Magnificent Scoundrels- Prepare
Some character insight. I’ll be doing what everyone thinks about the current situation. As always, if you have any requests, cool ideas, criticisms, comments, or concerns, feel free to tell me. Enjoy the story!
“Diplomacy isn’t worth a damn if you know all their secrets.”
Mass Effect Galaxy
Admiral Adam Vir sat quietly upon the balcony of his hotel room, staring out at the beauty of the Citadel. A glass of something unknown and very fruity was in one hand, and his other was entwined with Sunny’s. Her beautiful blue carapace was glinting in the light of the nearby sun, and she was perched upon a chair suitably reinforced for the Drev frame. A ridiculous, but quite cheery, old song wafted through the air.
“Everybody loves somebody sometime
Everybody falls in love somehow…”
It was rather like a vacation, he thought to himself as he settled back comfortably. It was, indeed, one of the most vacation-like atmospheres he’d had in a while. An absolutely gorgeous hotel room, with an equally stunning view, and complementary room service. Being on the delegation team certainly had its perks. Of course, a vacation was much more than location. It was more with who you spent it with.
“Everybody loves somebody sometime
And although my dream was overdue
Your love made it well worth waiting
For someone like you.”
Quite a fitting song, actually. He’d never admit to choosing it. He was cheesy, yes, but not quite that cheesy. Or, at least, he thought he wasn’t. He’d been told quite frequently otherwise. Usually by Sunny.
Too bad, though, that it wasn’t a vacation. The imminent threat of massive destruction hung over the Citadel like a thunderhead. He softly smiled at his own simile. It was… well, actually quite literal. From the balcony of his room, he would see the silhouette of the Watch Eternal, its massive bulk ready to rain destruction upon an half-suspecting populace.
Strangely, he didn’t feel any tension. He looked to his left with another small smile. With Sunny around, everything just felt… right. There were no problems, no tension, nothing he couldn’t handle. Instead, there was only peace. Tranquility. Love.
All of these thoughts were shattered by the pounding of boots on the hallway floor and a sharp rapping on the door. Both Sunny and Vir shifted, both getting up with the alacrity of warriors. Moving slowly towards the door, weapon in hand, covered by Sunny, he slowly opened it. Never knew what to expect, especially in a high tension situation like this.
Swinging open the heavy, old fashioned mahogany door revealed the grinning face of Peter Quill.
“Adam,” he said. Vir nodded inwardly. Quill never bothered with titles, something that Vir approved of. Always having nervous people call him ‘Admiral’ was bothersome. “I wanted to talk to you.” Vir nodded. He gestured at Sunny with a half awkward cough.
“Quill, this is Sunny, my weapon’s officer. Sunny, I believe you already know of Quill.” Sunny gave the Drev equivalent of a smile, though only Vir saw it.
“Admiral. Captain Quill. I’ll take my leave.” She walked past them and out the door.
“Uh, yeah. Sunny was just in here to discuss-” Quill cut him off.
“I may be unobservant, but I’m not that unobservant,” he said. Vir opened his mouth to say something (deny it, explain it, embrace it, he still didn’t know), but Quill waved his hand and plunked himself down in an uncomfortable looking chair. “I’m in the same position, if it makes you feel any better.” Yes! Of course! It was one thing remembering old movies and new briefings, but another entirely when someone was talking to you in person.
“Yes… I, uh, rather suspected.” He paused, thinking. “Wait a minute…” He recalled the advice given to him by Drake, seemingly a lifetime ago. He had kept it in mind ever since.
I won’t tell anyone. You can trust me with that. In fact… well, I can’t tell you, now can I? That would be me breaking trust. Let me give you a bit of advice, though. Keep it a secret, because there are people who will kill you for it.
“Did Drake give you the same advice?” Quill looked up sharply.
“Yeah. Yeah, he did.” He laughed. “That’s funny. Matter of fact, I wonder if anyone else on the team is… in our position. There are certainly people who could be.” Vir rubbed his chin, considering.
