Judy and her squad made their way to Dr. Michel’s office… and found her being menaced by thugs, and the turian they were looking for crouching out of sight. “I didn’t tell anyone I swear!” Dr. Michel said; she was a rabbit not unlike Judy, but colored white.
“Smart little cottontail, now if Garrus or any of his buddies from C-Sec ask, you keep your cute little mouth shut or- Who are you?” The wolf thug said as he grabbed Dr. Michael by the ears, and drew a gun on Judy and her squad. This hostage situation was cut short, as Garrus took the opportunity to shoot the thug in the head.
“Get to cover!” Judy shouted as a fire fight broke out in the clinic. Eventually the mammal thugs were dealt with.
“Thanks’ Hopps for that opening; gave me a clear shot at that son of a bitch.” Garrus said gratefully. Judy simply inhaled sharply.
“You could have gotten the hostage killed, even if she wasn’t at head level with that wolf!” Judy said in irritation to Garrus.
“There wasn’t time to think, I wasn’t going to-… Dr. Michel, are you okay?” Garrus asked.
“Oui, officer Vakarian, thanks to you to of course.” Dr. Michel said to Judy with a French accent.
“Do you know who those mammals were working for? We might be able to protect you from their boss.” Judy said.
“Oui, they work for Hoof. They didn’t want me to tell mousier Garrus about the quarian.” Dr. Michel explained.
“And does this have anything to do with Saren?” Judy asked.
“It could, Dr. Michel what happened?” Garrus said.
“A few days ago, a quarian came to my office. She had been shot, and wouldn’t tell me what had happened. I could tell she was scarred, on the run from dangerous people no doubt. She asked me about the Shadow Broker, said she wanted to trade information for protection.” Dr. Michel explained.
“And where is she now?” Judy asked.
“I put her into contact with Hoof; he’s an agent of the Shadow Broker.” Dr. Michel said.
“Sorry to say doc, but Hoof has thrown in his lot with Saren now. And the Shadow Broker isn’t happy with his change of loyalties.” Garrus said.
“What?... that ass, even for Hoof that’s stupid! Saren must have made Hoof quite the offer to betray the Shadow Broker!” Dr. Michel said.
“And that quarian must have something Saren wants. Something worth stepping on the Shadow Brokers toes.” Garrus said.
“And what about the quarian?” Judy asked.
“She just wanted to trade information… information about geth!” Dr. Michel said.
“Yes… information that could link Saren to the geth! There is no way the Council can just ignore it!” Garrus said.
“Agreed, let’s pay Hoof a visit.” Judy said.
“And I’m coming with you.” Garrus said.
“Excuse me? Why would you want to come with me... and why should I for that matter? I mean you’re both turians.” Judy asked.
“He’s a traitor to the Council, and a disgrace to my people! I knew what was going on, but thanks to meddling by the Executor and his damned Specter Status, I couldn’t get all the evidence I needed in my investigation. So yeah, I hate him… I hate his gizzard.” Garrus ranted.
“Welcome aboard Garrus. I’m certain we’ll be friends soon enough.” Judy said.
“Perhaps… but we’re not the only ones after Hoof. The Shadow Broker hired a krogan mercenary by the name of Wrex to take him out.” Garrus said.
“I think I saw Wrex talking to a bouncer… at Chora’s Den… wait he owns that place?” Ashley asked.
“Regardless, a korgan might come in handy. There like rhino’s but more violent right?” Judy asked.
“Last I heard he was at the C-Sec academy.” Garrus said.
“You have an academy next to your HQ... how convenient, he looking to get into C-Sec?” Nick said.
“Doubtful, from what I heard Hoof accused him of making threats. So he’s most likely there for an interrogation. If we hurry, we can catch him before he moves again.” Garrus said.
“Let’s get a move on then, Davies. I’m sorry to disturb you, but I need you to monitor my squad.” Judy said.
“Investigation getting hairy, or do you just miss your dear brother despite less than a day going by? Either way, I’m going to turn on the monitoring equipment.” Davies said.
“Understood, by the way, there’s a turian C-Sec Officer wanting to help us. Can you patch him into squad comms?” Judy asked.
