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Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (1/?)

A!Anon: Okay, the sequel! I had so much fun writing this, I hope it's as good as the first part. Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!


They were barely halfway down the road, David still resisting the urge to look over his shoulder for a red laser or cryo-grenade, when Sam broke the awkward silence with a business-like, “Okay, so.”
David eyed her nervously. “So?”
She took a deep breath; in the cool evening breeze her hair fluttered around her face and David was reminded of that quarian vid with the heroine standing on Rannoch’s hills waiting for her marine to come home. Sam was ridiculously gorgeous and he still couldn’t believe his luck that she’d said yes when he’d asked her out. Of course, that was in a moment of weakness when he’d forgotten she was Samara Shepard-Alenko, not just Sam who liked to swear in krogan when she forgot her Turian Studies homework for the third time in a week.
“So,” Sam said again. “I think I should warn you. Dad will ... probably have put, um, contingencies, in place. For our date.”
David thought about this. “Contingencies?”
“Yeah. He only agreed to let us go out because I threatened to call Kasumi to come pick me up.”
David didn’t have to ask who Kasumi was. In the vids about The Reaper Wars, Kasumi Goto had been played by a leggy, blonde, blue-eyed human. Sam had kicked up a huge stink after they’d been made to watch the vid for school – something about accuracy and honesty –and the next week she’d somehow convinced the real Kasumi Goto to come and speak to their class. The thief was retired now, and had had some very choice remarks about the vid-director and his casting decisions.
David still couldn’t quite wrap his head around the fact that he was going to the cinema hand-in-hand with the Admiral and Spectre’s daughter, who was talking about asking the most famous thief in the galaxy, one of the heroes of the Reaper Wars, for help in sneaking out of the house.
“Uh. Right.”
Sam sighed. “So ... knowing Dad, he’s going to have ... contingencies.”
“You said.”
“I mean ... oh, never mind.”
David eyed her, but decided it was probably better not to know. At least he’d escaped her house without being shot or thrown into a wall. Maybe he’d be safer studying quarian technology. Or krogan permaculture techniques. Mass effect research was a little too close to biotic strangulation and being killed by his date’s father’s brain.
The conversation turned to more cheerful topics, like the final exams coming up in a few months, and holidays after that. Sam and her parents were going to Palaven to visit old friends. David was staying at home to study. Shepard’s muttering of ‘nerd’ stuck in his mind. Something else did too.
“Is it true you want to be the fourth human Spectre?” he blurted out as they waited in line for Blasto: Salvation.
Sam blinked, her hand halfway to her mouth with a fresh handful of popcorn. “... Yes?”
“Oh.” David shoved his hands into his pockets, shuffling forward as the line thinned. Ahead of him a good-looking turian – well, he supposed the turian was good-looking, judging by the way the female turian was hanging off him – made some suave joke that had the female in stitches.
“Why?” Sam asked around a mouthful of popcorn.
“Just wondered. Your Dad said something about it. I didn’t know you wanted to.”
Sam shrugged one shoulder, swiping her omnitool on the datapad the bored krogan clerk held out. “Thanks,” she said to the krogan, who grunted and glared at David balefully. He swiped his omnitool and cursed himself for not being quick enough. He should’ve paid for Sam. Too late now.
They headed into the cinema and shuffled along to their seats. The cinema filled steadily. David and Sam sat in awkward silence, sharing the box of popcorn. At this rate they’d barely be past the credits before they ate it all.

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (2/?)

