And as a bit of exclusive for those of you who are loyal enough to pay attention to this site…
“I suppose, honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised by this.” The arch tones coming through the speaker held a hint of anger and confusion, emotions which Maliki could fully understand.
“Kiongozi, I assure you this is not a problem that cannot be handled. We have many assets and the full might of the Alliance behind us, even if it is not as open as it could be.”
The voice of Richard Williams took on jagged edges of sardonic anger. “And exactly what in the fuck are you going to do, Mailki? She just killed the most dangerous assassin in the galaxy, throwing down with him directly!”
Maliki gave a sigh. “Yes, kiongozi, she did — after he’d been fighting for hours and had already defeated dozens of Black Blades, Dancers, Deathwatch and who knows what else,and she barely survived. I am inclined to think she did not do so unscathed.”
A second voice sounded, female, mellifluous and yet hard. “With the greatest respect to your skills, Maliki, so what? You seem to forget she came back from the dead, and as far as I can tell dying only seems to have made her even angrier, which to be honest I did not even think possible. Neutralizing her will be much harder than merely killing her.”
The dark-skinned assassin thought furiously. “In the short term, we will have to wait and see what plays she makes. She does not and cannot know the truth about us, or how far reaching we are — and she appears focused on the Shadow Broker, who is also a threat. Perhaps they will destroy one another.”
“Which still leaves the snake Harper. And don’t doubt for a second he’ll use everything he can to smear us along with the Broker. Assume she’s killed. Even if Cerberus is utterly destroyed, we cannot afford to even be connected to such a fall. She was made a Saint by the Neo-Catholic Church and has been built into a propaganda casus belli against the geth for more than two years. We can’t have her killed.”
Malaki had not considered that angle, but as he did so an idea occurred to him. “Then perhaps we are looking at this from the wrong direction, my lord. Shepard has always directly moved to combat any threats to her very few important people. I cannot imagine crossing back from the land of death is good for the psyche, and if we were to, say, frame certain parties for killing people important to her…”
The line was silent for long seconds before Richard spoke. “A possibility indeed. You have a plan for this?”
Maliki opened up a file on his omni-tool, displaying the image of a dark-skinned girl with cool blue eyes that were dead to the world. “I believe we have at least one person already in our grasp who would be very useful in that regard… her sister.”
The line was silent for long seconds, but Maliki smiled as he heard Richard Williams and Helga Manswell’s soft, mocking laughter.