“I got a turian bio-signature right next to you, that him?” Davies asked.
“Yeah that’s him.” Judy said.
“Commander… who are you talking to?” Garrus asked.
“That would be me, Mr.?”
“Garrus, Garrus Vakarian.” Garrus answered.
“Well anyway Officer Vakarian, I’m Specialist Davies Hopps, Judy’s twin brother. My job is to make sure my sister survives, and gets whatever help she needs to complete a mission. Also, do not wander off to do your own thing, blunder into enemy fire, or use software to block my equipment to monitor you. You do all that, and you’ll have better survival odds then the last two shmucks who died on Eden Prime. Also, this stuff detects vitals… and makes a loud beep noise that I really, REALLY hate. So don’t die on me, if only to spare my especially sensitive hearing.” Davies said at length.
“Fair enough, that one of the first things they teach you at the academy anyway.” Garrus said, just rolling with the eccentric sounding rabbit.
“Before you go, Commander… thank you, for saving my life from those thugs.” Dr. Michel said.
“Just doing my job doc, I may be back latter to check up on you, or just ask questions.” Judy said as she and her squad left.
“Man this place can get you turned around, I think we walked past at least three times before we got here.” Nick said as the squad arrived at C-Sec Academy.
“Well if you were following me, we’d have already left by now.” Garrus said.
“It’s my first time here! Cut me some slack for not knowing my way around the massive space station!” Judy said.
“Now Wrex, are we going to have further problems with you and Hoof?” A coyote C-Sec officer asked of the krogan.
“Let me check…” Wrex said as he accessed his omni-tool. “Bounty still up, so I ain’t leaving till I collect it, that alright by you puppy?” Wrex asked condescendingly.
“Watch your tongue! Or I just might eat it!” The coyote spat back, barring his teeth.
“Hmm… all bark and no bite. Like so many of you mammals.” Wrex said as he left.
“Let it go Cortez, he’s not worth it.” A turian officer said to the coyote.
“You Wrex?” Judy asked.
“Yep.” Wrex said.
“Well here’s the thing, Hoof works for Saren, your trying to get to Hoof. I’m trying to get dirt on Saren that’ll cost him his Specter Status. I think we can help each other.” Judy said.
“Hmm… so you are Commander Hopps. Though that depends, how much do you know?” Wrex asked
“He’s after a quarian that has evidence that could link Saren to the geth, so she went to Hoof but he sold her out to Saren. That everything, or am I missing any details?” Judy asked.
“Not really, that’s about everything. Now you help me kill Hoof, and the quarians all yours.” Wrex asked.
Judy and her squad returned to Chora’s Den. However, instead of a friendly coffee shop, they were met with armed thugs gunning for them. “Okay, can someone tell me SOMETHING about Hoof?! Because it baffles me that someone turned a dive bar into a coffee shop, AND worked for the Shadow Broker? I’m sorry, but this whole situation is getting a bit silly!” Judy said as they dove into cover.
“Not entirely sure, some mule… or donkey, could never tell the difference. Bought the place, and renovated Chora’s Den. Not sure why the name was kept.” Garrus said.
“Either way, there a couple of things you need to understand about mammals Monocle, first referring to a wolf or any other type of Canine as a ‘son of a bitch’ or just ‘bitch’ isn’t really an insult it’s more of a descriptor. Unless you’re talking about my mother, in which case I will claw off your face and make it into a cape. Same goes for referring to a donkey or anything like as an ‘ass’.” Nick said.
“Guys it’s nice that you’re having a conversation, but we kind of have pressing matters!” Judy said, the squad made their way through Chora’s Den, eventually reaching to Hoof’s personal quarters.
“Stop, don’t come any closer!” A mammal warehouse said.
“You know you should really find a safer place to work. I mean you’d think a coffee shop was the safest place in the universe… it obviously isn’t, this one at least.” Judy said.
“Fair enough… Hoof doesn’t pay us enough for this anyway.” One of the warehouse workers said as they left.
“Well… I’m impressed.” Garrus said.
“As a wise mammal was said, there are alternatives to fighting.” Nick said sagely.
