Saturday, 28 December 2013

Captive - Part 2

Mia grabbed his wrist and twisted it, forcing his arm behind her back. She pushed him against the wall, and heard a cracking noise from his bony Turian head. There was a howl of pain, but she ignored it, grabbing her shotgun's handle and pulling it away from his armour. It folded to its full length in her hands.
"You need a refund," she said, and shot him in the head.
She took his security card from his belt and applied it to the door's locking mechanism. The door hissed open and slid to the side.
Mia stepped out into the corridor, holding her shotgun effortlessly in her hands.
She shot a guard, the rounds tearing through his shields and peppering his chest full of holes. There was a splash of blood and he fell to the floor.
She stole his shield generator and fastened it to her environment suit. Mia also took some thermal clips so she was able to reload her shotgun, a vicious looking serrated knife and the guard's Omni-tool.
She had all equipment apart from her suit permanently taken away from her on the first day, so having them back was a relief. She was armed now. And she was dangerous. She'd either escape from the base or die trying.
Mia ran the length of a corridor and navigated her way towards the security room. She'd have to deactivate all the security before she escaped; the alarm could go off at any moment, and she wasn't going to take any chances.
She flattened herself against a wall, after hearing the sound of two people talking.
"Hey Travis, there's a shipment of red sand coming in today. We can get high off our heads and have some fun in the process! What do you think?"
"Sounds good, mate. Sounds good. I just have to go and check on the security of Block B. I'll be back in a moment."
There was the sound of footsteps moving towards her, before a guard wearing armour came into view. His eyes widened beneath his open-face helmet upon seeing her with Nar'Mia, but he didn't have time to signal his friend. She jabbed the knife into his jugular. He made a gurgling noise and she lowered him to the floor, pulling the knife out of his neck. There was a wet noise and her blade came out stained crimson. A pool of blood began forming around the guard's body, as she moved around the corner and towards the second.
She returned the knife to her belt as she walked up to the remaining guard with her shotgun hidden behind her back.
"Hey, Mia," said the guard, "What is he having you do now, you stupid bitch?"
She swallowed, as if she was nervous, "He's wanting me to go to the security control room. He has something he wants me to pick up."
The guard stepped out of her way and tapped on the security panel, opening the door in front of her. It unlocked by twisting in a large circle and hissing open. She took a step towards the door.
"Mia," said the guard, "Wait."
This time she did actually swallow. The guard had a Harrier rifle, which was the most popular gun used by Cerberus soldiers. It was an automatic variant on the Mattock, and did more damage round for round. She'd be dead before she could even turn, if the guard realised she had her shotgun on her. She couldn't shoot him, either. By the time she had pulled her shotgun so it was in front of her, he'd have been able to fire an entire magazine.
The guard moved so he was stood directly in front of her. She looked down at the ground.
He placed his hands on her hips and began checking the pockets of her suit for suspicious objects, she guessed, though his hands were in the wrong place.
"My pockets are around my stomach," she told him, "But don't worry, I'm not carrying anything."
She attached her shotgun to the back of her suit, and it folded up with a small beeping sound. She had to get her hands free so she could use her knife more effectively, instead of holding her shotgun behind her back. The guard was too transfixed with her hips to hear the noise, however.
Mia took a step forward into the guard, drawing her knife out of her belt in one fluid motion and sinking it into his gut.
The guard cried out, so she clamped her hand over his mouth and lowered him so he was sat against the wall, almost like he was asleep. She hit him in the head, once, with her fist. He slumped back against the wall, unconscious. He wasn't going to live very long with a wound like that, anyway. She drew her knife out of his stomach.
She walked through the door into the security room, drawing her shotgun again.
There were another three guards next to the control panel, what she needed to disable the alarms.
Mia walked in and shot each of them in turn, delivering a round to their chests one after the other. She swapped her thermal clips, then. She didn't want to run out of ammunition in the middle of a fight, after all.
Mia almost ran to the security terminal and activated it, opening up an orange holographic screen where the controls were. She stole the Omni-tool module from one of the people she had just killed, and fitted it on to her arm, pushing the button on the side. Her arm lit up with an orange glow around it.
She opened up the terminal control programme and tapped away at the small screen that had appeared on her arm. Moments later the terminal deactivated, with all the alarms shut off in the base. All lockdown procedures were also gotten rid of, as she couldn't take any chances. She shot the terminal with her shotgun to prevent anyone reactivating any of the systems.
Mia quickly checked the other programmes that the Omni-tool had. It had an Incineration programme. That'd come in handy. The ability to create unstable materials that would set anything alight upon impact... very handy indeed.
She loaded up the Incinerate ready for use, so with a push of a button she could unleash the devastating attack.
There was a door at the far side of the room which she knew would lead to the guards' mess hall. She had spent a long time in slavery and had memorised every possible exit route. And, by her thinking, the timing meant that there would be no one there. It was before the time that they had their evening meal, and after lunch.
She strode to the door and opened it by pushing the green hologram in the centre. It hissed open and she stepped into the mess hall, aiming down the small sight on her shotgun to see if anyone was there.
There wasn't. Not a single guard. She moved around the outside of the hall so she wasn't slowed by the many chairs and tables that would have blocked her escape.
Mia went through the door on the other side of the mess hall. There was a guard stationed by a security terminal next to her, and he looked to be attempting to try and get the systems working again - to no avail. She had permanently disabled the terminals.
He turned around when he heard her footsteps on the hard floor, but he wasn't quick enough to stop her shooting him in the chest.
She would only have to go through this corridor and there was an emergency exit which led to the whiteness of Noveria. It'd be hard going, but possible. Especially since the landing pad wasn't very far away.
The corridor, however, was full of guards.
"Mia," one said, "What are you doing with a shotgun? Put it down you suit rat."
She shot him in the chest when he drew near, then used his body to absorb several rounds fired from another guard carrying a Harrier.
Mia fired Nar'Mia again, taking out the guard with the rifle. She sank her knife into the stomach of a second who had ran towards her with a pistol, then used Incinerate to deal with the last.
She stepped over the smouldering body of the dead guard and opened the airlock leading to the snowy wilderness.
The first thing she realised was that it was cold. So cold, in fact, the internal heat regulators inside her suit couldn't keep up. She could feel the cold biting her skin, but still she stepped out.
With her first step, she was buried up to her knee in the cold snow. Her second was similarly enveloped. She had to push her muscles in her legs to their limit to take steps through the snow.
"Keelah," she hissed as the muscles in her thighs began to burn, after so little steps. But she still kept putting pressure on them, driving them to take her further through the cold.
She reached a steep incline and slipped on something beneath her feet, which was covered by the snow. She fell and rolled several times before reaching the bottom.
Snow was sticking to the visor of her helmet and making it hard to see. She struggled to her feet, wiping the glass clean with the back of her hand. But it only made things worse, wiping more snow on to it instead. She could feel the snow hitting her environment suit in an intense blizzard, making it hard to walk, hard to see, and all she could hear was wind rushing past her helmet.
She was starting to get seriously cold. Her environment suit was not built to survive in areas such as Noveria. The thermal systems were working at full capacity, and she could feel the chill against her skin.
She knew she wouldn't make it to the landing pad. It was too far. She had not expected the environment to be so hostile.
There must have been a dip in the ground full of snow, because her legs began sinking even further. Mia tried to climb back out, her feet scrambling on the surface of the snowdrift, which was slowly giving way. She sank into the snow up to her chest, and struggled to get free.
But the snow was absolute, and her attempts just made her sink further, like quicksand. She was out of breath, and laid shivering in the cold.
She pushed her hand against the snow and it compacted, forming a hard ledge. She pushed her hand firmly into it, forming a hold where she could pull the top half of her body on to the surface of the snowdrift. Her feet scrambled against the solid wall she had created, and failed to gain purchase for several moments until she managed to get her knees on top of the snow drift and slid up.
Mia managed to cross the snow drift and grasped on to a grey rock before her feet sank back down. She pulled herself up on to it, being careful not to rip her suit on its jagged edges.
A loud gunshot filled the air and a searing pain travelled through her upper leg, and hot liquid spilled over her thigh. She cried out in agony and hit the ground, rolling off the edge of the rock and hitting more snow further down the incline.
She curled up and looked at the wound in her suit. A bullet wound caused by a sniper rifle, not a very powerful one by the look of it. It caused a small hole, nowhere near her arteries. It was a wound meant to maim, not kill. The marksman probably used a Viper, by the sound of the shot. It was definitely not as powerful as the Widow, as that would have probably severed her leg.
The round was still inside of her muscle. It bled, staining the snow a crimson colour. She tried to get to her feet, but her leg gave way as soon as she put her weight on it and she whined in pain.
"Bosh'tet," she hissed as she hit the floor again.
She reached into one of her pockets and took out her suit repair kit - a small capsule full of an adhesive gel to seal up the hole so she wouldn't get a disease. She applied it quickly, covering up the gunshot wound in her suit. She had no medigel to apply to her actual injury, but at least she wouldn't die from illness.
She heard calling from behind her. Judging by the sniper and the calling, the remaining guards in the base knew about her escape and were out to capture her again.
Mia definitely didn't want that.
She stood up on one leg and used her shotgun as a crutch, using it to support her weight whilst she kept her wounded leg off the ground.
Mia took several steps, which were more like hops, before she slipped and fell again. She groaned in pain and cradled her leg, cursing the sniper and calling him every name under the sun.
She'd have a hard time getting to the landing pad now. That is, if she actually managed to.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Marriage - Part 1

Emi smiled at Thomson as she was sat crossed legged on the floor of their quarters, sorting through wedding invitations.
"... Is that everyone?" she asked, having previously read out the names of the people who they had agreed on.
"Yes, I think so," Thomson said, "Though remember I still need to see your mother and father."
She nodded, "... That's tomorrow... We can't go now..."
"True, but I'm just reminding you. When's your next appointment?"
"... The day after tomorrow. I think..."
"Did it go alright?"
She nodded again, "... I cried, but I guess..."
"What did you cry about?"
"... Just my life I guess..."
"Aren't you happy?"
"... It's not that... It's just my childhood..."
He sat next to her and cuddled her, "I know your childhood wasn't the best. But maybe the rest of your life will make up for it?"
She took the glass of her helmet away and kissed him. He kissed her back.
"... Maybe..." she said. He kissed her again, "... Well, probably..." Another kiss, "... Ok, definitely..."
Thomson grinned at her, "It's amazing how your answer changed."
"... No... It's amazing how my life has changed... Thanks to you..."
They kissed again.

