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Just six weeks later, the business you worked so hard to build is dead. In fact, things are so utterly dismal that even referring to it as a "business" any longer would be an abuse of the word's meaning. You haven't seen a customer so much as peruse your goods in over fifteen days. Everything you've worked for, all of your dreams, all of your sacrifices are now wasted, ruined. But there's no use spending anymore time dwelling on your mistakes; the only thing that matters now is the future, your business's future. You need to get your hands on that recording. It's the only thing that matters now.
You drop your forehead to the edge of the counter, stare at the floor, and think. Unfortunately, Shepard reportedly left the Citadel weeks ago. The only way to get that endorsement now is from one of the other shops, and that's not likely to be an easy task. Up until very recently, you've been their top competitor. Why would they help you now?
It hits you. You need to call Caleb, your old C-Sec partner. He's always had your back, even after the scandals that forced you out of your badge. Caleb's no businessman, but his knowledge of the Citadel and the ways its cogs spin is unrivaled. Maybe he'll know what to do.
Caleb is out on patrol when you call, but a few hours later he's off-duty and on the comm with you. You do your best to explain the situation as clearly as you can, your old partner replies with a sound something similar to "hurm." He remains quiet for a solid twenty seconds after. You nearly think you've lost the connection when he finally speaks.
"Well, bud," he finally says. "The way I see it, you need a copy of that master recording. If you want one these other shop-keeps to give it up, you're going to need something to trade with."
He goes silent for a moment more before continuing. "Them helping you out would put you back in business, so no, it's got to be something more than just credits, something personal. Suppose we could dig, hope we find something dirty on one of 'em. These guys touch a lot of credits. Chances are, where there's credits, there's dirt. That might take awhile, though. Course, the faster way would be to just plant some dirt ourselves. Little less ethical, but hell, you know as well as I do, none of these guys are squeaky, anyway."