Judy and her squad entered Hoof’s office. A firefight broke out as a number of turrets sprung up. It wasn’t long before Hoof was on the floor and the turrets were destroyed. “Don’t shoot! I surrender! I surrender!” Hoof brayed in terror.
“Okay, I’ll make you deal. You tell me where the quarian is and I don’t shoot.” Judy said as she pulled a pistol on Hoof.
“I don’t know where she is, I swear! That’s the truth!” Hoof said in panic.
“Wow… you are the WORST liar I’ve ever met.” Nick said in disbelief.
“And as he’ll be the first to tell you. I absolutely HATE being lied to. So either tell us where the quarian is, or you’ll lose your knee caps.” Judy said angrily.
“Look, she’s not here. She said that she’d only deal with the Shadow Broker himself. Thing is, nobody sees the Shadow Broker in person. Even I don’t know who he really is. But she didn’t know that. So I set up a meeting, little does that suit rat know. Is that Saren’s men are waiting for her.” Hoof said as he stood up. Judy promptly pistol-whipped him in the knee.
“Location, tell me now!” Judy said as she pressed her gun into Hoof’s face.
“Back alley by the markets… she’s supposed to meet at them, at the back alley by the markets in the Wards. If… you hurry you can catch them.” Hoof said in pain.
“And should I let you go because...?” Judy said clearly angry with the donkey.
“I came clean on the meeting! Besides… I got bigger problems then you cottontail.” Hoof said.
“Don’t let it get to you Carrots. We got a quarian to rescue… and one of his problems is a krogan bounty hunter.” Nick said.
“Did you bring it?” A turian asked of a quarian women in a red tinted alleyway.
“That depends, where’s the Shadow Broker? Or Hoof for that matter?” The quarian asked.
“They’ll be here soon enough. Now where’s the evidence?” The turian asked as he moved his hand down the quarians arm.
“No, the deals off.” The quarian said as she jumped back and threw a grenade amidst the salarians that were with the turian.
“CONTACT!” Judy shouted as she jump-kicked the turian, and her squad helped the quarian with her assailants.
“Keelah, that bosh’tet Hoof set me up!” The quarian said angrily.
“Miss, were you hurt?” Judy asked.
“I know how to take care of myself. Not that I don’t appreciate the help. But who are you?” The quarian asked.
“Judy Hopps and I’m looking for evidence to prove that Saren is a traitor to the Council.” Judy said.
“Already met, and I have a way to repay you for saving my life. But… we should go somewhere else.” The quarian said.
“Well back to the embassy. Lionheart will want to hear this… assuming he isn’t fuming about the mess we made getting here.” Nick said.
“Hopps… you have one minute to explain why you started a war down in the Wards...! also, why did you bring a quarian here?” Lionheart asked.
“She has the evidence to link Saren to the geth.” Judy said.
“Really?! Please, how did you get this evidence miss… miss?” Lionheart said.
“My name is Tali’Zorah nar Rayya.” Tali said.
“And what brings you so far from the Flotilla?” Lionheart asked.
“I’m on Pilgrimage. It’s rather a long story, but while on a remote world, I came across some geth, and I managed to recover one of their memory cores before it could fry itself. The only data I could recover was audio… but it had some interesting contents. Listen for yourself.” Tali said as she accessed one of these audio files.
“Eden Prime was a major victory! The beacon has brought us one step closer to finding the Conduit.” Saren’s voice said. Then Bogo, who was standing nearby… smiled, something Judy wasen’t entirely sure how to feel about.
“That was Saren! We’ve got that raptor now.” Bogo said.
“Any ideas on what this Conduit could be?” Judy asked, trying to distract herself from the oddity that was, smiling Bogo.
“Some manner of Prothean tech?” Bogo speculated.
“And that’s not all.” Tali said.
“And one step closer to the return of the Reapers.” A woman’s voice said.
“Okay… that doesn’t really answer anything. Who was that talking about Reapers?” Lionheart asked.
“Agreed, some new alien species?” Judy asked.
“According to some of the files, there a hyper advanced race that hunted the Protheans to total extinction...! And then left, at least that’s what the geth apparently believe.” Tali said.
