Mass Effect: New Thadus
Consensus offered a hand as Raala climbed the slanted ladder on the side of the ship to the top deck. She pushed the synthetic hand away and helped herself up. The ship creaked eerily as it tilted forward and slightly port. As the metal settled, Raala walked along the deck.
A cabin was situated in the center of the deck allowing access to the lower levels through a single entrance. Fastened on top of the cabin was the mast. As a fore-and-aft rig the metal frame ran parallel with the hull. The mast looked to carry both the main sail and fore sail. Wind caused the main sail hinges to swing back and forth. There was no cloth or even remnants were left behind from the sails.
Along most of the edge of the deck was a three-and-a-half-foot solid wall. The last ten or so feet changed from a solid wall to a metal railing. Other than that, there wasn’t much on the deck of the abandoned ship.
Raala approached the cabin door. It looked like normally the doors slid open to the sides but without power the doors stayed closed. Without a second thought, Raala crouched and opened a side panel and started playing with the wiring. Shortly after, the doors opened. Stairs descended down in to the darkness of the ship. Cool air floated out. Raala looked over her shoulder at the others. For a few moments, no one moved. Vicia started forward and started down the stairs.
After Vicia walked a few steps ahead, Raala followed after her. Behind her Naryxea raised a hand. Using her biotics, the asari caused her had to glow a faint blue color giving some light for those around her.
At the bottom of the steps, Vicia stopped. She looked over her shoulder at Raala. Another door needed to be unlocked. The quarian managed to open the doors without any problem. Vicia stepped into a hallway. Her steps echoed throughout the dormant ship. Across the hall was another door but again, it was locked. On the wall beside the door was the sign ‘Crew Quarters’. There were panels and screens dotted around that looked like they did something if the power was enabled.
“Raala, Miru, Consensus,” Vicia turned to the others, “You go see if you can get this place running.”
Consensus nodded, “Affirmative.”
“Let’s go,” Raala headed off into the darkness. She didn’t pay much attention to the others assigned to her team.
Using the light set upon her helmet, Raala walked along the portside hallway. Along the wall were several windows covered in ship panels. The wall surrounding the staircase was a large television screen. It hung on the wall. A dark window to the unknown. At the end of the hall, Raala came across another locked door. The name “Battle Navigation Center” was labeled beside the door.
Raala looked over at Miru. The synthetic stood beside her, head tilted, as she looked at the door.
“Is there anything back there that can help us?” Raala asked.
Miru paused before answering. Her visor glowed orange as she scanned around, “Judging by the concentrations of wires and energy currents, there is something behind this door requiring a substantial amount of power and connecting to several functions of the ship. However, we are looking for where this room normally receives its energy. From the several pipes and wiring we are looking for something located one floor below.”
Consensus sputtered in agreement. It stood in front of another door, its photo-receptor closed and opened periodically. Using its strength, Consensus grabbed the crack between doors and forced them open. The doors slid open revealing a dark elevator shaft.
The geth looked over at Raala before stepping off and dropping into the abyss. There was a loud thud. The two women glanced at each other before Miru followed after the synthetic and jumped after him. Raala walked up to the entrance, crouched down, and dropped down.
She landed on top of the elevator carrier. The overhead panel was opened and she slid down into the elevator. Consensus had pried open the doors already and was wandering through out the room. It started looking at the doors to the cargo area.
Miru walked down the center hall. On either side of her, were two locked rooms. On her left was the Medical Bay and on her left was the Research Lab. Ahead of her was a room labeled as the “Engine Room”. Raala moved briskly to catch up with the Al. Miru turned to the quarian and smiled.
“I believe what we seek is behind this door,” she smiled. Her humanistic features were unnerving.
Instead of answering, Raala pried open a side panel and started messing with some of the wires. The doors cracked open just wide enough for Miru to push open a gap wide enough to walk through.
Inside it was just as dark as the rest of the ship. Directly ahead, Raala approached a massive machine. On top of a metal platform coils encircled a large round orb. In front of the large device was a smaller section. Sticking out of the smaller metal device was four long cylinders. Three of the cylinders were dark while the fourth one lit up, electric lights glowing faintly.
