Mass Effect: Thadus
Ral was knocked over when the ship was suddenly knocked over. The lights flickered in the engine room and there was the horrendous sound of metal tearing apart. Ral looked up at the floating transparent orb beside her.
“Keelah! What was that?” she exclaimed.
“Analyzing,” the orb, known as KIDD, stated. It took a fraction of a second to finish, “The Port Side hull is at 50% integrity. I suggest putting up the kinetic barriers.”
Ral got to her feet, “Alright, how do I do that?”
KIDD hovered in midair, “The ship needs more power. Only the basic functions are currently active. The Fusion Plant needs to be manually started.”
Ral walked toward the left side of the main battery. There was a small control panel with a green and yellow button. Her hand hovered over the green button before pressing it. The fusion plant whirled to life. Lights started blinking and bars showing energy levels started to rise. On the opposite side, the main battery came to life. The plant fed into the battery and was routed to the rest of the ship. Ral thought she had heard the ship come to life before but now the very heart of the ship began to beat. The ship purred.
The engine room roared creating a symphony of electric crackles and beeping buttons.
“Rerouting power to kinetic barriers,” KIDD reported. “Barriers activated.”
“Alright, how are we going to get out of here?” Ral spoke aloud.
“I suggest getting out of the immediate location,” KIDD said.
Ral could almost hear the sarcasm in the AI’s voice. She crossed the room to an ‘L’-shaped control desk. The orb followed her and hovered over her shoulder. Ral typed frantically on a keyboard. A clear screen activated and appeared in front of her.
“KIDD, translation please,” Ral stated.
“Confirmed. Task completed,” KIDD answered. Almost instantly the keys and the symbols on the screen were something she could understand. The word ‘override’ appeared on her screen paired with a safety warning.
As’sha looked over her shoulder. She shook her head, “You aren’t doing what I think you’re doing, are you?”
Ranik nodded approvingly, “This could work.”
Ral took a deep breath, “Here goes nothing.” She pressed the enter key.
Vicia fired her sub-machine gun while she kept under cover. It was a relief that Ral had managed to get the barrier up. Another direct attack from the main ships plasma cannon would have been the end of them. Not only that, but it made it harder for the collectors to attack them with their handheld weapons. It didn’t stop them from flying it but it helped focus on where the attack were coming from.
The ship shook. A plume of sand flew into the air just in front of the bow. Vicia covered her head as sand rained down on the deck.
“What is she doing!?” Nych shouted over a second blast.
“I think she’s clearing the sand!” Vicia shouted back. “Using the cannons!”
A third and fourth blast dug deeper into the sand dune. The barrier shimmered slightly as if being struck by something. Khal grunted as he was struck by a bullet that managed to slip passed the barrier. Angered he used his shotgun and fired into the orange haze. It was impossible to see what was going on even a few feet in front of her face.
“Bow obstruction is cleared. The autopilot is disconnected,” an orange orb floated into Vicia’s field of view. “The captain must manually pilot the ship.”
Vicia listened to the gunfire, “How do I pilot this thing?”
KIDD hovered off, “Please man the tiller. Head Engineer Ral is attempting to start engines.”
Vicia ran aft. She found the tiller and gripped the handle. As soon as she did, a clear screen appeared in front of her face. Directly in front of her, she could see through the cabin to the front of the bow like a kind of virtual reality. In the corners of her field of view were different status updates about the ship. The barrier was down 30% and the port side’s integrity was down 50.
KIDD hovered close by, “Routing power to hull thrusters.”
The ship shook. Vicia gripped tightly onto the tiller. The ship slowly rose and lurched forward. Several collectors landed on the deck. Consensus turned to protect Vicia. Bullets and lasers bounced off of its armor. The lights on its armor glowed yellow. Consensus fire a single shot. The impact was so great that the collector was thrown back several feet.
One of the collectors turned to Vicia and raised its weapon. It fired. The bold of energy struck a force before shooting back at the collector leaving Vicia confused. In front of her, a figure slowly appeared and became visible. Widow looked over her shoulder and nodded. After that, she unleashed a shock wave throwing several collectors into the air. She drew a pistol from her belt and shot them as they fell.
“Reached the clearance level of 14 feet,” KIDD reported. “Powering up rear thrusters.”