“I dunno,” Sam said at last. “It’s always been my ambition. Ever since I was small.”
“It’s a good ambition,” David said, “I can see you as a Spectre. But ... are you just choosing it because –”
“—of my parents?” Sam finished, licking her fingers. David watched her for a moment, then had a sudden mental image of cold blue eyes and an M-11 Wraith pointed at him. He looked away hastily, fixing his concentration on the screen that was now advertising omnitool upgrades. Why did every advertisement have a barely-dressed asari sashaying around? Asari didn’t even make omnitools.
Sam continued after a moment. “I’ve thought about it, a lot. It just ... makes sense. For me. Who I am. I’m not doing it because my parents expect me to follow in their footsteps. If anything Dad has been doing his best to suggest other jobs.”
David coughed. “Which Dad?”
“Kaidan,” Sam grinned. “Dad One. He got me a whole lot of recommendations and suggestions from around the galaxy. There are some really interesting jobs around. Dark energy research, quarian-human relations studies, even Reaper research. I thought about that too, but ... it’s too close to home. So, I dunno. Dad One has pretty much accepted that I’m going to enlist as soon as I leave school.”
David took another handful of popcorn. The lights dimmed. “And your other Dad?” He didn’t quite dare say the name ‘Shepard’ in case the man in question appeared in a hailstorm of bullets and incendiary rounds.
Sam chuckled, dropping her voice as the credits started. “Dad wants me to get a desk job and never touch another gun in my life. But he understands. I think. We’re working on him.”
The movie started. David began to relax. In the darkness, surrounded by several dozen other teenagers and a few adults, he felt almost like he was on a normal date with a normal girl. As Blasto appeared on-screen – not the original-and-the-best Blasto, but the third incarnation who had one tentacle less than the other two after an unfortunate incident with an over-zealous drell fan – David reached over and took Sam’s hand. She squeezed it, her face bright in the reflected light, and leant across so her shoulder was leaning on his.
Okay, so he was on a date with a girl whose fathers had saved the entire galaxy from total annihilation; a girl who fully intended to become the fourth human Spectre, who regularly forgot her homework and knew some of the most famous people in the galaxy as ‘Aunty Liara’ and ‘Uncle Wrex’. He had to remind himself that she was just a normal girl, and right now she seemed pretty happy.
In the haloed light caused by Blasto’s third explosive-rounds-kill, David shifted and tilted his head toward Sam. Her eyelids flickered, and she turned toward him a little; against his arm he could feel her pulse quicken. So her parents were terrifying. So her ambitions were way past his. But she was nice and down to earth and oh wow her lips looked amazing, there was a speck of salt right at the corner of her mouth –
“Ah, come on, pendejo! No way would one explosive round kill a krogan.”
The voice was loud, rough, and right behind David’s seat. Sam jumped and pulled back, twisting in her seat with such a look of fury on her face that David flinched. He looked around. Sitting behind him was a human-krogan hybrid. Scars criss-crossed the man’s broad, strong face, running down to join a freakish set of tattoos that sat over muscles the size of David’s head. The man wore a leather jacket and had a gigantic box of popcorn in his lap. And he was grinning at Sam like he’d just caught her doing something she shouldn’t have.
Sam threw her popcorn at the man’s head. Around them annoyed muttering rose up: David cringed down into his seat. This wasn’t happening. This wasn’t happening.
The third human Spectre was sitting right behind David, and Sam had just thrown a box of popcorn at his head.

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (3/?)

