Thunderbird: Chapter Nineteen

Starting File Sequence…  Thunderbirds
Loading Digital Data…    Chapter Nineteen
Initializing Play Back…  Identification Friend and Foe
Galaxy:   Milky Way Galaxy
Cluster: Omega Nebula
System:   Sahrabarik
Location: Omega
Date:     2186 CE

The battle for Omega raged on. Aria’s fleet fought off Cerberus the best it could, managing to deal quite a bit of damage to the fleet without damaging the station itself. With their larger vessel disables, Cerberus was scrambling their forces to make up for their loss in firepower. Before the stations outer defenses kicked in, it looked like Aria’s fleet stood a chance.

The systems Mass Relay pulsed slightly as another ship dropped into the system. Instead of joining the others the blue and gold vessel held back.

In the distance was the Omega 4 Relay. Unlike most relays that had a glowing blue core, the Omega 4 Relay had a red core signifying its difference from all the other relays in the galaxy. Most ships never came back from going through the Omega 4 Relay. It was always assumed that the ships were destroyed without the proper identification.

The Omega 4 Relay began to pulse. A massive ship passed through the relay. The large ship veered toward the station. It looked like that Petrovsky called for assistance in cleaning up the remaining forces of Aria’s fleet.

Upon seeing the ship come through the forbidden relay, the Thunderbird flew turned toward it and proceeded on an intersect trajectory. The cargo bay doors opened. Tasi looked out at the explosions and destruction in the battlefield before her. She took a deep breath and started taking a few steps forward.

“Wait,” Vicia called as she walked up to Tasi. She nodded toward the large ship as they approached, “You know what to do, right?”

Tasi nodded, “Go down, find the Cerberus IFF, and get everyone back to the ship.”

Vicia smiled, “You’ll be fine. I trust you. While you’re down there, you’re in charge. Everyone will be looking for you to lead them.”

“I won’t let you down,” Tasi said.

Ip, Scylla and Vurtak were all dressed in full armor. Vurtak cracked his shoulder, readying himself for the task ahead. He looked down at Scylla. Together with Scylla, they were the muscle while Tasi and Ip were responsible for retrieving the Cerberus IFF. Ip looked down at her omni-tool. She looked a little concerned with whatever she was doing.

“Everyone ready?” Vicia asked.

A few moments later, an alarm went off. The Thunderbird was in the crosshairs of an attack.

“Let’s go!” Tasi called and led the way. She jumped out of the ship.

The boosters on her back activated and propelled her forward. The others followed her and the Thunderbird’s cargo bay doors closed as it pulled away. A laser blast came from the large Cerberus ship narrowly missing its target. Tasi could feel the heat of the beam as it passed them. As smaller targets they were relatively safe in the grand expanse of space, but it was still too close for comfort.

Tasi led the way to the Cerberus ship. The Thunderbird attacked the ship with its own weapons. The attacks barely got though the ships kinetic barrier. Shields, whether on a starship of a soldier’s suit of armor, safely deflect objects traveling at rapid velocities. The rapid speed from laser shots were repelled to the best of the shields abilities while slower objects, such as shuttles and individuals floating through space using jet packs, could pass through with ease.

Tasi flew along the top of the ship before going along the side toward the ships lower port side. When she found what she was looking for, she directed power to her boots and planted herself in place. She looked around, watching the other do the same around her.

The quarian activated her omni-tool and created her drone. The drone hovered at one of the panels. Soon the panel opened exposing the escape pod. After a few more moments, the pod jettisoned into space.

“Go, go!” Tasi ordered.

Scylla was the first through followed by Ip then Vurtak. Tasi brought up the rear as the panel closed. Inside, Tasi hacked the entrance again and the door opened. She stood to one side as Scylla jumped through the opening.

Cerberus agents nearby looked over at the sudden activation of the escape pod. Scylla rolled through, turned to her left and threw several biotic orbs at the Cerberus crew. She turned quickly and slammed both fists onto the floor. A series of biotic explosions traveled like a wave across the floor knocking sever crew members back. Behind her a crew member got up and charged at her. They charged at her but before they could get to close, a hammer appeared and struck them. The biotic impact immediately knocked them out.

Vurtak propped his hammer onto his shoulder as he looked back at Scylla. He smirked while Scylla gave him a nod.

Tasi jumped out of the emptied escape pod chamber followed shortly by Ip. The doors further down the hallway opened, revealing three heavily armed Cerberus agents emerged from the elevator. The one leading them was an elite agent, dressed in black and orange armor, known as the soldier Destroyer.

“Eliminate the intruders,” the Destroyer motioned.

