Emma sits down with a quiet grunt, one hand going to her side as her face contorts slightly from pain. She shakes her head faintly as Leah speaks. "I asked to be here." she reminds.
#Kalus'Compound – March 13, 2019
Tara flinches slightly, blinking and meeting Mendez' gaze as he speaks, clearly giving him her full attention. His words cause no small amount of discomfort to surface in her expression, gaze darting down, away, as she fails to respond.
Mendez watches Tara in silence for a moment. Her silence comes as no surprise. But he's not much of a talker himself, so it doesn't seem to bother him. "You'll figure it out." he says. "And the rest of us are going to be here with you while you do." he says before giving her shoulder a pat and retracting his hand. "Before I forget-..." he continues, shifting to the side briefly. The act causes him to wince as another jolt of
pain shoots through his side, but he powers through it. He prods through one of the pouches at his waist for a moment before producing a credit chit. The one given to him before the gunfire began. Her entire life put into a credit chit. The decided upon monetary value of a human life. He holds it between his middle finger and index finger, extending it towards Tara. "I think this belongs to you, little bird." he grunts.
Leah finds her attention pulled back to Tara and Mendez, split between them and Emma as she locks the harness into place. Emma's words pull her gaze back and she gives the harness a tug to make sure it's secured. "I know..." she says, drawing a breath in. "...I knew that if I told the Chief about this that she'd help. That she would send backup. Order some people to gear up, hop on a shuttle with me, and come out here." she
explains, small smile tugging at her lips. But it quickly falls away as she swallows, somber expression replacing it as her gaze lowers back to the harness to give it one last once over. "And I-... I couldn't have that." she continues. Too many people have already been hurt because of me. "I couldn't have people risking their lives- getting caught up in my personal problems- because they were ordered
to. Because it was their job. It had to be by choice." Her gaze finally meets Emma's once more as she draws in a breath. "You didn't have to be here. But you are." she says simply, giving a small shrug of her shoulders. "And because of that, someone I care a great deal about is going to have a chance at a real life. So thank you." she repeats in an attempt at emphasizing just how important it is to her that all of
Emma nods sharply. A faint hint of a smile briefly tugging at one corner of her mouth, softening the tense look on her face, brought about from holding back to avoid letting on that she's in quite a bit of pain. It doesn't last long, her expression soon growing strained once more.
Tara looks down at the offered chit, eyebrows furrowing in confusion. She extends a gloved hand to take it, gaze going back to Mendez' face. "What-... what is it?" she asks hesitantly, not connecting the dots. Her mind had been on other things during the exchange.
Mendez looks to the chit in Tara's hand, his own hand coming to rest against his harness. "The credits that Fasha tried to pay for you." he says plainly. "Doesn't belong to me." he adds as he shifts against the seat in an attempt at getting more comfortable.
Leah returns the smile with a slightly-strained smile of her own as she rises from her crouch now that Emma's harness has been secured. "And leave the medical bill to me!" she says, her inflection implying a silent or else. "You just worry about recovering, okay?" She takes a step back, awaiting her chance to get Tara's attention.
Emma leans back in her seat, trying her best to find a way to sit that's easy on her ribs. She offers no immediate comment on the medical bills.
Tara takes a small step back, furrowed eyebrows lingering as she looks down at the chit. "Oh..." she says quietly, seeming uncertain whether she should say something else, but she notices Leah looking at her, her attention turning.
Leah's strained smile wavers when she finds herself in Tara's sights. Having avoided her since they dealt with Fasha, there's a noticeable bit of discomfort in her posture and she folds her arms across her chest. It makes her look a bit guarded as she meets the young girl's gaze. "...Hey." she begins, her words soft. Hesitant, as if worried that Tara may not want to speak with her. "...I'm going to stay behind and help with the
clean up, okay?" She leaves out the part about waiting to make sure that Fasha's people don't come looking for him. "Just-..." she draws in a breath, a small shrug accompanying it, "...tell dad I'm fine? That I'll be home tomorrow? I'm sure he's worried sick about us..." she says, clearly expecting Tara to be on the shuttle when it leaves. Maybe expecting Tara to want to be on the shuttle when it leaves. To put as much
distance between herself and the compound as she can. To put as much distance between herself and Leah as she can...