The SF-2 docked with a ship in the Migrant Fleet. The one that Emi pointed to and said, "... That one..."
He took her word for it, and had to state a password given to him which allowed him free access. The Quarians left him through and engaged their docking procedures. There had been a moment, when his ship had been intercepted by several fighters, as was the primary security protocols of the Flotilla, that he had worried it wasn't the best thing to do. But they let him through and engaged the docking mechanism.
Emi led him through the corridors and passageways. It seemed a lifetime since he had been aboard. He recognised the layout of the ship. It was the one he had served on when he had helped the Admiralty Board deal with some rogue Geth. He, however, had forgotten his way.
Emi had not. She practically pulled him through the ship, past the Quarian trading floor where he got several looks from Quarians who, despite their suits, managed to convey a sense of curiosity about him.
She took him down a corridor to what appeared to be a living area, then lifted a blanket and ducked underneath it. He followed her, and was greeted by two Quarians.
"... Mother, Father..." said Emi, "... This is Thomson..."
"Hello Lieutenant," her Father said to him.
"It's good to meet you at last," her Mother added, "Emi talks about you all the time. Whenever we call it's all "Thomson did this, Thomson did that..."."
"I'm not Lieutenant anymore. I resigned. I kept putting Emi in danger so I'm no longer part of the Alliance."
"Yes," said her Father, "We heard about the 'dangers'. We're not happy with it. At all. She was shot. Shot! Do you know how dangerous that is for a Quarian?"
"Yes," Thomson responded, "I do. I was there. I took her to the Normandy's medical bay. I know how serious it was. I regret that she was ever put in that position. That's the main reason I quit."
"... We're here to invite you to our wedding..." Emi said, "... If you want to come."
"Of course we want to come," said her Mother, "We'll be there to support you and your family. It's a big day for you both."
Her Father grumbled, "I never understood the human concept of marriage."
"I guess it's to show you love someone," Thomson responded, "And I love Emi very, very much."
"... So you'll be there?" Emi asked, "... Even if he isn't one of our race? He's what I've always wanted..."
"We'll be there," promised her Mother, then she sighed sadly, "It was only a few years ago since you were here and reading that bosh'tet of a book of yours. Now you're all grown up with children and you'll get married..."
"... I don't think I'm grown up," Emi said.
"She really isn't," added Thomson, "She watches television programmes for children on the extranet."
"... I like that... Colourful, cute, fluffy... Tree?"
"Tree frog. It's a tree frog, not just a tree," said Thomson.
"... I like it. It's cute... It has big red eyes..."
Her Father suddenly spoke, "If you want to stay the night, you can. It'll be a long way back to the Citadel."
Thomson shook his head, "I'd like to but we can't. Emi has an appointment to keep tomorrow and we'll have to get up early. The kids are waiting back in the ship entertained by the Tree Frog. We should get back. It's been nice to meet you, and I'll see you both at the wedding, I guess."

Emi dreamed. Keelah, she dreamed. Ever since her mind had been touched by the Reapers, she had dreamed.
Less like dreams, more like visions, really. She always always fully conscious, but she saw flashing red images in her mind. Some fast, some slow. All very hard to concentrate on. The more she wanted to find out what the images contained, the more they eluded her.
She made out vast cities, images of people belonging to a race she didn't recognise, technology she couldn't comprehend, but a reoccurring vision was that of a stone pillar. . A pillar with ruins around it. The difference between this vision and all the others, was the fact that it was the only one she ever saw as moving images. The only one she ever saw in detail.
On the pillar, there were letters carved into the stone in a language she hadn't seen before, but as the vision took her closer, they translated in her mind. "Walk among these works and know our greatness."
On the other side, someone had written "Monsters from the id", in a way which looked less like carvings and more like crude scratches.
She was about to question what it all meant when she woke up.
"Emi, are you ok?" Thomson asked from beside her, his arms wrapped around her waist, "You were breathing very heavily and you were whispering in your sleep."
"... I'm fine... What was I whispering?"
"You said "Help me". Did you have a bad dream?"
"... I... I... I..." the dream was gone from her mind, "... Can't remember."
"You should tell your psychologist about this. Maybe it's linked. Are you sure you're fine?"
She nodded, "... I think so..."
He cuddled her and she cuddled him back. They kissed, then she fell asleep again in his arms.

Emi went to her psychologist appointment, whilst Thomson went shopping for some food to keep on the SF-2. They were running low on cereal, Quarian cereal that is. He took his children to the Predisium, to tell him which type they normally bought. Emi was in charge of their food, and he was in charge of everything else. He refused to let Emi do much.
"Is this it?" Thomson asked them, "High fibre flakes for Quarians? Wouldn't you rather have... Migrant Fleet Munches? Seriously, they need better names."
"Get us the flakes Daddy!" they said.
He put their chosen cereal into the trolley and was about to pay when a large Geth unit crossed in front of him.
Unlike normal Geth, this one was red in colour and must have been about eight feet tall. A Juggernaut, if he wasn't mistaken.
"Thomson-Lieutenant," said the Geth, "It is good to see you again."
"We've met before? Wher- Oh. It's you."
Revenge nodded, "I got an upgrade. This Juggernaut had no unit inside of it so I decided to use it for myself. But we have something that needs to be discussed. Urgently."
Thomson shook his head, "I quit. I don't do anything dangerous anymore. If you want I can give you the names of some good Alliance officers. I'm sorry, Revenge. Things have changed. I exist to protect my family and make sure they're alright."
"Actually, I think once I've explained, you'll ask to join me. In fact, I'm sure you will."
"I'll pay for the cereal then we'll talk. But I'm not getting shipped to some random planet trying to sort anything. If you want something buying for you, or don't know how to work a cash machine, I'll be happy to help."

He paid for the cereal then sat down at a table with Revenge. His large frame looked uncomfortable in the relatively small silver chair. The children were playing with each other less than a metre away from the table. It seemed they were trying to assemble some sort of machinery - the Quarian part of them clearly coming to light.
"So, what's happening?" Thomson asked, "Are you ok?"
Revenge nodded, "My systems are fully functional, if that's what you mean. My problem lies elsewhere."
"So what's the problem?"
"As you know, Emi was indoctrinated. She fought the Reapers off but they must have left an imprint on her mind. About the existence of the universe, from the first atom up to the present day. But, specifically about an extinct race that lived about a hundred million years ago. A spacefaring race which had no name.
Now this is the problem. We have evidence to suggest that the race isn't extinct. That they've survived in the galactic centre for an extraordinary amount of time in a form of stasis. The thing is, I think they're going to attack Emi. To try and prevent her from telling people about them. Their existence is supposed to be a secret."
"An imprint on her mind... could it have some effect on her dreams? She was saying "help me" in her sleep last night, but she seemed fine when she woke up."
"We had put parameters in place to prevent things like this from happening, but it seems the damage to our network at the time corrupted the data. Emi's mind will have been exposed to things she cannot comprehend, or remember. So she is right, she was fine when she woke up. But every time she goes to sleep her mind will be tormented by images of the past. Of us, the Protheans, the Leviathans and this spacefaring race."
"Is there any way I can help her?"
"I told you that you would ask to join. We want you to go to the planet Junthor in the Armstrong Nebula, Gagarin system. Near the equator there are ruins of the race - mainly wind hollowed husks of arcologies and several large structures. In the centre there is a column, a pillar-like construction bearing some letterings.
Although it took centuries for Asari linguists to decipher it, we knew about it before. It says, "Walk among these works and know our greatness", and "Monsters from the id". I want you to go to the planet, nothing more, and search the ruins for information about the race. Although Asari have visited Junthor many times, I will accompany you and see if I am able to make more sense of it than they have. Right now, though, I recommend you go and find your fiancée. I have a feeling that she is not safe. I have arranged for a team to meet us there."
"What kind of team?"
"A good one."
"I'll see you on the Falcon," Thomson said, and ran towards Emi's psychologist meeting.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Captive - Part 1

