Thunderbird: Chapter Fifteen

Starting File Sequence…  Thunderbirds
Loading Digital Data…    Chapter Fifteen
Initializing Play Back…  Into the Abyss
Galaxy:   Milky Way Galaxy
Cluster: Terminus Systems
System:   Nemean Abyss
Location: Cartagena Station
Date:     2186 CE

The Thunderbird limped through the most lawless region of the Milky Way Galaxy; the Nemean Abyss. The Abyss was the darkest part of the Galaxy, a region of space furthest away from the jurisdiction of the Citadel Council. Pirates, mercenaries and bounty hunters populated the entire region. It was rather risky to have such a damaged ship in the most ruthless part of the galaxy. The Abyss wasn’t connected to any system or was connected to any Mass Relay. It lay in a dark section of the galaxy only accessed by a ship’s thrusters.

Vicia sat at the captain’s chair as Kritt worked on piloting the ship. He frequently rolled his eyes and glanced over his shoulder as Vicia spoke with Aria whom was still on the Citadel. Tasi sat at the console monitoring for any movement headed toward the ship.

“The Galactic Core?” Aria asked as she lounged on the couch in the VIP section of the club Purgatory.

Vicia nodded, “Yes, apparently Cerberus created the Adjutants to attack Omega in order to keep control of the Omega 4 Relay.”

Aria shook her head, “That damn relay. Its caused me nothing but trouble since Commander Shepard came snooping around.”

Vicia continued, “We’d go and investigate but we need to repair our ship. We encountered one of those Reapers and barely made it out alive. Even if we were able to, it is safe to assume that the Omega 4 Relay requires an Identify Friend / Foe device that we don’t have. Point is, if we take down the Galactic Core base we win back Omega.”

Aria nodded thoughtfully, “So you’ll need a ship from the Galactic Core and get their IFF if you’re going to get through without destroying yourselves.”

“Do you have a plan?” Vicia asked.

“I’ll get back to you,” Aria said dismissively, “It’s become more difficult to scrounge up the resources with this Reaper invasion going on. When I have something concrete, I’ll contact you.”

Before Vicia could say anything more, the asari disconnected their call. Vicia sighed and leaned back into her chair. She brought up a series of reports up about the Reaper invasion. Tasi looked over her shoulder. She watched as Vicia sat quietly, looking at the reports.

“Oi, we’re comin’ up on Cartagena Station,” Kritt reported.

The Thunderbird approached a large rouge rock planet. Orbiting the planet was a circular ring of a station with a large towering structure in the center of the ring and was connected by three bridges. Three smaller towers rose from the outer ring evenly spaced apart. Cartagena Station was the closest to a living civilization within the Abyss.

“Unidentified craft, this is Cartagena Patrol,” a voice called over comms, “Identify yourself.”

“This is Vicia Bellanus, leader of the Thunderbird,” Vicia responded, “Our ship is damaged and needing repairs. We are requesting permission to board onto the station.”

There was a moment of static before Cartagena Patrol got back to them, “Affirmative, Thunderbird. Sending you your flight plath. Follow it exactly, or we’ll shoot you down.”

Kritt chuckled, “That’s the Terminus Systems for ya.”

Following the path, the ship docked into one of the docking bays. The bridge doors opened and the rest of the group wandered onto the bridge. Vicia stood and addressed everyone.

“Alright, we’re here to repair out ship,” Vicia stated.

Consesnsus nodded, “This unit is skilled in repairs and can assist given correct equipment.”

Scylla nodded and Yatka voiced her words, “Scylla want to help it. I’ll stick with her.

Ip raised her hand, “AVI and I have a list of medical and technological supplies that we need to acquire in order to increase and optimize our success against Cerberus. Given your permission of course.”

Vicia nodded, “Sounds good to me. Tasi and I are going to pick up what we need to fix the ship and restock on food and other supplies. We could use your help too Vurtak. Kritt?”

Kritt waved them off, “I’ll stay ‘ere. Gotta make sure these idiots don’t break anythin’ while they’re tryin’ to repair it.”

“Alright, let’s go,” Vicia said as the other broke up to geth their designated tasks done.

