Thunderbird: Chapter Seventeen

Starting File Sequence…  Thunderbird
Loading Digital Data…    Chapter Seventeen
Initializing Play Back…  Barefaced
Galaxy:   Milky Way Galaxy
Cluster: Terminus Systems
System:   Nemean Abyss
Location: Cartagena Station
Date:     2186 CE

Tasi groggily opened her eyes. Immediately, she regretted it. Her head pounded like a krogan with a Warhammer. The artificial lighting burned her eyes. This was the very reason she didn’t drink often. Most of the time, the pain the morning after didn’t feel worth it.

Slowly, she sat up. Just the motion made her feel nauseous. Looking around, everyone else was up and about already. Presumably, they were all doing what they could repair the ship. Tasi got up and made her way toward the galley but stopped. She noticed that the light to the Captains office was on.

Tasi walked up the door and knocked.

“Come in,” Vicia sounded strange.

Tasi entered. Vicia sat on the chair behind the holo-screen. She brushed away what she was looking at as Tasi walked in. Tasi noticed that the screen had displayed news footage about the Reaper invasion on Palaven. Looking closely at Vicia, Tasi noticed the moist trails on the turians cheeks.

Vicia cleared her throat, “Is everything alright? Whatever Kritt did, I’ll deal with it later.”

“Is everything alright?” Tasi asked.

Vicia nodded, “Of course. I just got a message from Aria. Apparently, she’s finished with her preparations and is asking when we will be ready to join up with her to take Omega. Well, she’ll be taking back Omega. Our job is to make sure to shut down their Galactic Base Cerberus thinks about attacking Omega in the future.”

“Don’t we need the IFF that they are using in order to get through the Omega 4 Relay?” Tasi asked.

Vicia nodded, “Aria says she’s got that covered. When she attacks, she says that they’ll send reinforcements through the relay. I was thinking that we could board one of the ships that get through with a small group, grab the IFF, and get back to the Thunderbird.”

Tasi noticed Vicia trailing off near the end, “But what’s the matter?”

Vicia closed her eyes and took a deep breath, “There’s no guarantee that we’ll make it through this. Through this mission, through this war with the Reapers. I don’t know if I can do this. Leading people into battle. Not when I got my last kabalim killed.”

“You’re last what?” Tasi asked.

“Kabalim. Team,” Vicia explained.

Tasi sat on one of the chairs in the room, “What happened?”

Vicia smiled, “What didn’t happen? Where to start? I was born biotic which is uncommon for turians. Unfortunately, biotics are not fully trusted by the common soldier and in turian society means everyone. Terrified by my abilities, my parents put me up for adoption. The military took me in. Because I didn’t know my home colony, I couldn’t get the face tattoos that turians are known for. So not only was I a biotic but I was also known as a bareface.”

“I take it that that’s an insult?” Tasi asked.

Vicia nodded, “The term is used for someone who cannot be trusted. If it helps, it’s also a slang term for politicians.” The turian ended the statement with a smirk.

“That’s pretty bad,” Tasi acknowledged.

“That being said, I made my way up the ranks. It was a long and slow process. Its difficult when no one trusts the way you look,” Vicia continued, “Soon they assigned me to the Cabals. Yet another thing turians don’t fully trust. During the Unification Wars, the reuniting of the turian colonies with the Hierarchy, military black ops would use turian biotics as infiltrators, observers, and sometimes even as assassins. I didn’t mind to much. We had each other. My team trusted me.”

Tasi leaned in, “For what it’s worth, I trust you. I also think it’s safe to say that the others do to.”

Vicia shook her head, “Well, you shouldn’t. We were sent on a routine mission. It was supposed to be simple. Get in, get intel, get out. But it didn’t turn out that way. My team trusted me to keep them safe and I failed them. We were attacked. Everyone else on my team was killed. Because of my incompetence the Hierarchy sentenced me to hard labor and stripped me from my rank. After my sentence, no one would touch me. I was the biotic barefaced ex-Cabal. So, I left.”

“It wasn’t your fault,” Tasi said, “Unfortunately, bad things happen that you have no control over. This crew is the closest I’ve have had to a family in a long while and I’m sure the other feel the same way. I’ve met so many different types of people because you took the time to rescue me on Omega. I never thought that in my entire life I would be fighting next to a geth.”

Vicia smiled slightly, “Το άυλο είναι ασταμάτητο.”

“I’ve heard you say that phrase a lot during battle. It doesn’t sou” Tasi observed, “What does that phrase mean?”

Vicia paused, “It’s the mantra of the Cabals: The intangible is unstoppable. It is meant to be applied to many aspects of life. Like your trust. It is intangible therefore it is unstoppable.”

Before she could say anything more, the intercom came on.

“I would like to report that the ships repairs are completed,” AVI reported.

“Good,” Vicia stood, “Have everyone meet on the bridge.”

“It is done,” AVI stated.

Together, Vicia and Tasi walked out of the office and made their way up to the bridge. The others were already present. Kritt fell into his seat at the head of the bow while AVI stood nearby. Consensus and Vurtak stood closest to the door in the back of the room. Scylla and Yatka stood close to Consensus. The geth and the modified human communicated quietly with each other while Yatka didn’t seem to be interested in what they were talking about without him. Ip stood at one of the consoles as she seemed to be running a diagnostic on the repairs they had just installed.

Vicia stepped up onto the captain’s platform. She addressed the group, “Great job with repairs. Thanks for pulling and all-nighter. Aria is ready for us. She is ready to take back Omega. Our role in this is to obtain a Cerberus IFF and to shut down the Cerberus galactic base, releasing Cerberus’ grip on this sector. I’m not going to lie to you. This is going to be a dangerous mission. I can’t guarantee that I can get us out of this whole thing alive. I understand if anyone wants out. With everything going on, no one would blame you.”

Vurtak shrugged, “I don’t have anywhere else to be.”

Tasi nodded, “Unless, you know anyone who’s faster at hacking than me, I’ll be sticking around.”

Kritt looked up at AVI, “Well, you’re stuck wid us whether you like it or not. The Thunderbird practically dances at my fingertips.”

Scylla looked up at Consensus. The two spoke to each other. Consensus made sputtering noises as it sent its communication through computer code while Scylla signed in returned. The two of them seemed to come to an agreement. Scylla looked up at Yatka as if asking for a final approval.

Yatka stood with his arms crossed as he leaned against the wall. He looked down Scylla, “Is this what you want?”

Skylla signed a series of hand gestures. Yatka nodded slowly before answering.

Yatka turned to Vicia, “Looks like you’ve grown on her. That makes you tolerable in my book.”

Vicia smiled slightly, “Just remember who’s in charge this time.” She addressed the group, “I appreciate everyone’s confidence. I will do my best to get everyone home in one piece. In order to do that, I need everyone’s help. Ip, I want you to put together whatever tech you can muster. Vurtak, Consensus, you both know a bit about weapons. I want you to work on weapon mods for the whole crew. Tasi take AVI and make sure that the Thunderbird is in peak condition. Yatka and Scylla, run repairs and diagnostic on the shuttle. We’re going to need it in the coming battle.”

“Oi! What ‘bout me?!” Kritt leaned back and crossed his arms.

Vicia looked over her shoulder, “Just pilot the ship better than anyone else alive.”

AVI took a step forward, “And what are you going to be doing?”

“Me?” Vicia took a deep breath, “I’ve got a chat with Aria T’Loak.

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