[54] Close Call

“So that’s how I ended up next to the Veil.”

Saren pauses, the cryo-pack in his hands whole for now. “The Perseus Veil.”

“Yeah. Right at the borderline.”

He crushes the pack, talontips meeting around the other side. Frowning, he wraps it in the readied cloth, tying the three corners into a loose knot. “The Adamant was three days out, and you fly into the Veil.”

“Not into.” Nihlus shrugs, rubbing a bruise on his shoulder. “Barely two light-years. Besides, I’d have lost them otherwise.”

“Instead, you lost your head.”

Nihlus rolls his eyes. Well, the one not covered by the cold compress. “It’s mission accomplished.”

“With half of a ship.”

He grins, with half of a face. His left mandible is hanging a few degrees too low. “So?”

Saren pulls on the mandible. He’s rewarded with a sharp yelp and a string of expletives. Something about his heritage and female vorcha. He isn’t too certain.

“So?” Nihlus repeats, grimacing as Saren pats down a fresh bandage. “You’re lying if you’ve not seen worse.”

He sighs. “You should be glad your ally was nearby. Geth activity is on the rise–especially near Aithaca 57.”

“What do you mean, ally?”

He sighs again. “I’m not the Admiral, Nihlus. Who pulled you back through the relay?”

“I did that myself.” A conspiratorial smirk begins to surface on his refined features. “What? You don’t believe me?”

Saren makes a point of clicking the med-kit closed. “No.”

“Aw.”

“A ship minus two stabilizers is mere jetsam.”

Nihlus nods, big, fat smirk firmly in place. “Which is why I built a gyro.”

He crosses his arms. “Impossible. The fabricator is insufficient.”

“Yeah, but the crane is more than enough.”

“The cargo crane.”

“I had to try a couple of setups. The hardest part was getting the mass effect fields to wrap the right way.” He starts to gesture, wrapping his hands one inside the other. “No, wait, it was like this.”

“Ah. That worked?”

“Perfectly.” Nihlus moves the compress from his eye to his shoulder, revealing dark, swollen lids. The grin stays.

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