She remembered the day well. The day when her life changed forever. It was the day when she went to Omega.
Mia'Theos was an exile from the Migrant Fleet. She had been an expert on the Geth and had been working on a counter for their technology. A virus, if you were a human. To her though it was a highly complicated mutating, self-replicating code complex. A combination of different viruses designed to completely eradicate the Geth's code.
There were several stages. The first was a brute force attack which forced its way past the Geth's firewall. It then mutated and became a Trojan horse, which infiltrated the Geth's files and converted them into new virus data, which was used against the remaining Geth code. It only took a matter of moments to shut a Geth unit down completely.
She had been working on a special, and classified, project on board one of the military vessels, trying to weaponise the code into an easier form - a gun.
Her first attempt was a rifle, a beam rifle. She based it on the Reegar Carbine design, though granted it the ability to transmit data wirelessly into its target, causing both internal and external damage.
During the testing stages however, it had nearly killed one of her team. The gun had gone off accidentally and had disabled the systems inside one of their suits.
Hence why she was exiled, since no official documents regarding her research could be found.
And where was a Quarian exile supposed to go? Quarians weren't welcome in pretty much every corner of the galaxy, but she wasn't allowed to stay with her own species.
So she went to the place where all exiles and criminals go. Omega.
It had started off well. She bought herself a nice, expensive Turian shotgun, with stabilising modules built in to reduce the recoil, an extended barrel to increase her accuracy and of course, had it made of ultra-light materials. It practically weighed nothing in her hands.
She had only ever used it twice, though. The first was to kill a Vorcha who had threatened to kill her. The second... Well.
Within the first week, she knew she didn't belong. Afterlife was just cruel. She felt terrible for even thinking that living on Omega was a good thing.
Within two weeks, she was homeless, living off her shotgun and a few tubes of nutrient paste, after her apartment had been stolen by the Vorcha's brother, Balak.
Week three, she was approached by a man who seemed sympathetic towards her, who wanted to help. She accepted his aid happily and had travelled with him back to a small house built in the residential district.
Then came the second time she had to use her shotgun. In the house she was ambushed by armed men. Her shotgun dealt with one, but by the time she had fired again, they had knocked her unconscious and carted her off to god knows where.
Her memory was a little fuzzy after that, but she distinctly remembered pain. And lots of it. She had not been broken, though. When it came to the interrogation she must have shown too much free will, because she had her suit taken away and was promptly beaten by three armed soldiers, using a variety of equipment, which ranged from daggers to spiked clubs.
She still bore the scars along her shoulders and back.
Despite the fact they had tried, she was sure she still wasn't broken. She just realised that acting rebellious was just going to get her killed. So instead, she acted broken. After her beating came another interrogation, where she claimed to do anything that was asked of her. She gave them codes for the Migrant Fleet, incorrect ones, mind you. Hers had run out years ago when she had come back from her Pilgrimage, and had since been called Mia'Theos vas Rayya. What she gave them were curses in Kelish, said in a soothing tone to convey positivity, which was the key to most of their codes.
They didn't seem to be the cleverest when it came to Quarians, so they accepted her password.
The other parts of the interrogation mainly consisted of asking what she'd do in certain situations. Every time she got one wrong, she was beaten again. Not as harsh as the first, but equally as painful.
By the time they were half done with their questions, she had realised they just wanted to hear things like, "I'd do anything required of me", so she adapted, changing her answers to seem like she was broken. In fact, however, she was plotting her revenge.
Then they sold her. A slave trader on Noveria wanted her. She got a rather good price, too. A hundred and twelve thousand credits. That is how much it was to buy her, with posting and packaging included. She was forced into a small wooden crate and shipped via skycar to the ice planet.
The first thing she thought about when she arrived was the temperature. It was freezing! It seemed smoke was pouring out of her induction port with every breath she took.
Her new master, a Turian named Histus Gyrth, had led her down into a base in the middle of a mountain.
And still, she planned.
The first thing he did was lead her into a sterile room and tell her to discard her suit. She did, and he examined her. Part way through he had muttered about a discount because of her scars. It was extremely embarrassing for her. The only thing that kept her going was the fact she knew that some day, she'd be tearing the base apart.
There's a good way to plan, then a brilliant way. She took on board everything. Guard rotas, repetitive actions, food habits... Anything she could use to her advantage. All of this was meanwhile she was pretending to be broken. Most of it was just cooking and cleaning. She did in no way enjoy it, but a small amount of household chores were worth her freedom.
Histus was a creature of habit. He had his food at exactly the same time every day. He ate the same things, beat her the same way and made the guards rotate once every fifteen minutes. This made him easy to figure out. This made him easy to plan against.
Give her a week of planning, she was good. In a month she was great. But she was on Noveria for two years. She had planned and plotted against every single eventuality. Just when her plan was fully complete, though, she would strike. There were several things she still needed to figure out. Mainly where the transport was. Oh, and if her shotgun was still around. She had paid more for the shotgun than her master had paid for her. She had even given her weapon a name. She named it Nar'Mia, or "child of Mia". Just saying it was her baby. It was her pride and joy. She hoped the "discount" the men had given Histus involved a certain shotgun. It probably would, or at least that was how she had it figured. The gang had the shotgun for free, and it wasn't the best model out there. The Reegar Carbine was almost definitely the best, as it was able to strip through shields and armour in a matter of seconds. They wouldn't have wanted to keep Nar'Mia. The weapons they had used on her were Mattock rifles and Widow snipers. High grade stuff, very professional. They would have no use for her shotgun.
She had made the plan within the first year and a half, and had spent the next six months trying to find out about her shotgun and how to escape the planet. She had so far only got one lead.
Histus had friends who came to stay for a few days once every few weeks. They were due to arrive in a few minutes. She would attack, and then maybe find her shotgun if she could.
As always, Histus entered her chamber, which consisted of a toilet and a sink - no bed. She slept on the floor. The walls were all grey and there was a single window with bars to make sure she could not escape.
"My friends are due to arrive any moment now," he said, "Remember to make us drinks and a meal."
"Yes master," she responded, "I will."
There was something attached to his back. She recognised it instantly. Nar'Mia.
And there she had been, thinking that acquiring her weapon would be difficult.
"I'm actually glad," her master began, "That I was sent you. I'm pretty sure no one would have been as helpful to me as you have been."
His hand reached out and cradled the underside of her helmet. She tensed herself up, then struck.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Stealth - Part 1

The plan is as follows. Ok, so I've got to the point where I need to split the story up into three separate ones. They'll each be about three different characters and they'll all come together in the end. And, of course, one of the three stories will be about Emi and Thomson. The other will be following the back story of Epsilon (who in the story has the codename Stealth). The third will be about a Quarian who was sold as a slave by the gang in Infiltration and is out for revenge.

So here is Stealth - Part 1.

He was more than a thief. He was the best in the business.
But he could still not open the damn safe.
"They've entered the building. Hurry up," hissed a voice via the communication device in his ear, "You have less than a minute."
Stealth rebooted his Omni-tool, which cast an orange glow across the dark apartment on the fortieth floor of a building in Vancouver. It was a designer apartment, for sure. You could tell by the granite tables and the smooth marble floor.
He tapped his fingers over his Omni-tool, attempting to break the mutating algorithm that kept the safe locked. Once again, however, he drew a blank, with a red warning flashing up on the hacking programme he had installed.
"Thirty seconds," pointed out his colleague, "Get the safe open or go now. They're in the lift, coming up to you."
"Shut up!" Stealth growled, attempting to hack into the security again.
"Ten seconds. They're drawing their weapons. Take cover."
A green message appeared on his Omni-tool, telling him the hack had been successful. The door to the apartment opened, casting light through the gap. Stealth deactivated his Omni-tool and dived for cover behind one of the granite tables.
He snuck a quick look at the people who had just entered.
Five heavily armed mercenaries, by the looks of things. Heavy armour, heavier weapons. For a small group of mercenaries it was rare to find them all armed with a powerful machine gun slung under their arm. They were also Krogan, judging by their size and shape.
"Fan out," growled one of the mercenaries, "Cover all of the apartment. Find the bastard."
Stealth took a deep breath and held it as a Krogan neared him, but was luckily facing the wrong way, so Stealth was safe.
Still, a good place to engage the enemy.
Stealth clicked a button by the side of his Omni-tool's power button, activating his Omni-bow. Omni-bows were clever things. It was an extension of the Omni-tool, which could fire holographic arrows. Rather useful.
He fired and six arrows with armour piercing tips embedded themselves into the Krogan's back, felling the large creature.
He stood up from behind the table, turning around and drawing his M-11 pistol.
Stealth fired his Omni-bow again, throwing a Krogan over the top of a bar. There was the sound of glass smashing and liquid being spilled.
The three remaining mercenaries opened fire, forcing him back into cover.
Stealth felt the static build up in his hands, blue sparks dancing between his palms. He jumped.
And appeared at the other side of the Krogan in a blue flash. He staggered, but they were too busy firing to notice.
He tilted his wrist quickly, activating a mechanism built into his sleeve. A throwing knife was ejected from its holder and he caught it between his thumb and his index finger.
He threw it at the nearest Krogan, purposely hitting it in the shoulder. The mercenary turned and roared in pain, finger tightening on the trigger instinctively. He shot one of his comrades with his machine gun, and Stealth's M-11 finished off the last with a double-tap to the head.
He doubled over to catch his breath. His biotics were weak, all he could do was biotic jump every now and then, but they left him tired. He only used his biotics when he needed to.
He shot the injured Krogan in the head.
"Well done. Now grab the device and get the hell out of there."
Stealth moved back to the safe, grabbing the small black cube from inside. He pocketed it, then shattered the glass of the window with his pistol.
He sprinted at the shattered window.
Then jumped.
Stealth was airborne for a matter of seconds, before he landed on top of a crane in a roll. He sprinted the length of it.
"They have a gunship," said his comrade, "ETA six seconds."
"Shit!" he yelled, as he neared the end of the crane. He was never going to make the jump to the opposing building, and he couldn't biotic jump that far either. A hum of an engine became audible above him.
Rounds from heavy machine guns shattered the glass of the building and tore up the metal of the crane. He quickly moved out of its line of fire, but the large grey gunship above him simply altered its position and continued shooting.
He fired his pistol in response, the rounds hitting the armoured hull but failing to penetrate it.
A missile shot out of the underside of the gunship, hitting the back of the crane. There was an explosion behind him, and the crane began tilting vertically downwards. He ended up sliding down the side of the crane, and used the momentum to jump the gap between the crane and the building.
His back hit a window and it smashed around him as he was thrown into the inside of the building.
"Adios amigo," he grinned, activating his Omni-bow. He pressed a button on the side, changing from armour piercing arrows to disruption. He fired a single arrow at the gunship, which hit the front of it. White sparks glistened across its armour, and its engines failed a moment later, making it spin out of control.
The gunship hit the side of the building that Stealth was in, shattering the glass and splintering the stone. An explosion tore through the skyscraper, which rumbled the floor beneath his feet.
The building began to tip.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Infiltration - Part 9

Emi sat up slowly.
"Emi, are you alright?" Thomson asked, his voice full of worry.
"... I... I'm not sure..." she responded. He wrapped his arms around her and embraced her as tight as he could, "That was... so... keelah... What happened?"
"Renswick indoctrinated you. When he caused you pain he must have released the energy into your suit. You're lucky to be alive."
"What do you remember?" Epsilon asked.
"... I'm... not sure... There... There was a huge pressure in my mind and it was like... willing myself not to think certain things... and there were whispers... from the Reapers... and then there was white flashes... then that's it... that's all that happened..."
"How do you feel?" Thomson asked, cradling her in his arms, "Are you ok?"
"... I feel really tired... I want to go to the Falcon and sleep... I don't feel well... Like... My brain... I killed someone... I was tortured and..."
Thomson held her, "I know... Look, we'll get you some help, ok? We'll go back to the Citadel and Get you help."
"... But... our children..."
"I can look after them. I said I was quitting, remember?"
"... I'm not sure... I think so... It's... hard to think of anything but pain... And you..."
"Shit," said Thomson, "I just remembered the other fleet. We have to go up there. It isn't over yet."

