[[Summary: A more light-hearted chapter of New Galaxy, Same Old Thirst that can be read as a standalone. After the emotional difficulty of discovering the turian ark may be lost, Kandros joins Ryder and the crew in a game of poker, resulting in yet another drunken proposition.
As always, I love to hear what you think! What’s going to happen next for me these two? Will they finally be more than just a hookup?
“And I fold before I owe Gil every credit I own and the Tempest.” Stepping back from the table, Wren Ryder stretched her shoulders and neck, rolling it back and forth to try and work the cricks out of it. If she could escape this game with some of her dignity intact, all the better; she already owed Gil 347 credits, and refused to give him one more. SAM could have helped, but she had no interest in cheating. Well, not today. Next game, though, if no one managed to dethrone their reigning poker king… Things might be different. “Anyone else joining me?” Her head was pleasantly buzzing with the free flowing drinks, and a snack was in order.
Jaal and Gil didn’t even bother to look up, absorbed in their cards. Liam shook his head, and Cora gave a curt gesture. Kandros, the newcomer to their ship, also shook his head, but Vetra stood up as well, echoing Ryder’s stretch. “I’m also out. Let’s go, Ryder.”
She didn’t follow Vetra right away, just needing a moment longer. “You good, Kandros? I can’t send the head of Nexus Security back completely broke.” The past few days had been difficult on everyone, from learning that the turian ark was possibly lost to pressing forward to Elaaden, knowing that nothing good could await them. Everyone sorely needed this game.
“If I can win a game against Sloane Kelly, I can beat anyone. Don’t worry, Ryder.” At least he was relaxed now, not exactly happy but filled with enough of the turian liquor Tupari to approximate it.
“You’re the boss. Well, I’m the boss, but you know what I mean.” Before heading down the stairs, Ryder clapped a hand to Kandros’ shoulder, resting it there a moment longer than friendship would dictate. He was a grown turian and he could handle himself. If he couldn’t, well… That was on him, and on Gil. She had to trust that not bankrupting everyone in the Andromeda galaxy wasn’t in her engineer’s best interests. Right now, if the cotton feeling of her mouth was any indication, she also needed to drink something that wasn’t beer. Time to swing by the galley as promised, see if she couldn’t find something to at least prevent tomorrow’s hangover from being too brutal.
In the Tempest’s galley, Vetra nibbled on a piece of some kind of dextro-based cracker, shooting Ryder a look laden with questions as she walked in.
“So… This is going well,” Ryder finally ventured, trying to down a large glass of water and look as guilt-free as possible.
“What part of ‘not discussing boys’ do you not understand, Ryder? Or ‘smuggler and security officer don’t mix.’” Taking another bite, Vetra clacked her mandibles in irritation, in as much as Ryder could judge turian facial expressions. “Don’t give me that look. Fine, it’s going great. I’m sure you’ll have lots of awful hybrid children together.”
Rolling her eyes so hard that she thought she could see through the ceiling of the Tempest, Ryder took another drink, silence pointed. After a tense few seconds, Ryder gave in and shrugged. “I’m going to go to bed.”
“Vetra, I will airlock you.” Vetra’s laughter broke the tension between them, following Ryder back to her quarters, where she was more than happy to sit back on her couch and simply unwind with an actual, honest-to-god paper book in hand. The jacket said it was a weighty history tome, but truth be told, it was a direct from the vid adaptation of Fleet and Flotilla. A girl had to have some guilty pleasures.
Just as the titular fleet (turian) and flotilla (quarian) were about to consummate their relationship in a flood of dextro-based fluids, there was a knock on Ryder’s door. Damn it. Always when she was getting to the good part, cheeks slightly flushed.
Dropping the book down on the couch, she stood and yelled out, “Pathfinder Ryder is a very busy woman, so this better be important.” If only she could get a sign on the door that told people to go away; if only she could get a moment of peace and quiet.
“Ryder.” Kandros stood on the other side of the door, swaying slightly. “Your skin looks great tonight.” An empty bottle of Tupari dangled between two claws, and he suddenly leaned against the doorframe, trying to look suave but only accomplishing looking like he couldn’t stand. “You wanna?” He made a gesture with his free hand, a twirl of the fingers that was somehow universal.