Gripping the handle on top of the cylinder, Raala pushed the working cylinder down into the device and twisted it in place.
The ship groaned awake. The lights flickered on, the bare minimum on such limited power. Raala felt very pleased with herself as essential functions were powering up. Suddenly, alarms blared.
“Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! Unknown Bio-signature’s Detected. Initiating Purge.”
The large coiled device started up while the orb started pulsating. Jumping into action, Raala and Miru darted for separate consoles. Their fingers flew across the holographic screen. Raala shook her head. Most of the words on the screen were garbled. Probably damaged from the impact.
“Raala,” Miru started, “From the surrounding equipment, I have a strong inkling that the device in this room is a condensed fusion plant and drive core.”
“Drive core?” Raala glanced over at her. “What is a drive core doing here?”
“I do not think that is of great importance right now,” Miru typed furiously away. “The fusion plant seems to be over-powering the drive core. At this rate the drive core will need to vent, sending lethal radiation throughout the rest of the ship.”
Raala looked up at the doors, “Can’t we divert the energy and vent in outside the ship?”
“Not possible. The ships virtual intelligence has locked us out of the system,” Miru answered. “We have very limited accessibility.”
“So we can’t close the doors and keep the venting inside this room,” Raala muttered.
“Affirmative,” Miru responded. “All that we have control over are the lights.”
Consensus ran into the room. It stood by the door way looking for a way to assist. However, the women seemed to have the situation handled to the best of their ability. Any other interference would distract them. The large orb’s pulse quickened.
“Core power at 85%,” Miru reported.
Raala’s fingers flew across the screen, “I’ll try to hack in through a back door.”
“There is not enough time,” Miru said as she walked over to an electric consol. It looked like a VI memory bank. She opened a port in the back of her neck, pulling out a kind of chip. Miru inserted it into the system.
“What are you doing?” Raala asked.
“Organic reaction times are much to slow to deal with this kind of attack. I must hack the system myself,” Miru turned to the quarian. “I request that you kindly leave.” Raala shook her head, “I don’t think so! I’m not leaving you alone with the ships VI. And there’s still something I can do to get this thing under control.”
Miru insisted, “Core power at 90%. The drive core will vent. There is nothing we can do now to change that. The radiation will fill this room. I can handle the blast of energy. You on the other hand, cannot; even with your advanced enviro-suit. Core power is at 95%.”
“I am not leaving!” Raala insisted.
Miru glanced over at Consensus and nodded. The geth clicked a few times before turning to Raala. Consensus grabbed her forcefully and carried her toward the door. Raala kicked and shouted against the geth as Miru calmly reported her tasks.
“Regaining minimal access through firewalls 25-49,” she paused, looking at the door as she did so. “Internal venting in process. Closing Engineering doors.”
Just as Consensus exited the room the doors closed behind it. Raala managed to twist herself free. She ran back to the door and banged on the door. When the doors didn’t budge, she turned her attention to Consensus.
“You bosh’tet!” she shouted angrily, “I was this close to shutting down the purge! If you had just let me finish—”
“You would have been killed,” Consensus stated matter-of-factly.
Behind its large figure, Raala saw motion. The elevator doors opened Vicia ran out towards them. Just behind her was Widow. Apparently, Naryxea and Vurtak join them. It didn’t come as so much a surprise knowing what Raala knew of them. The human ran up to the door to engineering. She stopped, placing a hand on the door. Vicia addressed Raala.
“What happened?” she asked.
Raala struggled for words, “We activated the power source and the security measures came online. The drive core was started up and was about to vent into the rest of the ship, killing everyone. That AI was still in there.”
“She managed to contain the radiation, protecting the rest of the ship,” Consensus added.
Vicia turned to the door, “She’s still in there?”
“She was,” Raala nodded. “But there’s no way that she survived the radiation. Its circuits wouldn’t be able to handle it.”
Vicia placed her hands on her head. She swore under her breath. Pacing back and forth she struggled to keep herself under control. After a few moments she quieted herself, regaining an air of authority.
“Once the radiation levels lower we’ll retrieve her body. We’ll inform the Alliance of her sacrifice once we get out of her,” Vicia noticed Raala’s shoulders fall. “Even if she was a synthetic AI, she sacrificed herself for us. I don’t like losing people under my command, organic or synthetic, but we need to keep focused. Widow? Do you understand what I’m saying?”
