Starting File Sequence… Birds of Thunder
Loading Digital Data… Chapter Ten
Initializing Play Back… The Engineer
Galaxy: Milky Way Galaxy
Cluster: Far Rim
Date: 2186 CE
Vicia led the way from the narrow hallway into a large arching hall. The room was large and circular and lie in the intersection of four large hallways that seemed to be the main veins in the station. She hid behind a support structure and peered around the corner. The others followed close behind her. Tasi poked out slightly to get a better view.
Each of the larger halls had two stories. On the lower level, the halls were lined with glass containment units. Each unit contained a different geth. They looked to be deactivated as they hung limp in their tight spaces, cords and electronics were hooked up to each of them. Several humans, dressed in Cerberus colored space suits walked around confidently among the seemingly deactivated geth. Scientists stood around taking notes and conducting experiments.
In the center of the room was a platform. On the platform was a kind of medical table. A geth prime, black and red in design, lay on the table, cords leading out of its body connected to an enormous circular structure that hung high above the platform. None of the scientists made their way onto the platform.
A couple of scientist walked toward Vicia and the group. Vicia motioned to the others to hide. Quickly, they hid in the shadows of the hallway entrance and stayed very still.
“How is the project going?” once scientist told the other.
The second scientist nodded, “I overheard the engineer talking to the Illusive Man. It seems that we are still right on schedule.”
The scientists walked away without noticing. Vicia sighed.
“We’ve got to find a console,” Vicia said. She looked at Tasi, “I guess we need to look to our resident hacker.”
All eyes fell on her. Tasi thought for a few moments before voicing her opinions, “I don’t think any of these consoles here would have the information that we are looking for. But this engineer sounds interesting. If they really have a direct contact with the head of Cerberus, the Illusive Man, I think their console will have what we are looking for.”
Ip nodded, “So we find out where the office of this engineer is located. Sounds—”
An electrical guttural sound emanated throughout the room, echoing off all the walls. The geth on the center platform moved suddenly, twitching and seizing similar to an organic subjected to electrical shocks. Lights lit up on the structure it was connected to. Scientists looked on as the geth seemed to struggle against its restraints.
Scylla fell to one knee. She grasped her head and whimpered quietly to herself. It looked as if she were in pain. Ip rushed to her side in order to help but was pushed away violently by Scylla. The salarian struck the opposite wall. The noise attracted some scientists nearby. Before they could investigate the noise, doors opened on the far side of the room that caught their attention.
A woman walked confidently into the room. Unlike the others, her armor was black with orange highlights. She strode up to the struggling geth. Tasi recognized her from their brief encounter on their escape from Omega.
“Can someone tell me why this geth has not succumbed to the assimilation process!” she called from the platform. Her voice crackled with an electronic tone, “If this geth doesn’t quiet down, I will eject all of you into space and have the Illusive Man send me smarter scientists.”
The Engineer stood in front of a console and started typing feverishly. Several intense shocks of electricity wracked through the geth prime causing the guttural electronic noises to increase. This only caused Scylla to be in more pain as well.
“What is wrong with her?” Vicia asked.
Ip went over to Scylla. Ip shook her head, “I don’t know. I presume it has something to do with that device interfering with Scylla’s mental mainframe as a result of the experiments done to her. There’s no way of moving her in this state. You should go on ahead. We’ll stay here and wait for your return.”
Vicia sighed as she thought to herself. After a moment, she nodded. She looked at Tasi, “Let’s go. We’ll find the console then come back for them. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can get out of here.”
Together Vicia and Tasi darted across the hall to a set of stairs. They made their way onto the second floor and ran away from the shrieking geth. The doors closed behind them muffling the geth cries.
Tasi looked around and tried to figure out their basic location. It seemed that they were on the outer edge. She turned to Vicia.
“Where do you think the Engineer’s office is?” Tasi asked.
Vicia shrugged, “No idea.” She smiled slightly, “I think we’ll be fine. Follow me!”
Tasi followed behind Vicia. The halls were nearly deserted. They passed by several dormant geth. Unlike the ones in the center chamber, these geth stood on their own at different intervals. They seemed to be in standby mode, not registering any external input. There were more inactive geth than there were scientists. It was safe to assume that the geth were under Cerberus’s control.
Tasi found a hall that led up to another floor. From what she knew of the layout below, the room was above large central room below. They reached a door. It was locked by a panel.
Vicia motioned for Tasi to hack their way through while she kept watch. Tasi activated her onmi-tool and sent out her drone. It took a few moments but the doors opened. Quickly, the two women went inside.
The office was rather plain. There was a desk and a few book shelves full of books and unfinished bits of tech. Tasi went around the desk and sat at the computer. Her drone hovered just over her shoulder while Vicia stood near the entrance. Tasi typed on her omni-tool as her drone hacked into the computer to start its data mine.
