Thadus: Chapter Twelve

Mass Effect: Thadus

Chapter Twelve

To the Unknown

The aliens were escorted to the lift. It was early in the morning and the streets were empty and deserted. Vicia lead the group with Consensus and Khal right behind her. The doctor, Paz, barely payed attention to where he walked. He had a box full of samples and took one out occasionally to look at it. At one point he ran into Ral who had stopped suddenly. Behind him were Widow and Urz walking. The varren did several play bows and the human obliged by throwing a stick that he would fetch and bring back.

As they approached the lift, Ral saw several figures standing there. Vaennua stood regally with her shoulders back and her hand folded lightly in front of her. Her white scarf wrapped around her neck and draped down over her chest. The dress flowed and pooled at her feet. Beside her, Nych stood to her mother’s right side. Her face was emotionless and her arms crossed.

Vaennua bowed her head slightly, “I see that you are ready for your expedition. Do you have everything you need?”

Vicia nodded, “Yes. We’ll be heading south to the ruins when we’re ready.”

The lift lurched and slowly descended into the earth. Vaennua approached the turian and smiled, “If you succeed this would be the most memorable time since our kind landed on this planet.”

“We are glad to be of any help,” Vicia said.

Vaennua slowly uncovered the scarf around her neck. She revealed something dark colored that clung to her neck from behind. Everyone was silent as they looked at the insect-like machine.

“That is the AI your people implanted on themselves?” Ral asked.

Vaennua nodded, “This is why I have been able to live so long. However, it’s has come at a cost, a fear that the Reaper will override it as it had so many other of my people.” She covered her neck again, “When I say that you are helping my people you are helping me too. You are doing us all a service. Even if you are defeated, your sacrifice will forever be remembered.”

Vicia nodded, “We intend to come back in one piece.”

Khal muttered in agreement, “It will be a glorious fight.”

The lift stopped onto the raised stone platform. They overlooked the Traveler. The sails were repaired and the metal plating was replaced. With the deck and hull brushed and cleaned it looked like a new ship. It sat ready. Ready for their adventure ahead.

Vaennua bowed slightly, “May the winds forever be at your back.”

“And may the suns guide your path,” Nych said. She stepped forward, “A sand ship is essential to our way of life. It is how we defend ourselves, how we bring back food and supplies, and how we traveled across the sands. We treat our ships better than our most prized possession.” She looked at Vicia, “Take care of the Traveler like you would your own life. As the captain of this ship, it is you biggest responsibility.”

“I will do all I can,” Vicia met her gaze.

Vaennua raised her arms, “You are free to go.”

Vicia turned and walked down the raised platform. The others followed after her. Ral climbed the ladder and pulled herself onto the deck of the ship. From the railing she watched Widow lifting Urz with her biotics as he couldn’t pull himself up. She turned and saw Vicia walking aft toward the tiller. With a deep breath, Ral made her way to the lower levels.

She made her way to engineering with only the dim emergency lights kept on by back up energy. As she walked down the hall, she passed the doctor as he scampered into the med-bay. Ral stood in front of the massive main battery and fusion plant.

Ral looked up at the ceiling and spoke, “KIDD? Activate basic power systems.”

“Affirmative,” a voice said over the repaired intercom system.

Back on the first floor, Khal witnessed the ships AI come to life on his way to the armory. The see through figure hovered just above the AI core. It raised its arms, bringing the ship to life. Light flickered on as Consensus stood in the crew quarters. The engines kicked into gear filling the engine room with noise. Ral checked the several consoles and made sure that everything was working correctly.

On the deck, Vicia stood at the tiller. As the power flowed through the ship, screens appeared in front of her face and on either side of her head.

“Activate the lift thrusters,” Vicia stated.

“Affirmative,” KIDD responded. “Activating lift thrusters.”

The ship shook as it rose off of the ground. Widow gripped the railing in order to keep her balance. Urz chased his tail but stopped as the ship shook. The port thruster sporadically activated turning the ship towards the entrance.

She looked over her shoulder at the stone platform. Vaennua raised a single hand in a silent wave while Nych stood with an emotionlessly face. Vicia looked forward again. The screen in front of her allowed her to see the view in front of the ship through the cabin entryway. Lights flickered on in the outside of the ship illuminating the path ahead.

“Activate the rear thrusters,” Vicia commanded.

KIDD answered, “As you say, Captain.”

The thrusters activated propelling the ship forward. Vicia held on to the tiller and guided the ship through the winding tunnel toward the cave entrance. The bridge was down and the ship passed into light. They descended down bridge and sailed into the desert.

Vicia pushed the tiller causing the rear sail to turn toward the left aiming the ship south. They were on their way to the zha’kril and Prothean ruins. Vicia smiled as she felt the wind on her face. The horizon spread out in front of her. The ground passed quickly underfoot. There was no feeling like it.

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