“That honestly sounds hard to believe. It just makes so little sense.” Lionheart said.
“Perhaps… but that could explain the vision from Eden Prime. It was showing me the Protheans being exterminated by the Reapers!” Judy said.
“The geth worship the Reapers as gods, believing them to be the pinnacle of synthetic life. That Saren is some manner of prophet for their return.” Tali said.
“Let’s… try not to bring up these Reapers to the Council, shall we?” Lionheart said nervously.
“But they could be an even greater threat then Saren and the geth!” Judy said.
“Regardless of the Reapers, this proves that Saren is a traitor!” Bogo said.
“Agreed, we must get this evidence to the Council immediately!” Lionheart said.
“And what about… sorry sweaty I already forgot your name.” Nick said teasingly.
“Just call me Tali! And you saw me in that alley Commander, I can be of help to you.” Tali said.
“I’m not certain… I know enough about the Pilgrimage to know how important it is. Shouldn’t I get parents’ permission for you to come?” Judy asked.
“And it proves our willing to give of ourselves to the greater good. Tell me, what does it say about me if I turn my back on this? Saren and the geth are a threat to the entire galaxy, my Pilgrimage can wait.” Tali asked, Judy smiled warmly at the young quarian.
“I think we’ll get along just fine Tali.” Judy said.
“Thank you for having me Commander.” Tali said happily.
“Just call me Judy.” Judy said.
“Bogo and I get things ready with the Council. Feel free to take a break until then.” Lionheart said as he and Bogo left. Then Judy, Ashley, Garrus, and Nick sat down and panted in exhaustion.
“This… was a long day.” Nick said.
“Agreed… in hindsight, doing arrends for people was probably… probably not one of my better ideas.” Judy said.
“Why… why was my species cursed to not have sweat glands?” Ashley asked, her tongue hanging out of her mouth.
“I could put you through a krogan workout, might make you stronger, or it might kill you.” Wrek said sardonically, the only one of them not tired.
“Where would we even get a Thresher Maw, krogan?” Garrus said.
“You’d be surprised where you can find Thresher Maws in this galaxy.” Wrex said.
Later on, Judy and her squad had returned to the Citadel Tower. “Judy, Lionheart is already presenting the quarians evidence to the Council. Come on.” Bogo said as he and Judy went further up.
The recording was played for the Council. “You believe us now? Or do we have to hunt down yet another alien minority for evidence? Like a drell for example… those are few and far between right?” Lionheart said.
“Further evidence isn’t necessary ambassador. This proves that Saren is a traitor, and rest assured Saren will be stripped of his status and he will be brought to justice.” The turian Councilor said.
“And the other voice… that was Matriarch Benezia.” Councilor Tevos said.
“And she is?” Judy asked.
“Put simply, Matriarchs are the elders of the asari people. Matriarch Benezia in particular is a powerful biotic and she has many followers. She will make a formidable alley for Saren.” Councilor Tevos explained.
“And what about these Reapers, what do you know about them?” The salarian Councilor asked.
“Not much, but apparently there a race of machines that wiped out the Protheans, and then they just left.” Bogo said.
“Yes, apparently the geth believe them to be gods. In turn they believe that Saren is the prophet for their return.” Judy said.
“We think the Conduit is the key to bringing them back. Saren’s searching for it, and why he attacked Eden Prime.” Bogo said.
“And what of the Conduit itself, what is it?” The salarian Councilor asked.
“No idea, but if Saren thinks it can bring back the Reapers, that’s reason enough to think it’s bad.” Judy said.
“Do you not realize what you’re saying? Saren wants to bring back machines that destroyed all organic life. It has to be impossible! And for that matter, where did they go? Why did they vanish? And why has there been no evidence to support their existence? If they ever existed, we would have found something by now!” The turian Councilor ranted.
“Hey, I gave fair warning about Saren! Please don’t make a repeat performance.” Judy said in annoyance.
“Regardless, you proved that Saren is a traitor, and he is using the geth to find the Conduit, though we don’t know for what purpose.” Councilor Tevos said.
“Obviously the Reapers are some manner of smokescreen Commander, a lie Saren invented to control the geth.” The salarian Councilor said.
