Afterlife Night Club, Omega Station, Sahrabik System, Omega Nebula, November 16, 2196
The floor thrummed to the sound of the bass. The rhythm mingled with the sound of dozens of conversations fueled by a host of intoxicants. As we walked by emotions flashed in the faces of the clubgoers:
Omega had no laws, but two rules. Rule number one, no one fucked with the self-styled Queen of Omega, Aria T'Loak. The seconds rule, there were no humans on Omega. Everywhere else humanity was a symbol of resistance against the Reapers, saviors of the Citadel, champions of the rule of law. But Omega suffered under human occupation. It suffered from those who claimed to be the best among humanity: Cerberus. Cerberus "relocated" the bulk of Omega's human population. The rest where executed as alien collaborators or chased off the station by angry mobs after the war. Humans visited Omega, credits were credits after all, regardless of the race of the spender. But they didn't stay long. And they didn't waltz into Aria's inner sanctum. Good thing our objective was someone else.
Miranda led the way to a side room. An old krogan sat in a corner, bottle of ryncol in hand.
Miranda cleared her throat, "Patriarch?"
"Ms. Lawson? It is very rare for an honored member of my krantt to show up unannounced, specially a human," he said with a hearty belly laugh.
"We came here to arrange a meeting with Aria," said Miranda.
"HA! She doesn't take any visitors these days. She has been a bit paranoid, or should I say, a bit more paranoid since the war," said Patriarch. Miranda gave him a datapad. He read the contents aloud, "Shipping manifests...eezo sales...Omega four relay?"
"Cerberus," said Miranda.
"There is a burn-comm line in the datapad. We will talk to Aria in a time and place of her choosing that is not Afterlife. We already attracted more attention than I like."
"Got it," he said.
We got the call forty-five minutes later. The meeting place was an abandoned office block in the Gozu District. Aria walked in with eight heavily armed bodyguards. Vega fidgeted with the safety of his M-76. She sat in a comfortable leather seat with her back to the wall.
Aria's lips curled into a sneer, "I'm here, what exactly do you want from me, Ms. Lawson. Although I am curious how you got this information."
"Because Cerberus is back and using Omega as spring board for their operations. Someone has managed to sneak past your sensor network around the relay for the last eight years. We suspect they are carrying war material to a base beyond the relay. And we are here to stop them. As for how we got the intel, well a little breaking and entering backed with extensive hacking goes a long way," I said.
Her lip curled, "And what does the illustrious commander Thompson-Ramos want with me, exactly?"
"A free hand in dealing with anyone with Cerberus in Omega," I said.
"I can't do that," she said.
"And why not?" I asked.
"Because if you're planning to go across the relay, you're going to need more than a stealth frigate. And yes, I have eyes on all the relays in my system, not just number four. Luckily for you, I have such an army," she said with a wry smile.
"I don't think that is a good idea, jefe," said Vega.
I put my hand on Vega's shoulder, "That might work, if, and only if, we can trust each other."
"Cerberus manipulated me, lied to me, and took from me what I held most dear. If they are back, or is someone is stupid enough to take their cause, I want to watch them burn. Better yet, I want to burn them myself," she said.
"Okay, gather your people, quietly. We don't want to spook the opposition. We launch the operation in five days," I said.
Aria got up and left with her bodyguard in tow.
"Not a good idea to trust her, jefe," said Vega, light machine gun still at the ready.
"Aria is self-serving, but she knows the stakes. Her help had proven useful in the past," said Miranda.
"Aria was right Vega, it would be stupid to go it alone. That's why I called in some friends," I said.
"Alliance? Aria is not going to like that," said Vega.
"Allies not Alliance, Vega," I said.
Miranda tapped a few keys on her omni-tool, "I present to you one Harper, Jack."