up my principles just for survival sake! I’d rather die!” “Ky’yna…please…,” he pleaded. “You’re the only good thing in my life…I don’t want to lose you.” “What’s more important, Vidan?” she hissed. “My life, or the lives of the thousands of innocents that ‘they’ threaten and control?” “I…” “I’m done with you.” She hit the control panel and the glass between them went dark.

Ky’yn gasped faintly at the memory, realizing the parallels between Vidan and Stensig. History seemed to be repeating itself. She knew she made the right choice back then and now she needed to make a similar decision. It wasn’t hard to make.

“I appreciate the offer, Stensig,” she said softly. “But I cannot, in good conscience, accept it.” Ky’yn straightened up and now looked him in the eye. “I hate the Syndicate and crime organizations like them with every fiber of my being,” she explained. “To join a sect, even temporarily, what willfully ‘works’ with such people would be like throwing oil into water: I would clash with them immediately. Due to such inevitable clashes, you may be put at risk: I am assuming they have no idea how much you want to leave, correct? I….” Her voice cracked a bit as she added softly. “I don't want you to end up like Vidan….”

Snap Decision

Was it that impossible for her to make an exception? He surely had no intention of trying to get her to join his sect. He didn't want to drag her down with him. “I understand,” Reimutus said quietly. “You want to hold onto your ideals stronger than I have, and I can respect that”

Then he heard the catch in her throat as she made her last plea. What has she had to go through? “Vidan?” he repeated, “Who's–”

“Reimutus Stensig!” A shrill voice suddenly shattered the silence.

“Dammit! Hide, now!” Reimutus hissed to Ky'yn. He turned to face the source of the voice, a puddle in the corner of the waiting room. That must have been there because the rain leaked through this old roof. How much did she hear?!

A blob shape began to rise from the puddle. As it rose it shifted and gained form, eventually resulting in a translucent liquid shape of a female turian.

“Evening, my lady” Reimutus greeted the pseudo-vakar, faking his politeness.

“That's Master to you”

“Sorry, Master my lady” He corrected, sneaking in a verbal jab.

The liquid turian gave a 'harumph'. “Why haven't you returned? Surely you've found a meal by now.”

“I walked too much, had to take a sitdown for a while”

“All the way out to the hospital?”

“That's why I got tired” He replied, snickering at the fact that he nailed his joke

The water-woman growled, noticeably getting agitated. “Belligerent as always, you are to return to the Sanctuary at once. The sun will rise soon, and you have training duties tomorrow night”

Reimutus took a long pause. He glanced behind him, looking towards Ky'yn. He looked back toward the illusion in front of him and growled lowly to himself. I better not regret this “No, I don't think I do, in fact–” He whipped out his pistol and shot the phantom's center mass, shattering it into water droplets that fell back to the ground.

“I think our business is over with” he said as he holstered his pistol with a flourish.

She had known the moment she uttered his name in a moment of grief that Stensig would be curious about him. Ky’yn was preparing herself to start to explain, when that voice interrupted them both.

Shit! Ky’yn was already moving toward the best place to hide; the desk at was once the check in desk, a split second before Stensig told her too. She vaulted over it, then knelt down behind it. It was unknown to her at the moment if the other vakar was really there or was just a projection of some kind. As a precaution, she made sure her presence aura was fully suppressed. After that it was a couple of tense moments of listening and waiting.

Then there was the ‘pop’ of Stensig firing his pistol, followed by a distinctive splash of water. So it was a projection, but that didn’t make her feel any better. If his sect only suspected of his feelings before, they certainly knew now. History was no longer repeating itself, as Stensig just did the one thing Vidan never could; leave, but now he was in danger and she had to take responsibility for it.

“Well…,” she said standing up from behind her hiding place. “Now that you have effectively put in your ‘resignation’ notice, I think it’s best we leave this place. I get the feeling they won’t take kindly to this.” With a sigh, she added with a bit of regret in her voice. “I’m sorry if I pushed this onto you before you were ready, but I promise to do everything I can to ensure you don’t regret it.”

Reimutus' triumphant elation was quickly replaced with crazed panic. Fuck, fuck, FUCK. “I just shot my superior–well it wasn't her it was her double but I SHOT it! I don't know whether I'm excited or scared shitless!” He paced a circle around where he stood, but eventually calmed down a little. Ky'yn rose up from her hiding spot behind the check-in desk.

“Yep, they know I'm finished with the sect. Might be a day late and a dollar short, but at least I'm finally out, FINALLY!” He forced himself to smile at Ky'yn, but it was a weary grin. “Don't be sorry,” he responded to her apology, “This is something I should have done ages ago. The only thing that worries me is what's going to happen next.”

He walked over to the check-in desk and placed his elbows on the counter. “I don't know if they'll come after me. If we're lucky they'll just call me a lost cause and let me wander and die alone. But their numbers are thin enough, I may be too useful for them to let go” His mind trailed off to memories of himself aiding vakar allies with his stealth abilities. “In any case we can't stay here, they'll likely be coming to find me, and I don't want them discovering you.”

She would have found Stensig’s mix of celebration and panic funny if it wasn’t for the seriousness of the situation. “Aye, I don’t want to be found by them either. Best we not linger here and get going…like yesterday.” She started walking toward the entrance, gesturing him to follow. “Plus I don’t want to find out if your former superior is one of those that can teleport via water…or any other members of that sect for that matter.” Ky’yn paused in her stride and sighed. “Unfortunately, I don’t know where we could go where she won’t find us, given it just rained. My best suggestion is to just to get beyond the sects territory for a start…and between us only you know that.”

Reimutus closed his eyes and thought for a second. “No, she can't teleport, but she can project herself and see us through water. We need to find somewhere that hasn't gotten wet… The underground tram tunnel! It leads out of the city, out of my sect's comfort zone,” He took his elbows off the counter and crossed his arms. “Only thing is, there may be people there, homeless ones. I can't guarantee that they may or may not be hostile, but what other choice do we have?”

He turned, preparing to leave. “I can keep us hidden for a while longer, till we make it underground. We can't step in any puddles or my old Master will sense us”

“Outside the city is not exactly a good place for us either, food wise,” Ky’yn pointed out. “But like you said, what choice do we have? Hmm….” She tapped a talon on her chin as she walked toward the door. “I don’t like it, but after we get outside the city it may be a good idea to travel some when it’s light, as her powers won’t work then. Ours won’t either, but…we could use that time to get into a part of the city they don’t cover.” Just before stepping outside, she stopped short and stared at what she saw.

It had apparently rained again while they were inside talking, for the lot outside was full of fresh puddles all over the place. “I hope you’ve brushed up on minesweeping…,” she muttered, folding her arms. “As this may as well be a minefield.”

“You're right, some daytime walking will get us outside of our–their territory. And I'd rather not have her spying on us either. We'll get to the tram tunnels soon as possible, and take those the rest of the way out” He was sounding a little more confident now, knowing that a plan was formulating… until he walked out the front door.

“Nooo…” Stensig moaned glumly. “Just what we freakin' need” He sighed and regained some of his composure. “Alright, I'm opening my field now, stay close if you can.” As they began walking he started taking his steps especially carefully, twisting his ankles and moving erratically to avoid the puddles. “Step on cracks you break mom's back, step on puddles and we get SCREWBONED!” He laughed a little. “At the very least, we'll only have to do this till we reach the tram, but it'll be a bit of a walk.”

How can he joke around at time like this? she thought as she did her best to stay close. Ky’yn was glad they were invisible, else she imagined they would be getting very odd looks by anyone watching. “Times like this I wish I was an ice conjurer,” she grumbled as she nearly lost her balance at one point. “Then I would just freeze all this and then we could go skating to the tram.”

She just hoped her leg will hold out. Normal walking and running she can handle, but fancy crap like this for an extended period of time was asking for trouble. Already she could feel the strain, threatening a collapse. “I’m starting to really regret not finishing physical therapy before going on a Syndicate killing spree….” she muttered.

At least up head the puddles seemed to lessen in frequency, if she could just make it there….

“What's that?” Stensig looked behind him to see Ky'yn wobbling a bit as she tried to carefully avoid stepping in puddles. “Physical therapy? Did those bastards get more than your face and arm?” They had begun to cover some ground, and thankfully the puddles were getting to be more spread out.

He was feeling anxious though, and turned to see Ky'yn visibly struggling harder. He didn't like seeing her in pain. Plus if they kept this pace up they'd never make it to the trams. “Hey,” he said, crouching slightly and facing away from her with his arms behind his back “Hop on, let me handle the fancy footwork. I'll put you down when you feel better, and when there's less 'mines' to step on”

She didn’t want to, mainly out of pride, but at this rate she was going to fall and send off alarm bells to his old sect. “Thank you….” Ky’yn said softly as she accepted his offer of a piggy back ride, carefully slipping her arms around his neck and legs around his waist.

Once they were on the way again, she explained her earlier statement. “It was a bomb,” she started with a sigh. “I saw it before it went off, but didn’t get fully behind cover in time. My left leg and arm took the brunt of it. They couldn’t save half my forearm, only barely saved my outer toe…also missing half my spur on that leg. I have all my functions back, but some motions are still more taxing then others. Weather sometimes causes issues too.” She looked up at the clouds above him, pleading with them not to dump more rain on them yet.

“You said you wanted to be a surgeon once,” she asked curiously. “What happened?”

Stensig carefully lifted Ky'yn onto his back and let her get situated with her arms and legs. She didn't weigh too terribly much, but the shift in his balance was immediately apparent. Compensating for the difference, he gingerly walked ahead, stepping only in 'safe' spots on the ground. He heard her speak right by his head, and the rumble of her chest that caused the flanging of her voice.

He was sorry to hear about her injuries, but chose to stay silent out of sheer need to concentrate on the ground. Several more minutes and he could more or less walk normally, though he still didn't drop Ky'yn just yet. Now that he could relax his pacing a little he spoke up again.

“I wanted to be a surgeon long ago, before I ever became a vakar.” he began. “But fate didn't seem to like that idea. I was diagnosed with a condition that would weaken my extremities, starting with my hands and feet. I was young enough that it hadn't taken it's toll yet, but it meant I could never be trusted to hold a surgical tool by the time I was thirty”

He paused, swallowing at a painful recollection. “I never knew my parents, I was raised in a children's home. They didn't have the money nor the medicine at the time to treat my condition. Eventually I was approached by a man who said he knew a way to stop the condition from taking hold of me, to forever prevent it from seeping in deeper than it may have already gotten. He must've literally meant forever.” He gave no laugh at this.

He looked up at the sky, seeing the dark clouds. “If it rains again we're screwed, she'll be able to sense us like radar in a full on downpour. I think I'll have to quicken my pace,” He broke into a trot, still carrying Ky'yn.

Goleus

Find him, she says. a dark colored vakar thought with a grumble. I am closest, she says. She forget I hate rainy days? Gives me headache.

Fortunately, it wasn’t raining right now, so all Goleus could hear and feel was his own footfalls and the run off from the rain that was draining into the sewer tunnel he was in. He preferred to use the tram tunnels, but those didn’t take him close enough to the hospital.

His foot brushed against something, something metallic that gave away a bit, but impeded his progress. With little thought, he summoned a tendril of earth and flipped the offending thing away, the resulting clashing sound making him wince briefly.

“Eh?” The feel of footfalls not his own got his attention. They were faint, but rapidly approaching. He placed his hand on the tunnel wall to get a better picture. Yes…yes, that’s him! he thought excitedly, a wicked grin forming on his face. That his prey’s footfalls seemed heavier than usual didn’t faze him.

He just had to wait for the right moment….

Ky’yn was quiet a moment as she processed what he said. How he described being approached into becoming a vakar just didn’t feel right, like he had been tricked into it. It only made her hate his old sect even more. “I’m sorry,” she said softly, briefly brushing the tip of a mandible against his to empathize her sympathy. “Things…should have happened differently for you.” She signed. “Forgive me…but it sounds like you were tricked into becoming a vakar….”

Stensig stifled a surprised twitch when he felt Ky'yn's mandible touch his own. It was a surprise sensation, but not an unwelcome one. Oh boy, keep it together. It was all he could do to not be blushing a little. “I appreciate that,” he said earnestly, “But I was told all the risks and requirements, it was my choice to make.” Yeah, but I may have not been in the right mindset to make that call

“Well we made it to the tram entrance, so there's some good news” He stood in front of the downward stairs that led into the tram tunnel underground. He started descending the stairs, making heavy footsteps courtesy of Ky'yn's weight on his back. But he didn't mind nor did he complain.

He's takes the steps! Thought the unwelcome onlooker, Heavy, slow, he's is tired! Goleus was crouched low, eagerly yet patiently waiting to strike. I get you, she leave me alone, she leave me alone, I can sleep!

Ky’yn smiled, feeling more relieved about his situation. She frowned however, when Stensig didn’t put her down when they reached the entrance to the stairs. “I think it’s safe to put me down now,” she stated, then added teasingly. “Unless you like carrying me.”

As she spoke, she tried the one trick she attempted at the hospital again. Since Stensig mentioned that there may be homeless taking shelter here, she may as well practice it here. She wasn’t expecting to detect anything, but she did: there was a large warm spot, hidden beside the stairs, just out of line of sight. “Someone is here,” she warned. “But I don’t know if….”

Before she could finish, a large tentacle made of dirt and rock erupted out of the ground right in front of them, its coils quickly moving to ensure them both. Barely heard about the rumbling and scraping of earth and stone, was a new voice: “I got you Reimutus!”

Stensig notably shifted at Ky'yn's request, looking embarrassed. “No no, uh, sorry, I–” he stammered as he let her go, “You just didn't weigh much so it wasn't too big an issue.” He forced a sheepish grin.

The smile was immediately dashed as soon as he heard Ky'yn's warning, and he immediately turned to face down the stairs. “It shouldn't matter, whoever's down there won't see– AUGH!” Something had caught his ankle and quickly dragged him down the stairs, roughing him up on the way down. It was an earth tendril, controlled by a familiar but unwelcome voice.

“I got you Reimutus!” Cried Goleus' raspy voice. Stensig blinked as he realized he was being held by his leg, facing the upside down face of his attacker. He was battered and bruised from being so forcefully pulled down the steps.

“Fancy… meeting you here” Stensig choked out. “Don't you have places to be? Rats to kill?”

“Rats much yes” was the elated reply, “Caught huge one just now!” The tendril unceremoniously shook Stensig around. “Erapax will want you” the blind vakar hissed.

Oh hell, it’s a vakar from his old sect! Ky’yn thought, stunned speechless for the moment. An earth controller…that must be how he was able to find us despite Stensig’s field. But why hasn’t he noticed me yet?

Indeed, this vakar was totally focused on Stensig, like he wasn’t even aware she was there. Then she noticed his eyes: he was blind. He relies on sound and vibrations to get around and ‘see’ what’s around him. she thought, looking around the room, a plan forming in her head.

There! She spotted a metal pipe that looked like it broke away from the piping on the ceiling. Close to it was fencing designed to keep tram passengers from falling onto the tram tracks. With a smirk she looked at Stensig and said. “Hang on, I got an idea.” Before starting to bolt for the pipe.

Her sudden voice startled the blind vakar. “What? Two of you? Not supposed to be two…who are you?” he said. “Wait, wait…where you going? Elder may want you too!”

Predictably a new earthen tendril erupted from the ground and tried to catch her by the leg. She was expecting it however and managed to leap over it. Unfortunately the moment her feet hit the ground, he knew where she was and the tendril was after her again, forcing her to jump again.

Ky’yn felt like she was playing a game of jump rope, one she knew she would lose eventually. She needed some breathing room, so she attempted to activate her blow torch program, praying it would work this time. The spirits were with her as it activated smoothly and with a wicked grin she used her fire control abilities to hurl a fire ball at Goleus. “Time to heat things up!” she cried.

“Oh please, no rush!” Stensig called back to Ky'yn. He was already starting to formulate an idea of his own.

“What? Two of you? Not supposed to be two…who are you?” Goleus shrieked. “Wait, wait…where you going? Elder may want you too!” The blind vakar conjured another tendril and sent it rumbling towards Ky'yn.

She's distracting him, perfect! Stensig removed his handgun from it's holster. He aimed it next to Goleus' ear and fired two unsilenced shots past his head. Goleus cried out in pain, the loud gunshots wreaking havoc against his magnified hearing. In anger, he used the tendril grasping Stensig's leg and flung him against the tram wall, knocking the wind out of him.

It was lucky that he was out of the way. He heard Ky'yn cry “Time to heat things up!”. Just after, a fireball flew across the tunnel and found its mark in Goleus' face. He gave another cry of pain and rage.

Nice shot Stensig though, trying to stand up, but he still couldn't breathe. He would be out of commission for a minute. He just hoped Ky'yn had another bright idea.

“Stensig!” Ky’yn cried when she saw him get thrown against the wall. He was still moving, but she could tell he was out of it for the time being. Fortunately, her original plan to make a lot of racket was moot, since the original intent was to distract the guy long enough for Stensig to act. Still, seeing him get hurt like this made her angry…and she had access to fire right now.

“IT BURNS!” the blind vakar was crying, staggering about, the conquered tendrils whipping about randomly.

Oh you are about to feel it even more…you bastard, she thought, her eyes burning with fury. Ky’yn directed the fire toward the ground and sent it shooting across the ground, at the man’s feet.

“Hot!” the vakar cried, jumping away, but Ky’yn made the fire line pursue him, forcing him back and away from Stensig.

Just a little further, she thought. Then I’ll turn you into a fried vakar….

However she was so focused on her task, she didn’t see that one of the tendrils was getting dangerously close. Ky’yn got hit full in the side, sending her tumbling across the floor. She must have hit her head at some point, as she blacked out for a second or two….

Stensig felt the fury of both being pursued by his damnable sect and at the fact that his friend was hurt trying to protect him. He scrambled to his feet, still not fully recovered from the blow he'd taken, and charged the enemy vakar, roaring and brandishing his police baton. He crashed it against the bastard's elbow first, dislocating his forearm. He then brought it across his ribcage, trying to break as many bones as he could. He was about to smash it against his target's skull when he got caught by a tendril again. This time wrapping around his throat.

“Can't kill you,” Goleus hissed viciously, “Erapax want you, but you don't have being awake!” The tendril tightened against Stensig's neck, preventing breath from reaching his lungs. Wide-eyed, Stensig tried kicking Goleus, but the tendril had brought him too far away for that.

His eyes looked back, trying to see where Ky'yn was. If he was gonna pass out he wanted to know if she'd be okay. Whatever you're planning, do it NOW.

Ky’yn shook her head, blinking her eyes rapidly. Looking up, she saw Stensig had made his move, but was now being choked by one the tendrils. Oh no. She thought, knowing she had to do something, quick. Looking down, she saw her omni-tool was off again, maybe even broken completely. No time to fight with it.

She glanced around, hoping there was an ember or something she could use. Then she spotted a small flame just beyond the blind vakar: there must have been an oil patch or something there. It didn’t matter what it was, she could use it. Ky’yn reached out, taxing the limits of her power, making the flame grow bigger.

Sorry if I singe you a bit, Stensig, she thought as she willed the fire to wrap around the blind vakar in fire cage.

“No…no! Hot! Hot!” Goleus cried, trying to get away but he was trapped on all sides. “Stop! Stop!”

She wasn’t about to stop. Ky’yn turned the cage into a fire tornado, tightening the radius around him. He was screaming now, the pain finally enough to make him lose control over the tendrils, both crumbling to dust.

“Stensig…,” she called out, panting slightly from exhaustion. “Do you want to finish him…or shall I?”

Shit shit shit! was all that was going through Stensig's mind at the time. He was feeling very dizzy from lack of oxygen, and to make matters worse, a miniature firestorm had formed around Goleus, getting dangerously close to searing his own face off.

It was miraculous that the flames never touched him, but the heat was practically unbearable. At last the tendril let go of him, amidst the shrieking of the other vakar. The fire surrounding him had gotten tighter. Stensig scrambled away on all fours, gaining only a few feet away before he collapsed, choking for air.

He heard Ky'yn's voice, but it seemed distant with his hazy consciousness. She sounded like she was asking a question, to which he weakly waved his hand in a 'yeah whatever go for it' manner.

Ky’yn saw his answer, but had a feeling Stensig wasn’t in any shape to fully comprehend what she had asked. She had hoped he would opt to finish the guy quickly himself, as being burned to death wasn’t a pleasant, nor quick, way to go.

This guy is too dangerous to keep around, she tried rationalizing herself as she willed the fire to completely engulf the enemy. He’d be able to find us again easily…and he’s a member of a sect that has lost it’s way…. It should be a justifiable execution…but why did she feel so sick about it? Perhaps it was because it was the first time she killed a fellow vakar….

The screams reached a fever pitched, then suddenly stopped as what was left of the enemy crumpled to the ground. Ky’yn gave it a few more seconds before willing the fire out, leaving behind a heavily burned corpse. She forced herself not to look at it, as she struggled to her feet.

Ow…. she thought with a wince, gripping her left side. Broken rib…at least. Thank the spirits I’m a vakar…. Shakily, partly due to pain, partly due to exhaustion, she made her way to Stensig, whom was coughing, trying to regain his breath.

“You OK?” she asked once she reached him, rolling him onto his side so his weight wasn’t on his chest. “I hope I didn’t singe too much of your handsome face….”

Stensig felt himself get rolled onto his side. It was much better, he could breath a lot more, but not without coughing intermittently. He heard Ky'yn ask if he was okay, to which he put his forefinger and thumb together in an 'ok' fasion. He did notice the quick compliment she gave him, storing it in his memory to thank her for later. He took another minute to regain his breath before he tried talking again. “It's okay…” he sputtered, “I hated that guy anyway”

He stood up, groaning, with Ky'yn's help. He held his left shoulder with his right arm. That shoulder had taken the brunt of the blow when he was thrown into the wall. Good thing that's not my shooting arm “Are you okay Ky'yn?”

After hearing her response he walked over to the husk that used to be Goleus, making a face at the horrid smell emanating from it. “I can hardly say he deserved better, but I wish it hadn't come to this” He spat on the ground, “But he forced our hand, and speaking of hands…” he turned to face Ky'yn “I see that your lighter worked again, good thing for that”

He walked back over to her and said sorrowfully “He hadn't done me any wrong before now, he was a 'leave me alone and I'll leave you alone' kind of vakar. That's why I hesitated to shoot him and instead blew out his ears”

Ky’yn nodded and helped him up, wincing slightly due to her own injuries. He must have noticed, as he was asking her if she was alright. “Battered, bruised, likely a broken rib…just another day at the office,” she replied. Oy, Haven’t even known him a day and he’s rubbing off on me. she thought with a faint chuckle.

She watched him inspect the body, thankful that he didn’t seem bothered by his old sect member’s death: it made the sickening feeling she felt dim a bit. “Aye, it did for once, however….” She looked at the device, not liking the new crack she saw on the frame. “I fear the tumble I took damaged it even more.” Ky’yn sighed and put her arm back down and listened to Stensig reasoning for just not shooting to kill the bastard at the start. “I can understand that…,” she said softly. “I imagine it’s hard to hurt, let alone, kill someone you consider family…even if said family is on the wrong side.

“Anyway,” she said, looking toward the tram tunnel itself. “It’s best we keep going, despite our injuries. We don’t know if that guy contacted that one bitch before jumping us or not. I’d rather get out of their territory and have a chance to recover a bit before we end up fighting any more of your former sect members….”

Stensig raised a brow at Ky'yn's own jolt of humor, and answered her next statement. “Not like family, more like… a colleague” Stensig said thoughtfully. He straightened up, still holding onto his left shoulder. “Yeah, you're right, we should keep going. He probably hadn't contacted her before he found us. But all the same, this tunnel will lead us out of their territory in the city.”

They both began walking, Stensig holding his shoulder and Ky'yn walking especially upright to avoid putting pressure on her ribs. As they walked past the burnt body, Stensig said “You could've gone home tonight if you'd just let us be. But you gave me reason to hate you when you attacked us and hurt her” He said 'her' referring to Ky'yn.

They walked down the tunnel for some minutes before Stensig piped in again. “So,” he began, “Back in the hospital you mentioned you didn't want me to end up like someone you knew, started with a V I think? Who was that?”

Finally free

That man was under orders, no doubt…, Ky’yn thought as they walked. The bonds between sect members can make it difficult to resist bad orders…but with his obvious mental state…did he really have a choice? She sighed faintly, knowing they will never know now. Besides, that man’s death could have been prevented if they had been left alone, like Stensig said. She and him were only protecting themselves…and their principles and freedom.

Then Stensig asked about the man she spoke of back at the hospital, before they had been interrupted by his old Master. “Oh…,” she said, feeling a wash of sorrow at the memory. “He was someone I knew before I became a vakar. His name was Vidan Dothesian…the son of the Syndicate’s second-in-command. However, he wanted nothing to do with the ‘family business’, tried to live an honest life as a delivery man. I was still warned against associating with him anyway.

“I was naïve then…struck up a friendship with him despite my colleague’s warnings. I…I thought if I didn’t bother the Syndicate, they wouldn’t hurt me…I was wrong. The Syndicate…was not afraid to use his delivery service for their own plots…in my case, that bomb I told you about before. After I went vigilante, he was the only one that would help me…are friendship became more….

“When I eventually got caught…he managed to convince his father not to have me executed, told him it would only make me a martyr.” She paused a moment, wondering how much more she should tell. No…I’m not ready to reveal ‘that’. she decided, feeling a lump in her through at the thought of it. After clearing her throat a couple of times she continued. “After I was sent to prison…I found out he set off a bomb during a party the Syndicate was throwing…killing himself…and most of the Syndicate’s leadership.”

Ky’yn swallowed hard, her throat tightening as the emotions started to overwhelm her. “He saved me from death…told me how to find the vakar…but I couldn’t…prevent his death….” It was too much now, she put her hand over her face and sobbed, her body shaking and agitating her ribs.

Stensig nodded along as he listened to Ky'yn's story. “I see, so that's how that happened” He gestured toward her damaged arm. After hearing more, he said solemnly “You seem to have a bad knack for meeting people who are tied with the wrong people”

Then she explained the part where this Vidan person sacrificed himself in order to decimate the Syndicate's leadership. At which point she began to sob uncontrollably, much to Stensig's surprise. She's carrying so much baggage, she must think it was her fault he chose to die.

He quickly put his good arm on her shoulder and pulled her inward so she would have something to cry against. He felt her whole body shaking against his. Not knowing what else to do, he made a calming 'shhh' sound for her. “He sounds like he was a great man,” he said gently “Someone who knew how to put the needs of many over his own.

A man unlike Erapax, or even me he thought bitterly.

Why does it still affect me so much? Ky’yn thought, only barely comprehending that Stensig had pulled her against him. I went through this with the Elder and Kronos…I shouldn’t be crying so much over him now…it’s been over a century! Despite the logic she was thinking, it took a couple of minutes before she calmed down enough to respond to his comment.

“At the end yes….,” she said softly. “He largely only cared about me and himself for most of the time I knew him. He even went as far as insisting that we both leave the planet, to forget about the Syndicate. I couldn’t do that…I couldn’t abandon the innocents they threatened. Though I admit at times I wondered if I was doing the right thing…like when they killed my family. Yet, the more they took from me, the more fighting against them felt like it was the only thing I could do….”

Did I sacrifice too much in the end? she thought with a sigh, taking a moment to relish the warmth she felt coming from Stensig’s body. “Yeah…I do seem to have a knack for meeting people tied with bad ones…but at least I got you away from yours…right?” Her voice quivered a bit, like she didn’t quite believe it herself yet. If their incident with the blind one was any indication: his old sect didn’t take kindly to him leaving.

She feared that since they killed one of them, they will come after them even harder now….

They stood like that for a number of minutes, him holding her closely so she'd know she wasn't all alone. When she eventually could control her breathing she responded to him. Her words striking Stensig rather harshly as he compared himself to both her and her now lost friend. They were like saints, fighting and dying for their beliefs. And me? Taking the cowards way out and living an apathetic existence.

He shook the self-loathing thoughts out of his head. It was her feelings that were more important now, not his. “Yes,” he said confidently, “You helped me escape the trap I was stuck in, one that I was too cowardly to do alone. You're right, we can only hope that they give up on us now.”

Erapax surely wouldn't have it that way, however. He was far too paranoid and secretive about the sect to let a straggler run free. He probably thinks I'm blabbing to the police by now… wait! The police! An idea, tiny and so-far insufficient, had begun to form in his head. But one he didn't think Ky'yn would like very much.

Ky’yn opened her mouth to protest him calling himself a coward, but it died in her throat when she realized she would be a hypocrite if she did. How many times did she tell Vidan to stop being a coward and to stand up for what was right? A lot. she thought. Vidan feared for his life…didn’t know where else to go…Stensig likely felt the same way. If there were any other sects in this city, it was likely they were too small to be able to stand against Erapax’s…just like how Vidan couldn’t really run either, do to how much the Syndicate was watching and controlling everything.

“Sometimes…people need the assurance that they will have the support to get out of such situations,” she softly. “With that much power your former Elder has, I don’t blame you for being hesitant, especially if any other sects in the city were not be strong enough to stand against him. Admittedly…I next to nothing about sect ‘politics’ as it were…as mine was the only sect on the planet.”

She broke away from him and looked down the tunnel. Up ahead, she could see a hint of a pre-dawn sky. “Looks like we are nearly outside. We should get going,” she said. “We’ll need to find shelter to stay in before the day is too far along, if we want to get an early start tonight.”

Looking up at him, she noticed something in his eyes, like he had a revelation. “What is it?” she asked.

Stensig couldn't help but be a little disappointed when Ky'yn broke away from his grasp, though her kind assurances made him feel a little better. At least he wasn't so far lost as Erapax or his more zealous followers. Ky'yn asked what he was thinking, and he said to her excitedly, “We can help the police take down my sect and the Varren! We don't have to be in this all alone.”

He began laying out what little details he'd already had in mind: “I know where my sect's Sanctuary is, I know where the Varren operate from. We could tell the police everything and end this horrible symbiosis!” He stopped short, placing his hand to his chin and thinking for a minute, mandibles moving curiously. “I don't know if we would tell them what we are though, if we did, we'd have to well enough convince them, but if we did, they may even give us blood. We may even be able to get you a new omni tool too.”

It was beginning to sound too good to be true, and he allowed some of his excitement to dissappate. Taking on a more serious tone, “I don't think Erapax will leave you and me alone. Even if we chose to keep his game a secret, he'd still come after us as a contingency. I think our best chance is to get out of their territory and contact the police.”

Ky’yn’s mandibles dropped slightly at Stensig’s plan, immediately skeptical. It was likely due to her past experience with the police on Revati and because if it, she was a bit biased. “One, we don’t know how much influence the Varren or even Erapax for that matter, have on the police,” she said. “Second, some believe vakar are no better than the criminals we hunt, so there’s a chance we’ll get arrested, if not worse, depending on how trigger happy they are.

“And lastly…many people don’t think we even exist, that we are just a myth, we go in there and start telling them about this ‘conspiracy’ of a rogue vakar sect working with a criminal organization and we’ll likely get laughed at and thrown out on our rumps. And even if we proved to them that vakar are real using ourselves as examples…I refer back to point number two.”

After a pause she sighed and added. “I don’t mean to dash your hopes, Stensig…any plan to deal with this problem is better than no plan at all, after all. I just…want to be realistic here. Unless you know how receptive the police are to vakar right now…it means we should do some intelligence work first. And I’d rather do that after a nice nap and a meal…and before either of those we need to find shelter for the day.”

Stensig's excited expression melted into one of ashamed resignation. He felt much like a child who'd been talked down to harshly. But he didn't blame Ky'yn, everything she said was absolutely true, including the heart-sinking idea that either the Varren or Erapax had control of the police. “You're right, of course,” he said, defeated, “Must not be thinking straight, blow to the head maybe!” he tried to cheerfully knock on his forehead, but his head was fine, untouched by the previous scuffle.

“As for a safe place to stay, I'm not sure yet,” he began, “We'll come up on a shopping district once we exit the tunnels, maybe we can find a warehouse or something for shelter.” He gave a long sigh. He didn't want to think too far ahead while they still had current problems to attend to, but the worry of what would happen after was creeping up to him.

The fuck are you doing Stensig? You put yourself from bad to worse in the span of hours, now you've got Erapax–and by extension, all of the Varren–after you. And for what, because some pretty intruder knocked you head over heels? He looked at Ky'yn quizzically. No, it's not that, she was just the catalyst, the desire to leave was always there. I should be, I AM glad we met. Just deal with one catastrophe at a time.

Seeing how is face dropped as she rattled off her list, she realized she came off a bit harshly. Have to be in this situation… Ky’yn told herself. Being realistic about our situation will increase our chances of making through this. There was, also, the very real possibility that Erapax would already be making plans to move his Sanctuary and possibly ‘suggesting’ to the Varrens to do the same with their HQ, which would make Stensig’s intel worthless. She opted not to inform him of this possibility just yet, though, as he seemed depressed enough as is.

“Come,” she said, reaching out and touching his hand with hers as she started walking. “With everything still in recovery due to the aftermath of the Reaper War, there should still be plenty of abandon buildings for us to use.” As she walked, she attempted activate her omni-tool: it worked, but from the number of error codes she saw (and the holo-display flickering, or not even functioning in a couple of spots), it was on its last legs.

“Unfortunately, this thing will be next to impossible to replace,” she sighed. “It’s one of very few prototypes created when omni-tool developers were testing to viability of using it as a prosthetic. It’s casing has built in neuro-sensors, so amputees can use it without needing to use their other hand. Not to mention the arrangement of the holo-emitters is different: hell, I was lucky the scumbag I killed for it had the same level of amputation as me. Though…it was for his right arm…not left: took me days to get it to switch, as mechanics is my field…not programing….

“Ah…sorry…,” she said sheepishly, turning the device off. “Started rambling about something that’s not really important right now….”

Stensig returned to a normal state of mind, having calmed down after having his ideas realistically critiqued. He rationalized that while he may be facing troubles ahead, it'd at least be with someone who had similar ideals as him. A friend he'd hope to keep after all was said and done.

“It's a cool gadget, I always liked prosthetics” he said, “Though I can't help you on the programming front, not by a long shot!” He laughed, as if to prove to Ky'yn that he was alright. “If anything else we could probably find a lighter and appropriate it. That fire came in handy even if it almost scorched me.”

Her words did cheer him up. If for the right reasons, there would be plenty of abandoned buildings they could hide in, and probably looters they could feed on. For the time being, they just had to worry about getting to the shopping district. Maybe, maybe. Stensig thought, This could turn out for the better.

“Great minds think alike,” Ky’yn said, smiling. “If we can find a suitable place to make more of a permanent dwelling, I’ll likely consider attempting to make a mechanical hand again…with a built in lighter. Will still need a more functional omni-tool for the other functions though. But…one thing at a time.”

They walked a bit more, the light at the end of the tunnel growing larger and brighter. Not long after, they were greeted by the ruins of the shopping distinct. In the distance, closer to a busier and less crime ridden area of the city, there was evidence of the district being rebuilt. Here though, next to the tram tunnel, it looked like it hadn’t been gone through basic clean up yet. It wasn’t surprising: with all the causalities from the Reaper War, there simply wasn’t enough people to fill the space anymore.

“Well, at first glance it looks like we have the pick of the buildings,” she said, squinting a bit at the sunlight. “Shall we go ‘shelter shopping’? Looks like everything is on three-finger discount.”

Searching for a new home

He shielded his eyes from the light as they stepped out of the tunnels and into the streets. “Hey Sun, haven't seen you for ages” It was partway right, it had probably been a few years since he'd actually been out in the sun. “I don't remember it being this blinding”

When Ky'yn mentioned that they had their pick of locations he smirked. Now she's back to joking too, that helps a little bit. Then he said “Let's find an arms and ammunition shop, I only have one spare thermal clip for my gun, and I wouldn't mind if I could find a cleaning kit too.

They began wandering the desolate shopping zone. Seeing fountains that had been dry for years and benches that no one had sat in for a similar time frame. Buildings were crumbling, either from disuse or from being blasted apart during the war. The aura of the area gave Stensig an uneasy feeling. Not having access to any of his powers was a hindrance, but at least he wasn't unarmed if need be. He had begun to feel a little tired, he should have gotten back to sleep quite a while ago. But he fought it off as they continued to trudge down the street.

Ky’yn was feeling it as well: her body was basically saying ‘what the fuck, why are you still awake!?’. It didn’t help she was still technically recovering from her bout of near starvation…which the fight they were in earlier didn’t aid in. She had managed to ignore her body’s cries for rest for now, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to for much longer.

Then she spotted a promising target: a sporting goods store. It’s windows were shattered, either due to the war, looters or both, but there still may be things they could use inside. She was particularly interested in the second floor: it could be a warehouse, or even proper living quarters for the former owner. Regardless of what it was, it may be a good place to sleep for the day.

“There…,” Ky’yn said, pointing out the shop. “The larger sporting goods stores often have firearms supplies…and that second floor looks good for sleeping from here. We’ll know for sure once we check it out.”

His eyes brightened when she pointed out the building: a huge two-story sporting good storer. “Yeah, he said with a grin, “That'll do nicely,”

They climbed over the broken glass of the windows and surveyed the store. Surprisingly, a lot of the actual sports goods were still in tact. They must not have been a prime concern when evacuations began during the war. If he wanted, he could have taken a an aluminum bat used in the human game of baseball, but he figured his police baton would be much more reliable.

Stensig moved back to the firearms section of the store. Not surprisingly, all of the guns had been looted off the rack, and the boxes of thermal clips had been taken from their shelves. “Maybe if I'm lucky there'll be some in the back room or the second floor.” He nabbed a backpack from one of the aisles and put it on. Whether I find thermal clips or not, this'll still come in handy

Meanwhile Ky’yn headed for the camping section. Some things were picked clean, namely anything that could be used for combat like survival knives, but the things she was looking for hadn’t been hit too hard. She helped herself to a couple of blankets and stuffed them into a backpack she picked up. Ky’yn was tempted by the sleeping bags, but, while they weren’t heavy, they were bulky, which would just grab unwanted attention while traveling. She did add a couple of small pillows, however. Naturally, she picked up a few water proof lighters as well, before moving on.

She knew it was long shot, but she checked anyway. Sometimes these places sold omni-tools and while they wouldn’t exactly have some of the programs she needed, those could be transferred over. However, the case they would have been in was smashed, no omni-tool left: they were no doubt taken to be repurposed for combat.

With the more needed supplies obtained or checked for, she searched for the way up to the second floor: anything else that could be useful she could get another time. She found the stairway easily, past the weapon counter. “Checking on the second floor,” she called out to Stensig, before ascending the stairway.

The good news, was that the door at the top didn’t look like it had been touched since the place was abandoned. The bad news, was that it was a powered door…and there was no power. “Ho boy…,” Ky’yn muttered. If I remember how these things work, there should be an emergency lever to disengage the hydraulics manually. she thought. Just got to cut my way through the frame to get to it… She just had to hope her blowtorch program decided to work….

Stensig swept through the gun section, picking up a cleaning kit as he passed them. Just what I needed. He wanted to see if there were any weapon enhancements or optical sights, but everything had been taken. I guess they needed them more than me anyway He found a chest harness with a holster on it. During the day when he couldn't hide his weapon on his leg, he could holster his gun in the chest harness instead and hide it under his jacket. The harness would also allow him to carry more clips if he found any.

As he worked he noticed Ky'yn picking up camping objects like blankets and pillows and putting them into a backpack of her own. Ahh, those'll be nice, I'll have to thank her for that. His thoughts turned to the second floor of the building as she called out to him. “I hope we can find more up there!” he called, “Or at the least I hope it's secure enough we can stay there the night,”

He watched as she ascended the stairs. I wonder if the door will be locked. If it is, I hope her omni tool could hack it.

After fabricating a pair of safety goggles, Ky’yn attempted to activate the blowtorch program. Predictably, the device blinked red with an error. “Spirits damned thing, work!” she snarled as she tried multiple times, only to give the same result. Ky’yn was about to give up when it finally worked and with a small cry of glee.

According to the schematics I’ve seen of this type of door…the lever should be about…here…. she thought as she started working on removing the applicable part of the door frame. Sparks flew as she worked for several minutes before she had cut through enough of the frame to peel it back, to reveal the lever.

Smiling, she grabbed the lever with her hand and pulled, only to meet with a lot more resistance than she thought. She paused a moment and checked the area around the lever, making sure nothing was physically impeding it’s movement. There was nothing, which meant either the mechanism was faulty, or it required the strength of two hands. With a groan of annoyance, she called out. “Stensig, I need your help up here!”

Stensig took off his jacket and put the harness on. He had just finished situating his pistol in itsnew holster when he heard a small 'squee' from upstairs. He couldn't help but smirk wide. Dang that was cute, she must've figured out the door. He put his jacket back on but didn't zip it up. Allowing for the space to reach his hand in for his weapon. Under his left shoulder he had his gun, under his right he had a pouch for extra clips. This is cool, I could get used to this.

He heard Ky'yn give an annoyed groan from the staircase. “Stensig,” he heard her call, “I need your help up here!” Wondering what in the world he could do technical-wise to help break a door he didn't know, but he made for the stairs. At the top he saw that she had cut through a portion of the door to reveal a lever. She gestured that it required two hands, motioning to her stump annoyedly. He immediately understood and took hold of the lever with both his own hands. He pulled, trying to put more pressure on his good arm, but didn't make any progress at first.

“Dang, this thing's stiff” he grunted, “You'd almost think it hadn't been used in a while!” He propped up his foot on the wall and added that to his pulling force. With a loud groan, the lever finally gave way. Stensig lost his grip and fell downwards a few steps, cursing loudly. “Dammit! It had to be my bad shoulder!” He stood up, grumbling, holding onto his left shoulder as he did in the tunnels. “Well, at least that's one problem taken care of. Let's see what we got!”

The door groaned open, though Ky’yn was too busy looking at Stensig to get an immediate view of what was beyond it. She had giggled faintly when Stensig ended up unceremoniously back down the stairs. “Well, I could try massaging it for you once we get a chance to settle down,” she offered with a smirk. “Though it would only be a one-handed massage.”

With that she turned around and looked through the now open doorway. What greeted them was basically a small, one-bedroom apartment. More like military dorm room, she corrected herself, noting that it lacked a kitchen. The place was incredibly dusty, small puffs of dust flying into the air with each step. “Looks like this place has been abandoned longer than the shop downstairs,” she stated. “And it’s far too small to account for all the space of the second floor. Either there’s another entrance to the rest of this floor, or there’s a secret passage.” She looked at Stensig. “What do you think?”

“I think,” Stensig began, “That I'll take you up on that massage offer,” He climbed up the stairs, still grumbling. When he reached the top he stepped into the apartment and scanned over it. A bed, a desk, a table for eating, and a door that he assumed would lead to a small bathroom. “I dunno, I don't think this looks like the place for any secret doors. If anything, maybe the rest of the second floor is reached through a back door”

He sat down at the desk and flipped through the papers that were on it. Nothing of real importance, he was getting too tired to bother to read anything anyway. “Well, I guess this'll have to do for the night. I've done with worse. You can take the bed if you want, or…” he added slyly “We could share it,” Once again he realized that his words might be misconstrued, and he rectified “But only just for sleeping, if you want, I uh, yeah”

“Now, now…I don’t sleep with people on a first date,” Ky’yn said teasingly. “’Sides.” She looked over at the bed. “I don’t think it is big enough for both of us. And I agree…I’m nearly dead on my feet myself: any further exploration of this place will have to wait until tonight.”

Ky’yn pulled off her jacket and put it on the foot of the bed, wincing slightly from the pain of her still healing rib. “I’ll still do my best to give you a shoulder massage though,” she said as she took off her omni-tool and set it on the desk, which allowed for the excess fabric of her undersuit to flop down, making her arm look even freakier. “You’ll need to partly undress though…,” she added, blushing slightly. “Hard to massage through multiple layers of clothing, after all.”

Of course, that was the same for her as well, as touch was so important for it. She didn’t relish the thought of him seeing just how bad her scarring was, but swallowed her pride and removed her top, followed by the top half of the undersuit. Dammit…why am I blushing? she thought. I’ve done this thousands of times in front of my sectmates…and they didn’t care…

“I-I know…it looks bad…,” she muttered, feeling self-conscience. Vidan didn’t care…Kronos didn’t care…why am I so afraid of what he would think?

He chose not to respond to her jab about first dates. I set her up for that one, I deserved it. But then she said she would still give him a massage, and he thanked her. He was stunned for a second when she asked him to take off some clothes, but quickly snapped out of it. Duh, that's how most massages happen.

What shocked him even more was when she began to take off her own top garments. Wait, why does SHE need to also?! Play it cool, don't be creepy. He began with his jacket, revealing the harness once again. “Like it? Figured it'd come in handy,” He took the harness off and then slipped his white shirt up over his head. “How's that–” he began to ask as he turned to face Ky'yn in full show above the waist. He looked over her old scars and said “It doesn't look that bad” he assured her after she apologized. “Old reminders of what you've done for your beliefs. You should wear them proudly”

He blushed a little bit at his own self, wondering if that was the right kind of thing to say. He tried to push past this and wanted to avoid making things more awkward than they already were. “So, mm, should we both sit on the bed there?”

What? To remind me how much of a naïve dolt I was when I got them? Was the first thought that came to mind at his comment. She kept the thought to herself, though a brief frown flashed on her face before she could reign it in. It was the thought behind the comment that counted and that much she did appreciate. Besides…he looked cute when he blushed….and he had a nice body.

“Aye, that would probably be best,” she said to his suggestion. “At least I’ll only need to sit beside you for this.”

Once they were both sitting on the bed, she reached over with her hand and touched his shoulder, only to get a shock, only it wasn’t a normal shock like you’d get from static electricity. Surprised by it, her hand lingered on his shoulder a moment before she remembered what she was supposed to be doing.

She could feel the swelling in his shoulder from the blows it took and she was certain it was painful, considering how he had been favoring it. So she made sure she was careful not to press to hard and just aggravate it even more. All the while though, part of her mind was on that shock she felt.

Ky’yn had felt it before…with Kronos….

Stensig caught that she frowned a little at his comment. *Buzz!* Wrong, moron, try to turn it around. “You still look very pretty, I think, even with them. I don't think they affected that at all!” Aaaaand too forward, sonofabitch.

He sheepishly joined her sitting on the bed. Looking forward to what would hopefully be a nice massage. At first it wasn't, something shocked his shoulder when she first touched him. “Ach,” he winced, “Damn static,” What followed after was a very soothing experience as she kneaded the sore muscles in his shoulder. It still hurt quite a bit, but her administrations were certainly helping a lot.

As she continued to massage his shoulder. He closed his eyes and tried to let his mind go blank. He couldn't quite get the shock he'd felt earlier out of his head. It hadn't felt like any actual static he'd felt before, and he could still feel a slight tingling where it hit him. He didn't say anything, and wanted to ignore it.

Ky’yn continued to massage his shoulder, but now she was in auto-mode, as her mind had drifted into the past….

“Elder, can I have word in private?” Ky’yn asked. “Of course, Ky’yn,” the Elder said, gesturing to his quarters. Once inside he said. “Now, what is on your mind?” “Kasacellas and I were in the river bathing after a round of training,” she started, blushing slightly. “When I slipped…he caught me, but when he did I felt something…like a shock from static, but…different. I think he felt it too, from the look on his face, but neither of us said anything at the time about it. It’s been bugging me ever since…however.” The Elder looked thoughtful for a moment. “Ah,” he finally said. “It seems you two are ‘compatible’.” “Compatible?” Ky’yn echoed, looking confused. “Compatible for what?” “Even I don’t understand it fully.” He shrugged. “I just know that it basically means you two will have a strong bond with each other.” She found herself blushing. “You mean…like an…intimate one?” “Not necessarily,” the Elder clarified. “It’s more akin to a very strong friendship. I have heard it is possible for it to go further, though I’ve never seen it myself.” “Is it…right…for such a bond between me and Kasacellas though? I’m still a runovus….” At this the Elder smiled. “Such things don’t care about age or rank, Ky’yn,” he said. “And most vakar I know will not let such ‘semantics’ get in the way, considering how rare an occurrence it is. Especially since a bond like that tends to strengthen those involved…and in our situation, we need all the strength we can get.”

Ky’yn shook her head, snapping herself out of the memory and returning to the present. She noticed that she had nearly stopped massaging. “Ah! Sorry,” she apologized as she resumed the pace she was in before her trip down memory lane. “Got…lost in thought…that…static…reminded me of something…long ago.”

He noticed that she had slowed down her hand movements into a regular beat. She must have drifted off into a memory, or at the very least, zoned out. Was she thinking about that static shock? It had felt stranger than normal. Had she accidentally used her power for a second? No, that wouldn't add up with her heat and fire abilities. It must have been something else…

“No, it's fine,” Stensig assured her after she apologized, “I was thinking about that too. Did you accidentally use your power or something? It felt… odd” He craned his neck backwards, trying to get a look at her face. He couldn't get too far without hurting his shoulder.

Ky’yn temporarily stopped massaging to lightly tap him on the head. “It’s daytime, silly,” she said teasingly. “Neither of us can use our powers right now.” After she resumed massaging, her tone became serious, yet hesitant. “I felt it too…but I know what it is.” Ky’yn then told him what her Elder told her, decades ago.

“He also told me that it only happens between vakar that are unrelated; turned by different sects, basically. I felt it before…with another member of my sect, Kronos Kasacellas was his name. He was from a different sect initially, was the last survivor of said sect when the Syndicate did their purge. He was also the first vakar I meet when I escaped from prison.

“We did develop a strong bond over the years.” By now she had stopped massaging completely, her tone softened. “But nothing quite on the intimate level…I think we both wanted to, but for some reason neither of us could take that step. Then the Reapers came…and ensured it would never be taken.” She sighed, then added. “Perhaps I was reading too much into our relationship…as while I miss Kronos, I don’t dissolve into a crying bag of tears like I do when I think about Vidan.”

Ky’yn shook her head. “It’s getting late…we should get some shut eye while we can.” She got up and took the table, flipped it onto it’s side and set it against the door. “Just in case some looters get curious: it should at least give us some warning….”

He felt the bop on his head and grimaced in a fake pout. “It was an honest guess…” But didn't say more. Stensig listened to Ky'yns story about the truth behind the shock curiously. It was fascinating if vakar biology could do something to predict things like that, especially if it required that the two would be from different sects.

“So, we're gonna make a good team, that's what that means?” He stood up as she finished her massage, and he stretched out his arm. “I can deal with that I think, no arguments here!”

He hid his slight disappointment that it would only go so far as friendship. But she did say that the elder said it could possibly go further. He said nothing on the matter. “Right, can't have anyone disturbing us, we're supposed to be the ones that go bump in the night, not the other way around,”

He took a pillow and a blanket from the pack Ky'yn had brought and situated himself in the corner opposite the bed. He lied down and got himself comfortable. “G'morning” he said sleepily, “Thanks very much for the massage”

Well, that’s one way to look at it, she thought with a smile at his comment about being a good team. And we’ll need to work as a team if we are to survive. “You’re welcome,” she said, as she crawled under the covers of the bed. “And g’night.”

With all the action she had today, it didn’t take long for her to fall asleep at all…

Night 2

Checking for secrets

Later, couple of hours before sunset….

Ky’yn yawned and stretched, having had a decent night’s sleep for once: having a bed certainly helped. She worked out her scarred limbs, getting any stiffness that settled in out of them and checked her side. Ah, the marvels of vakar biology, she thought, noticing she had no more pain there.

She looked over and saw Stensig was still asleep. He looks very cute when asleep, she thought with a giggle, before turning to get dressed.

Stensig had some trouble getting to sleep himself, having had more than his fill of action for one day, he thought he'd quickly pass out. But being on the floor, he found it difficult to get comfortable. Eventually he took his jacket and put it under his back to soften the floor, and that seemed to help. After a while of tossing and turning, he finally found the deep sleep he wished for.