“I don’t believe this,” Sam hissed, climbing over the seat to confront the man. More people had begun to notice, ignoring Blasto’s spectacular five-tentacle move that saved the screaming asari at the last minute in favour of the spectacle being played out three rows from the back of the cinema. “What the hell are you doing here, James?”
David decided it was probably better to stick with Sam here, seeing as she was taking on half the Citadel’s defence force by herself. He clambered over the seats and stood next to Sam. He was never going on another date again. Ever.
“Sit down!” someone shouted from the back row.
Sam lifted her finger and pointed at the back, snapping, “Shut up!”
Vega laughed and tugged Sam down into the empty seat next to him. David stood feeling like a complete idiot until Sam reached over and pushed him into the seat on the other side of Vega.
“Did Dad set you up to this?” Sam hissed in an undertone, ignoring the outraged rumblings around the cinema.
“Set me up to what, chica?” Vega offered David his popcorn: David took some out of habit. At least if he was eating he couldn’t say anything. Sam seemed to have it all under control.
“Watching us,” Sam growled.
“Hey, I’m just here watching Blasto screw up again.” Vega paused as Blasto reached a poignant, silent moment of slow-motion: the screaming asari he’d saved a few moments ago was now bleeding out in his tentacles. As Blasto’s scream of ‘this one feels raaage!’ filled the cinema, the man continued, “You’re dressed up nicely for a movie, Sammy. Who’s the kid?”
“David,” Sam muttered, sitting back in her chair and folding her arms.
Vega offered his hand to David. His eyes glinted with friendly humour; David shook the hand nervously, and hoped he’d come out of the cinema alive. “Jimmy. Uncle Jimmy.”
Sam snorted. “Uncle. My uncle was hired by my parents to stalk me and my date around the city.”
“Hey, no one from your household hired me.”
The angry shushings were getting worse: Sam and Vega seemed oblivious. David wondered if he could just fake a faint and roll under the seats until the movie ended.
“So who did?” Sam asked, voice dangerous.
Vega took another mouthful of popcorn. “Shadow Broker.”
Sam threw her hands in the air. “Unbelievable.”
David wondered if this was what having a heart attack was like.
And now, to top the whole disaster off, a cinema attendant was pushing their way through the seats toward them. The krogan reached them, gigantic hump blocking half the screen for the viewers above. The cinema fell quiet, though; no one pissed off a krogan.
“You three,” the krogan said, pointing to Vega. “You’re causing a disturbance. Out.”
“Aw, come on,” Vega said, spreading his hands out. “We paid to watch this movie.”
The krogan didn’t blink. “Out.”
Vega sighed dramatically and stood up. Sam sank further into her seat, arms crossed again, face dark with rage. David stood up. Anything to get out of here.
“C’mon, girl. You heard the krogan.”
“Piss off, Vega,” Sam snapped.
“Okay, I’m not telling your parents you said that, but you owe me.” Vega reached down and lifted Sam to her feet, pushing her ahead of him along the aisle. David followed them, concentrating on breathing, not treading on anyone’s feet and saying “sorry, sorry, sorry” to everyone who glared at him. The krogan breathed behind him, a heavy muttering that spoke of pain and doom to anyone who dared interrupt the damned movie again.

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (4/?)


Vega led the two silent teenagers out of the cinema. The man was insanely huge and almost as frightening as Shepard and Alenko. Although ... David thought back to the grin on Vega’s face as he shook David’s hand a few minutes ago, and reassessed. Maybe he was alright. Although Sam certainly didn’t think so right now.
“So where are you two kids going now?” Vega asked, casually swinging his arms. A passing turian ducked.
Sam stared at him, bright black eyes burning with fury, fists at her side. For a moment David wondered if she was going to explode. Then, to his utter astonishment, she burst out laughing.
So maybe she wasn’t as normal as all that. David rubbed a hand over the back of his neck and looked to Vega for assistance. The Spectre was no use; he, too, was laughing, clapping one hand on Sam’s shoulder.
“You know this is only just starting, right?” he said to Sam.
She nodded, one hand across her mouth. “Oh, hell,” she said. “Can you imagine what’s going to happen if I ever decide to get married?”
“No chance, chica. No chance.”
David tugged at his collar, opening the top button of his shirt, and watched his date almost fall over wtih laughter, held up by the tree-trunk-sized arm of her adopted uncle who was also the third human Spectre and married to the scariest biotic the galaxy had ever seen. David had seen the vids when they got married ten or so years ago; he remembered being astounded at the number of tattoos the woman had managed to show off in her leather ‘dress’. James Vega had gained a few new scars since then.
So maybe mass effect research wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Sam took a deep breath, steadying herself from the slightly hysterical laughter. “Okay. So who else is hanging around?”
Vega laughed. “Hey, I’m not stupid, I don’t get paid if I tell you anything. No way.”
“Oh come on!”
David was totally lost. Sam’s fury had apparently disappeared, replaced by complete humour. She wrapped one arm around Vega’s ribs, grinning up at him. “Please? For David’s sake. I mean ... I don’t think he’s going to survive another shock like you turning up behind us.”
The pair of them studied David; he flushed, and thought that perhaps the M-11 Wraith wasn’t so terrifying after all.
“That’s true,” Vega admitted. “Nice kid, though. Didn’t faint. Better than the last one.”
“The last one had a pathological fear of krogans and Dad got Grunt to shadow us on a bushwalk,” Sam said, running a hand through her hair to straighten it out.
“You sure know how to pick them. David, right?”
David nodded. He had a feeling the date was no longer salvageable. If it had been a space ship, it would be in several thousand pieces thrown across the galaxy. Probably with a few rachni chasing the pieces around, just for the heck of it.
The laughter in Sam’s face faded. She ducked out of Vega’s half-hug and approached David. “Um, David ... look, I’m really sorry about what happened in there. I was being stupid and ... well, having parents like mine ...” She broke off, one hand gesturing hopelessly. “I’m so sorry our date was ruined by an uncle who gets upset about movie goofs.”
“Three explosive rounds minimum,” Vega said over Sam’s shoulder. “Four if the krogan is charging. Maybe five, to be on the safe side.”
David swallowed. Yeah. This wasn’t going to work. He looked at Sam, her wide eyes guarded but apologetic. He felt a twinge of disappointment. “Um, yeah. I understand. No problem. Sorry.”
“D’you ... do you want to get a drink or –”
“Hey, no alcohol, you’re under eighteen,” Vega interrupted. Sam flicked a finger at him in a rude gesture, still looking at David.
“I meant a coffee,” Sam said, rolling her eyes.

