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Broker Broker 19

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“Acknowledged. Await response.” the Shadow Broker's deep, cold voice booms over Ashley's comm station, and she quickly turns down the volume looking to the closed door of her quarters on Hackett's command vessel.

“Um... Liara?” she says.

“Oh! Ashley! Wait a second. Ummm...” the dark voice says, “No! Oh where is it now... No, I do not want to print! There... Is that it?”

“Ah. There you are. What's going on? Permanent Broker mode?”

“Yes. Well no. Ugh... It was so embarrassing.”

“Go on...”

“Well I got a call from an operative, she needed back up and her usual wingman was AWOL. I don't get to go out in the field as much as I used to so I said I was sending Doctor T'Soni. You know, stretch the legs, loosen the biotics?”

“Fair enough.”

“I was quite excited about getting out so I rushed to my quarters, put on my old white armour with blue trim – you know the one, the one I wore during Shepard's campaigns, everyone seems to like that one, I was quite the celebrity for a while there you know, seemed to help deflect suspicion about who I really am, and sometimes they're like, 'Here's good old Doctor T'Soni, she's a good stick.' I've built myself quite a good reputation, you know. Last time I was on Thessia-”

“Liara?”

“Yes?”

“Your story?”

“Oh. Yes. So I was just fixing Dinky to my hip-”

“Dinky?”

“My pistol, and-”

“You named your pistol Dinky?”

“Only because Zaeed named his rifle Jessie!”

“Umm... what?”

“Well I lost Flossie when the SR-1 went down.”

“Flossie?”

“You heard about all that, didn't you? Anyway-”

“No?!”

“Do you want to hear my story or not?”

“Fine! Go ahead.”

“Well another call came through. From the operative who was supposed to be AWOL, calling in to say he was active after laying low from C-Sec. I was really disappointed.”

“Well I'm sure there'll be other missions.”

“Problem was, I didn't realise my voice software wasn't running – the previous Broker's interface, his bespoke operating system... It's a bloody nightmare that's what it is! I couldn't help but voice my disappointment, and he heard my 'Oh' over the comm.”

“So what did you do?”

“I blurted out the first thing that came to my head, 'If y'all'll just hang in there now, I'll get y'all reconnected in two shakes of a lamb's tail!'”

“What the hell did he say to that?!”

“He obviously got suspicious, made some excuses about wanting to order ramen then hung up. Once I had the voice software running again, I was too scared to turn it off again until I heard your voice. Sorry, Ash.”

“You're such a dork, T'Soni.”