The two hundred and fifty one ships left from the battle on Sur'Kesh. Renswick had forgotten to mention the fact that the other fleet of ships was also down to half. In one decisive strike, all the ships Thomson had managed to rally counterattacked and destroyed the entire fleet of ships in a matter of hours.
Then they went to the Citadel. Back to their children.

Magnetic clamps closed shut around the wing of the Falcon as they entered the Citadel's docking bay. The airlock hissed open a moment later and Thomson and Emi stepped out, holding hands. Bei was behind them.
"... Thomson..." Emi said, "... There's something you should know..."
"What's that?" he asked, squeezing her hand, "Are you ok?"
She shrugged, "... I guess... But... When you weren't with us on Omega... Bei and I we... kissed... Just kissed... Bei hadn't kissed anyone before so I let her feel what it was like... That's all..."
"... What?" Thomson said, "I didn't know you were-"
"... I'm really not... I just did it for her... I'd never cheat on you... I hope you're not angry..."
Thomson shook his head, "I'm not angry... I just... I wasn't expecting it."
"... Sorry... I won't do it again..."
He kissed her helmet, "Look. I love you infinitely, Emi. You're amazing. This is only relatively small. If you'd have slept with her I wouldn't have been happy. But you only kissed."
"... You love me infinitely?"
"Of course I do. You're beautiful and kind and amazing-"
"... And a killer..."
"To me you're a saviour. He was going to shoot me. You saved my life."
"... I love you infinitely too... I never want to be without you..."
"You'll never have to be. When is your appointment with the psychologist?"
Thomson had booked Emi in to make sure she was alright. She kept saying she was but he couldn't shake the feeling she had changed somehow. She hadn't stopped shaking since they had gone back to the Falcon, and when she thought he wasn't looking he heard her whispering to herself. She wasn't well. He knew it.
"... In an hour..." she said, "... I don't think I need an appointment though..."
"Emi," said Bei, "You do. You really do."

Thomson walked with Emi to the Wards on the Citadel, where the therapy sessions were being held. She walked into the room whilst he collected their children from the nursery.
"Come in," said the psychologist, who was a Turian. The room that greeted her was warm and homely. The walls were a cream colour. There was a fire blazing in the far wall, and the furniture was mainly based on arm chairs and desks with a rustic aesthetic.
She guessed it was something to do with the therapy. Something warm and comforting.
The Turian gestured her towards a beautiful red armchair with wooden legs. She sat down on it, smiling at the sensation as the soft material brushed against the groove of her back as she sat down.
"So," said the psychologist, "My name's Ordric and I'm one of the therapists on the Citadel. I hear you've been having quite the adventure."
"... I guess..." Emi responded.
"When your partner booked you the appointment he wasn't doing it in much detail. He mentioned something about you murdering someone? How did it happen? Start from the very beginning. How did you end up on Sur'Kesh?"
"... I'm not sure I want to start from the beginning... It's a long story..."
"It will help, Emi'Derik. Trust me. Some of the problems may be rooted on things that happened in your childhood, or before the event. If you tell me I can get a better picture on how your mind works, and then help you recover from what happened. It will take time, of course, but it will help."
"... Ok..." she sighed, "... Where shall I start from?"
"From the very beginning. As far back as you can remember."
"... Well... I guess my childhood was lonely... I didn't have many friends, but I didn't actively seek them either... I read a lot..."
"What book did you read? What was your favourite?"
"... A Child's Dream... I read nothing but that over and over again for most of my life..."
"Interesting. Please continue."
"... I read instead of learning about technology which didn't help either... No one treated me with any respect because I was a Quarian who knew nothing about any kind of machine... My friend Bei was one of the only people who would talk to me..."
"Did you ever try and fit in by learning?"
She nodded, "... I went to a school for four year olds when I was sixteen... I managed to blow a hole in the floor and was kicked out of that..."
"That must have been hard. What did other people say?"
"... They made jokes about me being stupid... I relied on my book for survival... Like, without it, I'd have killed myself... I just read and read and read... But... The more I read, the more I wanted someone to fall in love with me... A human to fall in love with me... So when it came to my Pilgrimage I chose to go to Earth..."
"Not the best idea considering what happened a few years ago."
"I guess... But as I was leaving they said I could never return and I'd be an ambassador... What they meant was they had arranged for me to join a discussion club... Most of what we did was having parties and stuff... It was fun... But then a Cerberus agent revealed himself and... Then the Reapers hit Earth..."
"So what did you do? Did you hide?"
Emi nodded, "... Of course I did... I climbed into a kitchen cupboard and hid... When I thought it was safe to come out, all of my friends had gone..." she began crying slightly, a single tear running down her cheek, "... I think I miss them too... They were nice people..."
"You don't know what happened to them. They could have escaped."
"... But I haven't got any messages... But... As I was trying to run to the landing pad to get away... I ran into two Alliance soldiers... Thomson and Renswick... Thomson was really nice to me... Renswick wasn't, but Thomson kind of outweighed him... They said I could come with them and I did... They protected me..."
And so she continued.

When the session had come to the end, she was in tears. Since Tuchanka and Sur'Kesh she felt... Unstable... Like anything could set her crying.
As she walked out of the room, Thomson was waiting for her with a smile on his face, with their children holding one of his hands each.
"Mother!" cried Tiol, running to her and tackling her into a hug, "We've missed you."
Bia did likewise, and what formed after seemed to be some sort of pile-on. Thomson couldn't help laughing.
When Emi sat up again, she cradled Tiol and Bia, her body movements soft, sensitive and in good spirits. She no longer acted broken. In fact, she seemed rather happy to be back with their children.
So was he, though. He had missed them too.
"Emi," he said to her, "I've already handed in my resignation. I am no longer Lieutenant Thomson. I'm just plain old me. They're letting me keep the Falcon and a few of my guns, just in case we ever need them. Other than that, my Alliance uniform has gone, my N7 status has been revoked, my Spectre status has been taken away. I don't own much, but I guess we can just buy more. I didn't realise how much money I had."
She moved Tiol and Bia to the side, and embraced him, "... Thank you... I hope you know, though... Plain old you does have one possession... My heart..."
He kissed her helmet, "And you own mine. I've set a date for our wedding. It'll be in two weeks. Also, the representatives of the Migrant Fleet want to speak with us."

They entered the Quarian's relatively new office in the Embassies on the Citadel. Representatives met them and thanked them for preventing the destruction of their kind. They also gave them passwords so they could come and go as they pleased, which Emi was rather pleased with since she could go and see her parents again.
Thomson received a large reward of credits, but declined. He told them that they had more use for the money than he did. He already had enough to last them a lifetime.
He was also titled Thomson vas Falcon, and became an honorary member of the Quarian race.
Then came the wedding plans.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Infiltration - Part 8

Emi felt cold and was shivering uncontrollably. She was still crying. The blood had reached her neck and was being held back by her tears.
"Don't you want to move?" the man asked, "You're all bloody as it is."
Emi shook her head, "... I'm not moving... I deserve to be bloody... I can't handle this... All of it... He puts his life in danger like he wants to die and I just killed someone... I hate myself for it... I'm not moving until he comes back..."
"Suit yourself, I guess, if you forgive the pun."
"... I just... Killed him... Why did I kill him? ... What kind of monster am I...?"
"You are not a monster. You saved Thomson's life."
"... I killed someone... Emi'Derik... Killer..."
"You killed one man to save another. Don't they cancel each other out?"
Emi shook her head and raised her bloody hands, "... They'll be forever stained with blood..."
Bei walked in the cockpit, "Keelah... What happened?"
The man shrugged, "From what I can gather, she killed the leader of the gang - Alpha - to save the life of Thomson and is now well... Like this. Even though he was going to attack the Migrant Fleet and everything and enslave them."
"Emi, come on, get out of the blood..."
"... Leave me alone... I want to be with Thomson... go away..."
Bei sat down next to her, "Look, Emi. You killed someone. If it was someone who wasn't trying to destroy our people, I would agree with the reason why you're sad. But he was trying to kill your boyfriend. He was trying to enslave our race. You saved seventeen million lives by doing that - every single one of our people is alive because of you. Thomson didn't do anything. Thomson didn't save the Fleet. You did. The entire Flotilla is in your debt. You saved our people from a life of pain and torment. He was a bad person. I'm sure there are millions of soldiers across the galaxy who think the same way as you, and are only kept going by the fact that they only shoot people for a reason. Thomson is one of them. As soon as an innocent - you, basically - is in danger, he comes and saves you. Every single time. Without fail. He is only on Sur'Kesh right now because of you. He came to save you to prevent you being enslaved or killed. Is shooting the person who nearly killed you a bad thing?"
"... I'm no innocent... I killed him... but... I guess not..."
"If saving you from it isn't a bad thing, then why is saving our entire race?"
"... I don't know... I just..."
"You're in shock. You just killed someone, yes. But by killing him, you've done something good. Or not?"
"I agree with her," said Epsilon, "You should really listen to her."
"... I'm still not moving..."

