Thadus: Chapter Eleven

Mass Effect: Thadus

Chapter Eleven

Weeding Out

Back in the cave, Ral sat in the courtyard at the Villa. They weren’t confined there so the others had gone out to see the rest of the cave. Vaennua had given Vicia a substantial amount of their currency to buy supplies for their trip, food and tools and the like. She had taken Consensus and Khal with her while Widow and Urz went for a walk. The only one left was Paz inside scribbling symbols on a sheet of paper. With them out of the way, the Villa was a nice quiet place to look over the manuals she had downloaded from the Traveler.

Before the zha’kril engineers and repairmen took it upon themselves to patch up the ship, she had asked KIDD to download everything about how the Traveler worked and how to repair it. With most everyone out of the Villa, the courtyard was a relaxing place to go over the information.

As Ral enlarged a screen on her omni-tool as a transparent orb floated around her. KIDD had also downloaded a copy of itself in case the engineers decided to delete it from the ship. It wasn’t at its full processing power but the drone could talk and carried with it a basic database. A useful tool in the field. It floated around, scanning plants and testing out its systems.

Behind her she heard foot falls as the salarian doctor walked passed. He looked surprised to see her.

“Ah! Perfect! I am on the brink of a botanical breakthrough!” Paz looked incredibly proud of himself. He rattled on excitedly, “Of course there is no way to tell yet just did the math but of course the math is sound there is nothing wrong there now just need to experiment to prove that math is correct need soil need plants need help.”

“What?” Ral asked.

Paz took a deep sigh as if she had done something wrong, “Would you join me to visit the farms? Must gain soil sample.”

Ral smiled politely, “I-I was a-actually going too—”

“Won’t take a second! You can be my assistant!” Paz started walking off toward the street.

Ral’s shoulders fell in disappointment. She got up, turned off her omni-tool and deactivated her drone before following the salarian. They walked down the main streets, lavish houses stood on either side. Zha’kril from lower levels worked hard cleaning the streets and carrying water for their master’s homes.

It still amazed her the intricate details of the cave. Everything was carved out of the stone of the mesa. Any construction started from the bottom and only later did the upper levels take shape. It must have been an incredible project. But they had 50,000 years to accomplish it.

Up close the large arch way towered overhead reminding her of the scale and just how small she was in comparison. Warm sunlight streamed through from the outside as the afternoon suns hung in the sky.

She had never been to the fields, although she had seen them from the courtyard of the Villa. Row after row of green plants grew in raised plots. During the heat of the day, white sheets were hung on poles shading the plants from the harsh sunlight. There were plants carrying exotic and strange fruit. Smaller plants with large leaves collected energy to grow their roots deeper into the ground.

The soil was rich and life giving, soft to the touch. Water pumps were stationed throughout the plots. Farmers pumped water from deep within the ground to water the flourishing plants. Others went from plot to plot, pulling out weeds and unwanted growths. Larger plants were cut and trimmed.

Ral watched as Paz as he scooped up dirt into test tubes.

“What are you doing?” Ral asked.

“Acquiring soil samples. From these samples I should be able to recreate it in larger quantities to grow our own food on the ship. After further testing I should be able to scientifically create plants that are dextro-protein plants. That should supply more food for you and the turian.”

“You can do that?” Ral asked.

Paz tilted his head at her, “Of course.”

Ral smiled, “I never got to thank you for saving my life when my suit ruptured as we crashed.”

Paz didn’t even look in her direction, “I didn’t save you.”

“You didn’t?” Ral shook her head, “Then who did?”

“The geth,” he walked off to another plot.

Ral struggled to speak. She followed the doctor as he jumped from plot to plot like a flitting butterfly acquiring different samples.

“What do you mean the geth saved me?” Ral asked.

Paz shrugged his shoulders, “It was the closest one to you. It administered several immune-boosters to counter your infection and bring down your fever. If it wasn’t for that geth and its knowledge about quarian physiology, you wouldn’t be standing here right now helping me carry these test tubes.” He shoved and hand full of vials at Ral. She recovered quickly and didn’t drop any.

“Even as you try to stay away from AI’s,” Paz continued, “It appears that they cannot stay away from you. I suggest making peace soon. The ship will be ready and we may need to ‘play nice’, I think it’s said, with those we may not be too eager to get along.” He took a deep breath, “If only the krogan would make more of an effort.”

Ral followed quietly, not really listening to the things the doctor rattled off. She barely noticed him buying some native seeds from a farmer.

When he was done, they slowly went back to the cave entrance and walked through the busy streets to the Villa. The doctor hummed gleefully the entire way back. As they approached the Villa, Vicia and the others were on their way back as well coming from the other end. Both Khal and Consensus were carrying large boxes side by side with Vicia in the lead. Urz sat near the entrance with his tongue hanging out and tail wagging. Knowing the two were inseparable meant that Widow was close by.

Consensus paused and allowed the others to enter the gate first, including Paz and Ral. But she stopped. She looked up at the geth.

“Thank you,” she forced herself to say, “for helping me during the crash. And I’m sorry for what I said, about not trusting you. It’s been an insane few weeks. Sometime…sometimes I just feel like I’m just losing my mind.”

Consensus nodded, “This unit took no offence. We understand your reluctance of trust.”

Ral smiled. She entered the Villa with Consensus behind her. Together they joined the others inside to talk about their upcoming mission: their plan to take on the Reaper and the Collectors.

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