Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Infiltration - Part 2

He fired a shot up into the air, "Ladies, gentlemen and well... Asari," he called across the bar, "I wish to announce that the club is now under our control. Please help yourself to a face full of metal."
A Krogan laughed and tried to punch him. Before the fist connected, however, the man had fired his shotgun directly into its face.
Blood splashed across the floor and over several members of the crowd.
The man saw Aria T'Loak's Krogan bodyguards run down the stairs towards his small group of elite soldiers. A member of the group, codenamed Epsilon, stepped forwards to face the six large, heavily armed Krogan, drawing a sword.
The first Krogan to be dispatched was done so in a single vicious swipe to its face. Its head was nearly sliced in half. White lightning danced across its body as the electric disruption the sword contained took effect.
The second Krogan came in melee range a moment later, but Epsilon drew a M-11 pistol and shot it once in the head. As it fell, a blue glow surrounded Epsilon's armour as he began to use his biotics.
The man watched in mild amusement as a Krogan only came in contact with thin air after a relatively long charge. It seemed to look around in shock and awe, wondering where Epsilon had gone.
Epsilon dropped from above after biotic jumping up a floor and as he did so, stuck his sword through the Krogan's head.
There was a slight ping and he staggered back as someone fired a gunshot at the man. He turned to see a Turian running towards him, probably the gatekeeper, armed with a sniper rifle. A Black Widow, if he wasn't mistaken.
There were two more gunshots before the Turian was pointing the barrel of the weapon directly at the man's head.
"Drop your weapons and I'll let you live," growled the Turian, "Afterlife is the property of Aria T'Loak. You have no business here."
"Shoot me," said the man, "But there are a hundred and one different reasons why it isn't the best idea you'll ever have."
The Turian pulled the trigger. His sniper rifle clicked.
"Reason number one," the man said, "You've run out of ammo."
He grabbed the barrel of the sniper and smashed it back into the Turian's face. The Turian staggered back then began running.
The man dropped to one knee, ejected the used thermal clip, inserted a new one from his belt, then took quick aim and finished the Turian with a single round to the head. The powerful sniper rifle made his head practically explode.
When he turned back around, Epsilon had already dealt with the Krogan and they were laying dead at his feet.
"As you can see," he said to the rest of the club, "We are more effective than you when it comes to military strength. Please refrain from trying to harm us or I will be forced to shoot you several times in the face."
Another member of his group - Beta - shot a Krogan in the crowd just for good measure.
Alpha, his codename was, felt the weight of the Black Widow in his hands. It was a beautiful weapon. An awesome instrument of death. He'd keep it.
"And, now. Are there any Quarian women in the crowd?" he called. He could see at least two, "I strongly suggest you cooperate or I'll be forced to take drastic measures."
The Quarian women stepped forward in silence, "I'm looking for one of your kind called Emi'Derik. Know her?"

"Tactical cloaks off now!" Thomson yelled, pushing the muzzle of his sub-machine gun into the chin of the leader of the group.
"Well, well," laughed the leader, "What do we have here? Alliance Infiltration Team, I presume. As for you..." he said, nodding at Thomson, "The time you chose to uncloak suggests you know Emi'Derik. The urgency in your attack would make me think you're either related to her or in love with her... I'm going for the latter because you're not a Quarian. Cross reference that with your N7 armour, Alliance team and the Spectre badge on your arm, you must be Lieutenant Thomson. Destroyer of Reapers, rescuer of Emi'Derik and powerful biotic. I know all about you."
"Then you should know I won't hesitate to kill you."
"Actually, you already have," the man said. Thomson fired his sub-machine gun, but before the round connected the weapon was palmed away. He felt a fist hit him in the stomach and he doubled over, but stood up again a moment later.
Thomson swung a punch, but it was blocked. A kick sent him stumbling back and he drew a knife from his belt.
"Really," the man said, as fighting broke out between the two teams, "I thought after your military career, you'd have realised that if you wanted to kill someone, you should do it right away instead of wasting time with idle chat."
"Practice what you preach," Thomson growled and slashed his knife. It failed to get through the man's armour but opened up a long groove in the black metal.
Before he could slice again, the knife was grabbed from his hand and thrown out of range. Thomson punched the gang leader in the face, which hurt his hand more than it had an effect.
He switched tactics, and threw his arms wide. A shockwave took several of the gang members of their feet. Two armoured figures stepped in front of him, one from the Alliance, and the other from the gang. They were each fighting with electric swords and white lightning danced between them every time their blades connected.
Thomson threw a sphere of biotic energy at the leader of the group, throwing him across the bar.
Afterlife was full of gunshots from the opposing groups. There had so far not been any casualties. Shield generators and armour were preventing anyone from landing decisive blows, even with their guns.
A round whizzed past Thomson's head as he closed in on the leader of the enemy gang. He stepped forward and slammed his foot into the man's stomach, but before he could draw it back his ankle was grabbed and he was thrown over the top of the wooden bar and hit the wall at the back. He hissed in pain but got to his feet again.
Since his knife had been lost, he vaulted over the bar and kicked the leader of the group. The leader staggered back, but before he knew what was happening the man had grabbed a shotgun and was aiming at him.
Thomson stopped moving.
"You really shouldn't have come to Omega," said the man, "It won't end up well for you, or your girlfriend. I can promise you that."
He activated his tactical cloak. The man swore and fired several blasts from his weapon. Thomson meanwhile managed to avoid the shotgun rounds and moved behind the man whilst his cloaked deactivated. He leaped on to his back, moving his arm in for a headlock. The man tried to kick him but he caught his ankle between his feet and pushed forwards.
The man fell into the bar, smashing glasses and sending alcohol everywhere. Thomson stepped off his back and on to the wood, using his height advantage to kick the man in the face. As the leader staggered back, he jumped off the bar and landed on the floor once again.
The leader threw a punch, but Thomson blocked it with his forearm and grabbed the man's wrist before he could pull it back. He twisted it behind the man's back and kicked his legs out from under him, throwing him into a vicious summersault which ultimately made him smash his helmet into the bar.
Thomson slid over the bar and grabbed him by the front of his armour, pushing him against the wall.
"Why do you want Emi?" he barked, slamming the man's head into a bottle of Turian vodka, "Tell me!"
"... Employed..." the man gasped.
A round from a weapon hit Thomson's kinetic shield. He let the man drop and turned. There was a man holding two silenced pistols closing in on him.
The weapons discharged several times, but his shield stopped him being killed. There was a blue ripple every time rounds hit the surface of his barrier.
By the time that they were in melee range of each other, Thomson had already launched a punch. It cracked against the metal of the man's helmet, but he didn't even stagger.
The black-clad enemy drew a knife but before he could put it to any use, a round to the back of the leg managed to penetrate through his shields and go through the front of his knee cap. He howled and went down on the floor.
Thomson turned back to the leader of the group, but he had already disappeared - along with the two Quarians. The gang began to retreat out of the club, covered by the largest of the group who provided suppressive fire using a large machine gun. The Infiltration Team dived for cover behind the bar as the heavy rounds hit the wood. Several of the surrounding people in the bar were mowed down, but the majority dived for cover likewise. The door hissed shut as the gang exited.
"Shit," Thomson growled in frustration.
"Hey," said the member of the team who had carried the electric swords, which were now sheathed, "It isn't all bad. They left the member of their team who was shot."
He sighed, "But they escaped. And took two Quarians with them. Is anyone hurt?"
"None of us, no. Just minor wounds, scratches, bruises and stuff. A few of the people within the club are dead, but I'm pretty sure it won't matter here."
A Krogan at the bar began laughing, "Well!" he hollered, "That was interesting!"
Afterlife erupted into a fit of laughter, despite the corpses of the relatively-innocent people who had been killed.
Thomson strode up to Aria T'Loak, "Does this club have some sort of mounted cameras?"
She nodded, "Indeed it does. Unfortunately however I suggest that you leave and never come back. There will be people out for your blood. If you leave now before any more death is spread I'll get one of my agents to come into contact with you about the video footage."
"Thank you," Thomson said, "You're not as bad as people make out."
"Oh," she grinned, "I am much worse than people make out. Omega has one rule: Don't fuck with Aria T'Loak. And if anyone breaks it, like they did, barging in here and killing the leaders of my most loyal gangs, of course I'm going to retaliate. You will be my form of retaliation."
She gave Thomson a piece of paper.
"But there are only ten of us."
"There's only ten of them. Leave, now."