Thomson knew Revenge was dead without him. He had to distract Renswick for long enough so Revenge could target his digital consciousness, then, and only then, could he be killed. Otherwise
he'd just keep coming back and coming back, bigger and stronger every single time.
But he was in no mood for Renswick's bullshit. If he could, he would just shoot him then and there.
"Revenge, how are you doing?" he questioned into his radio.
"I am ready for a final strike," the Reaper replied, "But I really could use a distraction. He's fighting back rather rapidly."
"Roger that. I'm going to wake him up."
Thomson walked over to Renswick's sleeping form and punched him in the face.
His eyes snapped open and his head slammed Thomson in the cheek, stumbling him. Renswick climbed off the bed and grinned wickedly.
"I shot you. Twice. No amount of medigel could have healed the wounds in this amount of time. I have the advantage."
"I don't care. I'm going to kill you."
"I'd like to see you try."

Emi cried. And cried. She was unable to shake the feeling that she was a horrible and twisted monster.
Added on top of that there was the fact she couldn't decide whether she was still herself or not. There was an incredible pain in her mind that she could not forget. She was questioning her own mental health, which wasn't a good sign in itself.
For a start, she had thought the pain had not done anything. She had recovered from the rest of the things that had been done to her, but not prolonged times of unimaginable pain. She felt like something had tripped in her head, making her...
She wasn't sure what she was. But she certainly didn't want to go through that pain again. She'd do anything for it not to happen.
Emi knew that she wouldn't survive another minute of that pain. That'd just get to the point where she'd do whatever was asked of her. Her body could not take any more. Any more of the pain that had blasted through her body, like thousands of knives stabbing in and out of her flesh at the same time.
But now that the shock had gone, what was there left? Was there a part of her that remained? Or had she been lost when the pain started?
She couldn't concentrate on anything. There were only two things in her mind; pain, and Thomson. But even both of them were blurred together. Thomson, in theory, had caused her the pain. She was only in the situation because someone wanted revenge on him. So could he be blamed?
A wave of love came from her stomach, telling her "no, he came to rescue you. He isn't to blame."
But there was also a part of her that thought, "yes, he's to blame. Without him you'd be on Earth having a good time with your friends."
Voices in her head, now that wasn't a good sign.

Thomson swung a vicious punch that connected with Renswick's cheek, sending his head spinning around.
He took a step back, and whilst Renswick was still recovering, kicked him in the stomach.
Renswick drew a knife. Biotics were pretty much useless in the cramped space inside his quarters, but Thomson still tried to knock the knife out of his hand with biotic energy.
His wound was slowing him. He knew it. Renswick just moved the knife out of the way and closed in.
Thomson blocked a slash with his forearm, knocking the wrist back so the knife never connected. But, before he could react, Renswick tossed the knife into his other hand and thrust it into his stomach.
Thomson gasped and fell back against the wall, once again putting pressure around the wound - but keeping the knife wedged in so it'd stop him bleeding.
"Wow, today isn't going well for you. Is it?" Renswick grinned, "Girlfriend broken, you've been shot and stabbed... I bet you wish you'd never got involved with me in the first place."
"Go... to hell..." Thomson hissed.
"I'll see you there, don't worry. Then maybe you'll actually be able to kill me. Oh, and by the way, you forgot Alliance training session two, lesson four. Always be prepared to switch hands in combat. I believe you came first in that class. Then again, you came first in every class. That's why you were a higher rank than me, right?" Renswick turned away.
"Emi... isn't broken... you didn't break her... She's stronger than us..."
Renswick laughed, "Oh, I broke her. You have no idea how much I actually broke her. By now she'll be hearing voices in her head."
"Voices...? What... voices?"
"Reaper voices, of course. I'm still hooked up to the Reaper network. Although my connection is now limited, thanks to your friend Revenge, I still have access to indoctrination. Which I exposed Emi to whilst she was being tortured."
"Attack complete," said Revenge into his ear, "Kill him. Now."
Renswick laughed, "You're well and truly beaten this time. You're slumped against the wall, your girlfriend will be indoctrinated in a matter of hours, and your fleet above the planet is already down to half." He tilted his head so he was looking at him, "Beat me now, Thomson." He turned back around, "You only have around... thirty seconds left."
Thomson rose as quietly as he could, drawing the knife out of the gunshot wound in his stomach where it had luckily found itself, leaving him without any other injury.
"You know, Emi'Derik and I will be both Reapers. Maybe I'll ask her-"
Thomson swung the knife in a vicious arc, born out of anger and desperation than any well-placed strike. By the luck of... well, he didn't believe in any gods. So he guessed the look of Emi's Quarian ancestors drove the knife through his back and pierced Renswick's heart.
"... Oh," said Renswick, "I wasn't expecting that..."
"You forgot Alliance training session one, lesson three. Never turn your back on a living opponent."
Blood began leaking out of Renswick's mouth. He coughed up more crimson liquid and sank down on to the floor of his quarters.
Thomson moved as fast as he could back to the cockpit.

"Emi," said Bei, "Are you ok?"
"... Go away!" Emi hissed, her voice deep and dark, "... Leave me alone!"
There was a dark presence in her mind. She could feel it, influencing how she felt and what she said. She tried to fight it, but it pushed past her mind easily and kept pushing anger towards the surface of her consciousness.
Emi pushed back the voices, the hushed whispers, for a matter of moments, "... Sorry..." she said to Bei, "... Help me... Leave me alone!"
"Emi, what's wrong?" Bei asked.
Thomson ran into the cockpit, "She's been indoctrinated. By Renswick."
He moved to her side and looked into her eyes, "Emi, it's me. Just fight them. I know you can. You're stronger than them."
"... Thomson..." she said, almost with relief, "... I can't..."
"Yes you can. You just saved the entire Migrant Fleet. I know a few Reapers won't be a problem for you. You can do it."
"... They're..." her voice changed, "... They're too powerful... I can't ignore them... every time I try, they just go deeper, warping my memories..."
A wire began growing out of the back of her suit. Thomson ripped it off before it could reach the back of her head.
"Look, you're amazing. Just... think of something. Focus on something."

And she did. She focused on all the positive things in her life. Well, positive thing.
She focused on his face, his armour, which bore the N7 logo. She focused on her love for him, which burned bright - brighter than the darkness of the Reapers, forcing them back into the depths of her own mind.
She couldn't live without him. Not at all. Yes he had let her down with the visits, but overall it didn't matter. He was preventing her from harm. He was protecting her.
No, said the Reapers, He shoots people because it's his job. Don't forget that. It has nothing to do with you.
That's where you're wrong, she responded, He's always protecting me. He loves me. I love him. We're going to get married. We have children together. And you're not taking me away from him, or them, whether you like it or not.
Every time she was in trouble, every single time, there was someone to protect her. Every single time she was kidnapped or hurt, there was someone there to kill the bad guys, save her life and make her feel good.
She had always wanted to be a part of a story. Ever since she was a child when she was reading 'A Child's Dream', she wanted to be part of her very own love story - full of adventure and romance. She wanted to explore the galaxy, see interesting things, and all with someone who she loved.
She now realised she had been in a love story all along.
Her love of humans brought her to Earth. The Reapers attacked Earth. Thomson saved her.
Thomson took her to the Citadel. She saw vast and beautiful cities, filled with people and culture. She had been hurt and threatened. But still Thomson saved her life again.
And then she realised she was in love.
They had children together. They explored the galaxy together. They were a couple. She had been travelling across the galaxy all along.
She loved Thomson with every fibre of her being. A life without him would be no life. The Reapers may try and control her, but she'd fight them every step of the way. Never giving up, never letting them take control of her.
"You can never defeat us, Emi'Derik. You are becoming a Reaper."
"... I will never give in. I will never become a Reaper..."
A voice echoed through the darkness of her mind, "You're stronger than them. Just trust me. I know I didn't come when I said I would and I am so, so sorry. I was just trying to prevent this from happening. Once we get on the Citadel, I'm quitting the Alliance. For good. And we can get married. Just fight, Emi. You survived being threatened. You just saved seventeen million Quarians. You just saved my life. I know you can do it. I believe in you, as I have since the day we met."
"... Thomson..." her lips said at her own will, "... I love you so much..."
"I love you too, Emi."
Her mind was beginning to ache with all the stress of practically fighting against itself, but she felt herself getting the upper hand.

"Revenge," Thomson said, "Can you do anything?"
"Yes. I can influence the indoctrination as it isn't complete yet. I can get rid of the link with the Reaper network, but I can't stop what is already in her head. She'll have to get rid of them herself," replied the Reaper.
"Just do it. Now."