He dreamed fitfully for some time in nonsensical orders. At one point he was in the middle of a bustling park, the next he was alone in his old dormitory space back at the old Sanctuary. The strange thing was that Ky'yn was there with him, and she had no problem speaking with Erapax when he entered the scene. The scenario sickened him. He wanted her to have nothing to do with that wretched old vakar. They were talking about something, and Erapax held out his hand. Laughing, Ky'yn reached out to touch it, which sent Stensig over his tolerance. “FUCK YOU!” he screamed in the dream, lashing out and trying to slam the old man. Erapax wisped away into smoke, as did the rest of the scene.

Stensig woke with a start. Thankfully not having actually screamed out in reality. Panting, he looked over to see Ky'yn sleeping on the bed with her front turned to him. He admired how peaceful she looked. And mentally thanked himself. You made the right choice, she shouldn't ever have anything to do with that damn sect. He lied back down and tried to relax. Finding it much easier this time to fall back asleep.

“We’ve been searching for hours!” a man said as he and his partner walked through the shopping district. “Who the hell is so important that we have to spend all day searching a rundown shit hole of a place?”

“I told you, for the tenth time, Sillos,” the other turian, a female said, rolling her eyes. “Lieutenant Chelos got word of an informant growing a ‘conscience’ and needed to be ‘taken care of’ before he ran to the police.”

“Yeah, yeah, I remember that, Hairy….”

“It’s Herya!”

“Whatever. What’s the point? The boss is already making arrangements to move the base, so what could this guy give the police that would still be relevant?”

“You really are an idiot…,” Herya groaned as she peeked into a former flower store: no sign of activity here. “Names, descriptions…who are other informants are…information that can still mess up our operations.”

“Oh.”

“Look, it’s getting close to sunset. Let’s check that old sports good store than return to base.”

“Any reason he gave for not continuing after dark? It’s not like this guy can turn into a werevarren or anything….”

“A what? Seriously? You’ve been reading human mythology again?”

“At least it’s more interesting than those boring romance novel you read.”

Herya just growled.

Ky’yn finished getting dressed, noticing Stensig still hadn’t stirred. Being in a good mood…of the mischievous sort, she smirked and walked over to him. After sitting down next to him, She took a talon and lightly dragged it along his mandible. She felt that ‘shock’ again, but it didn’t bother her this time since she was expecting it. Ky’yn did, however, prepare herself to move away very quickly in case Stensig was the type to lash out when awakened suddenly….

Stensig snorted and jerked his head a little, his eyes snapping open immediately. Upon seeing that it was Ky'yn, he immediately relaxed again. “Aw c'mon,” he yawned, “One more hour please?” He answered his own question by sitting up after a minute. Not like he could've fallen asleep again so easy, he felt that shock from her again, and it had rattled him enough into an awakened state. “Good… evening? Yeah the sun's going down, cool”

He stood up and stretched with his arms behind his head, a few creaks could be heard as his joints popped back into place. He gave another yawn as he started getting dressed, starting with the simple shirt he wore. In half a minute he was decked out with his harness under his jacket again. “Shall we investigate the rest of the building then, try to find that entrance to the second floor? Or should we see if we can find some food first?”

He got his answer as they walked toward the door. As he began moving the table out of its blocking place, he heard voices coming from inside the store downstairs.

“Why did we even bother coming in here? It looks like it's been deserted for years!”

“Look at all the useful gear that's still here though, if you were smart enough to put yourself in his shoes, you'd think this would be a great store to loot first”

“I am smart, smart enough that I make sure I'm not in his shoes”

“Got me there,”

“Can we just leave already, the sun's going down, and this place gives me the creeps, all big and empty”

Stensig looked at Ky'yn and winked, grinning. “Two good meals,” he whispered. He reached into his jacket for his gun, but hesitated, realizing he couldn't silence it just yet. So he took out his baton instead. “You coming with me?” he asked her.

Ky’yn giggled at his antics and watched him dress with a little more interest than should be normal. He does have a nice body…, she thought with a small smile. Her mind started wondering what the rest of him looked like. Geez, girl…don’t rush things.

Then the sound of voices echoed up from downstairs, catching both their attention. “Of course,” she whispered in response to his question. “How thoughtful of them to send up roomservice.”

They moved down the stairs, being careful not to make any of the steps creek since neither could use their powers yet. All the while the pair of searchers were still talking.

“Say, didn’t this use to be a Tyranor hideout?” one said, a male.

“Some time ago yes,” a female voice responded. “Why?”

“Didn’t they have a secret room upstairs or something that they used as their gathering point?”

“That was the rumor and no one’s been able to find a way into said room since they left.”

“Maybe this Stensig guy could? I mean…it be a good place to hide.”

“If he could get past the first door you mean. And why the sudden interest in secret rooms, Sillos? I thought you wanted to get out of here….”

“’Cause I’d rather go back to Lieutenant Chelos with something…that guy scares me.”

“I agree with you there….”

Well…that answers why they are here, Ky’yn thought. Looks like his old sect sent the Varren after him…but why so few considering they know what he is capable of? She looked up at Stensig, checking his reaction to the searchers banter.

Stensig listened with interest to the two Varren go back and forth between each other. He looked at Ky'yn quizzically when he heard them mention a secret room upstairs. So it's true, there is more to this place than we originally thought. But then he heard them mention Chelos, and his eyes flared with intrigue. Chelos sent them? They're not under orders from the Varren boss or Erapax?. Chelos was fond of his position as the go-between of the sect and the Varren. He very much enjoyed manipulating people to his own deeds.

“Well, let's check upstairs and then call it a night.” the female voice said.

“Perfect, then I can get back to my werevarren book when we get back!”

Stensig heard their footsteps as they started for the staircase. He pressed himself against the wall by the door, motioning for Ky'yn to do the same. When they see the door open and come to investigate, they'll be in for an unpleasant surprise

Ky’yn nodded and pressed her back against the wall on her side. Now all they could do was wait, but fortunately vakar were usually patient beings.

“Oh hey…looks like someone did get that door open,” the male voice, Sillos she believed he was called, said.

“Quiet you fool!” the female said in a hushed tone. “Whomever did may still be in there.”

They are not doing a good job at the ‘searching’ business with all their talking, Ky’yn thought, having to suppress a snicker.

“Oh…right…,” Sillos was heard saying, much quieter this time. There was also the sound of weapons being drawn.

“I’ll take point,” the female said.

“Right behind you.”

Ky’yn looked at Stensig and got his attention. She pointed at him, then held up one finger. Then she pointed at herself and held up two fingers: ’you take first, I take second. She hoped he translated her signals as.

Once she got confirmation from him, she prepared herself to spring….

Stensig waited patiently for the two perpetrators. It was all he could to keep from holding his breath. Ky'yn gestured to him in a manner that made him think she wanted him to take the first one. He nodded to her and crouched down. He readied his baton and formulated a plan for what he would do soon as the door was breached.

“I'm telling ya, it's probably just open because someone opened it in the war” a voice hissed, getting closer as it talked.

“And I'm telling you that someone may have done it recently. We need to check to be sure!”

A male turian took a step past the door threshold. Immediately missing that Ky'yn and Stensig were right there by the door. “There's a bed with a blanket on it, maybe–”

Stensig leaped behind the thug and brought his baton against the side of his leg, knocking the knee out of place. The male turian collapsed onto his knee, howling in pain. Stensig silenced the noise by bringing the baton straight across the thug's brow. Dazing him to the point of incapacitation. He fell down onto his back silently, and Stensig stomped on his head for good measure. He was surely out cold now.

He turned to see how Ky'yn was dealing with her own perpetrator.

The woman, having apparently been the smarter of the two, was already starting to aim her weapon at Stensig’s back. By then though, Ky’yn was on the move, slipping past Stensig and leaping at the woman. The woman, shocked by the sudden appearance of a second ambusher, started to cry out. That cry was silenced when Ky’yn tackled her to the floor and slammed the back of her head against the floor. She gave her an additional blow to the temple with her fist for good measure.

Ky’yn looked back to see how Stensig was doing and saw that he had successfully knocked out his target. She nodded at him with a ‘thumps up’ sign, then proceeded to gain access to the woman’s neck and sank her fangs into her flesh.

Hmm…they questioned why just the two of them were sent out, she thought as the woman’s memories hit her. Chelos…he’s a vakar…no doubt from Stensig’s old sect. But surely he would have known what Stensig was capable of, even during the day…so why just send two men?

It didn’t sit right with her, but that can be figured out later. Right now there was a more important dilemma to deal with. “So…what should we do with these two?” she asked Stensig once she was finished. “We can’t let them live: they’ll go running back and tattle on our location. Killing them means we need to find some way to…dispose of the bodies…if we intend to stay here for a while, that is.”

Stensig had similar results while he fed on the other Varren. Chelos knows who I am, what I am. If he wanted me dead he would've sent better measures. Is he up to something? He had a sick feeling in his stomach, could these two have been sent as a peace offering? No, not a chance, but what about a bargain? Or something of that nature. He had no idea, but he couldn't mull over that just yet.

“You're right, we'll have to kill them” Stensig said with a sigh. He didn't necessarily like killing unless the situation demanded it. However, these were Varren in question, it's not like they were perfectly innocent. “Let's break their necks, at least then we won't have more cleanup than we need” He grabbed the unconscious male's head and twisted it with a swift motion, resulting in a snap that he could feel through his hands.

“Now that that's done, let's see about that secret passage they were talking about. We'll take care of the bodies later” He made for the door, looking to Ky'yn for a response.

Ky’yn sighed as she snapped the woman’s neck the same way as she did to her meal the previous night. She didn’t like it either, as, the woman at least, wasn’t quite past the point of no return. This one is going to sit on my conscience for a while. she thought grimly. The things we have to do to survive….

“It’s probably going to be hard to find…considering it wasn’t immediately obvious,” she said as she joined him. “Let’s just hope it’s not one that requires power….”

Once back in the room, she stood there a moment, thinking, going over the various different ways such a passage could be hidden. She also did a glance around walls, looking out of place seams, but didn’t see anything out of ordinary. Then she started knocking on the walls, listening carefully for anything out of place….

Stensig helped Ky'yn search throughout the room, moving the bed and the table to see underneath. Nothing. No hinges or panels that looked out of place. He sighed, knowing that it shouldn't be easy to begin with. But if an entire gang was to know how to get to the room, then there must be something that would be easy to do to make it appear. If it was too complicated it would be a pain to get the whole gang to comply.

He sat down and thought for a second, but couldn't think of anything. Eventually he stood up and said, “I want to take care of the bodies, it's bugging me now that they're just here” He started with the male, dragging him by his biceps, pulling him down the staircase carefully. It made an audible scuffing sound as the corpse hit the stairs each step, much to Stensig's displeasure.

When he arrived back upstairs to retrieve the female's body, he chimed in “I just had an idea, we should find a large ditch, like where a bomb may have hit or something, and toss them in there. Then we can have you incinerate both of them,”

“Sounds like a plan,” Ky’yn said, getting frustrated with the search herself. “Maybe once that is done we can continue with fresh eyes. Let’s search the bodies first…they have some useful stuff on them.”

Before Stensig took the female’s body, she did a quick search over it. She found a couple of heat clips, which she tossed to Stensig and a few credits. After helping Stensig get the last body downstairs, she searched the male’s body. One heat clip and an omni-tool, which Ky’yn squeed over. “I may be able to do something with this,” she said, pocketing it, after handing the heat clip to Stensig.

“Suggestion,” she said once she finished with her search. “Let’s find a ditch before carrying the bodies out the building…so we don’t waste energy carrying them around while looking.”

He couldn't help but grin at the happy squeak she made when she found the omni tool. That's a heart-attack inducing habit she's got there, I need to watch myself. He happily accepted the third looted heat clip and placed it in his harness pouch. I'm in pretty good shape now, that'll last me a bit I think.

Stensig agreed with Ky'yn's idea and headed outside with her. The sun was setting over the horizon, draping long shadows all throughout the decrepit shopping district. Once again it looked like no one had operated there for years or even decades. He smiled at the thought that they might be safe there for a while, once they found that secret room they'd have a great hideout.

But before that they had something more pressing to do: find a suitable ditch or hole to deposit the bodies. “Right then,” he clapped his hands together. “Now we just need a bigass ditch, drop some bodies in it, and burn them so they're never seen again, here I thought I was getting away from gang activities!” He smiled, obviously in good spirits. Having good company seemed to be having a good effect on him.

Ky’yn smiled at his enthusiasm. “Well, let’s hope we don’t have to do stuff like this very often,” she said. “It would hurt our good reputation.” The last part was mainly said a joke, as right now, they didn’t have much of reputation to speak of with the local populous to her knowledge.

There were plenty of ditches around due to the war, but finding one to suit their task and that wasn’t too close to their current hideout was a pain. They did find one though, a couple blocks away, only it was more of gaping pit than a ditch. It was easily about fifty feet in diameter, but tell how deep it was, was rather difficult to tell, possibly due to the current lighting.

“Wow…,” Ky’yn breathed as she looked over the edge. “Not sure if this is a natural sinkhole or some underground structure that completely collapsed. Probably wouldn’t need to burn anything if we drop them in here.” As test she picked up a rock and tossed it in and waited to see if she heard it hit the bottom….

Stensig chuckled at the thought of having a reputation. The only reputation he used to have was that of a useful tool for the sect. With his stealth fields, sect members would use him to help them in their hunts. Or to sneak members in and out of Varren territory.

He listened for the rock to hit the bottom of the pit, it took a good few seconds before it clattered down at the end. He shuddered to imagine just how deep it was. The thought of being down in a hole like that chilled him. “Sheesh” he said, “That's a damn deep hole” He looked over to Ky'yn “Well, if you don't want to burn them that's fine, but I think it'd be for the better if you at least did your trick on them so their deaths couldn't be traced”

The sun was hitting the very edge of the horizon now. Soon it would be dark enough for them to use their abilities. “Let's get back and get these bodies here. The sooner we can get them in the better I think”

“I agree,” Ky’yn said, to both statements. They quickly, but carefully, made their way back to the store. There, with some help from Stensig, Ky’yn managed to pick up the female body and put it over her shoulder, while Stensig took the male one. By then the sun had fully set, so Stensig could use his abilities to hide and deafen their movements.

“You know, I’ve been thinking…,” she piped up at one point. “Dangerous, I know, but if this secret area was really an old gathering point of the Tyranors, there has to be another way in. Having a bunch of gang members coming in and going behind the weapons counter to access the upstairs, even staggered, would draw too much attention. In fact, that room we found so far seems more like a ‘one-on-one’ meeting area, for side deals and such. Not saying there isn’t a way into the rest of the floor from there, of course. I’m just thinking that we may have better luck checking the delivery area at the back.”

Stensig helped Ky'yn heave the female body onto her shoulder, then hefted the male one onto his. As they walked back to the chasm-like ditch he opened his field over them, putting them in stealth mode. He was thankful it was dark now. He felt much safer now that he could use his abilities. It was also great that he could help ensure Ky'yn's safety too.

“That makes sense,” he replied at Ky'yn's musing, “We'll start our search again with the back door, see if we can figure things out. Hey, if gang members could be taught how to access a secret room, there shouldn't be any reason we can't”

Soon they reached their corpse-hiding pit. Stensig unceremoniously let the body he was carrying fall off his shoulder onto the ground next to the hole. He then helped Ky'yn drop her own baggage. “Alright,” he said, “You're up”

“Haha, indeed!” Ky’yn agreed. Once they were back at the pit, Ky’yn used her abilities to suck the heat out of both bodies. They then pushed the bodies over the edge: few seconds later, they both heard dual thuds…with some cracks, when they hit the bottom. “There…with luck, if they are found it will be assumed these two idiots fell in,” she said. “Time to find a secret entrance.”

With that they headed back to the store, going around to the back to the loading dock. The loading dock door was broken, looters having forced their way in long ago. Inside, the place had been ransacked; boxes of various merchandise the looters didn’t want were thrown everywhere. Above, there were some catwalks which were used to access boxes stored on the higher shelves.

“I think we need to get up there,” Ky’yn said, pointing to the catwalks. “I have a feeling the entrance is up on the ceiling somewhere.”

As he heard the two bodies hitting the bottom of the pit, Stensig grimaced. If they weren't already dead, that surely would've done it, at least if they hit the right organs. He shook his head at the gnarly thought of hitting one's head at the bottom, then agreed with Ky'yn that it was time to return.

When they arrived at the loading docks, they saw a similar situation to what they saw inside the store itself. Everything was ransacked and pillaged, anything that the thieves didn't find useful was strewn all around the enormous room. Ky'yn soon piped in that she thought they needed to get to the catwalks above, and Stensig nodded.

The problem was, the ladders leading up to the catwalks had been destroyed, by looters possibly. The lowest hanging remainder of a ladder was far too high for one person to reach, but two… “Ky'yn,” he called, “I need your help, if I boost you, do you think you could reach that?” He pointed to the ladder above. “If you can reach that and get up there, we could probably find a rope or something so I can climb up too” He smiled, happy that he could think of a solution.

Ky’yn looked up at the ladder and frowned slightly. There was a chance the top of the ladder was no longer safely fully secured to the catwalk, though from here she couldn’t tell. Plus there was another issue….

“I don’t do well with ladders,” she pointed out, waving her stump to prove it. “And no…my prostatic program won’t be useful here: the fake limb can’t handle more than five pounds. That said, however, I’m not as likely to cause what’s left of that thing to break off. So I’ll give it a shot.” She flashed him a mock glare as she added. “Just no funny ideas, OK?”

So she allowed him to boost her up. She was able to grab onto a rung, but needed Stensig’s help to get her feet high enough to reach the lowest one. The moment her full weight was on it though, it groaned loudly, a groan that reverberated throughout the whole catwalk. “I…don’t like the sound of that…,” she muttered. Oh spirits, please don’t tell me these ladders were part of the support structure! Looking up, the catwalk was supported by cables attached to the roof and none of them looked frayed as far as she could see. There were also places were the frame of the catwalk extended into the wall, so maybe she was just being paranoid?

She decided to risk it. Ky’yn, as quickly as she could, climbed up the ladder, wincing at every creak and groan. She was grateful when she reached the top. “I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to be on this thing with me,” she called down. “I don’t completely trust its structural integrity. Still, finding rope would be a good idea: there should be some climbing robe in this place somewhere….”

With that said, she started focusing studying the ceiling, looking for anything obvious. She also looked through what boxes were left up there as she did so….

Stensig helped hoist Ky'yn up towards the ladder. He was glad that she wasn't very heavy. He watched nervously as she struggled to climb up, the ladder creaking and groaning as she did. The noises echoed throughout the enormous room. It was then he realized how unfortunate it was that it had to be her to climb, given her bad arm. But she seemed to persevere really well.

She called down that she didn't think he should join her, to which he agreed. “Still,” he said, “Making a rope ladder would be beneficial if the secret room does turn out to be up there. I'll check the store for some rope,” He left Ky'yn to explore the upper catwalk, with any luck she'd find more usable supplies or better, discover the entrance to the special room.

He entered the store again, moving towards the camping section. Sure enough, he found rope, good sturdy climbing rope. If nothing else, they could tie that to the catwalk and climb up, but fashioning a rope ladder would be even better. To do that he'd need a cutting tool, and the knives and blades section of the store were picked clean. He wondered if Ky'yn maybe had a knife program on her omni tool, or given any luck maybe she'd find one. He put the rope around his shoulder and started making his way back to the loading docks.

Ky’yn found some rope of her own, which she slipped over her arm. She also got the idea of a rope ladder, but one with proper steps when she found a crate full of wooden bats. There was also a box of fishing line, which she knew would be useful but didn’t know for what just yet, so both those and the bats she left in place for the time being. The priority was to find that entrance. Then, at the far end of the room, where it would be on the opposite side of the little room they slept in during the day, she found it.

From the distance it looked like an innocent square patch of roof that had been repaired, but after getting closer, Ky’yn realized it was something more. Feeling excited, but guarded as well, she made her way quickly to it. There was a crate just under it and she suspected she knew why.

After cautiously claiming on top, she gave the panel a much closer look. There were no handles or hinges, but yet it was flush with the rest of the ceiling. That gave her hope that it didn’t require power, so with her hand she pushed up against it. It gave.

She gave a squeal of glee. “I found it!” she cried, excitedly, not even looking to see if Stensig had returned or not. Without waiting for a response, she pushed against it with more force. It gave more, but years if disuse obviously was not kind to it. She ended up having put her upper back against it and use the power in her legs to finally get it open and it did so with a loud protest that could be heard throughout the storeroom.

Stensig had set foot in the enormous room when he heard the loud sound of metal being disturbed echoing from all around. Alarmed, he called “Are you alright!?”

“I found it!” Was the excited reply shouted back at him, and he gave a sigh of relief. Scanning the catwalk above, he spotted her standing on a crate, pushing up against the ceiling with her back. He saw as the roof gave way above her. So it's in the ceiling then? Clever, would have been easy to miss too. He walked up closer to where Ky'yn was and let the rope he was carrying drop by his feet.

“I figured we could make a rope climb or a ladder of some sort. You wouldn'tve happened to find some knives up there would you?”

Stensig’s voice only just kept her from climbing into the newly exposed room right away in her excitement. She briefly stepped off the crate so she could safely look down at Stensig. “Knives? No, unfortunately,” she replied. “Found some bats we can use as rungs though and more rope. The room is easily accessed from up here, so we’ll just need the rope ladder to get on the catwalk.”

Ky’yn paused a moment to think. “I think it should be OK for you to come up here too,” she said. “I can secure the rope I found somewhere so you can climb up. Then we can both up into the secret area and give it a quick look over before making the ladder.”

Stensig waited for Ky'yn to secure the rope she found at the top of the catwalk, then caught the other end when she tossed it down. “I was never super great at this in gym!” he called as he began climbing. It was true, he had a little trouble with the rope, he did eventually make it. “Can't wait for a rope ladder,” he grumbled when he made it up. “So let's see this room eh?”

He walked over to the hatch in the ceiling and, using the crate as a stepstool, climbed inside. He reached his arm down to help Ky'yn up. As he straightened up he looked around the new room they had discovered. “Wow…” he breathed “Look at this!

“Oh my…,” Ky’yn breathed when she finally got a good look herself.

The place was huge overall. The area immediately around the trap door was somewhat fortified, various metal panels and other things welded together into makeshift cover. Beyond those there was evidence of heavy machinery having once been in place, likely weapon repair equipment, perhaps even manufacturing equipment. In their place were various trappings of an old gang hideout: lockers, tables, chairs, even a couple of beds. There was even graffiti on one wall with the green Tyranor logo, with the phrase ‘Fight for change!’ underneath it.

In the area closest to the little room were a series of walled off partitions, which would be perfect for sleeping, storage and other things. Beyond those was a small hallway that lead to a dead end and Ky’yn had a funny feeling that was where the other entrance to this place was. Overall, the place was a mess, like the former Tyranor inhabitants decided they had to leave in a hurry.

“Needs some clean up, but this should do perfectly!” She said, putting her hand on her hip. “Hell…this could work for a decent sized sect if we could find more like-minded vakar to join us.” Unfortunately, so many vakar died during the war…, she thought bitterly. That Stensig’s old sect survived with so many is a miracle and it’s a pity they are all corrupt. She looked up at Stensig. Save for him…and he’s mine now. She couldn’t help but smile a bit at that.

“Let’s get started on that ladder, shall we?” Ky’yn said. “I have a knife tool in my omni for cutting if needed, provided it cooperates. Ohhh….” She squealed a bit. “I’m already coming up with ideas on how to improve this place!” Ky’yn literally bounced a bit when she said that.

Stensig stood practically drooling at what was before him. This place could serve ALL their needs in one awesome zone. It was large, decently fortified, decked with home comforts like beds and chairs, hard to reach, and best of all, hidden. Excitement brewed up from his gut at the thought that they had found somewhere safe where even his old sect would have a hard time finding. This could end up being home sweet home for a while

“Yeah, I wish,” he said at Ky'yn's statement about housing a whole sect, crossing his arms, “There were a few before the Reaper War who could've come with us, but they're all gone now. Imagine, you and me being masters of our own sect!” He paused and scratched under his chin “I think you'd be the Elder, I'm no good at leading, I much prefer following.”

He noticed her smiling at him, perhaps thinking of other things as well, he returned the smile in turn. “Yeah, let's start that ladder,” he piped in, “I don't wanna have to climb that rope every single time”

He heard her make her excited squeaking noise again, and bit his tongue quietly. Dammit stop doing that, you're gonna give me diabetes! He saw her bouncing up and down, excited with ideas, and he couldn't help but laugh at her good-naturedly.

Me? Elder? Ky’yn thought. Maybe once I get a couple more centuries under my belt. While she knew she was the right personality type for the task, her lack of age and experience would result in her giving up the position immediately if they found an older vakar to join them. With just the two of them, there was no need for different ranks anyway.

They set about the immediate task of making the rope ladder. First, Stensig had to return to the bottom floor to retrieve the rope he found earlier, then, together, they transported the wooden bats up to their new home. There, they started the process of making the rope ladder: Ky’yn used her knife program to make notches in the wider end of the bats so the rope wouldn’t slip off, while Stensig tied the ropes at both ends.

“There’s two more essential things we’ll need,” Ky’yn said as they worked. “A water source and some way to light this place.” She looked up at the few windows on this floor. “It’s a full moon right now, but we can’t rely on it every night when we are in here. I saw some oil lanterns in the store earlier, those should work for a while, but the fuel will eventually run out. As for water…is there a river, or even a stream in this area? While need it for bathing and washing as needed.” Spirits…when was the last time I washed my clothes…or myself? she thought, suddenly feeling a bit self-conscious about her cleanliness. “Of course…any washing would have to be done during daytime due to ‘you-know-who’.”

“Also, it would probably be a good idea to find some way to oil the hinges on that thing.” Ky’yn nodded toward the trapdoor. “You heard how loud that was…don’t want to ‘announce’ or presence every time we come and go.”

Stensig listened politely as Ky'yn talked, still helping assemble the rope ladder. It was amusing how much use he'd be getting out of baseball bats, he was never one for sports. At Ky'yn's mention of needing a water source he couldn't stop himself from blushing slightly. He hoped she wouldn't see.

“Yeah, there's a lake a couple of miles out. We can go there tonight if you want,” He tried not to sound hopeful, that phrase could be misconstrued in the most embarrassing way. “As for a light source,” he thought a minute, “I wonder if there are any power generators in any of the electric or hardware stores. If we could find one, we could use electric lighting for a good long time. Ugh, getting it all the way up here would be a pain though”

Then she mentioned the loud hinges on the trap door. “I bet there's some gun lubricant in the cleaning case I appropriated, we could try that, otherwise we could see what the other stores have. Maybe we could find some vegetable oil somewhere” Look at me, sounding like I know what the eff I'm doing. He smiled at himself.

When the rope ladder was done, they tied it off on the catwalk and let it coil down to the floor. It was longer than it needed to be, but better longer than too short Stensig thought. “Well,” he said, “Shall we go to the lake then?”

The Lake

She had caught his slight blush at the mention of the lake, but didn’t comment as she was busy blushing a bit herself at the notion. It still puzzled her at why she was feeling so modest around him. A whole lake sounded very nice though: she was already feeling her body start to itch, demanding to be washed.

“Unfortunately, I doubt there’ll be any ‘free’ generators available due to the war,” Ky’yn said on his next point. “Weight and noise is an issue as well. I can probably improvise a quieter power source if I can find the right parts.” After a pause, she added. “Gun lubricant should work in a pinch, but we should find stuff designed for things like that if we can. Cooking oil should be used as a last resort if you ask me.”

After the ladder was finished and put into place, Ky’yn took a moment to respond to Stensig’s question. She felt nervous for some reason about bathing with him. He’s already seen half of you, she thought to herself. And it’s not like you have anything he hasn’t seen before…besides my scars….

“Yeah, let’s go,” she said, climbing down their new ladder. “I want to make a system to pull this thing up and down as needed,” she said as she waited for him to join her on the ground floor. “So intruders can’t get to us so easily. Already have an idea on how to do it, so I’ll probably start on that when we get back, provided we have time before sunrise.” As they headed out of the building, Ky’yn scratched her chin as she thought out loud. “Probably could hit some clothing stores too…new clothes to wear would be good.”

She started rattling off a list of other things they may need, mostly items she could use to make a power source. “Ah!” she suddenly exclaimed when she realized what she was doing. “S-sorry…I went off and started rambling again….”

Stensig smiled good-naturedly at her apology. “Don't worry about it, it's good to see that you take that kind of passion into your work,” He added “Though, let's talk about a shopping list after we finish up at the lake, I'm dying to get clean here” It was true, though he'd only been with Ky'yn for a little while, it had already been a good deal of time before they met when he had an actual washing. Up till now he didn't care how he presented himself before his vakar peers, in fact he'd let himself look ratty just to annoy his old Master. But now he had someone whose opinion he actually cared about.

They talked as they walked towards the lake, they had a good chunk of time to kill before they'd get there. They bounced ideas off of each other on what their hideout would need and where they could get the needed supplies. Already they were coming up with plans that could last them multiple weeks, even months. There was still the issue of 'food', but they agreed that if they stayed far enough away from their hideout when they went to hunt they wouldn't draw attention to their new home.

At last they reached the lake, it was small, but plenty large enough for the purpose they desired it for. It was secluded as well, no signs of activity for miles in any direction. Trees lined the opposite side shore, creating a one-side 'shield' from prying eyes. The sun had just begun to rise behind them, signaling to them their safety from the Master's powers. Unusually happy to see the sun, Stensig began removing his jacket. As he did so he turned to Ky'yn and asked sheepishly, “One at a time or… together?”

The size and seclusion was perfect, if a bit far for her liking considering it was already sunrise. Still, she’ll take it, as there likely wasn’t another clean source of water for miles like this one. As for his question, she had to think a moment on it.

On the one hand, it would probably be a good idea to have one of them keep watch, just in case someone else did come along. However, there was the temptation of peeking at the one bathing and Ky’yn still felt rather subconscious about her scars. There was also the issue of time: with it already being sunrise, they were cutting into their normal sleep schedule as is and they still had to prepare their new sleeping area for the day.

“Together,” Ky’yn said finally, starting to undress herself. She also figured Stensig would be busy washing himself to look at her much, at least she hoped so. As she took off her clothing, she realized she was trembling with anxiety. Stop it, stop it! she told herself, trying to control it, but failing. You’ve done this before around others!

Her trembling reached its peak when she got the undersuit fully off, fully revealing her nude form to the world around her…including Stensig….

Stensig had already taken his shirt off by the time he got his answer. Pleased, he continued to undress, moving down to his pants. He was feeling a strange mix of embarrassment and excitement. He'd never bathed with someone he cared about, sect members sure, but not with someone he liked. He felt a sudden jolt of anxiety as his underwear came off, but he tried to play it off.

He stepped thigh-deep into the water, already welcoming the cool feeling on his legs. He turned around to see Ky'yn still on the shore, nearly finished undressing. To avoid letting it look like he was staring, he let himself fall backwards into the water, making a splash and getting the rest of his body wet in the process. He stayed under for a few seconds, enjoying himself. When he resurfaced he saw that Ky'yn had finished undressing and was coming into the water too.

He again tried not to stare, but he couldn't help but look. She indeed had an attractive body, though it was unfortunately marred by the damage she'd suffered before turning vakar. He saw scars all down the side of her body, the same side she lost her arm on. She had a damaged spur on her leg as well. She must have been close to the bomb she had talked about. He wondered how lucky she considered herself.

To break the silence he piped up, “Water's great isn't it? It's been a while since I had a chance for this!”

The shock of the coolness of the water made her gasp a bit, especially around the edges of her scars, where she as especially sensitive. It snapped her out of her anxious stupor for the moment, allowing her to enjoy it. Then she noticed Stensig was looking at her and her anxiety spiked once more. Ohmygodhe’slookingmatme, her mind raced in momentary panic. What is he thinking? Does he think I’m a freak?

However, there was no look of disgust on his face. He didn’t even comment on her scars. Instead, he commented on how great the water was. This eased her anxiety back down to semi-normal.

“Yes, it is,” she responded, opting to simply sit down on the lake bottom, resulting in the water being shoulder high on her. “It’s been a while for me as well,” she admitted. “I had access to proper baths before the war when I was on my solo hunt, but it never felt the same as washing in a natural source like this. There’s a certain level of…refreshness you don’t get when using recycled water.”

After letting the water soak in for a moment, she started rubbing her skin in an effort to wash off the dirt and grime she had built up over the last few months. “OK, couple more things to add to our ‘shopping list’,” she said. “Washrags…maybe even scrub brushes…and some towels.”

Her voice was being drowned out by his own thoughts. It was taking a lot more mental effort for Stensig to not stare at her than he'd originally intended. It wasn't the scars that bothered him, it was more the haunting beauty it gave her. She was a survivor, tough, bold, and focused. It was astounding to see such evidence of a strong person. For as long as he knew her she never seemed like a liability or a problem, but someone just as dangerous and integral as he could ever be.

He assumed she was listing off more shopping items that they would need, so he absently nodded as she spoke. When she stopped he dunked himself under the water again, letting the water reach every inch of his body. He smiled at how great it felt to be becoming clean again. When he resurfaced he finished scrubbing himself down with his hands. He looked over to her in a sidelong glance. “I'm gonna grab my clothes” He walked right past her as he headed for the shore, he resisted the urge to look down at her as she sat on the lake bottom. It was a cute position she was in.

His sudden statement caught her off guard. It was almost if he really needed to remove himself from this situation. Was she boring him with her chatter? She was about to ask if something was wrong when she got distracted by a very nice view of him as he walked past.

“Oh…spirits…that’s a fine ass….,” she said. Ky’yn then sudden slapped her hand over her mouth in embarrassment. Ohmyfuckinggod.WhydidIjustsaythatoutloud!? her mind raced. Quite certain her face was a very nice shade of blue, she forced herself to focus on finishing up scrubbing.

She had to stand up so she could scrub her backside, but at this point she was far beyond worrying about what he thought about her scars. He did have a nice body though…which was topped by a honest, funny, personality. It was easy to for her to like him….

Stensig froze for a moment, shock and embarrassment robbing him of movement. Did she, did she *really* just say that out loud? Think fast, play it off, turn it around, just do SOMETHING

He turned around to look back at her, but she was standing up now, back facing towards him, and he got his own eyeful. Oh damn. “Not bad yourself!” he called, “My eyes are getting a vacation!” What the fuck did I just say? Eye vacation? Really?

What came next was more awkward silence from the male. His stomach was doing cartwheels and his blood chilled like ice. Grieved and embarrassed, he once again fell back on humor to help through stressful situations. “Excuse me while I drown myself” he said in a deadpan tone. He put his hand on the back of his head and pretended to push his face into the water. After blowing angry bubbles for a few seconds he rolled over and began floating on his back, pretending to be a body washed up close to shore.

Ky’yn stiffed up in shock at his comment in shock, having been completely caught off guard. Did he just…say that he liked my ass? she thought. But it’s…. In that moment a realization came to her, one that finally sunk in. My scars don’t bother him…he can see past them….

She smiled genuinely at the thought and started to turn around to face him. Ky’yn got a glimpse of his confused and embarrassed face before ‘excusing’ himself to ‘drown’ himself. He was just as awkward about the situation as she was and she found it rather cute, to be honest.

Once he finished his little ‘drowning’ act and was now floating on his back, she walked over to him and knelt beside him. She put her hand on his chest, letting the little shock that came with it cause him to sit up. After she was fairly certain his earholes were no longer waterlogged, she said. “I guess we both made…asses…out of ourselves today, eh?” She gave him a sweet smile as she said this.

Stensig floated for a few seconds with his eyes closed, pretending to be dead. Presently he felt a familiar shock sensation against his chest and he sprung up to a sitting position. Ky'yn was sitting right next to him. The proximity between the two of them had him feeling nervous, but she didn't seem to feel the same. After she said her joke to him, he laughed good-naturedly with his eyes closed. “And what fine asses we are!” he chimed back.

Things became less tense between the two as they continued their bathing routines. Stensig had stepped to shore and got his clothes. As he soaked them he wondered if they'd be dry by the time they got back to their little base of operations. Thinking of which, he looked at the horizon and saw that the sun had been rising ever so much higher as time went by. He was getting a little antsy, if not sleepy, and eager to get back.

“I'm about done here,” he said. “What about you?”

Ky’yn had just finished washing her clothing the best she could when he said that. “Same here,” she said. With the sun inching ever higher, she was feeling more and more exposed and vulnerable: it wasn’t due to her nudity either. While they weren’t completely helpless without access to their powers, they still preferred to avoid getting into situations where they couldn’t use them.

She rung out her under suit the best she could before slipping it back on, to give herself at least a little bit of modesty for the trip back: the rest she’ll let drip dry when they arrive back home. Once they were both ready, they started back. At first they were chatty, cracking jokes with each other, but as they got closer to their home, they paid more attention to their surroundings, making sure they weren’t being followed. Standard procedure really, when it came to sect members returning home for the day. Ky’yn chuckled lightly at the thought: they only knew each other for a couple of days and they were already acting like proper sect mates.

“We should get our belongings from the other room first,” Ky’yn whispered as the store came into sight. “Maybe grab a couple of those sleeping bags, since we don’t know what condition those beds are in.”

Stensig came to the same conclusion as Ky'yn did as she spoke to him. He wanted to get everything they had up to their new hiding spot. “Yeah,” he said, “Let's do that, rather a clean sleeping bag than a possible dirty bed” When they arrived at the store they passed through the abandoned aisles into the room they slept in the day before. They retrieved their packs and headed back out.

As they rounded back to the loading docks Stensig gave a great yawn. The sun was climbing ever higher over the horizon, and he wanted to get back to sleep as soon as possible. When they returned to the rope ladder they had built not too long ago, Stensig offered to take Ky'yns pack along with his own, so she could climb up easier with her single arm easier.

When Stensig himself reached the top and up to the catwalk, he pulled up the ladder behind him and detached it from the catwalk, rolling it up under his arm. Ky'yn had already pushed the trap door, causing the loud noise to echo once more. “Yeah, we've got to get some grease for that thing” Stensig said sleepily. He handed the packs and the ladder up to Ky'yn above him when she climbed up into the hidden room. He in turn climbed up, and graciously accepted the sleeping bag and pillow Ky'yn held out to him. He removed the covers to one of the beds, leaving the bare mattress underneath. At least that was pretty clean. He situated himself on top of the mattress inside the sleeping bag and put the pillow under his head. Before he closed his eyes, he sat up one more time to say good night to Ky'yn.

After gathering their belongings, Ky’yn snatched up a couple of sleeping bags as they passed back through the store, pausing long enough to stuff them into her pack for easier transport. Once back in the warehouse and at the ladder, she accepted Stensig’s offer to take her pack: it was awkward enough to climb ladders with one arm, let alone with a weight on her back. While Stensig was climbing, she reopened the trap door, wincing at the screech of protest the old hinges made.

“Yeah, that’s high on my shopping list priority for tonight,” Ky’yn said tiredly to Stensig’s comment as she handed him a sleeping bag and pillow. “At least we shouldn’t have to worry about hunting tonight: we can focus all our energy on improving this place.”

Before preparing her own bed, she hung out her clothing so dry completely. Then, like Stensig, she also stripped the other bed of its covers, revealing a cleaner surface to put her own sleeping bag on. After climbing into the sleeping bag, she looked over at Stensig one last time before closing her eyes. “Night, Mister fine butt,” she said with giggle.

She then proceeded to have nice dreams of about said butt….

Night 3

Comfort

“Chelos!”

Chelos paused in his stride and turned to look at the owner of the voice. It was none other than Dacia Kasthen, the current second-in-command of the Varrens: a position he had eyes on himself. “Yes, Second Boss?” he asked. “I hope this won’t take long…I am rather tired.”

“I could care less how tired you are,” the red eyed woman growled. “Where are Sillos and Herya? No one has seen them since yesterday.”

“Ah, I sent those two on an errand yesterday,” Chelos replied. “If they have yet to return, it would seem that ‘errand’ got the better of them.”

Dacia’s mandibles twitched with annoyance. “Just what kind of errand did you send them on that was so risky?”

“One of my informants decided he didn’t want to work with me anymore and so I sent those two to take care of him.” He gave her an uncaring shrug as he stated it.

Now the second-in-command’s mandible weren’t just twitching, they were flared. “Are you a fool!?” she bellowed. “That sounds like something one of our top people should have taken care of! Why didn’t you tell the Boss about this!?”

“My informant…my problem,” Chelos said smoothly. “Already had the Bosses blessing anyway, considering I had to tell him why I was suggesting we move house.”

“You…went over my head!?” Dacia screeched.

“If you got a problem with that, talk to the Boss: he wanted to talk to me at the time anyway. Considering how you have the habit of not passing on my information to the Boss….” Chelos smirked when he saw the color drain from her face a bit.

“That kind of thing I would not have kept to myself!” she protested. “And how the hell do you know I keep things you report from him?”

“Why take the chance?” Chelos said with another one of his shrugs. “As for how: I have my methods.” Being a living wiretap was so useful.

Dacia growled but turned and started to walk away. “I’ll let you off this time, Chelos, but don’t do it again!”

“You have my word.” He smirked at her retreating back. You’ll be dead soon anyway, then I will be Second Boss..

Stensig slept much nicer than he had the day before. He liked being snug and warm in a sleeping bag, and having an actual pillow to put his head on helped him to black out as soon as possible. He really WAS very tired after all.

He had another dream, though much less unpleasant. He was with Ky'yn in a brightly-lit room, the sun coming in from large windows. They were sitting on a couch playing holo-games on their omni tools and chatting wordlessly. Stensig savored the positive feeling of the atmosphere. It felt like they didn't have to worry about anything at all.

His eyes opened after a few hours, and he was disappointed to have lost the dream. Since there were no windows, he couldn't tell if night had fallen again or not. But Ky'yn was still sleeping soundly, and his internal clock told him he wasn't quite done sleeping yet. So he got himself comfortable again and closed his eyes. Just a little while longer at least.

Ky’yn yawned, stretching a bit as she awakened. That had been a good night’s sleep and with how comfortable she felt, she was tempted to just roll over and snooze some more. No, we got lots to do today, she reminded herself with a sigh. We have supplies to scavenge, cleaning to do…..

With another yawn she sat up and looked over in Stensig’s direction. He was still asleep. A smirk formed on her face as she stood up and quietly walked over and sat by his bed, then stared right at this face….

Something tickled Stensig's nose and he snorted, begrudgingly opening his eyes. Right in front of him was a pair of gleaming yellow eyes. He stifled a gasp before realizing it was just Ky'yn, sitting incredibly close face to face with him. He jokingly blew a puff of air into her face, as if shooing away a moth. “I'll thank you not to do that,” he said sitting up, “Though I've woken up to worse sights before.” He flashed a quick grin.

Stensig stretched, letting his spine creak and groan pleasingly. He felt very well rested, the mattress that was under him, while old, provided a very comfortable slumber for him. He could get used to this kind of living, he thought to himself. He got out of his sleeping bag and put on his upper garments, placing his beloved handgun in it's usual leg holster this time. There was no need to hid it in his jacket during the nighttime.

“Well,” he said once he was all set up with himself “We've got some stuff to do tonight, what do you want to start with?”

Ky’yn giggled at his reaction to her little ‘wake up call’. “Couldn’t resist,” she said, returning the grin as she stood up and went to put on the rest of her own clothing. Once she was set up herself, she responded to his query.

“Top priority, finding grease for that thing,” she said, pointing at the trap door. “Should be able to find some in a mechanics shop. I’d also like to see if we can find a wind up generator, as I may be able to modify it to power some simple lights for us to see by in here. If not, I’ll need to make one from scratch, which means I’ll need magnets, copper and a few other things.” She walked over to the trap door and pulled it open, wincing at the groan it made. “Other than that, cleaning supplies like brooms, and towels and other bathing stuff for when we make our trips to the lake.”

With their goals for the night set, they headed out. They initially used stealth when leaving the immediate area to prevent their lair from being detected. Once a suitable distance away, Ky’yn suggested conserving energy in case they did come across trouble. So far though, it seemed they were the only ones in the ruins.

They lucked out on the lubrication grease with the first mechanic shop they checked and they helped themselves with a couple of cans worth. The wind-up generator was harder to find, as they were considered more of a novelty by some during non-war time, but essential during the war itself due to the Reapers habit of knocking out power and satellite based communications. They finally found one in a toy store of all places, in the form of a toy radio.

With that in hand, it was off to hardware store, were they picked up few strands of string lights and some basic tools Ky’yn would need to rig up the lights. The same store had some heavy duty brooms as well, so they took a couple of those. Connected to this store was a general housing supply store, so they stopped by there to get some towels, scrub brushes, and other cleaning supplies. Everything they grabbed they put in one of the duffle bags they brought with them.

By the time they found everything they were looking for, the night was half done. So they quickly made their way back home, using stealth most of the way. Once back at the sports store, Ky’yn made a quick stop in the store itself to pick up one of the gas lanterns: after all, she was going to need light to see what she was doing with the generator. After that, she and Stensig climbed back up into their home, taking the rope ladder up with them like they did the night before.

First thing they did was oil the hinges on the trap door: in no time the door was almost completely silent once more. Afterward, Ky’yn set up a table and a couple of chairs, setting the wind-up toy radio, tools, and string lights on top. Once she lit the lantern with one of the lighters they grabbed a couple nights before, she got to work. It quickly became clear though, that she was going to need help.

“Sten,” she said with annoyed sigh. “I need to borrow your hands for this. Some of things required for this needs two-handed dexterity…which I won’t get with my prostatic program.” She added with a smirk. “Don’t worry, you won’t get zapped: this thing won’t generate power until you wind it up.”

Stensig looked at her sheepishly. “Can't promise how useful I'll be anyway, I was never a technician. If it was a firearm we were putting together sure, but…” He trailed off as he walked over to help her. With some assurances and directions from Ky'yn, he helped her get to work with the generator. When they screwed open the toy radio's casing to reach its inner workings, Stensig felt a twinge of sorrow for the thing. He always regarded toys as one of the more purer forms of entertainment, and was sorry to have to break one for its parts. He silently apologized to and thanked the toy for its contribution towards making his and Ky'yn's lifestyle better.

He stayed continuously verbal with Ky'yn as they worked, constantly asking questions and making sure he was doing his part correctly. His ineptitude with certain tools showed very much, and he cursed himself for it. A male as old as he was should have a better understanding of such things. Though, he argued with himself, these kinds of things surely weren't any priority of his old sect, when would he have had the time to learn anyway?

After some working time they had extracted and put together a working wind-up generator for themselves. Stensig sat back and admired what they had accomplished, though not for long. Soon after Ky'yn asked him to help her set up the string lights around the room. He obliged, and when they were halfway done he noted, “It's like a gazebo you'd see at a party or something!” He was anxious to see how they looked when powered up.

Having Stensig help her with this project was certainly a trial of patience. Fortunately, she had a lot of practice with Vidan, whom she also ‘employed’ as an extra pair of hands during her non-vakar days. It was also good that Stensig wasn’t shy about asking questions and for clarification on what he was doing. While it slowed down the process to have to explain things in ways he would understand, it helped ensure the task got done.

Now it was the moment of truth. They had finished stringing up the lights and all that was needed now was to wind it up. “Cross your fingers,” Ky’yn announced as she took hold of the crank and wound it until it reached maximum tension. Then with baited breath, she let go of the crank.

They were greeted with a line of lights illuminating the room. It was a bit fainter than Ky’yn liked, but that it worked at all made her very happy. “It’s ALIVE!” she squealed, bouncing a bit with joy. “At some point it will probably be good to make a bigger, better one, but this will do!”

He was surprised, if not a little proud, to see the lights spring to life the way they did. Sure, they weren't the brightest lights he'd ever seen, but they'd more than suit for what they needed, at least for the time being. “Thanks, little toy radio!” he said out loud.

He looked around the room, already it was taking on a homier appearance having been lit up. Shadows were cast here and there, but the majority of the room was pleasantly lit. He smiled wide at Ky'yn's own exuberance. It made him proud to have been able to help her achieve that kind of feeling.

The two of them sat and admired their work for a few minutes in silent glee. Eventually, Stensig stood and walked over to the cobbled-together generator and tried out the crank for himself. It wasn't a very tight resistance, so it was easy for him to spin. He got a feel for how tight the resistance would get before he was supposed to let it go. “Yeah, that'll do buddy” he cooed to the machine.

Ky’yn giggled at Stensig’s reaction to the success. Yeah, we make a good team, she thought, looking up at him with a smile. The new lighting seemed to highlight Stensig’s best facial features and she caught herself admiring his face for a moment. “Well, celebration time is over,” she said, trying to hide her blush as she picked up the two brooms they acquired. “Time to clean up a bit.” Ky’yn tossed Stensig one before heading to one corner. She managed to get her prostatic program to work so she had two proper hands to use the broom with.

They swept the floor between the walls the bordered the little room and the trap door, taking turns to crank the generator as needed. For the time being they just pushed the dust to the far end, as for now they had no need of most of the space. Once that was done, Ky’yn felt they had done enough for one night and sat down to finally check through the omni-tool she lifted off one of the turians they killed the night before.

“Esh…,” Ky’yn grumbled, half from annoyance and half from frustration. “This one is a newer model, but it’s full of crap. Various mythology e-books, porno, Blasto comics…EEWWW he had vorcha porn on this thing!? That’s it…I’m going to do a full harddrive wipe on this thing….”

Stensig was finishing up his side of the sweeping when Ky'yn sat down to look at her new omni tool. When he heard her mention the Vorcha porn, he couldn't help but laugh out loud. “I dunno,” he cackled with his eyes squinted shut, “I bet Vorchas are really limber!”

He walked over to the generator to give it another wind up, passing Ky'yn sitting on the floor. When he walked back towards the beds, he nudged her knee with his toes in a 'cheer up' display. He then made for his bed and fell backwards onto it, placing his hands behind his head. He wasn't sleepy, but welcomed the chance to loaf and do nothing. With the past few days being so hectic, he savored any opportunities he'd get to relax.

Ky’yn gave him a look. “I’m sure they are limber…,” she grumbled. “It’s the appearance that turns my stomach.” With that she focused back on the omni-tool, searching for anything that may be useful to her. Well, there’s a flashlight program, I could keep that, she thought. Then she found a file titled ‘Organization chart so your dumb ass knows who not piss off’.

“Ooooo,” she cooed as she opened the file. “Well, among all the crap I found a gold mine: this idiot actually had a full organization chart of the Varren’s leadership on this thing.” She dug deeper and found another file titled ‘Reminders of who does what and in it she found a list of a large chunk of Varren membership, with a notation of what each member’s main duty was. “Spirits…if this guy worked with the Syndicate on Revati, he would have been shot dead long ago for incompetence and for just being a plain dumb ass! You don’t go carrying around full organization charts and who does what of your crime ring on your person when out and about! This stuff is the kind of things the police…and us…drool over!”

She got up and walked over to his bed and sat down next to it show she could show him what she found. “I know of lot of this you likely already knew, but something like this would be more concrete to prove our intentions if we do decide to approach the police.”

“Oh?” Stensig said when he heard what Ky'yn found. He sat up on the bed and rested his arms against his knees, leaning forward with interest. The document display emanating from her omni tool listed the names and duties of Varren members. “In truth,” he said, “I probably won't know most of this actually, my time with the Varrens would be limited, if even I would interact with them”

He whisper-mumbled to himself as he read off the list as Ky'yn scrolled through it. Yep, mostly dirtbags I never heard of, except for those few who were in the sect. He continued to read until something in particular caught his eye.

“Chelos? He's not a Lieutenant in the Varren? What?” He scooted closer to Ky'yn so he could get a better look at the document. Sure enough, the name Chelos was listed next to the word 'Lieutenant', along with the jobs and responsibilities that followed the title. “Check the last save date on that thing” he asked. Upon inspection, the document had been modified and resaved the day after Stensig and Ky'yn started their excursion.

“Strange,” Stensig explained out loud, “Chelos was one of the other high-ranking vakar from my sect, a schemer. The fact that he rose up in his rank the same day I leave the sect sounds too opportunistic to me”

“Chelos?” The name sounded familiar to her…the image of his face by the name looked familiar too. She had to think a moment to recall why this was so. “He was the guy that sent those two idiots after us. If he’s the scheming type, then he definitely had a reason to send inadequate members to try to take us out. But what would be his reason?”

