Post #10 of the 30-day Mass Effect drabble challenge. Today’s prompt: any Cerberus, Wrex, “haunted;” courtesy of the Mass Effect Random Prompt Generator.
I need you to fix this. You’re the only one who can, Shepard had said.
“I’ll get it done,” Miranda whispered to herself. Yeah, right. All she had to do was convince almost two meters of angry krogan. Miranda channeled every particle of calm she could muster. She’d killed krogan before. She’d faced them alone and en masse. She trembled as she approached Wrex, leader of clan Urdnot. The behemoth was covered with scars from wounds that would have cut her in half, raked into his hide centuries before she was born.
James and Tali stood behind her as she approached his stone chair. Wrex’s rage felt like sweltering heat in the dusty stink of Tuchanka. Miranda had a greeting prepared, but Wrex stood as she opened her mouth, and grunted, “Shepard couldn’t come himself? He sent me you?”
“Shepard is trying to save Thessia. I’m his second in command. If he could be here, he would.”
“He sent me some Cerberus bitch? Do you know what this is about?”
Miranda felt the words like a slow smear of black paint across her face. She would be haunted by her association with them forever. “I’m not Cerberus any more. This is about an experiment called X1.”
Wrex lunged toward her. “This is about a krogan named Urdnot Britak who you people turned into a weapon! Just like the Reapers!”
“Cerberus did this! Not us! Not humanity! Scum that we will hunt down and kill for their crimes!” She didn’t fight this far to break now. She’d fought worse terrors than this. And she meant every word. Wrex’s garnet eyes measured her. Miranda knew this moment could make or break her mission. “There is no time for courts or mercy. The stakes are too high—”
“This isn’t about stakes!” Wrex whipped his hand before her face so fast before her face the wind burn made her eyes tear. “This is about an atrocity! Krogan treated as meat. You want us as allies? You want us to bleed and fight and save your sorry asses? We should leave you people to hang and let the varren pick at your bones.” Wrex’s breath smelled like the sulfurous exhalation of a hell mouth.
He didn’t strike her. He could have taken off her head. This wasn’t over.
James stepped forward. Tali followed him. Miranda held up her hand for both of them to stop.
Miranda replied, “You should. I wouldn’t blame you if you did. But you know it’s death for us all if we stand alone. And you know Shepard.” Miranda stepped eye to eye with him. Wrex was the meanest, toughest krogan in the galaxy. Time to channel her inner Jack. “Let’s make this right. Tell us where you want us to hang the fuckers and we’ll bury the hooks ourselves.”
The corner of Wrex’s mouth turned up. Miranda heard the howl of a varren pack on the hunt in the distance. She saw the sharp edges of fresh scars in Wrex’s face. The swelling of fresh bullet wounds. She thought of the blood and smoke and fire they’d all endured. How much was still to come. She hated the people who’d brought them to this.
Wrex said, “You won’t plant this hooks. We will. You’ll bring them to us. Alive.”
“Alive,” Miranda repeated. She nodded to him, the slow, cold expression of an executioner. She thought of Ezno and Renata. They’d wrap the prisoners in Christmas bows and deliver them with a smile if she gave them the chance.
Wrex sensed it. He nodded, too. He sat back down on his throne. “Looks like Shepard sent the right one to me after all.”
Miranda mirrored his smirk. “Until then, Urdnot Wrex.”
No wave of dismissal, no wishes of farewell. Miranda turned and the team headed back to the shuttle.
James let out a nervous breath. “I think like you exorcised a ghost, boss,” he said.
“Just one,” Miranda replied. She still had plenty left to go.