Sighing inwardly, Ryder plucked the bottle from Kandros’ fingers, putting it down on her small table. He reeked of the strange combination of what was definitely alcohol and whatever it was they put in the drink to make it appropriate for the turian GI system- something that smelled slightly chemical and astringent to her, though Vetra had said time and time again that it ‘smelled like heaven.’
“Kandros. I do. It’s not that I don’t.” She ran her hand through her hair nervously, trying to formulate a sentence when it seemed like words had left her. “But I also want to be more than that. That was the whole point of this mission. I don’t just want to be your booty call.”
“Sorry, human phrase. But I like you a lot, Kandros. Even when you’re like this. It’s still kind of cute.” Cute was not a word normally associated with a turian nearly seven feet tall with a penchant for power armor, and yet.
Silence greeted Ryder’s proclamation; it looked like Kandros was having trouble focusing on her, though he finally managed to get both eyes facing forward. His pupils, some part of her noticed, were slightly larger than normal. “Ryder, you’re good, for a human. A good person. I’m going to go to bed.” It wasn’t exactly a stirring declaration of feelings, but at least he hadn’t totally rebuffed her. He started to walk away, managing to trip over his own two feet and going sprawling across the floor, lying there and accepting his fate. His temporary quarters were on the upper deck, and there was no way Ryder would be able to drag him up the ladder to his own bed.
“Kandros, you better come in.” Helping him up (and nearly falling over in the process), Ryder led Kandros to her own bed, one side of it undisturbed. “You can sleep here tonight.”
“You change your mind?” He leered, if such a thing could be possible with that face.
“Not even a bit, buddy,” she answered with a grin. Damn it, but she really did like him. “But there’s no way you’re getting home like this. Just kick back and relax.” He didn’t say anything else, and while Ryder went to go fix herself another drink, he apparently passed out, fast asleep and neatly within his confined half of the bed. She shook her head again. He looked comfortable, at least.
With a shrug, Ryder called it a night, stripping down to her pajamas, knowing that she was safe from him watching. Crawling into bed, she was prepared to sleep with a carefully maintained set of inches between them, but in his sleep Kandros turned to face her, one arm stretching out and looping around her waist possessively. Okay. Well, this was okay. Tomorrow was a new day, after all.
‘Fleet and Flotilla’ (2185) is an award winning romantic disaster vid noted for it’s positive portrayal of turian- quarian relationships’
Winner of Best Film- Nos Astra Film festival- 2185 Official selection- Vancouver- 2185 Official selection- Illium- 2185 Official selection- Noveria- 2185 (nominated) Nebulae award winner- Yana’ Horem- Portrayal of Shalei- 2185 Nebulae award nominee- Laq-wi Ballen- Portrayal of Bellicus- 2185 Nebulae award nominee- Padok Tolan- Portrayal of Esheel- 2185
Behind every great love, there is a great story.
As a young quarian, Shalei (Yana’ Horem) embarks on her pilgrimage from the Migrant Fleet. Meanwhile half way across the galaxy a young turian called Bellicus (Laq’wi Ballen) takes his final steps in military training. Through a chain of remarkable events Shalei and her salarian friend, Esheel (Padok Tolan) are brought to the citadel. A chance meeting between the quarian and turian soon blossoms into a whirlwind romance. Yet what little time they have is cut short with news from the fleet of instability along the geth boarders, Shalei is ordered home early, news of full scale war between the quarian people and their creations reach the Citadel and Bellicus must choose whether to return to the Turian Militia or follow Shalei to the Flotilla…
“A fearless performance from Ballen,” - Eden Prime Network “The love story of this age,” - Thessia Empire News “Yana’ Horem debut is remarkable,” - Illium Galactic “Heart wrenchingly tragic, no matter how many hearts you have," -Cerberus Network "Bin Olar is a breath of fresh air in Volus cinema," - Future Content Corp
Wowza, what started as a simple movie poster kind of spiraled into a full blown story with a set of characters, a partial script and an ending. After playing Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC for the 100th time, the scene with Tali when you’re watching Fleet and Flotilla really got me thinking- so I decided to make a poster, but apparently I became far too into it. Anyway, I made it quite quickly with a mixture of my friends PNG’s and my own, however most weren’t rendered all that well so it’s not perfect- and I also used Tali as Shalei, simply because I’m lazy and already had plenty of her, and lets be honest Tali would kill to be Shalei. Anyway, I had a lot of fun doing this!
