Pel had been to Omega enough times to get over the disturbing randomness, but he still hated the place. The station teemed with individuals from every alien species; even humans had become a noticeable presence. And in contrast to the ordered, harmonious almost sterilecoexistence found on the Citadel, the streets of Omega were crowded, dirty, and dangerous. There was no law enforcement; the few rules that existed were enforced by gangs of hired thugs employed by those who controlled each section of the station. Petty crime was rampant, and killings were common.
That didn't actually bother Pel; he knew how to look after himself. He had other issues with Omega. Every corner of the station stank with the mingled odors of a dozen different alien species: sweat and pheromones poorly covered up by the gagging scent of unfamiliar perfumes; the reek of unidentifiable foods wafting from open windows and doors; the putrid stench of uncollected garbage that littered the back alleys.
As bad as the smells were, the sounds were even worse. Unlike Council space, most aliens here refused to speak the common trade language unless absolutely necessary. An endless cacophony of grunts, squawks, and squeaks assailed his ears as he made his way through the crowds, his automated translator useless in the face of obscure interstellar dialects it wasn't programmed to decipher.
The aliens couldn't even agree on a single name for the station. Each speaker called it something different in his or her native tongue. The unpronounceable asari name loosely translated as "heart of evil," the turians referred to it as "world without law," the salarians called it "place of secrets," and the krogans knew it as "land of opportunity." For the sake of convenience, the automated translator Pel wore strapped to his belt translated all these terms into the human word "Omega"the absolute end of all things.
As much as he didn't want to be here, he had a job to do. Cerberus had sent him to broker a deal with his contact, and Pel knew better than to cross the Illusive Man. Of course, that hadn't stopped him and his team from taking on a few freelance projects over the past year that his superiors might not approve of. That's why it was so important to do things right: complete his missions as instructed; keep a low profile and don't make a mistake that might draw extra attention to his unauthorized activities.
Unless they already know, Pel thought, wondering if his tail was a Cerberus operative. Maybe the whole mission had been a ploy to get him alone on Omega's streets, where a dead human wouldn't attract any notice.
"Only one way to find out," he muttered, breaking into a run, thankful he wasn't wearing any kind ofbody armor that could slow him down.
He darted and dodged through the crowd, spinning and wheeling his way past startled aliens, ignoring the unintelligible threats and curses they shouted after him. He veered sharply down an empty side street lined with garbage cans, trash bins, and piles of refuse. Racing past several closed doorways, he ducked behind a large trash bin, crouching low. From his pocket he pulled out a small mirror, angling it so he could see back down the length of the alley without having to peek his head out and expose himself.