#LeytoPangn – August 12, 2019

Sioria continues her interrogation of Ehanis.

Ehanis just gets more angered by the turian's words until she mentions the asari behind them, at which she raises her brows. "Oh, that's just Siv," she says without even looking. "Hitched a ride with her crew from Derrai. She loves me so much that she probably thought you waltzing in here all geared up meant trouble." Ehanis grins and walks around the turian. "We can go upstairs," she says. "I haven't seen another

soul up there since we got here, so it's private enough."

The sneaky asari places her hand on her forehead at Ehanis' explanation, and walks past the pair without a word. She ups her pace on her walk back to the lobby.

Ehanis loses the smile the moment the distraction passes her by, and her expression sours even further. She doesn't say anything more as she starts walking down towards the lobby.

Sioria follows her friend, glaring at the other Asari. Her crew. Sure. Why not. Just more suspicion to add to the great big pile of suspicion. "Uh huh," is all she offers. She keeps her helmet at her side and her free hand on her holster, just in case. "If I end up with a knife in my kidney, I'm gonna haunt your ass forever."

The security guard is still in her spot as they pass her in the lobby. The building at this time is quiet, so it's possible that she may have caught the louder words exchanged. The salarian is tapping away at his terminal, but you can never know how much attention a bored-looking salarian actually pays.

Ehanis sighs as she starts heading upstairs. "You are wrong, I make friends," she says, frustration clear in her voice. "I don't always get a chance to say goodbye, and that's fine by me. That doesn't mean I don't care, or don't need friends watching my back, it's... that I tend not to think too hard about the endings. Even if they're because I'm being stupid and running off on a last minute decision."

"And not the fun one," Sioria says as they walk, not sure who could be listening. "The type with chains and a shrieking voice. You'll never sleep again." Once they're a little more secluded, she lowers her voice. "That's all well and good, but you can't expect me to just sit there without closure. It's evil." She takes a deep breath and sighs. "Look, E, Redrock sent me just to make sure you're cool. If you don't want to come

home, I'm not to force you." She looks up from the ground and into Ehanis' eyes. "But I'm not being paid." Her voice goes down to a whisper. "Do you actually want to be here, E? In the frozen asshole of a shitty planet? Instead of a nice city with people who care, instead of assholes who listen in on your conversations, thinking they're being sneaky?" She looks over her shoulder again. "This place makes my skin crawl. I got a

bad bad feeling about all of this, and it isn't just me being pissed off at you."

The upstairs area is one long hallway going towards and around the corner. There are numbered doors on either side of the hallway and at the ends. It has carpet flooring and the walls have long wide horizontal wooden panels. It's well lit, and theres not any nearby spots for sneaky asari to hide in. They are also not followed by anyone upstairs.

Ehanis sighs as she reaches the top of the stairs and turns around. "She wasn't being sneaky, okay?" she says. "I saw your shuttle land, but I didn't know who was in it, so... she offered to watch my back." Ehanis then relaxes her shoulders, but the asari is still firmly angry at the turian. "You don't understand me," she says. "I'm tired of 'people who care', people who thinks they know whats best for me, and...

and... you! All my qualifications for being your friends was being an asari. You'll just find another one."

Sioria blinks. "Okay. Ouch. You think I'm that shallow?" She asks, obviously offended. "You were my friend because you were fun, and always made me feel happy." She shakes her head and sighs deeply. "What am I even doing? Yelling at you won't help. What the hell am I even doing out here, in the ass end of nowhere?" She claims her arms once and turns away, face palming. "I could be halfway down a bottle of whatever I can

afford right now. But no, my dumb ass thought you were in trouble out here." She turns back with a tired look in her eyes, feeling the dread settle in. Maybe Ehanis truly did want to fuck off out of everyone's life. "I just have to know, was I even a friend to you? Or just some bitch to have fun with before bolting." She keeps her ears trained, listening and maybe even hoping to hear someone sneaking around. It

couldn't be real, Ehanis had to be in trouble, otherwise her whole journey, and everything before, was for naught.