Tara listens in silence, her expression hard to read. Leah's instructions cause her eyebrows to furrow deeper however. She hesitates briefly. "But... I'm not hurt..." she says.
Jattic reappears in the warehouse door, Emma's bag in one hand and Mendez' over his shoulder. The latter's is unzipped, shotgun poking out. He's dragging the large man's armor crate behind him. He sets their things beside them, making sure to place Mendez' bag on the seat beside him to keep the shotgun out of the slave's reach. Not that he believes they'll try anything at this point, but it's better to be safe than sorry. He
reaches into the open duffelbag and pulls out the shredded pauldron that he collected from its place, impaled upon the krogan's spiked shoulder. He tosses it onto Mendez' lap with a snort. "I thought you may appreciate a souvenir." he growls.
Mendez furrows his brow, head bowing to look at the wrecked chunk of plating that has been dropped into his lap. The smallest hint of a smile tugs at the corner of his mouth as he touches a hand to it. "Right. Because I want to remember this moment." he says, his lack of any inflection making it difficult to tell if he's being sarcastic.
Jattic folds his arms across his chest, his own gaze fixed to the piece of armor. "You stood against a krogan dressed for battle in batarian blade armor and live to tell the tale. This is no small feat. You will tell of this story to your offspring one day." he grunts. Are they joking with one another? The conversation is so dry and blunt that it's hard to tell.
Leah's own brow furrows in turn. "Don't you-..." she stammers, "...I-... figured that you would want to get out of here." she says, her words sounding more like an offer. A guilt-free way out for Tara. "Considering everything that-..." she sighs, gaze dropping briefly. "...You don't need to stay if you don't want to, Tara." she settles on. A part of her hopes that Tara will accept the offer. Get on the shuttle. Go home. Stay
out of any potential danger to come. But there's an undeniable part of her- that selfish, self conscious part in the back of her mind- that hopes that Tara will stay. Even though it might be dangerous. Because it would be a conscious decision to remain around her. A chance for them to clear up whatever unspoken issues are hanging over them.
Emma 's attention is drawn to Jattic and Mendez' conversation, the deadpan exchange causing her eyebrows to shift a little, perhaps in amusement or confusion.
Tara blinks. For a moment she's silent, just looking at Leah, then... "I'll stay." Her gaze goes back towards the others, darting across each of their faces, hesitating as if considering saying something, before growing discomfort causes her to leave, stepping past Leah back towards the warehouse building.
Leah allows a small smile to form. It's brief, little more than an upturn of the corner of her mouth when Tara speaks up. "Okay..." she responds. But when Tara makes a hasty departure, her smile falls away once more. She watches as Tara starts back towards the warehouse door. She opens her mouth to say something, but silence is all that follows. A deep sigh escapes her and she finds herself standing in place, arms folded across
Mendez lifts the piece of armor, turning it in his hand as he studies it before dropping it back into the duffelbag on the seat beside him. "I'll keep that in mind..." he says, the mounting exhaustion and pain making it pretty clear that he's in no mood to talk.
Jattic gives a stern nod. He studies Mendez for a moment longer before his body turns to better face Emma. He eyes her up, a bit of a snarl tugging at his lips. "You are an awful creature and I dislike you a great deal. I do, however, appreciatie of your assistance." he briefly falls silent and looks as though he's going to turn to leave before deciding he should probably say more. A frustrated sigh follows this decision.
"...And, had you perished today, I would not have been pleased." Another moment passes before he feels the need to put a verbal cap on the conversation. "That is all." And with that, the moody batarian turns on his heels and goes to disembark from the shuttle.
Emma doesn't seem quite sure what to say to that... so she opts for nothing, a slightly taken aback look quickly fading back into strained silence as the batarian departs, once again focused on suppressing the pain.