Thunderbird: Chapter Twenty-Three

Starting File Sequence…  Thunderbird
Loading Digital Data…    Chapter Twenty-Three
Initializing Play Back…  Project Phoenix
Galaxy:   Milky Way Galaxy
Cluster: Galactic Core
System:   Tartarus Debris Field
Location: Avernus Station
Date:     2186 CE

Tasi, Ip and Virtak ran toward the sound of gunfire. Soon they came to the center of the station. They ran into a room that opened up, connecting different parts of the station to one another. Tasi stood at the upper level and looked down over the balcony. Below Vicia fought against a Cerberus Agent.

He had whips extending from the gauntlets from his arms that he used to attack from a distance. His speed was unlike anything Tasi had seen. Even Vicia struggled to keep up with him. He activated his tech armor as well. It was slightly different. It was red with sharpened shoulder pads.

On the other side, Yatka fought with Slayer. The Agent fought with two swords while Yatka only had one and a dagger. The drell managed to evade and parry but was barely able to keep up with the just as nimble Cerberus Agent.

Consensus’ turrets flew around, providing cover fire when it could. It fired its spitfire while Scylla ran around it and ducked behind cover. She threw and orb at Phoenix. He barely noticed it.

Phoenix, the Agent with biotic lashes, grabbed ahold of Vicia’s leg and threw her across the room. Vicia cried out in pain as she crashed into the wall. Unable to move, Vicia couldn’t get to her feet. Phoenix used his whips and charged them with more biotic power. He attempted to bring the whip tips onto Vicia while she was disabled.

Ip launched into action. She jumped down from the second-floor balcony and landed in front of Vicia. She activated her shield. The whips struck the shield. The impact caused a major blast. Ip’s shield disintegrated. The blast pushed her back into Vicia. Vurtak raised his hammer above his head as he descended from the balcony. In retaliation, Vurtak slammed his hammer on top of Phoenix.

As the smoke cleared, a figure rushed the krogan. Phoenix’s jump jet activated, and he propelled himself forward. He struck the krogan in the face. Vurtak staggered back. It was the first time Tasi had seen the massive krogan retreat from an enemy for any reason. Even if Phoenix had dodged the brunt of the attack, Phoenix took a few steps back and knelt on one knee. A domed barrier surrounded him. Damages to his armor and person started to heal and repair themselves.

“No!” Vicia shouted. She pushed Ip off of her and charged for the barrier, “Not again! Don’t let him heal himself!”

Tasi joined the fight. She rolled to her knees as she activated her drone. The drone launched rockets, weakening the shield as quickly as it could. Consensus turned his fire to Phoenix and his shield. Both turrets even focused their fire on breathing through. Moments later, Phoenix stood, and the shield shattered creating a shockwave that threw everyone off balance.

Phoenix stood, reactivating his biotic whips. Vicia scrambled to her feet, claws extended, and breathing heavily from exhaustion. Vurtak shook his head, trying to clear the fog from the coming battle. Ip leaned against the wall, gritting in pain. She gripped her left arm, the arm she often used for her shield. Tasi looked over at Vicia and nodded, signaling she was ready to fight alongside her.

Phoenix hooked Tasi’s leg and swung her around into Vurtak. The krogan caught her and tossed her to one side. Tasi recovered, drew her shotgun and fired. It struck Phoenix, but he barely seemed to notice it.

Vicia charged at him, her claws slicing at Phoenix. Vurtak grabbed his hammer and brought it down on their enemy. Consensus’ turrets fired upon the Agent. But Phoenix was unnaturally quick. He dodged Vicia’s attack, only getting cut once or twice. At the same time, he avoided Vurtak’s hammer and lashed the krogan, knocking him off his balance. Phoenix turned and lashed ahold of Consensus’ turret and smashed it into the ground.

With him distracted, Tasi fired a shotgun blast. Phoenix was thrown off balance while Vicia teleported forward and smashed into him. The power behind her biotic punch threw Phoenix back. The Cerberus Agent was thrown to the ground. Vicia attempted to stab at Phoenix with her claws. He cackled as he used his biotics to push her back.

Vicia was thrown back while Vurtak came up and attempted to land his hammer onto the Agent. Phoenix rolled out of the way as the hammer’s head slammed down. The Agent ran up the hammers hilt and kicked the krogan with a biotic kick. Vurtak loosened his grip from his hammer. Phoenix grabbed the hammer with both hands and used his weight to swing the hammer around. The hammer knocked Vurtak back.

From the back, Ip fired several crossbow bolts at Phoenix. She kept her injured arm close to her chest and fired with her working arm. Tasi’s drone and Consensus’ turret continued to provide cover fire. Phoenix was just too fast and too strong. And as he took damage, he formed a barrier around himself, knelt down and resumed to heal himself.

“Focus fire!” Vicia shouted.

The others put together their efforts to take down Phoenix’s shield.

