Thunderbird: Chapter Five


Starting File Sequence…  Thunderbird
Loading Digital Data…    Chapter Five
Initializing Play Back…  Straight of Messina (Part 1)
Galaxy:   Milky Way Galaxy
Cluster: Krogan DMZ
System:   Nith
Location: Vard
Date:     2186 CE
Vicia by Meken Deviant Art

Vicia’s Carapace

The Thunderbird dropped out of FTL travel as it entered in to the Nith system. The Relay had dropped them off in Aralakh system, the home system of the Krogan DMZ, requiring them a little extra travel to the next system. Moments before, Vicia called the rest of the crew to the bridge.

Tasi entered the bridge and saw that everyone else was present. Ip was armed with a pistol on her belt. Yatka on the other hand, was armed to the teeth. A pistol was attached to his belt. The hilt of a sword looked like a six-inch rectangular stick attached to his belt magnetically. He also had two metallic rings on his back. On the inner edge of the circle were padded grips while on the outer circle was the sharp edge of a blade.

As the doors closed her closed, Vicia began the brief, “We’re approaching Vard, third planet in the system. Surrounding Vard is a sizable helium-3 fuel refining infrastructure. Most of them are shut down and abandoned after the solar arrays around the sun were destroyed, but there are known to be squatters occupying several of the stations.”

“What about the coordinates I sent?” Yatka asked.

Vicia nodded, “That one was the easiest to identify; it’s the only one fully operational, skimming the surface of the planet’s atmosphere as we speak. Care to explain why we’re here? What we’re looking for?”

“I’ll know it when I find it,” Yatka stated plainly.

Tasi walked toward the windowed section of the bridge and looked out.

Through the floating mangled pieces of metal was the blue planet of Vard. Barely visible in the distance was the atmosphere scrubber in full operation. It hovered above the planet and pulled the planets gasses into its extended arm.

AVI spoke as she sat at the designated station for visual sensors, “Even though this ship is equipped with an advanced stealth system which temporarily hides our heat signature, we are unable to get much closer. Anyone looking out a window would be able to spot us.”

Images appeared on Vicia’s screen. She examined the pictures and nodded, “That’s fine. We’ll just jump in manually.”

“Manually?” Tasi asked, “If we overshoot that, we’ll end up crushed inside a gas giant. Or crash head first into debris.”

“Oh! Oh!” Ip jumped excitedly, “I think I may be of assistance. Actually, I know I can. In order to ‘pull my weight’, metaphorically speaking, I was at work in designing and creating a jump-jet proportion system for both space and land travel. The key components were to make the system both lightweight and durable. A feat, I might add, that wasn’t as easy as one might thin—”

“See Ip before we head out,” Vicia summarized, “She’s got some great gear for you.”

“Well, isn’t that just bloody fantastic,” Kritt muttered to himself. He turned around and addressed the others, “Our sensors are pickin’ up somethin’.”

AVI leaned forward, “Unknown ship detected. Conducting long range scan…scan complete.

The window darkened and an image came on so everyone could see. A white shuttle with the Cerberus logo flew into Vard airspace. It seemed that the batarians were expecting them because there was no attempt to shoot down the ship. The ship docked into the station presumably with Cerberus agents on board.

Yatka shifted uneasily, “We’re wasting too much time! We’ve got to get on that station!” He looked at Ip, “Come on!” The drell left the room. With an innocent smile, the salarian went after him leaving the others on the bridge.

Vicia sighed and muttered to herself, “I wish I could figure out what goes on in his head.” She looked over at Tasi, speaking louder, “When you’ve visited Ip, meet me in the airlock.”

“See you later, Captain,” Tasi nodded and headed out.

She walked into passed the Tech Research Lab. Ip was installing something onto Yatka’s back. Before long, he was set. Yatka walked out of the room and headed back to the bridge. When she saw Tasi, the salarian broke into a beaming smile.

“Great!” Ip explained, “Please rotate you position 180 degrees.”

Tasi did as she was told. She felt Ip fiddling around the back of her enviro-suit. Tasi looked over her shoulder, “What are you doing exactly?”

Ip laughed, “No need to worry! I’ve worked on delicate environmental suits like yours before. I’ve always loved working on quarian suits. They are beautiful to look at but also magnificent to work on. Your people’s work on technology is both elegant and practical. Anyway, I’m only exposing the three magnetic attachment points for the jet pack. It will use some of your suits energy but only in bursts.” After a little more tinkering, Ip placed the jetpack onto Tasi’s back, “How’s that feel?”

Tasi nodded, “Good. Let’s go.”

The girls walked onto the bridge and headed to the airlock. The others were there. Vicia stood facing them.

She nodded as they entered, “Let’s try to get in and out undetected. I’d prefer not to make too much of a ruckus. Only fight when necessary. Understand?”