She doubted a peace offering: something like that would have been made more obvious. Scheming types were typically very intelligent and thus very dangerous, so there was little doubt everything Chelos did was part of a larger plan. The question, was how much did Chelos know about them? Did he know about her. “Shit…by now Goleus’ body would have been found,” she said, rubbing her head. “And if it was a member of your old sect that found it, they would know it wasn’t you that killed him…but a fire using vakar.” With a deep sigh she added. “Which means…they likely already know about me in some shape or form….”

“Chelos sent them?” he repeated back to her. He thought back to the memories he gleaned from his kill, “Hm, mine didn't know it was him. Glad yours did”. He crossed his arms over his chest and started thinking as Ky'yn said her revelation to him. “Yep,” he said un-amused, “They probably believe I've had help from another vakar now. But that may or may not work in our favor. Knowing that there's another vakar may make them believe there's another sect out there that's getting in their territory, make them change their focus on investigating that, at least for a while”

He sighed and leaned back against the wall behind him. “That may be wishful thinking though. But if I know Erapax he won't make any moves before he has all the facts first, he's too paranoid. Chelos, however, may be a different case. He and I were never buddy-buddy with each other, so I assume he has no qualms hunting me down. But then again he may think I'm too useful to kill, so he'd come after me wanting to drag me back kicking and screaming”

Stensig rubbed his temples in his hands. “Ugh! Nothing's certain when Chelos is involved, except that it's bad news for both of us. We need to be careful”

“Yeah…,” Ky’yn said softly, though the wheels in her head were turning. “I’d still like to do something about the Varren and by extension, that dirty sect. I’d feel like a bad vakar if we just stayed away and let a bad sect keep the status quo.” She sighed and rubbed her head. “But how without getting ourselves killed?”

Ky’yn lapsed into deep thought for a moment. She had tackled a large organization before with the Syndicate, but that was when she was operating alone, with the exception of Vidan. Now she was dealing with rogue vakar alongside the normal criminals and there was someone else with her. Vidan she largely didn’t worry about, as due to his relation to the Syndicate leadership he was pretty much immune to retaliation. Stensig, however, does not have such protection, though he certain was capable of handling himself, especially considering his powers.

Then there was the more immediate concern: food sources. These ruins make a good hiding place, but tend not to have much in the way of crime. That meant pickings will be slim, if they do not decide to just raid Varren territory. This, reminded her of another issue, one where the resolution for made her uncomfortable. Then again, doing so would help further break the ties Stensig still had to his old sect.

“Well, considering our choice of location for our lair, we may end up needing to raid Varren territory anyway to feed ourselves,” she started. “However, there may be times where we only find one target…which would require us both to be able to feed upon. Right now we can’t, though eventually we’ll sync to the point we can. That takes time though…time that we may not have, so the process needs to be sped up. There is only one way to do that….” At this, she turned around and looked Stensig in the eye. “You need to drink my blood….”

Stensig grimaced at Ky'yn's idea of fighting the Varren and the sect both. It daunted him even more knowing that they had the planning and manpower enough to destroy both of them, not to mention Chelos now had it in for him. Knowing him, he'd probably use whatever damage Stensig and Ky'yn could do to his own advantage. Does he want control of the sect? Is that it? Not like we have much ability to stop him

His glum ruminations were interrupted when he heard Ky'yn's other point. She wanted him to drink her blood so they could sync. “Really? That'd do it?” he asked. In all honesty this wasn't a situation that was explained to him before, it was never needed in his sect. She quietly nodded and got up to sit next to him on the bed. He looked at her inquisitively, and she pulled back on her collar to expose her neck for him. He leaned forward a bit, but hesitated. He looked in her eyes for permission, and saw it earnestly in her look. “Alright, here goes,” he said, as he leaned forward and bit his fangs into the side of her neck.

She knew she was shaking a bit, the anxiety threatening to overwhelm her. Doing this, she knew Stensig will learn a lot more about her, possibly learn things she wasn’t quite ready to reveal. There was little choice in the matter though, so had pulled down her collar to allow him access to her neck.

Stensig was hesitant, his eyes questioning, asking for permission. It took more will power than she thought to give him a confident, approving look in return. Only then, did he bite.

Reflexively she flinched, her arms reaching out to grip his shoulders. Not to push away, but to steady and brace herself. She tried to focus on more positive things as Stensig drank, like how life was in her sect before she left…to show him how a sect was supposed to be. However, she couldn’t hold it and her mind drifted to the one thing that tore her heart apart more than anything else….

Her daughter. A child conceived from the one and only night of passion she had with Vidan. The child that was taken away from her the moment she had been born, denying her the only thing she had left of Vidan. It was too much. “E-enough…,” she stuttered, pulling away, tears already welling up in her eyes.

“Gah! DAMMIT!” Stensig cried out when she suddenly pulled away. His hand clasped over his mouth, trying to ease the pain. He wasn't prepared for her to jerk away so suddenly, and it pulled on his fangs harshly when she did. He gingerly felt them with his tongue, and both of them seemed to be intact, albeit throbbing from pain.

Tears started welling up in his eyes, but the pain in his mouth wasn't the only cause. He knew exactly what he'd seen from the memories. A baby. A beautiful baby girl that was snatched away. Finally he fully understood the length of Ky'yn's struggle. Literally everything she cared about had been taken away from her. The inordinate amount of sorrow she felt had seeped into his own psyche, and it was incredibly hard to contain.

“I'm so sorry,” was all he could manage to say, slightly muffled by his hand. He leaned back, needing to rest and recover from the physical and mental blows that had been dealt to him.

Ky’yn cried out in pain as well. Her recklessness in pulling away having caused Stensig’s fangs to tear her skin, resulting in not two neat puncture marks, but a pair of jagged wounds. Eyes blinded by tears from both mental and physical pain, she felt the wounds with her hands. They were both bleeding, but thankfully not profusely.

Trembling, she finally managed to clear her eyes enough to see Stensig clearly. He had his hand over his mouth, not in shock or disgust, but in pain. It dawned on her, through the fog of her own pain, that she had hurt him by pulling away. The realization horrified her, as deliberately damaging another vakar’s fangs was a great taboo.

She opened her mouth to apologize, but was cut off by Stensig’s own. At first she was puzzled, but then she remembered what she was thinking when she pulled away. He had to have felt the grief and despair she had been in at that moment and from the look on his face, it had affected him deeply.

Ky’yn found herself unable to speak. Whatever words she wanted to say were stuck deep in her throat, behind a bubbling cauldron of emotion that threatened to explode at any moment. Shaking, she did the only thing she could reasonably do: she crawled up next to him and cuddled close, tears starting to fall. “I-I’m s-sorry…,” she just managed to say, before she broke down into sobs.

He had his eyes squinted shut, trying to cope with the pain that was dealt to him. He sat with his back to the corner of the room, at the edge of his bed. It wasn't long before he heard Ky'yn apologize as well, and he felt her form crawl close to him. Her warmth was exquisitely comforting to him, and he hugged her close. He felt her body shaking violently with her sobs, and it only made him feel worse for her. He tightened his hold as much as she could. It was too overwhelming for him, he in turn burst into quiet sobbing.

They sat like that for some minutes, until at last they both had started to calm down. Though they stopped crying, they didn't make any move to separate from their embrace. He didn't mind that, he knew it was good for the both of them. He leaned close to her ear and cooed gently, “I got you, I got you. I'm right here”

She felt him bring her close, embracing her with his warmth and comfort. In response she wrapped her own arms around him and buried her face into his cowl. He was sobbing now as well and all either could do was just hold each other in mutual comfort.

When they had both calmed down, Ky’yn noticed he hadn’t made a move to release her. In truth, she didn’t want to let go either. She had never had this kind of contact before, not with Kronos…not even with Vidan, not like this, at least.

Being this close to him, she could pick up the finer details of his scent. It reminded her of something, but couldn’t place what: she just knew she liked it. Then Stensig cooed something into her ear and her eyes widened when something clicked. Father would say that to me when I was little, when I was frightened. she thought, her mind going back to her childhood.

She remembered how her father liked to tan his own cattle skins using ancient techniques. He would have her help him prepare them for tanning, using the skinning knife to carefully trim off the unneeded fat and skin from the underside. She hated it, as it was rather gross, but it helped her learn to be precise with her hand movements, a precision that was needed for engineering in the end. Plus, she loved the smell of freshly tanned skins….

That was it. That was what Stensig’s scent reminded her of. “You…remind me of my father…,” she said softly, her tone a strange mix of sorrow and joy. To show she didn’t mean anything negative by that, she tucked her head under his chin, sighing faintly with content.

He still clenched her close to him, savoring the contact and comfort. Nothing before now had made him feel so comfortable and serene. He felt like nothing mattered as long as she was right there next to him. Through all of his extended life he'd never known a feeling like this. Back in his sect, other members were only considered as colleagues, not even friends. Everyone served a purpose, but was not needed in any other sense. Stensig relished the idea of being emotionally needed, it was something new to him, and he couldn't get enough of it.

He heard her finally speak up, saying that he reminded her of her father. She then buried her head under his chin. He didn't know how to take that at first, whether or not it was a compliment, but he figured it meant good things to her. He put his hand on the back of her head, stroking down her fringe. He murmured to her, “I've been called worse” and gave her a smile. He then noticed the wounds on her neck, and gently leaned forward to lick them. It unsettled him to see her hurt by something he inadvertently did.

As much as he didn't want the moment to end, something else had begun to nag in the back of his mind. Will she have to drink my blood as well?.

Ky’yn chuckled lightly at his comment, her eyes drooping as him stroking her fringe was threatening to put her to sleep. “He was a good man…,” she said. “He didn’t like that I choose to be an engineer, rather than staying on the farm, but he supported me anyway….I just wish….” She shook her head, she didn’t want to ruin this moment with more sorrow.

Then she felt Stensig start to lick her wounds. It stung a bit initially, but the pain passed quickly. The wounds itched morn than hurt now, due to them starting to heal, which Stensig’s licking will only accelerate. The thought of those wounds did remind her of something else. “How are your fangs?” she asked. “Did you want me to look at them to make sure they’re not cracked or anything?”

He continued to lick for a minute, primarily to help her wound feel better, but also because he appreciated the opportunity for such intimacy. He looked at her neck, and it seemed that the cuts had stopped bleeding at least. The marvel of vakar heal rates, he thought. Then she asked if she could see his fangs.

Truthfully, his fangs were still throbbing, but he had been able to ignore that in place for the peacefulness he was feeling. Now that she brought it up again, though, he paid note to the pain again. “Yeah, if you don't mind,” he said, “They do still sting” He leaned forward and opened his mouth, “Aaaah”

Ky’yn had to pull away a bit so she reposition herself for the task, though she really didn’t want to move. She had to lean in close to get a clear look due to the limited lighting. “Don’t see any damage,” she muttered before lifting his upper lip so she could inspect the base. “Ah, some bruising at the base, but that should heal up before you need to feed again.”

Then she realized how she chose to position herself: she was straddling his legs. “Uh….” Her face turned a deep blue when she realized just how much of a compromising position she was in. “S-sorry….,” she stammered as she started to shift her position once more, this time into a normal sitting position.

“Owowow,” he muttered as she lifted his lip upward. It hurt more to have the pressure applied to them. But he was glad it was only minor damage, it would have been horrendous to try feeding with damaged fangs. When she let go he moved his tongue over them gently. Yeah, let's try to be more careful next time

Ky'yn suddenly acted embarrassed and adjusted her legs. Hmm? Then he realized she must have had her legs spread out in some fashion, and a slight blush started to creep on his own face. “Um, don't worry about it,” he said, “Didn't bother me at all” He strained to remove any dirty thoughts from his head, but they swarmed in regardless. Keep it together man, don't act like a perving creep.

Uh huh…I know what you are thinking, Ky’yn thought with a faint smirk. Once she was finished moving, she was sitting beside him, though now she was at a loss on what to do. She knew she should keep checking through the omni-tool for more useful files, but her heart wasn’t in it at that moment. There was also that secondary entrance they had yet to find, but she was loathe to move from Stensig’s side.

She sighed and glanced at him, feeling a bit confused. They had only known each other for a couple of days, and yet thing seemed to escalate quickly between them. It took <b>years</b> before Kronos and I even hugged…yet we were just cuddling moments ago. Granted, said cuddling was done under emotional duress for both of them, but that she didn’t want even want to take the few steps to her own bed seemed to suggest otherwise. Or maybe she was reading too much into things.

“So…uh…I believe we have an hour or so before sun rise,” she said, looking at him fully now. “Any suggestions on what to do?”

Truths

Oh I could think of a couple of things–No! Shut up damn you! Stensig's internal struggle was going back and forth. It's only been a few days, you barely even know the girl! But, on the other hand she literally threw herself at you just a few minutes ago. Yeah, after reliving the most painful memory of her life. Speaking of lives, she did save yours didn't she? Well, kind of, I think more we saved each other a little bit, don't forget you let her take your kill. And now you're stuck with her. Well that's not really a bad thing. True, but just how far is this gonna go? How should I know, aren't the women the ones who decide that? I'm not just gonna flat out ask her if she wants a relationship. Do you even want that? Dammit I don't know!

Stensig snapped back into reality to realize he hadn't answered her question yet. And he strained to quickly come up with an answer. “Um, we could play a game I guess. We could play 'Truths' or 'This-or-That', since we still don't know a lot about each other. Either of those sound good to you?”

Ky’yn could tell from his eyes that he was having a debate with himself, to which she had to smirk. Even when he wasn’t cracking jokes out loud, she found him amusing. When he finally answered, she was a bit surprised at his suggestion.

It was a good idea, though a bit unconventional for a vakar. Normally such a thing wasn’t needed as there were other sect members to converse with, but not so in their case. Since they will need to be completely comfortable with each other to survive their situation. Of course, there was drinking each other’s blood as a shortcut, but she had enough of an emotional roller-coaster for one night and she was certain Stensig was as well.

“Heh, I used to play ‘This-or-That’ in boot camp,” she said. “However, we tended to use engineering subjects and I don’t trust myself to not fall back on that. So, ‘Truths’ would be better.” Ky’yn shifted her position so she was facing him more. “Considering how much I’ve told you about my past already, I think it’s only fair for me to ask first, no?” After he responded she asked. “Have you lived in this city your whole life?”

“Ah,” Stensig said at the question, “No I haven't, in fact, I've been all around this planet. But that opens up a whole story itself. I… made a deal with my sect soon after my turning process. Since they saved me from, well this” He flexed his fingers in and out for Ky'yn to see, “I owed them a debt of gratitude. I agreed to their terms and their policy of 'controlling' crime and the Varren, I agreed to use my powers to the best of my abilities to help the sect and it's members in whatever task they required, and in exchange I…” he trailed off for a moment, at last giving a faint smile, “I got to be a surgeon for a while”

He took a deep breath and continued his story. “Erapax used his monetary ties with the Varren to pay me through medical school, and after that he would fabricate credentials for me to use in hospitals: names, graduation dates, so on. I hopped from city to city, working at different hospitals under different aliases. I even would have my face and markings painted over for my disguises,” He touched his cheek, “Though this is what I really looked like”

“For a couple of decades I lived like this. I didn't even have to switch to nighttime-awake schedule for the longest time. I'd buy small apartments to live in, and for feeding…” he looked a little guilty, “I'd lie on supply forms about whatever blood we'd have, and I'd nick bloodbags for myself. I hid these,” he said gesturing to his fangs, “With dentures. And I'd send portions of my salary to Erapax to put into Varren-controlled accounts. I'd also be under the agreement that if I was needed for a 'job', I'd buy transport to whatever sect territory they asked, and would help with sect duties.”

Stensig sat back and looked nostalgic. “It wasn't a bad lifestyle, I got to be the normal surgeon I always wanted to be, and I didn't have to get my feet wet with too much gang activity. Erapax used to say that my money-making career was just as useful to the sect and to the Varren as if I were a direct gang member. I would feel guilty some days, knowing that I was indirectly aiding a gang in its livelihood, but Erapax held a much tighter grip on the Varren back then, and assured me that even if they were active, our sect would prevent innocents from being hurt. It may have been too good to be true”

Stensig snapped out of his reminiscing and looked back at Ky'yn, “Gah, I was rambling wasn't I? Took a simple question and turned it into a feature-length answer. Sorry!” he looked somewhat embarrassed, “So no, I haven't lived in this city all my life, haha” He paused for a moment, thinking of a question to give to Ky'yn. The idea came naturally to him, having spoken of his former career, “Did you get to be an engineer for very long?”

That bastard really did manipulate him…, Ky’yn thought as Stensig told her his story. Erapax really has forgotten, or no longer cares about, what it really means to be a vakar. It clear to her that while Stensig did choose to be a vakar, he was clearly manipulated into it. She sighed: a part of her felt disgusted, even angry, that Stensig went along with this so readily, but in looking at the whole context, she couldn’t stay that way. Stensig was a victim and victim-blaming was never a good idea. Besides, he was out of that toxic sect now, due to her help.

“Ah, no worries,” she said when he apologized for rambling. “I did it to you a couple of times, so it’s only fair.” After he asked his question, she responded with a sigh. “Officially, no. The bomb saw to that….” She lifted her stump to empathize the point. “By the time I was out of the hospital the last of the official military presence was pulling out. Considering I was native, I was given the choice to stay if I wanted…I stayed, if only to try to do something about the Syndicate. I think I mentioned before that I ultimately ended up having to take up a one-woman-war against them…and I used my engineering skills to do so.

“I used all sorts of tricks: booby traps, remote controlled weapons, even a bomb here and there. I always was careful to ensure innocent casualties were minimized. After I was caught in sent to prison, I used my engineering knowledge to break out and meet the vakar. I kept up my skills after becoming vakar as well, much to my sect’s annoyance.” She recalled fondly the many times sect members griped at her for all the ‘dirty’ mechanical parts she kept bringing home and the general mess and noise she cased when tinkering.

“So…when did you realize Erapax’s ‘set up’ was not proper thing for a vakar?”

“Oh,” he began glumly, “Like I said I always had a guilty feeling, but I would always ignore it due to the debt I owed my sect. I didn't feel trapped, but more… stuck with the way things were. But like I said, I'd never done anything about it. I just worked my job and sent the money to Erapax. As far as I could tell my sect's actions were relatively harmless, except to targeted Varren members. But, that was before the Reapers”

“After the war ended we had lost a lot of sect members. Our numbers were spread too thin, so Erapax called us all into the same general location and gave us new duties. He said we'd do the best we could with who we could, but that didn't last. I think something snapped in him having lost so many members, so much influence that he began to get paranoid about keeping the sect secret. His actions with the Varren were much looser than what he'd kept before. He allowed more and more Varren activities to slip through the cracks, with the intention of minimizing suspicion against us. Soon the Varren were growing out of his control. It was around this time I started witnessing some of the things the Varren had done and… let's just say I'd seen enough to make my current judgment with my sect. I started hating everything, including Erapax and my entire sect. And well… here we are now”

His mood was waning, he hated to brood and stew in negative emotions. So he tried to come up with a happier question: “I just had colleagues in my sect, were your fellow members more like a family to you?”

“Yes, they were,” Ky’yn replied, deciding not to dwell on the latest information Stensig gave her on his old sect: she had already decided that Erapax was not worthy of being a vakar for what he did. “They replaced the family I lost to the Syndicate. There weren’t many of us: only nine survived the Syndicate’s purge and I was the tenth to join. Because of our size and the threats against us, we all looked out for each other.

“Heh…I was treated like the baby of the group, being the youngest,” she said, smiling faintly. “Not that I minded, as I was just happy to have the support and sense of belonging. ‘Sides, I as used to being treated as the youngest with my original family…having had two older brothers and all.” Ky’yn sighed, frowning slightly at the thought of her birth family. One of her brothers had just gotten married when the Syndicate burned the family home to the ground. Thinking about how the Syndicate targeted complete innocents like them, just made her angry.

Quickly, she turned her thoughts to figuring out a question to ask. She didn’t want to keep asking questions related to his old sect, as it was clear it was starting to depress him. “Were you always a good shot, or did that come after lots of practice?” she finally asked.

Stensig smiled and laughed at the question. “No! I was terrible for the longest time! I remember I took up classes at an indoor range in my off time from the hospital. My instructor said I shouldn't quit my day job after he saw me shooting. I worked at it though, went to every class I could. I remember one time I got called to the ER while I was at the range, and in my rush I accidentally brought my eye and ear protection into the hospital, the security was all up on me till I showed them my ID.”

“After I stopped working as a surgeon, I had a lot more free time to practice, so I'd go out to secluded spots and practice against soda cans. It took me a number of years, but I'd say I'm happy with my current skill with a gun” Stensig pulled out and looked over his pistol curiously, “You know what though, I've never killed anyone with this before. I mean I've killed thugs that I've fed off before, but never with a bullet. To be perfectly honest maybe I should have, might've drawn less attention to myself as a vakar if I had, oh well.”

He stopped for a moment and looked at Ky'yn. He honestly hadn't had any other questions prepared for her yet, so he had to try to think of one. “When you were turned, or I should say, going through turning, what kinds of symptoms did you have? Something must have alluded to your heat control right?”

Ky’yn giggled a bit at the security incident he caused. “Yes, I did,” she said to his question. “I had a dangerously high fever and a near constant hot flash. My sect feared I wouldn’t live through it, actually, due to how bad it was, but obviously I made it.” She paused a moment before adding. “Kronos was my main caretaker during that time and the Elder…no…everyone kept checking up on me frequently. I was their first candidate in a long time…so everyone was anxious and hoping I would make it.”

“So, how about you?” she asked. “What symptoms did you have to deal with?”

Stensig liked the idea of the whole sect caring about her well being. He wished he'd gone through the same kind of situation. “When I was turned, I had a single Master who was given charge over me. She was very kind and had a bedside manner much like a nurse. While I was turning I didn't have too much of the average symptoms, except for a fever and restlessness. The big problems were firstly when I lost my sight. I woke up in bed and could only see black, and I cried out for the Master, and she calmed me down. After a while we were joking about it. 'Evil-doers beware, I have come to bring you to justice–as soon as I can reach out and find you!'

“I eventually got my sight back but the celebration was short-lived when I lost my hearing next! Though that time I was much less frightened and figured it was just another symptom that would pass. The Master would have me write down if I needed anything, and she'd fetch it for me. Water, a wet rag, another blanket…”

He stopped himself short, sadly remembering that this kindly Master was one that perished in the Reaper War time. He wished she could've survived to meet Ky'yn. “So that's what I dealt with when I turned. And that leads me to another question. Did your heat ability come easily to you? Or did it take a lot of practice to figure out?”

The look in Stensig’s eyes told her that kind Master he spoke of was no longer among the living. A pity, as it sounded like she was one of the better vakar in that sect. “I found out about my fire control ability kind of by accident,” she said a bit sheepishly. “Kronos was demonstrating how a fire conqueror creates their flame…I remember how fascinated I was by it and for some reason I wished I could ‘hold’ the flame. Needless to say, I was quite surprised when the flame flew right to me. Freaked me out a bit as I wasn’t expecting it.

“As for my heat control, that took a while to figure out…or more accurately…realize I was actually doing something. It was during winter, during a particularly nasty cold spell, that I figured it out: everyone else was griping about how cold the Sanctuary was, while I felt warm. At least at night: during the day I was freezing like the rest of them. Once everyone…and me…figured it out, I became rather…popular during the rest of that winter.” She giggled faintly at the memory of all them huddled close to her to stay warm: it certainly forced her to work on expanding her influence field…..

She paused to think of another question, but was starting to run dry. Ky’yn had a couple, but they may depress him and she wanted to avoid that. However, she couldn’t think of anything else at that time, so she went with one of them. “You mentioned you grew up in a children’s home…did you ever get curious on who your parents were?” After a moment she added. “If that’s too personal…I can ask something else….”

He must have been imagining the same thing that she was remembering. Stensig imagined how cozy and family-like it would be for everyone to be in the same room with Ky'yn, sharing in the warmth that she could offer to them all. His daydream was cut short when Ky'yn gave her next question, and he put on a solemn face.

“No,” he said, “It's not too personal, but there's not a lot to say on the matter. All I was ever told was the same thing they told all the other kids. 'Your parents left you with us because they wanted you to have the good home you deserved, but they couldn't provide'. I don't know how much I believe that now, but back then I took it for face value. Sure, I was curious as to who they were and why they had to leave me at the home, but I never acted on it. I didn't know how I would take it if I ever met them, whether I'd hate them or not, so I decided not to find out. They left me alone, so I left them alone, simple as that”

He reached his hand behind his head and scratched his neck. “I never ended up resenting them though, it's just how things had to be it seems.” Once again he stopped to think of a question for Ky'yn. “What was it like for you, growing up?”

Ky’yn felt sorry for him: everyone should have a family…and Stensig never truly had one. Not from his real parents…and certainly not from his damn sect. She wondered if being with her started to give him that sense of family: she hoped so.

“I grew up on a farm,” Ky’yn replied, smiling faintly. “With two elder brothers and of course, mother and father. Our house was part of small village, so everyone knew everyone, kind of like one big extended family. When I wasn’t at school, I was helping around at the farm. Father was the type that preferred the old methods for things, though he wasn’t completely against technological help.

“Mother mostly kept the house itself in order, not just by keeping it clean either: she was a skilled carpenter. Her brisket was to die for though….made it from scratch.” Ky’yn drooled a bit at the memory, and sighed in longing for something she’ll never have again in more ways than one. “As for my brothers: Fanyth, the eldest, he took care of the equipment: it was from him that I got a desire to become an engineer. Sanel, he mostly helped my father out in the fields, though he was an apprentice to the village plumber on the side. We…all had our roles.

“It wasn’t all work and no play though. The whole family would take breaks and goof off: my brother’s and I were fond of seeing how far we could get into the house with dirty feet before mother caught us, for instance. At night we sometimes play cards or discuss current gossip. It…was hard to leave when it came time serve my time in service in the Hierarchy…but I had intentions to return and use what I learned to help the community, as other’s have done. As you already know, the Syndicate changed all that….”

She sighed once more, wondering how things would have been if things had happened differently. It was an exercise in futility, as the past could not change. It did bring to mind her next question, however. “Knowing what you do now, would you have gone through with becoming a vakar?”

Stensig wished she'd stop asking such hard-hitting questions. In truth, he didn't know what to say to her. He wanted to say how he loathed the idea of living his life in handicap. He imagined a life where he would end up in a wheelchair, unable to use his arms or legs, living in a patient's home and being spoonfed by some nurse. He couldn't imagine just sitting there, unable to do anything, trapped in the confines of his own body. Watching the world go by while he was unable to partake in it.

He visibly shook his head, trying to rid himself of such thoughts. It still haunted him that that was a life that could have been. It sickened him to his stomach, but at least now he had his answer: “I haven't lived the life of a saint, but at least I got to live. Dammit I was a surgeon, I helped people, saved people.” At this he got up from the bed and started pacing. His voice grew louder as he continued to speak.

“I'm not proud of being part of my sect, nor for helping out a gang, but I am proud for who I got to be for decades. I was saving lives, the Red Varren was a joke of a gang, and we still had sect members who gave a damn about true Vakar creed. Everything was going fine until the Reapers came and FUCKED EVERYTHING UP!.

Stensig turned around and slammed his right fist against the wall as hard as he could, letting out a raged roar as he reeled back his arm in pain. He cradled his hand for some time before finally muttering “That's broken” He turned back towards Ky'yn, still holding his arm. He had tears streaming down his face.

“Broken”

She realized it was bad question from how he reacted. Ky’yn was about to say ‘forget it, you don’t have to answer that one’ when he started his little rant, his voice getting louder and angrier as he went on. She jumped when he slammed his fist into the wall, letting out enraged roar. At first she though it was a roar of anger, but then, to her horror, it was one of pain.

Oh no… she thought when he revealed that he had broken his hand: his shooting hand. Ky’yn realized she had pushed him too far…just like with Vidan.

“I’m sorry…,” she said, getting up and approaching him. “I shouldn’t have asked that…I….” Ky’yn stopped herself. How could she tell him? That the reason she was asking such questions was because a part of her still didn’t trust him due to his willingness to work with such a corrupt sect and the Varren? “I’m sorry…,” she said again, more softly this time, her hand reaching out to touch his undamaged arm. “Ever since the bomb…I’ve had trouble seeing the greys between the black and white…this is my fault…I’m sorry….”

She shook her head, forcing herself to focus on the matter at hand. “We-we should stabilize that….I’ll see if I can find a splint and something to secure it with….” Depending on the break, it should only take a couple of days at most to heal, so long as he didn’t do anything to damage it more….

His ears were ringing from the pain and mental anguish. At first, he couldn't make out what Ky'yn was saying to him, but his head started to clear and he heard the rest of her apologies. He felt her take hold of his good arm and heard her talk about finding a splint. At somewhat of a loss for words, he just nodded and said quietly, “Please do”

When Ky'yn left him he leaned his back against the wall and let himself slide down to a sitting position on the floor, grumbling and still holding onto his arm. Stupid, stupid, STUPID! How could you let your emotions get to you like that? Was I still under influence from Ky'yn's blood? No. Doubtful. Those emotions were all yours that time. You should be happy to finally be letting them out. Well I'm not happy right NOW! He sat there arguing with himself while he waited for Ky'yn to come back.

His response was so quiet, that she couldn’t tell if his tone was due to pain or anger: she hoped it was the former. As she left to search for the needed materials, her mind went into turmoil. Idiot! Why did you keep pushing!? You already knew he would have had a terrible life if he didn’t take the offer! Ky’yn scolded herself.

At the far end of the lair, she found a couple of broken chair legs which should work as splints. Now she needed to find cloth of some kind. Just like with Vidan, she continued to berate herself. You kept questioning his loyalty and motives and look what happened to him? You want Stensig to go blow himself up too!? NO! Ky’yn banged her fist against a support pillar, angry at herself for not learning from the mistakes from her past. For a moment lingered there, her arm against the pillar with her forehead pressed against her arm, tears welling up in her eyes. He told you he wasn’t proud of it, but he felt it was that or live the rest of his life a cripple. You would have made the same choice would you not? Not if it was the Syndicate making the offer….

She remembered when she was in the hospital after the bomb, how one of their representatives came over and ‘offered’ to make it up to her by paying her medical bills and getting her the best arm prostatic available. Vidan had already told her they had been the ones responsible for her condition and didn’t care she was an innocent or not, so she had flatly refused. It had been difficult getting by for a while, but she did it without their help.

However there was a stark difference between her and Stensig: she could continue a mostly normal life, Stensig wouldn’t have. His condition would have gradually robbed him of his independence until it killed him, which was no life to live. No, she couldn’t blame him for taking his elder’s offer to become a vakar. It’s not Stensig’s situation that bothers me, she realized. It is the manipulation and deceit of his Elder. An Elder he was now free of and she was going to do everything she could to keep it that way.

With renewed determination, she pushed away from the pillar and resumed her search. From the looks of things, there was nothing suitable to use as a bandage up here, so she opened the trap door and took the search to the warehouse below. Thankfully she didn’t have to go far: there were plenty of boxes of sports shirts and the like on top of the shelves, within reach of the catwalk. She grabbed a couple of shirts and returned upstairs, closing the trapdoor behind her.

Stensig was sitting now, looking like he was having an internal debate of his own or was just him trying to fight off the pain through power of will. Perhaps it was a bit of both. “Let’s see how bad the break is first…,” she said, sitting beside him as she activated her omni-tool. Ky’yn had to smack the device a couple of times to get it to work, but got it to do an examination scan on his arm. Within moments, a holo-display popped up of the results, showing an image of the break. “Well…it doesn’t look bad…but I’m not the medical expert.” She turned her arm so Stensig could see the screen clearly.

He continued to sit there with his eyes squinted shut, trying to fight off the pain and anger. Things are different now, you've broken free and are making ramifications. Is it too little too late? It doesn't have to be, you can still change things. Not with a broken hand you're not. Yeah, let's worry about that first

He heard a bang that startled him to open his eyes again. He saw Ky'yn resting her forehead on her arm against a support pillar. I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have blown up on you like that. Now you're probably blaming yourself, which you shouldn't be

Soon she came back from her search with a couple of chair legs and some sports jerseys. Those should work, he thought. They wouldn't be perfect but the vakar healing would take care of the rest. Ky'yn brought up a display on her omni tool and showed it to him. He made a face, seeing the damage he'd done to himself.

“Diagnosis: I've successfully turned my good hand into a maraca,” he said glumly, “We'll have to work together to get those jerseys tied up with the chair legs” At this he stood himself up and looked to Ky'yn's eyes. “I'm sorry for my outburst, I have no one to blame for it other than myself”

She would have found the joke funny if her mood was better. “I still feel responsible,” she said, switching her omni-tool program to her prostatic one. “You told me before what you had and I should have had the common sense to know your quality of life would have been shit if you didn’t become a vakar.” Ky’yn sighed and thought a moment, trying to work out how to do this.

From what little she knew about first aid, clothing would be cut away from the injured area if there was time before stabilizing it. The jacket had to come off, as it would only get in the way and make stabilizing difficult. The undersuit though, could probably stay: it was probably the only thing keeping his hand…looking like a hand. Thing was, she didn’t have any appropriate cutting tools, aside from the programs in her omni-tool and she didn’t trust it, not with its current shape.

“I don’t like the idea of hurting you further, Sten…but I think it’s best you take that jacket off….I’ll help the best I can….”

He averted his eyes from hers as she spoke to him, feeling ashamed. “I was so scared, you know? I just didn't want to be a talking stump for the majority of my life. I had nightmares for the longest time of just sitting there, not able to move my arms or legs. They offered me a way out and I was overly anxious to accept it. There was no way I could have known the fine-print of the situation…”

Ky'yn suggested taking his jacket off him, to which he nodded. “We'll only need to take off the one sleeve and it should be good” She then explained her aversion to using her omni tool for the cutting needs. “You shouldn't have to, if you tear the jerseys in half down the middle and tie them together, that should be good enough”

Stensig asked for one of the chair legs, when she handed it to him he held it to his mouth and bit down on it. He held out his broken hand so Ky'yn could grasp the sleeve of his jacket, and with a long, pained moan, he slowly dragged his hand out of the sleeve. When the sleeve was off he spat out the chair leg, panting. “Alright, now to get those splints fashioned out…”

“I don’t blame you…,” she said softly. “I wouldn’t have wanted to live life like that either.” Ky’yn then assisted him in getting the one sleeve of his jacket off, wincing along with his moans of pain in sympathy. With that done, she suggested moving back to his bed, thinking of using the mattress to hold the bottom splint. While Stensig set himself up in that regard, she worked on ripping up the shirts into a more useable form: her feet proved useful in that task.

With the shirts ready, it was time for the hard part. Using her right and Stensig’s left, they carefully secured the splints to his arms. Her prostatic arm helped a little, when it came to needing a hand to hold a shirt piece at least. When we are fully set up here, I really should considering trying to construct one again, she thought as they finished off the splint. This holo one is goo dfor simple tasks, but I’m going to need one more durable I think. Looking up, she could see that dawn had finally arrived.

“What a long night…,” she muttered as she used an extra shirt into a sling for him. “Tonight, we’ll have to find you a nice big fat Varren bastard for you to snack on to ensure this heals quickly.” Ky’yn patted him on his good shoulder.

He was silent when she spoke to him, but he gave her a weak smile in genuine appreciation. After the work was done fashioning his arm splint, he looked at it approvingly. “This'll do nicely. Thanks very much for your help” He was still quiet, but in visibly better spirits.

As he carefully climbed into his sleeping bag, he gave a small chuckle to what Ky'yn said. “Yeah, I'll be good and hungry next time. But will we be synched by then?” He sat up, still inside the sleeping bag, “If you'll need to drink my blood as well, now would be the time to do it. Not like I have any more surprises for you to learn about me”

Ky’yn froze in her own preparation at his question. “To be honest, I don’t know,” she said, looking at him. “I’m not sure how long syncing the ‘normal’ way takes, let alone the ‘quick’ way. All I know is that when the four sects of Revati had to merge into one, it took a while no matter what method they used. We’ll just…have to play it by ear I guess.” After a moment, she sighed and added. “I probably should take some of your blood to help the process, but with your injury, it may not be a good idea: you’ll need all your energy for healing. Plus I worry I may hurt your hand during the process….”

“Fair enough, and I guess we've both had enough memory sharing for one night anyway,” Stensig lied down and got himself comfortable. He realized he'd have to be careful not to roll over onto his bad arm, though with the cumbersome splint in place, he doubted that'd be an issue.

“Hope you sleep well, Ky'yn,” he called from his bed, not yet seeing if she was getting ready for bed herself yet, “We'll be alright I think, at least we have each other now” He smiled as he closed his eyes, more than ready for a respite from reality.

Ky’yn finished stripping off her outer garments and was just starting to climb into her own sleeping bag when Stensig wished her good night. “Aye, we do,” she said, smiling a little. Despite the circumstances behind Stensig’s turning, she was glad she had met him.

Due to her, mostly, self-imposed mission to hunt down Syndicate agents and the Reaper War, she had been on her own for too long. Long enough to start to lose her grip on her sanity, as lone vakar were always at risk for. Meeting Stensig spared her from that fate and in return, she got him out of a bad sect and on the road to redemption.

Still a bumpy road ahead of us…if today was any indication, she thought with a yawn. There’s only the two of us against a dirty sect which has a criminal organization under their command. If we are to survive, we’ll need to be careful and play are cards right.

As much as she wanted to cull Erapax’s sect, she knew it would be suicide to go against them directly. The Varren’s though…they could strike at them, so long as they were careful. After all…Ky’yn had plenty of experience fighting the Syndicate on her own and that was before she became a vakar. Finish establishing ourselves here first, she told herself as she closed her eyes. Before working on any ‘grand plans’.

Set up a base. Gather intelligence. Plan then execute. That was the order of things she operated by back home and it will work here as well. It may take some time to get ready for proper action, but if there was one thing vakar had…was time….

Stensig closed his eyes and tried to relax, finding it more difficult than usual due to his still-pained arm. He thought back to patients he'd worked on in the past who'd just had their broken limbs treated. He felt like a patient himself. At least I've got a good nurse he thought to himself, I get the feeling that we'll be sticking together for quite a while.

And thinking of long whiles, Stensig imagined to himself how great it would feel to finally be taking the fight back to his sect, giving them the long-overdue punishment they sorely deserved. He found a pause, however: Will I have to kill everyone in the sect, will SHE want to kill everyone in the sect? Erapax will definitely be the main target, but could any of the others still be salvaged?

He shook his head, deciding not to think too optimistically. In any case, it won't matter till my arm's better, worry about that first. Not to mention we still have the question of syncing to attend to. He turned his head to get a glimpse of Ky'yn sliding into her sleeping bag. Glad it's ending up being her I can sync with.

Night 4

Fire & Water

Pylia had seen her share of puzzling cases in her time, but this one took the cake.

On the examination table in front of her was the charred corpse of a turian male. According to the police report, it was found by some homeless folk in one of the abandoned tram stations near the old hospital. Cause of death was obvious, no question there: poor bastard was burned to death, though she still did a full scan to see if the fire was an attempt to cover up other evidence.

There were signs of damage to the ear drums, but it was hard to tell if that was due to the heat from the fire or something else. Besides that, the man’s left elbow was dislocated and there were a couple of cracked ribs, but nothing that would be lethal, so it only confirmed the cause of death. It did show that he had been in some kind of struggle, but there were a number of things puzzling her….

“What you got for me, Pylia?”

She turned to look at the speaker, Galyrus Quidros, the detective assigned to the case. “Cause of death: he was burned to death,” she responded. “Time of death, approximately two days ago.”

“ToD matches some of the witness statements of hearing screaming echoing down the tunnels,” Galyrus commented, rubbing his chin. “Any ID?”

“Too badly burned to many any matches via facial or dental records. DNA came up empty as well.”

“So we’re likely looking at another Reaper War refugee that never registered with the city,” Galyrus sighed. “Lovely. Anything else?”

“I tried to do a toxicology to cover my bases, but found nothing. Didn’t find any blood either: it’s like it was all boiled away by the fire…which should be impossible for a burn body this intact. I did find something else odd as well.” She brought up a scan of the head. “See these odd tracks? They go from the front of the upper jaw all the way down past the esophagus. There’s a pair of teeth attached to jaw side of it. I want to say it’s a very bad case of abscessed teeth, but it doesn’t work like that…plus where these teeth sat was unnatural to start with….”

“Oh hell….”

Pylia looked at him, seeing a light of realization in his face. “What is it, Gal?”

“This was a vakar…whom got into a fight with another vakar….”

She blinked in confusion. “What?”

“You’d have to see the crime scene where he was found: nothing else in that station was burned save the immediate area around the body…and you found no traces of accelerants on the body correct?”

“Not even alcohol.”

“There was none at the scene either, aside from a small oil puddle from a pipe leak. However, there was no sign of that having been the cause.”

“I still don’t get what you are going for….”

“I’m not entirely sure yet,” Galyrus admitted. “But if I’m right, we should expect some more strange cases soon.” With that he turned and left the room.

Pylia shook her head. Of all things, he had to think this was result of a myth….

Ky’yn did not have a good night’s rest.

She flopped over onto her side with a sigh, having only drifted off for brief moments during the night. Something kept nagging at her, but couldn’t put a talon on what. Was it worry over how they were going to strike at the Varren, and by extension, Stensig’s old sect? No, she had already decided they had other things to do first before focusing on that. Was it what they went through yesterday? No, she felt that had been largely resolved.

What is it that is bothering me? she thought. We need to hunt today, especially Sten. That should be our priority for the day. After that, I should work on that retraction system for the rope lad….

She bolted up right when it hit her. The rope ladder! Stensig won’t be able to climb down it easily with his broken hand, if at all, without damaging it more. “Shitshitshit!” she hissed, before hastily covering mouth and looking over toward Stensig to see if she woke him up….

He found it somewhat easy to actually get to sleep, though he didn't sleep deeply. He woke up once in the middle of the day when his weight shifted and put pressure on his sling, causing his hand to shoot with pain. Pain in the ass, he thought through his sleepy haze. He managed to fall asleep again, this time being more careful where he put his arm. This allowed him the deep sleep he craved.

He didn't wake up when Ky'yn was whispering to himself. In truth, the rope ladder hadn't crossed his mind before he went to bed. That would be an issue he'd come to face when next he woke up.

Stensig hadn’t stirred at her outburst and she breathed a sigh of relief. Ky’yn sat there a moment, thinking, wondering how to solve this new problem. The other entrance! she thought, looking toward were the small room they slept in the first night lay. Looking up at the sky through the window, she figured she had about an hour or two of daylight left. She knew she wasn’t going to get anymore sleep, so she decided to try to find that other entrance.

Quietly, she got up and put on her omni-tool, not bothering with the rest of the clothing for now. She activated the flashlight program and started searching for clues. It actually didn’t take long for her to find something.

On the floor in the small hallway between one of the small room’s walls and the outer wall of the upper warehouse, she found quarter circle shaped wear marks on the floor. That could only mean one thing. Looking at the wall they were attached to, she now saw an obvious door mechanism. Odd, I know we checked this wall several times…there was no sign of a secret door here, she thought. The mystery intriguing her, she inspected the door and the surrounding area more closely.

The door itself went all the way to the ceiling, which would explain the lack of an obvious horizontal seam on the other side. Vertical, that was another story and she was very curious on how that was hidden. Using her omni-tool, she did a quick scan of the structure: the door’s basic framework was in line with the rest of the wall, so much so that if she had thought about doing this initially she probably wouldn’t have noticed. This is a very sophisticated piece of work, she thought, impressed so far. The question was: how did it open?

Thanks to the wear marks, she knew what direction it opened, but she saw no handles to open it with. She checked the wall next to it, looking for anything out of place. There was a small rectangular hole that was just big enough to fit a hand through: form the wires that stuck out, it likely used to hold a light switch.

“Hmm.” Ky’yn, following her intuition, stuck her hand inside, but couldn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. Then, on a whim, she gripped the wires themselves and gave them a tug. She was rewarded with a click and the door partly swinging open. A magnetic catch…genius! she thought, having to suppress a happy squeal. Excitement getting the best of her, she gripped the edge of the partly opened door and pulled it open.

She was greeted by the loud squealing sound of hinges that hadn’t been used in a long time….

Stensig gave a long low groan from his bed across the room. That time she woke him up. He turned onto his good shoulder and looked over to Ky'yn. “Dammit woman, what're you killing over there, a thresher?” Through his blurred sleepy eyes he saw what she was standing next to, and he immediately snapped to. “Did you just find…?”

He got out of his sleeping bag and walked over to the newly-discovered door. He looked and saw how the opening mechanism was controlled by the wires. He smiled gleefully, “Nice freaking job!” He held up his good hand for a high-five, then he took a peek through the door. Sure enough, the entrance led to the same room they had stayed in the first night at the store. It gave him a surprising wave of nostalgia.

“Sweet,” he beamed, but then he thought of something. “We know how it opens from this end, so we'll be able to get out this way, but how will we get back in from the other end?” He shook his head and added, “On second thought, can we worry about that in a few hours? I'm not feeling quite rested yet,” He gave her one more smile before returning to his bed. “Yeah, that'll definitely come in handy,” he said before getting himself comfortable once more.

Ky’yn had winced at the sound herself and looked over at Stensig with an apologetic sheepish expression. All was apparently forgiven though when he saw what she had found: he was just as excited as she was over it and she gladly gave him the high-five.

“Yeah, I was wondering the same thing,” she said to his question. “I’m not going to be able to sleep more, so you go ahead and try to catch some more shut eye. In the meantime, I’ll try to figure this out…quietly.” The first thing she did was grab the lubrication grease and apply it to the hinges. She then swung the door back and forth a bit to work the grease in: thankfully it only took a couple of swings to silence the noise.

With that taken care of, she went into the small room and gave the wall a once over. The door seems were disguised with a ragged piece of builders tape that had been carefully plastered and painted to blend it in. In addition, the bottom and top seams were concealed by wall trim: no wonder they couldn’t find it before.

Ky’yn scanned this side of the wall with her omni-tool, focusing on the wires in the wall. She traced the wires she used to open the door to where the lock mechanism lay and saw another set of wires coming from it. Ky’yn, now knowing what to look for, followed those wires to what looked like an ordinary thermostat.

Hmm…definitely poked around this thing before, what were we missing? she thought, feeling the edge of the device with her hand. If it requires power…that could be problematic. The thermostat itself though looked rather archaic: one of those old-school ones that used a special type of liquid to measure temperature. There were no other wires leading to it either, so it couldn’t be activated by electricity. With that in mind, she got a little more forceful with her search.

She tried pulling the device out of the wall itself and was rewarded with it coming out of the wall easily. There was also a fainter clicking sound heard when she hadn’t pulled it out that far. Beaming, she closed the door, using a picture hanging hook that was on it, then pulled out the thermostat again to test it. She was rewarded with the door swinging open.

Eureka! she thought, grinning. Her task complete, she pass through the door back into their living area and closed the door behind her. She looked over at Stensig, a smile on her face, before flopping down onto her bed with a happy sigh.

With her mind clear of worries for the time being, she actually dozed off….

It was one of those situations where you weren’t expecting to fall asleep, only to close your eyes one moment when it was still day light and open them again to see night has fallen. Not that Ky’yn minded in this case, considering how little sleep she had previously. With a yawn and stretch, she sat up in her bed and checked the time on her omni-tool.

Oh good, it’s only an hour after sunset, she thought. Didn’t waste any hunting time. On cue, her stomach rumbled and with a chuckle she stood up and wandered over to Stensig’s bed. “Wakey, wakey, sleepy head,” she cooed, shaking his good shoulder gently. “Night has fallen, stomachs are rumbling and there are Varren out there needing to be biten. How does your hand feel, by the way?”

Stensig stirred pleasantly at her soft words, a smile crept over his mouth before he opened yawned wide and opened his eyes. “Now that's more like it, no creepy stares or shrieking door hinges!” The extra sleep had apparently did him a lot of good. He sat up and stretched his good arm, simultaneously reaching for the jacket he'd hung on the bedpost. After getting out of his sleeping bag, he put the jacket on, with his good arm in its sleeve, but allowing the other half of the jacket to drape over his right shoulder.

“Hoh yeah, I'm ready for some fine dining,” he said excitedly, “Let's find us a delicious scumbag!” He heard Ky'yn's following question and answered, “It's not horrible, I can still feel it for sure, but it certainly doesn't hurt as much as it did. The splint's doing it's job!” As they prepared to leave, Stensig asked Ky'yn what she'd done to keep herself busy for the last couple of hours.

“Aw, but this way is not as fun!” Ky’yn flashed him a grin as she returned to her own bed and started putting the rest of her clothing on. “Good to hear that it’s feeling better. A good feed should help it the rest of the way! As for what I did….” She finished dressing and turned toward him again. “I figured out the door: there’s a thermostat we pull on to trigger the door on the other side. I guess we missed it due to how tired we were at the time. Didn’t take long at all…even got a couple hours shut eye afterward.”

Once they were ready, they went to their new doorway. Ky’yn showed Stensig how to operate both triggers: she had to stop herself from gushing too much over the ingeniousness of the guys that constructed it. With that done, they headed out.

Considering their choice of lair location, they both knew finding a meal in the area was slim to none. Plus with Stensig’s broken hand, they needed a guaranteed meal, so they headed to Varren territory…and by extension, Erapax’s territory.

They suppressed their presence auras and kept their senses on high alert as they entered. There was no guarantee Stensig’s old sectmates would have their auras on and Stensig had to be careful with his powers due to needing his energy for healing. So far though, things were quiet.

“Hmm…this place seems familiar,” Ky’yn muttered at one point as they passed through an alley. “Oh! This is where we first met, Sten.” The moment she finished saying it, an odor hit her: smoke. “There’s a fire nearby…,” she whispered. Across the street, she could see the faint glow of the fire shining on the buildings. “Big and close…” Ky’yn peeked her head around the corner and her eyes widened. “Oh no…that store I chased that thug from is on fire!”

A short distance in front of it, stood a couple of men. They were just standing there, watching, doing nothing to help. It was obvious why….

Ky’yn and Stensig crept closer, Stensig using his powers to keep them hidden and silenced. These two will do nicely, Ky’yn thought, but then frowned and looked over at the burning store. I hope the old lady isn’t still inside…. A part of her wanted to go in and check, but she was weary about her energy levels: the combination of a mostly sleepless night and hunger was not a good combination to go searching through burning building.

“So why are we sitting here waiting again?” one of the men suddenly spoke up, getting their attention.

“Darcia wanted this old coot to pay for now giving us our share,” the other said, deadpan. “And she wanted to make sure no one interfered.”

“To this extreme though? Everyone is having a hard time due to the war.”

To this the other man snorted. “Survival of the fittest. If her store wasn’t making it, best to wipe it out and let another move in. We don’t want weaklings here: no profit in it.”

A low growl rumbled in Ky’yn throat. This was the same kind of attitude the Syndicate had: couldn’t pay, you suffer, even die. With them or against them, no in-between allowed. She hated it. Hated people that pushed others around just because they were weaker.

Her whole body became tense as the adrenaline started flowing, eyes narrowed into slits. At that moment, she wasn’t aware of Stensig beside her, let alone anything he was saying. She suddenly she rushed forward, screeching a near feral cry. Ky'yn pounced the nearest man before they even realized she was coming, thanks to Stensig’s powers.

She smashed her fist into his forehead, then slammed his head into the pavement a couple times for good measure. By now the other guy, the deadpan one, had got his wits about him and was reaching for his weapon: he wouldn’t be quick enough. Ky’yn sprang at him low, tackling him to the ground. Using her knees, she pinned both his arms to the ground before affixing him with a glare that would stop the heart of a Reaper if they had one.

“Survival of the fittest, you say?” she said, mimicking his deadpan tone. “Who’s the fittest now?” Without waiting for a response and without bothering knock him unconscious, she bit into his neck and started to drink….

If Stensig could have had his way, he would have crippled the two figures with some knee-shots. It distraught him greatly to see how casual they were acting during the atrocity they were carrying out. No doubt about it, Varren he thought, Looks like we found our–

His thoughts were interrupted when he hear a piercing cry coming from right next to him. It startled him greatly, but before he could even process what was going on he saw Ky'yn rushing for the duo. What the fuck?! He focused his influence field to try and cover her, but she was out of his reach too quickly, he didn't want to overextend himself just in case he still needed energy to fight.