“With all due respect, Councilor, I’ve seen the Reapers slaughter! Fifty-thousand years ago they destroyed the Protheans! If Saren finds the Conduit, it will happen again!” Judy said angrily.
“Then I would love to see him try. Saren no longer has the rights or the resources of the Specter’s, and his on the run for his life.” The turian Councilor said.
“And you think that’s going to cut it?! Give Saren a pink slip? You know damn well he’s hiding in the Traverse! Send your fleet in! And hunt him down like the mongrel he is!” Lionheart declared angrily.
“A fleet cannot hunt down one man Ambassador.” The salarian Councilor said.
“For the love of… a Citadel fleet could secure the entire Attican Traverse. Keep the geth from attacking any more colonies! Mammal and alien alike! It’s a win-win for everyone!” Lionheart said.
“Or it could trigger war with the Terminus Systems! The Citadel Council will not be dragged into a galactic war over a relative handful of mammal colonies!” The turian Councilor said.
“Every time we ask for help, you bury your heads in the sand and pretend everything is alright!” Judy said in agrivation.
“Agreed Hopps, and I am beyond fed up with the Council and its anti-mammalian bull-”
“Ambassador control yourself, there is a solution, one that doesn’t require fleets or armies to stop Saren and the geth!” Councilor Tevos said.
“Tevos… you cannot be serious! Mammalkind simply isn’t ready for the responsibilities that come with joining the Specters!” The turian Councilor objected.
“Look, Councilors. It seems like a pretty simple solution to me. The ambassador gets his Specter, you don’t have to send a fleet near the Traverse and risk war. Seems like a genuine win-win to me. Or are you reluctant, because the most qualified candidate barely comes up to your knees?” Judy said.
The Councilor gave each other meaningful glances, and then they pressed buttons on their consoles. “Commander Hopps, stand forward.” Councilor Tevos said, Judy so towards the edge of the platform before the Council. There were hushed whispers from onlookers. “It is the decision of the Council, that you. Commander Judith Lavern Hopps, be granted all the rights and privileges of the Special Tactics and Reconnaissance branch of the Citadel.” Councilor Tevos said.
“Specters are not trained, but chosen. Individuals forged in the fire of service and battle, those whose actions elevate them above the rank and file.” The salarian Councilor said.
“Specters are an ideal, a symbol, the embodiment of courage, determination, and self-reliance. The right hand of the Council, instruments of our will.” Councilor Tevos said.
“Specters bare a great burden. They are protectors of galactic peace, both our first and last line of defense. The safety of the galaxy is theirs to uphold.” The turian Councilor said.
“You are the first mammal, and by extension the first rabbit Specter. This is a great accomplishment for you and your entire species.” Councilor Tevos said.
“Thank you, really I am.” Judy said gratefully.
“And for your first mission, you’re to go into the Traverse to find Saren. As a fugitive from the Council, and a rogue Specter, you are authorized to use whatever means to apprehend or eliminate him.” The salarian Councilor said.
“Was already planning to go after him, but do you have any leads on him that I can use?” Judy asked.
“We will forward all relevant data to Ambassador Lionheart.” The turian Councilor said.
“This meeting of the Council is adjourned.” Councilor Tevos said.
“Hopps, I’m so proud of you right now.” Bogo said happily, shaking Judy’s paw.
“Likewise for me, but now we got more work to do. We have to get you a ship, crew, supplies… what are some of your preferences for snacks?” Lionheart said.
“More importantly, you’ll get access to exclusive training and equipment. I believe that there’s a requisitions offer down at the C-Sec Academy that can provide you with both.” Bogo said.
“Bogo, we’ve got some… things to work out. And I need your help to set everything up.” Lionheart said as he and Bogo left the chamber.
“Typical politician, kitty doesn’t even give a thank you.” Ashley said bitterly.
“I just got the job Williams. I basically haven’t done anything till I either bring in or kill Saren. Now lets get a move on.” Judy said.
“Till the gates of Hell, Carrots, till the gates of Hell.” Nick said.
“Come on you sentimental fox.” Judy said teasingly.