Series: Mass Effect 2
Rating: At most PG-13
Paring: Kolyat and Oriana (eventually)
Summary: Before Shepard, Kolyat and Oriana were worlds apart. After Shepard, there was only three degrees of separation. This is a story of how they develop their relationship with one another.
The war with the Reapers was over. Shepard and the crew of the Normandy had led the galactic charge against the biggest threat to all organic life, and they had won.
All that hard work deserved a massive celebration. The Normandy crew would salute all those that aided them to achieve the greatest feat in recorded galactic history, and they would honor all those who had sacrificed to help make that possible.
Councilor Anderson had sanctioned a gala to be held in the Presidium ballroom for the surviving crew of both Normandy vessels, and all desired friends and family were invited. Those who had directly aided Shepard’s quest had also been invited as honored guests. Kelly Chambers had eagerly volunteered to be the executive organizer of the event.
Thane and his son Kolyat stood amongst the celebrating crowd in traditional drell formalwear. They both stuck out like sore thumbs, as the human expression went. The attendees were mostly human, as both Normandy crews were originally human—Alliance and Cerberus. There were a couple of krogans (Wrex and Grunt representing Clan Urdnot), a handful of quarians (Tali’Zora, Kal’Reegar, and Veetor), several turians (Officer Vakarian and his family), some asari (Samara and her surviving daughters, and Liara), and a clans’ worth of salarians (Mordin and some of his closer relatives, as well as the surviving officers from the STG that Shepard had aided on Virmire.)
Drell were a rarity, since so few lived on the hanar home world, and seldom ventured beyond the oceanic planet due to the social formalities that the drell had assimilated from their hanar benefactors.
‘At least we’re not batarians,’ Kolyat thought to himself as he resigned himself to the curious looks from party guests who had probably never seen a drell in person before. He would take detached curiosity over distrust and hatred any day.
Thane and Kolyat flowed through the crowds of the party like water. Kolyat watched as Thane would greet the party attendees he was familiar with—a drell could never forget a face or a name—and introduce Kolyat.
Most of the humans were unremarkable, but a handful stood out. Thane was always the gentleman and managed to find something polite to compliment everyone with, Kolyat noted. “Ah, Dr. Chakwas, I’m forever grateful for every time you patched me up after a particularly heated firefight.” “Mr. Moreau, I hope your arm is mending well. I’m amazed you’re already out of crutches.” “Jack, I’m sad to see you were unable to display your beautiful body art tonight. You look amazing in that dress, I would have never imagined it.”
Kolyat found the krogans, Wrex and Grunt, fairly intimidating up close.
“Thane! Grunt tells me you’re the best neck-snapper on the new Normandy.” Wrex praised. “He also tells me you and Garrus have a bit of a sniping rivalry. It brings back memories of Ashley and the Fringe-Head counting kills after every mission. Who’s the kid?”
“This is Kolyat, my son. Shepard helped me reconnect with him just recently. Kolyat, this is Urdnot Wrex, clan Chief and one of Shepard’s crewmates from the first Normandy. Also, Urdnot Grunt, Shepard’s current krogan companion.”
“Kolyat took down a fully armored Bloodpack merc with a few shots of a pistol.” Grunt added.
“Did he, now? Those fools tend to wear showy armor that’s as useful as a plastic bag—one less stupid krogan from the Bloodpack in the galaxy then. You’re alright in my books, kid.” Wrex heartily patted Kolyat on the back, and he nearly fell over.
After some more polite conversations and greetings from various humans and salarians, Kolyat was beginning to get bored with formal social mingling.
Kolyat was about to take a break and go sulk near the refreshments bar when Thane introduced him to Shepard’s Executive Officer.
“Nice to see you, Thane. I don’t think I’ve introduced myself to your son. I’m Miranda Lawson, and this is my younger sister, Oriana.”
Thane would later explain that Oriana was actually Miranda’s genetically identical younger copy. Their family situation was rather complicated, but it was easier just thinking of them as sisters.
“Have you heard that they’re having an after party at Darkstar Bar?” Oriana asked Kolyat.
“No, I hadn’t. Sounds like more fun than this party.” Kolyat admitted.
“Want to hang out by the refreshments bar?” Oriana invited Kolyat.
“Certainly.” Kolyat held out his elbow as an invitation to escort Oriana like a gentleman. Thane and Miranda looked on as the young woman and drell crossed the ballroom together.
“Kolyat wasn’t entirely thrilled with the party up until now.” Thane explained.
“Neither was Oriana, only she was good at not showing it.” Miranda smirked. “Sere Krios, you look like you could use a drink.” Miranda waved over a server carrying a tray of sparkling wine, and grabbed two glasses.