It didn't seem like he'd have to, moments later one of the men was knocked out and the other was pinned under Ky'yn's form. Hesitantly, Stensig took a few steps closer. Ky'yn was already well in the middle of drinking the man's blood, and he must have passed out from the loss of it. For a while he just stood there watching. It looked like she'd forgotten entirely that he was even there. Memo: don't get on her bad side. Ever. He guessed that the way the men were acting had triggered something in her.

Patiently waiting for Ky'yn to finish so she could explain herself if she wanted, Stensig turned and looked at the man who got quickly knocked out. His eyes widened slightly, and he stepped closer to the man. With his good hand, he reached down and took hold of the unconscious man's upper jaw and pulled. The dentures came out easily and Stensig tossed them aside without pity. Yep, it's one of them. One of the sect's vakar.

The man was already unconscious, though whether it was due to blood loss or how tightly Ky’yn’s jaws were clamped on his throat, she didn’t know, or care. His memories were also flooding her mind, showering her years of this attitude, how he didn’t care if someone was too weak to defend themselves. Hell, there were even hints of questioning why they fought against the Reapers, which disgusted her.

At last she lot go, panting heavily. It took a moment for her to remember where she was, or that there was someone else with her. “Oh!” she exclaimed when she remembered Stensig. “I’m so sorry…I lost myself there.” Ky’yn stood and looked at him, but immediately was confused. “Why aren’t you feeding, Sten?”

A split second later, she saw the fangs on the guy she knocked out. “Oh spirits…,” she breathed. “He’s from your old sect…which means you can’t feed on him.” Technically he could, but it ran the risk of undoing the syncing process they were under. “Spirits, I….hell…you need the blood more than me.” She scratched her head, still processing this unexpected development. “My guy is still alive,” she stated finally. “Hopefully we’re synced enough for you to finish him off…If not…we’ll find another for you.”

Just then, she thought she heard a cry from the burning store. Someone alive was still in there….

He stood above her and watched her as she ravenously fed on the man. She was like an animal just then, and she still is. This guy must be the type that really rubs her the wrong way. When she finally stood up and asked why he wasn't doing the same, he nodded to the man on the ground. “Yep, one of ours, a lower-level that got a 'promotion' when we lost a bunch of guys”

Just then he heard the cry coming from inside the store and he winced in shock. Without even processing his entire thought string, he called out, “Help me pry that door open!” With both of them using their good arms, the duo painstakingly pulled the door to an open position. Wedging his back into the door, and using his leg to apply force against the doorway, he motioned for Ky'yn to quickly climb in. “I'll hold this, go!”

Like Stensig, Ky’yn started acting without thinking things through: someone, somewhere, in that inferno was still alive and she wasn’t about to let them die if she could help it. After helping get the door open, she ran in, immediately using her powers to repel the fire away from her. It would be easier to just snuff the fire out completely, but she didn’t have the energy, or enough willpower for it: the fire was just too big.

“Hello!” she called out. “If you can hear me, keep talking! I’m coming to get you!”

“Help me!” a cry answered, somewhere in the back of the store. Ky’yn moved quickly toward the source, keeping both fire and heat from cooking her. She couldn’t however, control the smoke and she coughed a couple of times from it: she had to move quickly to keep the smoke from overwhelming her.

At last she found the individual: the old lady she saved the other day. She was tied up and prone on the floor, tears of fear and pain streaming from her face. The fire itself hadn’t quite reached her yet, but it was dangerously close. “I’m here,” Ky’yn told her, activating the knife program of her omni-tool so she could cut the ropes. “Is there anyone else in here?”

The old lady shook her head. “N-no…but those two thugs….”

“They have been taken care of. Let’s get you out of here. Can you walk?”

“I think so,” she said as Ky’yn helped her up. “But I think you came here to your death: there’s no way out.”

“There is if you stay very close to me,” Ky’yn reassured her. In response the lady gripped her shoulders tightly. “Stensig! I got her! I’m coming out!”

By now it was getting hard for her to breathe. Ky’yn coughed a few times as she lead the old lady through the store, moving as quickly as she could. Finally, the sweet smell of fresh air as they passed through the entrance, where Stensig was still holding the door open.

Ky’yn led the lady to the other side of the street before collapsing on to her hand and knees, coughing violently. The old lady was coughing as well, but it didn’t sound nearly as bad as hers….

Stensig allowed Ky'yn and the woman to pass through the door before he slid himself out, watching the door slam behind him. Whew, that was getting tough to hold… “Are you alright?” he asked, referring to both women. He saw that both of them were on their knees coughing up a storm, no doubt they both had breathed in a lot of smoke.

Now he found a pause, he didn't know whether or not he should kneel over Ky'yn or the old woman. He didn't want Ky'yn to think he didn't care about her well-being, but conversely he knew the woman would be in worse shape because he was in the store longer. He decided Ky'yn would want him to check on the woman, so he knelt down beside her and asked, “Are you injured? Don't worry, I'm a doctor,” In his mind he laughed lightly at the notion, he hadn't worked in a real house of medicine for such a long time, but he figured it'd be a comfort to the woman to know he could help.

He also turned his head for a moment to check on the unconscious vakar. He hadn't moved an inch. Good, he's really out then. We'll have to figure out what to do with him…

“I-I think I will be…,” the old lady coughed. “Those bastards had me tied up on the floor, but I think that saved me from the worst of the smoke.” She looked over toward Ky’yn. “Your girlfriend though…she doesn’t seem to be doing too well.” The lady was able to sit back against the wall. “I don’t know if the emergency was called…too many good folk too scared to act with the Varren around.”

Meanwhile, Ky’yn was, indeed struggling. At that moment, she was doing her best to keep breathing as deep as she could and to remain conscious. Her eye were also teary from the smoke and soot that was in the area.

She was barely aware of the conversation between Stensig and the old lady as a result. Breathe. Breathe. she kept telling herself. Dark spots were starting to swim front of her eyes. No, don’t….stay awake. Focus. Focus.

Ky’yn put herself into a semi-hibernated state: risky in this situation considering there was a rogue vakar close by that could wake up at any moment. However, she would become even more vulnerable if she fell unconscious. She focused on her lungs, accelerating the healing process. Now for the nasty part.

She coughed, hard, a couple of times, expelling rather large glob of grey mucus. “Ugh…,” she breathed, feeling relief as she returned to full consciousness. “Next time I go running into…I burning building…,” she said hoarsely, sitting back against the wall. “I’ll ask for the non-smoking section.”

“Yeah,” Stensig began, “I've treated more than a fair share of smoking patients, stuff's no good for you, not that the fire's that helpful either,” He reached his hand down and helped Ky'yn to her feet. He patted down her back, knocking the sooty remnants off her clothes. “We'll have to wash those later so our place doesn't smell like smoke,” He winked at her, mischievously enjoying the idea of going back to the lake.

But there was still more to be done, he helped the woman to her feet as well, and asked her if she had anywhere she could go. “I have a brother that lives not far from here. But shouldn't we see the police first? You have the culprits right here!”

Stensig and Ky'yn exchanged glances. One of the culprits was a vakar that belonged to Erapax, chances were high that he would either escape or simply be let out scot-free. The other one might even be dead from blood loss, if he wasn't he surely would be if Stensig were to feed on him, and thinking of which.

His stomach gave an audible growl. Indeed he was feeling famished and low on energy. If he was to put up his hiding field again, he'd surely need to feed if he wanted it to last. But he wasn't going to have that chance with the woman nearby…

Ky’yn caught his wink and she playfully punched him in his good arm for it: truthfully, she wouldn’t mind going back to the lake herself today, covered in soot or otherwise. Then she listened to the brief exchange between the old lady and Stensig and heard his stomach rumbled. He needed to feed soon, but he can’t do that with the old lady here.

“It is apparent no one called emergency,” Ky’yn stated. “What better one to do so than you, miss? However, it will not be safe for you here in this area anymore, considering these two’s intent.” She nodded at the two unconscious Varren. “I think it would be best to make that call at your brother’s.”

“But…leaving the scene….” The lady protested. “And I see you have an omni-tool…why not make the call yourself?”

“My omni-tool is has been very glitchy since the end of the Reaper War…and I have been unable to get it repaired,” Ky’yn explained. “Spirits, we were lucky that it worked enough so I could cut your bounds. We would feel better if you were with someone you trusted and away from this area, as it’s obvious you can’t trust anyone here, aside from Stensig and myself. Don’t worry about the two thugs…we’ll make sure they don’t go anywhere.”

The old lady seemed about to protest again, but stopped short, seemingly realizing Ky’yn was right. “Be careful you two,” she said finally as she turned and started to walk away. “There could be more of them close by.”

“We can handle ourselves, don’t worry,” Ky’yn called back. The lady nodded before breaking into a jog. Once she was out of ear shot, she said. “That should buy us some time for you to fed and deal with your old sectmate before emergency comes. Best get your fed on before more show up, I’ll watch your back.”

Please, please let us be fully synced, she thought.

Stensig watched as the woman jogged away. Spry for a woman her age, she must've kept in shape, he thought before speaking up. “Part of me wishes one of us would've gone with her to make sure she made it, but I think it's best we stick together. Especially if we have to deal with that guy” He motioned to the still unconscious vakar. “But, first things first!”

He stepped toward the other unconscious criminal and hoisted him into a sitting position with his good arm. Stensig knelt down and got into position to bite, but not before looking at Ky'yn worriedly. I REALLY hope we're synched enough for this. He hesitated, but then bit down, finally satisfying his hunger. Memories of the gang member's experiences with the Varren worked their way through his psyche, though he saw nothing that surprised him.

When he had finished, he checked for a pulse, found none, and let the thug fall limply back to the ground. “Yep, he's dead for sure now, no way after all the blood we took” Stensig stood back up, readjusting his jacket hanging over his splinted arm. “I'd say we should toss him back in the fire, give them less evidence to go on. As for the other one…” He took a deep breath. “Part of me wants to keep him alive, maybe question him. But there's no way we're taking him back to base, or sticking around here for that matter,”

He looked to Ky'yn with an expression showcasing his uncertainty. “What do you think we should do?”

“Unfortunately, we have a witness,” Ky’yn said, nodding in the direction the old lady went. “If either of them disappear, when I promised that they wouldn’t go anywhere, would cast suspicion on us.” She sighed and put her hand on her hip. “What a complication this is.” Ky’yn kicked the unconscious vakar.

He groaned.

Ky’yn reflectively jumped back, preparing herself to use her powers if need be. An idea came to her. She looked back at Stensig and said. “Hide.” Once Stensig had disappeared, she waited for the vakar to finish waking up, posing herself into her most intimidating look. When the man seemed to be awake enough, she spoke. “Well…seems the little traitor has finally awakened.”

“Wha-wha?” the vakar said, groggily, looking up at her. “Who are you?”

“You are in no position to ask questions, fool!” With a foot she kicked out, hitting him square in the chest, knocking the wind out of him. “Certainly not a vakar that doesn’t know where their loyalties should lay!”

“What are you talking about!” the man protested, gasping for breath. “I am loyal to my sect!”

“Yet you are working with this scum!” Ky’yn pointed at the dead Varren. “No true vakar would do so!”

“I-I….”

“What is the vakar creed!?”

The man gulped. “T-to protect innocent turians from criminals.”

“Then why are you working with one!?” She grabbed a sizeable fireball from the burning store. “Why are you willingly harming innocents!?”

The vakar scrambled backwards away from her a couple paces. “Please! It’s only supposed to be temporary!” he pleaded.

“There is no ‘temporary’ with such things,” Ky’yn growled, stepping closer.

“It’s true! Master Seisteren said it was until he got full control!”

Seisteren? Ky’yn thought, registering the meaning of the code name. Must be Chelos…has to be. “Last I checked, it’s the Elders that control the sect…not a Master. You’re telling me he plans to challenge your Elder?”

“I-I don’t know…only that he plans to take full control of the Varrens and use them to put the vakar back on the true path.”

“’True path’? What you mean by that?”

“I-I don’t know…he never said…he just said things will return to how it should be for vakar.”

Another cryptic answer, but she had a feeling that was all this guy really knew. “Very well then.” Ky’yn dissipated the fire ball. “I won’t kill you, but your fate will be in the hands of the police.” In the distance, she finally heard sirens. “You know your sin…you best make up for it. If I find you working with Varren again…I won’t be so merciful next time, understood?”

“Y-yes, ma’am,” the man said softly, the relief evident on his face.

Satisfied, she quickly ran off into an alley, knowing Stensig would be following her invisibly. Once they were out of earshot, she said. “Well…that was an interesting conversation, eh, Stensig?”

“I don't know what to think about that” Stensig said as he appeared into view. He made a move to fold his arms over his chest, to realize he still had his sling on. Instead he put his hand in his pocket and leaned against the wall of the alley. “We know Chelos–that was his codename he used, you probably figured–but we know he's trying to take control of the sect. Why? He works closely with the Varren, and we know he's in a high position with them. Why would he want to throw that away? I mean don't get me wrong, it SOUNDS like he wants to rectify the sect, but I don't see him doing that out of the goodness of his heart…”

He gave a long sigh, his mind swimming in 'what ifs'. “On the plus side,” he said, looking toward the direction of the burnt store, “You've well taken care of that old sect member of mine. I'd call that a small win for the night. And hey, we must be synched enough, I didn't have any trouble feeding on that other guy,”

He looked up at the sky, thinking out loud, “Well we surely have enough nighttime to get back home, though we'd probably still have to pass some time before sunrise, buuuut…” he cracked a smile, and put on a false posh accent, “We simply MUST do something about your clothes, they're absolutely filthy!”

Ky’yn mulled it over for a moment. “I’m just guessing…,” she softly mused. “But it almost sounds like he doesn’t like the current status quo himself, but doesn’t have the support within the sect itself to change things the normal way.” Almost, because she wasn’t sure herself, as surely there were a number of other vakar that didn’t like Erapax’s set up. “Then again,” she added. “I don’t like this talk of ‘true path’ and such: it sounds like he was referring to all vakar, not just his sect. I wonder what he meant by it.”

She sighed and shrugged her shoulders. Even if they knew all the information, they probably couldn’t do anything about it anyway due to Chelos’ power compared to their own: the man was a Master, after all. “Hopefully my words will stick,” she stated regarding the vakar she just scolded. “But if Chelos has a silver tongue, the poor kid may be working with the Varren again soon.”

Ky’yn then giggled at Stensig’s little act. “I agree,” she said, looking at her ash and soot covered clothes with disgust. “I don’t like smelling like a smoke house! Guess it’s time to go to the lake.” She smiled, relishing the thought of seeing Stensig’s fine ass again….

Stensig snorted grudgingly, “I don't know what this true path crap means, but something tells me it won't be good news. Maybe it'll be a lesser evil, but still an evil to begin with,” He shook his head and added, “No, that little interrogation didn't give me any good vibes”

His demeanor changed when Ky'yn accepted the idea of going to the lake again. He happily agreed as well, holding out his arm as if ushering her out of the alley. “I'll go ahead and stealth us, I'm already feeling a lot more charged after feeding”

Ky’yn smile at him, happy that he was able to get enough blood. Still, he needed that blood to heal, so once they had stepped back into the ruins of the shopping district, she suggested he conserve his energy. Fortunately, the trip to the lake was uneventful.

While she tried to focus on the upcoming bathing session, her mind kept switching to the new information they got on Chelos. What was meant by ‘true path’? Considering he obviously couldn’t get the support he needed to challenge Erapax directly, it seemed this ‘true path’ was something even Erapax would disapprove of. This bothered her and the lack of information to form a proper opinion on it was starting to drive her crazy. At this point though, it seemed the only way to get more information was to talk to Chelos directly: an idea she rejected due to just how dangerous it would be.

The whole thing was starting to dampen her mood.

Then the lake came into view and Ky’yn was able to finally force her thoughts onto happier things. Good timing, she thought, noting that the sun was just starting to rise. Ky’yn wasted no time stripping down, preparing herself to go in. “Did you want some help undressing, Sten?” she asked, turning to look at him. “Or are you just going to sit back and enjoy the ‘show’?” She smiled slyly.

He in turn was mulling over the given situation as they began their walk to the lake. Chelos is no saint, that's for sure, but could he really be trying to take over the sect for good reasons? It was hard to tell, Stensig would barely have said ten words to the man in passing. They were far from friends, but they weren't exactly enemies either. He knew better than to be hopeful that Chelos would be a friendly force. But maybe he'd be a lesser evil to Erapax. I don't freaking know…

Ky'yn asked him to save his energy by the time they reached the old shopping district. Which put him on edge a little bit. He always felt vulnerable, even slightly naked, without using his power while he was traveling. He chose to keep a keen eye out as they continued moving, just to be on the safer side of things.

He relaxed quite a bit as when they finally hit the lake. It was secluded enough there that he felt he could let his guard down a little. Then his mind went completely blank as he saw Ky'yn instantly stripping off her clothes. Have mercy he thought with an unseen grin. It took all his self composure to not blush at the sight.

Her next question then ruined his chances of remaining stoic, asking if he wanted help with his clothes or if he just wanted to watch her. His face betrayed him, showing blue on his cheeks. Truthfully both answers sounded great, but he imagined he might have caught some of the smokey smell of the building as he stood and held the door open. So he decided it would have to be the former.

“Yeah,” he finally spoke out, attempting to keep his voice from sounding shakily excited, “I think I could use some help with my clothes, though I doubt that's gonna slow me down much from enjoying the sights around here…”

Ky’yn giggled faintly at his reaction, having expected it and thus was amused by it. “Try not to get too excited during this,” she cooed teasingly as she walked over to him and assisted him in undressing. Jacket came off easily, as it was only half on anyway. Same with the pants, belts, boots and lower undersuit. However, the upper undersuit was not so easy, as they had tied the splint on top of it.

“Well, looks like this part will have to stay on you,” she said with a sigh. “I don’t want to risk undoing any of the mending your body accomplished.” With a smirk she walked around behind him. “But least the good part of you is undressed.“ Smiling slyly, she pinched his ass, before running into the water, giggling.

It got even harder to keep his composure as she came in close and helped him undress. Sure, he'd seen her without her clothes on already, but this time she was getting into personal space. That made it an entirely different situation. He remained silent as they carefully removed his clothing bit by bit, unable to keep his eyes from wandering. Damn

He was now undressed from the waist down, and Ky'yn sneaked in her little pinch, making him flinch and tense up. He recovered quickly however, and smiling, joined her in the lake. He figured he may as well let himself get fully submerged in the water. It wasn't like he had a cast on that would get grimy from being wet. The coolness of the water felt good on his bad hand. While he still felt it pulsing painfully now and again, the brisk feeling felt good on his nerves.

He stretched his spine and allowed himself to float on the water's surface. Finding it much easier to relax now. He was especially happy for the sights he could see. If he turned his head ever so slightly, he could catch a good view of Ky'yn in the water.

Ky’yn got to work washing her clothing, though she made sure the ‘best’ part of her was facing Stensig the whole time: her rear. She knew he was watching, as it certainly didn’t slip her notice how he was eyeing her while undressing him. Ky’yn make sure he got a good look when she had to bend over a few times.

Spirits…what am I doing? she thought, suddenly realizing just how flirty she was being. Am I ‘trying’ to give him a nose bleed? Ky’yn found herself giggling at the thought, in all honesty. Still, she had only known him for a few days…wasn’t she being a little ‘quick’ start this up?

Nah, she decided. It’s not like I’ve a serious relationship before….aside from Vidan The thought of him made her pause briefly, a frown on her face. She quickly shook it off, however, before she the still lingering grief overtook her. Besides…, she told herself, looking up at the morning sky. He ‘feels’ right….

You're doing that on purpose you little minx. He thought with a wide grin. It seemed like she was making a point to make sure he got an eyeful of her from the back, bending over multiple times as she washed her clothes. Sure though, I won't be complaining anytime soon.

He reminisced back to his days as a surgeon. In those times, he'd see plenty of the turian anatomy as he worked. As a professional, he'd learned to suppress any lusty feelings toward female patients. And for quite a long time he'd feel nothing for any woman he'd see. Stensig used to lament that he may not come to find a female body attractive anymore. Lucky for him, however, that blockage died down after long years of not working as a surgeon.

The only other issue was that he'd never found a woman that he actually liked. There were some in his sect, but none of them had ever struck his fancy. None of them felt quite as 'correct' as Ky'yn, even though he barely knew her. For sure their personalities seemed to mesh well together. He smiled to himself, knowing that his learned aversion to women was coming to its end.

Her clothing was as clean as she was going to get them, so she lay them out on a flat rock so they could dry a bit before they headed back. For a moment, she sat down and just enjoyed the feel of the cool water on her skin. Then, she decided to follow Stensig’s example and just lay out, allowing herself to float as she gazed at the sky a bit. Eventually though, she turned to look at Stensig once more: from the big grin he had on his face, he certainly had enjoyed the ‘view’.

That made her happy. She had felt bad about the previous night, when he had broken his hand: an event she still felt partly responsible for. The past, was the past though, and she felt she had more than made up for it now.

Ky’yn sighed, a feeling of contentment falling over her for the first time in…she had forgotten when she last felt this way. She had Stensig to thank for that. There was still work to be done, such as dealing with the Varren and Stensig’s former sect, but that was to be expected of a vakar. At least she wasn’t alone now, that was the important thing and she felt as long as they were together, they would be happy.

She smiled widely at that thought. Then, her smile forming into a smirk, she sat up splashed water in Stensig’s direction….

He'd relaxed and closed his eyes for a while after he got his fill of eye candy, sitting on the lake bottom and just enjoying the moment. He felt content when he was around Ky'yn, serene and peaceful, like nothing could ruin the moment–

Then he got an unpleasant snap back to reality when he felt the brisk water splashing in his face. He snorted and sputtered. “Agh, harpie!” he called out, “Eeeech, straight up the nose!” He could see she was grinning wide at him, and he couldn't stop himself from immediately forgiving that face. He didn't, however, take the blow with impunity, and he used his good hand to splash her back.

Soon an all out splash war erupted between the two, and he laughed jovially. He felt like a kid again. Spirits, it's been a looooong time since I was a child he thought as they played. He eventually got tired of the splashing and leaped for Ky'yn, playfully tackling her–holding his bad hand outward so it wouldn't get in the way– down onto the lake bottom. It was shallow enough that it didn't dunk her head in the water. Good thing, that might've been in bad taste

I haven’t done this since I was a kid! Ky’yn thought, laughing as they splashed each other. This kind of playful release was almost foreign to her now, due to all the stress in her live. She loved it…she wanted more.

“Eep!” she cried when Stensig suddenly tackled her. The two of them made a mighty big splash as they landed, thankfully near the shore where it wasn’t so deep. Though now, Stensig was right over her, in her personal space.

Normally, she would have pushed him off, but found herself hesitating, seeming to savor the closeness. She looked up at him, panting slightly from the splash war, feeling an odd sense of…she couldn’t describe it. After a moment, she reached up with her hand and caressed his face.

That shock was felt, but it was more of a constant, pleasant tingle now instead of a sudden jolt like before. That had to mean something….

He was on top of her now. Ooh we're close, he thought nervously, this is very VERY close!. For a moment he didn't know what to do. He just looked down at her, and she looked back up at him. Both of them were entirely silent, save for both of them panting from being tuckered out.

Then she touched his face, and a whole world of sensations swept over him. He felt tingly everywhere, a pleasurable feeling that especially affected a certain area of his. He prayed she wouldn't notice, in case he was misreading the situation. But at the same time, he really wanted things to go further. He figured he would test the waters and see what happened.

“There's… something I'd really like to do with you, but–” he cut himself short, unable to restrain his desire or his curiosity. He leaned his head in close, moving in for a kiss…

Ky’yn could feel it too. That primal desire. She wanted to satisfy it, but was it too soon? For a moment, two sides of her were warring with each other: the primal wanted to proceed, the logical wanted to hold off. It was a stalemate, until she remembered something.

His hand… she realized. If they got going here, there was a good chance they may redo some of the damage on it. She didn’t want him to get hurt during their first moment of true passion. So, she started to sit up, completely dodging his kiss attempt, forcing him to sit back. Still, she didn’t want to dash his hopes completely.

“I do too…,” she said softly, leaning forward to touch her forehead with his. “But I don’t think…now is the right time….” Ky’yn touched his splinted hand with her stump, hoping he understood why she wanted to delay this.

I knew it, thinking too far ahead dumbass he thought to himself as she moved away from his face. He moved backward and sat down, dejected. Now he was really at a loss for what to do next. He put all his eggs in one basket and they all broke. He strained to not look too despaired or disappointed, but he actually felt rather hurt that she didn't even want a kiss.

He was just about to meekly apologize when she spoke up, saying that she wanted the same thing he did. She leaned in and touched foreheads with him, and the contact immediately made him feel better. Okay good, but now I'm really confused. She said something about it not being the right time, and she gently touched his bad hand with her stump. Oh you motherfu– he angrily thought towards his own limb, furious that it ruined the moment. He quickly turned his anger into snarkiness, and said to his raised hand, “You're such a pain in the ass…”

He looked back at Ky'yn, having said his peace to his traitorous hand, and forced himself to smile for her. “Next time then?” he asked, trying not to sound too incredibly hopeful. But it was difficult not to. Never before had he felt this way about a woman, never been so intimately close, never yet to…

I've waited this long to lose it I suppose, rather wait just a little longer and make it a time to remember.

“Next time,” Ky’yn whispered softly to him. Perhaps sooner… she thought to herself, smiling.

It was amazing how fast they were progressing: they had only known each other for, what, four days? Maybe a little less? Was this happening due to mutual desperation for true companionship? Or was this meant to happen? She hoped it was the latter.

“It’s getting late,” she stated, looking at the brightening sky. Ky’yn gave him a little lick on the cheek before standing up. “Did you want help dressing, hun?”

Did I seriously just call him ‘hun’? She mentally laughed. Spirits…I really am into him…..

“Alright, fair enough” Stensig said. Inwardly he bit his lip for having to wait, but he felt her concern was legitimate.

“Yeah, I wouldn't mind some help,” She stood up from the water, and he found himself looking her over from the legs upward. That's a view i can get used to…

He held out his good hand for her to take, but hesitated for just a moment, “Wait, did you just call me hun?

“Ye-yeah…,” Ky’yn replied, blushing, suddenly feeling embarrassed. “That…just kind of…came out.” She took his hand and helped him to his feet. “To be honest…this whole thing between us is moving rather quickly…and I find myself not caring how fast it’s going. It’s…made me a part of me a little confused…perhaps a bit overwhelmed.”

She sighed, uncertain what else to say. Then, she hugged him, to reassure him that she wasn’t trying to brush him off or anything. “I feel…at home…with you,” she whispered before letting go. Ky’yn then proceeded to help him get dressed….

After she helped him up, he said, “I feel the same way, it's been, what, not even a week yet and here we are acting like we've known each other for years. It's crazy, but things feel 'right' don't you think?” He was trying to sound confident in his words, but truthfully he was just as confused and conflicted on the inside.

She helped him stand up, and he felt awkward once more being without pants in front of her. Lucky for him the visible traits to his previous 'excited' state had died down. But then she then hugged him close, threatening to put him right back where he was. You realize we're both naked right? Are you trying to tease me? He contained his urge to say anything, and graciously accepted her help in getting dressed again. When they were done, he said thoughtfully, “Yeah, 'at home' is a pretty good explanation of the feeling. Comfortable, you know?” He smirked and added, “And you can call me whatever you want sweetie

Ky’yn blushed once more, but then flashed a mischievous grin at him. “You sure about that, Stenny?” she teased, giggling slightly. “At any rate, let’s head back: I for one, can’t wait to see what kind of dreams I’ll have.” She reached out then and took his good hand into hers, smiling at him as they started to walk.

They didn’t say much on the way, as they were just enjoying their newfound closeness. As before, upon approaching their home, they became more wary of their surroundings. Only once they were certain there was no one following, did they enter the store and return to their lair via the secret door.

As they prepared for bed, Ky’yn had a dilemma: she really wanted to try sleeping in the same bed as him now. However, like before, she worried about his hand, not to mention the time it would take to set up the beds so they could do so comfortably. “I think…,” she announced as she crawled into her sleeping bag. “Tonight we should see about some ‘furniture rearrangements’.” She looked over at Stensig and gave him a wink.

“That one,” he said with his finger pointing to the sky, “Is much less flattering, how about no?” He laughed good-naturedly, and happily accepted her hand-hold on the way back. The trip back to their base was uneventful, the two of them hadn't even talked on the whole trip. That was okay with him, he was starting to feel too tired for idle chatter anyway.

When they retired to their hidden room through the hidden door, he clumsily shook off his jacket with his one good arm and hung it over a chair. He placed his boots next to the chair as well. When Ky'yn spoke up about moving the furniture, he didn't understand at first. “What are you getting at? Home decorating– ooh” he saw the coy look on her face, and understood what she was thinking.

“I can get behind that idea” he said, “We could even zip our sleeping bags end-to-end and make a super bag for the both of us!” He inwardly relished the idea of being so very snug, warm, and cozy wrapped up right next to Ky'yn. “Yeah, let's do that after we get a good night sleep” He yawned, and squirmed his way into his own sleeping bag.

“Sweet dreams sweetheart, I know I will!”

“That was my plan,” Ky’yn confirmed, smiling broadly. “You too, hun…try not to pop a tent in the middle of the night ya hear?” She snickered at her little joke, before making herself comfortable and closing her eyes. It didn’t take long for her to fall asleep…and she certainly had some interesting dreams of her own….

He hated being right.

Detective Galyrus Quidros looked at the report of the latest case. A mom and pop store was burned down last night, but fortunately the old lady that ran it survived, though she suffered some smoke inhalation damage. Even better, both the men responsible didn’t get far…though one was in a body bag. The living one was in a cell right now, though he hadn’t said much: in fact, the man seemed more interested in sleeping than anything else. The one thing the suspect did say though, was that he felt remorse for what he had tried to do, but he hadn’t killed the other suspect either: that had been someone else’s doing.

That ‘someone else’, he learned from the old lady: a pair of good samaritans risked their lives to rescue her. The lady referred to one of them, a female, having had to be angel, as while she was being led out, the fire never touched her…nor did she feel its heat. The officers that interviewed her though did find it odd that these two insisted she run to a place of safety, while they remained behind with the suspects.

Galyrus didn’t find it odd, not when it was vakar they were dealing with. Hell, the autopsy of the dead suspected confirmed it: two bite marks on the neck…body drained of blood. Two bite marks meant two vakar, but why feed on the same guy when there were two suspects? He had gotten his answer when he got a good look at the living suspect: he had fangs.

Yet this guy claimed he wasn’t responsible for the other guy’s death…in fact he said he was responsible for the fire. That part didn’t make sense: the fact the suspect said there was only one Samaritan only made it more confusing. Did they have two vakar or three involved?

With a sigh, he turned his attention to the descriptions of the samaritans. The male one sounded like a local, if the description of the colony markings was accurate and they had at least a given name: Stensig, and it was also reported that he claimed to be a doctor. Galryus head already ran that name in the database, but came up empty. Either the man was lying, or he was using an alias. Either way, he was at a dead end with him.

He could already tell he wasn’t going to get anywhere with the other samaritan either: while there was good physical description, the colony markings couldn’t be made out by the victim, aside from being dark blue. There was an interesting note that while this one did suffer greatly from smoke inhalation, she recovered extremely quickly.

Vakar, I heard can heal really fast, he thought. So the woman is likely a vakar…the suspect is definitely one as well. This Stensig fellow…unclear if he’s also a vakar or not.

This was starting to make his head ache. With another sigh, he got up to get some coffee. Perhaps, once the suspect wakes up, he’ll try to talk to him again….

Night 5

Party Crashers

Ky’yn yawned and stretched, a part of her not wanting to abandon the nice dream she was having. However, there was work to be done, so she climbed out of her bag. She saw that Stensig was still asleep, so she wandered over to him. Using her omni-tool, she did a medical scan of his hand. While she waited for the results, she leaned over and gave him a kiss. “Wake up, sleeping beauty,” she cooed in his ear.

Stensig stirred, and rolled over to look up to Ky'yn's face. “Now we're getting somewhere with the more pleasant wake-up routines. No creepy staring, no shrieking door hinges…” He pushed himself up with his good hand and returned the kiss Ky'yn gave him. Huh, that's the first one I actually manage to plant on her, nice

He started wiggling his way out of his bag, and asked “Whatcha running on that thing? Diagnostic?” Realizing what she was probably doing, he moved his splinted hand in front of his face and flexed his fingers. “I don't feel any pain anymore, that's a frigging relief. Can't tell by feeling it though whether or not it's fully repaired or not. What's it saying on the omni?”

“You said almost the exact same thing yesterday,” Ky’yn giggled, blushing slightly at his return kiss. She then looked at the result of her scan. “Says it found nothing wrong.” She showed him the results. “So I think it’s safe to take that splint off now. Still, I’d play it safe and not go punching things for a few more hours.”

As she helped him get the splint off, she giggled. “Listen to me…acting like a nurse when you are the one with medical experience.”

Stensig smiled wide at the holo display in front of him, tickled by the positive result it was showing. “Yeah, I think I'm ready to lose this annoying hardware,” Ky'yn assisted him in untying the makeshift sling and untied the chair legs off of his arm. Stensig let out a relieved sigh as he looked at his hand and flexed his fingers. “Good as new I think! But no, I won't be doing that again anytime soon for sure”

He heard her comment, and laughed. “You've got the bedside manner I think. You'd just have to be comfortable being around all those sick people… ech” He faked a shudder, making a joke out of irony.

“So, what do you wanna do tonight? We can go ahead and take care of the furniture, but apart from that I dunno anything else we need to do”

“I’m afraid I have a low tolerance for people that injure themselves through acts of stupidity,” Ky’yn said with a giggle. “Which I’m sure you had no shortage of during your time as a surgeon. As for what to do…well, we could go on a supply run for anything we didn’t pick up the other day, namely change of clothing.” She looked at her own clothing, which was starting to get a little worn. “Buuut….I have…something else in mind for right now….”

Before he could ask want, she grabbed him and kissed him, deeply. Quickly ignited that primal desire, her one hand starting to roam a bit. “So…doctor…,” she said huskily after a moment. “Care to give me a…..”

BOOM-da-BOOM

“What the fuck?” Ky’yn cursed, covering her earholes, having felt the sound as much as heard it. It wasn’t a one-time sound either: it kept repeating, over and over again. “Spirits!” Ky’yn growled. “Sounds like someone is throwing a party downstairs!”

Stensig was quickly taken off guard when Ky'yn came forward and kissed him. Immediately he lost all mental sense and was taken prisoner by the moment. He closed his eyes and focused on returning the favor. He felt her hand tracing down his torso, and he in turn wrapped his arms around her, his hands placed low on her waist.

It was amazing that he no longer had his hurt arm acting as a physical barrier between their two bodies. He relished the idea of having both of his hands available for whatever this was going to lead to. His heart started racing and he felt feverish, but in a most pleasant way.

Then the loud vibrations rang through the walls of their hideout. Ruining the moment for both of them. “Gaaah, who's killing a Reaper down there?!”

Still growling, Ky’yn walked over to the trap door and lifted up…only to nearly get blasted back by the sheer volume coming from below. She ended up dropping the door back in place, making a loud slam, though with how loud that music was, she doubted the partiers heard it.

“Ugh!” Ky’yn groaned, staggering back toward Stensig, her ears ringing. “Yep…damn party down stairs. How the fuck can they stand having that music that loud!? They’ll be deaf by the time the nights over! Spirits…I’m glad I’m a vakar…”

She sat down on the bed next to Stensig, rubbing her ears. If Stensig was saying anything, she probably didn’t hear him due to how loud the ringing in her ears was. “Spirits…I bet that noise could be heard across the damn city.” After a pause, she added. “Well…now we have a new priority: evict a bunch of stupid partiers.” Ky’yn then flashed a grin at him. “Say…how about we have some fun with this? Up for making it look like this place is haunted?”

He smiled wickedly at her idea. “By all means, we're literally what they talk about when they say 'things that bump in the night,' might as well prove why we have that reputation”

He had Ky'yn huddle in as if for a sports team, and he started outlining some ideas with her. Floating objects, whispering and moaning voices, maybe even an unsilenced gunshot into the air to seal the deal. However brave these hooligans were to have a party in an abandoned warehouse, after Ky'yn and Stensig were done, they wouldn't be so outgoing afterwards.

Stensig suggested that they use the secret door to leave their quarters, then they could enter the warehouse from the ground floor. The noise got louder and louder as they approached the partygoers. Stensig could barely stand the horrible base pulses assaulting his ears. “First thing's first,” he whispered to Ky'yn, placing them both under his cloaking effect. “Let's take care of that boombox”

She couldn’t hear a word he said due to the music, but she already knew what the first thing they needed to do was. Quickly, she strode over to the boombox and turned it off. “Ahh…silence…,” she muttered, though she could barely hear her own voice due to ringing ears.

“What the…,” one of the party goers said, walking over to the boombox. “Who turned this off?” When he got no response, he shrugged and went to turn it back on, but Ky’yn by now had grabbed it and was walking away from him. The look on the dudes face was price less.

After a moment, she put it down again and watched as the guy cautiously approached it. She allowed him to turn it back on, only instead of the ear bleeding music they had on before…Ky’yn had switched it to a classical station.

“Hey man…what are you? An old geezer?” one the other’s called out. “Turn that back to some REAL music!”

“It-it must have got jostled when it moved…,” the man muttered as he tried to change the station. Ky’yn let him, but the moment he started to walk away again, she not only changed it to another station, a weather one this time, but lowered the volume.

“Dude…what are you doing!?” another partier cried.

“I didn’t touch it that time!” the poor man exclaimed.

“Uh huh…right…you’re the only one near it dude.”

As far as you can see, Ky’yn thought, smirking. With everyone else watching the poor sap now to ensure he wasn’t playing tricks on them, Ky’yn decided to finish this scenario. She ripped out the volume and station changing dials, then bounced them off the guy’s head.

“That wasn’t me!” the guy exclaimed. “It was ghost!”

“No such thing as ghosts…probably someone using biotics.” Someone said.

“But there’s no biotics among us tonight…” Said another.

As they party members got into a debate over the existence of ghosts, Ky’yn walked back over to Stensig and tapped him on the shoulder. “Your turn, sweety,” she cooed.

Stensig watched with glee the shenanigans Ky'yn was causing. As she 'worked' he made an effort to come up with his own plans that would be both entertaining and scary for the partygoers.

He started by sneaking up on one of them and tapping them on the shoulder. The man turned around to see nothing, looking back and forth.

“Eyy, who touched me just then?!”

“You're way over there moron!”

Not yet satisfied, Stensig moved to another, a female. Making sure that the other hooligans had a good view, he uncloaked his hand and held it ominously over the woman's shoulder. The onlooking youths froze in place, one of them started pointing at her, horrified.

“Look out! Your shoulder!”

“Huh?”

At that moment Stensig grabbed the girl's shoulder and squeezed it tightly, eliciting a terrified squeal. To the onlookers it looked like a disembodied hand was attacking her.

The girl started flailing wildly, and Stensig stepped off to avoid getting swatted. He still left his hand visible, and the entire group was staring at it, statue-still.

Ooh! I got one! he thought mischievously. Silently, he pointed to the boombox, and then to the group as a whole. He filled up his lungs, and let out a shriek as shrill as he could manage, cloaking his hand again as he did so.

“What the hell was that?” more than one partier cried. Ky’yn giggled silently in amusement.

Not bad, hun, she thought as she quietly climbed up a short pile of crates, then singled to Stensig that she was going to make some noise. But I think I can do better. Now she filled her lungs, before cutting loose with a long, loud, mournful moan. From the shudders she saw among the group, it had the desired effect.

“This place is starting to creep me out…,” someone said. “You are sure this place isn’t haunted?”

“There’s no such thing as ghosts!” another protested, though he didn’t seem to sure himself now.

“But what if the spirits of those that died during the Reaper War….”

“Shut up!”

Ky’yn got down from the crates, then zeroed in on the doubter. Using her powers, she sucked all the heat from the immediate area around him briefly, simulating a brief chill. “D-did it just get cold in here?” the man said, rubbing his arms.

“Naw…just you man…someone must have walked over your grave….”

“But I’m not dead yet!”

With a wicked grin, Ky’yn leaned close to him and whispered. “I’m here for your soul…..”

That was too much for the man. He turned white, screamed like a girl and ran out as fast as he good, leaving the rest of the group looking shocked and a bit worried at what scared him so. It was hard not to laugh, so she turned it into an evil cackle instead, which just unnerved the group even more….

Galyrus was getting nowhere.

He was in an interrogation room with the suspect, but the vakar only repeated what he told them before. “Look, I just want some clarification,” Galyrus said with a sigh. He nearly said ‘kid’ but chances are this guy was older than him by decades, despite only looking to be in his mid-twenties. “You said there was only one other there besides your dead friend and the store owner. However the Store owner said there were two…which means one of you isn’t telling the truth.”

“I assure you, detective,” the vakar said quietly, looking a little nervous. “I only saw one other…a female.”

Galyrus rubbed his forehead, then decided to take a risk. “So you’re telling me the store owner had to be lying about seeing this ‘Stensig’ fellow?”

The vakar’s eyes widened at that name. Got ya, Galyrus thought.

“Well…that explains why I didn’t see anyone else…,” the vakar muttered.

“So you know this Stensig person?”

“Once…but he is no longer….” Just then the lights went out.

“The hell?” Galyrus stood up and looked out the door and saw that the whole station was out of power. He could see a rush of activity as staff rushed to get the emergency power on, along with armed officers rushing toward the jail section to ensure the prisoners didn’t try to escape.

“Oh no…..” He heard the vakar breathe, sounding fearful. “Chelos….”

Stensig had to hold himself back from laughing. This was way too much fun. He'd halfway feel guilty about it if the partyers hadn't been so disruptive. Still, there was more that could be done, obviously they weren't scared enough to leave yet. He had another idea, and he moved over to another one of the youths.

“No one… all alone” he recited out of a horror story he once heard as a child. As he spoke he dragged his baton against the floor, making a horrible screeching sound as he circled around the group. “No one… ALL ALONE” he moaned loudly.

One of the hooligans tried to let out a scream, but Stensig used his power to silence him. Shocked, the youth started flailing his arms, trying to yell out to his friends, but obviously to no avail.

“What's wrong!?”

“What the fuck is going on!?”

“I don't wanna be here anymore!”

Stensig moved behind another partyer, making sure he was in a position where all the others could see him. Making careful use of his power, he uncloaked himself, but only from the waist up, and with half of his head and one of his arms still hidden. Looking like a floating abomination, Stensig reached out his visible arm towards the partygoer in front of him and growled fiercely.

“FUCK! TURN AROUND!”

“BEHIND YOU!”

The man whipped around to see Stensig in his act and scrambled backwards, tripping and falling to the ground. As the man screamed Stensig disappeared, still growling like an animal. Looking over to Ky'yn, he held out his arms in a 'your turn' sign.

Ky’yn smiled broadly at Stensig’s antics, while thinking of what to do next herself. The partiers were a mix of wanting to leave and still wanting to party and Ky’yn wanted to push that into the ‘wanting to leave’ side. She was trying to think of something to affect all of them, but one of the partiers caught her eye.

“Fuck…this is getting to be too much…I need a smoke,” a woman said pulling out a pack of cigarettes.

“But…aren’t you expecting?” another said.

“I don’t care! I need to smoke!”

Ky’yn hissed lowly, her blood boiling at the thought of this woman wanting a ‘fix’ over the health of her unborn. She wasn’t going to let that happen…not while she was in this building. So strode over to the woman, just as she raised a lighter to light the cig, then she used her powers to snuff out the flame.

“What the….” The woman tried again, only for it go out again before it touched the end of the cig. “Is there draft in here?” She moved away from her spot, Ky’yn following her. This time when she tried, Ky’yn made the flame flare up, making her scream and drop both the cig and the lighter in shock.

“Baaabbyyy kiiillleeerr….” Ky’yn hissed out loud, loud enough for not only the woman to hear, but several others as well.

“Wh-wha….no! I’m not!” the woman protested, her hands covering her belly. “I want this baby…I want it!”

Ky’yn then picked up the pack of cigs, activating her lighter program on her omni-tool. She then burned the pack of cigarettes in front of everyone, while everyone watched in horror. Then, as a finale, she used her fire to create a rough impersonation of a turian. She cut loose a horrible scream before making the fiery figure vanish as quickly as it came. A few turians rapidly left the building then, including the pregnant one. However, there were still a handful of stubborn ones left.

Try to top that, hun, she thought, looking at Stensig with a smirk.

Galyrus looked back at the vakar, whom looked terrified. “Chelos? Who, or what, is that?” he asked, walking back toward him.

“Who…,” the man clarified. “I can say no more…said too much as is….”

“Indeed…you’ve been a bit troublesome,” a new voice said.

“Wha….” Galyrus started to turn around, but then his body suddenly stiffened, pain shooting through his body as he fell forward, unable to brace himself before his face meant the concrete floor. It felt like he had been tased….

“My apologies, officer,” the same voice said. “You’re a good man…but we take care of our own, so I’ll be taking my comrade off your hands.”

“Chelos…,” the vakar said. “Why are you….”

“Hush…and follow. We’ll talk later.”

“But what about….”

“He’ll be fine in a moment or two.”

Galyrus could only see the feet of his suspect as the man walked out of the room, unable to anything about it. After a few moments, he was able to start moving again, though he was shaky: the best he could do was to sit back against the wall. At that same moment, the lights came back on.

“Detective!” an officer said, finally noticing him. “What happened to you?”

“Someone came in during the chaos, tazed me…and took our suspect,” Galyrus said. “A guy named ‘Chelos’ I think….never got a look at him. Please tell me the security cams were on….”

“I’m sorry sir, but that power outage took out everything, including the cameras.”

“But they are on their own power supply!”

“I know…the techs are baffled by this as well.”

“I hate dealing with vakar….,” Galyrus moaned, realizing what had to have happened. The other officer just gave him an odd look.

Dammit, that's a tough one to follow Stensig thought glumly. He put his mind into overdrive trying to think of ways to get rid of these more stubborn partiers. An idea came to him, but it was gonna be tough to execute, he decided he'd set a mood first.

He walked over to the boombox and turned it back on, he found a station playing opera music, and a woman was singing a haunting piece. He turned the volume up to it's max, much to the displeasure of the hooligans.

“Someone's gotta be doing that, and I don't care who, they ain't scarin' me!”

“Yeah, turn that shit off, it's not even scary!”

Thought as much Stensig gave a sigh and frowned. Time for his own coup de grace. Straining the use of his power, he placed a stealth bubble over each of the remaining partiers. To each of them, it looked like all of their friends had vanished into thin air. They tried calling out, but were silenced.

“Whoa, where the fuck did everyone go?!”

“Guys? GUYS?!”

“Oh spirits, I'M ALL ALONE!”

“HELP!”

Still maintaining the fields, Stensig pulled out his pistol and took aim at the boombox. The opera singer was getting especially loud, and at the crescendo of the song, when she reached the highest and longest pitch, Stensig blasted the music player, letting the bullet ring out loud and clear.

The sound pierced through the air of the warehouse and echoed many times. Stensig let out a scream as if he were in pain, and let off another shot into the air.

Hopefully THAT'LL take care of these brave heroes he thought with a grin.

The remaining partiers all collectively jumped at the sound, then started to run. However, since they couldn’t see or hear each other, a few inevitably ran into each other, resulting in a tangled mess of unseen limbs. This, naturally, freaked them out even more, which resulted quite a frantic, and hilarious, struggle to free themselves. Eventually, they managed to free themselves and ran off, no doubt straight home to change their underwear.

“Now that…was fun,” Ky’yn said, laughing. “Though I hope you didn’t exhaust yourself with that trick, hun.” She walked over to him and dragged a finger down his chest. “Cause it would be a shame if you were too tired to have a different kind of fun, later.” Ky’yn gave him a smile, then nuzzled his cheek.

Chelos waked quickly away from the police station, the younger vakar just behind him, whom was all too aware of how upset he was. He had given both the second-boss and boss a list of Varren members that were not to be sent on protection racket related jobs. While there were some non-vakar on it, most of the members on that list were vakar, the runovus he just sprang being one of them. He made the list to avoid conflict of interests, but someone had ignored that list.

Darcia, has to be, he thought with a growl. The Second-Boss had been doing her best to impede him for some time now. Whether she suspected him, or just didn’t like him, he didn’t know, but he was getting tired of it and was considering stepping up his own plans. Due to Darcia’s meddling, young Dolic no doubt had doubts about what was going on and he needed to find out for certain what happened.

He did tap the police database and read the report on the incident before he took out the lights. It was an intriguing read: Stensig had been there, along with his new friend, whom he now knew was female. Pity there wasn’t a clear description of her, but maybe Dolic got a better view of her. That Stensig and this still unnamed female vakar was intruding on their territory didn’t bother him, for now. To Chelos, it only made sense: considering how out of control the Varren were and how little Erapax was doing about it, he saw it as a good thing.

Once I take over the Varren and ‘adjust’ their goals, that will have to change, he thought. Those two will have to either join me, leave the city, or die. For now though, he’ll let it slide.

They reached the edge of the ruined shopping district, which was the edge of their territory. He chose this spot as there was the lessened chance of another member eavesdropping on their conversion. The things he wanted to discuss…he didn’t want getting back to Erapax.

“Now…Dolic,” Chelos said softly, but seriously. “Mind telling me…just what happened?”

He stifled his laughter at the fleeing hooligans, not that they would have heard him over their frantic screaming. He was glad that last trick set them over the edge enough to run, that stunt he pulled giving them each a stealth field took more out of him than he expected. As he let the fields dissipate he slouched his stance, panting slightly. Whew. Yeah, let's not do that again.

When Ky'yn came over to him he immediately straightened back up. “Of course not! It'll take a lot more than that to dissuade me from… everything I'm sure you're planning, sweetheart” He smiled and wrapped an arm around her, happily accepting her nuzzling against his face.

“In fact, I can think of no better way to reward ourselves for a job well done. Don't you agree?” Feeling cocky, he moved his arm off her to give her a light spank on the backside.

Courtship

Cheeky little… Ky’yn thought, having jumped a little at his ‘love pat’. “Oh…I don’t know,” she said coyly. “I really wanted to go shopping for new clothes today.” Ky’yn pressed up against him, letting her hand roam a bit: she was purposely sending mixed signals. “Not to mention…,” she whispered. “If we get ‘busy’ we may not get anything else done today.”

She then pulled away and started walking back toward the main part of the store, deliberately swaying her hips as she did so. Then she paused in her stride, looked back at him with a little mischievous smile on her face and said: “So to solve this little conflict of interest darling…how about a little game? I’m going to run for the nearest clothing store…if you catch me before I reach it, we’ll have ‘fun’. However, if you fail…you’ll have to wait until I’m done shopping. Oh…and no powers.”

Her smile broadened, then she took off running. “Catch me if you can!” she called back, laughing.

After Dolic told his tale of events, much of it gleaned directly from his blood, Chelos snarled in annoyance. I was right…Dacia forced him to go, he thought. At least though, he had more information on the female vakar Stensig was with. A fire controller, I’ll have to keep that in mind should our paths cross.

Unfortunately, he didn’t know what rank this female was. He assumed she was at least tier two, considering she obviously had very good control over her powers. If she was old enough to be higher, that could prove problematic in the long run: she certainly seemed to have the confidence and will to be a Master, if her little talk with Dolic was any indication. It would certainly explain why Stensig defected to her.

A pity though, that there wasn’t any clearer image of her: she had been silhouetted by the fire when talking to Dolic. However, Chelos, though Dolic’s memories, did notice she was missing her left hand. It was not common for vakar to turn someone that obviously had a disability. Though we are not one to talk… Chelos reminded himself. We turned Goleus…whom was completely blind, after all. Chelos had disagreed with that particular turning, due to the risk of Goleus not getting a power that could be used while blind. However, he hadn’t been a Master then, thus had little say in the matter.

