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Shepard's Dream Catcher

Chapter Text

It may have been a long trip, but the shuttle soon arrived at the Spectre docks in the Citadel. Once Saren turned off the ignition, he tilted his head towards Amber. While Nihlus stood from his seat, Amber appeared to zone out, so Saren unbuckled his safety belt before he approached her and knelt in front of her.

"Shepard," Saren asked, "are you doing all right?"

Amber snapped out of her thoughts and turned towards Saren before she nodded.

"Yeah," she said, "at least I didn't suffer another horrible injury this time."

Amber stood from her seat and followed Saren out of the shuttle, where they met up with Nihlus across the walkway.

"All's not lost…yet," Nihlus encouraged, "we still have at least a possible lead to work with."

Amber gave both Saren and Nihlus a soft smile.

"At least it's better than no way back," she replied.

"Even then, somewhere, somehow we're bound to eventually encounter more humans," Nihlus added.

Saren, Amber and Nihlus sauntered out of the Spectre docks, with the older Spectre leading the other two to the Spectre academy.

"Just stay close to us and follow us to the labs," Saren ordered as the trio stepped through the academy doors, "I'd prefer if we didn't have to answer too many questions."

Amber nodded while she extended her hand, allowing Saren to hold it. While they meandered through the corridor, Nihlus used his charisma to attract the attention from the others in the academy, that way they didn't notice the human accompanying both turian Spectres.

Saren and Amber were the first to the tech labs while Nihlus stayed behind. The older turian Spectre placed the satchel on the table and emptied its contents. He pulled out an OSD and the terminal Nihlus stole and plugged them in to one of the computers present. He then started examining the files while Amber watched over his shoulder. Saren soon pulled out what appeared to be an overhead view of the galaxy onscreen.

"We call it the Milky Way Galaxy," Amber mentioned, "what do you guys call it?"

"Nothing special, last I checked," Saren mumbled, focusing on the screen.

He pulled up a small series of documents from the OSD and looked them over.

"Looks like a bunch of shopping manifests, no?"

"I'm not sure what you mean by shopping manifests," Amber shrugged.

Amber examined the blips of light on the galaxy map.

"But," Amber continued, "I do know those are locations of our colonies."

"Well, the relays do keep tabs on who goes through and where they end up. Normally, this is a tracking method that needs either the highest clearance to gain access to or Spectre clearance. Fortunately for me, that won't be too much of a problem from here," Saren replied.

He tapped a few keys and eyed a trail from where Akuze once was out to another system. While he continued his research, he took the time to take some notes.

"Now, it only gives a general idea where someone like an escaping convict could be," Saren continued, "but it gives a general idea of where to look."

Amber nodded in agreement while she typed down an entry in her omni-tool's journal.

"So we might have something?" she asked.

He let out a cautious sigh.

"We might. If not, we can always dig through the terminal Nihlus took, might be something on there as well."

Once Saren finished recording the data from the OSD, he double-checked the message inbox in his omni-tool. He did find a message from Sparatus.

{A second unidentified foreign probe just showed in our space. Check it out, and be careful. You know what happened last time one of our crews handled those things too carelessly.}

Saren felt a chill sent down his spine before he made a brief glance at Amber. He stood up and guided her out of the academy.

"So tell me, what exactly do you put into those probes? Or is that classified?" he asked her.

Amber raised her eyebrows once she understood what Saren was talking about.

"They're armed with nuclear warheads for the circumstances they are compromised," she answered, "we didn't know anything yet, but under the circumstances we engaged in space warfare with some hostile race, we couldn't let them gain any insight to our technology."

Amber took notice as Saren flicked his mandibles.

"That definitely explains a lot," Saren commented, "it's a classified issue, but one of those probes had eventually crash landed on one of the outer turian colonies. The locals dragged it back and were beginning to cut it open, but they must've triggered something in the process. The colony was flattened, and there was barely enough documentation to know what happened."

Amber couldn't help but cringe. She found herself regretting that time she agreed to manufacturers in the Alliance installing nuclear weapons in probes.

"Oh, fuck," she muttered.

Saren paused in his tracks and tilted his gaze towards Shepard.

"'Oh fuck' is right. Fortunately, we know what we're dealing with this time, so with Nihlus' help, it just might work."

Amber nervously grasped her backpack straps.

"So what do we do?" she asked Saren.

"We're still taking it apart. It's human tech, but I've had close calls with explosive ordinances in the past."

"Ok then," Amber nodded in agreement, "maybe I can come along."

The following day, Saren, Amber, and Nihlus met right back at the former's shuttle and departed early in the morning. Passing by the academy one more time, Saren picked up a new set of protective asari armor for Amber and equipment necessary for disarming explosive ordinances in counter-terror operations. Without further delay, the group set out from the Citadel and headed towards turian space. This time, Amber left her backpack behind in Saren's apartment and relaxed into her seat after the shuttle was flung into warp by the Mass Relay. Minutes later, Saren watched as Amber stood from her seat and put on her new set of armor.

"So how does it fit?" he asked.

Once Amber finished slipping into her armor, she flexed her limbs to test its mobility.

"It feels alright. A bit lighter than my previous set," she answered.

Saren nodded in agreement as Amber sat back down. They exited the Mass Relay into an outer sector of turian space where the probe had last been spotted on scanning scopes. Saren turned on the shuttle's scanners to pinpoint the location of the probe.

"There it is, fifty thousand meters out," Nihlus pointed out.

Upon cue, Amber and Saren spotted the distant probe ahead of them.