The Infiltration team left Afterlife with no complaints. The gang member who they had arrested had been shackled and was now being carried to an address written on the piece of paper Aria had given him. Thomson presumed it would be some sort of safe house or a place they could use as a base, considering Aria had been more than happy to help them stop the gang.
It seemed serious. Thomson was no expert in whatever was classed as politics on Omega, but the fact that someone as powerful as Aria wanted to stop a gang which consisted of only ten people showed that they posed a significant threat. And anyone who could pose a threat with ten people wasn't to be messed with.
Thomson sighed as they reached the address.

"Where are they?!" yelled one of the Alliance team, "Where is your base?!"
"I don't know!" shouted the captured gang member, "We're not allowed to go there normally. We have to put a bag on our head and we only ever see it from the inside. He likes being secretive."
"Who is he?" Thomson asked, "Your leader. Who is he?"
"His name is... Alpha. That's all I know," the gang member said, "And there are other members in his group. There's Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota and Kappa. Those are the main ten, though there are others. They all follow the Ancient Greek alphabet with their names, and that's their chain of command. I'm Kappa."
"Know anything else?" Thomson barked, "Why on Earth are they after my girlfriend?"
"I don't know. I really don't. Trust me. You have a sword held to my throat. Why would I lie?"

Alpha sighed, "We infiltrated Afterlife and we're still no closer to taking out our target."
"Sir, what about Kappa?" Beta questioned, "Aren't we going to get him?"
He shrugged, "We won't aim for it. Kappa made a mistake. He showed hesitation. If we find him alive we'll welcome him back, but we must focus on the target. He is not important."
Gamma nodded, "I agree."
Epsilon was sat in the corner sharpening some throwing knives, "You are very strange. I hope you all understand that. If you would let me get at them I could take them out one by one and they would never know until it was too late."
"We want to avoid confronting them," Alpha told the master assassin, "You didn't even injure the person on their team. I was injured, Kappa was injured and they just got a few cuts and bruises. What do you think that shows about them?"
"Killing them will be much more fun?" Epsilon shrugged, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
"We need to think about where Emi'Derik could be. She wasn't with her boyfriend, so she's either in one of the housing districts or in the docking bays," Alpha said, "Which reminds me, are the Quarians ready to be shipped out?"
Quarians were rare on Omega. Prejudice against them, even now, carried all the way to the Terminus system. Those who came to the space station were always met with curses and mistreatment, but the gang took it even further.
Because Quarians were so rare, and so little people had seen them out of their suits... it was amazing the prices people paid for one. During sales pitches to potential customers - mainly mob bosses and warlords - they clearly stated that they were not accountable for any damage to the slave that could happen during shipping and collection.
Of course, a few always tried to escape during transportation. What they tended to do now was put those who were going to be sold in a large wooden crate in the back of a van to prevent them from getting away. Beforehand, however, they always had to stop the Quarian from getting away - using fists or weapons.
The Quarian slave trade funded their gang. They had professional military weapons, state of the art armour and the best training available in the galaxy, thanks to their little side project.
"Yes, they're ready. Stage one has been completed," said Beta.
Stage One consisted of locking them all in a room and simultaneously hacking into their suits artificial nerve stimulator system and putting them through unimaginable pain for several hours. By the end of this, most of them couldn't even speak for days afterwards and were susceptible to interrogation. The interrogation got rid of the little personality they had left.
Stage Two was transportation.
"Load them into the van. We'll give them to Urdnot Yar shortly."
Urdnot Yar was a Krogan warlord in charge of the housing districts of Omega. To look for Emi'Derik they would have to infiltrate that district, and selling him five female Quarian slaves could help them gain a little leverage to do what they want, especially since one of them was 'on the house'.
The gang was playing a risky game. Especially with the Quarians. Take too little and you wouldn't have enough profit to buy the necessary equipment. Take too many, and you'll upset some warlord or other - or gain the attention of the Migrant Fleet. And 50,000 starships coming to Omega full of Quarians looking for his gang was not something he wanted to happen. They were constantly negotiating with various companies, gangs and people to assure they had some free reign when it came to hunting down targets and purchasing supplies.
They had purchased a weapons company on Omega who sold black market, and high-end guns. They normally sold to Aria T'Loak, but a promise of a few free Quarian slaves later... and they were delivering Turian rifles, Quarian shotguns and Alliance pistols directly to their main base.
Well, to him. And he transported the weapons to their base.
Alpha nodded to Epsilon, "Go and scout the housing area."
Epsilon laughed, "Finally some fun."

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Infiltration - Part 1

The screen lit up.
"Yes?" the man said as he fastened black armour on to his body.
"You have a target," pointed out the mysterious voice who had connected to the computer terminal
several months ago, "Take her out."
"Affirmative," the man responded with the nod of his head, holstering a pistol at the same time, "I doubt I will be able to get in that close without being noticed. What do you suggest?"
The screen went dim for a moment.
"I suggest..." said the voice, "... Infiltration."

One Week After Tuchanka...

Thomson applied a canister of medigel to Emi's rapidly healing wound. He was starting to see the muscles in her leg knot together and the hole was getting smaller. He could no longer see straight through, one side had healed. Where the round had entered had not. But she was going to make a full recovery.
They had left the Krogan home-world on the Falcon. Bei had chosen to stay with them, and since there was only two Quarians and himself, the ship was once again completely sterile of all germs.
Thomson still kept in contact with Shepard. Apparently he was now taking care of a small uprising on Tuchanka, but it was fairly easy to deal with and he was only a few days away from peace once again.
Emi smiled at him, "... Thank you... I can't wait to see our kids again... I miss them..."
"... Unfortunately I can't go back yet," said Thomson, "I have to sort out that gang. I'll drop you off on the Citadel so you can take care of them."
"... And where will you go?" Emi asked, "You know nothing about them..."
Thomson smiled, "Trust me. There is one place in the galaxy which has a connection to every single organised crime. I'm going there."
"... Omega?"
He nodded, "Omega indeed."
"... You can't go alone," she said, "It's dangerous..."
"Don't worry," he grinned, "I've already sent for an Alliance Infiltration Team. We'll rendezvous in the docking bay. For a start it will be only recon work. No shooting involved."
"... Then I'm coming with you. The Citadel isn't meant for people who can't walk... I won't be able to get to the nursery, let alone look after our children... It'll be better for them to stay there. I'm hardly in a state for looking after myself and two children on top of that..."
"Emi, look... You were shot when you came with me. I'd really prefer it if you stayed on the Citadel."
"... We can compromise," she said, "I'll come with you but stay on the ship..."
Emi had also stayed in contact with Tali'Zorah, who was probably the only reason why she was alive. Doctors didn't know anything about Quarians because they had been rarely seen out of their suit. Thomson felt somewhat honoured to be one of only a handful of people to see them other than people of their own race.
He sighed. He really didn't want her to come. But he knew he'd miss her if he let her go. And she was right. She couldn't look after their children when she couldn't even walk. Coming with him was the only option.
"... Fine," he said, "But I'll initiate a full security lockdown. No one will be able to get in."
She nodded and smiled at him, as she hadn't fastened the glass to her helmet since they had returned to the sterile Falcon, "... Apart from you... I want you to get in..."
"I will come and see you several times a day," he promised, "And there's always videos you can watch."
"... You bought me the full set of books," Emi responded, "... I'll read them... I so far haven't even started the third book."
He kissed her, "I love you, Emi."
"I love you, too," she said with a smile. She moved her arms to the wheels of her wheelchair and moved herself closer to him.
Emi was ill. He could see it in her face. The hole in her suit and the fact that any germs had a good direct entrance to her blood stream meant that she was coughing and sneezing. She had a temperature, and her face was flushed a darker shade of purple than before.
It wasn't technically an illness, however. Although caused by germs, Quarians could only catch diseases from Turians as they were made of the same protein. What Emi was suffering from was most likely an allergic reaction to germs made of a different protein - perhaps a human, Krogan, Asari or Salarian one - when they had entered her blood.
At least the hole had been sealed, so there was no more risk.
Thomson embraced her when she came in his range. He had to lean down a lot to be at her level, but still.
Her head snuggled into his shoulder, "... You need to say a proper goodbye."
"Did I put too much medigel on again?" he grinned, knowing full well it wasn't the reason. Just to make fun of her.
She sighed, "... That wasn't my fault..."