((*change claimed to flails. Auto correct.*))

Ehanis shakes her head. "No, you were a friend, just... I sometimes hoped you would call me out on my crap, but you were always there, trying to make me happy and... I hated that." She turns around and walks around the railing separating the stairs from the hallway, facing away from the turian. "I suppose I only felt that I deserved lasting friends like Mian, who... yeah, she taught me the way of Omega, but you

wouldn't like to hear half the things she's done to me along the way." Ehanis brings a hand up to her head. "I had drinking buddies, who were nice and we had fun times without any of the bad crap, but nothing substatial, nothing... real, you know," she says. "That's where you fit in to me, and others. But the pattern started to crack, people out here seemed to actually give a fuck and not because I was

useful to them as a fellow gun. People also didn't thread carefully worrying about getting robbed. It felt like a vacation at first, and it was fucking great, but..." She takes a deep breath, but there are no tears in her face. Just anger, confusion, bitterness. Her tearducts have dried up decades ago when stupid brat going to the big Omega party turned into a proper mercenary. "The quiet gave me time to

think, Sioria," she continues. "After thirty years of living day by day, you don't want to prossess all the crap going on in your head."

Sioria blinks and raises an eyebrow. "So... Instead of using your brain and actually facing the world for what it's meant to be, you're running?" She asks, putting a hand on Ehanis' shoulder. "Look, I didn't call you out because I thought it was just a bit of fun. The heart ache you left me with realised I was wrong. Very wrong." She lets to of the woman's shoulder, knowing it's not the time for lingering hands. "But now I

gotta deal with that. I have to sit here and face everything, because if I don't it'll just follow me. Yes, I can see the irony, since I'm the one following you." She crosses her arms and steps back from the Asari, giving her a little space. "Those thirty years are going to sit there, E. You sure you don't want someone to be there to fight that shit with you? What about forty? Fifty? Three hundred? What happens if

you don't process that stuff? I don't know, but I know you've heard stories of crazy matrons who kept running. That gonna be you?" She gives a tiny shrug. "I probably won't see it. I'll be dead in a hundred, unless my plans to live forever fall through." She scratches the back of her neck lightly.

Ehanis turns back to face the turian. "When I came home from the mission where we fought fucking collectors, I have had enough," she says. "Of course, I was a bad friend, but I needed to get away. Ilyna thought she knew what's best for me on the trip home, and Mian was the one I returned to. Vasquez was threatening to take away my pay if I didn't stick around, but... I couldn't stand it anymore. I didn't even have

time to think about you in all that mess as I tried to get my stuff packed before Mian's lunch break." Ehanis looks down. "It's been fucking great to be on the run. A new place almost every day, getting sea-sick for the first time in my life, but I'm almost done. I'm not coming home, but... I think I have found my place where I'm not the boss' little sister."

Sioria looks down at the ground herself and sighs. "Ilyna thinks she knows what's best for you. It's what sisters do, I guess," she says with an added shrug. "Doesn't mean she's right, but her intentions are in the right place. That's what family does, annoying shit but from a good place." Her eyes look up again. "As for Vasquez... I got nothing. She can be a bitch sometimes. That stays between us though." She shifts a

little awkwardly, unsure of her own words. "It doesn't look like it's been great. It looks cold. It looks chaotic." She looks around briefly. "It looks like the decor hasn't been updated in thirty years." The Turian shudders at the very thought. "This... Looks like it sucks, E. You know there's a lot of places where you aren't the boss's sister, right? You don't need to go to the ends of the planet after quitting.

You don't have to drop all your friends. You know we'll... I'll still be there even if you're done with Redrock, right?" Her eyes are truly sincere, hating the situation unravelling before them. They almost look pleading. "You even called it home just now. When was the last time you had a place you could call home?"

Ehanis snorts. "I'm going to be real pissed at Ilyna if she doesn't devote all her time to Li," she says. "She's a good kid, I miss her, and she needs Ilyna. Especially after saving her from the fucking collectors." For a moment, there was the slightest hint of sadness to her tone and expression. Ehanis takes a step back. "I have all my stuff with me," she says, bobbing her head towards one of the doors near the

end of the hallway. "That's what home is to me. If it's for two days or two years, it doesn't matter." The asari looks up at the turian. "What about you?" she says. "Your friends in Bull Plains. You should be there with them now, helping them through a tough time instead of chasing this..." She gesutres at herself, "...undeserving bitch halfway across this forsaken planet."