Tasi followed Vicia as she walked out of the airlock. Everyone going aboard left their weapons behind. They walked onto the station. Armed guards stood on either side of the airlock entrance. Each guard glared at the newcomers with suspicion. It wasn’t unusual since pirates often attacked and invaded the station. Years of experience had tempered these people to be cautious and suspicious of strangers.

AVI and Ip went their own separate ways. Vicia led Tasi and Vurtak to the local market. Each were given a list of supplies and wandered the market. Tasi looked around. Many different species stood behind their kiosks and assisted customers looking for certain objects.

Tasi finished ordering a crucial part for the ship when she noticed Vurtak wander into an active nightclub called the Fringe. Curious, Tasi followed after him.

The dark pulsing rhythms washed out of the main entrance. Neon lights flickered as Tasi walked in. Species of every kind danced to the music. Tasi spotted Vurtak sitting at the bar. A tall glass of ryncol was set before him. The krogan took a long swig before setting down the glass. Tasi approached and sat down beside the krogan.

Vurtak glanced at her, “You finished with your shopping list.”

Tasi glanced at the bottle, “Drinking again?”

Vurtak shrugged, “You would too if you’ve seen what I’ve seen, kid. All that with the Reaper today on Capek just made me realize somethings. Being over 1000 years old has a way of making you think about how mortal you are. Wanna drink?”

“I—” Tasi started.

“Barkeep,” Vurtak interrupted, “A turian brandy.” He paused and looked over at the quarian, “Add a straw with that for her whole mask deal.”

The bartender nodded as they started preparing the drink. Tasi looked over at Vurtak as he took another sip of the krogan drink.

“You’re 1000 years old?” Tasi asked.

Vurtak chuckled and nodded, “Born during the Krogan Rebellions. I remember glimpses of the Rebellions, the turians unleashing the genophage, the Geth War. I even fought in the First Contact War between the turians and the humans as a mercenary. Been around the galaxy pirating. In as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve seen nothing like this whole Reaper ordeal.”

The bartender placed the brandy in front of Tasi. A straw flew slightly in the kicked-up breeze. Tasi gripped the glass and brought it close to her. She glanced at the krogan before taking a sip from the straw through her facial port. The liquid passed through three filters before taking in the drink. Tasi wasn’t much of a drinker. The brandy tasted like sweet like fresh fruit with subtle citrus notes. She noticed Vurtak staring at her. Tasi turned to him and nodded. Satisfied, he nodded.

Tasi took another sip as Vicia approached. The turian looked slightly annoyed as she leaned on the bar on the other side of Tasi.

“Slacking off?” Vicia question with a smirk.

“We finished ages ago,” Vurtak stated, “We’re taking a break.” Vurtak pointed to one of the monitors. They were quiet as news footages reported that Palaven, the turian home world, was under heavy attack by the Reapers. Vurtak turned to Vicia, “We were just talking about the Reapers. You have anyone on Palaven?”

Vicia was quiet for a moment. She stared at the screen, “No.”

After a few moments, Vicia hailed the bartender.

“Horosk,” Vicia requested. It was a hard turian liquor strong enough to send some drinkers into a coma. When the drink came, she took a long drink downing over half the glass. She motioned for the bartender to get her another glass.

“We still doing this whole Cerberus thing?” Vurtak asked, “Seems like small fries compared to what’s going on now.

Vicia was quiet. After a sip of her drink she spoke, “I don’t know. What else can we do? Fight the Reapers ourselves?”

Vurtak shrugged, “Whatever you choose, I’ll stand beside you. It isn’t like I’ve got some other place to be.”

“What about your clan?” Tasi asked.

Vurtak shook his head, “Clan Jal? There is no Clan Jal. They were killed off a long time ago. If there’s anything that krogan are good at, its fighting. We’ll fight anything, including our own people. Another clan attacked and wiped out my clan. I wasn’t even on the planet at the time, but I can’t help but feel responsible.”

Vicia nodded slowly, “Sometimes you are responsible.”

The three of them sat in silence, drinking their alcoholic beverages. They were all together but alone with their thoughts.

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