At the end of the day, Alliance ships finally showed up in orbit over the colony and started sending down relief supplies and equipment to repair the damage done by the slavers. As the Normandy left the colony and began traveling through space, Kelly ventured her way to the medical bay. To her left, Mordin just finished patching up Garrus's wounds.
"You weren't hurt that badly, were you?" Kelly asked.
Garrus chuckled as he slid off the bed.
"Just a flesh wound," he reassured, "it'll heal."
Kelly smiled softly as she and Garrus stepped out of the medical bay side by side.
"Anything I miss back on the ship?" he returned.
Kelly couldn't help but shrug.
He stretched his shoulder and chuckled.
"Yeah," Garrus said, "going to need a bit of a rest after that."
Once Garrus and Kelly made their way into the crew's quarters, the turian climbed into his bed and the Alliance yeoman lay next to him, nuzzling her face against his. He craned his neck up and cautiously looked around. He turned his gaze back to her with a toothy grin.
"You don't have any immediate duties to attend to, right?" Garrus mentioned.
"Not at the moment," Kelly answered.
"I was looking for a little…something to unwind…you get me?" he continued, tugging his shirt off.
Kelly took this as a cue to slip her boots off.
"Maybe that's why I was waiting for you," she remarked.
They tossed their clothing in a heap besides the bunk and shuffled under the sheets. As she nestled in his embrace, she pulled Garrus into a passionate kiss. She reached around his neck and grabbed onto his leathery skin. Her turian partner sighed in content as he ran one hand down her back and perched his other hand on her shoulder. The hand along her back cupped her waist, keeping it firmly in position while he brushed the side of her neck with his tongue. She let out soft moans before she kissed his neck, perching one hand on his waist.
One of her hands reached down, feeling the plates peel back to reveal his length. Garrus returned the gesture as he slid his talon into her folds, eliciting moans out of her as she bucked her hips against his hand. Feeling himself extend, he pried her entrance open to give himself an easier time thrusting into her. As he thrust his finger in and out of her, Kelly resisted the urge to clench her thighs on his talon. She felt his tip brush against her, tempting her further. While she felt fluids coating her walls, she licked his mandible until minutes later, he withdrew his talon.
"You ready?" he gasped softly.
Kelly nodded before reaching down and lining his tip with her nether regions. Pulling his talons out, Garrus wedged himself in and wrapped both hands around her hips. She let out a loud cry as she perched her arms over his carapace. Once Kelly perched one leg over his hip spurs, he started grinding into her. Her muscles turned to jello and her breathing became heavy and labored. While she angled her hips, she tapped her forehead against his. The fluids coating their nether regions eased the friction amidst their rhythmic pace. He growled deeply as he pressed deeper into her. Kelly pulled him closer as his chest rumbled with purring. His carapace felt like a rock on a beach, heated from exposure to the sun's caring rays of light. As Garrus brushed his tongue along her neck, she leaned into the savory touch as heat built up in her core. Shortly after, he let out a suppressed howl and trembled, releasing his seed.
Garrus took a minute or so to rest, before they turned over until he hovered on top of her. He slowly eased himself onto her and returned to thrusting. Bucking her hips in sync with his thrusts, Kelly perched her other leg around his waist. He slowly angled his body to shift his weight to his hips. The spines and ridges along his length sent pleasurable thrills through her nerves. Her grip started to slip due to her inability to focus. As Garrus continued to pant, he held her close as he accelerated his pace. He heaved with every thrust, eager to reach another climax. It took another thrust before he felt Kelly shudder in her first climax. She managed to muster enough effort to link her legs around his back while she just let her arms hang limply over the sides of the bed.
Garrus continued to rock his hips while he nuzzled his face against her neck. His tongue extended to slowly brush her soft skin. The friction of their movements built up pressure inside both of them. She gasped as her body shuddered with electric jolts shaking her inside out. Shortly after Kelly came a second time, Garrus also found himself reaching his limit. Seconds later, he withdrew from her and they basked in the afterglow. They hurried to the showers and washed off before returning to the bunks. Having come down from their high, Kelly nestled into Garrus's embrace.