“Drake straight up told us he doesn’t care. He might be, but… you never really know with that guy.” Quill nodded.
“True. Very true. What about Master Chief?” Quill asked.
“I don’t think he even understands the concept of romantic love,” snorted Vir in response. “There aren’t aliens were Cooper’s from, so no for him. Kirk?”
“Maybe. Still not sure. He’s kinda a more classic good by-the-books officer. At least compared to us. Don’t know much about him,” said Quill. “Cain? He’s been on your ship.”
“Ha. Cain’s job description is to shoot people like us through the head, so, definite no.”
“Also no. But Shepard…” trailed off Vir.
“Maybe. Got enough hot aliens on his crew.” Quill stood up. “And from what I’ve heard, they don’t care about inter-species relationships here.” That was true. The galaxies of Shepard, Kirk, Quill, and Solo didn't seem to care as much about that sort of thing.
“Weird how that works; some places don’t care, some do, some people care, some don’t,” observed Vir. He looked back up to the shadow of the Watch Eternal. It seemed much more menacing now.
“Yeah. But that wasn’t the reason I came here in the first place,” replied Quill. He leaned forward. “I wanted to know: can I count on your support if shit hits the fan, which it might?” Vir nodded.
“Yes, you can. Let’s hope it doesn't come to that.”
Thomas Drake sat alone in his room, the shut shades throwing light from bedside lamps in strange patterns around the room. A glass of simple lemon water sat on the broad desk he was occupying, idly making a ring in the synthetic wood. The hotel air conditioner hummed in the background, its noise enough to drive most into turning it off and complain to the management about its incessant racket. Not Drake. He had chosen to turn it on to maximum, the frigid air welcome on the horribly scarred tissue of his arms and chest. His usual jet black greatcoat, boots, and gloves had been discarded and were now carefully hung in the borrowed closet.
Drake did not simply wear them as a fashion statement. Oh, of course, they fit his style, intimidated his enemies, and brought out his most handsome features, but, like him, there was much more than met the eye. Tailored by a master to perfectly suit him, every item was woven with fibres strong enough to stop bullets, and a small cooling system in each one save the gloves. Drake looked sardonically at the skin of his upper arm. Yes. Cooling systems were necessary. The sweat glands of his body had been ravaged by wound after wound, by horrifying burns and scars. The worst was on his chest, the ancient reminder of his old platoon. Many burn victims, or those with extensive scarring, had trouble regulating their body temperature. Not him. No weakness would slow his inexhaustible march. The outfit covered all the weakness, all the pathetic failings of his flesh. In it, he was Thomas Drake, mercenary extraordinaire and the most interesting man in the galaxy. Flawless. Handsome. The epitome of personal perfection.
The scars never reached his face.
Many people knew of them, but it was never public knowledge. His crew had seen him shirtless; for the most part they knew the story. Various… individuals knew of them, having the chance to gaze on them in intimate moments. He smiled quietly to himself. The old adage that scars were attractive was quite true for some. Of course, his charisma was enough to twist even the most hideous of burned tissue into captivating items of personal valor. Those… individuals would not share his secret.
The boots were armored and magnetized; additions that had saved his life in more than one occasion. The gloves were specially made to be able to grip things better than a normal human hand would, and electric circuits ran through them, allowing Drake to stun or kill with a single punch.
The coat also had another purpose: concealing weapons. The results of this purpose were currently spread over the desk in Drake’s room. There was no way he was going into a situation such as this without a plethora of deadly weapons at his command. Too much was unknown, too much was riding on his contract and reputation. So these devices… insurance. Circuitry was cleaned, bullets loaded, plasma cores were analyzed, and armor double, then triple checked.
He sighed, then leaned back in his chair. Perhaps he should go out… maybe for a drink. Scout out the area. Eat at the new (to him) restaurants of the citadel. No. Not yet. Those were all distractions. Duty first. Business before pleasure. He went back to loading bullets into the dozens of magazines scattered around his workspace.
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