“Master…I don’t think I can continue working with the Varren after this…,” Dolic suddenly spoke up, getting his attention.

“I understand,” Chelos said with a respectful nod, having seen such doubts in his memories. “You were reminded of our purpose…which our Elder has forgotten.”

“Can’t you take over the sect? Turn it back to what it’s supposed to be?”

“As much as I wish to…I don’t have to support. Too many like the status quo.” He shrugged helplessly. “Not to mention, Master Mizator is my senior and fully on the Elder’s side.”

“Oh yes…her….” Dolic snarled a little, evidently sharing in Chelos’ dislike of her.

Chelos watched Dolic for a moment, seeing the conflict on his face. “So what do you want to do?” he asked, seeing that the younger vakar’s loyalty was in question.

“I don’t know…I kind of want to find that vakar again…but….”

“I would advise against it,” Chelos said quickly. “For now.”

“Huh? Why? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to recruit her to give you more support?”

“Our Elder has become a paranoid one,” Chelos said softly. “She wouldn’t last long: she’d be lucky to escape with her life, in fact, with her obviously strong stance in our creed. Plus, remember what happened when Reimitus left.”

“Oh…he’s still being searched for, isn’t he?”

“Aye, poor Mizator has been scrying every night trying to find him…and when she does, I get the feeling it won’t be good for him.”

“And he is with that vakar I met…,” Dolic muttered. “So probably wouldn’t be good news for either of them.”

“I get the feeling our mysterious lady vakar is a rather adaptable…and with Riemitus’ powers, they would be very hard to catch. I don’t think we have to worry about them, for now.”

“But could they be a threat to us?”

Chelos thought a moment. I don’t know,” he admitted.

Reimitus didn’t know of my plans before he left, so all he could have told her was how things were being run by Erapax, he thought. She’ll naturally assume I support Erapax. Perhaps though, if he had the opportunity, he could convince her that he and his supporters were not a threat….

Oh come ON! How many hoops do I have to jump through?! He gave a loud groan as he took off after her, languishing thanks to his previous exertion. However, he felt an exceptionally deep desire to catch her and end his painful waiting. In a lust-powered state, he continued to run after her, feeling the burn in his legs and chest.

A clothes store had come into view, giving Stensig a sinking feeling in his stomach. His subconscious had taken over his rational thought, and was strongly urging him: Whatever you do, DO NOT let her reach that store!

Fate must have been smiling on him, as it looked like Ky'yn had stumbled on something, forcing her to slow down and rectify her balance. This gave Stensig just the window he needed. Pushing the limits of his legs, he stormed at her as fast as he could, managing to land his two hands against her back in a 'tag, I got you' manner. He immediately felt himself drop down to a knee, puffing and wheezing, desperately trying to fill his lungs that ached for air.

“I…hate…running!” he said out loud between his gasps. But he soon donned a more triumphant expression. “But I… gotcha!” He smiled and looked up at her.

Ky’yn felt a little guilty, seeing him so exhausted. Guess I over did it a little, she thought, as she coaxed him to sit down, then sat in his lap. Well…’technically’ that was ‘tag’, not a ‘catch’, she thought at his little comment, but opted not to say that out loud. After all, he needed the ego boost right now.

She started to nuzzle his neck, her hand roaming down his chest and sides. When he tried to join in, she stopped him. “Nuh uh…you just relax and catch your breath, love,” she said softly. “Let me do all the work for now.” She knew that would likely be hard for him to do…especially once she started exploring under his clothing….

His panting hadn't subsided, and after a few moments he wasn't panting due to the running anymore, but for how teasingly Ky'yn was being with him. The feeling of her hand exploring his torso was mind-numbing, the sensation of her finger tracing down his body was making him crazy. When he tried to return the favor, to his surprise she had stopped him, insisting that she would do the work first.

Then her hand made it under his undersuit-shirt, and he couldn't help but bite his lip. The same electrical bond that they'd been feeling in the past resurfaced, and adding that on top of the intimacy was threatening to send him over the edge mentally.

Just then out of nowhere, an idea hit him. A very devious and naughty idea that had him instantly blushing. An old fantasy of his had resurfaced in his brain, and he was all too eager to share it with Ky'yn, but how to put it into context?

“Wait,” he breathed shakily, half-upset with himself that he was planning to put himself back into a waiting position, “I have a compromise for you” He took a deep breath, deciding it would be best to give her options, and said, “I don't want to get going here on the street, it'd be way too uncomfortable for both of us, and since we're already close to a clothes store anyway…”

He paused for a second, would she think he was strange for what he was about to suggest? Too late to turn back now anyway. “We have two options: We could go back to the safehouse right now, or we could postpone it just a little longer and get some clothes shopping done, BUT, if we do…”

He leaned in close to her, his mouth barely an inch away from her ear, and whispered “You'll be doing your shopping naked

Ky’yn thought the proposition over. In truth, she was only going to go so far before suggesting they head back to the safehouse for the real action. However, Stensig’s idea sounded even better: not only would she get some shopping down, but it would allow Stensig more time to recover from his exertions.

“That sounds like a fine idea, hun,” she said softly. “Just one thing…this shopping expedition isn’t just for me, but for you as well. After all…I am certain you could use a few new sets of clothing as well. So…if I have to be naked….” She leaned over to whisper in his ear. “So do you.”

“Besides!” Ky’yn stood up and offered him her hand to help him up. “We’d need to try on the clothes to make sure they fit anyway, no?”

Stensig perked up at the sound of her agreeing to his idea. And inwardly agreed to her own spoken terms. He accepted her hand and stood himself back up. “Well alright then, you've got yourself a deal baby!” They continued to hold hands as they walked down the block to the clothes store. Among the obvious excited thoughts in his head, he started contemplating what he would look for in terms of outfits. More jackets probably, if he found some he liked, maybe a heavier pair of boots for rainy days.

They soon reached the store, which seemed to be holding up rather well. He guessed it wouldn't have been considered a prime target for looting or destroying during the war. When they crossed the threshold into the store, another wave of flirtatious feelings swept over him, and he turned to look at her, smiling wide. “Well here we are, ladies first right?” He reached down and inserted his thumb into her waistband. “Let's see the pants go first…”

Ky’yn was happy that the wares here looked largely untouched, which meant it shouldn’t be ‘too’ much trouble to find some clothing that fit her. First thing’s first though, she thought as she looked up at Stensig, smiling just as wide.

“The pants?” she said, smirking. “Usually it’s the top that goes first. Not that it matters to me.” With that said, she allowed him to help her take her pants off…then she reached for his pants. “You too, remember?” she said coyly, dragging her hand down between his legs.

I better be careful, she thought, noticing the obvious reaction to that touch. Else we may end up going for it before we get to the clothes. Not that she minded, in all honesty.

He relished being allowed to help her take her pants off, he took his time caressing his hand down her hips and thighs as he did so. Getting all the more braver, he grabbed her backside with his hand and gave a squeeze, supremely enjoying the squeak Ky'yn emitted. After crouching down to help her shake the pants off her feet, he stood up while slowly dragging his hand back up her leg, taking in full eyefuls of her womanly anatomy. Being allowed to touch her in such a manner was a grand privilege to him. He was feeling the heat of ecstasy coursing through his entire body.

Then she placed her own hand on him, reminding him that the deal they made went both ways. He made no argument over having to take off his own pants, but he visibly squirmed when her hand reached that zone. He could already feel himself getting more 'excited' in that regard, it wouldn't take very much to get him fully 'ready'. Will she think I have no self control if I'm already full-mast? Or would she take that as a compliment? He had no time to ponder further, as she had already crouched down and started pulling down. Oh Spirits, she's gonna be right up face-to-face with it!

Then it was done, he felt her fully pull down on the waistline of his pants, bringing them down to his shins. He felt especially exposed, but incredibly invigorated. She'd seen him naked before, but never like this. He felt like he was in a dream, the kind where one finds themselves inexplicably naked in a public space. It turned him on like crazy, the fact of what they were doing in a public store. Two pantsless deviants skulking around, soon to be even more without clothes. The excitement was beginning to overwhelm him, he didn't know if he'd be able to control himself enough to wait for them to return to the hideout. But who's to say we can't have our fun in both locations? He thought with a wide smirk.

Ky’yn was coming to the same conclusion. Her body was starting to tremble, her groin starting to ache with desire. These sensations only got more intense as Stensig helped her remove the rest of her clothing, his hands roaming, stroking her teasingly. In return, she was doing much the same to him, though she had the disadvantage of only having one hand to work with.

Glancing off to the side, she saw a counter, a checkout counter to be exact, which gave her an idea. Once she was fully nude, she made quick work to ensure Stensig was just as nude, but instead of moving off to look at clothing, as was the original plan, she leaned into him and started kissing and licking his neck. Her hand reached around to stroke and grope his ass, savoring the moan he gave in response.

Then, she stopped suddenly and pulled away. With a smirk, she turned and headed for the counter, her hips swaying seductively, before turning around and hopping up on the counter. Coyly, she put one foot up on the counter itself, giving Stensig a very good look at her privates. “What to check me out, darling,?” she said sweetly. “I think we’ve waited long enough….”

It surprised even him just how quickly both of them were able to remove the rest of their clothing. Holy shit, she's just as much in the moment as I am! And how. She seemed to forget all about the due shopping and instead cuddled close to him, licking and kissing up and down his neck. His head lurched backwards, and he closed his eyes, panting heavily. Her administrations were extraordinary, She's so good with her tongue!. She grabbed his rear and he heard himself let out a moan, knowing full well that she probably wanted just that.

Then all of a sudden the sensations stopped, and he no longer felt her warm body up against his. He inhaled a deep and shocked breath of air, dumbfounded. He opened his eyes again, seeing that she was walking away from him, moving her hips in that way she seemed to enjoy. Her ass looked fantastic, but even that didn't make up for the shock she'd just delivered on him. How can she POSSIBLY still be able to wait?!

Half joking, half desperate, he cried out “Really!? You're killing me womaaaaaaaa—” His jaw had literally dropped. He watched as she hopped up on the counter, bringing her foot up to rest on it as well. That view she was giving him may have been the most seductive thing he'd seen in his life. The beautiful, teasing sound of her voice only sealed the deal even further, “Want to check me out, darling? I think we've waited long enough…”

Stensig couldn't believe himself, he sincerely couldn't find the words to say. Instead of something snappy, he could only mutter out “Fuck yeah…” as he stepped closer to the counter. Not taking his sight off of her, he reached over and pushed the cash register off of the counter, causing it to land with a loud crash on the floor behind Ky'yn. The noise seemed to snap him out of his stupor, though it hadn't restored any semblance of self-control.

The next moment he was on top of her, leaning downwards to coax her into a lying position on the counter. As she could plainly see, he was now fully hard, prepared to do the deed they both desperately desired. But first, he leaned down and gave her a long, deep, passionate kiss. “So…” he purred, still very close to her face, “Are we ready to start?”

Ky’yn had to fight to keep herself from laughing, as his reaction to her stunt was just so funny. Oh yes, this stunt certainly did the trick, with how quickly he advanced and positioned himself on top of her. The sound of the cash register crashing to the floor, did make her flinch, bringing to mind the possibility that they may be spotted. Her desire was too strong to reflect on that concern: if anything, it made her even more excited.

Then he kissed her, long and deep, Ky’yn returning it just as fiercely. That just seemed to set everything on fire, especially her private area, the electric bond they had only intensifying the sensation with every touch. She wondered, if that bond would do the same for the actual sex, well, she was about to find out.

He asked if she was ready to start. She just smiled in response and pushed him forward with her legs, while using her hand to guide him in. Ky’yn gasped upon entry, not in pain, but in pure ecstasy. She barely comprehended what happened for the next several minutes, the sensations being so overwhelming, but she didn’t want it to stop.

She wanted this moment to never end….

Chelos wandered the ruined shopping distract, having sent Dolic back home beforehand so he could spend some time alone, to think over what he had learned. While the new information on Stensig and his friend was interesting, he was more concerned about Dacia.

He had always planned on killing her eventually, once his repertoire with the Big Boss was high enough so that he would be the logical choice for replacing her. However, what happened tonight may be a sign he will be forced to kill her early, before she disrupted his plans any further. The problem, was that he only recently got Lieutenant rank in the Varren and him suddenly becoming Second-Boss would no doubt get Erapax’s attention.

Erapax, he knew, would not want a vakar to be in actual chargeof the Varren, despite the fact that doing so would help get the Varren back under control. There was the concern Erapax, or Cantina, would start to suspect he had ulterior motives: he had come too far have everything fall apart now.

A crash from a nearby store caught his attention. Normally he would have ignored it, but he was a little hungry, so perhaps it was a looter he could snack on. When he peeked through the store window to confirm the cause of the sound, he got quite an eyeful.

A pair of lovebirds were having sex on the counter, but these weren’t just any lovers. Stensig!? Chelos thought, nearly calling out the name instead, but was able to clamp his mouth shut at the last moment. The woman he didn’t recognize and he couldn’t see her clearly, but he did see that she had a partly amputated arm: it had to be the vakar woman that confronted Dolic. Well…this certainly puts a new spin on things…, he thought with a smile as he quickly walked away from the store, to ensure he wasn’t seen.

Chelos knew it was rare for vakar to engage in a romantic relationship with another vakar…even rarer for it to become sexual. It was something, in his eyes, that should be treasured. There was no guarantee though, that Erapax would feel the same way. In fact, he wouldn’t be surprised if that bastard of an Elder would use that relationship to force Stensig to work for them again.

Before, he largely didn’t care if Erapax found Stensig or not. Now…he felt compelled to ensure he didn’t….

He got no verbal acknowledgment to answer his question. Instead, he felt her legs wrap around him, pulling him in closer to her. Her hand took hold of him and guided him to her entrance. He heard her gasp, and his blood chilled for a brief moment, but he soon saw he expression and knew that nothing was wrong. in fact, to him at least, everything felt so right.

For the next few minutes he was being controlled by nature. All his mental capacities were focused on the sensations he was feeling. Down deeper in his subconscious, he sincerely hoped she was enjoying herself as much as he was. As his body moved, his mouth was occupied kissing and licking up and down Ky'yn's neck. One of his hands was behind her back, both bracing her as well as holding her closely. His other hand was caressing her face.

All the waiting was well worth it. He couldn't have chosen a better partner to be sharing this experience with.

All good things must come to an end, but what an end it was!

Ky’yn gasped hard when she released, turning into a long moan at the end. Physically, if felt like her whole body was on fire, every muscle tensing, her talons digging slightly into the carapace of Stensig’s cowl. She didn’t know how long this wonderful sensation lasted, just that it didn’t last long enough! All too soon, her body relaxed again, leaving her panting and trembling, the muscles in her groin pulsing repeatedly. She rested her head against the rim of his cowl, trying to focus, attempting to make sense of reality again, though a part of her didn’t want to return to reality.

Vaguely she was aware of Stensig going through a similar experience and when she had enough of control over her body she hugged him, lightly kissing and a nuzzling his neck. “Oh, my darling…,” she whispered. “We have got to do this again soon….”

She knew they should get off the counter, but she didn’t trust her legs to support her right now. Not after this. So for the time being, she was content to lay there as they both recovered from the deed.

Merciful SPIRITS! Stensig screamed inside his own head, overcome with the heat of the moment. At the apex of the sensations he felt himself explode, letting out a moan that quickly died down to a lofty and satisfied whimper. His blood was boiling and his head was spinning, but he was sure that he was enjoying every fraction of a second. Soon he felt like he was crashing from an adrenaline rush, but the pure satisfaction he was feeling made up for it tenfold.

He looked down at Ky'yn, who seemed to have just gone through the same sensation. The look of bliss on her face brought a smile to his. She had grabbed onto the back of his cowl tightly at the time of climax, and he felt her grip loosening. He could still feel a warm pulsing coming from her entrance, and he decided to wait until it ceased. As the pulses died down, he gently removed himself from her, splitting them back into two separate entities rather than the singular form he felt them take previously.

He lie down next to Ky'yn, graciously accepting her embrace and neck-nuzzles. He held her closely, savoring the delightful heat that was emanating from her body. He couldn't get over how contented her expression was, and he smiled broadly back at her. She whispered to him her desire to try that again soon, to which he responded with a purr and a kiss on the forehead.

For the next several minutes they stayed like this, huddled close to each other, basking in the glow of their actions. The rhythm of Ky'yn's deep breathing threatened to lull Stensig into a drowsy state, but he didn't mind. Though they were lying on a counter, he felt more comfortable than he'd ever felt in a long time. With his mental capacity returning to him, he finally was able to put together a string of thought. Wait, why are we here again? Oh right. Clothes. We should probably get to that… Ah who gives a damn?

He pulled her in as close as he could, not wanting to ever have to let go. ”My darling…” he whispered back to her, mirroring what she had just called him.

Interrupted

She was falling asleep. A part of her didn’t care, as she felt she was in paradise, laying beside him, sharing each other’s heat. Another, though, was desperately trying to get her conscious mind’s attention. It was like a nagging feeling, gnawing at the back one’s mind. The feeling that there was something important to remember, but it was just out of reach.

I’m on a counter…naked…in a clothing store, She thought to herself. And I just had sex. Ky’yn purred blissfully at that last thought. Still, that nagging feeling was there, trying to remind her of whatever it was she couldn’t recall right now. Why here? The question suddenly came to mind. Why….oh….

Now she remembered: they were here to get more clothing, but got quite side tracked. Sighing heavily, she realized they needed to get to it, before daylight arrived. Or worse: they got spotted in this rather compromising situation. “Come on, love,” she cooed, nuzzling Stensig on the cheek. “We better get to what we originally came here for. We can cuddle for as long as we want once back home….” She then added with a smile. “Perhaps even have a round two.”

She slipped off the counter, only to find her legs were a bit wobbly, forcing her to steady herself with the counter. “Heh…you did me good, Stensig,” she teased. “My legs don’t want to cooperate just yet.”

Stensig stirred at her words, he really had slipped halfway into a sleeping state. He groaned at the idea of having to move out of his comfortable spot, but he perked up slightly when she promised they could cuddle as much as they wanted back home. In our two-person sleeping bag, that'd be nice. He blushed and sat up at her suggestion for a round two.

He saw her get up, only to have to hold onto the counter for support. “You did me good Stensig,” his blush deepened, “My legs don't want to cooperate just yet” His heart leaped at the notion that he had done such a good job, apparently. “Really? That good huh?” he asked, trying not to sound too hopeful. He stretched and hopped off the counter himself, the floor feeling especially cold against his bare feet.

“Yeah,” he said, “Let's do what we originally came here for, then we can get back and do whatever we want. I'm still on board with the idea of combining our beds” He looked at her approvingly.

He looks so cute when he blushes, Ky’yn thought with a smile. “Of course,” she said. “After what we just did…I think it would be a bit silly to continue sleeping in separate beds.” She gave him a wink, then pushed away from the counter and attempted to walk.

Her legs were shaky for the first few steps, but after that she could walk fairly normally. “Well, looks like I can walk now…a pity. I was hoping you’d have to carry me.” She gave him a cheeky grin before heading off into the female clothing section.

Being shorter than average, it took her a bit to find clothing that both fit and didn’t make her look like an idiot. Whomever designed some of these styles should be shot, she thought, curling a lip in disgust at a particularly neon colored, floral patterned outfit. Thankfully, she did find a couple of sets that were to her tastes. One of these she put on to wear on the way back: a simple grey-blue top with a darker blue pants, and the undersuit a very dark grey.

“What do you think?” she asked Stensig when she found him afterward.

Stensig watched, amused, as Ky'yn stepped forward trying to get her balance. When she commented about having to carry her, he piped in ”Again?” and he laughed, “Not that I'd mind much” He headed off to the men's section to see what he could find. Immediately he caught sight of a black undersuit. After checking the tag for size, he slipped it on, happy it fit.

Next he found a heavy brown winter coat. That would be nice, my jacket just doesn't protect against the cold enough for snowy times.He picked it up and moved on, soon finding a pair of snowboots to go with it. He then picked out some casual wear, including a pair of grey pants and a simple brown poncho.

When he caught back up with Ky'yn she asked his opinion on what she picked. “Nice!” was his simple response, he honestly didn't have any critique for her. He knew nothing of women's fashion. “I think I've got some good stuff too, especially when it starts getting colder”

“Pfft…why need winter gear when you got me?” Ky’yn asked cheekily. “Considering I know how to heat up a room….” Slyly, she leaned forward and whispered in his ear. “In more ways than one….” Giggling, she gave him a quick lick, then headed over and retrieved her omni-tool and put it on. Then she fetched some shopping bags from behind the checkout counter to put their spoils in, giving Stensig one in the process.

“Well, I think we are done here, love,” she said after filling her bag. “Let’s head…”

“Well, well…what do we have here?” a new voice said, getting both their attention. At the entrance of the store was a small, ragtag group of turians. From their rugged appearance they looked like scavengers, of the type that weren’t exactly honest turians whom were just down on their luck. “Looks like we have a couple of interlopers on our turf.”

“These ruins belong to no one,” Ky’yn corrected him. “So I hardly believe it is ‘yours’.”

“I beg to differ,” the apparent leader of the group said. “While the government did abandon this place to the Reapers during the war, my friends and I claimed it for ourselves. Anyone that comes here must pay a toll. We’re not picky on what you pay us either….” The man developed a perverted expression. “You miss…look fine enough to pay us by giving us a little ‘service’ if you get my meaning….”

Ky’yn growled lowly at that: there was only one man she would have sex with…and he was right beside her. It was time to teach this punks a lesson. “Sten,” she said softly, her snarl during into a grin. “Care to have a snack before we go home?”

Stensig immediately froze in place when he heard the voice behind him. Shit! He realized that he was unarmed, his gun and baton were off to the side of the store among his piled-up clothes. He saw Ky'yn turn around to face the intruders, and heard their banter. Rage brimmed within him when he heard what one of the scavengers had suggested. /No fucking way, she's mine! Ky'yn then asked if he was up for a snack, and he smiled deviously. Placing a silencing field over the two of them, he told Ky'yn, “Give me a distraction and I'll go for my gear”

He turned to face the intruders, faking surrender with his hands out to the sides. “Hang on now, we're all reasonable people I'm sure. We can come to some agreement right? Then it'll be no harm no foul”

The scavenger leader quirked a brow, seeming to relax his guard slightly, and he smiled wickedly. “Oh I gotta couple of ideas, mainly consisting of me and my mates with your girlie there, and about thirty minutes without interruption!”

Stensig used all his willpower to stifle a shudder, and miraculously was able to maintain his composure. He looked at Ky'yn and winked with the eye the thugs wouldn't see. “Yeah, she's a hot one isn't she? Definitely worth your toll plus some I think…”

He jerked his head to her, silently asking her to step towards the scavengers. As she got closer, the leader piped in, “We'll be the judge of that, c'mere then” When she was barely outside of their arms reach, Stensig called out, “Wait!” causing Ky'yn to stop, “I have a better idea, instead of a hot babe, how bout some hot fire and hot lead instead!?” At this he cloaked himself and Ky'yn, and he made towards his gear.

He dove for his clothes, tactlessly tossing them aside until he uncovered his gun and his baton. Now armed, he stood up to face the thugs again. Expecting to see some fireworks from Ky'yn as he did.

At the cue, Ky’yn jumped back and active her omni-tool, flicking on the lighter program…or at least tried to. Of all the times to not work… she thought with a growl. Time to improvise.

“What the…where did they go!?” the scavenger leader said. “Spread out! Find them! When I find that girl I’m going to ravage her tail so hard she won’t be able to shit for aaaaaieeeeee!” The leader screamed in a high pitched voice when Ky’yn gave him a solid knee to the groin.

“You’ll be lucky to still be able to have kids by the time I’m done with you,” Ky’yn hissed, kicking him there again when he was just about recovered. While he was still down, she attempt to access her blowtorch program: this one worked. “Ah…there we are…,” she said gleefully as she made the fire go into an arc over her head.”

“Oh shit…she’s a vakar!” one of the minions cried out, apparently getting just how much shit they got themselves into.

Stensig cringed as he saw what Ky'yn had done to the leader, but he didn't feel sorry for him. In fact, he had half a mind to join in, but there were two other thugs that needed punishment, so he decided to move in on them. He weaved past Ky'yn and got behind the remaining two interlopers, placing himself in the doorway and preventing them from having an exit.

Revealing himself from hiding, he brought his baton across the head of one of the scavengers, knocking him out cold to the ground. “Wha–?” cried the other, the one who seemed to know what a vakar was. As he spun around, he came face to face with Stensig's pistol, and he froze in place.

“Take it easy, you and I are gonna have a little chat” Stensig said coldly. Nudging the man's ribs with his baton, Stensig led the man off to the side of the store, giving Ky'yn all the room she'd need for whatever plans she had in motion.

He forced the thug to sit down on a display case, never letting his pistol trail away from its mark. Taking a deep breath and letting it out, Stensig said calmly, “Alright boyo, you said the magic 'V' word, so you know what we are. Tell me how, why, and who else knows. Tell it to me straight and I'll give you my word you walk out of this alive and un-scorched” He craned his neck slightly to see what Ky'yn was doing, but still keeping an eye on the thug.

“What the hell is a vakar?” the leader grumbled, still recovering from the last blow to his privates Ky’yn gave him. “Some group of biotic users?”

Something like that,” Ky’yn replied, keeping a fire ball floating just above her hand, which the leader was eyeing with a mix of awe and fear. “Though biotics have nothing to do with it.” Truth was, no vakar knew how exactly their powers worked, but she wasn’t about to admit that. “Tell me…do you know about the Asari Justicars?” The leader nodded, so she asked. “What do they do?”

“They hunt down and punish criminals, protect innocents,” he replied. “But what does that have to do with….”

“Vakar are pretty much the turian equivalent of a Justicar,” Ky’yn interrupted. “Though we are not officially recognized by the Hierarchy.”

“Vigilantes then…”

“In a technical sense. We serve turian society as a whole, to protect innocents from scum like you.”

“Wa-wait….” The man finally took his hands away from his groin, holding them up in surrender. “We meant no real harm! W-we are just trying to survive in this post-war era!”

“What you said before we revealed what we are tells me otherwise,” Ky’yn growled. “So you need to be punished.” With that, she shot the fire ball forward, quickly enveloping the man. He screamed, but it was out of fear, not pain, as the fire stopped as quickly as started, though now he was without any clothing. “Tsk…,” Ky’yn said, looking him over. “No wonder you do this racket: you looked better with clothes…barely.”

The man didn’t seem to have comprehended what she said, as he suddenly pitched forward as he fainted. “Oh darn…,” Ky’yn whined. “I wanted to tease him more….”

Meanwhile, the thug Stensig was holding at gun point spilled quite a story. “I-I was on Digeris, during the war,” he said, trembling. “I was part of a civilian refugee group that the military was trying to escort out of the immediate war zone, but we became trapped on an island. The military had plans to blow the only bridge left to the place to buy us some time from Reaper ground forces, but the demo team got ambushed before they could set off the charges.

“Th-then this civilian guy that was with us, called himself ‘Dakar’, said he could get to the location and finish the job. He right out said he was a vakar…that he could teleport himself there so long as he did so before daybreak. The military guys seemed to believe him: I guess he saved some of their asses before. I didn’t believe it until he literally walked into a shadow and disappeared. Moments later, at dawn, we heard the bridge blow, but the guy never came back. We could only assume he sacrificed himself to ensure the job was done. Seemed a bit pointless…as only moments later that bright flash of light came and all the Reapers fell down.”

A very vakar thing to do… Ky’yn thought, having approached soon enough to hear the important bit.

Stensig listened to the man with interest. In actuality he didn't know how widespread the 'race' of vakar spanned. Knowing there was one on Digeris was curious. Even so, he had to make a snorting noise at the name, “Dakar the vakar, sounds like a children's book or something!” Satisfied with his answer, he finally lowered his weapon, and the scavenger visibly let out a sigh of relief. “Alright,” Stensig began, “I'll keep my end of the deal, you can go. But you'd better think twice about revealing my partner's and my existence, or the next time we meet won't be so pleasant.”

The man nodded glumly, but piped in “What about them?” and he gestured to his two unconscious compatriots.

“Your friends? We'll be snacking on them, but it won't kill them. We'll leave them here, but what happens to them afterwards is up to them”

“They're not my friends,” the man retorted, standing up, “No complaints here”

Stensig watched the scavenger closely as he hastily exited the store. Then let out a resigned sigh. “Well, that could've gone worse I suppose. Can't turn down a free meal. But…” He looked at Ky'yn mischievously, “We can't just leave that guy here without clothes can we? Let's find him something nice to wear… from the women's section”

Ky’yn grinned mischievously at his suggestion. “Oh I think I know just the outfit,” she said as she ran off back to the woman’s section. Soon enough, she found the outfit she had in mind rather quickly: the neon floral patterned outfit she looked at before. The flowers in the pattern were a very bright pink, while the background a similarly bright yellow and the trim was either a neon yellow or a neon-green: she couldn’t quite tell due to the lighting. Unfortunately, there was only a top for this, so she had to scout for a suitable pants. She found one soon enough: a cute white pair of pants with a mix of pink hearts and blue baby varren dotted all over.

After making sure both items were big enough to fit the man, she came back. “Eye bleeding enough?” she asked, showing Stensig her spoils.

A wide smile brimmed across Stensig's face. “Yeah, that'll do nicely, let's see him try explaining that to the rest of his gang!” He took on a pathetic-looking demeanor and whined, “I swear you guys, two mythological vigilantes attacked us on our own turf, burned up all my clothes, and dressed me up like this!”

He snickered as he helped Ky'yn dress up the unconscious man, then he asked which one she wanted for her snack. She picked the other scavenger, leaving Stensig to bite down on the now fabulously dressed leader. What a dick he thought as he read the memories. On more than one occasion he'd accepted special 'bribes' for intrusions on the territory he and his gang claimed. Stensig was glad Ky'yn didn't have to see how lewd many of his chosen favors were.

He used the scavenger's sleeve to wipe his mouth, then spat on his face before standing back up. Ky'yn looked to be finishing things up with her target too.

Ky’yn laughed loudly at Stensig’s impersonation of how he thought the guy would react. “Oh to be a bug on the wall…,” she said. “Pity he’ll already be in a clothing store to ‘rectify’ his clothing situation.”

The scavenger she fed on, unfortunately, had ‘participated’ in a number of his leaders bribery antics. “Ugh….” She muttered after she finished taking her fill. “I think I’m going to need to meditate to ‘clear my head’ of what I ‘saw’ tonight from this guy.” Looking over at Stensig, she saw a similar expression of disgust. “From the look on your face, hun, you probably need to as well,” she said as she stood up herself. “Either way, it’s time for us to leave this place.”

After gathering up her things once more, she turned toward Stensig and said. “So, love…shall we head home and ‘meditate’ together?” Ky’yn tilted her hips in a rather seductive way to get across her ‘true’ meaning.

What a day, Galyrus thought as he walked up to the door of his house. His body still ached a bit from the taze he got: a minor headache as well. On top of that, the police chief was rather furious that someone was able to just walk in and ‘rescue’ a suspect so easily. Thankfully, she wasn’t furious at him, but rather at the whole situation.

Unfortunately, she was one of many in the department that didn’t believe vakar existed, so Galyrus telling her ‘how’ the building was breached so easily wouldn’t be accepted. More likely he’d be seen as crazy…or worse…somehow responsible for the mess. He was laughed at as is due to his beliefs and he’d rather not give them a reason to ‘reassign’ him to another job. Things had been easier at his previous assignment on Digeris when it came to vakar, that’s for sure.

He opened the door, only to find it blockaded by various pieces of furniture. “The hell….BRYST!” he called out. “What game you playing at this time!?”

Bryst was his nephew, son of his sister, whom died during the Reaper War. He had recently finished boot camp and was assigned to a supply depo in the city: Galyrus had given him a place to stay until he found a place of his own. Unfortunately, Bryst had a reputation for mischief and it seemed he was at it again.

“Uncle?” the younger turian called back, though he sounded odd. Normally after a stunt like this he would be giggling, but instead he sounded frightened. “Is that you?”

“Who else would it be?” Galyrus grumbled. “Unblock the door, will you? I’ve had a long day.”

“Well…could have been a ghost…,” Bryst muttered as he cleared the door.

“You don’t believe in ghosts.”

“I didn’t…until tonight….”

Galyrus raised an eye ridge as he finally was able to enter his own home. “Really? What convinced you?”

At this, Bryst hesitated, a slight guilty look on his face. “Um…I went to a party…to celebrate a friend’s promotion. It got crashed by ghosts.”

Galyrus folded his arms, giving him a critical look. “And you are certain it wasn’t other friends playing a prank?”

“No way…no way could they have pulled it off with what I saw,” Bryst insisted. “Plus we…used an out of town location that no one goes to anymore….”

He narrowed his eyes this time. “You were in the ruins of the old shopping district, weren’t you?” The guilty look on his nephew’s face told him all he needed to know. “Oy! Bryst, I told you that area is restricted for safety reasons!”

“The building we were in was structurally sound!” Bryst protested. “An old sporting goods store, really big one too.”

“That doesn’t matter! But nevermind, what’s done is done in that regard.” Galyrus sighed. “Now…tell me what happened there…”

“Who knows though, if we're lucky, they'll come looking for him and find him like this before he wakes up!” Stensig had a glimmer in his eye. “Part of me wishes we could hang out here just to find out!” That wouldn't be an option though, surely it wouldn't be much longer before the sun started to rise again. Ky'yn had stated she was ready to head out, asking if he wanted to meditate together. Her meaning went right over his head for a moment. “Meditate together? What does that make it more effic– oooooh.” He tapped his forefinger to his temple, indicating that he understood.

The fact that Ky'yn was ready for another round gave him renewed energy, and he held out his arm for her to take. “Right then, we should get home quickly then!” The duo walked arm in arm from the store, both of them carrying their bags in their free arms. The distance was short and uneventful, though Stensig fondly recalled some landmarks from when he had to chase Ky'yn down the street. Totally worth it he thought happily.

When they arrived at their home base they took their secret entrance into their room, and Stensig tossed his clothes bag into one of the storage sections to the side of the room. He folded his arms over his chest and looked back at Ky'yn, “So, let's take care of that bed situation eh? We'll have us a nice snug super sleeping bag for both of us!”

Courtship Round 2

A male figure slunk down the hallway of the Sanctuary, his Sanctuary. His steps were brisk and forceful, relating to his agitated but cold mood. Turning into another hall, he reached the door he was headed for. He knocked twice, then opened it without indicating who it was.

“Mizator…” his voice called out as he entered. Inside, the female vakar was sitting on her knees, eyes deeply focused on a water basin before her.

“I know what you're going to ask, but don't you think I'd come straight to you if I saw anything?”

“It's been days, Mizator, surely you've spotted something anything that would point us in the right direction”

“All the rain puddles have dried up, I don't have nearly enough 'windows' to see all throughout our territory. And you know he's already a tough person to find to begin with”

Suddenly she noticed a change in the air, it was becoming thick, heavy, difficult to breathe in. She took deep breaths, keeping herself conscious. She knew he would never kill her, this was just a fear tactic, maybe even used in desperation. She hid her anger that he'd even go this far with her.

“Then get creative with your windows, and don't stop till you've found his trail. I shouldn't have to tell you how much is at stake”

She continued to breathe deeply, fighting off his blanketing aura. “Of course not, sir”

“Good,” He turned on his heel and exited out the door. The air around Mizator finally equalized itself again, letting her breathe normally again.

The best spy in the sect, and she can't locate a simple brat? She WAS the last one to see him before he officially fled, could she have anything to do with him leaving? Is she working WITH him?! Nothing's out of the question. I'll keep my eye on you, woman. He continued his quick-stepped pace back to his quarters.

“Out of the way, Chelos,” he grumbled as he shouldered past the other male.

“Absolutely, Elder,” Chelos said politely.

Ky’yn eagerly agreed and grabbed the leg of her bed and dragged it toward Stesnig, whom quickly came over and assisted. “Hm…I would suggest turning the mattresses so they are perpendicular with the bed frame,” she suggested once the beds were next to each other. “That way, we won’t have to worry about falling in-between them, either while we are sleeping or…’getting busy’.” She gave him a wink.

After that was done, there was only the matter of combining the sleeping bags. The zippers didn’t want to cooperate at first, but that was only for a moment. “Well now…shall we give our new bedding arrangement a test drive?” she said coyly as she started to undress, purposely brushing her rear against his groin.

Chelos watched the Elder go, not about to point out he broke protocol by using his given name: with the mood Erapax was in, he’d likely get choked. He then turned to look through the still open door to Mizator’s chambers. My, my…you are getting desperate, aren’t you, Elder? Chelos thought, noticing that the senior Master was gasping a little bit for breath. That’s not going to sit well with her. Hmm….

A thought came to mind. If the Elder was getting physical with his own second-in-command, there may be a chance he could turn Mizator to his side. He’ll have to be careful though, as if Mizator suspected any ulterior motive too soon, she would surely tell Erapax, which would mean his death.

“The Elder seems to be getting quite desperate,” he stated, leaning against the threshold of the chamber. “And with how hard he has been making you search, I hope you’ve been getting the chance to hunt, Master Mizator.”

Stensig wasted no time in helping Ky'yn get the mattresses set up, and by the time the sleeping bags were put together, he was already raring to go. He saw her start undressing, and excitedly followed suit. It didn't escape his notice when she bumped her backside against his private region and, grinning, he responded by giving her rear a squeeze. He genuinely enjoyed the 'squee' noise she made when he did so. It made him happy that the two of them could be so playful with each other, it made it all the more enjoyable before the real action came.

Very soon both of them were completely undressed, and they made themselves comfortable in their new super sleeping bag. The warmth they were sharing was exquisite, and it felt great to be surrounded by such snug fuzziness. Soon even that escaped his notice, though, as his primal side had begun to take control over his body. He went straight for her neck, giving it plenty of love nips and licks. His arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her in closely and grinding their pelvic regions together, but he hadn't entered her just yet. His hands roamed down her back, soon reaching her ass. Fiercely, but without hurting her, he dug his talons into it, fondling handfuls at a time.

It wasn't long before he had another idea though, and he sat up, looking down at Ky'yn. “Hang on, there's something I'd like to try before we start” he purred as he unzipped the sleeping bag partially. Now with more room to maneuver, he scooted further down the bed, bringing his head closer to her womanhood. Gently, but with great vigor, he grasped her legs from below and lifted them up to rest over his shoulders. With his head only inches from her private area, he looked towards her expectant expression and smiled. “I wasn't specifically trained for gynecology, but I'm pretty sure I've got a good idea how to do this” He then began licking around her entrance, giving her a long session of teasing before he finally inserted his tongue inside her.

It was the first time she was in a bed with someone else for any reasons. Well…aside from that one winter back home as a kid when she and her family had piled into one bed to share body heat due to their heater having broke. This though…was much more personal, more intimate: she could definitely get used to this. For now though, she was enjoying the foreplay.

Stensig was a little rougher this time, but she didn’t mind. In fact, she was wishing she had both hands so she could give his body a proper stroking and groping in turn. The fire in her groin was getting intense, however, making her start to feel hungry for the main act.

Then Stensig shifted positions so that his head was at her groin. Ky’yn knew what he was about to do, though admitted she was mildly disappointed. That disappointment evaporating though when he started, sending her reeling, gasping and moaning. Her hand flailed as she tried to grip him, but he was just out of reach, so she had to settle for the fabric of the sleeping bag instead.

“Oooh spirits!” she moaned, her back arching as she released.

He apparently hadn't thought everything through when he decided to try this with her, and he was taken aback when she climaxed. It wasn't his original intention to push her over the edge, but to just test things out until she was ready for the real deal. That plan obviously fell through. He gently placed her legs back on the bed and sat up, looking down at her blissful expression. It was quite the compromising position she was in, her legs spread out by his sides and her arm strongly gripping the sleeping bag. He smiled and wiped off his face with the side of his arm, purring “How'd you like that, sweety?” Judging from her panting, he hoped she liked it a lot.

He still had plenty of pent up energy remaining, however, and hoped she'd still be willing to try for a round two. He lie down beside her, closing up the sleeping bag as he did, once again enveloping them in comfortable warmth. He gave her a kiss on the cheek before whispering in her ear, “If you need a minute that's fine, but we still have the main attraction to look forward to” As he said this, he hugged her in closely, once again bringing their private regions into contact. As much as he wanted to, he dissuaded himself from going ahead and initiating, he wanted to see if she was willing first.

“That was lovely, hun,” Ky’yn said, once she got her breath. After they had cuddled together once more, she took a moment to relish the closeness before responding to his following statement. “Women don’t need as long to recover, my love,” she chuckled teasingly. Then she reached down and started stroking him. “You on the other hand…,” she said softly. “I need to be extra careful with.”

She lightly fondled and stroked his member, but only for a very short while before coaxing him onto his back. Then she climbed on top of him, straddling his waist with her opening teasingly close to the tip of his member. “I’m ready, if you are,” she cooed, looking down at him.

Chelos waited for several minutes for a response, but none was forthcoming. Either Mizator was too focused on scrying, or she was purposely ignoring him: it wouldn’t be surprised if it was the latter. “You know,” he said softly, mostly to himself, but also attempting to get Mizator to acknowledge him. “I had to spring Dolic from jail earlier, checked the police databases while I was at it. Found nothing indicating that Reimutus had gone there with what he knows. He had plenty of time to do so…unless of course he’s waiting for the heat to go down first.”

Or he is too busy boning his new girlfriend, he thought, remembering what he saw earlier that night, but carefully keeping his expression neutral.

His eyes widened slightly at her use of the phrase 'my love'. Wait, is that the same as her saying 'I love you'? No, can't be. Can it? He was about to pose that quandary to her before she started stroking him. “Did you just call – Hnng!” He squinted his eyes and gritted his teeth, not prepared for the secondary surprise, but it was a pleasant one to say the least. He felt himself relax and forget all about what he was just thinking, his mind now only focused on the wonderful sensations she was giving to him. He groaned in ecstasy, verbalizing how great he felt. He heard her say something about being careful, but her words fell on mostly-deaf ears.

And then, just as suddenly as it started, it stopped. Slightly disappointed, he opened his eyes again to see Ky'yn leaning into him, wordlessly asking him to shift onto his back. He obliged without hesitation, and watched in slight awe as she climbed over him, straddling her legs around him. Oh Spirits! he thought. He didn't know if he liked this view more or the one where he was looking down at her, but in any case he figured it was her turn to be on top, and there was no way he was going to argue. She asked if he was ready, to which he held up his index finger, asking her to wait a second. He felt a twitching in his nose, and he leaned his head over the side of the bed and let out a sneeze. “Someone must be thinking about me,” he cooed, reaching up to stroke Ky'yn's cheek with a finger, “I guess it's you!” With that, he wrapped his arms around her waist and gently pulled her downward, indicating that he was ready to begin.

“Either that, or he's too paranoid that we'd catch wind of him blowing the whistle on us,” Mizator finally broke the silence, without taking her eyes off her basin. “That's something that's always run rampant in this sect, paranoia”

Aha, you really aren't happy with the elder are you? Chelos thought triumphantly. His brain working quickly, he cleverly twisted the subject to deflect any indication he felt the same way. “I dunno,” he began, “One man's paranoia is another man's survival instinct, we don't survive as long as we do by being reckless,”

“Reckless, right. Nothing at all like charging straight into a jail and walking out with a prisoner,” she sounded half-agitated, half-amused.

He held his hands out in a 'you got me there' manner. “I got the green light from the boss, so there was no way I'd say no”

“Hardly,” she said, sighing.

Ky’yn giggled at his comment before adjusting herself so she was more comfortable. With her hand she guided him in, then lowered herself all the way down to his ‘hilt’, moaning faintly from the sensation, as she was still a little sensitive from earlier. The electric bond wasn’t helping matters either, not that she minded.

Oh…it’s going to be hard to hold back… she thought as she bounced up and down. Ky’yn wanted this time to last as long as possible, but, spirits, it felt so good. She was also discovering that this position was not easy on her legs, particularly her left one.

“Ma-may have to switch positions soon….,” she moaned. “My legs…oh!” Her statement was cut short when Stensig hit a particularly good spot, nearly sending her over the edge. “Oh yes…more…right there….” She gasped.

“Besides…,” Chelos continued. “I wasn’t totally reckless in my rescue mission. Nothing like shutting off the power to cause a little chaos in the place. Lovely distraction…that was.” His expression then turned to one of annoyance. “Of course…I wouldn’t have needed to do so to begin with if the Second-Boss didn’t ignore my list of members not to send out on protection rackets. That wench nearly cost us more than what Reimutus ever could.”

Which wasn’t entirely true, as Stensig’s intel could do just as much damage, if not more. However, seeing Chelos wasn’t keen on his sect actually ‘finding’ Stensig at all, a little deflection never hurt. Besides, if he got the go ahead to off the Second Boss here rather than on his own whims, that would only help his own agenda. Also helpful was the fact that the man that had been with Dolic on that job was one of the other Lieutenants: his death just made it more likely he got the position of Second Boss when the time comes.

“After all…,” Cheslo sighed. “Dolic is still a young vakar…impressionable. The police interrogation would have eventually got him to spill.”

The other issue, one he wasn’t about to mention Mizator just yet, was that by now, the police would be suspecting something odd going on. He had noticed they had found Goleus’ body and saw the autopsy reports on both him and the now dead Varren Lieutenant. While no mention of ‘vakar’ was in either report, or the one dealing with Dolic, it would be only a matter of time before someone over there put the pieces together. If someone hasn’t already, he thought. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that.

As she lowered herself onto him she assisted him in entering her, his head lurched forward slightly and he gave a pleased grunt. Leaning his head back on the pillow, he glanced down at their point of joining. He hadn't actually looked that direction that first time in the store, he was far too preoccupied with their enjoyment then. He smiled dumbly, realizing that this was literally as close as he could get to her, this was the physical equivalent to their electrical bond, and he wanted to treasure it. This time around, he wished to pay more attention to the deed itself.

That idea blew straight out the window as soon as she started bouncing up and down, and a whole new wave of sensations overtook him. The feeling of her weight coming down on his member, and the momentum it caused against the rest of his body gave him renewed appreciation. He moved his hips in tandem with hers, trying to match her rhythm and applied force. For a few all-too-fleeting moments they repeated this action, bringing them ever closer to their individual limits. Soon, amid both of their gasping, moaning verbalization, he heard her request that they change positions, but not before she made an incredibly pleasing sound, begging him to keep hitting the spot he was in.

An idea hit him, and he executed it immediately. Leaning upwards, he wrapped his arms around her in a tight embrace, and gave a single hard thrust, attempting to hit that spot she seemed to like oh so much. As he did this, he gently rolled her over, maneuvering her onto her back as he took top side. From there, he restarted his administrations, continuing his attempts to pleasure her good spot. Eventually, through short gasping breaths, he called out, “I'm… getting… close!”

“Ah!” Ky’yn cried out, partly in surprise but mostly in pleasure when Stensig initiated the position change. Her legs were aching from her earlier efforts and a part of her wanted to just ‘sit back’ and enjoy the rest of the ride. However, she felt that desire, an urge, to be more active in this still. So, much like Stensig did with her while she was on top, she started thrusting her hips upward in tandum with Stensig’s.

Then, as they both neared their peak, she felt a new urge: to bite. So consumed by the moment, she started to lick the nape of Stensig’s neck, her fangs practically itching in anticipation. So close, she was on the edge. Ky’yn started lightly nipping the spot, each nip becoming harder the closer the moment came.

When it did come, she bit down completely and her mind was suddenly awash with not only her own ecstasy, but Stensig’s….

It was starting to become more than he could realistically hold back, the sensations overtaking him. He felt himself getting closer and closer to crossing the point of no return and exploding. Focusing as hard as he could, he willed himself to wait for the perfect moment, waiting to see if Ky'yn was ready as well.

She had started nipping at his neck, which he enjoyed thoroughly. He'd never pegged himself as someone who'd enjoy slight pain during intimacy. Learn something new every day. It was just after this conscious thought that the unconscious part of him snapped, and he new he'd reached his real limit. “Mragh, I'm coming!” he cried out, louder than he meant to. He gave one final long thrust as deep as he could go, and squeezed her in an embrace as tight as he could.

At that same moment, he felt her bite down into his neck, adding a whole new layer to his ecstasy. Beside himself with pleasure, he let out a long growling moan, starting out loud but dying down after a few seconds. After the initial burst he felt himself having continuing 'pulses' for many moments afterward, and he savored each one. As he felt her reel back from the bite, he felt himself collapse on top of her, resting his head against her shoulder. He was panting frantically and his entire body trembled.

“Damn,” was all he could manage to mutter out, halfway muffled out by the pillow under his face. He then turned his head and nuzzled his face under Ky'yn's chin.

Numb. That’s what she felt. Numb. Numb to the point where she was only vaguely aware of her surroundings. All she knew was what was swirling around in her head at that moment. A double dose of ecstasy and pleasure, one from Stensig, the other her own.

It was overwhelming. She couldn’t think, let alone cry out with Stensig. At some point she pulled her fangs out of Stensig’s neck and only then did things start to ease up in her mind. Still though, she couldn’t see well: she was seeing from two different angles at once, it felt like, unable to make out defined shapes. Touch wise, it felt like she was electrified, yet numb. She could only vaguely comprehend Stensig shifting, putting his head under her chin, nor the fact that she was panting rapidly.

Slowly her senses and breathing returned to normal, but with it came exhaustion. Her mind still felt clouded with the after effects of orgasm, however, so talking was out of the question. With a long sigh, she surrendered to sleep, her arms wrapped around her lover.

“If she is becoming problematic, it may indeed be time to be rid of her,” Mizator stated, her eyes still not leaving the basin. “However, who would take her place?” Now she looked up at him. “I doubt the Elder would approve of you taking such a position.”

Chelos chose his words carefully. “Who takes the mantle of Second Boss is up to the Big Boss,” he said with a shrug. “Thus out of our hands, really. And why would the Elder disapprove of such a thing?”

“It would be a conflict of interest,” Mizator stated flatly. “It’s bad enough that you are a Lieutenant.”

“And vakar working with such a group in general is not?”

Mizator didn’t respond immediately, the senior Master seemed lost in thought for a moment. “We do what we have to, in order to survive,” she finally stated.

At this, Chelos decided to take a risk. He approached her and said in a near whisper. “At what cost, Master Mizator?” he asked. “Are the lives of innocents worth a stable foodsource?”

“Would you prefer the alternative of random chance, Seisteren?” Mizator said sternly. “Especially in this post-war time? There is less crime now than there was before the war: without the Varrens, we would starve.”

For someone that has scrying as her power, you are so blind, Chelos thought bitterly. “You are so certain of that?” he asked, calmly. “You forget who can directly tap into data sources. Have you not heard the rumblings of discontent with the Hierarchy? Rumblings that could led rise to factions new and old to satisfy such things: I’ve heard that the Tyranor gang is rising in power again, for instance. My point being….” He leaned forward. “Yes, all turians united during the war, but now that the war’s over, many of the less honorable will return to their old ways. Return to preying on the weak and innocent, whom we took an oath to protect.”

Chelos then straightened and shrugged as if it all didn’t matter. “Ah, but I have taken up enough of your time. There’s precious little night left and I’m certain the Elder would prefer you look for Reimutus than wasting your time with pointless debates. I shall leave you be, Master Mizator.”

With that, Chelos turned and walked out of the chamber, heading for his own room to catch some sleep. He could have sworn he heard Mizator mutter ‘asshole’ as he left, to which he only chuckled.

He waited to see if she'd say anything, any sort of verbal acknowledgment to what they'd just done. Instead she lie there silent, staring upwards into an unknown abyss. Concerned, he moved his head so he could look into her eyed. If he had a flashlight he'd have used it to check her pupils, but it didn't seem necessary. He saw that she was blinking and breathing correctly. Still not satisfied, he took hold of her arm and checked her pulse. It was fast, but not alarming, and over time it equalized itself.

All that sensation she must have felt put her into a stunned state he 'diagnosed'. Her mind is rebooting itself. It'd probably be best if I have her meditate in the morning, to straighten out her psyche. He gave a sigh that turned itself into a yawn. He was starting to feel the drowsiness that followed sex, and was more than happy to make himself comfortable snuggling in next to Ky'yn. He saw that her eyes closed, and her breathing came in long, equal intervals. Sleep well, my little amputee. I'm sure your head will be clear in the morning. Then maybe you can tell me if that bite was worth it.

