Starting File Sequence… Thunderbird
Loading Digital Data… Chapter Four
Initializing Play Back… Thunderbird
Galaxy: Milky Way Galaxy
Cluster: Serpent Nebula
Date: 2186 CE
Tasi walked onto the bridge of the ship. The airlock doors closed behind her. She touched the back of the consoles on Combat Information Center (CIC). Several screens and buttons flashed and beeped waiting for input. Across the airlock was the escape pod door. In the center of the room the empty captain’s chair sat on the raised platform overlooking the rest of the bridge.
The quarian headed aft through the ship. Tasi passed the Medical Bay and Tech lab. Directly ahead of her was a windowed section with two different paths on either side. Tasi leaned against the glass and looked into the ships Drive Core. It pulsed and hummed quietly as the ship was idle.
Tasi looked down the left path. It led to a closed off room she could not access. She shrugged and proceeded to the right path. Inside was the welcomed smell of greenery. The words Life Support lined the wall. A control panel sat between two cabinets filled with dirt and fresh plant life. There was a massive machine that oversaw monitoring and creating oxygen. A small area near the door was a designated relaxation area. The glow of the Drive Core flickered through the window into the room.
Behind her was a lift. When she stood on it, safety bars rose and the lift descended to the lowest floor. Tasi was beside what looked like an armory. She temporarily ignored it and headed out into the cargo bay. The massive door to the ramp Tasi and Vicia had entered earlier was closed. Several large boxes lay scattered around the place, presumably many of the supplies that Aria sent over. A set of ramps rose on either side of the room and met again at the second floor.
Doors opened behind her and Tasi turned to look at the Engine Room. Confidently, she walked in. The drive core’s humming was loud but calming. She continued forward onto a walkway as the floor dropped around her. On either side of the entrance was a control panel. Along the walkway there looked to be several Internal Emission Sink (IES) lined the walls and ceiling. There were more sinks than were necessary for a craft the size of the ship. Emission Sinks were used for stealth, they stored heat so the ship could go undetected on thermo-sensors.
Tasi stopped at a control panel in front of the drive core. She quickly scanned the systems available. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. There was something deep within her quarian core that felt at home. After a few moments she turned around and headed back the way she came.
She climbed the ramp to the second floor. Doors opened into what looked like the living quarters. On the left were four sets of bunk beds. To the right was the mess hall. A little further up was the bathroom. At the end of the room were another set of doors. Tasi strolled in to what looked like the Captain’s Office.
As she looked around, Tasi heard voices behind her. Curious, she walked aft back into the cargo bay area.
A figure stood with her back to Tasi. She wore green and white armor. Her figure hidden behind the cowl of her hood. She looked down at a pink omni-tool and seemed to be distracted.
She spoke quickly to herself, “Well, this ship really is a beauty. The level of all this technology is very interesting. I cannot wait to get a chance to further analyses the intricacies of the technology that runs through every inch of this ship. It is practically—”
“Who are you?” Tasi asked as she walked down the ramp toward the intruder.
The girl looked at her revealing more of her appearance. She was a salarian, her skin pigment was a soft pink in color. Her large green eyes looked at Tasi with awe. The lift descended behind her and AVI stepped off.
“According to my boarding records,” AVI spoke, “Ms. Aewan was in charge of loading the supplies onto the ship.”
The salarian smiled and extended her hand to Tasi, “My apologies, I’m Nasurn Yonis’Vael Aegohr Teks Aewan Ipone. But everyone calls me Ip. It is a pleasure to meet you—”
“Tasi,” she took Ip’s hand, “What are you still doing on this ship?”
Ip looked around, “I’ll admit, I got distracted. The tech on this ship is state of the art! Have you seen the size of that Drive Core? Of course, you have. It is large enough for a ship three times this size. And judging by the stuff I wheeled in here, I’d say you’re more than just merchants.”
“Alright, I think it’s time to leave,” Tasi said as she corralled the salarian toward the lift. As she passed AVI, Tasi stopped, “Where have you been?”
The mech turned slightly to face her, “My apologies, I was temporarily unavailable.”
Tasi shook her head and rolled her eyes from behind her visor. She and the salarian stepped onto the lift and rose to the first floor. As they walked down the hall the bridge doors opened. Yatka wore a black trench coat with red detailing, the hood covered most of his face. He carried his case with his weapons with one hand and had a duffel bag slung over his shoulder. As he made his way aft, Tasi noticed that the bag was covered in pins and sewn patches.
Vicia moved after him, “Where have you been?”