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (5/5)

David looked from Sam to Vega. The big man behind her shook his head once, slowly. The good humour in his eyes was tinged with something like sympathy. David was way out of his league and that fact was becoming rapidly more apparent. This girl – this amazing, funny girl – had way too much going for her and besides, David liked having his intestines on the inside of his body.
“Look, thanks, Sam, but I – I really should be going ... ” He trailed off, shuffling his feet. “It was great ... I had a good time. I mean. Mostly.”
“Yeah.” Sam smiled at him, sadly. “Thanks for asking me out. Maybe once I’ve actually moved out of home and I’m out of boot camp ...”
“Pff, you won’t have time for anything like that for the next ten years,” Vega said helpfully.
Sam sighed.
“I should go,” David said, rescuing her. “I’ll see you at school, right?”
“Yeah,” Sam said, some of the unease leaving her face. “I hope this doesn’t ... I mean, I’d really like to still be friends.”
As long as friends didn’t involve a shotgun in the face, David was okay with that. “Me too. I’ll see you later, Sam.” He gave her a quick half-wave and turned away down the street with relief.
“See you round, David,” Vega called out. “Good luck with the mass effect research.”
David’s eyes went wide. He glanced back; but Sam and Vega had already turned away, heading up the street toward the Shepard-Alenko home. How did Vega know –?
Oh. Shadow Broker.
He kept walking. Yeah, it was definitely safer not to go anywhere near the Admiral and Spectre’s daughter. Even so, David couldn’t resist looking over his shoulder once more. He stopped in his tracks. On Sam’s other side, something shimmered; a woman in a black hood and suit. Sam didn’t even jump, but reached out and took the woman’s hand, shaking her head ruefully. The three of them; Spectre, Spectre-and-Admiral’s daughter, and Thief, turned the corner and disappeared.
David let out a long, shaky breath and resisted the urge to run home, change his name and skip the country.
He was never going to date again.

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (5/5)

LOL, poor David! And Sam. In a way, it kinda sucks to have powerful people love you. xD

This was an excellent follow up, A!A. I hope you plan to stick around and write more. :)

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (5/5)

Haha, I couldn't resist having Sam's dating life being completely controlled by half the galaxy's saviours. XD

I'm glad you liked it! I've got a few ME3 fanfics on ff.net but I'm not sure if I'll write anything else here. We'll see if there are some fun prompts like this one to dive into. Thanks for reading. :)

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (5/5)

Oh man, poor David. XD

This is adorable though. Thanks for the sequel a!a!

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (5/5)

David had no idea what he was getting himself into. XD Glad you enjoyed the sequel!

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (5/5)

Awww poor Sam. Poor David. Really was rooting for him to show a quad.

Nice sequel, a!a.

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (5/5)

Poor guy. Nice A!A!

Re: Blasto: Salvation & Shadow Brokery (5/5)

Amazing A!A, thanks for the follow-up! Spectre Vega was just too awesome <3
If I could I would send you many cookies through the internets^^

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