Night 6

Aftermath

She hardly dreamed that night. What dreams she did have were more like snapshots of memories and not her own memories. At least, she thought so, as they disappeared into the ether before she could really focus on them. Finally, she awakened, opening her eyes.

At first she felt confused, not immediately recognized where she was. Slowly the fog of sleep disappeared and things started to fall into place. She was in their safehouse, sharing a bed with Stensig. They had incredible sex last night. And her head hurt.

Not a full blown migraine, but more of a sense of ‘fullness’. She could think, but it was a struggle. Thoughts swam through her head like an uncoordinated mess. There was a remedy for it, but she was having trouble recalling what it was.

A blinking orange light caught her attention. It came from a device that was set on the floor a short distance from the bed. Her omni-tool, she remembered. Carefully, so she didn’t disturb Stensig, she slipped out of bed and picked it up to inspect the device, wondering why it was blinking. It was flashing a message on the screen: Time to mediate. That’s what it was she couldn’t remember: she needed to mediate.

After wrapping herself in one of the spare blankets, she sat down on the floor and leaned against the bed. Closing her eyes, she started mentally counting her breaths, and soon enough she reached the trace-like state she needed to be in to ‘archive’ the unneeded information that was stuck in her consciousness….

Stensig slept like a log that night, dreamless, but peaceful. The softness of their combined mattresses along with the giant sleeping bag made for the perfect comfort level for him to drift immediately to sleep. The hours passed quickly, and before he knew it he was stirring again. He hadn't opened his eyes, but he was conscious once again of where he was. Absent-minded, he reached his arm over to where he thought Ky'yn would be, and was slightly startled when his arm found nothing to wrap around.

Blinking his eyes open, he immediately saw her back leaning up against the bed. She was sitting on the floor, motionless. What is she– ahh. He deduced that she was meditating, probably to clear her mind not only of whatever memories she gleaned off of him from last night, but probably also to eliminate the memories she'd have acquired from those thugs they had fed on before. He grudgingly realized that he'd be well off doing the same soon, but decided he'd rather catch some more sleep first. He made a move to bring his hand closer to Ky'yn's head, intending to give her a nice scratching behind the fringe, but quickly withdrew his hand when he realized he shouldn't bother her right now.

Yeah, I'll leave you to it for now, he thought as he rolled over and attempted to return to sleep.

Thoughts and memories, many not her own, drifted to the forefront of her consciousness, tempting her. However, Ky’yn was an experienced mediator and only focused on the memories she wished to keep toward the ‘front’ of her memories. The rest flickered and evaporated: not forgotten completely, but stored deep in her mind to only surface if she bid them too. Eventually, no more foreign memories tried to get her focus and she opened her eyes.

Ah…I can think again…. she thought with a sigh of relief. Oy though…I’ve never got that ‘full’ before. Thank the spirits I had the foresight to schedule mediation reminders. Ky’yn felt a shudder coarse through her body, suddenly realize that she had gotten a taste of what insane vakar felt when they completely lose their senses.

She didn’t want to feel that again.

However, she wasn’t completely certain what caused it. Was it her biting Stensig during sex? Or perhaps eating on her ‘off-day’? She didn’t know. I have been through a lot in the last week, she through. Maybe this would be a onetime thing? A part of her doubted that thought. Not with Stensig’s old sect and the Varrens hunting them. With another sigh, she made adjustments to her mediation schedule to increase the reminders to once a week rather than every two weeks, just to be safe.

With that done, she stood up and looked down at Stensig: he had yet to awaken, as far as she could tell. She was a bit surprised he hadn’t gotten up, considering the time. Then again…this sleeping arrangement is very comfortable. she thought with a smirk.

Dropping the blanket, she crawled back into the sleeping bag next to him. She then wrapped her arms around his waist, while sneaking her head into his cowl to give him a lick on the neck.

Stensig's body twitched at the unexpected warm wet sensation, and he made a murmuring noise. “I was having a really good dream. I was hooked up with a great girl, living in an awesome hidden lair where we shared a bed and…” He trailed off as he rolled over to look at Ky'yn, and said slyly, “Oh damn I'm still sleeping aren't I?”

He wrapped his arms around her, returning the hug she had just previously given him. “You gave me a slight startle when I reached over and couldn't find you. I wouldn'tve thought you'd leave without letting me know. But it turned out to be nothing– But hey! How're you feeling? You were really out of it after we finished up last night”

Out of a doctor's habit he touched the back of his hand to her forehead, but didn't feel any sign of a fever. “I suppose meditating took care of you didn't it?”

Ky’yn giggled at his statement. “If this was a dream, I’d never want to wake up,” she stated with a smile, giving him another lick on the nose. “Aye, I’m all better now: head was quite full of unwanted ‘junk’. Good thing I had programmed reminders in my omni-tool, else I’d probably be wandering around like a zombie until you woke up.” She felt that shudder again and she snuggled closer to Stensig. “I never want to be like that again….”

The warmth of his body was soothing and comforting, which quickly made her happy again. With a happy sigh she nuzzled the inside of his cowl. “Mm…I wish we could stay like this forever. Nice, safe, warm…wanted….”

“However,” Ky’yn said with a sigh, pulling away. “It’s hunting night…even though we had a ‘snack’ yesterday. Wouldn’t be a good idea upset our feeding routine too much now would it?”

She got out of the sleeping bag and stood up. The lady vakar then made a show of stretching, purposely giving Stensig an eyeful. “Afterward…who knows, perhaps come back here and ‘practice’ certain skills.” She put her hand on her hip and looked back at him with a coy look.

Galyrus looked out at the ruins of the old shopping district, feeling a sense of unease. Many lives had been claimed by the Reapers here and many of the buildings were condemned, waiting for their turn at demolition. It wasn’t the fear of the ghosts of the dead that made him uneasy, however.

Due to delay in rebuilding this area, various less-than-honorable types have taken up residence there. Not too many to get police notice, but enough to call for caution. Galyrus double checked to ensure his side arm was still in its weapon holster once more before taking a breath and taking the plunge.

He had told his superiors that he was following up a lead, but not where that lead was. If he had, they would have insisted on him taking a few officers with him. He knew that would have drawn attention and not the kind he wanted. After all, vakar were wary beings when it came to the non-criminal, as they would rather not reveal themselves if they could help it. Thus a show of force in the form of a whole squad of police officers, would do the opposite Galyrus wanted.

Still, he knew he was taking a big risk here. Yes, the description of the events at the sports store his nephew told him matched the suspected abilities of the vakar involved at the store fire the other night, however there was the chance it was all a coincidence. It was a risk he was willing to take, as with the Varren getting bolder and more violent: they needed all the help they could get.

The store Bryst told him about came into sight. Huh…he was right: it looks untouched compared to much of the rest of the area, Galyrus thought. That meant it could very well be the hideout of the two vakar he was seeking. With another sigh, he made his approach, hoping they were home…

…and in a good mood.

Stensig grimaced slightly at the idea of having to leave the comfort of their lair, but she had a valid point. It would be best if they had a proper meal tonight, keep their internal clocks running correctly. “Yeah,” he grudgingly admitted, “That would be in our best interests”

He watched as she got out of bed, still reluctant to slide out of the sleeping bag. With his gaze on her, he noticed that she was once again putting on a little show for him. You saucy minx,he thought cheerfully. The idea was only strengthened at her next suggestion, to which he laughed and said, “Still can't get enough can we? Damned if I'm gonna complain though, not by a long shot.”

At last he stretched and got himself out of bed, bending his spine this way and that. He walked over and gathered his clothes, which were somewhat haphazardly strewn about the floor, having been hastily removed prior to their last personal encounter. Once he was fully clothed, he strapped on his weapons. The poncho he'd picked up from the store did a nice job of concealing his gun and baton. Though suddenly he felt somewhat self-conscious.

“Be honest, do I look silly in this? Fashion was never my thing, not that I think it should be a top priority or anything, but…” He trailed off, not wanting to finish the sentence, But I want you to like how I look.

By then, Ky’yn had finished dressing as well and turned to look at him. She made a show of looking him over, with a critical look on her face. “You look fine, dear,” she said finally. “Though technically, ponchos are only worn when you’re expecting rain. And if it was raining, we wouldn’t be going anywhere anyway.” Not until we don’t have to worry about that water bitch, she thought.

“Besides.” Ky’yn approached him and put her hand lightly on the rim of his cowl. “You could dress in a clown outfit for all I care and I’d still love you.”

Shit…did I seriously just say the L word? she thought, though she was still smiling.

There was evidence of looting here, but from how much dust had settled, most of it had happened during the war. As Galyrus walked through the store, however, he saw signs of more recent activity. There was fresh(er) tracks in the dirt and dust, the camping section had some things taken within the last few days going by the lack of dust on some shelves and the weapons section had been searched through.

It could be due to roaming scavengers that frequent the area, or it could have been his vakar. Moving to the warehouse at the back, he saw more signs of activity, though much of it he knew was from the party that happened here last night. Then he noticed the boombox, that the partiers had left the behind.

It’s been shot, he thought. Just like Bryst said, but with a real bullet. This was concerning, as it meant at least one of the vakar had an actual weapon. He wasn’t sure if using weapons like guns was common among vakar, but he hoped it was only as a last resort….

Stensig was thinking the same thing when she brought up her first point. Yeah, Mizator would see to that, definitely wouldn't be taking any chances. He shook his head to rid himself of the thought. The last thing he'd ever want now would be for Mizator, or anyone else in his old sect, to get anywhere close to Ky'yn. I won't let them corrupt her, damned if they even lay a finger on her.

His slight brooding was eased away when he heard that she didn't care how he looked. But then he heard the latter half of her sentence and he froze in place. The smile he was wearing stiffened in its position and his eyes widened a bit, but his body didn't budge for a good few seconds. They both stared at each other motionlessly, seconds dragging along like minutes. Say something say something say something SAY SOMETHING!

“I, uhhhhh…” he droned out, feeling slightly startled at the silence being broken, even if it was from his own self. He fell silent again, but made a move to take hold of Ky'yn's hand. Caressing it with his own two hands, he brought it up to his face and gave it a kiss, then he looked her square in the eye.

“You're an amazing woman, Ky'yn. In a world where we need to live in hiding, there's no one I'd rather hide with. I… love you too?” His last words were spoken hesitantly, as if he were testing the waters to see if Ky'yn actually meant what she said, or if it just slipped out.

Her admission seemed to have frozen Stensig in place, as he didn’t move at all for several long seconds. Oh dear…did I break him? Ky’yn thought.

Finally Stensig responded, however his first attempt at a verbal response failing before he could get two words out. Then he took her hand into his own and kissed it, after which he said he said the sweetest thing. Still, there was a hint of uncertainty and hesitation, like he wasn’t sure if what was being said was genuine on either side.

Admittedly, she wasn’t sure why she said what she did: it came out like it was a natural thing. Regardless, it did feel right, so she felt she needed to reassure him. “And you…are an amazing man…,” she said softly, nuzzling his cheek. “I felt like the luckiest woman in the galaxy to have met you.”

She moved to kiss him, but a loud noise drew her attention: it had come from the small room on the other side of the secret door. “What was that?”

Meanwhile…

So far he had seen lots of signs of activity, but no signs of actual habitation. Having checked the store proper and the warehouse, there was only one area left for Galyrus to check: upstairs. With wary sigh and after checking his immediate surroundings, he headed for the stairs.

Before coming here he had looked up the history of this building. It started out as a major weapon shop several decades ago that had its own repair and some manufacturing equipment. When the business eventually failed, it was bought out by a sports company. The rumor was that the old manufacturing section upstairs was useless to the new owners, so it was rented out to various organizations…and not all of them honorable. So such a place would make a good hiding spot for vakar.

Even before he claimed the steps, he could tell someone managed to manually open the security door at the top. Once he reached it, he checked the cut open part of the frame. Very little dust build up and no signs of corrosion. This is fairly recent, he thought.

Stepping into the room beyond, he was at first surprised to see how small it was. If this floor was used by criminal organizations at some point, of course they would hide the entrance, he thought as he started to search obvious signs of a secret door. He went to start knocking on the walls, but stopped himself just in time. Better not, he told himself, backing away from the wall. If they are here, I’d rather not put them on the….

The last part of that thought came out as a yelp as he tripped over the leg of a table that was on its side. Galyrus unceremoniously fell on top of said table, snapping off a table leg and making a loud crashing noise in the process.

Ow…., he thought rubbing his head as he checked himself for injuries. So much for not making a bad first impression….

Visitor

Her response immediately put him back into a comfortable mood. He closed his eyes and leaned his head into the nuzzle she was giving him, still holding onto her hand. “I'm so glad I met you,” he said softly, “I–” He stopped himself short, seeing that she was moving in to kiss him. He was just preparing for the contact when he also heard the noise.

“What was that?” Ky'yn had said, turning to look in the direction of the crashing clamor. Stensig pretended to check a watch on his arm, and said, “Huh, it's too early for an interruption, that wasn't supposed to happen till we were ready to climb into bed together again,” He grinned deviously. “Well, looks like someone didn't get the memo that this place was haunted. Ooh I really hope it's one of those phony ghost hunters!”

Ky’yn giggled at his reaction. “You really did have fun with those partiers didn’t you?” she said quietly, smiling. Then her expression turned more serious. “Unfortunately, we have no idea who is out there. Could be ghost hunters…or could be…worse things.” She didn’t like entertaining the thought of their hideout having been discovered so soon by their enemies.

“To be honest.” She folded her arms. “I’d be content to just stay quiet and wait to see if our visitors go away. Going out to ‘greet’ them, invisible or not, may just cause more problems….”

Just then, they heard another noise: a knock. Whomever it was, was knocking on the wall, but not in a pattern like he was looking for a secret passage. It’s like this person already suspected someone lived here. Ky’yn felt her whole body go tense, her mind automatically thinking the worse.

Then, they heard a muffled voice, calling out, presumably to them.

”Hello? Anyone there? I’m Detective Galyrus Quidros: I’d like to speak to you.”

What…a police detective? Ky’yn thought, now feeling more confused than concerned. She looked up at Stensig, to see if his thoughts mirrored her own.

Having said his piece, Stensig also took on a serious expression, folding his arms as well. “Maybe, but I don't think it'd cause any trouble if we stealthily checked to see who it was. If nothing else, it'd be in our best interest to make sure it's not a Varren or worse” Worse referring to an enemy vakar. If one of them had discovered their hideout and relayed back to their Sanctuary, he and Ky'yn would be out a good hiding place, one he especially didn't feel like losing.

Then Galyrus spoke up, calling out to them through the wall, introducing himself as a detective, and Stensig perked his head up slightly. His eyes looked up as he racked through his memory, “I don't know that name, allied to Erapax or otherwise, he could be telling the truth… or not”

He moved over to the wall and looked at it thoughtfully. “He obviously knows someone's here, so I don't see any reason to keep hiding. Otherwise he might come back with a squad and give the place a whole inspection, then we'd really be found out” He looked pensively back at Ky'yn, then faced the wall and called out, “Wait there, I'll be right with you,”

He turned and made for the trap door exit, picking up his pistol and beckoning Ky'yn to follow. He said as he walked, “I'll talk with him, determine if he's really who he says he is. As far as we know he doesn't know there's two of us, so I'll keep you hidden. Worst case scenario we end up killing him, if we're lucky he's here on his own, and not on police business. Then maybe we could place him somewhere and make it look like a gang attack. Otherwise if the cops know he's investigating here, we may be forced to relocate”

He froze in place, placing his hand on his forehead in grief. “Damn, did I just make a plan to kill a cop? I really don't want to do that” He looked at Ky'yn, concern easily apparent on his face, “For all our sakes, I hope he's reasonable…”

“It’s always possible that Erapax didn’t let you in on all of his allies,” Ky’yn said softly as she followed him, snatching up not only her omni-tool, but the one she lifted off the one idiot as well. If this guy was legit, it would be an opportunity to really hurt the Varren by handing over the information that omni-tool held. “After all, you were rather rebellious if I recall correctly.”

After Stensig laid out his idea for if the guy was a threat, and lamenting about killing a cop, she looked at him with an equal amount of concern on her own face. While she had some distrust towards police due to her experiences on her colony, she worried that the ease which Stensig plotted this out was due to the conditioning he received while in his old sect. “Aye, I agree…,” she said softly. “Though I’d rather lose a home than to kill a likely innocent man due to paranoia.”

They made their way through the trap door, used their rope ladder to get to the bottom floor, than made their way toward the stairs. All the while, they looked for signs of more police, only to see none. “Looks like he may be alone,” Ky’yn stated. “A point in his favor.”

Though he had been hoping for a response, Galyrus was actually surprised to get one. Now though came the waiting and with it came a spike of anxiety. Was the man that responded really one of the vakar he was looking for? If it wasn’t, he could be in trouble and on reflex he checked to ensure his sidearm was loaded and the safety was off. That it was taking a while for the man to show up didn’t help him any.

He was also expecting a secret door to open up in this room, but none did. He probably have another way out, he told himself. Any well designed hiding place would have more than one exit. Then he realized he had a problem: there was only one way out for him.

Ah, crap, he thought, realizing his mistake. If this man ends up being hostile, he would be trapped. He was wishing he told the man to meet him downstairs, instead. Hindsight was always 20/20 they say.

Then, he heard something on the stairs. He took a deep breath to calm his nerves as the one he was waiting for finally appeared. Galyrus immediately looked at his face, and mentally sighed with relief to see that it was indeed a vakar…and one that matched the description of one of those involved in the store fire. “Greetings, honorable vakar,” he stated, remembering the greeting he was taught from when the last time he worked more directly with vakar. “I apologize for intruding upon your place of safety, but I needed to speak with you regarding an incident in the city the other night. I assure you I am alone, that no one knows I am here and no one has followed me.”

“Well, another point in his favor,” Ky’yn stated softly, even though she knew Stensig would be the only one to hear her anyway due to his abilities. “He knows how to greet us, meaning he’s worked with vakar before. However…that still could be a front to get us to drop our guard, so don’t reveal me just yet.”

Stensig listened to Ky'yn's reasoning between giving up a safe haven and silencing an innocent. Inwardly, he violently chastised himself. The FUCK is wrong with you? You defaulted to the worst possible scenario at first, and what's worse, you were instantly able to rationalize a way to save your own skin and completely throw away what you freaking defected for. How far gone are you really? Have you really spent so much time in your sect that you're trained to unconsciously think like them? Coward.

Such thoughts pierced through his mind as he and Ky'yn circled around the warehouse and into the shop. Now, however, he willed himself to focus on the task at hand: the mystery detective. Alright first of all, how did he find us? Does he have eyes all around the district? I can't see him allying with that gang of scavengers. What could it be? The partyers? Fuck, he might be a relative to one of those kids. More importantly WHAT does he want with us?”

He didn't have long to ruminate before the duo reached the top of the stairs and into the back room, and he saw the detective face-to-face. The two males eyed each other at first, and then the detective broke the silence with a shockingly formal greeting. Stensig let him say his piece, inwardly taken aback by the politeness and respect behind the man's words. He disallowed himself from showing his surprise, and responded with a bow of his head, “I haven't been greeted like that for a very long time,” *cough cough* never, “I am Reimutus. Your professionalism and addressing of my concerns is very appreciated,”

He paused to eye over the man again, looking for details to soothe his worries. The man was dressed plainly in civilian clothes, which indeed could be expected of a detective, especially if he wasn't officially on the job at the moment. A look at the holster on his thigh gave him some semblance of reassurance. “Nice M-77 you have there, police grade, given to special agents and detectives alike. Not like mine…” At this Stensig cautiously lifted up the side of the poncho he was wearing, revealing his own pistol within its holster. “Snagged this from a mob lieutenant many years ago.”

Stensig lowered his arm to allow the poncho to cover his weapon again. Then he held his hands slightly outwards in a 'I won't threaten you' gesture. It was his intention to prove to the man that he was armed, but to also give him a display of good faith that he wouldn't be the first one to strike. He didn't expect things to boil up to that point, and even if they did, he'd still have Ky'yn as an ace in the hole. He hoped with all his might that none of that would even become necessary. Stensig gave a long sigh and looked the man in the face, taking a few steps closer to get into better speaking distance.

“So, Detective… Quidros? -Forgive me I may have misheard through the wall- What brings you out here to my neck of the woods? Actually, if you please, would you answer that by first explaining how you knew I resided here?” He smiled faintly, trying to appear as approachable as he could. He wanted more than anything to feel like he could let his guard down.

Reimutus, odd name, Galyrus thought. Is it his alias or his actual? The vakar seemed nervous, perhaps inexperienced with dealing directly with normal turians. He wasn’t going make any assumptions on why though, not until he had more information. “That’s a nice piece you have yourself, Reimutus,” he stated. “A modified M6? Ah, but that’s not important.” He spread his hands. “It is more polite that I answer your question first.”

“I was assigned to the case of the burning of Heusian’s Mini-mart. It was already confirmed that the Varren were responsible for it, but my colleges and I were more curious about who saved the owner, Naisa Heuisan. According to her, someone matching your description and another, a woman, saved her life. It was the testimony regarding the woman that got more suspecting that vakar were involved to start with. And…well…the statements of the vakar we took into custody pretty much confirmed it.” He did have burning questions regarding that vakar, but he opted to save them for later.

“Unfortunately, that suspect escaped with the help of another of your kind, someone named Chelos. When that happened we had no other leads. Then, of all things, my troublesome nephew claimed he and his friends came here to party only to be scared off by ‘ghosts’. From what he told me happened here, I realized the ‘traits’ matched that of the store fire case. So I came here to confirm my suspicions.

“This is all as a personal interest, mind you, nothing ‘official’. Mostly because I’m the only one in my department that even believes you guys exist. My superiors know I’m investigating a lead, but not here: if I had, they would have insisted on an escort and I knew you would never come speak to me in that event. I hope that explanation is sufficient for you, Reimutus. As for your first…I would like confirmation that you were involved in that incident…and…why one of your own so willingly allowed himself to be taken to jail only to be broken out later.”

Ky’yn had stiffened in shock at how Stensig introduced himself. Spirits! Has he never been taught how to interact with non-vakar? she thought as she hissed lowly before she could stop herself. “You do not use your code name around non-vakar.” Quickly she waved it off and shook her head, hopefully before Stensig showed the mistake he made on his face.

Sighing, she walked around so she would be behind the detective: if he tried anything, she could stop him quickly. So far though, he seemed legit, as he wasn’t making any threatening motions. The mention of Chelos though, gave her pause. That bastard probably undid whatever effect I had on that runovous, she thought bitterly. Spirits…he also no doubt knows of my existence now. There was also the question if Chelos figured out that she was with Stensig. If so, that could only mean bad things. One problem at a time, she thought, before catching Stensig’s eye. “Looks like this is our opportunity to inform the police about the vakar and Varren connection. It will probably come as a big shock to this guy though.”

She walked back toward Stensig and stood beside him, facing the detective. “May as well reveal me, love, but introduce me first before doing so in case he gets trigger happy. Oh and…use Ky’yn, not my code name.”

Stensig's blood chilled at the harsh sound of Ky'yn's voice and at the realization that he'd made a huge mistake. Are you shitting me? What's a freaking codename FOR if not to hide your real name from strangers?! He used as much of his willpower as he could to suppress any sight of his anger, which was aimed more at himself than anything. He instead focused on the detective's explanations, analyzing his words and gauging the believe-ability of his claims.

He felt his brow furrow at the mention of Chelos, and hearing that he broke the younger vakar out almost immediately. Not too surprising, but still a huge pain…

Stensig allowed the detective to finish speaking before he attempted to reply. “Mmh, where to even begin?” he sighed as he crossed his arms, “You know what, I know exactly how to start answering you. First and foremost I need to introduce you to my partner.” He allowed Ky'yn to recede back into visibility, and she appeared standing next to him, much to the other male's surprise. “This is Ky'yn, my dear friend and accomplice. I apologize for hiding her from you, I didn't want to take any chances meeting a stranger”

“To begin answering you: Yes. Ky'yn and I are the ones who were behind the haunting that scared off your nephew and his friends, we never had the intent to hurt them, we just wanted them out of our domain. Next, yes, she and I are the 'samaritans' who rescued that woman from the building fire. We fed upon the 'normal' Varren, and turned loose the vakar suspect you had in custody, Dolic. It was our hope that he'd change his ways, he's still comparatively young and impressionable. Ky'yn saw to it that he'd drastically reconsider his lifestyle.”

Stensig's face got more serious, as he was coming closer to dropping a few bombshells on the detective. “You said Chelos was the one who came and broke him out? That's not surprising, there's no way he would have let one of his underlings stay in prison. I'd wager that he used the time period you had Dolic to distract you while he raided your database. He's very adept with electronics. But that's only half of the problem…”

He found a pause, trying to pick and choose his wording. Wow, this is harder than I'd expected… Stensig took a deep breath and continued, “I used to be a member of the sect Chelos belonged to. It's small currently, but it's incredibly influential, because the Elder, Erapax, is the mastermind behind the Red Varren”

He stopped for a moment to allow the detective to process what he'd just said, in case he wanted to interject another question. He also glanced over to Ky'yn, inquiring with his eyes if she had anything she wanted to add.

Galyrus’ eyes widened a bit when Reimutus introduced the second vakar, Ky’yn. So, he can make other people go invisible, I’ll have to keep that in mind. he thought. The detective already suspected this vakar had the ability to cloak, but hadn’t known he could make other’s disappear as well. Something about the Ky’yn though was familiar, her colony markings especially, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. With a mental shake of his head, he focused on what the vakar was saying for the time being.

As the vakar talked, more questions and realizations started popping up in his head. Such as why Dolic needed to change his lifestyle. And was he implying that Dolic was working with the Varren?

The information on this Chelos vakar was troubling, as well. Why would he tap into the police database? Vakar usually left police affairs to the police and not interfere. What would a vakar gain from stealing information on them?

He got his answer when the man dropped the ‘other half’ of the problem on him. Galyrus’ mouth literally dropped open in shock. “Vakar…working with a criminal organization willingly!?” he breathed, his mind blown. “Th-that’s unheard of…unprecedented! Why would they do such a thing!?”

Ky’yn watched how the man reacted to Stensig’s explanation. When the bombshell was dropped, his reaction fully confirmed that this guy was legit and she let out a small sigh of relief. “Because their Elder has decided to put survival over duty,” Ky’yn stated flatly. “A cunning and charismatic Elder can convince his or her sect stray from the vakar creed of putting the protection of innocents above everything else. When that happens, it can become difficult, even dangerous, for a vakar that disagrees with the Elder to try to change things back, or even to leave.” She looked at Stensig. “Stensig, for instance, wanted out for many years, but it wasn’t until he met me that he finally succeeded.”

“Oh, so you are not from that sect?” Galyrus asked.

“No, I am from Revati,” Ky’yn said, feeling a brief pang of grief for her lost sect.

“That’s why your markings were familiar to me,” Galyrus stated. “I took on a murder case on Digeris before the Reaper War. Man was an obvious vakar kill, but we discovered he was hiding his real colony markings with make-up. Research revealed the man to be from Revati, but all other information was classified.”

“Revati was an experiment that became an embarrassment to the Hierarchy and vakar alike,” Ky’yn explained. “Revati was a prison colony, with a large number of volunteer vakar to help keep control. Unfortunately, the vakar were apparently so focused on the known criminals sitting within the prisons, that they didn’t see the rise of a particularly dangerous criminal organization called the Black Syndicate. They nearly completely wiped out the vakar population and took full control of the planet a few centuries ago. That man, was an agent of theirs sent to scout out planets for expansion.”

“And you know this because….”

“I was the one that killed him. My sect learned of the plan and I volunteered to hunt him and the other agents down.” The detective made a silent ‘oh’ motion, then looked to be about to ask another question, but Ky’yn stopped him. “But we are off topic,” she stated. “The Varren and the vakar that aid them, are more important.”

Galyrus was feeling a bit overwhelmed. While he got the answers he wanted, he got others that he didn’t like at all. “Well…this shines a light on a number of things,” he sighed. “But the implications…” Galyrus scratched the back of his head. “Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, I’m the only one in the department that believes you guys exist. If I walked in and told them what you told me…they’ll call me crazy and laugh, at best…take my gun and badge away and lock me up in a mental institute, at worse.”

“Perhaps, for now, it’s best you don’t tell anyone,” Ky’yn suggested. “For your own safety and ours. Erapax wants Stensig back, if not dead, and while we’ve been careful to try to keep my involvement secret, by now we feel they know about me. At least…Chelos would…and he’s a puzzle all on his own.”

“How so?” Galyrus asked. At that point, the female vakar sighed and looked up at the other.

Seeing Ky'yn's nonverbal cue, Stensig picked the conversation back up. “My old sect wasn't always as bad as it is now. The original idea behind it was that we would possess and control a crime ring of our own, one that would lure in would-be criminal types. The group's actions would appear criminal, but through meticulous planning we made sure that no innocents were harmed or wronged. All gang activity would be harshly supervised, and it would be led by members of our own sect, undercover. In exchange we'd get a steady supply of 'food'. It was a win-win ideal; we'd have true criminals to feed on while curbing the actual criminal activity of our sector. That was before the Reaper War. After that, we'd lost many of our members, including most of the would-be Varren members. Soon enough the Varren started growing out of our control, becoming a real crime syndicate rather than a facade for one.”

Stensig wet his lips and continued, “Fast-forward to now, the Varren are a real crime ring causing real damage to the community. Erapax has grown more and more paranoid about keeping his sect secure, so he lets crime activity slip through the cracks, choosing food security over protecting the innocent. This is where Chelos steps in. According to Dolic, the vakar you had in custody, Chelos is hoping to cause some changes, whether it's through splitting into a new sect or taking over the old one is beyond me. He wants to return them to the 'true path' or some garble like that. I don't buy it. I didn't know Chelos closely, but I knew him well enough to know he's a schemer and an opportunist. If he's trying to take control of anything sect or Varren, it can't mean any good.”

He glanced over to Ky'yn, giving her a signal for what he was about to say, “However, we may have a small advantage. Ky'yn and I took out a few Varren goons who were sent to find me. One of them had an omni tool with a couple of files regarding important Varren members, including some of my previous vakar cohorts. It's not a lot of use to us, I already knew a lot of the information listed, but maybe the police could glean some connections with their own database. That said, Chelos has seen some of your database, so he may try to change things up back 'home' to throw you off. But, something is better than nothing”

Just then a crack of thunder rumbled through the building, soon followed by the pitter-patter of rain on the roof. Stensig turned his head to the ceiling in dismay. “Awwh damn,” he muttered, turning his head back to the officer. “I'm sorry, Detective, but I can't allow you to leave here while it's raining, Shecan see everything when it's raining.

Galyrus listened to Stensig’s explanation with growing concern. He had never known vakar to be so…selfish…as the ones in this particular sect. It didn’t escape his notice how Ky’yn was reacting to the story: the female vakar was twitching, yellow eyes only hinting at what he imagined to be a seething anger within. Considering what she mentioned of her background, he found it completely understandable. She was a true vakar, he could tell, while Stensig…who knows what side effects of having been in that sect he had.

Then Ky’yn took out an omni-tool and gestured for him to hold out his own. As Stensig continued to explain, she transferred two files over to his tool. “I’d give you the tool itself, but I’m still looking through it,” Ky’yn explained. “’Sides…I don’t think you’d want to deal with a crapload of vorcha porn….”

“That is TMI as is….,” Galyrus said, already feeling his stomach start to churn.

Then the storm started and Galyrus was just about to lament about having to walk back wet when Stensig said he couldn’t leave. “What…why?” he asked.

“One of the members of his old sect has the ability to use water to find people, to put it simply,” Ky’yn explained. “Since they are looking for us, going out in a storm like this would lead them right to us: we may as well walk out there with flashing neon signs and shouting our exact location through a bullhorn.”

“I can understand that with you two…but why me?” Galyrus asked.

“We don’t know if that sect, or the Varren, have any agents in your department,” Ky’yn said flatly. “While you stated that no one else there believed we exist, that you do…and the fact you had a vakar in custody, may have flagged you for observation. If water bitch was told to keep an eye on you….”

“I get the point,” Galyrus sighed, sitting down. “And who knows how long this storm will last. May as well look over those files you just gave me.”

It wasn’t long before Galyrus saw something he apparently didn’t like. “Oh hell,” he said. “They do have an agent in my department.”

Ky’yn’s eyes widened in surprise: both she and Stensig had gone over those lists and didn’t see any indication there was an inside agent. Then again, she suspected that those lists didn’t show what everyone did. “Who?” she asked.

Galyrus turned so they could see the display, then pointed out the individual. “Lithyn Desellian,” he said. “She was recently assigned to the team in charge of investigating the Varren.”

Stensig leaned in to look at the display Galyrus had activated. He studied the woman's face and frowned, “Never heard of her,” he said flatly, “It'd probably be a safe bet that she's affiliated with my sect, given that it and the Varren are practically one in the same, but I've never heard of Erapax trying to meddle in police business before. He can't possibly think that he can try taking control of the cops too…” He rubbed his eyes with one hand, feeling stressed, “She probably brings info from the police to the Varren, and that info then makes its way to my sect, or maybe… Shit. It's impossible to tell if she works for Erapax or Chelos, I wouldn't put it past Chelos to pull a stunt like this, sending in a Varren to work undercover with the police. There's a chance he's been getting info from her for months now.”

A crack of thunder snapped him out of his thinking, but simultaneously brought something else to mind. “Ah crap, this was supposed to be our hunting night. We're never gonna be able to find a meal in this weather. Not to mention we still have you on our hands” He directed his statement to the detective. “If we're gonna have to keep you for the night, you'll need some bedding supplies. We can find you a mattress and a blanket and pillow for you to use.”

“Yeah…makes me glad we had that ‘snack’ yesterday,” Ky’yn muttered.

“I don’t know if staying here the night would be a good idea,” Galyrus sighed. “I am technically on shift…and eventually my colleagues will start to get worried if I don’t return soon. I could send them a message…but there may be a risk of that being tracked back here.”

“A part of me doubts that, but I was an engineer…not a communications specialist.” After a brief pause she added. “I guess we should play it by ear for now, to see how long this storm lasts. How long do you think you have before they get worried?”

“An hour or two…no more,” the detective replied. “Though I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tries to call me sooner than that.”

Ky’yn nodded and was silent for a moment as she thought, mainly about the latest intel they got. “If the Varren are getting more and more organized, it’s more likely this person is working with the Varren directly, not the sect,” Ky’yn mused. “I know the Syndicate back home, had inside agents in the police departments, to both misled the few honest officers left and fed them information on police activity. Regardless, this put’s a nasty bump in our plans.”

“What sort of plans?” Galyrus asked.

“We were hoping to get police support in knocking the Varren down a few pegs…maybe even eliminate the bad seeds in Stensig’s old sect,” Ky’yn explained. “However, with this ‘Lithyn’ person involved, it would be too dangerous for you to share what we just gave you.”

“Can’t you just eliminate her? I would surely look the other way…and with the chart you gave me I could use that to clear you two.”

“You forget we do not kill most of the criminals we feed on,” Ky’yn explained. “We save that ‘honor’ for the worst cases. It’s quite likely this person is serving only has an informant and hasn’t done anything more serious to warrant death by our fangs.”

“I wish I could share in that optimism,” Stensig spoke sidelong to Ky'yn with his arms crossed, “But there's no way we can chance having her relaying any information from the Varren to the sect, whether directly or indirectly. If absolutely nothing else, she can't be allowed to continue her actions with impunity…”

He thought for a moment, then sighed, “The problem is, how to go about dealing with her? We could capture her, but there's no telling if news of that would reach Varren ears if we did, not to mention the whole police force would be aware that one of their own has gone missing. Killing her…” his eyes focused on Galyrus for a moment, I'm surprised he defaulted to the Erapax Solution, not that it hadn't crossed my mind either, “Would cause similar problems. Her dying would definitely wave some red flags in the Varren”

“OR,” he began, “We could attempt to have her arrested with the evidence we have, but then questions of where the evidence came from and if it had been fabricated would come into play. It'd be a difficult maneuver to make that happen without drawing attention to any of us, or without alerting everyone between the Varren and the sect. This woman hasn't thrown a wrench in our plans, more like the whole toolbox,”

He reached his hand up and rubbed at the front of his mouth thoughtfully, mumbling through his fingers. The look on his face displayed that he couldn't come up with a solution on his own, and he crossed his arms again, looking towards the detective. “I guess this'll be your call Detective Quidros, you know the pecking order of the police better than us. If nothing else I'd say you should be keeping a close eye on Lithyn without being too conspicuous. We could bide our time if need be, but we'd have to figure out a way to take care of her sometime.”

Ky’yn thought a moment, an inkling of an idea forming. “There’s…also the chance that she’s actually working for the police undercover, much like that sect does. ” she stated softly. “However, there’s no way of knowing for sure unless you ask your superiors…which carries the problem of how you found out…and where you got that information from. There’s also a chance the Varren have other informants within the department that are NOT on that list.”

“That is a possibility,” Galyrus agreed. “And it seems no matter what we do we all risk getting our heads chopped off. Unless….” The detective fell silent for a long moment, the only sound heard was the muffled beating of heavy rain. “We somehow use this mole to our advantage.”

“I had a similar idea,” Ky’yn admitted. “But I was stuck on how to take advantage of her without putting ourselves at needless risk.”

“My colleagues already know my current case has the Varren heavily involved. There’s a good chance that the Varren investigation team may ask me what I’ve learned. Now, while officially we know the man you killed was Varren, we have no idea what rank he was. I noticed that guy’s mug being listed as a Lieutenant in that chart, I could tell them that my lead informed me of this, see how our mole reacts to the information.”

“Hmm…, if she is working directly for the Varren…that revelation would make them wonder if they have a mole on their end, as I doubt they would like the police knowing who their leadership is,” Ky’yn said, before leaning forward slightly. “However, that could put you in danger, Detective. At best they won’t trust your intel…worse…you could have the Varren put a bounty on your head. I’d rather not lose our one and only connection to the police….”

“Not something I haven’t dealt with before in my life,” Galyrus stated with a shrug. “’Sides, before they come to me, I plan on approaching the Chief about whether or not we have inside informants on the Varren…if not…I’ll let him know my suspicions about Lithyn.”

“You are certain you can trust your Chief?”

“Fairly, I’ve known him for years, served with him on Digeris when he was a Captain before the Reaper War. Unlike the others, while he doesn’t believe in you guys, he doesn’t give me the ‘rolling eyes’ and ‘you’re delusional’ routine.”

“Sounds like our best option for now,” Ky’yn said. “However, we’ll need some way to keep in touch, preferably without being traced for security reasons.”

“A secure channel via our omni-tools?” Galyrus suggested.

“I would, but my omni-tool has been on the fritz since the end of the Reaper War,” Ky’yn sighed. “So it’s not trust worthy.

At this Galyrus took a closer look at the omni-tool she had. She didn’t mind, as she already knew getting it repaired would be next to impossible anyway. “I don’t recognize that model,” the detective said. “Does look rather worse for wear….”

“It’s one of very few prototypes made when they were attempting to make viable limb prosthetics with the holo tech. The project was abandoned after it was found to not be very feasible. Still, I managed to make good use of it….”

“What about the other one?” he said, referencing the tool she used to transfer the documents to him.

“While I can tell it is a much more recent model, I am not certain I can trust it for such a task due to who its previous owner was. While I’m fairly certain there’s no tracking programs on it, I’m not a software hacker: who knows what is buried underneath all this porn.”

“Point taken.” Galyrus folded his arms and sighed.

“Do you have any ideas, love?” Ky’yn asked, looking up at Stensig. She realized her slip too late when Galyrus raised an eye ridge at her comment, but he didn’t say anything.

Stensig nodded in silent agreement to the speaking duo's idea of staying in touch via 'safe' communication lines, though he didn't have any input to add to the subject when it came to omnitools or communication devices. He fondly recalled an era where he would sometimes be woken up in the middle of the night by his work-distributed omnitool to be called into the hospital for some emergency or another. Though he would begrudgingly force himself awake, it would feel like a slight treat that he could skip wearing his dentures to hide his fangs, and could instead use his powers to hide them. Though he'd still bring them along just in case the job broke into the daylight hours. He remembered how he used to chug down soft drinks so the caffeine would snap him awake, albeit along with the grim knowledge that he'd have to pass it eventually. At least by then the fizz would have been gone, but it was still an unpleasant undertaking. It would always be worth it though.

His trip to memory lane was interrupted when he noticed Galyrus holding Ky'yn's hand, and his blood chilled for a moment as he misinterpreted the gesture. He quickly noticed he was looking at her stump arm, or rather, the omnitool emanating from it, and he immediately felt a rush of relief. They're just talking tech, man. Keep it together! Though it hadn't failed to vex him slightly how fiercely his unconscious reaction to Ky'yn being in a somewhat 'romantic' position with another male was. He rationalized to himself, First, you don't 'own' her by any means at all, second, you need to control your emotions better–oh damn I still need to meditate–, and third… He smirked. I think the age difference between the two of them is a little steep…

The smile froze itself on his face when he heard Ky'yn call him 'love' in front of the cop, and it became the kind of uncomfortable smile one gets when one desperately wants to not be the center of attention at the moment. Oh shit. Say something, ANYTHING, to deflect that, come on, remember your smartass training!

“Love what?” He blinked as if he was confused, “Any ideas that I love? No I don't think I've thought of anything. I mean, it crossed my mind that it would've been awesome if Mizator was on our side,” He gestured towards the ceiling, referring to the rain, “We could've kept a bowl of water here and another at the police station, and she could've been our messenger. But no, I don't love that idea, because she's still a colossal bitch!”

He turned away from the duo, giving a chuckle that tried not to sound nervous. With his head facing away from them, he opened a silent field around himself and Ky'yn, artfully keeping the detective out of range.

“What the actual FUCK Ky'yn?!” He hissed loudly, careful not to allow his head to bob or gesture as if he was speaking. The tone of his voice was harsh, but simultaneously had an air of hilarity behind it, as if he was trying to hold back laughter.

Ky’yn felt the heat of the blush come to her face form her slip up. Nice going girl…, she told herself. Just tell the guy everything why don’t you? How about telling him how great the sex is next? Beside her, Stensig seemed to be completely thrown off by how she referred him himself: his response, though coherent, was borderline babbling.

“Come now, no need to get all embarrassed like a couple of teens on a first date,” Galyrus teased, which didn’t help stem her embarrassment at all.

By then, she could tell Stensig was stopping his silence field over them, so she held up a finger to the detective in a ‘one moment’ gesture. “S-sorry…,” she muttered after turning toward him, a little taken back at the harshness of his tone, despite the humorous air that was also present. “That…kind of slipped out without thinking.”

She rubbed her face, noticing how warm it still was: spirits she was still blushing! “Still…we need to figure out a way to keep in contact with this guy…without the risk of people like Chelos finding out.”

Stensig sighed and spoke again, “It's alright, it's alright, I'm sorry,” genuinely he was, it wasn't like he didn't enjoy being referred to in that manner by her. He turned around to face the detective again, allowing the silent field to dissipate. “Teens? I haven't been a teen for more than a century!” He had a smirk on his face to prove that he had recovered from his shock.

“Still though,” he began, “We have the question of staying in touch to deal with. What about a personal email terminal? I'd expect you as a detective would have a computer at work that could be checked by your higher-ups, but they'd have no reason to want to go through your own personal mails. Ky'yn and I could appropriate a small personal computer to use, and that way it'd only be a two-way message that conceivably wouldn't be seen by anyone else.”

“Also,” he begrudgingly started, “I think we should have Ky'yn go with you to the station to give you a witness report on the fire. While she's there you could scope out Lithyn and see how she reacts to the info, see how she reacts to it and keep an eye on what she does right after.”

“Email would be risky, Sten,” Ky’yn said. “You’re forgetting about Chelos: if he really did hack the police database when he sprang Dolic, who’s to say he won’t do the same to a personal email account? In addition, keeping a computer around would require a decent power source and a connection to the net: both of those carry the risk of being traced back here. Hmm…unless….”

Ky’yn scratched her chin, thinking the issue over. “Unless we scout out and secure a place within the city itself. Nothing big and fancy: hell it could be a broom closet for all I care, so long as it has establish power and net connection. That way, it won’t raise any flags…and if it does get compromised, it can be easily replaced, unlike here.”

“That sounds like a decent idea,” the detective said, nodding. “Only issue is that it may take time to set up.”

“That is why I am agreeing with Sten’s idea of going back to the station with you,” Ky’yn explained. “So I can ‘assess’ this Lithyn person myself. We know she is working with the Varren, but we don’t who she ultimately takes orders from. If she is an insider undercover for your department, no harm no foul from us, though she could be at risk of termination if Chelos found out about it and passed it on to his Varren buddies.”

“That should be easily varied by my Chief,” Galyrus said. “So if she isn’t working for us, that means she’s working with the enemy.”

“Aye, and how she reacts to me will determine what to do next.”

Reveal

They talked a bit more, but Ky’yn wasn’t forthcoming on any ideas on beyond finding how who Lithyn really worked for. She could tell this annoyed the detective, but she had her reasons. Fortunately, by then the storm had let up, so they determined it should be safe to leave. Ky’yn requested that Galyrus remain quiet and to try to avoid rain puddles until they were sufficiently far enough away from the Sanctuary. The former she realized was a bit pointless, considering Stensig would be using his powers to mask their travel, but she felt it was needed anyway.

“So…,” Galyrus started once Ky’yn indicated it was OK to speak. “How long have you two been together?”

Ky’yn was slightly surprised at the question and wasn’t sure if it was too personal or not. “Only a few days,” she replied after a moment.

“And you’re already….?”

“Some people just ‘click’.” She shrugged her shoulders.

“I guess so.” There was pause, then he asked. “So you really don’t have any plans beyond figuring out whose side Lithyn is on?”

“It would be pointless, even dangerous, to make plans on incomplete, or even unknown information,’ Ky’yn explained. “I learned that while fighting the Syndicate back home.”

He must noticed the bitterness in her tone, for he said. “You must have really hated them.”

“They took everything from me,” Ky’yn growled. “My job, my friends…family…even my freedom.”

“Thus why you became a vakar?”

“Aye…though I gave them some good kicks in the groin even before that.” She flashed him devious grin.

“Well, vakar or not, your previous experience fighting organized crime should be very helpful for us…though the thought that they have vakar assisting them…I’m not sure how to break that to the department.”

“We don’t,” Ky’yn said flatly. “For now anyway. Reason being is due to the fact that most of your department don’t think we exist. If we reveal that a whole sect of vakar has ‘gone rogue’ at the same time as proving our existence….”

“I see what you are getting at,” Galyrus said. “There would be a good chance they’ll doubt your sincerity on helping us with the Varren…hell…they’ll possibly think you could be a mole like we believe with Lithyn.”

A crack of thunder boomed overhead. “Spirits…don’t start raining again…not now…,” Ky’yn muttered, glaring up at the clouds.

“We’re nearly at my squad car,” Galyrus said, pointing to a vehicle just down the street. “That should protect us from being seen from that one vakar….right?”

“Should. From what I understand of such abilities, they require direct contact with the element they use. A good thing…else we wouldn’t be safe anywhere.”

“Make sense…good thing my parking spot is in the parking garage too.”

They quickly got to the skycar and climbed in. Just as Galyrus started it up, the clouds opened up once more. “Just in time,” he muttered as he put the car in motion.

Ky’yn, meanwhile, was snuggling up next to Stensig, using her powers to warm themselves up a little after the long walk in the chill damp air. “Never thought I’d be in the back of one these again,” she muttered. “At least this time it’s with no hand cuffs….”

“Huh?” Galyrus looked a little surprised. “You’ve been arrested before?”

“The Syndicate had control over the police at home,” Ky’yn said bitterly. “I don’t want the same to happen here with the Varren.”

“I have to agree with you there.”

The trip to the police station didn’t take long, which was both a relief and pain. A relief as she hoped to get this over with so they could hunt and a pain as she was quite comfortable snuggled up next to Stensig. When the department HQ came into sight, she told Stensig to vanish, a request that puzzled Galyrus.

“Why did you do that?” he asked. “His testimony could be valuable as well.”

“Because of his previous ‘association’ there’s a risk he may be recognized,” Ky’yn explained. “A recognition that could be used against us. I’d rather not take any chances.”

The detective nodded in understanding as he pulled into the parking garage. “Having an ace up our sleeve in case things go south is not a bad idea,” he said.

Once they parked, Galyrus walked around and opened the door for Ky’yn, holding it open long enough for not only for her, but also for the invisible Stensig as well. “If they keep to the posted schedule, there should be a meeting with the Varren investigation team within the hour, perhaps sooner.”

“I hope so,” Ky’yn said as she followed him. “The sooner this is over with, the sooner I can grab a bite.”

“Well I could offer you some donuts….”

Ky’yn gave him a glare. “Since when do turians eat human pastries?”

“We don’t, it was a joke we picked from said humans.”

“Ah…well, regardless, I can’t eat them anyway: they give me gas.”

When they entered the building proper, their banter ceased. It didn’t escape her notice the odd looks some of the desk clerks were given them as they walked by. Her arrival got the attention of someone else as well.

“Detective Quidros,” a slightly older male officer said: from his uniform Ky’yn guessed he was the Chief. “This is a bit unusual for you, breaking protocol like this….”

“My apologies, Chief,” Galyrus said. “But my lead turned out to be more fruitful than I hoped…fruitful to the point of time sensitivity. Is the briefing still on tonight?”

“It is, last I heard. What’s so time sensitive about this? And who is this young lady with you?”

“First…an important question I need answered, Chief.” At this, Galyrus came in close and whispered. “Do we have anyone undercover in the Varren?”

“What? No…not for lack of trying anyway: they are proving to be a hard bunch to infiltrate.”

Gee, I wonder why…. Ky’yn thought bitterly, feeling fairly certain that Erapax likely had a hand in ensuring that.

“I see…,” Galyrus sighed, looking worried. “That wasn’t the answer I was hoping for….”

“Is this related to the ‘time sensitive’ part you mentioned?” the Chief said.

“Indeed. Here.” Galyrus quickly transferred a copy of the two files Ky’yn gave him to the Chief’s omni-tool. “Just in case.”

“What are these?”

“Hot intel, provided by Ky’yn here.” Galyrus nodded toward her and Ky’yn bowed her head. “She’s also had a lot of experience in dealing with organized crime.”

“Spirits alive….,” the Chief muttered, apparently skimming through the files he was just given. “The team could definitely make use of these…wait…isn’t this…”

“Not here, Chief,” Galyrus said quickly, adding with a whisper. “We have a plan we want to attempt.”

The Chief blinked a moment, then nodded his head, understanding. “I’ll let them Team know you have important intel and a witness to bring to the briefing,” he said. “Wait in your office in the meantime.”

“Understood, Chief.”

“Sten…follow him,” Ky’yn whispered as the Chief walked away, using her presence aura to hopefully convey her wishes in case he didn’t hear her. Since the presence aura only ‘transmits’ emotions and general state of being, it wasn’t exactly ideal for secret communication. However, it was all she had until she figured out something better for situations like this.

“What you do that for?” Galyrus whispered to her once they got into his office. “I told you I trust him.”

“But I don’t,” Ky’yn said flatly, whispering herself. “This would be the perfect opportunity for him to warn her that she’s been compromised and to ‘disappear’. If that is the case, then it does not bode well for this department. Sten is the best man to find out either way right now.”

“Let us hope that I am right then….”

Stensig was happy to be out of the storeroom, even elated. The whole conversational planning was putting him on edge, and actually moving about and getting some exercise and fresh air finally made him feel better. Spirits, I feel like we were in there for days!

The walking trip to the detective's car was uneventful as he kept everyone under his power's cover. It wasn't until they actually entered the vehicle and took off that he started feeling nervous again. Holy shit, this is really happening. We're taking our info to the police in hopes of finally doing SOMETHING about that corrupt sect and the Varren. It was a small start when Ky'yn and I banded together, but now we're actually taking the first steps towards changing things… His mind was racing for a while, until Ky'yn took his arm and leaned in against him, immediately causing him to relax a little. At least I'm not in this alone anymore he thought with a small smile.