"Amber, stay in the ship. Set the vessel to autopilot and let's get ready to head out, Nihlus," Saren ordered.

Amber gave both Saren and Nihlus a blank stare as they reached for their helmets.

"Maybe I could join in next time?" Amber clamored.

"Maybe. We'll see when we get there," Nihlus quipped.

Nihlus and Saren secured their helmets before they stepped into the airlock. Hearing the air being withdrawn from the room, they swiftly anticipated the opening of the doors leading outside. With a magnetic tether in one hand and a toolkit in the other, Saren dove out to the human probe not ten meters out from their ship. Clinging onto the side, he locked the magnet onto the probe and got to work cutting it open. Nihlus followed suit as he grabbed hold of the probe. The younger Spectre scanned the side of the device for a better internal look.

"Looks good so far. It's still active, so be careful," he informed over the suit coms.

"I understand, Nihlus," Saren reassured over the suit coms.

Saren slowly peeled back the flap to reveal the interior. He cautiously worked off a few pins before removing a bigger panel running half the length of the probe. He managed to expose more of the probe's interior to work with. It retained a large number of mechanical inputs usually seen within a scouting probe, but the most distinct attribute was the unmistakable profile of a warhead lining the core of the device. With his suspicions confirmed, he knew he would need to disarm it. He reached inside and began to slowly take apart the components to draw out the warhead. He even resorted to pushing wires out of the way.

Drawing the warhead out, he and Nihlus began to slowly work the top of the device off to dismantle the interior. While they were glad of their progress, they still had to be careful as they were aware of its destructive power. Saren eyed the screen on the side while he tweaked the wires. Cutting one wire, the screen suddenly flashed red before him. In a burst of panic he used his biotics to fling the payload into the void with considerable force, barely grabbing hold of the magnetic cable from the reaction force. Nihlus barely held onto the probe as Saren jerked it around. Somewhere in the distance, the device detonated in a silent, spectacular ball of fire.

"That was," Nihlus gasped, "that was…"

"Let's just get the damned thing back onto the ship," Saren interrupted.

The climbed back aboard and drew in the cable with the probe still connected. The two yanked their helmets off as soon as the pressure rushed back into the room. Amber heard the commotion, which compelled her to stand from her seat and rush towards the turian Spectre.

"Saren, Nihlus!" Amber exclaimed, "did you see that explosion?"

Nihlus was rubbing his eyes vigorously on the way in.

"You probably should've said something about not looking at it."

"There's no way she would've known the damned thing would blow up," Saren huffed.

Amber folded her arms behind her back and shifted her feet in a coy manner.

"I suspected it would happen based on what you told me yesterday about the other probe," Amber clarified.

"Still, what matters is we salvaged this. From where it was in space, I could have the ship VI calculate where it was launched from and how long ago," Saren reminded.

Amber nodded in agreement before she, Saren and Nihlus returned to their seats. The older turian Spectre shut off the autopilot and began maneuvering the shuttle out of the area.

"A close thing," Nihlus sighed as he kicked his feet back.

Saren didn't say anything else as the shuttle made its way to the Mass Relay. They returned to the Citadel with a small security team waiting for them at the docks. The team took notice of the probe before they set off to reel it in while the shuttle's ramp opened. Saren, Amber and Nihlus emerged and stepped across the walkway.

"I've already sent Sparatus a message about the package's retrieval," Saren instructed, "let's head down to the academy, see what we can find from that probe."

Saren led the way out of the docks once the security team hoisted the probe onto a flatbed trolley. Amber kept herself hidden between the tall, turian Spectres on their way back, keeping her new helmet on to better hide her identity as an asari. It took a matter of minutes before they arrived at the Spectre academy, so the Spectres pushed the door open, allowing the security team to push the trolley inside the building. They made it to the labs not too long after and were away from prying eyes to maintain secrecy. This gave Amber a chance to remove her helmet and set it onto a counter.

"Think you can still make something from it?" she asked.

Saren had already gotten to work at a terminal at the other end of the lab.

"I'm having the trajectory calculated," Saren replied, "Nihlus, if you please?"

Nihlus nodded before he sauntered over to the probe. He slowly began to scan it more thoroughly with his omni-tool. While he did, Amber examined the data that began appearing on the screen.

"Anything worthwhile?" she prompted.

Even if he still focused on his task, Saren placed one hand on Amber's shoulder.

"Just give me time," Saren requested, "I might have something, but please be patient."

"Ok," Amber nodded.

Amber stepped over to a counter where she sat down and turned on her omni-tool. The calculations dragged on, and Nihlus continued to work with the probe. During that time, the human soldier worked on writing her journal entry. She still had a lingering sense of loneliness, being so far away from home amidst species she hadn't until a few days prior ever seen before. Still, she recalled a few friends that were lucky enough to have avoided the same fate her platoon suffered. She remained huddled on a chair while the other two worked away.

Time felt like a blur to her until Nihlus placed his hand on her shoulder.

"You tired?" Nihlus purred.

She initially stuttered at the reaction.

"I…a-a bit."

Nihlus gestured Amber to the terminal screen while she stood from her seat.

"Not much, but I think we're on the right track," Nihlus said.

Raising her eyebrows, Amber stepped over to the terminal.

"You know of a 'Delvon Industries'?" he asked.

Amber rubbed her finger along her cheek as she thought over the question.

"I did remember taking a survey from that company," Amber mentioned.

"You got something?" Saren asked.

Amber shook her head.

"Not much," Amber admitted.

Saren shrugged.

"I'm tired and hungry as is," Saren announced, "we'll pick this up tomorrow. Sorry."