“I admit I wouldn’t mind one right now.” Thane accepted the sparkling wine Miranda offered him.
* * *
Kolyat and Oriana were busy swapping stories on how they both became involved in the extended Normandy family over finger foods and soft drinks.
“Your story is completely painless! I got a sore jaw and six months of community service!” Kolyat rubbed his face to remind himself that the pain he was feeling was simply a memory and not the real thing. Oriana giggled at Kolyat’s reaction.
“I had absolutely no clue what had all happened behind the scenes to get my family moved to safety. If Miranda had never introduced herself to me, I wouldn’t be at this party right now.” Oriana changed the subject back to Kolyat. “So, what kind of community service are you doing for C-Sec?”
“All sorts of odd jobs. Sometimes its trash cleanup after big celebrations, sometimes I work as a waiter for one of the big Presidium affairs…” Kolyat glanced at the wait staff tending the refreshments table, and felt appreciative he had been personally invited by Shepard to be a guest this time. “Nothing seriously backbreaking or dirty.” Kolyat shrugged, proving the gesture was apparently a universal expression, “Most of the time I work intern tasks at the station in Zakera Ward. I think some of the officers exploit my perfect memory for coffee runs.”
“I’ve heard about drell having perfect memories from my xeno-cultural studies courses. I wish I had that ability, it would make studying for tests much easier.” Oriana commented.
Kolyat wanted to tell her being able to perfectly remember every detail of all the terrible moments in life as well as the good was not something most species were capable of handling. Instead he asked, “What are you studying?”
“I’m transferring to the Citadel University next semester, I’m still an undergrad in the science program.” Oriana explained.
“I admit I never really thought about college or science or stuff like that. You seem like you’re very driven and determined about it, though.” Kolyat had never put any thought into what kind of future he wanted. Before his mother passed away, he admittedly wanted to be just like his father when he grew up, even if he wasn’t sure what exactly Thane did when he was ‘away on business’. After his mother passed away, he fell into the typical teenaged rebellion phase. He’d act out at school, get in trouble with his superiors, and show no respect for authority. Up until his incident on the Citadel, he had never intentionally meant to harm or kill anyone.
“Surely, you have an idea of what to do with your future? Do you plan on working with C-Sec after you finish with your community service?” Oriana asked.
Kolyat’s brows knitted together into a frown of uncertainty. “I’m not sure just yet. Bailey offered to set me up with a scholarship to enroll in the C-Sec academy if I wanted.”
Kolyat suddenly felt the same pressure to make up his mind about his future that he got from his aunts and uncles. He had only just recently realized that they were all intent on not letting him follow in his father’s footsteps.
Fortunately, Oriana was interrupted from pressing Kolyat on the subject further when Shepard called for attention from the musician’s stage.
Shepard went into a brief thank you speech addressed to all in attendance. She eloquently expressed her gratitude for the party everyone had played in the ultimate salvation of all sentient life from the mass-extinction by the Reapers. She also paid honor to all those who lost their lives along the way. It was short, meaningful, and met with a loud round of applause at the end.
Kolyat politely obliged with a slow clapping motion, but showed no emotional reaction to the speech. He was still a bit bitter over his first impressions of Shepard, but he had to admit she had saved him from sharing a prison cell with a turian deviant right now.
After the speech, Kolyat watched as Shepard made her way to the opposite end of the ballroom to the refreshments table for some libations. She noticed Kolyat and Oriana standing together, and smiled at the two. “I bet you kids are looking forward to the after party.”
Kolyat was too busy silently reliving his memory of Shepard socking him in the jaw. His hand reached up to massage his cheek again. Oriana took notice, and perhaps Shepard did too.
“Yes! We were just talking now since we can still hear each other over the music at this party.” Oriana answered.
“You two enjoy yourselves then. I have to get back to rubbing some more elbows with those stuffy politicians.” Shepard headed back into the crowd.
“Make sure to be careful when kissing drells! They can make you hallucinate.” Shepard shot over her shoulder as she departed.
Kolyat noticed a red pigmentation flush Oriana’s face and ears. Humans certainly had weird quirks about them. Kolyat understood that Shepard was only teasing, but the comment had riled Oriana up momentarily.
“She assumes that just because I’m younger that I’m prone to becoming infatuated with any attractive male peer near me. I’m not like that! I’m certainly not like that! I’d rather kiss a salarian on a dare!” Oriana huffed with indignation.
“Woah, calm down!” Kolyat couldn’t help but laugh, “She was just joking.”
Oriana regained her composure and smoothed down her dress. She then mimed like she was checking her omni-tool. “Look at the time, maybe we should head over to the after party now before it gets too crowded.”
Aliens were definitely weird, Kolyat thought.