The two alongside charged forward. The Destroyer pulled out his more advanced looking weapon. It fired like an assault rifle but looked slightly different.

Scylla stood in front, creating a barrier with her biotics. Ip stood over her shoulder and activated her omni-tool, pointing her hand at a electrical panel. The panel overloaded, electrocuting one of the soldiers charging them. Vurtak shouted as he charged forward. Both Scylla and Ip dove out of the way.

He slammed his hammer into the second soldier. The bullets from the Destroyer’s gun repelled off his tech armor. Vurtak slammed his hammer onto the floor, biotic power discharged from the impact. The Destroyer rolled to one side.

“Go!” Vurtak called, nodding toward the elevator. He attacked the Destroyer again pushing the man back, “I’ll keep him busy!”

Scylla extended her hand to one of the downed Cerberus agents. Her eyes turned blue and the Cerberus agent slowly got to their feet. Scylla motioned to the elevator and the agent did as they were told. Together they all boarded the elevator.

Tasi stood on one side of the elevator as the doors closed. Ip looked down at her omni-tools, preparing to use them when the doors opened again. Between them Scylla stood with her new-found puppet. Tasi still found in unnerving that Scylla could essentially hack organic matter. Though, thinking about it, it wasn’t too different from Tasi hacking electronics.

“We need to find the ships server room to get the Identification Friend/Foe,” Tasi said.

Sylla nodded. She strained slightly as she exerted her control over her puppet. A few moments later and the agent spoke, “Second floor…starboard quarter…”

The doors opened. Cerberus agents stood before them. Scylla pushed her puppet out at them. The distraction gave her enough time to clap her hands together creating a shockwave of biotic power knocking several agents down. Scylla turned to the girls behind her and motioned for them to go ahead.

Tasi nodded and led the way. Ip followed her as they went around the back of the elevator toward the starboard quarter of the ship. Agents appeared in the halls to stop them. Tasi ducked down, pulling her shotgun up and preparing it to fire. Ip changed her omni-tools into crossbows. Together they fired their weapons quickly dispatching their enemies.

They continued through the ship. Tasi came across the room she was looking for. She couched by the door and started hacking. Ip activated a shield on her right arm while keeping a cross bow on her left. The salarian protected their rear while Tasi worked the lock to get them inside. Ip pressed a button on the side of her helmet. She conducted a tactical scan, a new tech she managed to scrounge up. It allowed her to view her surroundings with several different settings.

“I’m reading several heat signatures converging on our position,” Ip reported.

“I’m in!” Tasi called as the door opened.

They went inside. Ip closed the door behind them and used her omni-tool to weld the door shut. Tasi activated her drone and found a console. She started data mining for the IFF. The ship rumbled, and the sound of gunfire and explosions echoed through the corridors.

Ip finished and nodded, “That should hold them for a while.”

“Attention all Cerberus agents,” a voice said over the ship wide intercom system, “The cargo bay is off limits while the situation is being resolved.”

The ship rumbled again. Several agents banged on the server room door as they tried to enter. Ip stood beside Tasi.

“We don’t have a lot of time,” Ip reported.

Tasi’s fingers flew across the keyboard, “Got it! Let’s go!”

The drone disappeared as Tasi sent the data to the Thunderbird. She walked to the back of the room. On the floor was a panel. She opened it and climbed in. Ip followed behind her and closed the door behind her. They crawled through the ventilation system. The ship rumbled from the attacks both from inside and outside.

Tasi dropped down into what looked like the engineering room. Behind her was the drive core. In front of her were a several engineers. Most of them turned and ran while others drew their weapons. Ip dropped down. Her shield blocked the bullets and used her crossbow to attack. Tasi ran back to the drive core. She set the drive core to overload. When it was set, she took her omni-tooled fist and slammed it through the console. Tasi turned back just at Ip finished with the engineers.

“We need to get off this ship!” Tasi ran with Ip just on her heels.

They ran down a hallway, class windows on their right overlooking the cargo bay. Down below, were Vurtak and Scylla. They fought the soldier Destroyer and the adept Fury. The Fury launched a massive condensed biotic flare. The blast blew back Vurtak and Scylla. The Destroyer took his gun. It opened up. Inside were several HAWK missiles. Destroyer launched them. Several explosions engulfed where Vurtak and Scylla previously stood.

Tasi ran to the elevator and pried open the doors. She jumped down the elevator shaft with Ip close behind her. Together they pried open the doors and ran out into the cargo bay. Soot and smoke swirled around preventing Tasi from getting a good view of the others.

“Watch out!” Ip pushed Tasi to one side.

