Thunderbird: Chapter Nine

Starting File Sequence…  Birds of Thunder
Loading Digital Data…    Chapter Nine
Initializing Play Back…  The Devourer
Galaxy:   Milky Way Galaxy
Cluster: Far Rim
System:   Ma-at
Location: Ammut
Date:     2186 CE

Ma-atThe Thunderbird dropped out of the jump. The thrusters shut down and they hung suspended in space. After a few moments the thrusters directed the ship toward the only planetary body in the system.

Ammut was an unusual planet. It had a mass 2,900 times that of Earth. Despite the massive pressure its core failed to ignite into a fusion reaction making it a failed star. Because of its intense gravitational pull, it is believed to have captured all other planet-sized bodies in its solar system as moons. The Thunderbird approached Ammut.

Vicia sat at the CIC. She looked over the others in front of her. Kritt sat at his proper place at the helm of the ship. Tasi sat directly at the first console on the left dealing with the visual sensors while AVI sat next to her at barriers. On the right, Yatka was on their weapons systems while Ip sat at the radio station. In the back, Vurtak stood with his arms crossed. His weapon was propped against the wall beside him. Scylla sat cross legged on the floor on the other side of the room.

Vicia turned to Tasi, “You’re sure that we’re undetectable?”

Tasi looked over her shoulder and nodded, “Yeah. The ships heat sinks are very advanced for a ship this size. But I would suggest releasing the heat before long, especially since we’ve been traveling for over twenty-four hours. If we don’t, we’ll be cooked with heat and radiation from the inside out.”

“There!” Ip exclaimed, “I have an electrical reading. One of the planets moons are fake. It’s synthetic.”

A metallic structure orbited the large gas planet. It was an enormous oval shape, strikingly different in appearance from the rest of the orbiting moons. Vicia sat back and sighed.

“That’s an enormous station,” the turian muttered.

Vurtak grunted, “You plan on taking that down.”

“We need information,” Yatka stood up, “Sounds like an infiltration mission.”

“Stand down,” Vicia commanded, “After that stunt you pulled last mission, you aren’t going anywhere.”

Yatka glared at her, “You’re going to bench your best infiltration on an infiltration mission?”

“The last mission was an infiltration mission,” Vicia turned to Ip, “Do we have any scans of the stations layout?”

Ip shook her head, “Any scans we take seem to be blocked. I’m guessing that Cerberus are using geth technology they’ve recovered in this area in order to keep themselves hidden from prying eyes.”

Vicia paused thoughtfully, “All we need is information on Cerberus siege on Omega.”

“That means datamining their computers,” Tasi said. She stood up, hands on her hips, “I guess that means I’m on this mission.”

Ip stood as well, “There’s no way I’m missing out snagging some geth tech. I’m going to!”

Yatka sighed, “Take Scylla with you. If you aren’t going to take me, at least take her. She’s good at what she does.”

Vicia stood, “Alright. This mission is an infiltration mission. We go in, extract information, and get out. We only engage when absolutely necessary. The great thing about the geth is that their structures are windowless. They won’t see us coming as long as we stay undetected.”

“We could kill two birds with one stone,” Kritt said to no one in particular. “I’ll take the Thunderbird, vent n’ discharge the ship and give ‘em somethin’ to keep their attention while you take the shuttle n’ fly under the radar.”

Vurtak grunted, “That’s ain’t such a bad idea.”

“Then let’s do it,” Vicia nodded. She motioned to AVI, “Go down and get the shuttle ready.”

Quietly, AVI stood and bowed slightly before heading aft toward the cargo bay.

Vicia turned to the others, “Tasi, Ip, Scylla, get your gear together and meet me down in the cargo bay in five minutes. The rest of you, don’t blow up the ship.”

“Rodger captain,” Kritt waved dismissively.

Tasi and Ip walked out of the room. Scylla remained sitting on the floor. The doors closed behind them as the two girls walked to the elevator. Together they walked into the armory.