When they arrived at the police station Stensig cloaked himself as he was asked, and followed his two companions into the building. He mentally agreed with Ky'yn that he would be more than ready for a meal soon, but couldn't help himself from whispering “Hey, I wouldn't say no to a donut!” Either the officer didn't hear him or was ignoring him, it didn't matter either way, and he frowned when he heard he was just using a figure of speech.

Then the other officer approached Galyrus. Stensig observed quietly as the two spoke. He felt a nervous heat in his stomach, getting more and more anxious after the detective transferred the files. I hope this doesn't blow up in our faces he thought glumly. The chief asked Galyrus and Ky'yn to wait in the detective's office, and Stensig perked up when he heard Ky'yn whisper to follow the chief. He felt her aura touch his, as if to reinforce her order. He touched his own back to hers in response, and slid past his two friends to follow the chief.

He hummed to himself to keep his nerves under control, knowing that no one would hear him. Staying close behind the chief, he was careful to not bump into anything or anyone. They passed by many other police officers on the way to the office, though most of them seemed preoccupied with their tasks to take any notice of the chief. Finally the target of his pursuit made it to his office. The chief punched in his passcode into the holographic display on the sliding doors, and the doors whooshed open. Stensig slunk in behind the man before they closed again, and situated himself in the corner where he wouldn't be in the way.

Stensig stood and watched as the chief sat down at his desk with a heavy sigh, booting up his desk computer as he did so. He saw the chief transfer Ky'yn's files from the omintool to the computer and he looked through them for a few minutes. Soon he closed out of the files and opened up a videocall window. He typed in the recipient's information and hit enter, starting the 'ringing' process. Almost immediately a video image of another male turian appeared, and it asked, “What can I do for you sir?”

“Detective Quidros is going to be joining you on your briefing, along with a guest: they both have information regarding Varren activities,” the Chief said.

“Who’s the ‘guest’?”

“A young lady by the name of Ky’yn, no family name was given. It was claimed she had experience dealing with organized crime like the Varren. There is definitely something about her that leads me to believe she speaks the truth in that regard.”

“Understood, I’ll let the other’s know. Anything else, sir?”

“On more thing: are you secure, Corporal?” the Chief asked.

The figure on the screen made a motion and the sound of a door shutting was heard. “Yes, sir,” the man said. “What’s up?”

“I have been lead to believe we have a mole on the team,” the Chief said ominously. “I believe Galyrus intends to expose this mole at the briefing.”

“Sir…that’s…a heavy accusation. To the best of my knowledge, everyone is clean.”

“I know…but don’t forget the mess the Reaper’s made of our communications and records: it would make for a good opportunity for less ‘desirable’ types to make their way into groups they shouldn’t.”

“Point, noted, sir. What should we do?”

“I want you to send me the background files of every member of the team, including yourself. I want everything, understand?”

“Closed and open cases as well?”

“Yes.”

“Tall order, sir, given the time restraint, but I’ll do my best. I take it Galyrus didn’t indicate who he suspects?”

“He did, in a way.”

“Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the suspected mole, then?”

“We don’t want the mole to suspect they have been compromised just yet,” the Chief explained. “Besides…if there’s one…there may be more. I want to see if there’s any patterns to indicate this. Please keep this to yourself as well, until the time is right…if it comes.”

“I understand, sir.”

“I’ll see you guys shortly at the briefing, Chief out.” The connection was cut and the Chief sat back and sighed heavily. The weight of possible treason weighed heavily on him and he never liked dealing with it. With a glum expression, he brought up the files he had just requested, copies he had all along. He intended to compare these copies with the ones the Corporal would be sending, along with his own research into the team. This would be a test to see if the Corporal was on the up and up.

The files arrived and a quick skim told him they were exactly the same as the ones he had: he breathed a sigh of relief. Looking at the time, he had ten minutes before the briefing, so he focused on Lithyn’s files. The indications was not good…

“Dammit, Galyrus…,” he muttered. “Why did you have to be right?” Looking at the clock, he saw it was nearly time, so he rose from his seat and left his office to let Galyrus and his friend know it was time. He was completely unaware of the vakar following and watching him this whole time.

“So…,” Galyrus said as they waited, apparently wanting to break the silence they were in. “I take it you were a refugee that came here due to the Reaper war?”

“Originally, no,” Ky’yn explained. “I was on a mission to eliminate Syndicate agents on other planets: they were scouting out colonies to spread their influence too. I had just eliminated the last one I knew of when the Reaper’s hit….thus I couldn’t go back home.”

“That must be rough on you, not knowing the fate of your sect….”

Ky’yn looked at the ground, her expression one of sorrow. “Actually I do…the Reapers devastated the planet…likely due to the planetary defenses it had…I have no sect to go back to….”

“I’m sorry….”

Ky’yn shook her head. “At least I know the fate of those I cared about,” she said glumly. “So many other’s don’t have that closure.”

“You have a point there.” After a moment, he whispered. “I hope your friend is OK…it’s been awhile.”

“I’m sure he is,” Ky’yn replied, whispering herself. “Sten knows how to stay hidden.”

“I noticed…but how will we know he is back without revealing himself?”

“I’ll know…don’t worry.”

Stensig watched the conversation with great interest as the two men spoke, trying to pick up any nonverbal cues to lies. So far he hadn't noticed anything that set off any warning bells. After their call was over he gauged the reactions of the chief, noting how dismayed he seemed when he noticed the discrepancies between Lithyn's files. So we're on the right track, that's good to know.

The chief moved to get out of his seat, spurring Stensig to prepare to follow. The man opened the door to his office and left, with Stensig following close behind, the door closing behind him. Now imagine how screwed I'd be if I got locked in there… he thought, A situation like that during a recon job almost borders on the cliche.

Now he was faced with a dilemma: continue following the chief or try returning to his companions. He realized he had no idea where the detective's office was, and realized that both parties would be heading to the briefing room. So he stayed on the man's tail for the time being. Following the man, it didn't escape his notice that they passed by the break room. Taking a quick glance inside, he saw the face of Lithyn, turning towards the door he was looking in, two white cups in hand. She looked tired but resolute, as if she had a lot on her mind.

How can you even stand to wear that badge, knowing what you do?! He thought bitterly. A feeling of hatred swelled up in his stomach. You took an oath, a promise to protect, and you're throwing it away for what? For– Then his eyes widened as he reached a realization: the pot's calling the kettle black. He wasn't enraged with her personally, it was himself.

He stood there awestruck for a moment before the whoosh of someone passing him snapped him out of it. Realizing once again what he was doing, he picked up a quicker pace to catch back up with the chief.

Ky’yn was just starting to feel antsy when the Chief came back and told them it was time. With too many eyes on her to speak to Stensig out loud, she used her presence aura instead. The pulse she sent out projected the emotions of curiosity and questioning, asking Stensig what he found out. There was a slight delay in the response, as if he got briefly separated from his quarry.

She mentally sighed with relief at the response: everything was OK, no suspicion. Ky’yn did notice a slight undertone of despair, as if he had noticed or realized something that disturbed him. Presence auras don’t lie, so Ky’yn knew that undertone was likely not a sign that this idea was about to go south. I’ll have to ask him what bothered him when we are done here, she thought as she turned toward Galyrus and gave him a thumbs up sign as they walked out of the office.

Galyrus looked briefly confused at her signal, but it then it apparently clicked what she was referring to and nodded. There was a following expression of ‘how did you….?’ on his face, to which Ky’yn just smirked. The detective’s expression after that could have been read as ‘damn vakar’, which almost made her giggle out loud.

As they entered the briefing room, Ky’yn scanned the participants, causally. She spotted Lithyn and had to fight to avoid staring at her. So far the woman hadn’t noticed her, as she was busy looking through the contents of a datapad. Now that she could see her face to face, something about her nagged at Ky’yn, but she couldn’t place it: she hated that feeling.

“Evening everyone,” the Chief said, getting everyone’s attention as the door to the room shut: Ky’yn hoped Stensig got inside in time. “Today may prove to be a fruitful day in the fight against the Varren.”

“Fruitful?” an officer echoed. “You mean we finally have a break in this case?”

“Indeed,” the Chief replied, then gestured toward her and Galyrus. “Thanks to Detective Quidros’ intuition, we not only have gained valuable information on the Varren, but a potential new ally in the fight against them.”

Everyone was looking at her now. While most had the expression of curiosity, Lithyn’s was one of shock and recognition. Hmm…what is it about me she recognizes? she thought. The fangs? My colony markings? Either way, she had a feeling things were about to get very interesting.

“Care to introduce yourself, miss?” the Chief prompted. Ky’yn nodded and stood up, noting that many eyes seem to be drawn to her missing hand: Lithyn seemed to linger on it a bit longer before her gaze snapped back up to her face.

Let’s see how much she recognizes, Ky’yn thought. “Of course, Chief,” she said, bowing slightly in respect to everyone. “I am Ky’yn Vyessan, a long time fighter against criminal organizations like the Varren. I have witnessed the devastation a powerful crime organization can have on a city, even an entire planet, thus I would like to help you ensure it doesn’t happen again with the Varren.”

It had been a long time since she used her family name, not since before she was turned in fact. The name shouldn’t have batted an eye lid from anyone in this room, but Lithyn’s eyes were very wide indeed….

“We can’t trust her!” Lithyn suddenly cried, standing up as she slammed both hands on the table.

“Why not?” Galyrus asked, looking a little shocked at the outburst, as was everyone else. Indeed, Ky’yn was a bit surprised herself: she wasn’t expecting the woman to snap so easily. However, this initial outburst wouldn’t be enough to prove their suspicions. She decided to let it play out for a bit, but she sustained a ‘caution’ emotion with her aura, to let Stensig know to be on his guard.

Lithyn, at first, didn’t respond, almost as if she realized her mistake. She took a moment to regain her composure. “Don’t you recognize her markings?” she asked. “She’s from Revati!”

“I admit I don’t recognize that planet name, but what does that have to do with it?” the Chief asked. The other’s around the table had equally puzzled or questioning expression.

“It was colony designated as a planet wide prison for the most dangerous of turian criminals,” Lithyn explained. “It was an experiment. One that failed when a terrorist group took over the whole place, forcing the Hierarchy to abandon the planet and the innocents that still remained. This woman!” she pointed harshly at Ky’yn. “Bares the family name of the most notorious terrorists…Ky’yna Vyessan!”

It was Ky’yn’s turn to be in shock, but that quickly turned to anger. How dare this bitch twist the truth to make it sound like she had been the threat, that she had been the one to harm innocents. She knew she was projecting her anger with the presence field, but she didn’t care at that moment. Ky’yn was only vaguely aware that she was starting to tremble with rage, on the verge to snapping into trigger rage.

Then, it all disappeared in an instant when she realized that Lithyn had made a big mistake. A smile formed on her face, then she started chuckling. A chuckle that turned into a full blown laugh….

Ky’yn laughed at for several moments, the perplexed and confused looks on the other occupants she only vague acknowledged. A small part of her was aware her mirth could be considered support for Lithyn’s accusations, but she knew how to fix that. “Phew!” she finally said, needing to catch her breath for a moment. “Thanks, I hadn’t had a laugh like that in decades.”

“Wait…what?” Lithyn looked confused for a moment, before shouting. “This is no laughing matter!”

“I am afraid I must agree with her,” the Chief said. “Please, explain yourself…so that we know our trust in your information has not been misplaced.”

“Of course, but first, a request: can someone in here please pull up all information on Revati?” Ky’yn asked.

“Huh, but why? What does it have to do with….”

“Do it,” Galyrus put in, having caught on what Ky’yn was up to. “It should prove interesting.”

“Very well, Corporal?”

“Right away, Chief.” The Corporal started typing away at the console on the table. Within moments, the file on Revati came up on the holoscreen in front of everyone, but it was marked with a big red, flashing, classified sign, followed by an even bigger access denied sign. “What…this is odd…” the Corporal said.

“Here, let me try, I have a higher clearance,” the Chief said as he put in his access code. However, it still did not work. “Why can’t I access this?”

“Because the events surrounding Revati were buried so deep that I question whether or not the Primarch can access the information,” Ky’yn explained smugly. “So I ask you…if you can’t access the information, how can a lowly private like Lithyn?”

“That is a good point…how did you know about this, private?”

Lithyn looked a bit nervous now, her hands starting to fidget. “I…”

“There’s only two ways she could have known,’ Ky’yn said. “Either she is…or knows…a very good hacker…or…she’s from Revati herself.”

The fire in the woman seemed to flare up once more. “Do I even look like I come from that horrid place!?” she snapped. “I do not bare those colony markings!”

“And yet you know a lot about the planet’s history and about me…at least enough to twist it to suit your side.”

“’About you’…what are you talking about? I’ve never even…”

“Let me correct the record here…,” Ky’yn interrupted. “Yes, it is correct I am from the planet. Yes, it is correct it was an experimental prison colony. And yes, it is correct the planet was taken over, corrupted, by criminals…namely a criminal organization called the Black Syndicate. However, you are incorrect that Ky’yna Vyessan terrorized innocents…she terrorized the Syndicate itself.”

“L-lies!” Lithyn hissed. “The Syndicate were good people…they…!”

Ky’yn burst out laughing once more, but this bout of mirth didn’t last nearly as long as the first one. When she was done, she had a look of dead seriousness on her face. “Good people do not harass and threaten more honest people for ‘payment’ to ‘protect’ them. Good people do not arrange accidents and assassinations for political figures trying to stop the organization from gaining a tighter grip. Good people most certainly do not bridge police and judges to look the other way so they can continue their ‘work’ unimpeded. And most importantly…” Ky’yn slammed the stump of her left arm on the table, to empathize it. “Good people do to kill honest folk just trying to an honest living by putting bombs in their workplaces.”

“The Syndicate did none of those things…they…”

“Do not lie to me bitch!” Ky’yn snapped. “I know it was the Syndicate that did this to me!” She waved her stump. “I know it was them that slaughtered my family, my entire family, whom were just farmers! How do I know? Does the name Vidan Dothesian mean anything to you?”

“Dothesian…Dothesian…,” Lithyn repeated to herself. “He was the son of the second in command of the Syndicate…over a hundred years ago!”

“One hundred twenty eight years ago, to be more accurate,” Ky’yn said softly, briefly feeling the pain of his loss, but she forced it back so she could focus on the present. “He and I were…involved…he hated what his father…and by extension, the Syndicate, was doing to the planet, so he helped me fight against them. He gave his life to destroy the majority of their leadership at the time.”

“Impossible…you couldn’t have known him, you’re not old enough!” Lithyn’s face froze as she apparently suddenly made the connection. “No…no that’s impossible!” she said, backing away.

“Finally figured it out, eh?” Ky’yn said, tilting her head, smirking. “I not only share the name of Ky’yna Vyessan…I am her!”

“I am not getting it….,” the Chief was muttering.

“Idiot!” Lithyn snapped. “Don’t you know about vakar!?”

The eyes on the Chief’s face went wide as he slowly turned his head to look at Ky’yn, then at Galyrus, whom gave him a ‘told you so’, look. “I still find it a bit hard to believe I’m looking at a living, breathing myth here…” he muttered.

“Then perhaps a demonstration is in order,” Ky’yn said with a smile. “Anyone have a lighter? I’m afraid mine’s a bit…unreliable.”

“No…don’t!” Lithyn protested, but no one heeded her.

Another private produced a lighter and Ky’yn asked him to ignite the flame. After he did so, Ky’yn used her powers to manipulate it, twisting the flame into a long twisted column: the officers were quite mesmerized by it. Then, with a flick of her wrist, she shot the flame at Lithyn, whom screamed as it surrounded her head. “What are you doing!?” the chief cried, some of the officers moving to put out the fire.

“I’m actually not harming her,” Ky’yn explained. “So long as she doesn’t move anyway. Do allow me to finish, I’m sure this will prove quite enlightening.”

The Chief looked uncertain, but nodded for the other’s to stand down. After a moment, Ky’yn snuffed out the flame, leaving a rather frightened, but unharmed Lithyn behind. However, there was one major difference to her.

“What…her face….,” Galyrus breathed, a few other offices gasping in shock as well. Sliding off her face was the remains of what was once a wax or perhaps even plastic based prostatic used to hide her true colony markings: Revati markings.

“Well now…this turned out to be a case of ‘pot meet kettle’ now didn’t it?” Ky’yn said, smiling. “Now that your true face has been revealed…I recognize you. Your real name is Kerana Siessan…a Lieutenant of the Syndicate…well…was Lieutenant, considering the population of Revati was wiped out by the Reapers. Hmm…it certainly explains why your mug is in this Varren organizational chart I lifted off a Varren a few days ago….” Galyrus immediately brought up document on the table holo-display, prompting more gasps from the officers. “Planning on restarting the Syndicate by using the Varren I take it? Guess I just foiled that little plan…didn’t I?”

“Well, in light of this, I have no choice, men…arrest her,” the Chief said.

Lithyn…no…Kerana, was in a state of shock until now. “No!” she cried. Suddenly pulling out a weapon. Ky’yn recognized the threat and had started to move, but not fast enough. The gun fired and she felt extreme pain tear through her lower jaw and both mandibles.

She wasn’t sure if she screamed or not, but she did know she hit the floor, writhing in agony….

Stensig followed quietly into the briefing room. As the door shut behind him, he realized that he was in the perfect spot to watch from without any risk of bumping into anyone. For the time being he stayed where he stood and watched the scene unfold with great interest.

He smiled with no semblance of shame when Ky'yn artfully proved that Lithyn knew far more than she should, so much that it begged the question in his mind how she could not only know about Revati, but of all the Syndicate actions that took place there. What's more, what kind of source was she getting this info from, especially one that would paint the Syndicate in any sort of positive light. He didn't have time to worry about that now as he watched the woman like a hawk. It was plainly obvious that she was beginning to feel threatened, her cover being blown the more and more time went on.

Stensig decided he should move closer to her, in case for any reason she would try to do something stupid, like flee or draw a weapon. He glanced around the room, and it didn't seem like any of the other officers had brought any firearms into the room, which would make sense since it was only a briefing. Feeling secure in the idea that it would be unlikely he'd get caught in a crossfire, he began to maneuver himself through the room towards Lithyn. He took the path of least resistance, lightly stepping around as few cops as he could manage. It was a slow undertaking, but he eventually situated himself behind the woman. Poised to strike at any given moment.

He bit his tongue to keep himself focused. The scene before him continued to play out, and he began getting more and more antsy. At the moment Lithyn seemed to put together that Ky'yn was a vakar, she had stepped back quickly, forcing Stensig to follow suit and causing him to slam against the wall behind him. Ow… he thought, grateful that surely no one had heard him, Don't do that again he breathed out coldly. The extra space he'd allowed himself turned out to be more beneficial, as it wasn't long before Ky'yn had engulfed the woman's head in flame. Merciful spirits! He was slightly stunned at first, but came to realize that there was no way Ky'yn would straight up murder this woman in front of all these cops, especially not in such a gruesome fashion. So what are you onto?

He didn't get his answer immediately, he didn't see the after effects of the display from the angle he was standing. But the reactions from the cops and the smirk on Ky'yn's face told him that she had achieved what she wanted. “Her face!” he heard one of the cops to the side proclaim, “The same markings!” Stensig wasn't satisfied, however. Fuck, that just raises more questions and adds a whole new layer to this shitstorm

Just then his eye caught something. Lithyn's arm moving to her side. Immediately his mind went into fight or flight mode, realizing that she must have been going for a weapon. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion now. He dashed forward with his arm outstretched to intercept her own arm, finding it's mark within the second. He wasn't quick enough to cause her to miss her shot entirely, as he pulled her arm down he heard the gun go off. His stomach lurched with horror when he saw the burst of blood emanating from Ky'yn's face. In a more stable sense of mind he would have been relieved to hear Ky'yn screaming, as that would at least be a sign that she was alive, but that didn't occur to him at this moment. Rage was all that he felt, and all that mattered to him now was making this whore pay.

He pulled on her shoulder to force her to face him, the look of shock and confusion readily apparent on her face. He then brought his fist across said face with all the might he could muster, sending her reeling backwards and turning her around again. Lunging forward, Stensig jumped and situated his arm around the back of her head, allowing gravity to bring both himself and her skull into the ground. Her nose took the brunt of the fall, immediately followed by her forehead, blue blood burst from her nose, but he still wasn't satisfied. Scrambling to his knees, he reached down and grabbed her by the back of the fringe, and began repeatedly smashing her head into the floor. In his head he screamed out every curse word he could imagine as he forcefully moved his arm. He had only repeated this action a few times before he realized that the surrounding cops had broken out of their stupor and were now approaching him.

His mind snapped into 'flight' as he scrambled to his feet and made a mad break for the nearest corner of the room. After slamming himself into the corner he turned around and let his back slide down the wall, bringing him to a sitting position. He was panting heavily and his mind was running laps in overtime. Questions started moving in lightspeed through his brain. Is Ky'yn okay? Did I overdo it and kill this woman? What are the cops going to do? What are they going to THINK?!

It was all out of his hands now, what had been done was done, and he could only wait to see what would unfold next.

“She has a weapon!” “Why is she armed!?” “Look out!”

It happened too quickly for any of them react and Galyrus’ heart sank when he saw Ky’yn fall. He knew vakar were tough, but even they couldn’t survive a shot to the brain. The detective wanted to check on her, but knew it wasn’t safe too until the immediate threat was neutralized.

Then the traitor started reacting as if someone was beating her senseless. It took a moment for him to realize it had to be a very pissed off Stensig doing the ‘neutralizing’. Knowing the other vakar had the traitor taken care of, and not really caring at that moment if he killed her or not, he checked on Ky’yn.

Spirits, this looks like it is bad. he thought as he knelt down beside the female vakar, placing a hand on her shoulder. The vakar had her hand over her face and whimpering, softly in pain. She was alive, which was a good thing, but he worried about the blood she was losing. Before he could start to help her though, he was roughly pulled up to his feet by the Chief.

“Galyrus!” the chief snapped. “What is going on here? I just saw the suspect get beaten to a pulp by some invisible force! Is there another one of those ‘vakar’ in here!?”

He was a bit surprised the chief would come to that conclusion so easily. Galyrus also realized he had no choice but to tell him the truth. “Yes…Ky’yn’s mate, Stensig,” he said.

“And you left this bit of information out…why?”

“It was a precaution, sir,” Galyrus explained. On the other side of the room the other officers were checking on the suspect. He overheard that she was still alive, but unconscious: a good thing. “There’s more going on in this city than we know and we weren’t certain whom we can trust.”

“Not even me!?” The Chief looked understandably insulted.

“We couldn’t take the chance. We fully intended to explain everything once the mole situation was taken care of.”

“Well…I damn well hope the explanation is a good one for your sake…as I have half a mind to….”

He was interrupted when a bloody hand suddenly slammed onto the table.

Pain.

That’s all her mind could focus on, only having vague comprehension of what was going on around her. She thought she felt someone touching her, but that quickly vanished, almost like it was a figment of her imagination. Her whole world was nothing but a big fuzzy ball of pain.

Then her body went into ‘survival’ mode. Little by little, the pain lessened, as a combination of adrenaline and her body shutting off the pain receptors in her brain took effect. Only once most of the pain was gone did she start to access the damage.

Oh spirits! she thought as she felt her face, realizing with horror that a good chunk of her lower jaw was missing, yet somehow her fangs were intact. A grim realization dawned on her that if she had ducked instead of turning aside, she would be dead. Still, she wasn’t happy, not one bit.

Then a new realization dawned on her: she was very hungry. The combination of blood loss and the injury itself triggered a near ravenous state in her. She started to get up, vaguely aware of Galyrus and the police chief arguing over something. At one point she nearly lost her balance, forcing her to grab onto the table for support.

She must have grabbed the table hard, as it seemed the whole room suddenly stopped and looked at her. Ky’yn didn’t care, she was looking for one particular person, the one responsible for her current state. She may not be able to bite well in her condition, but she damn well was going to try!

“Spirits…,” the Chief breathed, looking horrified. “How is she even able to move?”

Galyrus had to agree. Ky’yn’s lower jaw from roughly a fourth down on the right side, to a third on the left, was missing, equating to about a third of her jaw having bene blown off. Hell, even part of her tongue was miss. She was also missing parts of her mandibles as well, her left one, particularly, was literally hanging by a thread at almost the halfway point. Blood soaked the front side of her outfit and her sleeves where she was holding her face. Thankfully though, her body seemed to have stopped the bleeding itself, but from how unsteady she looked, she still lost quite a bit of blood. She’s going to be hungry…very hungry to heal that wound, he realized. From the look in her eyes, which were narrowed into slits instead of pinpricks like a normal turian, he was right that assessment.

“’eair eesh shee!” Ky’yn demanded, her speech heavily impaired.

“M-miss…you shouldn’t move around…” one of the officers started to say, though he looked like he was about to lose his dinner. “You should let a med….”

Ky’yn hissed harshly at the man, a mix of blood and saliva flying in his direction. “She doesn’t need a medic!” Galyrus stated quickly. “She needs to drink blood!”

“Drink blood…how the hell is that going to help her!?” the Chief protested as Ky’yn started inching her way toward where Lithyn/Kerana was prone on the floor. “She needs a doctor to tend to that wound!”

Galyrus gritted his teeth a moment, trying to figure a way to say this without revealing too much, while convincing him of what was needed. “Vakar have incredible regeneration abilities,” he started. “But they need blood to fuel it. Ky’yn will regrow her jaw on her own, without medical help, but she will need a lot of blood to do it.”

“Regeneration?” The Chief looked skeptical. “If they can regenerate lost body parts, how come she is still missing a hand?”

“She lost that before she became a vakar. Becoming a vakar does not give back what you’ve already lost.”

“Either you are bullshitting me, or you seem to know a lot more about these things than what you can get from a mythology book….”

“There’s a reason for that…,” Galyrus sighed. “But here is now is not the time or place to explain why. Please, Chief…trust me on this!”

The Chief looked indecisive for a moment before sighing. “Alright…boys, back off the suspect, let this vakar do what she needs to do.”

“Thank you, Chief,” Galyrus said gratefully. “Ky’yn?” The wounded vakar looked back at him. “Try not to kill her, she may still be useful to us.” Ky’yn gave him a look that plainly said ‘no promises’ before continuing on.

“Now.” Galyrus jumped a bit when the Chief’s hand grasped his shoulder. “What about this other vakar in here…Stensig I believe you said is his name? Where is he?”

“Truthfully, I don’t know right now, Chief,” Galyrus said honestly. “He can turn himself invisible, so he could be anywhere in this room.”

“Considering what just happened to his friend, I’m surprised he hasn’t revealed himself.”

“I think that could be out of fear….,” Galyrus muttered.

“Fear of what!?”

“That goes back to the ‘there’s more going on then you know’ bit….”

The Chief facepalmed. “Something tells me I’m going to need some headache meds once you explain everything…,” he muttered.

She felt weak and tired: the shock of the injury and the blood loss itself was affecting her greatly. The adrenaline rush she got before was helping to keep her going, but she could feel it starting to fade. It didn’t help matters that the room was a bit more crowded now than it was before.

There had been an influx of officers, many with weapons drawn, looking for the source of trouble. An understandable reaction considering someone recently fired a weapon, but all these extra bodies were in her impeding her progress. Worse, some of these newcomers kept trying to ‘help’ her, since she was obviously wounded. Having to constantly shove them away was draining what little energy was left.

On top of all that, she knew all these additional officers, particularly the armed ones, would make it too dangerous for Stensig to reveal himself. If she wanted anyone’s help, it was his, but he was understandably keeping himself hidden.

“Everything is under control!” the Chief finally bellowed. “If you don’t need to be in here, get out!”

Ky’yn looked at him with a grateful look on her face as the room became suddenly less crowded and she was finally able to get to her quarry. Kerana was still unconscious, her face quite bloodied from the beat down someone gave her: she wondered if this was Stensig’s handiwork. No matter, she pulled the bitch’s collar down and went to bite…

…only to find she couldn’t. Too much of her lower jaw was gone, thus she didn’t have the bite pressure needed to pierce a turian’s thick hide. She tried again and again, each time more desperate than the last, but with no success. Panic started to set in: this kind of injury could lead to starvation if she didn’t get help. “’en’ig!” she called out, tears of fear and panic welling in her eyes. “’en’ig!”

“Oh no…,” Galyrus said as he watched her try to feed. “She can’t feed….”

“Is there anything we can do?” Chief asked.

“I’m not sure…”

Just then, a medic came in. “Oh, spirits!” she cried when she saw Ky’yn. “I’m here hun, just stay calm!”

Oh this is just fucking fantastic, we literally had every advantage going for us, and things are more pear-shaped now than ever before! What the shit am I supposed to do now?!

He was still sitting in the corner, hidden away from the prying eyes of the now-more-crowded room. Armed officers had started bursting in, seeking out the cause of the massive disturbance. Shouts of all types were being exchanged across the room, angry, confused, and spastic. Amid the commotion Stensig noticed that Galyrus seemed to be trying to explain things to the chief, with questionable results. He tried to find Ky'yn in the crowd, but had no luck in doing so. He clenched his hands against his head, panic starting to tear away at his rational thinking. What am i gonna do? What am I gonna do?! Things can hardly get any worse than they are now so fucking do SOMETHING!

Just then he heard the chief barking out orders for everyone to leave, saying that only the necessary people were to stay. The loud harshness of his voice helped to snap him out of his stupor, and his mind started working again. Oh I'm staying right here, Stensig thought defiantly as he stood up. I don't trust you or anyone else with Ky'yn. As if on cue, that's when he could finally peer through the remaining bodies and finally spot his closest counterpart, and the sight made his heart drop into his stomach. She was quite obviously in severe pain, and the massive blood loss was taking a visible toll on her energy reserves and her ability to walk. It seemed that it was all she could do to barely stumble forward. But towards what? Him? No…

Drawing a mental dotted line from Ky'yn's eyes, Stensig deduced that she was making for Kerana. Of course, who better to get a blood donation from? He watched as she collapsed to her knees, crouching down to feed on her quarry. He scanned across the room as she did so, there wasn't a sober face in the room. Most of the officers looked to be in horrified awe, if not nauseous. None of that mattered, they'd get their explanation in due time, or they won't, either way it meant nothing to him. What was most important was that Ky'yn got the help she so desperately needed.

Then he heard her cry out, a horrible, miserable noise that made his whole body shiver. With all his concern refocused he looked back down to her, she was still kneeling over the traitor's body, but she hadn't started drinking yet. She cried again, making the same noise as before, then it dawned on him that she was attempting to call out his own name. Quickly he moved over to her position, no longer concerned about keeping his distance from the police. He immediately figured out what the issue was: there was no chance Ky'yn would be able to bite down hard enough to pierce the woman's neck, not in her condition. Without thinking twice, Stensig crouched down and rolled Kerana towards him. Not savoring the situation in the slightest, he immediately bit down into the woman's neck and retracted, leaving two punctures for Ky'yn to use. Seeing what had happened, Ky'yn wasted no time in latching onto Kerana's neck, vigorously beginning to feed.

Stensig stood up, the relief he was feeling barely compensated for the insane nervousness he was still feeling. He stood over Ky'yn, scanning across the room like a bird of prey. It was now his mission to make sure that nothing and no one would come anywhere close to her. Once again as if on perfect cue, a female medic entered the room, carrying an emergency first aid kit. Immediately taking notice of Ky'yn's condition, she started making towards her to help. Awh dammit, Stensig thought with a heavy heart, I hate to do this to a doctor, but I can't let you interfere. Quickly but carefully he stepped around Ky'yn to intercept the medic, pulling out his baton, but not extending it. As the doctor passed by his side, Stensig struck her on the back of the head with the pommel of his baton, immediately knocking her out. As she fell backwards he caught her under her arms, then proceeded to gently lie her down on the floor. Sorry, but I'm the only doctor here qualified to help Ky'yn now.

Galyrus was just about to call out to stop the medic when she suddenly stiffened and collapsed, though the collapse was more of a gentle lay down. Oh hell, he didn’t just…, he started to think, but the Chief interrupted.

“Please tell me I didn’t just witness one of our own get assaulted by this ‘Stensig’ person…,” he growled.

“Apparently so…,” Galyrus sighed, rubbing his head. “I’m fairly certain he didn’t want to do it….”

“Why then, did he do it!?” the Chief demanded.

“To protect Ky’yn.”

“From what? That was a medic! They help people!”

“I…am not completely sure. I just know a vakar told me in the past that medical tech does nothing for them….” He had a suspicion as to why Stensig acted the way he did, but he wasn’t about to voice it: if it was true, that knowledge in the wrong hands could be dangerous to his friends.

“That still doesn’t explain why he went so far!”

“Didn’t you get rather protective of your wife after that miscarriage she suffered just before the Reaper War?”

The Chief glared at him a moment. “Low blow, Galyrus, low blow. Still.” He folded his arms. “I’m getting tired of this guy running around all ghost like.”

“Let me see if I can change that….” Galyrus approached Ky’yn, but stopping just short of where the unconscious medic was. He knew Stensig was there, somewhere, in-between him and Ky’yn: he could almost feel the man staring at him. “It’s OK, Stensig,” he said, his hands up in a non-threatening manner. “You can show yourself: I won’t let anyone hurt you or Ky’yn. Please, I think you continuing to hide right now will only hurt your position more….”

Ky’yn drank eagerly from the woman, grateful that Stensig was able to understand her problem and remedy it. The things she was seeing in this woman’s memories though, nearly made her stop feeding altogether.

The Syndicate had a research program, studying captive vakar. They had been trying to figure out their secret to immortality without the need for blood drinking for decades. Oh spirits…if we had known….if only we had known…. she thought, tears of grief for her tortured vakar brethren falling down her face. Ky’yn prayed they had quick deaths when the Reaper’s came.

Then the memories shifted to more recent times, when the wench joined the Varren. She was right about her desire to restart the Syndicate using the Varren, but Kerana also wanted to restart that research program. Then came the kicker.

She knew there were vakar working within the Varren and was planning on using them as the first subjects once she had control of the gang. Then wipe out the rest, so they didn’t interfere.

This information did make her stop drinking. She pulled back with an audible gasp, her body now trembling. The only saving grace was that this bitch hadn’t revealed her ideas or plans to other’s within the Varren. How long would that last though if she was kept alive? No, she had to die.

“’ee ‘eeds ‘oo eye,” she muttered flatly. “’ee ‘eeds ‘oo’ eye!” But how to convey this in her current state?

Then, she remembered an old program she used to use to disguise her voice. Praying it worked, she activated her omni-tool and brought it up. After making some adjustments to the program, she typed in what she wanted to say. Her efforts were rewarded with a mechanical voice repeating what she typed. ~Stensig, please feed on her…you won’t like what you see. She needs to die.~

Stensig watched with great anxiety how his actions were angering the chief. Truthfully he really wished he didn't have to knock out that medic. Actually, as long as we're wishing for things here, I wish I'd beaten down that whore before she even touched her gun. He shook his head. Galyrus was arguing for his side it seemed, but then approached where he was standing and asked him to show himself. He knew it was already well past staying an overdue welcome without having presented himself. And it was true, he agreed that staying hidden any longer only hurt his position further. That didn't ease the tension he was feeling, however.

It couldn't be helped, he would only be getting himself, along with Ky'yn, into more trouble if he kept hiding. So he called out over Galyrus's shoulder, “All right, I'm showing myself. Fair warning, I'm armed”. At this he let himself go visible, his arms off to the side un-threateningly. “Hey, I'm Stensig, and I have a gun under my poncho. Galyrus can take it if you want, and as long as we're being honest here, you have a very nice office,” He smiled weakly, trying to portray a 'No harm no foul?' question. He highly doubted things would go that well though.

Galyrus stepped forward and un-holstered Stensig's handgun from its harness, also confiscating the baton. He couldn't help but feel his anxiety rise a little more as he handed them to the chief. I don't like feeling unprepared for anything, he mused, and added out loud, “I'll be wanting those back, Galyrus, sentimental value, y'know,”

Stensig's default to nervous humor didn't seem to amuse the chief in the slightest. He took the weapons from Galyrus and examined them absently, “These are police grade,” he appraised out loud, “Where did you come by these?”

“The gun came from a Varren, the baton…” he paused to think of a proper way to explain, “I got off of a fallen officer. I figured it'd be more use to me than him, and both of those have saved my life a few times,”

It wasn't an untrue statement. The weapons had always given him an edge over his criminal targets. Members of his old sect used to playfully give him a hard time for using such means, to which he'd attribute that survival means using anything you can get to your disposal, including 'regular' Turian weapons. “Besides,” he'd said back then, “We can't all have the luxury of being able to throw fireballs and electricity everywhere!”

He didn't have time to reminisce about those times though, as he noticed the chief was clutching the collapsed baton rather tightly. “So I'm assuming this is why that harmless medic is now out cold on my floor?” Stensig nodded. The man's voice was hard, but not without the desire to hear Stensig's side of the story, “Why would you do that?”

Stensig took a deep breath. “I'm a doctor too, surgeon actually, there's barely any others that I'll show my respect for more than a fellow medic. But…” He turned his head to look behind him at Ky'yn, who was still feeding, “A doctor wouldn't be any help to her, in fact it would've only put her in more danger. We…” he gestured to himself and Ky'yn, “Can't use modern medicine anymore, too many things can go wrong and affect us in a bad way. It was too risky to let that medic get close to her, for all I know she may have been preparing to give her a morphine shot or the like, and that would've made her go into shock”

He paid close attention to the chief as he spoke, and he seemed to be believing in what he said. Though his expression showed no signs of softening. “Very well,” he finally said, “I understand, but I still don't appreciate your actions, especially your spying on a police meeting and violently assaulting a suspect,”

“Mmmyesh,” Stensig mumbled sheepishly, avoiding eye contact with the chief and feeling somewhat like a scolded child, “Wasn't exactly thinking clearly then,”

He was about to give a more full apology and explanation before a mechanical-sounding voice interrupted him, and he flinched at how close behind him it sounded. He turned around and saw Ky'yn had stopped, and had her omnitool activated, relaying the words for her. He saw how serious and livid her eyes were as the voice program told him to kill the suspect. Ohh shit… he thought nervously as he slowly turned back to face the chief and detective.

“What!?” the Chief exploded. “You can just kill a suspect!” The man looked like he was about to stomp his away over to them.

“Chief, please!” Galyrus cried, stepping in between them. “Vakar don’t kill people without a good reason! Let her explain!”

Fortunately, Ky’yn had foreseen the outcry and was already typing away quickly to give an explanation. ~This woman was part of a research project studying vakar immortality on Revati.~ she said via the device. ~She intended to restart said project here once she took control of the Varren herself. The goal was ultimately to give Syndicate members the regeneration powers of a vakar, perhaps even access to our other powers, without the blood diet restriction. If she succeeds, turian society itself would be in danger.~

“Spirits…,” Galyrus breathed. “That is serious.”

The Chief seemed a bit overwhelmed by this. “OK…first off…how did you find this out? Second…why kill her when we could just lock her up for the rest of her life? And third…how can you be certain others are not already planning this!?”

“I can answer the first,” Galyrus offered, to which Ky’yn nodded thankfully. “Vakar have the ability to ‘read’ the thoughts and memories of their targets. Ky’yn no doubt just learned all this while feeding on Kerana.”

“Seriously?” For the first time the Chief seemed impressed. “Fuck…that would be useful in some cases. Hell I remember the case with that Salarian that….”

“Only works with dexro based beings, Chief,” Galyrus clarified. “They have the same risk of allergic reaction as we do with consuming levo products.”

“Well fuck.” The Chief folding his arms, looking disappointed. “Well apparently we are not going to be seeing other sentient species for a while it would still be useful….”

~As for the others,~ Ky’yn said. ~There is always the risk of her escaping and/or spreading her plan to others. A risk we cannot take for the sake of society. As of right now, I am positive she has not spread this plan to others, aside from those that already knew back on Revati. Unfortunately, I admit that with her presence here, there is a chance other Syndicate members escaped the planet.~ There was a brief pause as Ky’yn reflected, wondering of Kerana escaped, did any of her sectmates did as well? Considering vakar reluctance for space travel, she doubted it. With a sigh, she typed a bit more into her device.

~All we can reasonably do, is take care of the one we know of now and keep an ear out for other’s.~

She went to stand up now, only to collapse almost immediately. Ky’yn panted heavily, feeling her limbs tremble, her head feeling fuzzy. Despite all the blood she just took in, she was still in bad shape and it will take days for her to fully recover. Right now she feared shock was finally starting to set in, but there was nothing she could do about it. ~I’m sorry…~ she typed quickly. ~Ineedotrest…~

Ky’yn then blacked out completely.

Stensig acted surprisingly unworried when Ky'yn finally collapsed. The fact that she had enough mental fortitude to type out that she was going to pass out, even hastily written, was enough to convince him that things would be okay. New-found peace of mind notwithstanding, he still took it upon himself to crouch down and check for vital signs. She was still unconsciously drawing breath, and her pulse was regular, if not slightly weakened, but he found nothing that would cause him alarm. He gently rotated her head to get a closer look at her jaw injury, and grimaced. I've seen much worse, but that's definitely gonna take some time to heal, maybe even weeks. At least it's stopped bleeding. To be honest he didn't feel he could gauge a proper recovery time. He'd seen such injuries with normal patients, but never with a vakar.

He recalled a patient who'd had his lower jaw blown off by a machine explosion. He and his team were able to craft a prosthetic jaw that, while unable to allow him speech, made him much more presentable to the public. He remembered explaining that he would be on a liquid diet for the rest of his life, and he inwardly smirked, realizing the irony that he too was on an all liquid diet as well.

Stensig stood up and faced the chief and the detective again. “Well she's down for the count, probably for a couple days I betcha. I have no idea when she'll be talking again though, and I'm sure she'll have a few choice words to say to the lot of us,” He glanced at the slumped form of Kerana. “Especially her, and speaking of which, something irks me about what Ky'yn told us,” He crossed his arms and put on a thoughtful face. “You know, this scheme sounds astoundingly like a triple A movie or holo game. Wanting to use science and experiments on mythological creatures to somehow obtain their power. Sounds pretty unbelievable,” He chuckled a little, and added, “The only thing missing is a power-hungry corporation or politician who's in charge of the funding!”

Immediately Stensig's smile dropped and his eyes narrowed. “Funding,” he reasoned out loud, speaking his thoughts as soon as they formulated in his head, “There's no way she was planning to work alone,”

“She'd need resources, manpower, and money if she was undertaking such a difficult project,” Galyrus piped in, seeming to understand where Stensig was going.

“And she didn't expect to be the only one benefiting. Ky'yn said that she wanted to rebuild the Syndicate, but with whom as their membership?” The chief and Galyrus both looked at each other and nodded, then looked back to Stensig, who had figured what they had just agreed on.

“It pains me to say this…” Stensig said, his hand digging into his bicep and his teeth gritted, “I mean it really pains me to say this. But I think we need to have another conversation with Kerana here. A very informational, very unpleasant conversation.”

“An interrogation?” the Chief said. “Couldn’t you just bite her find out the information that way like she did?” He nodded toward Ky’yn.

“We don’t know how much blood Ky’yn took from her,” Galyrus explained. “And I think, if the one body we have in our morgue is any indication, two vakar feeding on the same target too soon is pretty much a death sentence. There’s a good chance Ky’yn does already know the information due to her feeding, but we don’t know when she’ll wake up.”

“We don’t know when this bitch will wake up either.” The Chief kicked Kerana in the leg. “Thanks to Stensig’s beat down. Hell, there’s a chance she could be in a coma.”

“So until either of them wake up, we have to work with what we already know,” Galyrus muttered, then turned to the documents Ky’yn gave them earlier in the day. “If this chart is accurate, Kerana is still pretty low on the totem pole. That likely means she doesn’t have the backing yet to go forward with the project.” He noticed a familiar name on the chart: Chelos. I wonder if he knew anything about Kerana’s true intentions? he thought. Probably not, since, as a vakar, he possibly wouldn’t like the idea of being experimented on. It’s possible he would have taken her out himself once he learned of her intentions. He’d have to ask Stensig to be sure, but at that moment it wouldn’t be wise to since the Chief didn’t know the full story just yet.

“Hmm…but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have been working on such backing outside of the Varren in the meantime,” the Chief said. “There are…unfortunately…a number of influential, both criminal and non-criminal, turians that would jump at the chance at immortality.”

“The background she gave us is likely completely fabricated,” Galyrus mused. “And I doubt we’ll get anything on her real name, considering the classified nature of her colony. So we have nothing to go on…damn, guess we’ll have to wait for one of them to wake up then.” A thought suddenly occurred to him. Shit…what if Kerana already knew there were vakar working with Varren? Considering what Ky’yn told him before about the Syndicate and the new info about this project they had been working on, there was a good chance Kerana knew what to look for when checking to see if someone was a vakar. Then again, it took her a while to realize Ky’yn was a vakar, so maybe not? Ugh, Ky’yn probably knows this, but she’s KOed for now.

“I’m seeing a lot of smoke coming from your earholes, Galyrus,” the Chief teased, folding his arms. “What’s on your mind?”

“I think…,” Galyrus sighed. “It’s time to fill you in on the whole story, Chief.”

“That probably would be a good idea, though I fear what bombshells you’re going to drop on me next.”

“A big one, unfortunately,” Galyrus said regretfully. “But first…we should tend to our wounded and properly secure Kerana. Sten, would non-medicated bandages be alright for you guys? I figure if we bandaged her injury it should convince most medics that she’s already been tended to.”

Stensig nodded to Galyrus. “Yeah, bandages would be a good idea, have a med bring me some gauze and I'll handle it myself,”

“So, what I'm gleaning from this conversation here…” Stensig began, not looking excited, “Is that we're stuck until one or the other wakes up,” The expressions on the chief's and the detective's faces both seemed to agree. Galyrus then spoke up, admitting that it was time for the chief to be informed about everything. Stensig nodded in agreement, mentally preparing what he was going to say. The chief stared him down, obviously desiring to know just what in the world was going on. He bit his tongue lightly, trying to figure out how he was going to word his explanation. Things had gotten more complicated than when he'd told Galyrus all he knew, and even then Galyrus had already seemed to know a lot about vakar. The chief would need a more wide-spanning

“Well, first things first…” Stensig finally spoke out, “Vakar like Ky'yn and myself are most well known to be the group-living type. Generally we live together in sects outside of normal Turian territory, with a sort of self-sustaining hierarchy of lower-to-higher members. It's rare, but possible, to migrate to other sects or to work alone, but a lone vakar without a proper sect is usually considered a rogue, and their actions won't be condoned by a sect or its leaders,”

The chief nodded along to show his understanding, “So Ky'yn's with your sect now, after losing the one she used to have on Revati?”

“Actually no,” Stensig said, shaking his head, “In fact, both she and I would fall under the 'rogue' category now, her sect's long gone, and I abandoned mine,” Already anticipating the impending 'why?' he continued to speak. “Most vakar sects run under the strict rules that they fight criminals and protect the innocent. Those were the two most paramount ideals, and for the longest time my sect abided by them, but with a striking difference. The leader of my sect, Erapax, felt that it would be beneficial for all if our sect controlled crime. His idea was to host a false criminal organization, committing fake crimes that wouldn't actually harm the Turian populace. The crime ring would lure in would-be criminals, which we would then feed on,”

The chief's face took on an expression of epiphany, but his face remained serious. “And don't tell me…”

Stensig nodded, “Yep, the Varren are directly run by my sect. A vakar-owned crime syndicate,”

The chief crossed his arms and looked apprehensive. “But the varren have been causing actual harm to the community. We have actual murders, racketeering, and property destruction. What happened that would allow them to act as such?”

“Namely, the Reapers,” Stensig replied, “My sect lost a lot of its number during the war, including many who were planted inside the Varren to keep closer watch on it. With our membership so thin, Erapax became more and more paranoid about keeping the rest of us 'safe'. He disallowed us from interfering with Varren work unless directly ordered to, and we were to let some of their actions slip through the cracks so as to avoid the police figuring out that their gang was just a front,”

He sighed and his eyes moved to stare down at the floor. “It was sickening. I'd known Erapax to be a good man with the best intentions, if not entirely unconventional. And for the longest time I thought I was doing some good for the community. During my time serving as a doctor – yes I was already a vakar then – it was my job to help fund the Varren and my sect. I always felt guilty, but it didn't feel like extortion then, more like repaying a debt,”

Galyrus spoke up now, seeming to have a burning question he wanted answered. “What made you become a vakar? Why did you join that sect?”

The male Vakar made a guffaw noise, raising his eyes to once again look at the men. “That's actually for a much more personal, albeit selfish reason. The short of it is that I was diagnosed with a degenerative muscle condition when I was living in a children's home, with no chance of having the money for treatment. It was estimated that I wouldn't be able to properly handle objects in my hands by age 30, and I'd be the equivalent to a quadriplegic by 45. You can imagine how that would've killed my dreams of being a surgeon, can't have a doctor dropping scalpels inside a patient,”

Galyrus reasoned out loud, “So you sought out other methods to keep yourself from changing for the worse,” When the chief eyed him questioningly, he explained, “When a Turian is turned into a Vakar, their physical state becomes 'frozen' in time. Any negative physical conditions would cease to get worse. This is also why Ky'yn can't regrow her missing arm. She'd already lost it before she was turned,” The chief nodded along with his understanding.

“Actually though,” Stensig interrupted, “They were the ones who came to me offering an alternative. Naturally I was skeptical, but they proved that what they offered was true. So I took their offer to become a Vakar and help my sect puppet the Varren. Like I said, by the time the war was over and the Varren had grown out of control, i'd had my fill with the lot of them, and left. It wasn't long after I met with Ky'yn. But enough about that, it's actually not the most pressing thing I need to tell you right now. Even with all of this,” he gestured widely, “The Varren, my sect, Ky'yn, Revati, the Syndicate, Kerana… There's still one more wrench that's wedging itself in here. You were raided recently, Galyrus informs me, by a man who seemed to waltz straight into your HQ, hack your systems and information, and retrieve a captured Varren member,”

“Yes, what he told you was correct,” the chief raised a brow at Galyrus, irritated at the thought that he'd so freely share such information with a stranger. But Galyrus gestured for Stensig to finish, in a 'it'll make sense soon' fashion.

“Both the intruder and the Varren member were Vakar in my sect, the Varren isn't important, but the intruder himself… seems to want to conduct a coup of sorts against Erapax and my old sect. His name is Chelos.”

“There should be some gauze in the kit the medic you knocked out brought with her,” Galyrus said, gesturing toward said kit. “I’ll ask someone to bring more though, just in case.” With that, he poked his head out the door, noticing a lot of eager faces looking his way. “I need more gauze…and an ice pack…oh and a pair of handcuffs.”

“Is everything alright in there, detective?” one of the staff asked, as one officer tossed him a pair of handcuffs and another ran off to the medical ward to get the requested supplies.

“At the moment, yes,” Galyrus sighed. Chief may pop a vein though once we explain everything. he thought as he said. “I’ll let you know if we need anything else.”

“Right, sir.”

After closing the door again, he set the handcuffs on the table: there was no point in cuffing Kerana while she was unconscious. He then nodded for Stensig to proceed: thankfully the vakar seemed to need the time to figure out how to begin. Out of the corner of his eye, he kept an eye on the Chief, preparing to calm him down if need be. Surprisingly, the Chief remained pretty calm throughout the explanation, though he did grow understandably apprehensive at some points.

Galyrus did ask about Stensig’s reason to become a vakar and he found the reasoning to be interesting…and understandable. He certainly would have jumped at the chance if he was in the same situation. “Chelos…,” the Chief spoke up. “I noticed his name on that chart you gave us…pretty high up on the ladder in the Varren. And yet you say he apparently wants to over throw Erapax?”

“From what little information we have, yes,” Galyrus stated. “Not even Stensig here is certain on his motivations.” He sighed as he added. “And from how he described his abilities to me eariler, it’s safe to assume he’s an electric based vakar.”

The chief looked mildly confused. “Wait…you mean these two.” He pointed at Stensig and Ky’yn. “Can’t do what this Chelos can? Or the other way around?”