"Thanks. I needed that," Garrus sighed.
"Same here," Kelly added as she nuzzled her face against his.
"Anyways, I'd like to get a few things done before I rejoin you later," he said, getting up from the side of the bed.
Kelly took a few minutes to rest while Garrus slipped into his uniform. Minutes after he left, she stood from bed and began changing into her civies. Even with the Normandy still in flight, the yeoman knew she had a post to return to.
On the bridge, Amber was overseeing their return to the Citadel. As they observed the Normandy locking onto the magnetic clamps at the docking bay, the vessel opened its ramp, giving the crew onboard a signal to disembark. Amber found a couple of turian generals waiting for her just at the end of the walkway. Among them, Saren recognized his brother.
"Desolas, I didn't think I'd be seeing you here," he greeted, keeping his tone level.
Desolas gave Saren a slow nod.
"Likewise, Saren," Desolas replied, "while I particularly don't find any interest in human politics, I still see an opportunity after the most recent raid on one of their colonies."
Desolas made a brief glance at Javik.
"How so?" Saren replied.
Desolas snapped his attention back from the Prothean.
"It seems the batarians are getting fed up with slavery being illegal," Desolas answered.
Amber tilted her head towards the other turian general.
"So, what are you proposing?" Amber asked.
"I suggest we prepare for the possibility the batarians could declare war on the Citadel," the other turian general advised.
He soon extended his hand.
"General Victus," he introduced himself.
"Pleasure to meet you," Amber returned, "I'd really rather not start a war with them."
Amber clasped Victus's hand with her own and shook it.
"Neither would I," Victus agreed, "we've been able to avoid such conflict with the batarians, but with the introduction of something such as your race to the galaxy, this is increasingly becoming a conflict we cannot avoid if we don't act quickly."
Amber nodded in agreement just as the rest of her crew began disembarking the vessel.
"Are you sure playing nice is out of the picture?" Amber asked.
Victus let out a soft sigh just as they all started meandering through the docks.
"That's more of a temporary fix than anything that will genuinely resolve any conflicts."
Once they left the docks, they made their way through the Presidium. Once Saren, Amber, Victus, Desolas and Javik arrived at the Citadel Tower, they met up with Anderson and Hackett at a conference room. Anderson was the first to greet her.
"Shepard, how bad was it?" he asked.
"The colony was in bad shape," Amber answered, "but we managed to apprehend their superior officers before they made off with their victims."
"That's a start. I wish we could reinforce that line, but the truth is that most of those colonies haven't grown enough to be considerable assets worth heavily reinforcing. Currently, most of those outer colonies are expanding mining camps and small-time agriculture," Admiral Hackett followed up.
As they sat down at the table, Hackett turned on the holographic projector, bringing up the map of the galaxy.
"Furthermore, they aren't exactly comfortable with our territories stretching to the edges of theirs."
Saren nodded as he read the map.
"So the end-goal here is finally dismantling the Hegemony, correct?" Saren asked.
"Or maybe," Amber added, "reforming their way of life, if that's a possibility?"
Desolas and Victus turned their heads towards Amber.
"That's the heart of the issue at hand," Victus pointed out, "slavery is integral to their caste system and nothing short of shaking their culture to its core will undo that."
Amber took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
"Even if that were somehow possible," Victus continued, "I'm not sure undermining their identity as a whole will do any good."
Without warning, Javik slammed his hands onto the table.
"Enough of your incessant whining," Javik scolded, "if the batarians are really a threat, then they should be treated as one."
Everyone else grumbled as they tilted their heads towards Javik.
"So what do you suggest?" Amber beckoned.
"If you really want to go the pacifist route," Javik advised, "convince members within the Hegemony that their system of governing is flawed. Allow this ideal to spread so it can cause the Hegemony to collapse from the inside out. How they wish to reorganize is up to them."
For once, Amber nodded in agreement.
"Sure, let's try it your way. If you have some solid ideas, I'm alright with it."