Ip skipped up to one of the lockers. Ten foot-lockers stood in the center of the room. She opened the door and pulled out a heavy pistol. Along with the gun she brought out what looked like two small portable power chargers and attached them to her wrists. As she turned to leave, she pat Tasi on the shoulder and smiled.

“See you on the shuttle!” Ip chimed.

Tasi nodded armed herself with a pistol as well.

“You aren’t going into a geth base with that peashooter, are you?” a deep and gruff voice said behind her. Vurtak stood at the entrance with his arms crossed and his hammer was propped against the wall.

Tasi closed her locker, “I used to have a shotgun but I think I misplaced it along the way.”

Vurtak grunted as he pushed himself off the wall. He walked up to his locker and opened it. He pulled out an old krogan shotgun and tossed it in Tasi’s direction. Tasi caught it and looked up at the krogan.

“That should do,” Vurtak muttered.

“What is—” Tasi started.

He continued, “Keep it. I’ve got plenty. No point in you going into a geth stronghold and hot having protection.”

Tasi looked down at the gun in her hands, “Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it,” Vurtak slowly walked passed her.

Tasi took the gun and attached it to the back of her belt. She headed toward the shuttle. Scylla stood in front of the shuttle entrance. As Tasi walked closer, she heard the lift behind her descend. Vicia strode toward the shuttle. She pat Tasi’s shoulder as she passed and stepped inside.

 Tasi crouched down slightly as she stepped into the shuttle. AVI sat in the pilot seat as she set up for launch.

As the platform rotated the shuttle to face the bay doors, Scylla walked in and closed the shuttle door behind her. The bay doors opened as Vicia reached over AVI and accessed the comms.

“Alright, Kritt,” Vicia said, a smirk on her face, “Do your thing. We’ll send you a signal when we’re ready to be picked up.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Kritt muttered. “Opening hear sinks.”

The shuttle revved and rose slightly off the ground. Tasi and Ip held on to the bars on the ceiling. Vicia stood near the controle panel while Scylla sat cross legged on the floor near the back. The shuttle flew out of the belly of the Thunderbird and into space.

Several geth ships disconnected from the base and started flying toward the Thunderbird. The ship’s thrusters turned on and set the ship on a course toward Ammut. Several geth dropships tuned to follow the Thunderbird, firing several shots at the ship as it flew away. The shuttle was able to sneak by without being noticed.

“Suit up! We’re going outside,” Vicia called.

Fortunately, Tasi always wore her own helmet but the others fitted their helmets on their head. Everyone except Scylla. With her being partly robotic, she could survive much longer in the harshness of space.

Vicia pressed the button on one side of the shuttle and the door opened. The view was facing one of the docking stations of the enormous station. Scylla rose quietly to her feet. Vicia looked at Ip and motioned to the docking station. With a glee in her step, Ip launched herself into space. Her jump jets propelled her toward the station. Vicia was next to follow with Tasi quickly behind her. Scylla brought up the rear. AVI closed the shuttle door behind them.

Tasi let the jets on her back balance her out. She watched Ip get to the closed docking station. The salarian used her abilities to overload the controls and open the doors. Vicia got her feet under her and let her magnet boots connect with the metallic floor. Tasi did the same. Together they waited for the doors to close after Scylla had secured herself as well.

According to the screen in Tasi’s helmet, there was no oxygen in the station and the atmosphere inside was only barely and improvement to the outside. It wasn’t too surprising. From what she knew about the geth, they were entirely synthetic. They had no need for atmosphere or for oxygen.

Vicia made her way a little ahead of the others. The doors opened to a long hallway. Vicia turned to the others and nodded.

“Remember our goal,” she said to them, “We go in, find a terminal, get information, then get out. We only fight when absolutely necessary. Any questions?”

The three other women glanced at each other before nodding. Confidently, Scylla walked passed Ip and Tasi and made her way down the hallway. Tasi smiled from behind her mask and headed into the belly of the station. This was their only chance to get any real info on Cerberus and how they operated. No matter what happened, they could not fail.

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