“Correct. Each vakar has, on average, two special powers, both of which are related to each other in some way,” Galyrus explained. “Stensig’s are related to stealth and Ky’yn’s are related to fire, obviously.”

Just then there was a knock on the door. Galyrus opened it and was greeted by an officer carrying medical supplies he requested. “Sorry it took so long,” the woman said. “The other medics were throwing a fit over this: wanted to know why the injured were not being taken straight to them…why just this…goodness.”

“I’ll talk to them later,” the Chief said as Galyrus accepted the supplies with a thanks. “Damn medics can be so uptight at times.” The officer nodded and left.

Once the door was closed, Galyrus handed Stensig the medical supplies. “The ice pack is for the medic you knocked out,” he said, likely unnessicarily.

“Now that we are relatively alone again,” the Chief spoke up. “I have a burning question to ask you, personally, Galyrus.”

He had a feeling he knew what it was and sighed. “Let me guess…’how do I know all this stuff about vakar?”

Yes!” the Chief snapped. “From what I’ve gathered these vakar are supposed to be a secretive bunch…but you seem to know them like the back of your hand!”

“Mmmm….” He wasn’t certain how to explain it, so he took a moment to gather his thoughts. “Remember a few years ago, before the war, when I was preparing for early retirement?”

“Aye, I do,” the Chief said, folding his arms. “You were getting sick of all the criminals getting out of prison, only to reoffend…again and again. Only you came back out of ‘retirement’ after barely more than a week!”

“And became a detective instead of a field officer,” Galyrus said softly.

“Yeah…so what does that have to do with vakar?”

“That early ‘retirement’ was me attempting to join the vakar ranks.”

The shock on the Chief’s face was almost comical. “Wait…only attempted? What, did they reject your application or something?”

“Oh, they very much wanted me, as they were hurting for members at the time, but…the process didn’t ‘take’ with me.”

“I don’t understand….”

“I can’t go into specifics due to the oath I took,” Galyrus explained. “But there are three outcomes to the process: new vakar, death, or a failed turn. I was the latter of the three.”

“Could you just try again?”

“No…you can only ever attempt it once.”

“Huh…odd…yet it seems to explain why Kerana’s friends apparently haven’t been successful with this project of theirs.”

“I think there’s another reason as well…,” Galyrus said, his eyes suddenly wide when he noticed something. “Look….”

The Chief looked at where he was pointing and his own eyes widened. “Wait…that was Ky’yn was laying initially after she got shot…there was a sizeable blood pool there. What happened to the blood!?”

Galyrus knelt down and felt the area. There was moisture there, but all that came up was a strange slightly greenish fluid that had what looked like specks of dirt in it. “I think it…self-destructed….,” he muttered. “Must be a defense mechanism against people like Kerana that want to learn their secrets.”

“I’ve never even heard of blood doing that before….”

“Nor have I….”

Stensig knelt down and gently removed the first aid kit that was still in the clutch of the KO'd medic. We'll take care of you next, I promise. He thought. Opening the kit and examining its contents, he found a roll of gauze, but not enough to suit his need. He nodded up to Galyrus and agreed with him, “Yeah, I'm gonna need more than this, thanks,” I think it'd be best to cover her whole face, make sure no one would be inclined to stare at her.

As Stensig began working on wrapping up Ky'yn's head he listened to Galyrus continuing his explanations to the chief. And while he couldn't see the ranking officer, he could easily imagine the varying expressions he must be making. I wonder if he's hoping that this is all just a dream or something, wouldn't blame him if he did. How do you even go about rationalizing everything we've revealed so far?

He perked his head when he heard Galyrus going into the specifics of vakar powers. He seemed to know a lot about how individual vakar abilities tied together in their own personal 'themes'. How does he know that? Is he that good of a detective that he figured that out from observing the two of us? No, probably not, he already seemed to know about vakar before he even met us. It was then that another man returned with more gauze and an ice pack. Stensig took them thankfully, immediately placing the ice pack under the downed medic's head.

As he got back to work with his fresh roll of gauze Galyrus started explaining how he knew so much about vakar, and he focused his ears to listen. When the truth came out that Galyrus was a failed turn, Stensig stopped short and craned his head to look behind his shoulder, “Wait, you tried to become a vakar? Who was it that approached you?” Naturally he considered that it could have been someone from his own sect. Stensig didn't keep tabs on newcomers attempting to join their ranks, it wasn't among his responsibilities. You'd have been sorely disappointed if it was us. Before he had any time to ask anything else, the two men verbally noted what was happening to the blood puddle Ky'yn had left.

“Oh yeah, that,” he said, now realizing that he'd still left his work with Ky'yn unfinished. Returning to his bandaging process, he clarified, “Yeah, that's something that happens to our blood naturally. I don't know the science behind it, but I think it happens when our blood hits the open air. I've never personally attempted any methods on preserving our blood for extended periods of time, but that'd be one of the first hurdles Kerana would've had to tackle. We'll have to knock that answer out of her later,”

He stood up now, having completed his task with Ky'yn. Her entire head was wrapped around like a mummy, though Stensig had cut holes out for her eyes and nose. Now she shouldn't attract any extra attention he thought, satisfied with his work.

Turning to face the two men once again, he reignited his inquiry with Galyrus, “Seriously though, I'm really curious. Who came to you and offered to turn you into a vakar?”

“It wasn’t from any sect on this planet, I assure you,” Galyrus said, having guessed that Stensig would be worried he had been approached by his old sect. “It was one based in Apparitus, on Digeris. The vakar that approached me went by the name of Dakar Kagnis. There was another with him as well, a female whom he referred to only as ‘Elder’.”

Galyrus lowered his head and thought back to that time for a moment. “We had a bit in common, he and I: he told me he was once a cop himself and that he had the same problems I did. I…think I was his first attempt at turning someone, as the Elder was with him almost every step of the process, advising and telling him what to do. He seemed take it hard when I failed to become one of them.”

“Wait…so these people can approach just anyone and make the offer?” the Chief spoke up.

Galyrus was already shaking his head. “From what I understood, vakar are generally very picky on who they approach,” he explained. “And only certain members, namely the senior members, are permitted to even try to make new vakar. I was in my prime, without any crippling ailments and a strong desire to protect turian society: those are major things they seem to look for.”

“But wait…Stensig mentioned he had a degenerative muscle disease…why turn him?”

“Because it hadn’t progressed to the point where it would severely impair his abilities. Becoming a vakar literally stopped the disease’s progress in its tracks.”

“Shit…that’s incredibly useful. With the other things, no wonder people like her want to figure out their secrets.” The Chief nodded toward Kerana.

“Useful, yes, but there is one big downside.” Galyrus folded his arms.

“Aside from the blood only diet?” Galyrus nodded. “What? They turn to ash if they go out in sunlight?”

“Nah, that’s human vampires…completely different. No, the downside is that if you become a vakar, you can forget about having kids.”

“Wait…what?”

“Yes, the ‘timelock’ thing I mentioned earlier includes the reproductive system. It’s something I had to accept when I agreed to trying to become one.”

“You never seemed much of a family man to begin with, Gal,” the Chief said with a chuckle.

“Ugh…dealing with my nephew Bryst is enough…and he’s an adult!”

There was a groan, prompting all three males to turn in that direction. It was the medic, she was waking up.

“Ooooh…,” she moaned as she slowly sat up. “What happened?”

Bad Dreams

“You had a nasty spill,” Galyrus said, helping the medic to her feet. “Fortunately, one of our guests has medical experience and took care of one of the injured for you.” He nodded toward Ky’yn.

“I see…a little excessive on the bandaging if you ask me…,” the medic muttered. “If she’s not in immediate danger anymore I’ll check the other patient.” She walked over to Kerana and started a scan with her omni-tool. “Oh this is bad…,” she muttered, looking at the result. “She has a couple of concussions, on serious…looks like she’s in a coma. Odd…her hemoglobin levels are low as well…hmm…that may be why she’s even still alive as there’s evidence of brain swelling.”

Galyrus looked at Stensig with a ‘you really did a number on her’ expression, to which Stensig just shrugged. “Will she live?” he asked the medic.

“She seems stable now, so I think so. When she’ll wake up again is unknown at the moment, however. We’ll need to run some tests with more appropriate equipment.”

“Well, that complicates matters,” the Chief grumbled. “Seeing she may have information we need to help with the Varren. Alright, do what you need to do, miss, but this woman is to be kept under constant guard.”

“What…why?”

“She was revealed to be a mole for the Varren and it will be only a matter of time before they notice she’s gone quiet. The information she has, we rater not get back to the Varren.”

“I-I see…I’ll make the appropriate arrangements. What about her?” She pointed at Ky’yn. “She’s going to need reconstruction surgery….”

“That’s already been arranged by Stensig here,” Galyrus replied. “He’s a surgeon. Worry about Lithyn for now.”

“Uh…OK….”

While the medic got the ball rolling for getting Kerana to a secure hospital facility, the Chief recommended they relocate to his office for a more private ‘chat’. The medic protested Stensig carrying Ky’yn, but was convinced that she would be fine. There, the Chief insisted that Stensig and Ky’yn work with them more directly for the time being, at least until the Varren and rogue vakar sect situation was more under control. This of course, required more explanation on what vakar did and how, including that their main powers only worked at night.

Stensig didn’t like the idea of being ‘restricted’ in how he could do his ‘job’ and there was some back and forth until an acceptable compromise was reached. The vakar would be allowed to hunt as normal, so long as any intel they gain on the Varren would be given to them immediately. They would also be required to be ‘on call’ to assist the police as needed, to include interrogations. The Chief then requisitioned two police grade omni-tools for them, to make it easier to keep in touch.

This led to more back and forth, with both Stensig and Galyrus arguing that the risk of them being ‘tracked’ by their enemies would be too great. The Chief eventually relented and had the IT guys set the GPS and net functions of the tools as ‘disabled’ as default unless they needed to use them: Stensig was shown how to enable and disable those functions as needed.

By the time this was over, it was getting rather late, so the Chief dismissed them for the night: he gave Stensig back his weapons at that point. As they walked to his car, Galyrus offered for the two vakar to stay at his place until Ky’yn was fully recovered. He explained he knew Ky’yn would require daily feedings to regenerate and that he felt it would be easier on her if she stayed within the city. Galyrus even offered to get some animal blood to ensure she had access to a meal. Stensig agreed with the lodging, but opted to let Ky’yn decide on the animal blood offer.

Galyrus did warn him that his nephew stayed with him, but while he was something of a fool with a mischievous streak, he was harmless and shouldn’t be a threat. He did look a bit concerned when he noticed a light was still on in his house. Galyrus asked Stensig to hang back a moment while he checked to ensure it was safe. Turned out Bryst was just up late.

“Why are you still up?” Galyrus asked when the younger turian answered the door.

“Couldn’t sleep…and I was worried about you being at work for so long,” Bryst replied, sheepishly.

“Oy! In my line of work long, late nights are expected…you should know this by now!” Galyrus groaned, rubbing his head.

“I know…but with the Varren being more active I worry.” Galyrus sighed and shook his head before motioning for Stensig to come in. Bryst immediately noticed them. “Who are they…and what the heck happened to her?”

“Temporary house guests,” Galyrus explained. “They’re going to be helping out at work for a while. You are not to disturb them in any way unless they call for you, especially during the day. Understood?”

“Y-yes sir.”

By then Stensig was at the door, Ky’yn still ‘snoozing’ in his arms. “This is my nephew, Bryst,” he told him. “I’ve instructed him to not bother you unless you call for him.” Galyrus paused a moment to think. “Bryst, this is Sten and Ky.” He felt telling his nephew their full names may not be a good idea.

“H-hello,” Bryst said, letting them in. “T-the…extra bedroom is down that hall at the end on the left.”

While Stensig headed that way to make Ky’yn comfortable, Galyrus gave Bryst one more bit of instruction. “Now, Bryst…I’d rather you did not mention them to anyone, not to your friends, or your co-workers.”

“Huh? Why?”

“The nature of their job and mine is dangerous and with Ky injured, we want to sure she makes a full recovery. Understand?”

“I think so….”

Meanwhile, Stensig had just put Ky’yn on the bed when she stirred. Ky’yn was immediately confused by the foreign feeling around her head and the unfamiliar surroundings. “Huh…,” she muttered weakly. “’ere a I? ‘Huat ha’ened?”

It surprised Stensig to see her conscious again so quickly. In the darkness of the bedroom he doubted she'd recognize him immediately, so he opted to speak up. “Shh,” he gently commanded as he drew the covers over her body, “You're all patched up and safe now, we all are. Just relax and go back to sleep.”

He caressed the side of her bandaged face and she gently drew her finger across his arm, before her arm flopped down onto the bed. She was out like a light once again. Stensig breathed out, feeling a mix of relief and unease. He knew she'd be needing as much rest as possible, but he hoped it wouldn't end up messing up her metabolism or sleeping schedule. One crisis at a time he thought, Let's get her back to 100% before worrying about anything else.

He silently walked out of the bedroom and hit the holographic panel on the wall, closing the door behind him. Plodding down the hall, he felt the desire to lie down as well, the evening's events had left him mentally exhausted, and now that he was safe he wanted to take advantage of some down time. Entering the living room, he saw a couch sitting up against the wall opposite a deactivated TV holoprojector. Perfect, he thought thankfully as he allowed himself to fall slumping into the couch. Letting out a long sighing breath, Stensig draped his forearm over his eyes and tried to let his mind relax. He found this nearly impossible, as his brain was attempting to ruminate on everything that had happened in the last few hours. For minutes he fought an unwinning battle with his consciousness, until a voice broke the silence.

“Can I help you?” Bryst's voice timidly rang out. Stensig moved his arm to look at the youth, who was now dressed in nighttime clothes, apparently preparing for bed. “Do you want a pillow and some blankets? I can grab some for you,”

The corner of Stensig's mouth raised. It had been a long time since he'd been a guest anywhere, or been treated kindly as a guest. The small but earnest kindness being offered to him made him feel much better. “I'd appreciate that a lot, please, but I don't think I'll be going to sleep for a while longer, in fact…” He decided the difficult evening was cause enough to allow himself a treat, “Do you have any soft drinks? I get the feeling I'll be talking with your uncle some more, and I could use a nice pick-me-up”

Galyrus was sitting in the kitchen, updating some of the files on his omni-tool. It was busy work, aimed to help settle his mind down after the exhausting night before turning in. I hope Chief knows what he is doing, he thought, concerns about, essentially, forcing Stensig and Ky’yn to work with them coming back to him.

His trip down worry lane was interrupted when Bryst walked in and opened the fridge. “What are you doing?” he asked his nephew. “You’re not the type for a late night snack….”

“Not for me, Uncle,” Bryst said. “Sten asked for a soda.”

“Huh, I see.” Galyrus was a bit curious why Stensig would ask for such a thing, knowing that it would cause him some discomfort later. “I’ll take that too him for you: you should head to bed.”

“Oh…OK.” Bryst handed him the softdrink. “He mentioned something about possibly wanting to talk to you more anyway: he’s in the living room.”

Ah…I wonder if he’s having second thoughts like I am, he thought as he took the drink into the living room, where he spotted Stensig on the couch. He vakar looked the same as he felt: mentally exhausted. “Considering the day we both had, I’m tempted to get us a couple of beers instead,” he told him as he sat down next to him, handing him the drink. “This day certainly turned out to be like one of those soap operas didn’t it?” After a pause, he looked down at the ground and added, softly. “I hope our newest ‘arrangement’ doesn’t come bite us in the ass later….”

Stensig took the offered soda thankfully and popped the tab open. “I appreciate the gesture,” he began, “But I was never interested in alcohol. Seen too many bad livers in my day, turned me off the idea,” He took a long swig of the soft drink and let out a pleased 'Ahh,' ”This stuff on the other hand…” he said, grinning slightly, “Was the unhealthy habit I allowed myself. Coffee was always too bitter for me, so I always loved getting a caffeine fix from something that actually tasted good,”

He took another drink, savoring the sweetness and the fizz, before he took a more solemn expression. “Given the circumstances I think hiding out here is the right choice, unless Kerana had any more friends in the force, there shouldn't be any reason for the Varren to think we'd be here. And it is nice that we're so close to the city now, much better chances for 'food',” He glanced in Galyrus's direction, trying not to sound crass referring other people as such.

After another drink he spoke up again, “Actually, on that subject, I have no idea how long Ky'yn's gonna be out of commission. Even if it's only for another day, she'll be ravenous when she wakes up. I think we should get a hold of some blood to keep on hand, just in case,”

“With an injury like that, I wouldn’t be surprised,” Galyrus sighed. “Unfortunately, the nearest butcher shop that sells animal blood in bulk would be closed now, so we’ll have to wait until I get off shift tomorrow…and there’s no telling what will happen tomorrow, as unpredictable my job can be. I’d send Bryst for it, but he’s working tomorrow and I’d rather keep him in the dark about your true nature for the time being if I can.” With another sigh, he added. “He’s a good kid, but a little boastful at times: despite me telling him not to say anything about you two to his friends and co-workers, I know him well enough to know he’ll let something slip at some point. On the matter of Kerana though….”

Galyrus sighed deeply, wishing these worries would just go away. “With her revealed, the Chief, and others, will be watching for other potential moles more carefully. While we will keep the true reason behind her current condition on a ‘need to know’ basis…it will be only a matter of time before her Varren friends start wondering why she went silent. And with someone like this Chelos person working for them, they’ll likely find out the truth quickly. But yet…” He paused a moment, recalling the other things they told him about that vakar. “He might not tell them: he’s an enigma…a wildcard…in all this. I don’t like that. Then there’s the rest of his sect…” He sighed once more: he’s done that too many times he realized. “One crisis at a time, I suppose. Hey…you didn’t need to hunt tonight did you? I know Ky’yn got a ‘snack’ earlier, but I don’t know if you both feed on the same not or not.”

“If Chelos finds out, he won't tell anyone, not until such a time as it'd be useful to,” Stensig thought out loud, eyes looking to the ceiling as he speculated. “We shouldn't have to worry about him yet. Y'know, I really wish it'd be possible for me to keep an eye on my sect, but there's no way they wouldn't sense me if I went back to the Sanctuary,”

He tilted his head back as he downed the last of his soft drink, and crushed the can in his hand before setting it down on the coffee table in front of them. “As for me needing to feed, I think it's too late for me to be heading out, so much of our evening was soaked up at the station. Doesn't matter though, I don't have any appetite right now, and I might even get some extra from the butcher for myself,” He looked over to Galyrus and raised his arm, activating the omnitool that had been given to him.

“Been quite a while since I used one of these, had to at work though, so it should be like riding a bike right?” He mumbled to himself as he messed with the settings until he finally found what he wanted. “Ah!” he said as he opened the map function, “Okay, if you'd show me where this butcher is, I can go in and pick up some blood early in the morning, and bring it back before I go to sleep. That soda'll keep me up long enough, I think,”

“It’s the when I worry about,” Galyrus muttered. “Chances are, he’ll spill at the worst possible time. I suppose there’s nothing we can do about it, for now.”

Galyrus mentally cursed himself after Stensig mentioned getting the animal blood himself. Of course a vakar would be capable of buying it if need be. After all, they used animal blood to offer to him when he was tested on whether or not he had turned: pity he went for the cold cuts instead. A part of him wondered where he would be now if his turn had been successful. No use thinking about what could have been, however.

“It’s not far,” he said, reaching over to slide the map to the appropriate location on the display, then marked it. “The shop opens at 0700, hopefully that’s won’t be too late for you. Here.” He did a couple of commands to transfer a small amount of credits to his tool. “That should be enough to get what you need for now. I’ll get more after I get off shift as a backup.”

Just after he finished, he cut loose a big yawn. “Spirits…my apologies,” he muttered. “I guess I best hit the sack and get what sleep I can.” Galyrus stood up and stretched before he remembered something else. “If you need blankets and a pillow, there are some in the closet at the end of the hall. Try not to run up the room service bill, OK? Good night.” He gave him a smirk before heading off to his room.

Meanwhile, Chelos was finishing up his duties at the Varren HQ, when he noticed the Varren Second-in-command was pacing, looking a mix of worried and agitated. Granted the latter she always looked, but the former was rare for her. “Something up, Second Boss?” he asked.

Dacia jumped at the sound of his voice. The woman scowled at him, like she usually did and seemed hesitant to say anything. Then she seemed to reconsider her reluctance. “It seems we’ve had bad luck with informants as of late,” she muttered. “First one of yours walks out on you…now one of mine is late in reporting in. I’m wondering if there’s a connection.”

“Why do you think that?” he asked, genuinely curious.

“Because the one you lost is still unaccounted for, correct?” Chelos nodded, though in reality Stensig was accounted for inhis mind. “Couldn’t he or she have spilled informant information to the police?”

“Possible, but not likely in this case,” Chelos explained. “Mine did not know the full extent of my involvement with this organization and had little to no knowledge of who was a Varren, let alone our informants.” Though he probably does now, considering I made sure that one idiot had certain updated files. He had to fight to keep a smirk off his face.

Dacia didn’t seem fully convinced. “There’s still a chance though…after all, there’s no way one can know everything about a person.”

You’re right about that, my dear, he thought as he shrugged nonchalantly. “Thus I go by what I do know…and I’m fairly confident in my assessment of him.”

“And I…am fairly certain I cannot fully trust you…Chelos,” Dacia growled. She walked up to and looked him in the eye. “I don’t know what the Boss sees in you, but let me warn you: if I find out you interfered with any of my operations, I won’t hesitate to put you down myself. Clear?”

“Of course, Second Boss.” Chelos said, bowing slightly with a faint smile. She growled and stormed out of the room, leaving him alone.

Oh,my dear Dacia… the vakar thought with a broad smile. By the time you figure it out…it will be too late for you.

Stensig gave Galyrus an agreeing smile as he watched him get up from the couch and walk down the hall. Now alone once more, he laid back and tried to get comfortable on the couch. He wasn't tired yet, but he wanted to veg out and turn his brain off for the few hours he had before morning, only to find that he couldn't. Minutes passed by like hours, and try as he might he couldn't find a position that felt comfortable enough to relax in, he felt buzzed and awake.

Of course, he thought glumly, I must have lost most of that caffeine resistance after going so long without it. He mentally scolded himself for forgetting such a basic biology fact, and sat back up, grumbling. Across the living room, he spotted a television holoscreen built into the wall. Intrigued, he got off the couch and walked over to turn it on. The loudness of the speakers startled him greatly, and he fumbled around the controls desperately searching for the volume button. Having found it and reduced the TV to a murmur, he hesitantly looked towards the hall to see if he'd disturbed anyone, and sighed with relief to see that he hadn't.

Hitting the channel keys, he browsed through the programs, making faces at the slim pickings. Oh right, it's the middle of the night, there's not gonna be a lot to choose from. Not wanting to give up, he continued searching until he stumbled upon a diamond in the rough. The scene included a dual-pistol-toting Hanar and an Elcor dressed in a police uniform. Blasto?! They're still making these movies? Holy shit… He grinned to himself, he always loved mindless action/adventure movies. The perfect thing to help him turn off his brain and pass the time. Satisfied, he moved back to the couch and watched the movie in mostly-silence.

After two and a half hours of one-liners, gunfights, and sex scenes the credits started rolling. Stensig stretched out and yawned, wondering what the time was. Activating his omni-tool, he saw that it was five in the morning, close to when he'd be about ready to turn in for the day, but he knew he'd have to manage for a good while longer. Without anything else to do, he figured he'd check up on Ky'yn. He got up, turned off the TV, and headed to her room down the hall. Entering the dark room, he cautiously tiptoed over to Ky'yn's bedside. Gently he took hold of her wrist and took her pulse, normal, nothing to cause alarm. When he placed his hand on her forehead he felt his own furrow slightly. You're a little warm, love. Might be running a small fever.

He exited the room, hoping to find the kitchen and get a wet dishtowel for Ky'yn. As he entered the kitchen he stifled a gasp when he saw another person in the room, only to realize it was Bryst, who was eating a cold cereal breakfast. “Oh, h-hey,” Bryst's voice cut the silence, “What're you doing up? Did you even sleep?”

“Ah, no, actually. Couldn't. Watched a Blasto movie instead,” Stensig sheepishly replied, only half-feigning embarrassment. “Hey listen,” he continued, disarming any opportunity for a snarky rebuttal, “My friend's running a slight fever, could I get a wet towel for her head?”

“Oh, sure. They're right there in the drawer,” Bryst said pointing next to the sink. Stensig nodded and immediately procured a towel. He soaked it in the sink with cold water and wrung it out to be damp. After nodding to Bryst with appreciation, Stensig made his way back to Ky'yn's room. Standing next to her once more, he folded the towel over and gently placed it on her forehead. He looked at her apprehensively, unhappy with how miserable a condition she was in, but thought with determinaiton: You're a tough cookie, you'll make it through this. I promise I'll be right here to take care of you.

At first there was nothing; just a silent void in her mind. Then hints of images, sounds and other sensations started surfacing. They were incomprehendable at first, a mish mash random sensations in no logical order. Slowly, they organized themselves, becoming more coherent, clearer.

At first she was confused, as the scenes that played in her mind were not ones she remembered. Then she recognized one, one she had briefly glimpsed earlier, when she was still awake. Kerana…these were Kerana’s memories. However, since she was in a dreaming state, she had no control over which ones revealed themselves….

The first one that was completely clear was of Kerana walking down a hallway, in what looked like an underground bunker. No…Lab… Ky’yn corrected herself, when Kerana had glanced into a side room full of lab equipment. The place was a mess, like some kind of attack had happened: consoles were smoking or even partly melted, various lab containers were spilled and broken, there were even a few bodies here and there. Yes, the place had definitely been attacked, but by whom?

Kerana’s emotional state was one of anger and extreme disappointment. Just behind Kerana were two heavily armed men and Kerana herself was packing a sidearm. Someone had messed up, big time, and it was going to cost them their lives.

“Oreus!” Kerana bellowed as she entered a large room, the main laboratory, which looked like it took the brunt of the attack. Oreus, a much older male, jumped at the sound of her voice, a look of dread on his face. Around him other scientists stopped their cleanup efforts, all looking nervous: they all knew at least one of them was going to die today.

“Lieutenant Siessan…,” Oreus swallowed. “I was not expecting you to be here so soon…we are still….”

“I was assigned to oversee the recovery effort personally,” Kerana growled. “And to punish the ones responsible for this mess as I see fit.”

“O-of course, Lieutenant….”

“Now….” Kerana walked around the room, taking note of how thorough all the equipment had been trashed. “How severe my punishment will be will depend on how much data can be recovered.” She heard an audible gulp, which already clued her in on how harsh a punishment will be needed. “Do tell me something was salvageable…for your sake.”

She glanced over her shoulder at the man, whom was now shaking so much he may as well be having a seizure. “So far…,” he said softly. “It looks like…nothing but the creatures themselves is recoverable…..”

Kerana turned toward him, Ky’yn able to feel the heat of anger on her face. “How is that possible!” she demanded. “You had backups didn’t you!?”

“W-w-we did…but one of the creatures had electric powers…she…..”

Kerana stomped over to him and smacked him in the face so hard he fell to the floor. “And just how did those freaks get out of their cells in the first place!?”

“One of the staff got too close….,” Oreus explained hastily. “Also broke protocol by going into the holding pen room alone…so no one was there to help him when they grabbed him. By the time security was alerted, they were in full revolt.”

“I can’t believe this….,” Kerana snarled. “One moment of incompetence has cost us nearly two centuries of work! And we were so close to figuring out what makes them what they are! How many of the freaks are left?”

“Only five, Lieutenant….”

Kerana looked at him with disbelief. “We lost over half our supply?”

“The electric one we had to kill, as the tazers wouldn’t have worked on her….not to mention she was the main one causing all the damage…and had gotten too close to finding a way out.”

“That one I could understand,” Kerana grumbled. “But what about the others?”

“Two others were slain due to a couple members of security panicking,” Oreus explained. “The rest…couple of the scientists tried to tranquilize them with a new formula, but it killed them instead.”

Kerana sighed, rubbing her face. Ky’yn saw thoughts of annoyance at how vakar were so sensitive to standard medical tech. “Well, looks like I have four on my ‘extreme’ punishment list so far…,” she grumbled.

The memory then shifted to a later time period. Kerana was again in the main laboratory, this time it was back in one piece. Oreus had apparently survived Kerana’s ‘punishment sweep’ somehow, though now it looked like he and Kerana were about to oversee some kind of experiment.

In the middle of the room was a large table and strapped to it was a vakar. The vakar was awake and frantic, straining against the restraints, a wild look in his eyes: if he wasn’t already insane, he was very borderline. Around him a small team of scientists in medical scrubs were finishing up preparations. Ky’yn thankfully didn’t recognize him, but the scene was still no less distressing.

“A pity anesthesia doesn’t work on them,” Oreus was saying.

“These creatures deserve no mercy,” Kerana growled coldly. “The sooner we unlock their secrets, the sooner those secrets can be applied to those that deserve them.” She then nodded to the scientists to proceed.

Spirits no! Ky’yn thought, horrified as those scientists started skinning the vakar alive from the look of things. The man’s screams…where bone chilling.

She tried to force the memory to change, to take control of the dream, but it remained steadfast. Ky’yn was trapped in a nightmare that really happened….

Stensig awoke with a start when he felt a hand touch his shoulder. As he blinked against the light in his eyes he realized he must have fallen asleep on the couch, having lied down thinking I'll just rest my eyes a bit. What surprised him even more, however, was the sight of a smiling Ky'yn in front of him, unbandaged and fully recovered from her facial injury.

“The fuck?” He dumbly blurted out as he sat up straight, “You're already better? How's that even possible!? I can't have possibly been out that long!”

“Does it really matter?” Came the sweet-voiced response, “What's more important now is I've got my jaw back, and now I want to use it!”

Ky'yn crouched down and reached for Stensig's waist with her good arm, aggressively fumbling to undo his pants. Without mental input his own hands moved to stop her, trying to slow down her advance.

“Whoa wait wait! What time is it even? Galyrus or Bryst could walk in at any– Ack!”

She had already pulled his pants down far enough to expose his private regions, and similarly against his will he had already become responsive. Wasting no time she took hold of him with her hand and started stroking him, causing him to tilt his head back against the couch and let out a gasp. The animal-like and the rational sides of his brain were in a feverish battle against each other, pitting what he wanted against what he should be doing.

“They're long gone huh,” she said, continuing her innocent-voiced disguise, “We have all the time in the world, and after the week I've had, I want this!”

She let go of him briefly so she could lean in and get more comfortable on her knees. Stensig looked back down to see her sticking her tongue out teasingly as she brought her head closer. She took hold of his base and made contact with her tongue higher up. Stensig bit his lip hard in ecstasy. The warm wet sensation against him was heavenly, and she made pleasurable noises as she licked up and down.

“Well, it looks like you're all ready now,” Ky'yn panted slightly after a minute, looking proud of the work she'd done already, “Ready for the real deal?”

Stensig's eyes widened as he saw her readjust herself again, this time placing her head over his region. Her eyes looked up towards him and she gave a wide, devious grin. “Here we go!” she said excitedly before opening her mouth and lowering her head towards him.


Oh FUCK! Stensig screamed out in his head. Immediately he felt pain in his head and arm as he hit the floor. Slightly dazed, he scrambled back up to a sitting position. It took him a few moments to realize what happened, he looked around rapidly at his surroundings to find that he was alone in the living room, sitting on the floor right in front of the couch.

“Oh!” he said silently out loud, figuring out that he'd fallen asleep for real this time. “Oh,” he said when he saw the holoprojector showing the time, 10:38AM, “Ohhh,” he groaned, coming to realize that everything wonderful that had happened in the last few minutes was just a shadow of his desires taunting him as he slept. Sonovabitch… he thought glumly.

Stensig stood up, rubbing his arm gently and grumbling. “Well, at least I didn't sleep in too long, still plenty of time for some 'errands,' ” Stensig mad his way out the front door, squinting and shielding his eyes at the morning sunlight that he was far from used to anymore. Closing the door behind him and locking it, he started to walk briskly off the porch and towards the city.

The memory nightmares continued, Ky’yn seeing Kerana witness multiple experiments, each worse than the last. It didn’t escape her notice that after a while, a vakar would stop ‘showing up’. She knew what that had to mean. This was confirmed with the next scene she saw.

“We lost another one, Lieutenant,” one of the scientists said.

“I heard,” Kerana muttered. “We are down to just two now, correct?”

“That is correct, Lieutenant. At this rate, we will lose the other two by the end of the month. Perhaps we should scale back the experiments?”

“No, we just need to get more fodder.”

The scientist was a bit surprised. “From where, Lieutenant? We wiped out the rest of their population on this planet….”

“Have we?” Kerana turned toward him. “There have been signs that suggest otherwise for the last few years…and I am already working on trying to track them down.”

Oh no…. Ky’yn thought, mentally feeling a sickening feeling. When was this….WHEN!?

The dream wouldn’t tell her. Instead, it shifted, taking her to one of her own memories. It was the one just before she left the planet.

“Ky’yn.”

She turned to see Master Kasacellas approaching her. “Kronos,” she greeted, nodding at him. Referring to each other by their given names was technically against protocol. However, due to the bond they had, an exception was made. “Let me guess: you’re going to protest my decision.”

Kronos chuckled, though it was sad one. “You know me too well, Ky’yn,” he said softly.

“You know someone needs to do this.”

“I know…I just…I wish there was another way…”

“There is none, Kronos. Trust me, I’d love to bring up every single sect Elder in a massive conference call…but with how tech phobic we tend to be that’s not possible. Going after the agents ourselves is the only way.”

“It’s just so dangerous, Ky’yn!” Kronos exclaimed. “All that space travel…with no guarantee you’ll find a meal. Not to mention the risk of pirate or Geth attacks….”

She folded her arms. “Oh, Kronos…it’s not the mission itself that bothers you…it’s me…isn’t it?”

The older vakar blushed and turned his head away. “I…I just don’t want to lose you…,” he said softly. “After all this time, watching each other’s back….and now I won’t be able to watch yours.”

She knew there was more he wanted to say, something deeper. It was the same thing that tugged at her, the desire for this friendship to be more. However, it never seemed to be the right time to explore that possibility. “I will come back, don’t worry,” she told him.

“You promise?” His eyes were practically begging.

She smiled and said. “I promise.”

Ky’yn felt a pang of sorrow and regret from this memory…as that was promise she couldn’t keep.

His eyes squinted at the glaring morning sunlight, and he forced himself to not bring his arm up to shield his eyes for fear of looking too out of place. When was the last time I've been out in the day like this? He suddenly felt very 'naked' and vulnerable, naturally unable to use any of his abilities in the daytime. Not to mention he'd left his weapons safe at Galyrus's house, not wanting to parade them in front of possibly dozens of civilians.

The dozens he'd expected turned out to be more like hundreds as he walked the busy street sidewalk. The cityside was absolutely brimming with activity and bustle. Civilians of all sorts of ages and races were out and about on their daily business, and skycars whooshed above him. It was all Stensig could do to not bump into every second or third hurried individual, and how they were noisy! The chattering of people mixed with the constant sound of cars whirring melded into a loud white noise in his ears. He could barely hear himself think. He was genuinely missing the silence bubbles he could create.

Feeling slightly overwhelmed, Stensig ducked off of the sidewalk and took cover under the shade of a park square's tree. Leaning his back against the trunk, he closed his eyes and breathed a few deep breaths, trying to regain his composure. It suddenly became aware to himself that it had been a good few days since his last meditation. The stressful past days, coupled with his lack of proper meditating and sleep, had to be taking a toll on him. Maybe the stimuli around him weren't so obnoxious, but just that he was in a bad place mentally. He inwardly thanked that he had the chance to watch those movies, if it weren't for that small bit of mental rest this may have been much harder. He promised himself that after taking care of his chore, he'd next prioritize getting a good sleep and meditation in.

With renewed determination after having rationalized his situation, Stensig set back out towards the butcher shop. Get this done soon as you can, the sooner you can get back and sleep The thought of going to sleep was feeling more and more welcoming the longer he walked, until he realized that he'd just be going back to a couch. Wait a second, who says I have to take the couch? A wide grin spread across his face. I can just crawl into the guest bed with Ky'yn. Surely she wouldn't mind, it'll be all warm and dark… Plus, if she wakes up I'll be right there to intercept her. 'Intercept' meaning one of a few things; she could wake up once again in unfamiliar surroundings, and his presence could soothe her, or on another hand if she wakes up ravenous and wild, he'd be the best one to handle her and procure the blood for her. Sounds like a plan

Soon he reached the butcher shop, and he inhaled deeply, preparing for the social interaction. He'd already long planned on what he was going to say to the butcher when he placed his strange order. Stepping through the store's door, his nose was immediately greeted with the powerful scent of prepared meat. Many many decades ago it might have made him hungry, but now it did nothing for his appetite, though it wasn't unpleasant.

“Be right with you sir!” The batarian behind the counter called from across the room. The man disappeared into the back room to procure an order for the current customer: a young turian woman carrying a baby in her arms. Stensig only saw the woman from behind, but the baby had its head over her shoulder, looking straight at him with giant green eyes. He remembered delivering many babies just like that one in the hospital, and he gave a goofy grin to the child. The baby giggled before putting its knuckles in its mouth. Drool shined against its hand, causing Stensig to make a 'snrk' noise in his throat, which in turn caused the baby to laugh out loud.

The butcher returned with the woman's order, and handed her a white paper bag. The woman thanked him and turned to leave, but not before smiling at the vakar.

“Welcome sir!” The batarian exclaimed, his surprisingly chipper attitude contrasting greatly with his natural guttural voice, “What can I get for ya?”

“Hey howzit going?” Stensig began with a polite formality, “I'm in need of some blood as it were, dextro, let's say two gallons worth?”

“Oh sure, we can getcha some. But hoo boy, whatcha need so much for?!” The butcher's voice was teasing good-naturedly.

“Got a big party set up for this evening,” Stensig replied smoothly, being well-rehearsed for most retorts he could plan for, “Got a few krogan friends dropping by and they're bringing some prime steaks for the grill. Their recipe calls for some blood to cook it with,”

“Why dextro though?” the butcher asked while he reached above him to grab some empty gallon jugs. “Shouldn't they like levo more?”

“I 'unno, they told me dextro makes for a better taste, eugh,” he made a face pretending to be disgusted by the prospect. The batarian laughed as he filled the jugs below the counter. “I wouldn't know, but shame they didn't come here for the meat!”

Stensig chuckled lightly in response, and the butcher stood back up with two full jugs of blue blood. He screwed the caps on, then activated his terminal to assess the cost.

“Eighteen credits please,” As Stensig activated his omnitool to complete the transaction, he noticed from the edge of his eyesight that the butcher was eyeing him slightly. “I've been here a long time,” the man said, “And I like to think I know most everyone in this city, but I don't think I've ever seen you around before,”

“I live outside of town,” the vakar replied, not being entirely untruthful, “We're all spread out usually, so coming down and getting everyone together's gonna be a real treat,” He moved to grab the jugs off the counter, but the batarian suddenly reached forward and grabbed his wrist, not painfully, but deliberately. With a noise between a gasp and a grunt, Stensig looked up to see the butcher staring him straight in the eye with a hard expression. This certainly wasn't a contingency he'd planned for, and he steeled his nerves preparing for what would come next.

“Well then you better make damn sure…” the man began, his voice gruff and dire, “That you don't skimp out on this blood and disappoint your krogan friends!” His voice transitioned from dark to bright instantly, taking Stensig completely off guard. The butcher laughed loudly and released his arm from his grasp. “Don't wanna piss of o' those guys off when it comes to their meat!”

“Oh don't you worry,” Stensig quickly recovered, mentally sighing with relief as he took hold of the jugs, “I can guarantee that all of this'll be put to good use. In fact, myself or another friend might even have to come back and get more, depending,”

“Well there'll be more where that came from, hope I see ya again!” Stensig thanked the man and headed out, his face immediately sinking as soon as he was out of the store. Spirits alive, that was the weirdest batarian I've ever met!

Ky’yn wanted these dreams…memories to stop showing up, to let her sleep in peace, but they continued unheeded.

Once again, Kerana was in the underground lab. “This plan seems risky, Lieutenant,” Oneus was saying. “We have everything under control here…why risk bringing the Hierarchy down on our heads?”

“The leadership knows when things are starting to get stagnant,” Kerana replied. “We have the manpower and resources to start moving operations off world. It’s time to bring our control to other colonies.”

“Other criminal organizations may not like our intrusion….the Tyranors, for instance….”

“Them?” Kerana laughed. “They are a shadow of what they once were, last I heard. Their leadership more into ‘peaceful protests’ and other tame varren dung. Still…the Bosses gave our agents instructions to avoid areas heavily controlled by such groups…for now. Only once we have established ourselves will we reach out to them.”

“Reach out…whatever for?”

“Some of these groups will have similar goals to ours…so it would be…beneficial to join forces. Not to mention…they likely would be more familiar with the local vakar population.” Kerana looked at a status tank then. Inside was the limp body of one of their vakar subjects: from the visible damage Ky’yn could see, the man was likely dead. “After all…,” Kerana continued. “We will need new sources of test subjects once we fully tap out the supply here.”

The scene shifted, not only in location, but in time. Kerana was now in an elaborate office, standing before the Syndicate Second-in-Command. He was a brutal, yet cunning man, by the name of Ja’aetrus Akian: Ky’yn recalled attempting to take him out a few times before leaving the planet, but always just missed him.

“I’m here as requested, sir,” Kerana announced herself, bowing to the man.

“Ah, our newest Lieutenant, welcome, Kerana,” Ja’aetrus said. “Please have a sit.” After she had done so, he continued. “I have called you here because, as a member of our upper ranks, it is time for you to know some things kept from the grunts of the organization.”

“I suspected as much, sir,” Kerana said, clearly curious and hungry for the information. “I’m ready to learn.”

“Good. First a question: what do you know about our formation?”

Kerana lowered her head in shame. “Not much, sir…I know our goals and purpose, but no one has told me why we formed in the first place.”

Ja’aetrus smiled, apparently having expected that response. “And we keep it that way for a reason, Kerana,” he said. “And now you will know why. I hope you do know why this colony was established in the first place….”

“It was established to imprison the worst criminals of turian society,” Kerana replied. “Ones that not only could not be rehabilitated, but deemed too dangerous to sentence to a life of hard labor.”

“Correct. Now…how do you think they kept all those criminals confined?”

“The four massive jails, sir. Staffed by the finest.”

“There is also something else, my dear,” the man said. “They also employed vakar as their back up in case any of them escaped.”

Kerana physically recoiled in shock. “Vakar? But they are a myth!”

“Oh they are quite real, Lieutenant,” Ja’aetrus said, his tone serious. “And quite effective at their jobs of protecting the ‘innocent’ and punishing the guilty. There used to be quite a number of them on this planet, four whole clans of them in fact.”

“Forgive me, sir, but what do vakar have to do with our formation?”

“As disgustingly righteous as they are…even they are not immune to corruption,” Ja’aetrus said slyly. “Some of them got sick of basically having their meals ‘handed’ to them and so they covertly started up a criminal organization of their own so they would have something to actually hunt.”

WHAT!? Ky’yn mentally screamed. Vakar are responsible for the Syndicate!?

Kerana herself seemed equally in shock. “Wha…,” was all she could say.

“Under their influence, we grew in power, but they were arrogant…thought they would always be in complete control. We eventually found out the truth and needless to say, we were not happy about it. But we didn’t strike out against them right then, oh no…we were smarter than that. Instead we gathered as much info about them as we could: where they lived, their strengths…their weaknesses. When the time was right…we make our move…attacking all for clans at once.”

“So we wiped out their entire population here?” Kerana still seemed a bit numb from all this. In truth, Ky’yn was as well.

“Not quite,” he said. “Like I said, we were smart. We knew there was likely a way to use their powers for ourselves. So when we made our assault, we didn’t kill all of them…we captured a number as well.”

“Why would we want such power, sir?”

“They have incredible regeneration abilities…are almost truly immortal because of it,” he explained. “Who wouldn’t want that kind of ability?” Kerana slowly nodded in agreement. “Their special powers are fascinating as well…and so much more diverse than biotics. Not to mention anyone could have them, instead of your mother having to be in the right place and the right time with biotics.”

Ky’yn could feel the interest growing in Kerana and the smile forming on her face. “And you have made progress with this research, sir?”

“Progress in learning their secrets has been unfortunately slow: it seems their bodies are well equipped to prevent people like us from doing so. Still, some headway has been made….” His tone then became angry, almost enraged. “However, the latest reports tells me some kind of ‘accident’ has occurred in the facility the creatures were kept. One severe enough to where we might have lost everything we have gained. Thus I have chosen you as the new overseer of the project…and with full permission to punish whomever was responsible for this incident: your prior reputation should give sufficient motivation.”

Kerana stood up and bowed. “I will gladly do whatever it takes to set things right, Second Boss,” she said.

The smile was back on his face. “I knew you would. Here are the coordinates and passcodes to get into the facility. Do whatever is necessary to get things back on track.”

The dream faded, leaving Ky’yn still reeling. Spirits… she thought. So that’s why they took out the planet’s vakar population so easily. And now…Erapax is risking the same fate for the vakar here….

She bought them some time by exposing Kerana, but it was uncertain how much time what would be….

The dreams continued, mostly more torture and experiments: Ky’yn was actually starting to get a little desensitized to it. Then something different showed up, one that really got her attention.

Kerana was in her office, looking at the reports of the agents they sent to other worlds. Ky’yn recognized all of the names on the list Kerana was looking through and mentally smiled at the ‘lost contact’ mark by three of the names. She was responsible for that…and even better, this gave her a good idea when this dream occurred.

As for Kerana, she was looking concerned at the loss of agents. They had expected some losses, but this quickly and in these numbers were raising red flags in her head. These are top people…our most skilled and trusted, Ky’yn heard Kerana think. They shouldn’t be fucking up like this. However, Second Boss Ja’aetrus was calling it a ‘bad luck’ streak and waved her concerns off. Kerana sighed and put the reports away, unable to do anything about it until she had more proof that something was amiss.

Moments later, a heavily armed man walked in, whom looked like he had been in a bit of a fight, going by how parts of his uniform was charred and smoking. “Ma’dam, we completed the operation,” he said.

“Good…how many did we get?” Kerana asked.

“Just…one.”

“WHAT!?” Kerana rose sharply from her chair, her hands slamming against the desk. “My intel told me there were supposed to be six there…six. Please tell me you didn’t kill the others!”

The man visibly flinched at her outburst. “No, ma’dam,” he said, his voice slightly shaken. “The one we caught…was the only one there. We even searched surround area for tracks and other caves…no sign of the others.”

“Damn, damn, damn!” Kerana cursed, her mind racing, wondering if their operation got leaked somehow, or if they naturally moved occasionally. Ky’yn was relieved that most of her sect had avoided capture, but she was curious on which of them had been caught. “Well…looks like we’ll have to go back to square one to find the others,” Kerana growled.

“We could probably coerce the information out of the one we did get, ma’dam,” the man offered.

“Not bloody likely, but still worth a shot,” Kerana sighed. “Show me our new ‘guest’.”

The memory skipped forward in time slightly, to when Kerana was approaching the holding pens. One of scientists had met her part way and was discussing the new prisoner. “From the soldier’s reports, this one is a fire user, one that didn’t need an existing source,” the woman said. “So we put it into a fire proofed cell.”

No…. Ky’yn thought, her heart starting to race. There was only one other fire based vakar in her sect and he was dear to her. No…please no….

“Good,” Kerana was saying. “Is it awake?”

“It was still unconscious a few moments ago: the men hit it pretty hard during the fight. Scans showed no serious damage, so it should wake up soon…provided it doesn’t decide to just sleep until nightfall.”

“Pfft…like that stopped us.”

They entered the holding pen room then. It was a large room, the walls lined with cells barely big enough for a turian (or vakar) to sit down in comfortably. Some cells were lined with wood or rubber, another looked like it had a series of bright lights that could turned on. Yet another looked like it was lined with some kind of organic substance. Most looked like normal, metal or stone lined cells.

The cell doors were barred doors, also lined with whatever material the cell itself had. Ky’yn could see the faint flicker of a force field in front of them: likely an added measure to prevent escape. The smell of the place was of dried, rotting blood, most likely animal blood: she could fell Kerana’s stomach lurch slightly at the stench.

Three of the cells were occupied. Two of the vakar, ones she had witnessed being experimented on before, were curled up as far into the corners of their cells as possible: any sanity they had left was long gone. The third, by contrast, was sitting calmly in the center of his cell, looking defiant and confident. Amber eyes glared at Kerana, framed by a dark red face with dark grey colony markings: Ky’yn instantly recognized him…and her worst fears were confirmed.

KRONOS! NO! she mentally screamed.

“So…,” Kronos said softly, the angry edge to his voice clear. “You’re the one in charge of this travesty of morality?”

“You are in no position to talk, freak,” Kerana growled. “I know your kind don’t exactly follow turian moral codes!”

“What we do is certainly more moral than whatever it is you do here,” Kronos countered, glancing at the other vakar. “It be a safe bet that your kind have killed more people than every vakar currently alive.”

“Speaking of other vakar…,” Kerana growled, completely ignoring his point. “Where is the rest of your little group…I know there’s more of you on this planet!”

“Like I’d tell you, bitch,” Kronos spat, rising to his feet. Kronos was always a bit intimidating in height, nearly standing six feet tall: he almost had to slouch to stand up straight in his cell.

“Humph, we’ll see about that,” Kerana boasted. “We’ll see how willing you are to talk after a few rounds with our scientists.”

The next few memories were of Kerana overseeing said rounds. The desensitization she had from the previous experiments on the other vakar didn’t help here. Ky’yn felt like she could feel every cut, every burn…everything they were doing to Kronos. And she couldn’t turn the memory ‘off’, change the ‘channel’, or otherwise blot it out. It was starting to affect her own sanity.

Then, relief came when she sensed another presence. A comforting one. The nightmare memories vanished and were replaced by memories of her time when she still lived on her family’s farm. Those were followed by dreams of Stensig. It was like he was right there, holding her and she relished it.

Unbeknownst to her, Stensig had just returned home from his shopping trip. After putting away the spoils of the trip, he had joined her in bed to catch some shut eye himself. He didn’t know that he just saved his mate’s sanity….

Stensig opened the door to Ky'yn's room, feeling weary in his sleep-deprived state. Moving quietly he set aside the filled jugs in the corner of the room. It had crossed his mind whether or not he should remove the caps or not. On one hand Ky'yn might be able to smell the blood when she woke up, and be drawn to it if she was in an especially hunger-driven mood, but on the other hand he didn't want to give any ghost of a risk for the jugs to be tipped over accidentally. He didn't want such a precious resource to be spilled and wasted, and especially didn't want to make a mess of Galyrus's room, especially given the generous hospitality he'd already been giving them.

In the end he decided to keep the caps safely secured to the top of the jugs. He pushed them as tightly in the corner as he could, to make most sure they wouldn't be kicked over by anyone. Also they would be out of immediate vision if anyone - namely Bryst - happened to come in and check on Ky'yn.

With the job done Stensig looked over to the bed with wearily happy anticipation, and began to strip down to his undergarments. He tossed his clothes over the chair he situated next to the bed, which was also where he'd placed his weapons. The clothes provided adequate hiding for the same contingency of a person walking in the room. If he wasn't so tired, Stensig may have mused on how focused on stealth and subtlety he was, even when his power was unavailable.

Now with his clothes off, Stensig eagerly made for the bed, crawling into the covers slowly and gently so he wouldn't wake up his wounded companion. The immediate feeling of refreshing warmth greeted him, and he would have immediately drifted to sleep had it not been for a quick realization. Stensig reached over and felt Ky'yn's forehead. Still really warm, but the fever's gone. Good. You could probably stand to cool off some more wouldn't you?. With the utmost level of care Stensig moved the covers off of her, exposing her body entirely. Carefully he started removing some of her own clothes, only the outer layers, and tossed them along with his own. That'll help, he thought with a faint smile. He then brought the covers back up over the both of them, and finally snuggled in close with her. He let out a deep tired sigh his smile broadening, and was almost immediately asleep.

—>to Night 7

wiki/vakar_rp.txt · Last modified: 2015/06/06 16:35 by rachel