Yatka ran up a wall as Slayer slashed the air where he used to be. The drell landed behind Slayer and attacked with his own sword. Slayer blocked with his second sword and attacked again with his first, knocking Yatka’s sword out of his hand. Yatka crouched as a sword sailed above his head. He reached for his second dagger.

Now armed with two daggers, Yatka found himself at a disadvantage against both of Slayer’s long swords.

Yatka threw one of his daggers at Slayer’s chest. The blade cut deep lodging itself in Slayer’s chest. Yatka kicked him in the chest before lunging forward, grabbed the dagger, then spun around and cut him across the abdomen.

Slayer grunted slightly. He slashed the air in front of him with his sword. The biotic slash knocked Yatka off his feet. Before Slayer could go in for another attack, Scylla ran in. She kicked at him, her foot glowing with biotics. He dodged and swiped at her with his sword. Scylla flipped backward, just behind Yatka and threw orb after orb at the elite Agent. Slayer stuck his sword into the floor and held out his hand. He shot down the orbs and parried with his sword. While he focused on surviving, Scylla pulled a pistol from her belt and shoot him in the shoulder.

Yatka quickly got to his feet. He had to quickly dodge as Slayer brought down his blade onto Yatka. Slayer unleased a furry of attacks with his sword. Yatka managed to duck, dodge and parry to save his life. With one parry, Yatka used his dagger to push Slayer’s sword to the side. Yatka used his second dagger and pivoted, going in and slicing Slayer’s neck.

Slayer fell to his knees, dropping his swords. His palms started to glow in one last attempt to take down his opponent. Yatka moved around behind him and forced Slayer’s hand to face Phoenix’s barrier. The device in Slayer’s arm went off. The beam sliced through Phoenix’s shield, shattering it to pieces. When the beam died down, Yatka stood, drew a gun from his belt. With a single bullet, Yatka killed Slayer. Yatka picked up one of Slayer’s sword and threw it into the center of the room.

The sword pierced through Phoenix, the blade end going through his body and lodging into the floor beneath him.

For a moment, no one moved. No one breathed. Then Phoenix did. He made a kind of choking sound which led into laughter. Vicia extended her blades, signaling everyone to prepare for a fight.

“That…that was good,” Phoenix chuckled. His blood ran down the length of the sword and pooled on the floor, “I guess even those in the Project can’t stand up to you Thunderbirds.”

“You bet,” Vicia breathed heavily.

Ip ran up in the middle of the group, “We have to go! The explosives are about to be set off! We have to get out of the blast range!”

Phoenix laughed, “Leaving so soon, turian? I’d hate to see you leave. What would your old team say when they found out you didn’t finish off the one responsible for their deaths.”

Vicia clenched her fists, “It was you? You killed my team!?”

“You got in the way of Cerberus business,” Phoenix coughed. “It wasn’t anything personal. Just following orders.”

Vicia took a step forward. Yatka stepped in front of her, placing a hand on her shoulder. He looked in her eyes and spoke, “Leave him. If you stay, you won’t make it off this station. He’ll take you down with him.”

Tasi walked up to her, “We need our leader.”

Vicia took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She nodded, “Let’s get off this station!”

Together as a group they left Phoenix to his fate. Vicia glanced over her shoulder before running after the others. Phoenix’s laughter echoed after them. They got to the airlock that Vicia and the others used earlier and headed out into space.

Consensus held on to Ip as it boosted through space since the tiny salarian was injured. Tasi was one of the last to launch off. The station shook violently as their planted explosives rocked throughout the station triggering several chain reactions that resulted in more explosions. Vicia was the last off the station.

The Thunderbird flew by in order to pick them up. Avernus Station continued to explode. Pieces of the station were thrown in all directions. The Thunderbird turned and headed toward the mass relay to get back to the Sahrabarik system, back to Omega. The blast from the station continued to grow, growing bigger until it was just on the Thunderbird’s tail.

As Kritt approached the mass relay, he sent the necessary destination and mass of their vessel. Large debris of rock and metal struck the massive space structure throwing it slightly off balance. The surrounding debris field was surrounded by blackholes and the fluctuating gravity of several dense stars. The mass relay drifted slightly just out of alignment to get caught in the gravity of a white dwarf. The relay struggled to keep itself together. Explosions rippled through the relay, destabilizing its glowing element zero core pulsed irregularly.

“Things don’t look good!” Kritt reported as he flew alongside the relay.

“Well, we can’t stay still,” Vicia said with a smile, “Get us out of here!”

Kritt nodded and held the controls. As he flew the Thunderbird, the relay continued to be torn apart. Alarms within the Thunderbird continued to go off. Vicia sent the information to the relay and it received the data. The relay corridor flickered before them, opening and closing but never staying open long enough to jump.

“We’re running out of runway,” Tasi said.

Kritt rose his voice, “Come on you worthless hunk of junk!!”

The corridor opened fully allowing the Thunderbird through into the corridor moments before the entire relay was engulfed in flames.

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