Friday, April 1, 2011

The Hunt, Part 4

Interrogation Chamber, Shadow Broker's Base

"That's close enough Dr. T'Soni."

A man stood at a console next to Feron's unconscious body. He was wearing the typical Shadow Broker armor, but no helmet. His hair had the disheveled look of a man under great stress. His normally handsome visage was contorted with a manic smile.

"One false move and I fry this Drell's central nervous system. That goes for all of you," he added, gesturing to Shepard and Tali.

Liara stopped moving, but kept her gun trained on the man. "We're here for Feron. Release him and we'll be on our way."

"I know what you're here for you Blue Bitch–" Leanna had to steel herself to not shoot him at that point, "–and you're not getting it."

"Do you know this man Liara?"

Liara closed her eyes for a moment. "Yes. This is Agent 36, one of the Shadow Broker's top lieutenants," she hesitated for a moment, "and Vasir's lover."

Thirty-six gave a manic chuckle. "You find that out through your info-network? Or was it when you raped her mind?"

"I did what I had to."

"So did I! And now she's where none of you can hurt her again!"

Leanna finally understood. "You did it. You triggered the explosion. You… killed her."

"I would've rather she died than have to live with the indignity of being used in her–" he pointed his pistol at Liara, "–demented little scheme!"

A voice chimed in from the back. "Look who's talking."

"Seriously not helping Tali."

"Sorry Shepard."

Liara took a minute to contemplate the situation. "So, your threatening Feron is not part of the Shadow Broker's orders then. This is all just part of some revenge scheme. You intend to kill me for what I did to Vasir."

"You think me killing you will get me any sort of revenge?" Thirty-six laughed. "No, I intend to make your life meaningless, just like mine became when you forced me to do what I did. I will expose you as the dirty girl you are, and then I will take away the thing that gives your life purpose."

Liara surveyed the room for anything she could biotically manipulate without drawing too much attention. Unfortunately, everything was bolted to the floor. She would have to play along with Thirty-Six's game until she could get a clear shot without endangering Feron.

When Thirty-six next spoke, his voice was suddenly much calmer. "It's interesting what you said earlier. You 'did what you had to.' That's not the first time you used that excuse, is it?"

"I don't want to hear any stories," Shepard had a touch of impatience in her voice. "What Liara's done as an information broker doesn't matter."

"Oh, I think you'll like this story. It's a very good one. It explains how everyone got here. How the Drell wound up in this chair; how she became a broker; it even explains how you're walking around right now!"

Liara shifted uncomfortably. This was not how she wanted Leanna to find out, but there was nothing she could do right now, not without effectively killing Feron anyway.

Thirty-six looked from Shepard to Liara, then back. "Don't tell me she hasn't told you?" He laughed again, this time less manic but much more sinister. "Well, let me tell you the tale."


Thirty-six turned back to Liara. "You shouldn't lie to people you claim to love. I'm sorry little girl, but you don't have much choice in the matter. This story will be told whether you like it or not."

"I do have a choice." Liara lowered her pistol. "Shepard, when Feron was captured, it was because I sacrificed him in order to recover your body."

Leanna's turned her head to Liara, still keeping her gun pointed at Thrity-six. "I thought Cerberus recovered my body?"

"They had your body because I gave it to them."

"Why… why would you do that? You knew what they did to me. You saw what they did to me, through my eyes. How could you give my body to Cerberus?"

"I had to. They said they could bring you back. I know they could have just as easily been lying, but I didn't care. I needed you back."

"Selfishness," Thirty-six chuckled. "You abandoned a comrade and turned your lover over to her worst enemies, just because you couldn't live without her."

"That's not true! That Galaxy needs Shepard. She's the only one who can stop the Reapers!"

"Ah yes, the 'Reapers'–" now Leanna really wanted to kill him, "–that you claim wiped out the Protheans. Tell me, if the Reapers exist, why is it that the Shadow Broker has never found anything to confirm their existence?"

Shepard gripped her pistol tightly. "The evidence is there. Anyone who's seen it and refuses to acknowledge it is either lying or fooling themselves."

Thirty-six laughed again. "No matter. The point remains that what Liara did was selfish, and now she will have to make a new choice, but it's the same as last time!" He cackled manically. "You can save Feron, whom you came so gallantly to rescue, but it comes at a price! You must leave behind Shepard!

"Oh, don't worry. She'll be quite unharmed. Of course, she'll be a prisoner of the Shadow Broker, never allowed to leave the confines of this station. It's safer for the galaxy anyway. They won't have to be bothered by her insane delusions of Galactic Reapers.

"So which will it be? The man you came all this way to rescue? Or the woman you profess to love, but probably hates you for what your selfishness has done to her?"

Liara turned to Thirty-six, a determined look in her eyes. "I choose—"

"Liara, you don't have to do this!"

"It is all right Shepard. I do have to do this. I choose Shepard."

Thirty-six seemed puzzled. His maniac smile faltered. "Really? You'd choose her? Even knowing you two might never have a future together?"

"I've sacrificed too much to get her back. Feron, the last two years, they might as well mean nothing if I hand her over to you. She may hate me for what I've done, but to deprive the galaxy of her is the worst thing I can imagine. Now do what you're going to do and let us get this over with."

Thirty-six's face contorted again, this time with rage. "Then so be it!" He jammed his thumb on the console button.

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