Emi felt her mind relax slightly as the link with the Reapers was blocked. She only had small amounts of information still in her mind, most of it things that had happened in the past.
She saw flashes of things. Strange, alien things. Devices and beings she couldn't possibly hope to comprehend. She saw war, she saw peace, she saw everything in between.
The flashbacks covered the entire history of the universe. From the very start to Revenge fighting Renswick inside the Reaper network. Despite all the information, it was all lost before she could remember it. She saw, but it never entered her brain. It was a very unusual experience, seeing, but not comprehending.
Then a moment later, it was gone. She felt her muscles relax, remembering nothing but a series of white flashes where the entire history of the universe should have been stored.
"No," she heard a voice say, deep and dark, but equally as full of knowledge and wisdom, "That isn't your knowledge to have."
She reclaimed control of her own body, and looked up into Thomson's face.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Infiltration - Part 7

"Team one, are you ready?" Thomson said via the ship's radio to the fleet of fighters, frigates and battle cruisers behind him. There were three hundred of them in the team in total, against a few hundred Dreadnoughts. It'd be tough, but possible.
The Alliance fighters were not the only ships of that class in the team. Small, metal, insect-like Geth ships also joined them. There was also Asari-class frigates alongside the Alliance ones, a group of Salarian recon ships, a Turian destroyer, then, of course, Destiny Ascension.
Destiny Ascension was an Asari class Dreadnought. Rumoured to be the most powerful ship in existence, the Citadel had just sent its flagship to help in the battle.
Even though Sovereign, the Reaper who attacked the Citadel with the Geth, had nearly destroyed it, due to its lack of close range guns, Thomson was confident that they could put the largest and strongest ship in existence to some use. In fact, it was stationed just behind the Falcon as they made their descent towards the Salarian home world, with its long range cannon ready to fire.
Sur'Kesh was below them. A large, glowing orb that extended as far as they could see, glistening blue and green in the light of its closest star.
"Keep to the plan," he told them, "Wait for my signal."
"Team one away," said Thomson, and the three hundred starships split off from the much larger group, and began dropping towards the surface, with the Falcon in the lead.

Emi struggled against her restraints as she woke up in a dark room and unable to move. But there was nothing she could do. They were too tight.
"... Hello...?" she called into the darkness.
"Emi...?" Bei's voice answered, "Are you there?"
"... I'm here... I gave him my codes... He forced me to... Where am I...?"
"I don't know..." Bei responded, "But I'm sure we'll be fine..."
A gentle hum began from inside her suit.
"... What's that?"
"I don't know... I can hear your suit buzzing... Keelah mine's doing it too."
"... I know this... They've got into our suit... They'll turn us into slaves..."
"No... No matter what happens... Don't let them break us... Fight it..."
Moments later, their screams began as their suit's nerve stimulation systems went on overload.

"Incoming transmission," said the pilot of the Dreadnought, "Two, in fact. One is from the other fleet. The second..."
"The second?" Alpha questioned.
"Uh... It seems to be from the SF-2 Falcon. Demanding our immediate surrender."
Alpha laughed, "He is such an idiot."

The small Falcon hovered in front of the large, heavily armed Dreadnoughts, surrounded by mountains and forested valleys. The planet looked both familiar and alien at the same time, having the same key characteristics of forests on Earth, but yet was as equally strange. A cloud of fog sat behind the ship.
"This is the SF-2," said Thomson into the radio, communicating with the lead ship, "Surrender or you will be fired upon."
The reply came a moment later, "Do your worst. You have no weapons that can get through our armour."
"No," said Thomson, "But this does."
Destiny Ascension came into view behind the relatively tiny vessel, appearing out of the fog, aiming its large cannon at the single Dreadnought. The canon was over ninety percent of the length of the ship. And since the ship had been built to house 10,000 people, it was a pretty large gun.
"Sovereign defeated that once," Alpha pointed out, "With weaker vessels than we have now. We'll do it again."
"Don't be so sure."
The group of fighters, frigates, recon ships and the destroyer came out of the fog in battle formation.
The Dreadnoughts began firing their main weapons. Destiny Ascension fired its main gun and a blue beam of energy struck a Dreadnought in the middle, exploding it instantly.
Thomson piloted the Falcon so he moved into a v formation with the other frigates. Each fired their cannons, dotting the hulls of the Dreadnoughts with explosions. The fighters swooped in the gaps between the large vessels, targeting the fact the Dreadnoughts were pretty incapable of extremely close range fire.
The cannons on the Dreadnoughts shot Destiny Ascension, and blue ripples spread across the surface of its shields. The large ship fired again, taking out another Dreadnought.
The frigates tilted on their sides and did alike to the fighters, dodging between the large ships, continuously firing their cannons in attempt to get through their armour.
The first ships went down. Two fighters flying in formation, taken out by a Dreadnought towards the rear of the group.

"Break off. Tell the fleet to get down here so we can assault the Flotilla," said Alpha.
"Roger that," the pilot responded.

Thomson saw the Dreadnought break formation and began to follow it, steering away from the frigates. He activated the Falcon's stealth drive, preventing ships from targeting them.
He turned to Five, "Take the wheel, and if she gets damaged in any way, I'm not going to be happy."
The Falcon moved above the large Dreadnought as Five moved to the pilot's seat, "Where are you going?" Five asked as Thomson walked out of the cockpit.
"Down," he responded, "Remain in radio contact."

The cargo bay door slid down. The wind on Sur'Kesh was surprisingly powerful, making Thomson stumble slightly.
"Get me as close as you can," he said into the radio inside his helmet.
The massive Dreadnought came into view, with its grey armour glistening. The Falcon moved so it was only a matter of metres away from the top of the ship.
Thomson jumped.

Alpha saw the Falcon pass over the cockpit of his Dreadnought.
"He's here," he said to Vengeance.

Thomson sprinted along the top of the Dreadnought, using his biotics to root himself down on the hull of the ship. Explosions dotted the sky. Several ships on both sides had been destroyed.
He ran to the nearest hatch and turned the handle, making it swing open.
Thomson entered the Dreadnought.
And immediately hit the airlock.
"Screw this," he sighed, and used a shockwave to knock the door open.
There was a metallic clatter as the door hit the interior of the ship. He drew his pistol and followed the door down.
Alpha stood looking at him.
"Hello Thomson. You just missed your girlfriend's screams."
"Where is she, you bastard?" he hissed, "Let her go, now."
"Oh," Alpha laughed, "I don't think so."
Thomson heard two gunshots, and he grunted in pain as a stabbing sensation began coming from his stomach. He fell forward and landed on the floor, hands immediately putting pressure on the wound.
He turned to see the person who had shot him.
Renswick. Looking exactly as he had when he hadn't been all Reaper-ised. His skin was a darker colour, similar to a Krogan, and tendrils of biotic energy seemed to be originating from his entire body continuously.
"Hello, old friend," Renswick said.

"Emi..." said Bei, "Can you get free?"
The pain had stopped a few minutes beforehand, but it was the first time they had talked. Emi was sobbing uncontrollably. There was a large pool of tears at her feet, which glistened in the little ambient lighting they had.
"... N... N... N... No," she cried, "... All I can do is activate my Omni-tool... I'm so useless... I'll be killed..."
"Emi, that isn't useless. It acts as a solid object. You might be able to free your hand."
"... Oh... Sorry I'm stupid... I'm such a bosh'tet..."
"Emi, you can't insult yourself. Just activate the damn tool."
An orange glow lit up the darkness. There was the sound of something hitting the floor.
"... I'm out..." said Emi, "... Now what?"
"Free me," said Bei, "Come on."
Emi used the light of her Omni-tool to guide her to Bei. She activated Bei's Omni-tool, which broke her restraints. She too hit the floor.
"... Now how do we get out of here?" Emi asked.
Bei took a sticky grenade from her pouch, "Easy."

"You really think we'd be so stupid to attack the Migrant Fleet with a few hundred ships?" Alpha laughed, "No. We have a hundred and twelve thousand. All in orbit around the planet and ready for my signal."
Thomson gasped for air, his breaths quick and short, "And you... Thought I was stupid enough... To only bring a few hundred ships to fight you... There are... A hundred and seven thousand... All attacking yours right now..."
Renswick laughed, "That isn't enough. Your girlfriend is broken, your ships will be destroyed, I have no disadvantage."
"... Yes... Yes you do..." he said, then whispered into his helmet, "Revenge... Start attack..."
"What are you doing?" Renswick questioned, a few moments later, "How can you be inside the network?"
"... Three... powerful... Reapers..."
"You really didn't think this through. My presence within the network is unmatched. They can stop my outgoing signals, indeed. But I can delete their entire consciousness," Renswick said, standing up, "I have already dispatched Sovereign. I'm now battling Revenge and Harbinger at the same time."
"You... will... lose... they're... powerful..."
"You're right. I will lose. Alpha, I'm going to my quarters so I can shut down my body to focus my processing power. You stay here. If he moves, shoot him."
"Yes sir."

Emi and Bei moved through the interior of the ship, searching for Thomson. They had encountered so far only a few crew members, all of which they had hidden from.
Bei had two pistols in her pouch. She had given Emi one of them, and kept the other for her self. Emi wasn't sure how to use one. From seeing Thomson and in the events of Tuchanka, she knew how to hold one in the right direction instead of pointing it at herself. But she wasn't sure how to aim, or how to fire. The little... curved pull-y button on the handle seemed to be promising, though knowing her it ejected the cooling thing-ies.
Thomson had tried to explain it to her, though she never got the hang of it.
"... Bei..." she whispered, "... How do you use a gun?"
"You pull the trigger," Bei responded, "The curved lever which is near the handle."
"... The pull-y thing?"
"Yes, Emi. The pull-y thing."
"... Ok, thanks..."
"I think we're near the cockpit," Bei said, "But we still have a lot of ground to cover. You know how to use a weapon, now. So we can split up. Ok?"
"... Bei... I'm no soldier..."
"You don't have to be. Just keep hiding and find Thomson."
She really didn't want to be left on her own, "... Bei please stay with me..."
"It'll take hours otherwise. Just go and check the cockpit. There won't be anyone there but the pilot."
"... But..."

"I would follow Vengeance's orders," Alpha said, "But I think he is blinded by revenge."
"... You... could... say... that..." Thomson gasped. His fingers were covered in his own blood.
Alpha raised his pistol.

