Thadus: Chapter Eighteen

Mass Effect: Thadus

Chapter Eighteen

Second Chances

The Traveler limped into the zha’kril cave, running on half of its energy. Waiting to greet the crew was a stern faced Vaennua. Her hands were folded lightly in front of her as she dressed elegantly in white. A white scarf covered her deck and hiding the AI still attached to her body. Beside her was her daughter. Nych crossed her arms, looking visibly annoyed. Her eyes almost glowed under the cowl of her hood. Surrounding them was an army of guards.

Vaennua raised her head with interest. Standing on the Traveler’s deck was the crew. There were five of them. They stood unarmed, hands behind their backs. The turian and the quarian stood a step in front of the others. When the Traveler powered down, the crew disembarked. They reassumed their position, standing in front of the zha’kril queen.

With a simple motion, Vaennua sent the guards to apprehend them. She turned and stepped onto the lift. Nych followed close after her. Together, they ascended with a small group of guards.

On the highest level, Vaennua walked to her throne and sat down. Her daughter stood at her right. Then she waited.

Soon the lift returned with the Traveler’s crew standing before her. With a flick of her hand, the guards left them. Once they were alone Vaennua took a deep breath but still said nothing. She let a few moments pass by before delving into the situation at hand. Her eyes fell on the Captain.

“What have you done?” she asked into the silence. In anger, she stood up, “What have you done!? I agreed to let you go and find a method to defeat the Reaper on this planet and you betrayed my trust!” She pointed in the southern direction, “What was that beam in the sky!? Anything less than the truth and I will know it!”

Vicia looked at the quarian to her left, “It was a signal.”

“I thought we agreed,” Vaennua said in a calmer, but strained, tone. “You were to take care of the Reaper before finding a method to get off the planet on your own power. It was agreed that you would not send off a signal giving away our location!”

Vicia bowed her head slightly, “I take responsibility for what happened.”

“Is that all you have to say?” Vaennua asked.

“We might have found a way to defeat the Reaper,” Vicia said with a small smile on her face.

Nych stood beside her mother, “They are lying! Our people looked everywhere in the ruins but didn’t find anything.”

“It’s a weapon that has been modified from a Reaper plasma cannon,” Vicia continued to explain. “Ral says that we can equip them to the Traveler’s cannons and that in theory the cannons should tear through Reaper armor. With a sound plan of attack, we should be able to deal with the Reaper.” Vicia paused, “However, we were attacked when the Reaper forces went to investigate the ruins and the Traveler received extensive damage.”

Vaennua saw where the conversation going, “How can I trust you? After what had happened with the ruins?”

“It was a mistake,” Vicia glanced at Ral, “One that won’t happen again. Once the ship is repaired, we can commence on the attack on the Reaper. Think of how the lives of your people will improve once the Reaper is dealt with. And if we survive, we’ll be on our way home.”

Vaennua was quiet. She looked over the five people standing in front of her, “Where is the human? I remember telling you to watch out for her.”

“She’s currently injured,” Vicia answered, “I thought it was best to let her rest.”

“I see,” Vaennua was unconvinced but let the matter pass. She nodded slightly, “Nych will give word to the engineers and mechanics to repair your ship.”

Nych looked at her mother in shock, “What?! You trust them after that stunt they pulled!”

Vaennua placed a hand out, stopping her daughter. She spoke to Vicia, “For now, you can stay in the Villa. We can discuss your plans for taking care of the Reaper. The sooner we figure out the details, the better.”

Vicia bowed respectfully, “I would prefer we stay with the ship, if it is alright with you. Out crewmate is still in need of medical attention. And we need to get started installing the Reaper weapon as well.”

“Of course, it that is what you want,” Vaennua nodded. “We can discuss the plans when you join us during our evening meal. You are dismissed.”

Vicia lead the others to the lift and waited as it started to descend. Only when the lift was between floors did she speak to the others, “Paz, get to the Medical Bay and lock the door behind you. We don’t want any of the workers coming across the husk. Khal, stay with the doctor in case the husk gets too much for him. Ral, Consensus, start working on the weapon. We need to show them that the weapon is a real thing.”

“You could have blamed me,” Ral spoke up. “Why didn’t you?”

Vicia waited a few moments before answering, “A leader is responsible for their team. No matter what.”

The lift stopped and the Traveler sat in the center on the room just ahead of them. Vicia walked forward toward the ship with the others trailing behind her. Ral stood a few moments. Her gaze was focused on the ground.

The voice of As’sha, the asari, echoed in her mind, “You don’t have anything to be sorry about. You did what you needed to do for everyone’s good. It’s better than fighting a stupid Reaper.”

On the other hand, Ranik didn’t approve, “You should have waited. You don’t know what will happen because of what you did. It’s possible you just made things much worse.”

“Either way,” Ral said to herself, “I’ll have to work much harder to make things better.”

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