As Nihlus walked down the hall, he heard a distant echo speak the words “… and will be back shortly.” He broke into a run.

There was no one inside his room–at first glance, anyway. That tricky, tricky man. But the lighting was dim and the ground littered with rumpled clothes. If he tilted his head just right, he could see something shift. Something like a hairline crack in a picture frame. Something out of place with reality itself. He tossed an old shirt at it.

Saren decloaked and deflected the shirt in the same motion. “The duration’s good, but it drains too much power. Not viable unless they can make it work with kinetic barriers.”

“I missed you too.” He peered over Saren’s shoulder. “Oh, look at you. Messing with my files already. Squashed a few bugs?”

Saren turned his head away from the terminal and took a few scrutinising looks at the hidden folds of the clothes on the floor and the generous carpet of crumbs. “Tidiness aside, no. Your privacy filters may need work.”

“Just good ol’ breaking and entering, then.” It wasn’t really. His own damn fault for leaving the screen unlocked. “Did you have fun?”

“Why did you record these?”

“Those?” Nihlus blinked a few times. “Oh right, you asked about it before. That’s just the voicemail stuff.”

“You need this many?” He said incredulously. “One for Tevos?”

“Yeah, wait–“

But his own voice cut him off. “Ah, my favourite Councillor on the Citadel.” The tone was positively sultry. Nihlus felt the blood rush to his neck. “What can I do for you?” With a little extra flange at the end.

“–It’s been there for a while. I, er, never thought to change it.”

Saren didn’t reply. Another recording did. “This is Smiley. You know the drill, over and out.”

“That’s for contacts.”

Saren nodded once. “Reasonable.”

The third one piped up. “Hey, it’s Nihlus.” Then, there was a deep breath. “I’M SICK OF THESE”–Saren quickly turned the volume down–“DAMN CRIMINALS ON THIS DAMN STATION!” Followed by the ‘commence-message’ beep.

“You’ve never called while I was on Omega,” Nihlus reminded.

That was probably a not-another-word-Kryik kind of twitch. And then, he played another one.

“As a man of high morals and standards, I’d be obliged to respond in a civil manner. But given the circumstances, I respectfully request that you shut the fuck up.”

“No ID assigned?” A raised brow plate.

“It’s for tele-marketers. They try to sell me all sorts of stuff–mind you, most of it is porn, but–hey, what are you doing?”

“The filters definitely need work.”

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