Sioria nods a little. "She is. I could tell it took a lot to get some time away from Li so she could tell me about you. I guess that means that you're still a little important to her. At least, important enough to send little old me to check on you." She looks to the room and shakes her head a little. "Home isn't possessions, it's people. Like me, like your sister. A sweater is replaced, people... Aren't." Her eyes go back

to Ehanis', and she gives a shake of her head. "That's different. I still call home every other day. Ive got visits planned. I haven't left Bull Plains behind, they're still with me every step of the way." She crosses her arms again over her chest. "And you aren't undeserving. You meant something to me, and most of all you're MY bitch, like it or not. If you were on the other side of the universe, you bet I'd be in

that shuttle praying to whatever gods are out there that Jasper's sober enough to get me there in one piece. And trust me, that would be a miracle."

Ehanis tilts her head. "I've lived three times as long as you have, maybe four since you aren't as turian as someone who's served the full fifteen," she rambles. "Anyway! We've lead different lives. I'm not going to argue, mine's fucked up beyond your wildest imagination, but getting attached was dangerous. And if someone got attached to me, it meant they were new there so there was an even smaller chance if I was

going to see them again." Ehanis looks around the hallway. "I don't know how long I'm going to stay out here, and right now, I don't care," she says, "so if I deserve to ask one thing of you it's that you move on, Sioria. Your friends left Freedom Falls after that business fell through, and you should have gone with them instead than wasting your time with 'your bitch'." She gestures to the stairs. "I'm

sure Jasper is sober enough to take you there."

Sioria stays silent for a long moment. "I wish it were that easy," she says, quietly. "Even a fucked up life is salvagable, E. Out here it's only gonna get worse. Tell me, honestly, is it worth it?" She asks, peering into her eyes once more. "To fuck up your life further? You could have stayed in Freedom Falls, have daring adventures and sustainable income with people you can trust. That's why I stayed, not for you.

Bull Plains got boring, Freedom Falls offered something bigger and better." She doesn't turn to the stairs just yet. "You were the reward to me, I guess. Taking the risk to stay somewhere new, and I found a friend. I wouldn't say that's wasted time." She crosses her arms once more. "I care about you, E. I want you to think, and I mean really think, if this is going to be worth it, to shut out a good life.

There are people who literally kill for this chance, I don't want you to end up like them." She doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Ehanis groans out of frustration. "I am not fucking up my life, Sioria," she says. "Once the storm clears, Siveh-... 's crew is going to take me to her home colony that's somewhere around here. I'll have a place there. Without collectors, without Mian, without Ilyna, and anyone connected to them." She looks back at the turian. "I'm not sure how many messages I'll send out, because I don't trust messages anymore

after you tracked me down," Ehanis says, "but I'll be fine. I survived being a merc on Omega, you really think a colony out in the middle of nowhere is what'll do me in?"

Sioria raises an eyeridge at the Asari. "I think you getting bored on a colony in the middle of nowhere is what'll do you in," she says, matter of factly. "I think you'll be pushed into doing something rash, by your own hand or someone else's, just to feel the rush again." She shifts a little on her feet. "Who's crew is this again? Seev? Some upstart looking to make a name for themselves?"

Ehanis shakes her head. "There you go again, thinking you know me better than I do," she says. "When I get bored, I'll move on again, as simple as that." She moves to lean on the railing, looking down the floor below. "Her crew do supply runs, security, and so on for their colony, so there's some excitement to be had," Ehanis says with a shrug. "Their krogan don't like me, though, because I've supposedly hurt the

feelings of a friend of his in Freedom Falls, but I don't think he'll be a problem, he's kind of un-krogan-like."

Sioria sighs once again, shaking her head. She can't believe she's starting to believe her. "I just don't want to believe that this is it," she finally says. "I'm not gonna say I loved you, because that isn't true. I maybe had something like a crush, but all I know for sure is that you were my best friend back home." She opens her eyes and finally loosens her arms. "Are you sure about this?" She finally asks, already

knowing the answer. "There's nothing I can say or do to convince you to come back with me here? Even if I cooked a home made meal once a week?" That's not exactly a treat. "I hate this, E. This sucks."