I was working on the tango story and this ambushed me out of nowhere. So I wrote it. I guess I have Tali gen on the brain?
It’s mildly fluffy in that it’s a feel-good (or at least hopeful) story, which is good for me because I could use some feel-good today. Tali and a geth prime find some middle ground, in their own geeky way. Also, Rannoch wildlife.
I’m posting the whole thing here because it’s not that long (1500 words), but if you’d rather read/comment on AO3, it’s also mirrored there.
In her first day on the planet from which her people came, Tali considers the native species that Rannoch gave birth to… all of them.
After a little while, Shepard gets up with a grunt of effort and dusts the red-gold sand of Rannoch off her hands. “I’ll leave you to the view,” she says.
“I won’t be long,” Tali says, though she can’t hide the hint of regret in her voice. It’s like a dream, sitting here with her mask off on the cliffs of her own world, the breeze on her face bringing her the damp earthy scent of the river below, the sweet smell of the flowers the grow clinging to the rock, and a thousand other things that she can’t recognize or name. The wind catches the fabric of her cowl and blows it against her cheek, a coarse-soft touch that’s unfamiliar even though she’s worn a cowl every day since she was a child. It’s so much like a dream that she is expecting, any moment, to wake.
Shepard’s hand settles softly on Tali’s shoulder. “Take your time,” she says. “We can spare an hour.”
So Tali stays.
Above her, winged creatures circle the river. She can’t tell from here what species they are, or even what general type of animal: bird, reptile, saurid, mammal, or something else. Zoology got short shrift on the Flotilla: all quarian children learn the major domestic animals (some of them will grow up to maintain the cryonic tanks that hold frozen embryos of quarian domestic animals in hopeful anticipation of the day they will have a home again), and a few famous wild animals (the furry aerh, the bright-feathered zhenall, the legendarily-fierce gerr), but that’s all.
It’s probably not a huge surprise that my favorite female companion is Tali, is it?
I love Tali. I love Tali for many reasons. She is resourceful; she is fun; she is smart. She is flirty and in charge of her sexuality; she is a powerful engineer who doubles as a shot-gun wielding maniac in a fire fight.
More than any of that, though I love Tali because she is our door to thinking about Mass Effects’ galactic society.
Shepard and co.were all lucky enough to be born human. Being born human isn’t quite as privileged as being born salarian, turian, or asari, but it’s close. Everybody knows that your race will get a council seat sooner, rather than later. Everybody knows that you are to be respected.
Your first likely Citadel recruit – Garrus – doesn’t break the status quo. He’s respectful to you. But the next two recruits completely shatter our ideas about the power distribution of this universe.
Wrex is kind of nasty. He’s brusque, short-tempered, and dangerous. He works as a mercenary, an assassin; any kind of talk about Tuchanka visibly bristles him. It’s clear that he takes a lot of pride in his Krogan identity, but he comes across as hostile and threatening whenever you want to talk to him about it. Any attempts to relate Krogan history to human history with him fall flat. It’s easy for a player to look at Wrex and go “This is someone who fits every possible stereotype about his people. I guess Krogans really are as bad as everyone says.”
In contrast, Tali is a sweetheart. Tali keeps quiet about her quarian heritage at first. She does not hesitate to help you. She does not complain about being a dextro soldier on a levo ship. She is all too eager to help you go after Saren, even though she doesn’t have a personal stake in that fight. Tali is, in short, Wrex’s polar opposite.
And then you get in an elevator with her and Garrus, and Garrus snidely says: “I hope your people are contrite for unleashing the Geth, Tali.”
Headcanon Wednesday: Quarian Children's Programming and Chatika vas Paus
The quarian flotilla operates in a precarious state: essentially every member of the society must contribute to keep the population as a whole from freezing, starving, asphyxiating, or all of the above. Accordingly, there are very few resources available for entertainment or cultural pursuits. While quarians keep their culture alive in song, story, and visual arts (particularly the fiber and textile arts that they use to decorate their suits and living spaces), the vast majority of quarians practice cultural pursuits in their off hours. Those who are particularly talented and skilled can petition their captain for an exemption from requisite ship service to study their art, but only the most exceptional are given leave to do so, simply because the ships can’t spare many bodies. All other quarian artists and entertainers ply their craft once the tasks of their assigned “day jobs” are complete.