Thadus: Chapter Fifteen

Mass Effect: Thadus

Chapter Fifteen

The Ruins

Ral grunted as she landed on the ground. She rolled several feet before coming to a stop. Slowly, she stood up out of the sand and brushed herself off. The Traveler sailed off quickly. It was tipped drastically on the starboard side as it dropped off its passengers and circled around the ruins. The hum of the thrusters roared overhead as it passed.

Ral pulled out her omni-tool and conducted a quick scan. A small circular droid materialized beside her. It scanned her suit systems.

“All systems intact,” the drone reported.

Ral nodded in confirmation, “Sounds good.”

She looked round for the others. Khal shook off buckets of sand from his armor. His eyes were narrowed in annoyance. Ral smiled slightly, shaking her head.

“I hate sand,” Khal stated.

“I thought you were from Tuchanka? Don’t they have sands and deserts there too?” Vicia asked.

The krogan looked at her with a side glance, “I hated it there too.”

“Come on!” Vicia called as she walked up a large sand dune. Her emerald armor glinted in the sun, “Let’s get to the ruins.”

Close behind her was Widow. The human walked confidently up the mountain of sand. She ignored Urz’s antics as he attempted several play bows and ran around her in an attempt to gain her attention. When he saw that she was all business, the varren calmed down, following dutifully behind her.

There was a groan behind Ral. She turned slightly and saw the doctor walking slowly toward her.

“Are you alright, Paz?” Ral asked.

The doctor nodded weakly, “I fail to understand why we must disembark in this manner. Wouldn’t it be much more convenient for the ship to be sill and for us to use the ladder instead.”

“In order to do that,” Ral explained, “The ship would need to be stopped or at least to have it hover in place. The truth is, it would take much more energy to hover in place. And if we were going to shut down everything, it would take time to start up everything again. If we were to come under attack, the time it would take could mean life or death.”

Paz sighed. He didn’t say anything. Instead, he walked slowly up the hill, following Khal. Ral put her onmi-tool away and continued forward. The drone hovered near her person. Consensus was left on board in case anything was to happen.

As she crested the dune, Ral looked over the ruins.

Large curved spikes arced up out of the ground and towered high against the horizon. Half buried buildings radiated out from the center, forming a circle around three large pillars. Statues stood above the sand in different stages of disrepair.

It was eerily quiet. A ghost town. There was no sign of life. Ral looked over at Vicia, waiting for what to do next.

She didn’t disappoint. Vicia started her way down into the abandoned compound, “The center’s a good place to start. Let’s go find a way in.”

Together they walked down entered the compound. The buildings looked incredibly advanced, like something that would be on the Citadel. It was the most advanced things on the planet other than the combat ships on both the zha’krill and Reaper sides. The doors were missing and the metal was rusted. There were signs of scavenging like what Vaennua had said. Many of the buildings were stripped of anything useful long before they got there but Ral kept an eye out nonetheless.

They reached the center of the compound. In the center, three pillars stood tall but nothing else was there. Ral looked down at her arm. Her omni-tool areared around her arm. With a few adjustments, the hovering droid approached one of the pillars and started to scan. Ral looked up and addressed the curious eyes around her.

“These look like the beacons back in our galaxy, the ones that tried to warn us of the Reaper invasion. These have long been out of power but there may still be data imbedded inside.”

“How long will that take?” Vicia asked.

Before she could finish, the ground roared and shook. Everyone stepped back as the ground opened in front of them. The gap circled around the three pillars. Sand poured into the gaps like an hourglass. When the shaking calmed down, Widow walked calmly to the edge. After a few moments, she stepped down into the gap and disappeared.

Vicia ran to the edge then stopped. She appeared to calm down, “It looks like we found the entrance.” With that said, she walked down the spiral steps into the gap. Khal shrugged and lumbered after her with Urz close behind. Ral looked over at Paz as he followed suit. She picked up the rear.

As they descended, the air felt old and heavy like it had been a while since it was opened. Walls towered on either side the further they descended in the large spiral staircase. Faded paintings or carvings decorated either side. There was a distant whirling sound as something was powering up.

They reached the bottom, a pair of large doors were opened half way. They slid closed an inch before opening again. After a few moments the power generator fully kicked in and threw the doors open.

Vicia reached out to grab Ral as she walked through the doors, “Wait!”

She paid no heed as she walked through the door. Beyond the door, the room opened up. Along the wall of the circular room old electronics blinked sporadically, running on a half-life. In the center was a kind of CIC, or Combat Information Center. A circular hologram flashed and flickered above the oval table. It looked like a hologram of the planet Thadus.

Ral leaned over one of the keyboards and started playing the keys like a fiddle. The drone hovered around and started scanning different sections and screens. It started repairing power modules and stabilizing the electric flow. The others slowly walked into the room.

Vicia crossed her arms and shook her head. She watched the quarian mining through the data. Ral looked so immersed in what she was doing; she wasn’t aware that the others had followed her in. Vicia turned as she heard gears churning.

“Now this is what I’m talking about!” Khal chuckled.

Apparently, he had pressed a button that opened a back room. He walked in and Vicia crossed the room to follow him. She wasn’t going to let him trigger anything that might end up being problematic. Vicia stood at the newly opened doorway. She shook her head slowly. Khal lumbered over to a few rows of guns. Of course, he would be interested in any fire arms.

“Ah, very interesting,” Paz stood by the side panels. His eyes grew wide as read the screens, “Protheans were indeed vastly intelligently superior to anything in their day and age. It is such a shame they succumbed to the Reapers. They would have made adequate intellectual equals.”

Vicia rolled her eyes and continued to look around. She decided to look around more. The CIC looked like it had important information about the planet and possibly the Reapers. Vicia stood at one of the consoles around the oval and touched the screen. When she did, the CIC came to life. The image cleared up, showing the hologram of Thadus and important information relating to the desert planet. Upon doing some sort of scan the screen magnified on the location of the secret facility.

“Reaper Detected!” a male electronic voice announced. The hologram circled in on the Reapers location. The voice spoke again, “The Project is…100% complete. Would you like to activate the Project?”

“Yes,” Vicia said.

“Confirmed,” the voice said. The oval table split opened and another platform rose. Two strange looking devices lay on the platform. They looked like a larger version of a kind of gun with a gyroscope like device on the end of it. Vicia furrowed her brow, unsure of what was in front of her. She looked over at Ral. The quarian’s eyes were still on the screen in front of her, as if she hadn’t noticed the platform rose.

“Ral, do you know what this is?” Vicia called in an attempted to draw her attention.

The quarian looked up, “What?”

The voice answered for her, “Much effort has been placed into developing cannons. These are modified magnetohydrodynamic based of Reaper technology. Unlike the molten metal weapons they are based off of, they fire a sustained burst of highly heated energy. It takes high amounts of energy but is an incredibly effective weapon.”

Vicia shrugged, “What does that mean?”

“It is created to defeat Reapers,” the voice said.

Before Vicia could say anything the whole underground building shook. Loose dirt and rubble fell down on them. The lights flickered and the energy level fluctuated. Everyone crouched low to the ground and waited for it to pass. When he rumbling subsided, Vicia stood and looked over at Ral.

“What was that!?” she asked.

Ral stood. Her hands were folded neatly in front of her. She spoke in a quiet voice, “I’m sorry.”

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