Epsilon snuck behind the two Quarians, unknown to them, as they tried searching the ship. He presumed they were the ones Revenge had talked about, so wasn't going to kill them. But they were heading the right way to the cockpit, so they would provide extra targets for his enemies. That is, if he needed them.
There was a series of hushed conversations and then the two Quarians split up. One less extra target, but it didn't matter.

"I grew up as a boy on the streets on Earth," said Alpha, "And here I am, about to kill a Spectre. It's funny how things turn out, huh?"
The gang leader pushed the barrel of his pistol directly into Thomson's forehead.
A small and quiet voice in the corner whispered, "... Come on you bosh'tet of a..."
Alpha turned and there was a loud gunshot in the cockpit. There was the sound of three objects hitting the floor. One was Alpha with a hole in his neck. The second was Alpha's gun. The third was Emi after knocking herself out due to the recoil of the weapon which had hit her in the face.
A man walked into the room, who wore similar armour to Five, "Holy crap. What happened here?"
"... Epsilon... right?"
The man nodded, "I'm going to give you some medigel. It'll take a while to heal, by the looks of it, but you won't die."
Epsilon took a canister of medigel from his belt and jammed it into Thomson's wound, emptying half of it in one hole, and the remainders in the second. A flood of relief spread through his body as the painkillers took effect.
It took a while to get to his feet, but he eventually managed with help from Epsilon. The clotting agent seemed to have worked, as he was no longer leaking blood.
He staggered over to Emi, instinctively clutching his stomach. He knelt down next to her and took her in his arms.
"Thank... You," he said to Epsilon, "We... Need... to warn the Migrant Fleet."
"Already done. They've retreated back through the Mass Relay. It'll take longer for their fleet to catch them."
He cradled Emi's head, as she began to stir.
"... What... What happened?" she asked, her voice groggy and tired.
"You... killed the... gang leader and saved my life," he told her.
"... Oh keelah I killed someone... Are you ok?"
She began crying and he cuddled her closely, "Yes... I'm fine. Just got some holes... in my stomach..."
"... Keelah... I'm so, so, so sorry... I should have come here before its all my fault..."
"No... It's... Their fault... What happened to... You?"
"... They tied me up and hacked into my suit... It was painful... I couldn't stop screaming... Though towards the end I gave in..."
He held her tightly, "I... Should have... Come sooner... They said... You were broken..."
She shook her head, "... I came close... I think I'd have done anything for them to stop... But I'm still me... I don't think I'll trust any humans but you though..."
"I... Need to get Renswick and finish this..."
"... No... You're injured..."
"I... Need to... Once... And for all... I can still use... Biotics..."
"... Please stay with me..."
"You're in this mess because of me," he said, "I'm going... To make sure he'll never put you in danger again..."
"... I killed someone for you... Which I'll never forgive myself for... And you won't stay..."
"Emi... I can't... I need to make sure you're safe..."

Thomson half staggered out of the cockpit and began making his way to Renswick's quarters.
Emi sobbed and curled up on the floor, hugging her knees... She had killed someone... A bad person... But still a person...
Was she really still herself? She didn't kill people... Ever... She couldn't even remember doing it... She remembered the gun in her hand then... Nothing...
Maybe she was broken...
"Are you ok?" asked the man who had been stood next to Thomson.
She only shook her head in response and hugged herself tighter.
She killed the man in cold blood to save Thomson's life... And she didn't even get a thank you...
The man sat down next to her, "I am guessing you have never killed someone."
Emi shook her head again, holding her helmet with her hands. Her hands that would be forever stained with blood...
She cried silently in her suit, just wanting the world to leave her alone. She was a murderer. She had slaughtered a person...
The pool of blood from the leader of the gang leader had been seeping towards her, but it now began soaking her feet. She didn't care. She was a murderer. A cold killer. And Thomson was nowhere to be seen.
"If you're worried about Thomson not being here," the man said, "Don't. Do you know what he did for you?"
She shook her head, "... Leave me alone..."
"He rallied over a hundred thousand ships to get you. You know how many people that is?"
"... A hundred thousand ships...?"
"Yes. They show up on the monitor. There are a hundred and seven thousand, two hundred and fifty five ships in battle with Alpha's fleet."
"... He got... For me...?"
"Just for you."
"... But... He..."
The man shrugged, "I don't know what he's done, but he got them all for you. I know that much."

Thomson began to walk normally without having to hold on to the side of the wall to keep himself standing. The wound had in no way healed, it'd take days for that to happen, but it at least it didn't hurt.
"Revenge," he said, "What's happening in the network?"
"He has counterattacked. Sovereign and Harbinger are disabled. I'm the only one left," came the reply, "But I'm doing well."
Thomson stepped into Renswick's quarters with his pistol raised.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Multiplayer Characters

I made some characters from my story on on Mass Effect 3's multiplayer.
This one is rather self-explanatory. Mainly because it says her name. 
Srateris (with helmet)
The Infiltration Team helmets.
Five/Epsilon (as they both wear the same armour)
This is Revenge when he's in his Geth form. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Infiltration - Part 6

Emi froze for several moments. Her mind was trying to process what had just happened, but eventually she just gave up completely.
"... B... Bei... Why...?"
Bei blushed, her cheeks flushing a darker shade of purple. She seemed to try and hide underneath the duvet, "Emi, I'm really sorry... I didn't mean for it to happen... I'm not... I don't... I really don't find women attractive... I just have a feeling this gang will kill me, and I didn't want to die without kissing someone..."
The confusion in Emi's head slowly died down as she was beginning to understand what Bei was feeling. She had felt the same a few years before she met Thomson. Life wearing an environment suit was depressing, and sometimes it felt like you'd never have any intimacy with anyone before you grew too old. She didn't blame Bei for taking the opportunity, which was probably the only one she'd ever have.
Emi had been extremely lucky to find Thomson. She knew many Quarians died without doing... well, anything. Never having the sensation of being hugged, or never being kissed. Things were different now the Geth had agreed to share Rannoch with them, but the change from the Flotilla to their home world was a slow one. It'd take months, years, even, maybe longer, to orchestrate the mass migration. In that time, there would be things the Quarians would be missing out on.
Emi felt happy she had been so privileged, but felt empathy and sadness for Bei.
"... It's fine..." Emi said, "... I understand..."
"I just... I feel like I'll never find anyone..." Bei responded, "I'm sorry if it came as a shock... I probably should have asked first..."
Emi took Bei's hand in hers, and gave it a slight comforting squeeze, "... I really do understand... But asking me first could have been nice, I guess..."
"I didn't think if I asked you would have said yes..."
"... I think I would have... I know how you feel and I feel sorry for you... I felt the same a few years ago... Just... I'm sure you'll find someone..."
"I'm not sure I will... No one likes Quarians... I just feel like I'll be alone for the rest of my life... That's why I kissed you... So I could finally feel it..."
Emi laid her hand on Bei's and gave it a reassuring squeeze, "... I know, you really don't have to try and explain... I'm not angry or anything..."
"Then how do you feel...?"
"... I think I feel sorry for you..."
Emi swallowed, took a deep breath to steady her shaking, and kissed Bei gently on the cheek.
"What was that for...?" Bei questioned, moving a hand to her cheek and gently probing where Emi's lips had been with a finger.
"... I feel sorry for you..."
"Does that mean...?"
Emi nodded, "... Yes... Just... I'm not a hundred percent sure... Please like..."
"Go slow...?"
Emi nodded, "... I don't want to know what Thomson would say... But I feel sorry for you... I don't want you to feel bad... I'll just have to try and explain it to him..."
Bei slowly moved her head closer to Emi's so their foreheads were touching. She could hear Bei's heart beating quickly, alike to her own. It was so... different, to anything that had happened to her before... she just wanted Bei to feel what it was like...
Their lips connected, but parted again a moment later.
They kissed again, but it was over as quick as the first. It seemed that neither of them were willing to kiss properly. Maybe because it was so strange, but also extremely embarrassing.
Their lips touched again, this time for slightly longer as Bei started to grow in confidence. She wrapped her arms around Emi's hips.
"I really do appreciate this..." said Bei, "It feels strange kissing another girl but it's... a good experience..."
"... I feel bad for taking part in it..." Emi replied, "... But I really want you to feel what it's like... It's worth the embarrassment... I think..."
Bei kissed Emi and she kissed her friend back. Their lips stayed together for an eternity in comparison to the other kisses, or at least that was what it felt like to Emi.
"Just to be sure..." said Bei, breaking away from the kiss, "You don't have any feelings for me, do you...?"
"... Of course not, Bei... Do you have any feelings for me...?"
Bei shook her head, "No... Thanks for doing this for me... I just wanted to feel it before I die..."
"... I know... But if you don't mind, I think I'd like to stop... It just feels a little weird..."
"That's fine... Thank you, Emi... I mean it."
They kissed one last time, this one for at least fifteen seconds, then Emi clicked her glass faceplate back into place.

"God damn it," said Thomson, "We've searched every district on Omega and there are still no clues. Seven, get the map. We'll organise another search."
Seven unclicked a metal cylinder from his belt and activated the datapad. A holographic view of Omega flickered into life.
"So," said Seven, "The only place we haven't checked is the central column. But it should be impossible to have a base there. All it is, is pipes and fixtures. It's barely habitable."
"But they have the helmets. If I was guessing I'd say that the design was similar to an Alliance breather helmet," replied Thomson, "They could survive there that way."
A blue ripple started pulsing from the central structure.
"What is that?" Five questioned, pointing at the anomaly.
Seven shrugged, "I don't know. Maybe your friend activated a tracking device."
"He did indeed. I told him to," said Revenge, "That is the location of their base."
"But we're two men down since Two and Three are at the docking area," said One.
"Yes, but you have me," Revenge pointed out, "I will be more of an asset to you."
"Ok then," said Thomson, "We attack in the morning."