“Out, Military,” Yatka said, giving her no attention.
Vicia shook her head. She reached out and grabbed him by the shoulder. Yatka turned suddenly, glaring a warning at the turian.
“Look,” she continued, “You don’t like me and I don’t like you. But if we’re going to get through this, a little respect both ways is going to be necessary.”
“Respect?” Yatka faced her, “You have my professional courtesy and that’s all you’re getting. I’ll kill for you. I’ll spy for you. I’ll watch you back in battle. I’m not going to hold hands. I’m not going to braid your hair. And we’re not going to be friends. But if you want me to respect you, Military, you’ll have to earn that.” He leaned in, “You can start by not touching me…ever…again.”
He turned and continued passed Tasi and Ip. The drell turned the corner and presumably took the lift down. Vicia shook her head. She eventually noticed Tasi and the salarian.
“Who’s this?” Vicia asked.
Ip extended her hand, “Nasurn Yonis’Vael Aegohr Teks Aewan Ipone. But you can call m—”
“Ip,” Tasi interrupted, “Found her wandering around the ship. I was just about to escort her off.”
Vicia tilted her head toward the door, “I won’t stop you.”
“Wait!” Ip called, “I want in!”
Tasi shook her head, “No, you don’t. We’re going after Cerberus for taking over Omega. They’re going to want to kill us and the chances of success aren’t great.” She looked at Vicia who had leaned back and crossed her arms. Tasi shrugged, “Being direct.”
“Sounds great!” Ip cheered. “Where are we going first?” Vicia and Tasi stared at one another. Ip started her sales pitch, “I mean, this sure the heck beats the socks off delivering supplies. Been looking for a way to get off station. But you’re right, I’m sure one of you know how to isolate radio fluctuations or how to take apart an omni-tool or how analyze, deconstruct, and reassemble technology from all versions of alien tech.”
She stood smiling confidently. Vicia laughed, “Well, we could always use the help. But I you aren’t as good as you say—”
Ip casually saluted, “Oh, I’m better.” She turned and headed into the Tech Research Lab.
Vicia turned and walked up to the bridge, motioning to Tasi to follow her. As Tasi stepped into the room, Vicia walked up the ramp and sat in the captain’s seat. Tasi sat at one of the stations behind the pilot. Kritt pressed several buttons as he prepped for launch.
Tasi looked on her screen. The lock protocol enforced by the Citadel Control turned from red to green. She turned to Vicia, “We’re good go.”
“You ready, Kritt?” Vicia said.
“I’m almost miffed you asked me that,” Kritt muttered as the magnets let go of the ship.
The drive core pulse as it produced enough energy. Thrusters underneath the ship lifted it into the air as it backed out into free space. Kritt turned the ship and headed out through the opened arms of the Citadel. The ship sped out into open space toward another large structure in the cluster.
The Mass Relays were large fifteen-kilometer cold structures in space. Two long curved metal arms surrounded a set of revolving, gyroscopic rings that were five-kilometers across. Within the rings was a bright, blue-glowing core of element zero that made transport in all forms possible. Mass Relays were special. They allowed ships to travel instantaneously to another Relay in the network in comparison to the years and centuries with only Faster-Than-Light travel.
“Where’re we headed?” Kritt asked.
“Like Aria promised Yatka,” Vicia said, “We’re headed to Vard in the Nith System, Krogan DMZ.”
Kritt shook his head, “The Demilitarized Military Zone? Well, itz’all safe to say we’ve all gone’n’lost our friggin’ marbles.”
“Sending weight for transit,” Tasi reported, “Inputting destination Relay.”
The Thunderbird flew close to the Mass Relay as it started to align itself with the corresponding Relay at the end of their travel. Tasi could feel the ship vibrating in tune with the drive core as it pulsed in tune with the Relay. Time and space started to distort, stars looking like lines as they passed over the ship. The Relay opened a mass-free corridor of space-time and threw them across space.
Blue light sped passed and around the ship indicating that they were in the Relay Network. Kritt stretched and reclined.
“Should be about two hours before we get spit out in the Krogan DMZ,” he yawned.
“Thanks, Kritt,” Vicia smiled. She pressed a few buttons and the ships intercom system crackled to life, “Crew of the Thunderbird, this is your captain speaking. A lot of us have our own reasons for taking on this crazy mission. Whatever those reasons are, they don’t matter now. What matters is that we work together. If we’re only in this for ourselves, we’ll all end up dead. Together, we’ll make it out of this and get what we want in the process. So, let’s work together and get this over with. You’ve got two hours to prep. See you all then.”