A few hours later, Thomson went to the Combat Information Centre and checked on their progress to Omega. They would arrive in just a matter of minutes. He had already received a message from the Infiltration team regarding their whereabouts and anything of note. They were waiting for him in the docking bay.
Omega was controlled by gangs. Blood Pack, Blue Suns... just a few to name amongst the hundreds that roamed freely, killing anyone who got in their way.
That was the problem with Omega. It had no kind of official security force. Yes, there were some firms who would protect certain areas of the space station - for a price - but their loyalty couldn't be assured. Loyalty was not earned on Omega. It was bought.
Omega was built into an asteroid in the Terminus System. It was described as a place similar to the Citadel, but where sex, drugs and guns run the streets. If you're a nice guy, you don't set foot on Omega. Ever.
Despite several attempts from Cerberus, not even a pro-human military black ops group couldn't get a foothold inside without being shot up in some way.
As long as you had enough money to bribe whoever decided to take a disliking to you, always carried a firearm of some description and didn't accidentally sell yourself into slavery, it was possible to be fine. But the majority of people on the station were either mass murderers, exiles, gang members or warlords. So they were pretty much fine anyway.
The Falcon's autopilot slowed the ship down as it reached the docking bay, or what was used as one. A mechanical arm gripped the ship's wing and held it in place as the engines powered down.
Emi and Bei walked into the CIC as Thomson started to put on his armour and collect his weapons.
"If it's alright," said Bei, "I'm going to stay here with Emi. I have no intention of ever setting foot on Omega. I've heard what happens to Quarians who go there."
Thomson nodded, "That's fine. I won't be long. We're going to see a woman named Aria T'Loak. Apparently she runs all of Omega. All the gangs, everything. People call her 'The Pirate Queen'."
"And you're just going to walk up to her and ask for information?" Bei asked, "Seems... silly. Where even is she?"
"That's something I don't understand," Thomson responded, "Everyone knows where she is. She sits at a table in Afterlife, which is a club, surrounded by the most notorious criminal gang leaders and private security personnel. So no, we're not just going to walk up to her. We're going to sneak into Afterlife using tactical cloaks, take out her security and then threaten her until we have information. Or at least, that's the plan."
"... Be careful," said Emi, "Please be careful..."
"I will. I'll be back in a few hours, don't worry."

He left the Falcon and entered the docking bay, wearing full N7 armour, a breather helmet, and carrying a M-8 Avenger rifle. There were two Turian guards - almost definitely some sort of hired security - stationed on all the doors around the docking bay.
Unlike the clean, white room that greeted you on the Citadel, Omega so far seemed to be mostly brown with dirt and grime. The docking bay had no one in it apart from him.
"Very funny," he said to the air, "We arranged the rendezvous. I'm not stupid."
The air in front of him flickered white for a moment and nine Alliance soldiers appeared in front of him after deactivating their tactical cloaks. They carried a variety of weapons, from sub-machine guns to sniper rifles. The most common weapon of all seemed to be the M-7 Lancer.
The M-7 Lancer was an old weapon. Whereas with newer weapons, to keep on firing your weapon you had to eject a thermal clip and insert a new one to prevent your weapon from overheating, the M-7 Lancer relied on internal cooling systems. This meant, in theory, you could never run out of ammunition until the metal inside the weapon was chipped away. As long as you left it for a few moments, you could keep firing. It wasn't a bad weapon, but whereas reloading took only a few seconds with the M-8, you had to wait for the internal cooling system to return the gun to full capacity before firing again with the M-7, which took at least ten seconds. The Avenger was a lot more reliable.
The group of Infiltrators were wearing completely black armour. The visors of their helmets were tinted and there was not a single centimetre of skin showing. Not even their chins.
Thomson was handed a new helmet, which was alike to theirs, and a device that he attached to his mass effect shield generator. He thanked them, then took off his breather helmet and slid the black one into place.
Although the visor was tinted, he could see perfectly.
"So," said the soldier at the front of the group, "We're going to see Aria T'Loak?"
Thomson nodded, "Yes. We are. We need to keep our tactical cloaks on at all times."
"Affirmative," replied another soldier, and the entire squad vanished.
He did likewise a moment later.