Ehanis pushes back from the railing. "I've been a horrible friend to you, it was always you who called, who asked if I could come to visit," she says. "No, theres nothing you can say to make me step into that shuttle with you, so...." She tilts her head in thought. "I didn't give you a chance to say goodbye back in Freedom Falls, another reason why you should have just said 'fuck her' and move on," she says, "but

now that you're here, well, this can be our goodbye." The tone is surprisingly somber for the asari, who has alrtenated between joking deflection and frustrated anger their entire conversation.

Sioria shrugs lightly. "I figured you just weren't used to that kind of friendship," she says. "I guess in retrospect you were kinda shitty, but... You were still my friend." She looks at her hands and stands awkwardly for a moment, feeling drained and a little numb. Too much anger in such a short period. "If you aren't here against your will afterall, like your sister suspects... I guess I'll be seeing you." She

extends a hand to Ehanis, even if she wanted nothing more than a hug. Would that be awkward? She has no clue anymore, her brain just being frazzled.

Ehanis takes the turian's hand and pulls her down to her level for a hug (their heights is a foot apart, after all). "I mean, a proper goodbye," she says, her voice barely more than a whisper. "If you'll allow, and I'll understand if you don't." She raises her brows to pre-empt a potential misunderstanding. "No, I don't mean sex, but... just a... review of our time together. We don't even need to go somewhere more

private for it. But.. if you don't want to do it, that's fine too."

Sioria can't help but wrap her lanky arms around Ehanis, hugging her tightly. She sniffs a little, holding back on her emotions, and even letting out a small, bitter chuckle. "Yeah, like I'm going to have sex in this state. You kidding me?" She asks, but then she nods. "I'd like that. A proper goodbye. And please, somewhere private, I don't trust these guys you're going off with."

Ehanis lets go of the turian and starts walking towards the last door on the right. "I'm staying with Siv, though," she says. "So you'll have to trust her no matter what. The others are already off, they just didn't have enough vehicles here for all four of us and the stuff they picked up in Derrai." Ehanis unlocks the door, opens and enters.

The room beyond is simple, and in much the same style as the hallway. A door to a very cramped bathroom is ajar to their right, and theres a double bed and a desk further in. The opposite wall has a floor to ceiling window with only a small gap in the curtains; that could have been where they spotted the Redrock shuttle landing.

Sioria steps in and looks around the room, still feeling a little wrung out. "I still hate the decor," she says after a few moment's silence. She steps towards the window and peers out. "I should probably let Jasper know I'll be a little bit..."

Ehanis follows the turian through the room. Both of the asari are living out of travel bags, and not much but clothes have been removed from them. "It'll just be a few minutes," she says with a dismissive wave. "So, you two staying the night here or are you flying back?"

Sioria sits on the bed, a little heavier than she anticipated. It just be the weight on her shoulders. "Well, since you're fine, tonight," she says in a quiet tone. "unless Jasper is drunk. Then I'd rather wait than get smashed into a mountain."

Ehanis smirks. "Oh, yeah, he must be drunk if he's going to the mountains because that's not the way you came from," she says af it there are no mountains down south which couldn't be further from the truth. Her smile fades and she joins the turian on the bedside. "I haven't done this other than at the end of a fuck for a long time," she says before clearing her throat. "So, you try to relax and I'll lead the

way." Sky blue fingers trace the back of the turian's neck. "The door is open if you've changed your mind, though. I know mom's sometimes melded in a confidential business meeting since putting bugs in one another's office is how they have fun on Illium, but you wouldn't be wrong to think it too intimate for us."

Sioria blinks lightly. But they passed over mountains, didn't they? Before she can answer though, she can feel the fingers on the back of her neck. That puts the thought out of her mind for a moment. "I'm not going anywhere, E," she says, wanting to spend just a little more time with her friend. She had enjoyed the couple of melds they had in the past, but that may have only been because of what preceded them. This

one is voluntary so... Should be interesting.

Freedom Falls is surrounded by mountains, so Sioria is definitely right.

Ehanis closes her eyes. "I know it's easier with sex, but... just focus on what I'm saying, like, really focus," she says. "Some asari likes to get all philosophical, but I don't bother with that crap, so..." She swallows nervously before snapping her eyes open. "Embrace eternity."

