Mass Effect: New Thadus
Raala groaned slightly as she woke. Her eyes hovered between opened and closed. Sounds echoed in her ears distorting noise and making them sound far away. She moved slightly, widening her eyes slightly. There was a flashing red light. Smoke wafted past the visor of her helmet. The display on her helmet was flashing warning left and right.
Slowly, Raala looked around. Everything seemed like it was on an angle. Across from her, there were more seats. They were mostly empty except for one which held a non-moving salarian. His was bleeding heavily from a large wound from his head. Raala looked down at the overhead restraint harness that secured her to her chair. Glancing at her right the wall and on board computer were ablaze. Flames began to rise to the ceiling, igniting wires and insulation.
Raala struggled with her restraint. She looked for a way out. In the other direction, a hazy halo of light the size of a doorway showed her the only means of escape. Flames climbed along the ceiling above her head. Embers rained down on her. She shook the restraint wildly. They didn’t budge. She shouted in frustration.
“Help! Someone help me! Please!” Raala shouted.
The panic started to set in. She tried to squeeze her way out of the restraint but it was stuck in place, refusing to move.
A shadow passed over the door. Someone stepped out of the smoky haze. A turian glanced over at the dead salarian before glancing over at Raala. Seeing Raala frantically moving, the turian rushed in to help.
“I need you to calm down,” the turian spoke. She had a commanding voice that made Raala listen. “Sit forward.”
Raala did as she was told. The turian made a fist, two claw like blades shot out of her gauntlet. With Raala sitting forward the turian started punching at the restraints. After knocking the gears free, the restraint released. The turian then cut at Raala’s safety belt with her claws. With Raala free, the turian nodded to the exit.
“We need to get moving,” the turian called over the roaring flames.
Raala clambered after the turian, scrambling into the light. She exited the pod, running up the incline and jumping out of the exit. As she fell, the flames engulfed the pod. Black smoke bellowed out of the exit.
Sand broke Raela’s fall. Gasping for breath, she got to her hands and knees. The warnings on her helmet visor cleared up allowing her to see more of her surroundings. They were in the center of a crater of sand supposedly caused by the pod striking the ground.
But then she saw it.
A dark menacing mass cresting over the crater. It looked like a large ship made with black and grey metals with green windows. From her positions, Raala thought the ship was at least 70 to 80 feet long. Its cannons started to fire up before, after a moment of silence, firing a massive force of energy over the crater.
Raala turned. The massive laser tore through an opposing ship, a smaller 40 to 50-foot light colored vessel. It exploded. The shockwave rippling across the crater.
More light vehicles appeared on the other end. They looked more like sail boats with fore-and-aft rigging. They were quick, hovering above the ground like speed boats, cresting atop sand dunes. Cannon shots were fired and torpedoes of energy struck the side of the dark enemy ship. While not nearly as powerful, the lighter vehicles definitely had more speed.
Alongside them were smaller boat like structures no longer than ten feet. They seated two passengers, each dressed in white robes. One was the designated driver while the other seemed to manage the weapons.
One such vehicle dipped down into the crater and crossed passed where Raala and the turian were standing. For a brief moment the driver glanced at them before meeting the enemy head on. Dark motorcycle like vehicles hovered over the ground carrying two passengers of their own. The smaller war vehicles engaged in battle. There were more of them than the larger mother ships.
“Prepare for your ascension,” a booming voice called from the large looming ship. “Surrender and be uplifted.”
The doors along the outside of the ship opened. Swarms of insect like creatures sprouted wings and flew. They were met by other winged beings dispatched from some of the ships and others from elsewhere. Suddenly, they were everywhere. Two species fighting on foot, by ground and by air. Raala looked over at the turian.
Of all the places they could have landed, they were in the middle of a war zone.
The turian put her hand to her ear, “Miru, we need a way out. Now! Where are you!?”
Raala shuffled awkwardly to her feet. Looking around at all the chaos she subconsciously reached for her pistol. As an engineer, she wasn’t proficient at fighting but could hold her own if she had to. In the corner of her eye she saw movement. Quickly, she raised her gun.
A firm hand stopped her. The turian shook her head, “She’s with us.”
“Battle tensions are increasing and there is incoming sandstorm activity approaching from due west,” a black and silver android spoke as it approached. She stopped and stood patiently, “I suggest we regroup with the others before it arrives.”
“An AI?” Raala recognized the tonal properties. Her questioning tone went unanswered.
The turian pushed passed her, “I’ll take point. Miru, you watch our rear. Let’s get moving people!”
With claws extended, the turian headed for the edge of the crater. War was around them between the insect like creatures and the white robed fighters. Occasionally, an intense battle to the death would knock in between Raala and the turian but for the most part they were left alone by the ground troops.
The ground and air vehicles were another matter. Large explosions from spent cannon shells or misfired lasers were their greatest danger. Ships of all sizes flew over their heads. The deafening sound of a laser cannon firing was the worst, including the shockwave it often caused. There was always the threat of a downed ship crashing on top of them. Raala was focusing more on what was above them than right in front of them.
She bumped into the turian who looked behind her with a slightly annoyed look.
“Climb!” she motioned.
Raala looked up, only now realizing how steep the wall of sand was. She holstered her weapon and got on all fours. The sand was soft and fine making it almost harder to get a good hand or foot hold. Each time Raala felt like she was making any progress, she could feel herself slide back several feet.
As she neared the top, she heard a scream overhead. A robbed fighter had been send hurling down into the crater. Looking up, she saw one of the insect like creatures. Its two sets of hexagonal eyes stared at her. It raised some kind of laser gun to fire at her. Raala turned away and closed her eyes, expecting the worst.
It didn’t come.
Instead, there was the sound of gunfire and the insect let out a pained clicking sound before falling into the crater. A synthetic hand reached out to her. Raala reached for it and was pulled up to safety. The large synthetic being landed down again to help the others.
Raala looked up. Four others, including a varren, could be seen. Three of them stood relatively close to one another while another one was seen running off into the distance. Just ahead of the horizon a nasty sandstorm promised to blot out the sky.
When the turian was on her feet, she saw the fleeing speck and swore, “I won’t let her get away from me!”
She shimmered a blue color before suddenly disappearing. Her figure appeared several yards away chasing after the fleeing figure.
“The sandstorm!” Miru called over the sound of an explosion. “They will be swept away!”
The large synthetic being started running after the two. Slowly, the others followed suit if not to be left behind. Raala ran as fast as she could in the shifting sand. Her display showed a counter running down, constantly warned her about the imminent danger to her right. She watched as the turian teleported further and further away, closing the distance between her and her target.
Even though the large synthetic got a head start, Raala easily overtook it. It reached for her, causing her to loose her balance and fall in the sand. The synthetic quickly used itself to shield her from the coming storm.
“No!” Raala protested, “She’s still out there!”
She struggled to get free but it was no use, the synthetic being prevented her from escaping. All she could do was watch as the turian disappeared over the next dune as her visor counted down to zero.
The sounds of the wind were upon them. Sand built up around them on all sides, burying them until all they had was the dark. The wind howled like some mystic beast, picking up and throwing sand, carrying everything away not securely placed. Raala could hear the cries and wails of those still on the battle field. She thought she could make out a ship of two succumbing to the winds and crashing. But it was hard to tell in the darkness. She would have to see when the world stopped shifting.
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