The Infiltration Team moved to the entrance of Afterlife. There was a long line of people waiting outside to get in. And it wasn't just one race. Thomson could see Volus, small round aliens that wore suits to protect themselves from the hazardous air pressure that was so different to the one on their home planet, and Krogan - the large humanoid lizard-like creatures who were native to the planet Tuchanka. There were others too. Salarian, Vorcha, Turians... only a relatively few humans had entered so far.
There was a heavily armed Krogan guarding the entrance. Thomson had noted to the rest of the group that he appeared to be only letting people in once someone had left, to make sure there was the same amount of people in the club at any one time. The only chance they would have to get in would be to sneak past the Krogan and enter the club whilst someone was being let in and the doors were open.
From what he could gather from the murmurings in the long queue, most of which were from the native languages of the different species, Afterlife celebrated well... the afterlife. It was about doing as much as you wanted for as long as you wanted before you died, which, taking into account Omega's reputation, seemed rather appropriate.
However, since the people who generally were on Omega weren't exactly nice, the honesty of what they wanted to do couldn't be assured. Thomson knew from what his commander had once said during his training, at least one fight out broke out in Afterlife every single night. Killings in the club weren't uncommon.
That wasn't the most evil thing done in the club, however.
A Krogan wearing red armour exited the club, and the doorman gestured for the first in line, a Salarian, to enter.
"This is it," said Thomson into the communicator in their helmets, after deactivating the microphone that would make him audible to everyone, "This is our window. Make it count."
His helmet automatically detected the infiltration team as he moved towards the door. They appeared as glowing orange outlines as he looked at them.
The door slid open and the Salarian stepped through. Before it had closed, however, they were inside.
It was a long corridor. Flashing purple holograms were above them with "Afterlife" written in orange lettering. They followed the Salarian to the very end.
"Don't cause any trouble," said a Turian guard stationed just before the club opened up. The loud beating of drums was audible from the music inside the club.
"I won't," responded the Salarian, and stepped inside.
The volume of the music increased at least ten times. It hurt Thomson's ears, but it didn't stop him.
The way the club was arranged was somewhat odd. It appeared to be a circle around a central structure, and there was almost definitely more than one floor.
Barely clad Asari were dancing on the top of tables and some even were on the central structure. Several people were cheering at them.
One of the team handed him a Locust sub-machine gun. He fastened his rifle on to his back and kept the smaller weapon in hand. No matter how good he thought the Avenger was, it was too large for the enclosed space - especially considering they were trying not to arouse people's suspicion by knocking into them.
The group still followed the Salarian. He seemed to be leading them directly to Aria's table, which seemed to be at the highest point in the entire club.
As Thomson passed a Turian, it seemed, out of nowhere, he just punched a Krogan directly in the face. The bar he was sat at suddenly erupted into a fight, and pistols were drawn.
The group continued.
He could see several Krogan gathered around a table, which he presumed was Aria's. They were each wearing different coloured armour, which signified they were from different gangs. One even had the logo of a blue sun on his shoulder.
The group remained hidden as the Salarian stepped in front of the table.
"Aria," the Salarian said, "May I have a word?"
An Asari, who was the only person sat at the table, nodded, "Of course, Nuin. About what, exactly?"
"You see... The Red Dragons aren't happy with the way you have been denying their shipments of Red Sand..."
Red Sand was a drug. Thomson didn't know exactly what it contained, but he knew that it got you high and gave you slight biotic powers whilst you were under its effects. It was very valuable.
"You can tell the Red Dragons that unless they pay their entry fees," growled Aria, "I will be blocking their shipments for the foreseeable future."
"They said you'd say that," smiled the Salarian, and drew a pistol.
Before he could fire, however, Thomson had uncloaked and pointed his Locust at the Salarian's head.
"Thomson!" hissed one of the group via the communicator, "What on Earth are you doing?"
Thomson quickly activated the microphone on his helmet, "Don't move," he told the Salarian.
Aria laughed, "And who might you be?"
The Salarian was hit over the head by the heavy fist of a Krogan, and knocked unconscious. It hit the floor, but was picked up and taken away.
"I'm... looking for information," said Thomson, "And I know you're the one in charge around here."
"You didn't answer my question," Aria pointed out, "So why the fuck would I answer yours? What's to say I just won't kill you now and save myself some bother?"
The Infiltration Team deactivated their cloaks and came into view, aiming their weapons at her bodyguards.
"Do you need any more persuasion?" Thomson asked, raising his weapon at her, "So, will you answer my questions?"
"I normally don't take kindly to being threatened," she said, "But to be honest I'm rather impressed. This is the first time anyone has thought of using tactical cloaks to infiltrate this club and get to me unharmed. So, yes. I will."
"Thank you," responded Thomson. He sat down at the table with her, then began to talk, "I don't suppose you heard what happened on Tuchanka a week ago?"
Aria shook her head, "Should I have?"
"Well, yes. The last surviving Reaper was there," he explained, "I also battled someone who I thought I had killed twice already. A Cerberus operative, or he was. He claimed a gang had sold them the technology that allowed him to remotely pilot a body. People who had a wide knowledge of biology."
"And you thought I'd know about it?" Aria chuckled, "Trust me, if anything like that was happening here, I'd know."
"And that is why I came to you first. So, you don't know anything?"
"I know a gang who is good in biology. They're relatively new. Not under my control yet. But they're growing fast."
"And the technology?"
She shrugged, "I know nothing about that. They deal in trafficking. Specifically Quarians. They use Quarian women like currency and use the money they gain to expand and buy land."
"And as for the biology?"
She nodded, "They specialise in biological weapons, torture, cybernetics and weapons. Everything you need for conducting thorough experiments on those who get in their way."
"Do you know where they are?" Thomson asked.
"No... Wait. Yes, actually."
"Can I have their address?"
"You don't need one. They're downstairs."
A shot was fired, "Ladies, gentlemen and well... Asari, I wish to announce that the club is now under our control. Please help yourself to a face full of metal."
"Oh shit," said Thomson, "Tactical cloaks on!"