Vicia looked at Tasi, “So how did you end up on Omega?”
Tasi glanced at the turian, “What?”
“When we first met,” Vicia explained further, “How did a quarian end up on Omega? No offence, it’s really the last place you’d find a quarian on their pilgrimage.”
Tasi paused. She took a deep breath before speaking, “No offence taken. I…I’m not on my pilgrimage.”
“Decided not to go back?” Vicia asked.
Tasi shook her head, “No, I’ve never been part of the Migrant Fleet to begin with. I grew up in a quarian colony on a remote planet. My father left the Fleet after what happened to my mother. There was an incident with a batarian pirate gang jeopardizing the Fleets security. Apparently, she gave sensitive defense schematics to some batarians who were contracted to upgrade the Fleets defense systems. But they betrayed her trust and gave the info to the pirates. To correct the mistake, she destroyed the pirate gang in a suicide attack. Only then was she pardoned for her crime. But by then, no one looked at our family the same. So my father took me and left. For a few years, everything was fine. We lived with a few other quarians until we got attacked. I was eleven when my father died. I barely got off the planet in once piece.”
Vicia looked down, “Sorry to hear that.”
Tasi shrugged, “It’s all right. I’ve been on my own ever since. I’ve learned how to look after myself. That’s why I was on Omega. I needed to get money I was going to steal from the criminal life including, actually, from Aria T’Loak before she recruited us. After I had enough, I had plans to get a ship and roam the galaxy.”
“We all do what we need to do to survive,” Vicia nodded. She paused.
Tasi looked at the turian. Vicia seemed lost in thought. Tasi was about to inquire when her drone beeped gleefully as it finished its data mine. The noise caught Vicia’s attention. She opened the door and nodded at Tasi that the area was clear. Tasi made sure that the data from her drone was downloaded on her omni-tool before it disappeared and Tasi stood. Together they headed to the hall.
Vicia looked around, “Hey, does something feel different?”
Tasi looked around. The halls were empty. The geth were missing.
“Come on!” Vicia started back the way they came, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
They made their way through the doors in the main hall. Tasi crouched as she followed Vicia as the crept along the second floor toward the center of the room. The Engineer’s voice echoed throughout the hall. When they reached the railing, both Tasi and Vicia looked over the edge.
“No, no, no, no, no,” Vicia muttered to herself. She shook her head in a kind of panic, “Not again. No, not again.”
In the center of the room, the Engineer stood on the platform. The geth on the table lay still but beside it was Scylla. The human was held in place by two smaller geth shock troopers. On the other side of the platform, Ip struggled against the two geth that held her. standing near her was the Vanguard. He clasped his hands behind his back and stood silently. Around the platform were hundreds of geth under the Engineers control. The scientists all stood still and watched.
Vicia swore to herself as she looked down at the scene below.
“Well, now,” the Engineer said as she paced back and forth on the platform. She eyed Scylla. Her voice hummed with electronic tones, “Aren’t you a precious gem. One of Dr. Archer’s little pets for that Overlord project, huh? I have had more success controlling the geth than that old geezer ever did. But I will have a lot of fun taking you apart and figuring out what he put inside you.”
Ip tried getting out of her restraints but was stilled by the Vanguard as he placed a blade to the oxygen tube of her suit.
The Engineer moved a computer on the platform. She typed on the screen and the geth on the table let out on an electronic scream.
Scylla screamed as if it was her being connected up to the to the contraption herself. She squirmed and tried to wriggle out of the grasp of the geth. Her screams and screeches wracked throughout her body.
The Engineer stopped the experiment. The geth on the table stopped moving. Scylla collapsed into an exhausted leap, her arms lying limp in the geth troopers’ hands. The Engineer looked over at Scylla.
“Interesting,” the Engineer stepped close and leaned in. She reached out an inquisitive hand, “Are you connected to their neural network? Now I really have to figure out what is in your head now.”
In front of her, between Scylla and the Engineer, the air shimmered. The Engineer jumped back and narrowly dodged a blade as it sliced through the air in front of her. Yatka dropped out of his cloak and with a pivot, drew one of his daggers and threw it at the Engineer.
The Engineer moved flawlessly to one side, sending the dagger toward the Vanguard. The Vanguard threw out his hand, firing a high-powered beam of biotic energy knocking the dagger out of the air. The Engineer clutched her fist, her omni-tool formed around her arm and she threw a punch at Yatka. Upon impact, the omni-tool exploded throwing Yatka back and onto the floor. Nearby, several geth approached him.
“Το άυλο είναι ασταμάτητο!” Vicia shouted as she launched herself over the edge.