The ship propelled forward knocking Vicia off balance. She kept her hand on the tiller, pulling it toward her. The mainsail rotated to the right turning the ship into the tip of the sand dune. With the thrusters on full power it blasted through the sand. The enemy ship fired another plasma blast at them. It ate away at their barrier but it managed to hold. The ship circled around and headed south away from the fray.
Vicia evened out the tiller and straightened out the mainsail. She felt the wind in her face. The sails snapped in the wind. Quickly, she looked over her shoulder. The collectors grew smaller in the distance as the ship sailed away. Vicia let out a sigh she didn’t know she was holding. Somehow, they had gotten out of a bad situation.
Paz used the railing to pull himself to his feet. His legs shook and he breathed heavily. He looked at the carnage on the deck. Red blood flowed between bodies. He quickly turned and threw up over the railing. Nych scooted away from him and rolled her eyes.
Consensus turrets morphed and returned into the compartments on its back. It watched as Widow threw a collector body over her shoulder and brought it to the railing. She started disposing of the bodies by throwing them overboard.
“Don’t get rid of them all!” Nych shouted. “We need them to find any weaknesses.”
Widow looked at Vicia. The turian nodded and started picking out the more damaged collector husks. Khal slowly assisted her.
“Consensus,” Vicia spoke. The geth turned its attention to her, waiting for her orders, “The autopilot is broken. Steer us home.”
The geth approached her and took hold of the tiller. Vicia looked at Nych and motioned to the door. Nych’s white robes flowed in the wind. She narrowed her eyes at the turian as Vicia disappeared below deck. After a few moments, Nych followed after her. She went down to the second floor toward the engine room. When she got there, Ral and Vicia were talking.
Vicia looked at her when she walked in, “Are we going to get answers now?”
Nych placed her hand on her hips, “I’m afraid I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“First off, there is a prothean AI installed on this ship and I don’t think they come standard,” Vicia stated. She continued, “Secondly, this doesn’t look like your typical attack ship.”
“All of the medical and research equipment in highly unusual,” Ral agreed.
“And to find the ship in relatively good order and well protected,” Vicia crossed her arms. “Not to mention the attack party they sent to take it back means that this ship isn’t your usual run of the mill ship.”
Nych shrugged her shoulders, “You were told this was a new model we were experimenting with. We were seeing how it functioned before turning it into a combat ship. It was manned with a skeleton crew of scientists and a handful of soldiers for protection. We weren’t going to risk a full crew on an experimental ship.”
Vicia nodded, “Fine. I can buy that. But just so we are clear, you just have extra prothean AI’s lying around?”
Nych paused, “We salvaged it.”
“From where?” Vicia asked.
“The ruins to the south,” Nych answered. She sighed, “While the Reapers crashed to the north, our ships crashed to the south. We used the parts and electronics to build many of our early ships, some of which we still use, and set out to find a place we could call home. We used our ships wreckage and parts for almost everything we needed to build the ships and machines that we needed, but we were running out of materials to use. That was when our scouts found a ruin city built by the protheans. The technology we found there is the only reason the Reaper forces haven’t wiped us out yet.”
“So the protheans were here?” Ral thought out loud. “So they must have had a way to return.”
Nych narrowed her eyes, “If they did, they didn’t take advantage of it. They must have known about the Reaper invasion and destroyed anyway of returning home that they might have had. We found their bodies in cryo-pods.”
“They were alive?” Ral asked.
“Do you think they would let us take their AI?” Nych leaned back on one leg and crossed her arms. She turned her attention to Vicia, “My mother was going to tell you once we returned. It is where you might find something to help you fight the Reaper.”
Vicia shook her head, “If you have been excavating the ruins this long, what hope do we have of finding anything useful?”
Nych shrugged, “You asked where you could find weapons to destroy the Reaper, and the ruins has the best chance of doing that. You’d better hope you find something our scouts haven’t. Otherwise, I will hunt you down and
drag you back to the cave.” She turned and left the engine room.
Ral and Vicia stood beside each other. Silence floated between them.
Vicia looked up toward the ceiling, “KIDD.” The AI appeared as an orb beside the two. Vicia spoke to it, “What is the name of this ship?”
“The previous captain referred to this ship as The Traveler,” KIDD answered calmly.
“The Traveler,” Vicia said to herself. “I own this ship now and no one, not a horde of collectors or a spoiled princess are going to take it from me.”