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Revenge - Part 9

Thomson waited. And waited. He hadn't been allowed to see Emi since her heart had stopped. He didn't know whether she was alive or dead... But he was starting to fear the worst.
He hoped she'd be fine. He couldn't live without her. If she died, he'd die too. He'd kill himself. There was not any kind of future for him without her. She was his entire world.
If she survived, he'd ask her to marry him. He decided.
Another Quarian woman kept passing in and out of the medical bay with various supplies. Her environment suit was a darker shade of purple than Emi's was, and the purple glass of her helmet was also several shades darker than the one Emi had. He much preferred Emi's suit. It was brighter in colour.
As the Quarian passed again, Thomson decided to speak, "Is she ok?" he asked simply.
The Quarian nodded, then said in an accent similar to Emi, though Emi's was far richer, "They managed to start her heart again. The wound has healed a little and they've plugged the artery to stop it bleeding. She's still... not out of the darkness yet. But she's conscious if you want to talk to her... Well, I think that'll be ok with the doctors."
Relief swept over him like a shockwave. He felt the muscles in his arms relax.
"I didn't catch your name," Thomson said as the Quarian prepared to walk away.
"Tali'Zorah vas Normandy," the Quarian introduced herself as.
"Lt. Thomson of the SF-2 Falcon," Thomson responded, "Are you another one of Emi's friends?"
Tali'Zorah shook her head, "I've never seen her before. But I couldn't just let her die. Quarians aren't like that."
"Thank you, anyway," he said, "I doubt she'd have survived without your help. The medics knew nothing about your species."
She shrugged, "You're welcome. But I should probably get going. I have a drive core that needs some repairs. I've done all I can for her."
Thomson turned towards the medical bay. He had been foolishly waiting for the doctors to come and say she was ok, he realised, but they would be too focused on trying to make sure her heart wouldn't stop. He should have gone in beforehand...
He pressed the green hologram that was in the centre of the locking mechanism and the door opened.
The medical bay was full of activity. The doctors were checking equipment and tending to her gunshot wound, making sure it had stopped bleeding and wouldn't be infected.
As he drew near, he noticed that her eyes were open. She squirmed as a medic applied pressure to her injury as he applied another medigel-soaked bandage.
She turned her head as soon as she heard his footsteps, "... Thomson!" she cried weakly, her voice croaky and soft, "I'm..." she sneezed, "I love you..."
"I love you too," Thomson responded, as he moved his hand so his was entwined with hers. He squeezed her hand, "I thought I'd lost you..."
"... I could never leave you..." Emi replied, "... You're my boyfriend. I love you... I can't stand to be without you..."
He kissed her helmet, "And I can't stand to be without you."
She coughed loudly, "... Next time... I'm staying on your ship..."
"Our ship," he corrected her.
"... Getting shot... hurts..."
"Tell me about it. I'm just glad you're ok."
"... Can... Can we go home?"
Thomson shook his head, "I really, really want to... But I can't be at home whilst a gang is selling people technology with the ability to make remote control bodies. I'll stop them. Then I'll quit completely."
"... We... We need to cement our reunion properly..."
He wasn't sure whether it was the medigel, the immune system boosting drugs or the fact that she had been shot and lost a lot of blood, but she seemed to be acting rather... excitable. She kept changing the conversations every few seconds.
"Uh... I don't think this is the time, Emi."
"... But I love you..."
Thomson tapped a doctor on the shoulder, "When will the medigel wear off?"
"At the current rate... Another few minutes. We're using it in large quantities to heal the wound and it's being used up quickly because of its severity."
"Ok, thanks."
Thomson turned back to Emi, "The medigel will wear off in a few minutes. Then you'll be back to normal."
"... Aww..." she sighed, "... But it makes me feel all warm..."
"That's because it contains a pain killer, Emi. And you've been given a lot."
She shrugged, "... Have you... have you got any help for your injury?"
Thomson shook his head, "Not yet. I'll get some when you're fine again."
"... You should really get some..."
"I'm fine, honestly," said Thomson, "Well, I will be when you are."
He sat down on a chair and her head snuggled into his uninjured shoulder.
"... I really do love you..." she coughed.
"I really love you too," he responded, and kissed her helmet again.
"... Ow..." she mumbled, "It hurts..."
It took him a moment to realise she was talking about her injury, not the fact he had kissed her.
"That'll be as the effects of the medigel wear off," he explained, "Don't worry."
"... I don't feel as warm, now... I feel cold..."
Thomson squeezed her hand, then moved off the chair and down on to one knee, "I told myself if you made it I'd ask you... Emi'Derik vas Falcon... Will you make me the happiest man alive and do me the honour of becoming my wife?"
Emi nearly choked in surprise, "... Thomson... Of course I will... I love you... So, so, so much..."
Her hands moved to her helmet and she unclicked her glass faceplate. It came away in her hand, revealing the beautiful face Thomson had missed seeing in all the time they had been on Tuchanka.
"Emi, what are you doing? Are you sure it's safe?"
"... Immune system boosters... Remember? And... Am I doing it wrong? Sorry... the videos I watched on the extranet kind of showed when someone asks you to marry them it normally ends up with a weird form of kissing..."
"What do you mean, weird?" Thomson asked.
"... Do you lot really stick your tongues down each other's throats? Because that is slightly weird..."
"Hey, it's not down each other's throats. Only in their mouths," he laughed, then added, "But it isn't compulsory."
"... Why do you stick your tongues in people's mouths?"
"I'm not sure. It's just something that people do."
She smiled at him, her glowing eyes glistening, "... I kind of hoped it would be compulsory."
She wrapped her arms around his neck, being very careful not to touch his stab wound, and moved her head closer to his.
He kissed her deeply, and she kissed him back. They continued the kiss for several minutes. Every second of it was fuelled with passion and relief. Their pain was forgotten in the moment.
When they finally broke away, her eyes were closed and she was smiling.
"... Ok," she said, "... It feels a lot nicer than it sounds..."
"You know we'll be getting married, what will happen to your name? Will you be Emi'Thomson?"
She shook her head, "... Emi'Derik Thomson. I think... And you need to meet my parents..."
"Do they know about me?"
Emi nodded, "... They're not very happy at the fact I have a human boyfriend, but..." She sneezed.
"Fiance," he corrected her, "And bless you."
"... Fiance, then... But we will be together, forever..."
"Mhm. Just you and me. For the rest of our lives."
"... I suddenly dislike death... Forever would be better..."
"We all have to die, Emi," he told her, "But we can hope whatever comes after lets us be together too."
"... If it comes down to it, I want us to die together..." she said, "... If you die, I die..."
"But we can't leave the children as orphans," Thomson pointed out, "That'd be selfish of us..."
"... I love them," Emi explained, "But I love you more..."
"We should probably stop talking about death and stuff. We'll be getting married!"
They kissed, as deeply and as passionately as the first.
"... I..." said Emi, "I love you... I just want for us to be together..."
The doctors seemed to be ignoring their romantic outbursts, and instead applied another bandage to her leg. It didn't have much medigel on it, this time. They began fastening her environment suit again.
Once they had finished, Emi fastened the glass back on to her helmet. A nurse came, pushing a black wheelchair in front of her.
She was lifted off the table and into the seat of the wheelchair. She made a sharp intake of breath as her leg was knocked. The doctor apologised.
"We've done all we can," explained the doctor, "She's free to go. She won't be able to walk for a while so she'll be in the wheelchair for a few weeks. But after that she should be fine. We'll give you some medigel and then you can go."
A bandage was applied to his shoulder.
"Thanks," said Thomson, "Thanks for everything."
"... Thank you," said Emi, "... Thank you for not letting me leave him."
They exited the medical bay. Bei appeared next to them as she deactivated her tactical cloak.
"Emi!" she cried, "You're alright!"
Bei leant down to Emi's level and the two embraced.
"... Why are you a soldier?" Emi asked Bei, "... Being shot hurts... Oh keelah. I was shot..."
Thomson moved his hands either side of her neck and rubbed her shoulders. "Have you heard anything from Srateris?" he asked Bei as he felt Emi relax beneath his grip.
"Yes and no... He died when the Reaper fired at us," Bei answered, "Apparently I'm wanted in Engineering too. Something to do with a drive core overheating."
Commander Shepard walked down the corridor towards them.
"I'm sorry I didn't come sooner," he said.
Bei tilted her head, "Your timing was fine. Though it couldn't have hurt to be a few moments sooner. To be honest I'm glad you came at all."
"Well we were told by the Alliance to come. After the events of Earth and when I destroyed the Reapers, they presumed I'd be the best for this job."
"Well, it is a good thing you came. Just in time, too. We were going to be toast out there," said Thomson.
Shepard shrugged, "I'm sure you'd have done alright. It's not like you're new to battles. I read your file."
"We were about to be shot by their energy beam. I doubt we would've survived," said Bei.
"If it's alright," Thomson began, "I'd like to go back to my ship."
"... Me too," Emi pointed out.
"You have a ship each?" Shepard questioned.
Emi shook her head, "... I want to go back to his ship..."
"Oh, right. Oh... I get you," Shepard laughed.

Revenge felt his body collapse under the sustained fire from the starship's cannons. His mind left the metal shell and was uploaded completely to the Reaper network along with the rest of his species. He was no longer alone. At peace, even.
He could no longer see anything but data. Streams and streams of data that sustained the Reaper form inside a network hidden in unexplored areas of space. There was no sense of time. Just a drifting sensation and a slight tingling of data transfer across his entire species.
Hello again, old friends, Revenge thought.
He saw... no, felt, a presence within the network. A evil, vicious presence.
A stream of data was sent his way.
"You indoctrinated my body," said Vengeance, "But I will forgive you. I have a plan."
"What is that?" Revenge questioned with another data transfer, "We have no bodies. All we are is data."
"I have a... client who can help with that. One of the gang who gave Cerberus the technology to let me change bodies. I am currently in contact with them. Then we can have our revenge."
Revenge was starting to regret teaming up with Vengeance. Yes, he still wanted payback, but Vengeance was hell-bent on destruction. At least Revenge still kept the logical side of his mind.
"Fine," he said, and made it clear he wasn't happy with what Vengeance was proposing. He still wanted payback on the people who killed the Reapers, but less so. He'd let Vengeance do all the work.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Revenge Part 8

Renswick fell with a wound in his neck the size of a tennis ball. Blood gushed out of the hole either side of his throat and he choked on his own blood as he sank into the sand.
Thomson moved to Emi. He holstered his pistol as he crouched next to her. His right hand started putting pressure on her gunshot in an attempt to stop the bleeding, though crimson liquid still flooded between his fingers in a never ending stream.
Her only chance was to get to the Falcon. It appeared the round had hit something in Quarian anatomy similar to a major artery. He knew that the wound wouldn't stop leaking blood until she had no more left.
A third missile struck the Reaper, knocking it on to its back. Thomson lifted Emi up into his arms, grimacing from the effort in account for his injury. He began running as fast as possible up the side of the sand bowl. There was no time to lose.

[Indoctrination Complete]
Revenge stood up with a large hole in his neck.
"Weakling," he grunted, as the wound healed over.
He made his more metallic form get to its feet and try to fire a beam of energy, but once again a missile struck him.
He turned his head to see two figures running up the side of the hill.
Revenge waved his hand and they were sent rolling back down. There were cries of pain from both of them.
"You cannot win," said Revenge to the fallen human, "We are eternal. We survive no matter what."
"Survive this, bitch," growled the human, drawing a pistol faster than even Revenge could see. There was a silenced gunshot, straight between the eyes.
Revenge exited the body.

