Thadus: Chapter Thirteen

Mass Effect: Thadus

Chapter Thirteen

Safe

A week had passed since the Traveler had left the zha’kril city and already the ship was already feeling small. The halls felt narrow and the walls seemed to be descending on their heads even if it was eight feet high. The ceiling stood only a few inches above Khal and Consensus heads and they lumbered down the halls.

Ral lay in the dark on the top bunk in the left corner of the room. She stared at the metal ceiling, waiting. Ever so slightly, the lights grew brighter. It was barely bright enough to notice but allowed her to see better in the darkness.

It was almost dawn.

The lights grew brighter with the dawn and dimmer with the dusk. There weren’t any windows so this setting allowed those inside to know what time it was. Ral sighed. She rolled over and paused. After a few moments she sat up. Her legs dangled over the side and jumped.

She fell lightly beside Vicia’s bed. She slept soundly after her second four hour shift at the tiller. KIDD offered to navigate herself but Vicia insisted that they all learn how to pilot the ship in case anything happened to any one of them. And they all agreed. All except Paz. He stated that he had groundbreaking studies to get to and had no time for such foolishness. So Vicia gladly took on the extra four hour shift. She took one during the day and another at night.

Ral walked out of the crew quarters wandered the hallways. She paused at a large screen and stared at a map showing their progress and projected path. After a few moments the screen changed and showed several sensing equipment, all of them showing no activity. After checking their location she continued passed the tech lab. Normally, she would see Consensus working there, fixing and adding sections to his armor and creating electronic weapons and parts for the ship.

On the other side was the armory. Khal spent most of his time modifying weapons and building attachments. He seemed to revel in the idea of the damage they would cause. As usual, he looked forward to any fights they would soon have.

She stepped into the bathroom. Behind her, the AI core glowed. She closed the door behind her. For a moment she stood in front of the sink and looked at herself in the mirror.

“Good morning, Ral,” KIDD’s voice said over the bathrooms intercom.

Ral looked up, “Good morning.”

“Would you like to take a shower?” KIDD asked. It continued, “I can sterilize and decontaminate the area inside the shower making it so you can shower without worry.” After a moment, Ral nodded. KIDD instructed, “Please enter the shower and shut the door behind you.”

Ral did as she was told. She stepped inside the shower and closed the door. The shower head turned on raining disinfectant on the walls and floor. Ral stood at one side and waited.

After a moment, the shower head stopped running. “Shower interior disinfected.”

To be on the safe side, Ral took an immune booster. This wouldn’t be anything like the bullet graze that almost did her in. It was a shower with heated and purified water with in a decontaminated space. But still, it was always better to be safe than sorry.

After that, Ral took off her enviro-suit piece by piece. Each section acted as a failsafe in case there was a puncture in the suit, tightening and preventing the spread of infection via skin. As a result, it wasn’t easy taking off. She folded each piece carefully and placed them in a corner. Now ready, the water turned on.

Ral sighed. Being trapped and separated from the world through the fibers of an enviro-suit she never really got to feel things. Not on her skin. She could feel the pressure but she never really knew what a flower felt or the feeling of the wind in her face. One of the few luxuries for a quarian was the feeling of fresh water. It often took a lot of work to achieve on the Flotilla. It took a lot of resources and hours of preparation. Because of that, it was reserved for birthing mothers and their new born children.

But now it was just her, still, under the water.

“Attention,” KIDD’s voice echoed throughout the ship. “Unidentified structure detected 15 miles south east off of stern. Requesting further instruction.”

“Bosh’tet,” Ral muttered under her breath.

She quickly put on her enviro-suit and stepped out of the shower. Out in the hallway all the lights were on even if it was barely after dawn. Ral ran passed the armory and skidded to a stop in front of a second screen. The scanner screen was up and flashing green and red, highlighting the quadrant where the scanner picked up the disturbance.

“KIDD, bring up a visual scan,” Ral instructed.

There were cameras all over the ship. Most of them were on the outside and hidden high up in the mast. The camera facing that direction was brought up. All she could see was dark sand dunes. She narrowed her eyes looking for anything out of the ordinary.

“Bring up the initial image,” Ral ordered, “Increase light filtration.”

KIDD did as it was told. The image came up in a hazy green color. But she didn’t see anything. In the upper right corner and image of Vicia was shone. She stood on deck the sun rising behind her.

“We’ve got nothing on a visual scan,” Vicia stated as she looked over her shoulder. Talking to Ral she added, “Anything on your end.”

“I was just about to go to engineering and see if I could clear up the images. So far there isn’t anything on the images KIDD brought up but I’ll see what I can do.”

Vicia nodded, “Do it. Get back to us quick. The rest of us are up here and would love to know if we are about to get attacked soon or not.”

Ral nodded and headed back aft toward the elevators. Once on the second floor, she headed straight back to engineering. Over the past week she had dabbled in improving the scanners and sensors aboard the ship. They had a wide variety including radar, thermographic, radio detectors, visual, and even Laser Detection and Ranging (LADAR). Not all of them were operational yet and needed a little bit of tweaking which Ral was already working hard on.

Inside engineering, she walked over to a control panel along the wall and frantically started typing on the keys. She chose the specific image which caused KIDD to be concerned and sent in through several filters. Fortunately, KIDD’s processing was excellent. The image came back quickly in different forms.

But there was still nothing. Ral sighed with relief, “Tell Vicia that it’s probably just a glitch or a strange rock. There’s nothing wrong but I would keep an eye on that quadrant as we go.”

“Understood,” KIDD stated.

It was always better to be safe than sorry.

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