Morning came faster than Thomson would have liked. The tracking device was still active, and had been going throughout the night.
They activated their tactical cloaks, making sure the air filters were working correctly on their helmets. The group made their way to the central structure on Omega. It didn't take them long, as it had been designed to be accessible from any part of the space station.
Seven deactivated the map as they reached their destination.
"Revenge," said One, "Go and hack into their security. Open their doors."
The gang's base seemed to be a large array of factories, landing pads and warehouses. They hadn't seen anyone patrolling around the base nor showing any attempt to guard it.
"Hack in progress," said Revenge. There was silence for a few seconds before he added, "Security disabled, opening the front door."
There was a gentle rumbling noise that suddenly became audible. There were no differences in pitch, though clearly one or more things were creating the sound. It was getting louder and louder by the moment.
"What's that?" asked Thomson, having to raise his voice so he could be heard.
"I don't know!" One replied, "But it's getting closer!"
A starship appeared from behind the base. A large, hugely large, craft. At least ten times larger than the Falcon. Probably more, in fact. A Dreadnought.
"Well," Five said, "We now know what was creating the sound."
"But that doesn't explai-" Thomson began.
Two other Dreadnoughts drifted behind it. Followed by row upon row of the heavily armed ships. Thomson counted fifty. A hundred. More.
"... Oh fuck," said One, "Get inside now!"

Alpha stood in the cockpit of the leading Dreadnought, feeling rather pleased with himself. His plan was going perfectly. He had a small collection of starships. But small wouldn't be enough.
Vengeance had told him he was in contact with approximately another thousand people across the galaxy. Some indoctrinated, some not. All were in charge of some sort of organised crime.
If each supplied him with a hundred ships, he'd have a fleet of a hundred thousand by the time they'd reach Sur'Kesh.
"Red two this is Red Leader," Alpha said to Beta's Dreadnought, which was following closely behind his own, "We'll be giving the docking area a quick visit. You head off to the relay. Meet at the rendezvous location."
"Yes sir," said Beta.
Alpha ordered his pilot to break away from the group, and manoeuvre the large vessel towards the docking bay in which Lieutenant Thomson's ship - the SF-2 Falcon, was parked.

"... They're going after Emi," Thomson said as he looked across the empty warehouse, "I'm going to save her. You need to stay here and salvage any data you can. I'll message you if I'm still alive."
"I am coming with you," said Five, "You will need my help."

Alpha strode off the cargo ramp of the Dreadnought, drawing two pistols from the holsters on his belt. Two personnel from the Infiltration Team seemed to be guarding the docking area.
He finished them both with one round to the head, the armour piercing rounds nearly shattering their helmets.
Alpha walked up to the Falcon and quickly hacked into the door mechanism, bypassing all the security protocols on his way. The cargo ramp of the Frigate slid down and he stepped inside.

Emi heard footsteps walking past Bei's room.
"... Thomson?" she called, "... I'm in here."
The door slid apart and an armoured figure stepped into the room.
"Hey, Thom-" Bei began, but realised her mistake, "Wait... Who are you?"
The armoured man tilted his head, "What's this? Two for the price of one?"
Bei threw herself across the room, scrambling for her shotgun. The man fired a pistol at her but the round hit the wall above Bei's bed.
Emi screamed and rolled out from under the duvet, landing on the floor rather heavily.
As Bei raised her shotgun, the man stepped forward and snatched it from her grip. He threw it to the floor, and slammed Bei's head into the wall, knocking her unconscious.
Emi cried out for Bei as she saw her friend drop. She began sobbing uncontrollably, and did her best to move away from her attacker. It only took a few moments for him to trap her in a corner.
"... What do you want?" Emi sobbed.
"Money," growled the man, "And lots of it."
He pulled her to her feet with an iron tight grip on her shoulder. Before she realised what was happening, a fist hit her in the side of the helmet. She cried in pain and fell to her knees.
The man didn't stop. He hit her again, making her hit the floor fully.
He kicked her in the back of the head, and she slipped into unconsciousness.

Thomson growled in both frustration and sadness as he entered the docking bay, and saw the large Dreadnought sitting next to the Falcon, both cargo ramps down. He drew a pistol.
A single figure walked down the ramp of the Falcon with two unconscious forms slung over his shoulder. Emi and Bei. They both appeared to be breathing, which was a good sign.
Thomson saw Alpha drop - literally drop - the two Quarians on to the ramp.
He felt the static build up in his hands, then splayed his palms, creating a shockwave which sent Alpha flying off his feet.
Five and Thomson deactivated their tactical cloaks.
"This ends here," said Thomson, "I'm not letting you take them."
"I fail to see how you can stop me," Alpha responded, "I may be outnumbered, but you still have no chance."
"You could barely beat me," Thomson said, "But you think you can best a master assassin too?"
"No," Alpha said, "I'm going to cheat."
Two rounds were fired. The first one went straight through Thomson's shields and embedded itself in his knee. He hissed in pain and his leg crumpled.
The second shot missed Five by a millimetre, though the two follow up ones took him down, despite his best attempts at trying to dodge them.
Five also collapsed, with a hole in both his legs.
Alpha walked up the cargo ramp of the Dreadnought, and the hatch began to shut. Thomson emptied his pistol whilst trying to shoot the gang leader, but none of the rounds hit his target. Five threw a knife which embedded itself in Alpha's shoulder, but he was lost from sight before they could tell whether it had any effect.
Thomson put pressure on the wound in his leg. It, luckily, seemed to only be a flesh wound. He'd be fine with some medigel.
He took a canister of the gel and jammed it into his knee, injecting the wound directly with the clotting and healing agent. He felt a slight numbness as the painkiller started to take effect.
Thomson got to his feet, though slowly. He helped Five by supporting him, and started trying to help him towards the medical bay.

Several hours later, the gunshot wounds had healed and the Infiltration team was sat in the CIC of the Falcon.
"Call everyone you know," Thomson said, "Call the Alliance. Call the Citadel. Revenge, call the Geth. Get every fleet you can, everyone, and tell them to go to Sur'Kesh. Is the tracking device still active?"
"Yes," said Seven, "They're at Sur'Kesh already."
"Well we need to move fast. They had like two hundred Dreadnoughts. Do you have ships of your own?"
One nodded, "Fighters. Yes."
"Well then, let's get this done. My girlfriend is there. I won't let her be killed, or turned into a slave," Thomson growled.
"So what's the plan?"
"Actually," said Seven, "I think I know their plan.
You see, my suspicions were raised when they dealt with Quarian slaves. It seemed a bit odd, to me. Quarians can barely live outside their suits. So what's the point in having them?
I think, this Renswick guy has traded them more money than is possibly imaginable for his body. He will have granted them a fleet."
"And as for the money?" Thomson questioned, "Where will they get that?"
"They deal in Quarian slaves. They'll have a fleet. They're going to go to the Migrant Fleet and use them as slaves."
"But they'll be shot on sight," Thomson pointed out, "I've been there when I was fighting the Geth. Their security is second to none unless..."
"... Unless they had the passwords, which they'd have got from the previous slaves."
"Oh shit."

A slap brought Emi back into consciousness. She groaned and rubbed the side of her helmet. She had a pounding headache that she could feel behind her eyes and it felt like she had been hit in the head by a speeding Varren. Or a small ship from the Flotilla. She could feel at least seven angry bruises on her face.
She seemed to be in the cockpit of some kind starship. There were terminals dotted around, which seemed to display some sort of statistics to do with weapon systems, although she wasn't sure. There was a window above her head. She could see forests and mountains, but nothing to give any indication where she was.
The armoured man was stood in front of her, with his gun raised and pointed at her head, "What are your codes?" he growled.
"... Codes for what?" she sobbed, "... The Falcon? I don't have any codes... I don't even know how to activate a terminal... I can't even contact my children..."
"For the Migrant Fleet, you stupid bitch," Alpha said, "I know all Quarians are given codes to let them back in the Flotilla after their Pilgrimage. Tell me yours."
She thought for a moment, "... Down in the darkness... Among the depths..."
Alpha punched her and she fell back against the inside of the ship, "I'm not a - what do you Quarians say? - bosh'tet. I know they give you two passwords. Tell me the one which won't involve both of us being killed."
"... I don't want to..."
He punched her again, cracking the glass of her helmet. She shrieked and held her breath, not wanting to inhale the diseased air.
"I don't care. You will die unless I give you the immune system booster I have in my pocket. Tell me the codes and I'll let you live. The air is full of human influenza, filtered by our helmets, but not now by your mask. You will have an allergic reaction in the next few hours."
When she couldn't hold her breath any longer, she forced air into her lungs, "... Please... give me the booster..."
"Tell me your codes. Or you will die."
She cried, "... Ok... Ok... I'll tell you... Just please don't let me become ill..."
"For a Quarian," the man sneered, "You are very beautiful. Has anyone ever told you that?"
She glared at him, then sighed, "... My password is 'Among the stars, among the light'... Please give me the immune system booster..."
The man threw her the small needle full of the clear liquid.
She caught it and pushed it through the seal of her suit, injecting the liquid into her system. She grimaced in pain and glared hatefully up at the man, whilst taking out a replacement faceplate from the pouch in her skirt and fitting it into place.
"... Thomson will kill you..." Emi said, "... He will..."
"Ha!" grinned the man, "I doubt it. Wait until you see the person I'm working for. He'll stand no chance."
"... He's never lost a battle yet... He'll win again..."
"Not this time."
"... He'll be coming for me..."
"Oh, I know. I guarantee it. The idiot will bring the Falcon and try and attack. He'll be killed by my boss before he even gets close to you. As for now..." the man turned towards the second crew member who was watching the scene unfold, "Prepare for stage one."