Thomson pulled Emi into his arms and lifted her up again, supporting most of her weight with his right arm. He climbed the hill again, this time pushing his body to its very limit.
By the time he was at the top, he was aching everywhere and felt like he was close to collapsing.
"Bei!" he shouted, "I need some help!"
"... I love you," Emi said softly. Her glowing eyes were starting to dim.
"No no no no no," Thomson cried, "Stay with me... Please..."
"I... Love... You... I love you..." she whispered.
Her body went limp as she slipped into unconsciousness.
Bei appeared next to them, "Oh keelah..." she said, "We need to get her to the Falcon."
"But that's ages away..."
There was a groaning noise from the Reaper. It set a beam of energy at them that carved across the sand. Thomson couldn't see what happened to Srateris. But the beam was getting closer and closer.
He started running with Emi in his arms, in an attempt to move out of the way. But the beam just followed them. Bei was in front of him, as she was able to move faster without anything to carry.
He started to feel the wave of heat through his armour. It would be upon them in a few seconds...
A large ship swooped overhead. Same class as the Falcon, though this one was mainly white with a black and blue stripe. It flew over the Reaper, distracting it from its energy beam.
Then the Alliance Frigate shot it repeatedly with its cannons. Explosions tore up the Reaper's armoured shell. The light dimmed in its glowing orb and it hit the ground a moment later. It kicked up a large plume of sand that scattered into the air.
Thomson got a glance at the name down the side of the ship. The Normandy SR-2.
The legendary vessel landed in front of them. Sand was thrown into the air by the powerful engines as it hovered a few metres above the ground. The ship was making a loud whispering noise as it struggled to remain in a single place.
The cargo ramp at the rear of the Frigate lowered with a whir and a single figure walked to the edge.
"Hello," the armoured man called, shouting above the engines, "Need any help?"
"She needs to get to the med bay," said Thomson, "Now."
Commander Shepard nodded in response, gesturing for them to come on board. Emi's breathing was becoming shallower and her pulse was becoming weaker. The front of Thomson's armour was coated in her blood.
He didn't hesitate. He climbed up the cargo ramp and boarded the vessel.
"We need a med team!" shouted Shepard, "Get the doctors down here now!"
Shepard nodded at his injured shoulder, "Do you need medigel?"
Thomson shook his head, "Not until she is fine."
A crew of six people who all wore red and white lab coats ran from the elevator at the rear of the shuttle bay. Between them they held a stretcher.
Thomson lifted Emi up on to the stretcher and followed the med team as they ran back towards the lift.
One of the doctors checked her pulse and sighed, "It isn't looking good. She's lost a lot of blood. Her heart rate is slowing."
"We need a trauma kit, some medigel, a heart monitor and some immune system boosters ASAP," answered another doctor as the elevator activated. It took a few seconds for it to go up a floor.
She was carried along a corridor and through a heavy, metal, circular door. The medical bay was predominantly white in colour and lab equipment was dotted around the room.
As soon as they set the stretcher on to a table, they cleaned the wound with some antiseptic, then put medigel inside and out of the hole.
They injected Emi with drugs meant to boost her immune system, so they could successfully take off the leg part of her suit. They used a specially designed port on a Quarian's right wrist, where it had a small adaptive hole meant for needles. It was closed permanently, though a syringe could get through. It did form a seal around the edge, however, to reduce the risk of contamination.
Two doctors began to unfastened the straps and buckles on her suit, whilst the others checked datapads that showed her vital statistics. Their faces weren't happy.
Thomson looked down at Emi in a state of complete worry. His chest was aching in sadness.
"Please don't die," he whispered to her, "For the love of god, don't die... I can't live without you..."
As the doctors peeled away her tight suit, the wound was revealed. You could see right the way through to the stretcher underneath, and yet it still leaked blood. A pool was forming on the table beneath her.
There was a gentle pulsing as the doctors attached a heart monitor to her. It was getting slower and slower by the moment.
A doctor applied medigel to a long bandage and strapped it around her leg.
"She's very weak," a doctor said to Thomson, "We don't know whether she'll pull through. If she does, she might be completely fine. But then again there's always the possibility that we'll have to amputate her leg. But we don't know enough about Quarians to know whether her body will be able to stand up to the stress of surgery."
"Just please do what you can..." Thomson said.
Commander Shepard walked into the med bay. He still wore his N7 armour - he was the same grade as Thomson. Not bad.
"Do you have a Quarian on board?" Thomson asked him, "The doctors know nothing about them... They're not really sure what they can and can't do."
Shepard nodded, "We have one. I'll go and use the intercom. I'll be back in a moment."
Emi's heart rate slowed. There was only a gentle pulse of sound once every few moments.
"Please, please, please, please, please..." Thomson said to her, "You'll be fine. You have to be..."
A long beep signalled that her heart had stopped.
"Cardiac arrest!" yelled one of the doctors, scrambling for a portable defibrillator. Thomson was ushered out of the room.
"Emi!" he cried, trying to push his way through - but to no avail. The doctors shut the door of the med bay. The last thing Thomson heard before the door hissed shut was the high pitched whine of the defibrillator charging up.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Revenge - Part 7

Thomson could hear Emi sobbing from inside her chair and the soft humming of machines from Renswick.
"Renswick you bastard," he growled, "How on earth are you alive? I killed you. And then you were turned into the Human-Reaper and then a Reaper killed you. You can't still be living."
The ex-Cerberus agent grinned, revealing teeth with little red lights and black wires running across them, "Well, you see, I can. Cerberus was sold some technology from a criminal organisation who specialise in biology research. It's what made the transfer between human and Human-Reaper possible. But it was not a complete transformation. Cerberus healed me before I died and let me control the Reaper body without actually being inside it. It was like a remote control inside my brain. You destroyed my improved body, but my human body still survived. And then I came back for revenge."
"And what about all the wires on your face?" Thomson asked, "Are they from the experiment too?"
"What wires?" Renswick questioned. He started probing his face with his hands and felt the metal that made up the machinery on his face, "Oh... Indoctrination. I'll kill Revenge when I see him next. Anyway, back to my point. To be prepared for the process, my mind had to be linked to the Reaper network. And I had to have Element Zero implants so the electrical impulses to my brain could be harvested for the remote-control body. This gave me extremely powerful biotic powers, and the ability to connect to the network remained when you killed me for the second time. But I can promise you this, Thomson. I will not rest until you are killed."
"And I will not rest until you are put down for the final time, bitch," Thomson hissed.
Emi was struggling against her bonds of energy, grunting slightly every few moments with the effort. Thomson dislodged the mass effect fields and the blue energy dissipated into the air. Emi moved her hands back on to her lap and rubbed her wrist, "... Bosh'tet," he heard her say to Renswick, "... You're a monster... You always will be... I don't like you... I never trusted you..."
"Shut up," said Renswick, turning his head to smirk at her.
By the time he had turned back around, Thomson had moved to the side of him and used a blast of pure biotic energy to propel Renswick across the small room. His back hit the wall and the brickwork crumbled, sending both him and the remainders of the powerful mass effect field shooting out of the network of laboratories.
Renswick landed face-down in the sand. Thomson stepped out into the sunlight of Tuchanka as his enemy stood up again. They were at such close range that it left their biotics practically useless, so they engaged each other with their knives.
Thomson sliced his knife and opened up a crevice down Renswick's cheek, severing leads of several wires. Renswick, in response, sliced at Thomson's chest and made a long cut across his armour, but failed to draw blood.
As Renswick slashed again, Thomson grabbed him by the wrist and pushed him backwards up on to a large black rock just to put some distance between them. He then launched a biotic warp, but it was blocked.
Renswick slashed at Thomson's stomach, making a holster containing a M-3 Predator land on the ground. Thomson hissed as the sharp tip cut into his stomach a little.
Thomson thrust forwards with his knife. Renswick sidestepped out of the way and used the now relatively large distance between them to knock Thomson back with a shockwave.
"You can't beat me," said Renswick, "I have grown stronger than you."
"... D... Don't move!" Emi shouted from behind them. Thomson and Renswick turned their heads to see Emi holding the M-3 Predator at the ex-Cerberus agent.
"Emi..." said Thomson, "You're holding it the wrong way... Don't shoot, whatever you do..."
She looked down to see the muzzle of the pistol pointing at her chest. "... Oh." she said, and was in the process of turning it around when Renswick made the pistol fly from her grip with the wave of a hand. She started chasing after it, whilst Thomson kicked Renswick in the groin, stood up, punched him in the face and then kicked him in the stomach.
Renswick fell back against the black rock with a bloody nose. "Bastard!" he hissed.
"Hey," said Thomson with a smile, "You can't say you didn't deserve that."
They both sent shockwaves at each other at the same time, cancelling them both out. As Renswick stood up again, Thomson climbed on to the top of the black rock to give him a height advantage.
The black rock began to rumble.
"Time to meet my partner in crime," grinned Renswick.
It wasn't a rock. It was a Reaper.