Destroyer appeared from the dark soot clouds. He threw a metal ball at them. They broke into smaller sections before exploding. Ip’s shield blocked most of the impact but shattered shortly after. Ip flew into Tasi. Destroyer raised his weapon, determined to finish them off when a biotic orb struck him in his side. He was thrown to one side as Scylla appeared in the smog.

Scylla turned and slammed both fists into the ground creating a shockwave that cleared the smog and crashed into Fury. Fury regained her footing and extended her arm. Instead of the usual blue glow associated with the use of biotics, her hand glowed green. Scylla glowed green. She screamed in pain as she was surrounded by a persistent damaging biotic field.

A hammer flew end over end and struck Fury in the chest, knocking her off her feet. Vurtak extended out his arm to one side. His hammer returned to his hand with a satisfying thud. Vurtak gripped the hammer with both hands and swung it behind him. Destroyer was armed with his weapon firing shotgun rounds. The hammer struck him, but he managed to stay on his feet. He raised his weapon again.

Ip aimed her left omni-tool at Destroyer’s weapon and send an overload signal. The weapon shorted out and was temporarily useless as it recalibrated. She quickly turned her omni-tool into a cross bow and fired several bolts. Her right omni-tool was still on cooldown after her shield had broken. Vurtak turned to attack Destroyer now that his weapon was disabled. An orb of dark energy opened just in front of Vurtak. He was drawn into the singularity where he lost his balance and floated in the air.

Scylla got to her feet. She drew her pistol and fired at Fury. The bullets were repelled off of Fury’s biotic shield. Angered, Scylla ran toward Fury. The adept’s entire body glowed with power. She formed a barrier around herself. When Scylla stepped in she was ablaze with blue biotic fire.

Destroyer’s weapon came back online, and he aimed it at Vurtak. Ip charged forward, forming a shield with her working omni-tool. Destroyer noticed her charging at him. He turned his attention to her. The gun unleased a stream of bullets. Ip rammed into Destroyer knocking him off balance. She continued knocking him with her shield as Vurtak waited until the singularity effect wore off.

Scylla fought through the pain of the biotic fire and formed a large orb of biotic energy with both her hands. She threw the orb at Fury breaking her concentration along with the barrier.

The cargo bay doors opened. Alarms blared throughout the ship.

“We need to go now!” Tasi called. She stood behind a console as the others kept the elite fighters distracted.

Tasi jumped over the console and ran toward the opened cargo doors toward space. Scylla created another shockwave, buying herself enough time to get away from Fury. As soon as Vurtak had traction on the ground, he grabbed his hammer and slammed it onto the ground. He motioned for Ip to leave while he dealt with Destroyer. Reluctantly, Ip turned and ran.

Tasi stood just inside the barrier. Scylla jumped through, her boosters activated and zoomed away. Ip managed to get to the barrier and jumped outside. Vurtak was able to get away from Destroyer and started for the exit.

“Go! Go!” Vurtak called as Fury started to form a massive flare of biotic energy.

Tasi shook her head, she couldn’t leave anyone behind.

Vurtak insisted, “I said go!”

Reluctantly, she did. She boosted away from the large Cerberus ship. The biotic flare exploded behind her. As she boosted away, she turned back to see if Vurtak made it. All she could see was the intense light of the biotic flare attack. Muzzle flares indicated that Destroyer was firing at the battle hardened krogan. She started to assume the worst when Vurtak jumped through the exit.

Together the four of them flew through the space battle. The Thunderbird flew in close with its port side facing the four infiltrators. It fired off several flairs drawing the false attention of any heat syncing attacks. The airlock doors opened, and they entered one at a time. Once all four were in the airlock hall, the door closed and Tasi could feel the ship turning away from the battle.

“Standby shore party. Equalizing exterior pressure with interior atmosphere,” AVI’s voice sounded over the airlocks intercom. Moments later, the doors opened and everyone made their way onto the bridge. Vicia nodded at them as she sat at her control panel.

Tasi looked out the window. Large explosions rippled through the Cerberus ship that they were just on. It was followed by a massive explosion that tore the whole ship in half. Kritt piloted away from the ship. The Thunderbird rumbled as the shockwave struck the port side of the ship.

“The IFF has been received and loaded into the system,” Vicia updated everyone, “Kritt, head for the Omega 4 Relay.”

“Don’t need to tell me twice,” Kritt said as he piloted toward the relay.

Tasi ran to the back of the ship and headed toward the engineering room. As Kritt drew closer to the relay. The drive core activated. It’s energy output was nearly twice as much as usual for other relays in the system. The pulses it gave off were frantic and slightly irregular. Tasi darted from one console to another to stabilize the system.

The Thunderbird flew alongside the red pulsing relay. Moments later the Relay opened a mass free pathway and sent them toward the galactic core.

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