On the way to Omega Liara gave a great deal of thought as to how and from what angle she should approach Omega’s pirate queen.

The young Asari had no idea whether Aria T’Loak would be helpful or obstructive, whether she would even take her seriously, Liara was smart enough to know she couldn’t trade on Shepard’s obviously ‘friendly’ arrangement with Aria.

Liara was also smart enough to know that she might as well be honest and open from the start, even if it put her at a disadvantage from the outset, as she was no match for the wily, astute and very experienced Matriarch who ruled Omega and whose influence snaked across Citadel space.

After discussing how to find out the exact timings and location of the handover it was decided that Shiala and Garrus would start looking for Tazzik and work the problem from the Blue Suns end. Liara was going to talk to Aria with just a couple of her Asari commandos in case of trouble, the other six would remain on the ship, as she did not want to tip her hand in case anyone was watching.

As soon as the ship docked they each went to their tasks and Liara made straight for Afterlife.

She was a little surprised to be met at the front door by one of Aria’s men, a tall Turian, who said that his boss was expecting her and he would take her straight through.

They moved quickly through the main floor of the club and instead of going up to Aria’s usual haunt they passed through a door in the wall underneath her balcony and on up a corridor coming out in a hallway. He indicated the door in front of them and said ‘she will see you alone,” nodding at the two Asari with her.

“Wait here for me,” she said to her commando’s and then moved to enter the room, only pausing momentarily, fighting back the urge to knock and feeling as if she was about to enter her mother’s study to explain herself for some wrongheaded notion.

Aria was sitting behind a desk but got up as Liara entered the room. It just wasn’t what she had imagined, something as ordinary as an office, but it made sense, Aria ran a business empire and at some point she must have to do more than just talk to people.

“I was sorry to hear about Shepard, I was looking forward to sparring with her,” and as Aria spoke she stood in front of Liara and put a hand to the young Asari’s cheek, then as if catching herself moved back and gestured towards a couple of sofa’s.

Liara sat on the very edge of the sofa, confused by Aria’s apparent kindness and her gesture, perhaps her reputation was undeserved, but she pulled her thoughts together and started to speak.

“I

Chapter 20