Revenge climbed out of his hiding place in the ground. Immediately, a round from a sniper rifle ricocheted off his kinetic shields.
He opened up the energy weapon that he concealed within his shell, and let loose a red beam in the direction where the sniper bullet had come from.
Its sensors were picking up life signs on the top of its head. One was Vengeance who was up to 97% indoctrination, and the other was one of the team who was trying to kill him. They would probably kill each other, so it would be down to it to kill the two who were currently trying to shoot at him.

Emi gasped as the Reaper climbed out of the sand. Thomson and Renswick had disappeared and were currently standing on top of the giant black machine.
As its legs climbed out, she was lifted up too. She yelped and held on to the small platform she was stood on by flattening herself against its leg and draping her hands over the side.

Thomson was momentarily set back by the Reaper standing up. He was knocked off balance and nearly fell off the edge to his death, but managed to regain his footing against the metal and push off, turning it into a lunge with his knife.
Renswick grasped the handle of his knife and twisted it out of his grip, then stabbed with his own. Thomson roared in pain as it embedded itself in the muscle of his left arm. He staggered back, hands instinctively putting pressure around the blade.
He didn't take it out. It wasn't life threatening and was currently plugging a large hole. Only a slight trickle of blood was coming out from his armour instead of a large gush. It became less of a stabbing pain and instead changed into a dull, but equally noticeable, throbbing.
Thomson took a step forward so he was in range of Renswick and threw a punch at the side of his head. Renswick's head twisted to the side and his hand grabbed the hilt of the knife sticking out of Thomson's arm and twisted.
Thomson hissed but didn't stop. With his right hand he blasted Renswick with a pure wave of biotic energy, throwing him off the top of the Reaper's head and towards the sand below.
Because of his now useless left arm, he couldn't lower himself down off the top of the Reaper.
"... Thomson!" Emi shouted. Thomson looked down and saw her laying down on one of the Reaper's legs. She was looking extremely unstable and she was shaking.
"Emi! I'm coming!" he shouted in response. It wasn't that far down to the leg of the Reaper. He might be able to manage it...
Thomson jumped off the top of the Reaper. He pushed his only working hand down and a mass effect field came into existence around him. He used it to slow his fall, though because he was only using one hand, the effect was somewhat lopsided so it didn't do what he intended. But it did manage to slow him down, a little.
He landed heavily on the leg of the Reaper. He grunted in pain as the knife in his shoulder was knocked by the vibrations of his impact.
"Emi..." he said, "Are you ok?"
She nodded, "... Keelah... What happened? ... Are you ok? ... Do you need help?"
Thomson shook his head, "I'll be fine... Probably need some medigel but I don't have any..."
A missile struck the Reaper in the glowing orb that formed its weapon. Fired from Srateris, no doubt. The Reaper staggered back, moving its legs as it did so. The sudden shift in balance sent Emi catapulting over the top of him and over the edge of its leg.
Thomson moved the fastest he had ever done in his life. He dived to the edge, grasping her wrist with both hands and supporting her weight himself.
The knife slipped out of the wound and it began leaking dark crimson blood. Because of his injury, he couldn't keep hold of her. His grip started faltering as his right arm had to over compensate for his useless left.
He'd have to let go. If he didn't she'd drag him down with her. The grip his feet had on the metal surface was far from good.
"... Please don't let go..." she begged, "I love you..."
"I love you too," said Thomson, "But... Do you trust me?"
She nodded, "... With all my heart."
"I promise I'll catch you," he said, then let go just as he was about to fall with her.
She screamed as she began falling towards the ground. He jumped after her, folding his body to make it more aerodynamic, and pushing himself faster using a biotic field.
As he drew near her, he grasped her by the shoulder and held her close to him in a quick embrace.
He pushed downwards with his right hand, slowing their descent and sending him flipping beneath her as they hit the ground.
Emi cried. Relief flooded through her as she rolled off Thomson and hit the sand. She definitely didn't like heights. Her heart was beating quickly in her chest and she just felt like curling up into a ball and letting Thomson wrap his arms around her.
"... Thomson?" she said, noticing that her boyfriend wasn't making any sound whatsoever.
He was still breathing, which was a good sign. Blood soaked his left arm, but it didn't look to be life threatening... He was unconscious. The fall had knocked him out.
There was a loud bang from beside her and then the next thing she knew, she was thrown off her feet and was looking into the red sky of Tuchanka.
It was Thomson's shield generator that saved her life from the pistol shot from Renswick.
She scrambled to Thomson and grabbed a pistol from his belt, and held it in shaking hands at the ex-Cerberus officer.
Renswick laughed and fired another shot, taking the pistol from her grip with a well-placed round. She screamed quickly and went to collect the fallen gun. But she was too slow.
 He dived on her and pushed his pistol against the glass of her helmet.
"I can't wait to see his reaction when he wakes up and sees you dead," grinned Renswick. He tilted the gun and fired, shooting her in the thigh.
"Keelah!" she screamed as the bullet went straight through her leg and into the sand beneath her, making a fist-sized hole in both her environment suit and her skin. She cried in pain and put both hands on the hole, trying to stop diseases as much as she was the bleeding.
She gritted her teeth inside her helmet and began repeating "Bosh'tet" over and over again, whispering more than shouting.
Emi looked down into the barrel of the powerful pistol as Renswick aimed at her again.
"... Please..." she begged, keeping both hands on her rapidly bleeding wound, "... Renswick please..."
"What is it you Quarians say?" Renswick smirked, "You will live among your ancestors?"
She closed her eyes.
There was a loud gunshot.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Revenge - Part 6