The human barely moved, only barely glancing over her shoulder. She nodded slightly. Widow stayed still for a few more moments before briskly turning and heading back to the elevator. Before she was half way there, the intercom crackled to life.
At first, the intercom broadcasted static, echoing around the ship like an eerie ghost. Eventually, a garbled message was audible.
“Ra-a-diation levels le-lethal. A-a-activa-ating external venting,” the voice said. There was a long pause as everyone present held their breath. The intercom again cracked to life, “Ve-enting complete. Lifting lockdown. Unlocking engineering room.”
The doors parted open. Miru limped out of the engineering room in a cloud of mist. Her metal frame was significantly corroded. The silver parts of her frame were charred. Sparks flew from her joints. Her movements were stiff and unnatural.
“Miru!?” Vicia stared in disbelief.
Before she could finish talk, the synthetic stumbled and fell to the ground.
Widow rushed to her side, resting the synthetic’s head on her lap. Just then, the lights shut down. Everyone sat in silence. Soon there was the hum of the fusion reactor as it powered up followed by the quiet ‘whoosh’-ing of the drive core. The lights came back on, brighter than they were before. Electronic sounds of devices receiving power could be heard all around them. Miru struggled to speak. When she spoke, her jaw failed to move.
“My apologies,” Miru’s voice echoed, “A hard restart was necessary in order to reset the system.”
Raala looked around, “So the ship won’t try to kill us again?”
“Affirmative,” Miru’s voice acknowledged. “Unfortunately, in order to reverse the termination process, I had to upload root out and delete the previous VI from the system. The process was…problematic. The previous VI made things rather difficult, hence the hard restart. I have partial access to the ships possesses now.”
Raala asked, “What about your body?”
Miru paused before answering, “My physical body had sustained heavy damaged and needs to be repaired. It is important that a replacement VI be created and installed.”
Raala paused, “I think I could throw something together.”
Vicia spoke up, “You said that you have access in the ship’s data. Can you tell me any info about it? How it works or if this thing can even fly?”
“The pieces are in place for a successful flight,” Miru said. “However, the starboard wing is severely damaged. Consensus has stated that it is willing to work on the repairs. The engine and other essential units are in place.
Raala shuffled uncomfortably, I would need to run a more in-depth diagnostic to be sure.”
“Do it!” Vicia stated. She addressed the crew, “Spread out, see what else you can find. It looks like we’ll be staying here for a while.”
Widow picked up Miru’s body and carried her to the Medical Bay. Consensus headed toward the stern to the room labeled Cargo Bay. The others wandered aimlessly around the ship. Raala reentered the Engine room.
She could still feel the residual heat around her. After a quick look around it seemed that the electronics were still intact and working. She stood in front of a large data server and opened it. With a sigh, she accessed her omni-tool. It took her a while to find what she was looking for. When she did, she paused.
The file name was KIDD. It was short for Combat, Intel and Defense Database. She had made it when she was younger and exploring the wonders of engineering and programing. But when she showed her parents, they forced her to delete the program. While she deleted most of it, she had kept its core essence. It had been her first working program after all. As she grew older, she understood her parents fear. She had learned to fear it for reasons of her own. But she still kept it, for sentimental reasons. Whenever she got close to ridding of it, something always stopped her. And now to get the ship in working order, she would need to use it.
She opened an access port to the server, connecting it to her omni-tool and allowing a
temporary link. Moments passed as she uploaded the program. A sick feeling bubbled in her stomach as she waited. When the upload was complete, she frantically stepped back looking around wildly.
“Is everything alright, Creator-Vaal?” Consensus stood in the hallway. Apparently it had finished its inspection of the cargo hold. There was a pause of silence as the geth waited for a response.
Raala nodded, “I’m fine.” She walked out of the Engine room, pushing past the synthetic.
As she passed the Medical Bay, Raala glanced inside. The mangled body of Miru lay on the bed. Her repair matrix was already starting to mend the damage. Widow paced nervously in the room. When the human looked up at the door, Raala continued on.
What had she done?
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