Javik ignored Amber's glance and focused on the Mass Relay locations on the galaxy map.
"We'll start with the lower caste members," Javik started, "the more disgruntled members if possible."
Desolas scratched his mandible.
"I suppose that's not a bad idea. Give the lowest denominator a sense of being undermined by the system, then quietly support any sort of uprising that ensues."
As she listened, Amber took notes in her omni-tool.
"So as long as we maintain discretion about the operation," Amber clarified, "the batarians should in theory sort themselves out?"
"I can accept that," Saren nodded.
"And what about afterwards?" Victus asked, "should we intervene in government reformation?"
Anderson and Hackett exchanged glances in a moment of silence.
"I think we'll only end up back at square one of the batarians and see this as any sort of external intervention with their own affairs," the former replied.
Victus and Hackett shook hands in agreement.
"Alright. Now, where do we start?" Hackett asked, "is there some figurehead we could fund for this effort? Anyone to lead the new movement?"
"I might have an idea. It involves a batarian in exile for his political views," Victus answered.
"Don't tell me you're genuinely considering Ka'hairal Balak of all people," Desolas retorted.
"He is the lesser of two evils," Victus insisted, "we have to try."
Amber raised her eyebrows, her mind now filling with curiosity.
"About that guy," she spoke up.
Victus shifted his attention towards Amber.
"Balak had rather radical revisions for batarian society," Victus explained, "he started something and was quickly put down by the upper echelons of the Hegemony for fear of ruining the status quo. After he went into exile, he became readily well known and his views are nothing short of extreme."
"I might as well consider that," Amber nodded in agreement.
"He'll at least be enough of a disruption, but what about after he implements his 'ideal' society?" Anderson prompted.
Saren hummed as he placed a talon on his chin.
"The political turmoil should keep them busy with themselves," Saren confirmed.
"Then we might as well get started," Anderson concluded.
With the meeting adjourned, Saren, Amber, Javik, Desolas, Victus, Anderson and Hackett left the conference room. Once they left the Citadel Tower, the Alliance officers left while the human Spectre turned towards the older Arterius brother.
"Where is Balak, anyways?" Amber asked.
Desolas paused in his tracks.
"He's been living out his exile along the border between the Attican and Terminus on some desolate planet with otherwise minimal resources for survival," Desolas sighed.
Saren double-checked the map in his omni-tool.
"A rather contested area, too," Saren added.
"The Normandy should get you to him no problem. Bring him back and we'll discuss plans further," Anderson ordered.
After parting ways with the others, Saren and Amber meandered through the Presidium. They returned to their apartment to rest for the day, stripping off their armor and taking turns in the shower. Once they finished, they both gathered in the living room. Saren reviewed a dossier on his omni-tool regarding Balak. He was certain he didn't cross paths with this particular batarian throughout his missions, yet the turian Spectre felt General Victus's suggestion might make a viable game changer. Once he finished reading the dossier, he turned his head towards his human girlfriend.
"You nervous?" Saren asked.
Amber made a brief glance and Saren and shook her head calmly.
"Not particularly," Amber replied, "why? Is something wrong?"
Saren let out a sigh as Amber placed her hand on his shoulder.
"It's not often that I agree with my brother on anything," Saren explained, "I'm in concordance with Desolas on Balak, that he'll start something worse than what we're faced with."
Softness in her eyes, Amber leaned closer to Saren.
"If you'd like," Amber offered, "we could try to get to know him more. Does that make you feel better?"
"A little," Saren admitted with a shrug.
Saren wrapped his arm around Amber, pulling her close and eliciting a sigh of content out of her.
"I love you, Saren," she said softly.
He shakily sighed as he leaned closer to her.
"I love you, too," Saren returned, "Shepard."
As Saren tapped his forehead against Amber's, she cupped his face with her hand and gave him a kiss. He put down his omni-tool, allowing it to shimmer out of existence before he leaned back, Amber in his grasp. He craned his head over hers, looking out the window in wandering thought.