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Dragon's Teeth: Mass Effect 1

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Milky Way/Horse Head Nebula/Pax System/Planet--Noveria

Callie made sure there were no messages from Admiral Hackett before ordering Joker to plot a course for Noveria. Intel said Matriarch Benezia had been seen there and as far as anyone knew, was still there. Captain Anderson advised her to proceed with caution. Many of the companies on the planet conducted questionable and often illegal research in their labs. They would not be happy she was there.

"Normandy. Your arrival was not scheduled. We have your shipped flagged as Alliance and our missiles are tracking you. State your business." A curt voice addressed Joker over the comm.

"Citadel business." Joker said. "We have a Council Spectre on board."

"Very well Normandy, you may proceed to the docking bay. Be advised that we will be confirming your information. If confirmation cannot be established, your ship will be impounded." The comm cut off.

"What a fun bunch." Joker muttered, his voice dripping sarcasm. "Think I'll spend my next shore leave here."

Callie smiled as she left the bridge, ordering Liara and Kaidan to meet her in the airlock.

As they approached the entrance to Port Hanshan they were greeted by armed guards.

"Identify yourself." Barked a stern, dark-haired woman with close-cropped hair.

" Barked a stern, dark-haired woman with close-cropped hair

"You first." Callie retorted. God but she was getting tired of political bullshit.

"Maeko Matsuo, ERCS (Elanus Risk Control Security), Head of Security."

"Commander Shepard, Spectre. I'm here looking for an asari Matriarch. She's supposed to have passed through here recently."

"Load of horse-crap ma'am." A blonde ECRS guard muttered.

"Also," Maeko continued, "Weapons are not allowed on Noveria. Sergeant Stirling, secure their weapons."

"I'm not giving you my gun." Callie said, her voice cold.

"Charge and lock!" Matsuo barked. "You have to the count of three to surrender. 1, 2..."

"Captain Matsuo stand down!" Yelled a voice over the intercom. "Their credentials have been confirmed. Also, Spectres are authorized to carry weapons here."

Matsuo hung her head looking ashamed as Shepard, Kaidan and Liara pushed passed her. They entered the building and approached the only desk visible when alarms went off, detecting their weapons.

A polite, attractive young woman disabled the alarm before introducing herself as Gianna Parasini, secretary to the administrator of the facility. She confirmed that an asari Matriarch had passed through a few days ago and that she'd left for Peak 15, one of the private facilities outside the main building.

Gianna informed them they would need a garage pass from Administrator Anoleis if they wanted to reach Peak 15

Gianna informed them they would need a garage pass from Administrator Anoleis if they wanted to reach Peak 15. With the intense winter storm outside, Gianna was doubtful that Anoleis would issue them one.

Following her directions they found the Administrator's office and Taryne explained to the curt salarian what she was doing on Noveria. He was insulting, condescending and flatly refused to give her a garage pass. Taryne knew the weather had nothing to do with it, but it was obvious she would get not help from him.

As they passed Gianna's desk on their way out, she whispered that the Administrator wasn't the only one with access to the garage.

"I'm listening." Callie said, stepping closer.

"Speak with Lorik Qui'in. He's the owner of Synthetic Insights, currently locked out of his office. You'll find him in the bar."

Frustrated but out of other options, they headed to the bar. If this guy could help her get to Peak 15 she wanted to talk to him.

Loik Qui'in turned out to be a turian who said the Administrator was currently conducting an illegal search of his office. Anoleis had learned that Qui'in had evidence Anoleis was stealing from theExecutive Board and Anoleis was bent on finding and destroying it. If Shepard agreed to retrieve the files from his office, he'd give her his garage pass.

Armed ECRS guards were waiting for them when they reached Qui'in's office. Taryne told them to stop their illegal search, but of course they didn't. After eliminated the guards, she found Qui'in's data and headed back to the bar. Gianna was waiting for them as they left Qui'in's office and told Shepard to speak with her before talking to Qui'in.

Unbelievable, Callie thought as they retraced their steps. "I don't know about you two, but all this back door political bullshit is really starting to get on my nerves."

"I have to admit, you do seem to encounter more than your share of people with questionable motives Shepard." Liara commented. "I don't spend much time around people, but this seems disproportionately high – even for you."

"Politics aren't high on my list of favourite topics." Kaidan agreed. "Sometimes it makes me want to shoot politicians on sight."

"You read my mind." Callie told him. "Unfortunately it's not likely to solve anything. Probably best not to shoot them, no matter how much they might piss me off. Okay, rant over. Let's get this done."

They met with Gianna who told them she was Internal Affairs –investigating Anoleis. She wanted Shepard to convince Qui'in to testify before giving him back his files. If she did, Gianna promised her a garage pass.

Good grief, Callie thought as Gianna spoke. Given how often strangers needed her help to do their jobs, it was a wonder anything ever got done without her around to hold their hands.

"It seems we'd be helping a lot more people if we just did as she asked Commander." Kaidan said, bringing her out of her reverie.

"Alright. I'll see what I can do."

"Good." Gianna said. "Meet me in my office when you're done."

Of course it took a bit of convincing before Qui'in agreed to testify, but she got it done and less than an hour later, they were on their way to Peak 15. The storm outside raged, gusting winds and blowing snow obscuring the path ahead and making them all shiver inside the insulated tank. Geth blocked the route they followed, so it was slow going what with snowdrifts and weapons being fired at them.

As they drove, Callie reviewed what they'd learned about Peak 15. The main building had lost contact with the facility several days ago, indicating a possible accident and all communication had been cut off. Benezia had arrived a few days before, along with an assortment of crates and a team of asari commandos.

Noveria/Peak 15 Garage

A few krogan and geth primes were waiting inside the garage when they arrived. Kaidan disabled their weapons with sabotage and overload, while Liara lifted the krogan into the air giving Callie time to blast them with her shotgun before they could regenerate shields. Past the entrance there were more geth and some swift moving bugs rushed them, blowing up on contact with their suits. Nasty, Callie thought, but at least they weren't big. Oh shit. Three larger bugs appeared, spitting toxic green liquid at them as they attacked.

Liara lifted and warped two, while she and Kaidan used Neural Shock and their weapons on them. Damn but they were hard to kill, Callie thought as the last one died. None of them had ever seen bugs like this before. Liara reasoned they must have come from the labs, at least that was how it appeared – the place seemed overrun with the damn things.

"This place is a mess

"This place is a mess." Kaidan said, stepping over one of the giant dead creatures.

"The sooner we get out of here the better." Liara agreed. "I don't like this place Shepard, there are too many secrets here."

"I see we're all enjoying the scenery." Callie remarked. "Focus on the mission. We find Benezia and get her to tell us what Saren was doing here."

"Sure like to know what those bug things are." Kaidan said as they entered the elevator to Peak 15's transit station.

"So would I." Liara said. "I've never encountered such an aggressive species before."

"Whatever they are." Callie said as the doors slid open. "We need to be careful. They're dangerous, and from the state of this place there's a lot more where they came from."