The room around them disappears as the nervous systems meld together, and they're left at first with in a pitch black silence. However, it does not take long before it is no longer. Not with sound, but unclear thoughts and the remains of frustrations not fully faded. There are some visual distortions too to go with the background noise, but it should not demand focus. There is a chaos here, but unless Sioria has been this

close to other asari or have a reliable second hand account, she might not think it out of the ordinary.

Ehanis can be seen in front of Sioria, looking naked and vulnerable, and most of all uncomfortable. For the briefest moment there are bruses and a bandage around her arm, but they disappear as the asari manages the peception of her. This is more intimate than nakedness, where secrets and hidden feelings can slip if one is not careful, even if it's always give and never take. "Shh, relax," she says without the

reverb one would expect in this vast emptiness, but it's clear that's just as much to herself as the turian. Words mean more here, as they come with the thoughts behind them.

Sioria has never been in a meld like this before, her only experience being post sex with Ehanis. She never got a clear picture on how it should be, so the distortions and chaos seem... Normal? At least expectes for Sioria, considering its her firs time without distraction. Soon enough though, she's presented with the naked Asari, which makes her curious about her own appearance, but something stops her from looking

down. "You okay?" She asks, noticing the bruises and bandages before they disappear. Whispers of her thoughts leak through the meld without her realising, asking who hurt her, why she appeared like that, and also one wondering if Sioria herself was naked. Either way, she didn't like seeing Ehanis so uncomfortable with her vulnerability, it felt... Wrong. That confidence is gone. More whispers, some probing

while others shush them, but none clear just yet. At least, until Sioria starts to focus herself. 'Whats going on?' 'I trust her, she isn't lying to me.' 'What if she is and I just haven't noticed?' 'This is strange...' 'am I still naked?' 'not important!' Sioria's mind is racing as she battles both herself, and a fight to relax.

Ehanis shakes her head. "No point in lying, I guess," she says reluctantly. Ehanis has already laid her mind bare tonight even before letting the turian in like this. There is a fear in the asari's mind, but combined with excitement. A new part of her life, new chances, and new ways things can go horribly wrong. "The collector ship," she says and the silence starts to give way.

They're stood before a big bulky door in the collector ship, gunfire and loud noises all around them. They're surrounded by the brown almost organic ship, in a big tall room. A biotic field leaves Ehanis and hit the door before moments later fragments fly out of it with an explosion. Nathan is right beside her. Sioria can see one of the fragments hit Ehanis' now naked arm after her shields go out. The memory then fades out

and they're left with a slightly louder silence than earlier.

Ehanis can be seen looking away, and she quells the background noise as she carefully manages her thoughts. She's hiding something. "Some of the bruises was from that mission too, but Mian is to blame for the others." Glimpses come through of the dark blue asari, and she's angry, and there's a brief feeling of being choked. "This isn't what we're here for!" Ehanis says loudly and it stifles all other thoughts.

She thinks of the Miner's Respite, and their first meeting. The turian's company, Va'ynna serving them drinks and being there with the red-haired pilot. It's a forced, hasty imagining as she tries not to think about anything else.

They're at the bar, talking. The words are missing, but the essense of what they're saying is there. Introductions, explanations of what they do, it's awkward and restrained as first conversations tend to be. Her moving from Omega to here hasn't settled in yet, and the memories carry with them the context of a vacation.

Sioria watches on, almost helplessly, finding herself glad she was passed up fort his mission, but at the same time, feeling Ehanis' fear as her own. She reaches out after the explosion, seeing at her her usually armoured arm is laid bare, but Ehanis' voice cuts back in. 'Mian...' a growl resonates as the other voices of Sioria's disjointed, unorganized mind fade ever so slightly. "What did she do," she says, anger

beginning to seep from her mind. As much as she enjoyed the memory of their first night, something overtook that. "Show me what you're running from." 'I'll put a bullet in her.' 'No! Hey, that's too far' 'I'll put my boot in her face' 'better, but chill woman!' Two sides of Sioria, the anger and the reason, fighting around her without her realization. The choking sensation, the bruises... 'New life because of

Collectors?' 'Must be Mian' 'vengeance' 'Overdramatic much?'

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Ehanis Tioran
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