Tasi and Ip nodded. Yatka’s eyes were closed. His lips moved slightly in prayer.

“Pullin’ ‘round,” Kritt announced over comms, “Just don’t die on me, arseholes. It’d be a pain in the ass if I had to come and get your bodies.”

Tasi watched as they put on their helmets. Fortunately, she always wore hers. With that, Vicia pressed a button on the inner panel.

“Equalizing interior pressure with exterior atmosphere,” AVI reported over the intercom.

Soon after, the airlock doors opened. Tasi felt the cold harshness of space on her legs even if she was safe in her enviro-suit. The hud on Tasi’s helmet changed, showing her oxygen and energy levels. Her magnet boots, or mag-boots, activated and made walking feel clunky. Looking out, she could see the station in the distance as the Thunderbird flew silently.

Yatka moved first. He ran off the edge of the platform and using his jump jets to propel himself toward the batarian station. Vicia ran after him with Ip right on her heels. Tasi took a deep breath and started to run off the edge.

She felt weightless in the strange silence of space. Tasi heard the jump jets on her back reverberate throughout her suit as they propelled her forward. She sailed under a large mangled piece of metal debris. It felt like an eternity as she headed toward the station.

As they grew closer, Tasi reoriented herself feet first. She slammed into outer surface of the station even as the jump-jets slowed her impact. As soon as her mag-boots connected, she started climbing up the side of the station after the others. Yatka launched himself along the side of the station toward a damaged airlock.

He pried open the doors and slipped inside. Vicia got to the doors and tried to open them. It took several moments before the doors opened again. She motioned for the others inside. Tasi climbed in. The doors closed and the atmosphere stabilized. Yatka was nowhere to be seen.

When the doors opened. They stepped out into the hall. When they stepped out, they were met with a bloody scene. Several batarians lay dead along the hallway. Red blood seeped from a cut in a batarian’s abdomen. Others were dispatched with gunshots while still others were cut and sliced.

“Where is he?” Vicia said.

Shortly after, the station was in high alert. An alarm sounded, echoing throughout the station. Batarians ran around the corner. They stumbled upon the scene and stopped. They glanced at each other momentarily before they opened fire. Ip jumped in front of them. She activated her omni-tool, creating a shield to block the bullets. Vicia ran toward the batarians. She ran along the wall and landed on the other side of Ip’s shield. Her gauntlet claws were extended and she made quick work of the batarians.

Tasi walked over to a consol. She activated her drone and it hovered in front of the console as it accessed the files. Tasi used her omni-tool, she displayed the images for the others.

On one of the cameras, a couple of batarians walked casually down a hallway. The next second, one of them stopped, red blood seeped from a cut in his abdomen. With the attack, Yatka dropped out of his invisibility cloak. The other batarian could barely react as the drell reached at his back and disconnected one of his circular daggers. He threw the dagger at the batarians throat. The dead batarian slid to the ground. Yatka pulled his sword from the first batarian and collapsed the blade leaving the sleek hilt. He then pulled the dagger from the other and he placed it back on his back. The drell looked around quickly as he pressed a button on his omni-tool activating his tactical cloak rendering him practically invisible. Only a slight shimmer indicated where he was headed.

“It looks like he’s heading to one of the holding cells!” Vicia said. She looked over her shoulder. Several batarian slavers ran around the corner. Vicia waved at the other two, “You both get to those holding cells and try to knock some sense into Yatka. I’ll find you in a minute! Το άυλο είναι ασταμάτητο!”

Vicia glowed with biotics before teleporting in front of one of the batarians. She used her biotics to push him back before she turned on the others as her claws sliced through the air.

Tasi and Ip glanced at each other for a moment before running the other way. The alarms blared as the two ran down the long but decrepit hallway. There was a commotion in one of the side hallways up ahead. Tasi quickly looked around before grabbing Ip by the arm and ducking into a side room.

Inside were two batarians. Before they could react, Ip turned both her omni-tool, one on each arm, into two crossbows. Bolts shot out towards the batarians, knocking them back and to the ground. The two women crouched down as several batarians ran down the hall toward where Vicia was fighting. They waited a few more moments before rising from their hiding place.

Tasi looked around the room they were in. It looked like an interrogation room. A krogan was restrained and had several wounds and gashes carving in his face and extremities. He wore ancient looking armor, weathered grey metal with faded red cloth interior. A red krogan handprint decorated his breastplate. His blackened dome glistened in the white medical light. An ancient hammer lay against the wall and looked to be his.

Ip walked over to a control panel and started pressing buttons. The restraints opened and the krogan fell to his knees.

Ip looked at Tasi, “He deserves a chance to get out of this.”

Tasi shrugged, “He isn’t our concern. We have a job to do.”

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