Thomson did not sleep. Instead, he planned. He logged on to the extranet and, using coordinates given by the tracking system that belonged to his pistol, he brought up some rough plans of a long-since-abandoned Krogan laboratory. It was where Vengeance was hiding with Emi.
Apparently his planning was also keeping Srateris and Bei awake, so they were helping him too.
"So this is what we're going to do," he told them, "Srateris, the facility is located in a bowl of sand. I want you providing sniper support from the top, since you'll be in an elevated position. Bei, you cover him. I will enter the facility. They haven't had time to make that much of a force so I could probably deal with them by myself. We will stay in radio silence unless if it is absolutely necessary. Any questions?"
"Yeah," Bei said, tilting her head in confusion, "What happens if you meet a Banshee?"
"I'll kill it," he said, "I'll go and get the equipment I need."
As Thomson turned towards the several silver crates that held the equipment the group had, Bei sighed and said to Srateris quietly, "What's wrong with him? He can't enter a Reaper facility alone."
Srateris nodded in agreement, "I read his file. Apparently he has entered several enemy facilities alone and come out alive. There was an incident in London whilst the Reapers were attacking. He tried to rescue Emi by launching a small attack against a large Cerberus safe house, in the middle of Reaper-controlled city. He must kind of go into a blood rage mode when Emi is kidnapped."
"It's understandable, though," Bei said, "They do love each other and they've had children together. Seriously, Emi told me how much she loves him. It's gone beyond a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship into something where they can't be apart from each other. Like they mentally can't stand being apart. I've never seen anything like it. I've seen people who love each other and want to be with each other, but they would do anything for one another. It's..."
"... silly?" Srateris questioned, "A military man shouldn't be allowed to have a wife and child. Especially with the situations Thomson has been in over the past few years. They can only be used against him."
"I wouldn't say silly. I think it's cute," Bei shrugged, "But I agree with the other stuff. They're easy for the enemy to exploit. Going back to the point, though, don't you think it's like... They are so in love. I will bet you two thousand credits they'll still be together by the time they die."
"Deal," said Srateris, "But if one of us dies, just upload the credits to the account anyway."
"What if both of us die?"
"Thomson can upload the credits."
"And what if we all die?"
"Then the deal is off. Because we'll be dead."
They shook hands, though somewhat awkwardly. Both had been in contact with humans, but had not yet mastered the action of a handshake. They accidentally did it in the wrong direction, instead of moving their hands up and down, they ended up moving them horizontally. But still. It had the same effect.
"I can hear you, you know," Thomson said, "You're not exactly being quiet. Yes, Emi and I love each other. And I'm going to rescue her. But you don't have to put a bet on something that is practically certain. As you said, Bei, Quarians are extremely loyal. And so am I."
"I can see that," Srateris said with a nod as Thomson loaded two M-11 pistols and two M-3 Predator pistols and attached them to holsters on his belt.
"How many weapons do you want?" Bei asked, nodding towards him.
"As many as I need. About twelve. Well, that's what I have so far."

As Thomson had said, the empty Krogan facility was in the middle of a large dip in the sand - like a bowl. It wasn't exactly the best place to hide a facility, due to the fact that it was in a completely useless tactical position... But it had been a medical research centre. It had no military importance. So for whatever reason why Vengeance had decided to make a base out of the array of laboratories, Thomson knew that it was in no way connected to a defensive position.
There was something else going on, he was sure of it.
Srateris was laid at the top of the hill with his extremely powerful sniper rifle aimed at the facility below. The facility was made up of what seemed to be several long white corridors, though Thomson knew that each would probably lead to a different laboratory.
He made his way down the hill, which only took him a few moments. The inclination of the slope meant that he had no choice but to run down. He was armed to the teeth with weapons. Two M-8 Avengers, two Katana shotguns, several knives, two M-11 silenced pistols, two M-3 Predator pistols, two Phaeston rifles and two Locust sub-machine guns. He couldn't move very fast because of this, but he had no need to move fast. The back of his armour was full with compacted weapons.
Thomson reached the front door. There were no guards, no nothing. Not even a single Husk was in sight.
He had not yet drawn any weapons, so he summoned a mass effect field in his hand and threw a shockwave at the heavy metal door. It crumpled inwards and was sent flying into the interior of the abandoned medical station.
He stepped inside, grabbing a M-3 Predator from his belt. The bright lights on his helmet activated and lit up the darkness. Even though it was daytime outside, the bowl of sand prevented any light from entering the facility, shrouding it in a mysterious band of darkness.
There was a growling noise. He turned just to look into the eyes of a Husk, who stared back at him with its blue, lifeless, synthetic eyes.
He took it down with a well-placed headshot at point blank range. The now completely lifeless corpse hit the floor.
More growls were audible all around him. The room came alive with glowing eyes and flashing synthetic equipment. All Husks.
He growled back at the organic-synthetic zombies. He saw their twisted muscles clench as they prepared to dive at him. His muscles clenched in anticipation.
The first one moved, but so did he.
As a Husk sailed through the air at him, he stepped to the side and shot it in the head before it had even hit the ground. He double-tapped a Husk that was running at him and it dropped with two rounds in its chest.
He then spun, and began firing at the Husks on the other side of him, shooting almost blindly at the glowing eyes. Several dropped, but the others started closing in even more. When his pistol clicked empty, he threw the useless weapon at the Husks, and drew one of the Locusts instead.
For the pistols, each weapon, he only had one magazine left. So that left his second M-3 Predator with no ammo.
Thomson pulled the trigger on the sub-machine gun and it immediately sent several rounds through the head of a Husk. He didn't stop firing until every blue light in the room went dim.
He returned the Locust to his back and detached his trusty M-8 Avenger as he walked into the next laboratory. There was a high pitched scream that pierced the air around him. Banshee.
The laboratory he was now in actually had bright lights that lit up the room. He could see a lot better than he could in darkness, although it took his eyes several moments to adjust.
There was a blue flash and a Banshee appeared in front of him. It towered over him with its long twisted body. It had its hands - and its sharp claws - at its side.
Thomson dived to the side as a pulse of blue energy flew at him. He put his M-8 away and drew one of his shotguns. His rifle collapsed for ease of transport as the M-23 Katana folded outwards.
The first shot he fired did absolutely nothing but cause miniature ripples across the surface of the Banshee's biotic barriers. If he wanted to take it out easily, he'd have to get in close. Which would be somewhat problematic since Banshees tended to stab you with their claws, and had devastating biotic powers.
Oh well.
The Banshee launched a biotic warp at him. Thomson dodged it by jumping up on to a lab table, which put his head on the level with the Banshee. As he moved in close it slashed its claws at him, meaning that he had to take a step back to avoid his head being severed from his body.
He kicked the Banshee as it attempted to stab him, knocking its hand down. As he did so, however, he pushed the barrel of his shotgun through the biotic barrier that encased the creature, and pulled the trigger right into its face.
Its head was torn apart nearly instantly. It was dead before it hit the ground.
He collected his M-8 again, and put the shotgun back on his back. The rifle unfolded as the shotgun collapsed.
Thomson continued walking into the next laboratory. The second to last.
This was full of the Reaper-Krogans. They growled at him as he walked into the lab and began firing some energy weapons that had been grafted to their arms. He took cover behind a table, but could still hear the sounds as the bullets hit the wood on the other side.
He rested his rifle against the top of the table and began firing. Luckily they had no armour or shields, so he was able to take them out with about five shots to the head. Each. They had the thick skin of the Krogan after all.
The last laboratory. And he'd bet any money that was where Emi was being held. But that also meant that Vengeance was there too.
Once again, he ripped the door open with a biotic shockwave, and stepped in. The door made a clanging noise as it hit the floor.
It was no laboratory. The walls were a dark brown, and there were bars on the windows, making it seem like a dungeon than a medical facility.
Emi was sat on a chair with blue energy surrounding her arms and chest. She was being held in place by mass effect fields.
The dark, cloaked figure - Vengeance - was stood next to her. He had got himself in a defensive position as soon as the door had been knocked in.
"... Thomson!" Emi cried, "He's..."
"Hello Lieutenant," said Vengeance, interrupting her.
"Hello you son of a bitch," Thomson responded, putting his rifle on his back and drawing a large knife. Vengeance drew his own blade, this one with a vicious serrated edge. Thomson noticed a small device was protruding from the sleeve of his cloak.
He summoned a mass effect field in his hand and sent a shockwave at Vengeance. The device unfolded and there was a soft whump and a concussive shot intercepted the rippling field of biotic energy.
There was only a handful of people who Thomson knew who had figured out what a concussive shot could do to a mass effect field. Most of them had been killed when the Reapers struck. The only remaining one he had killed himself.
"But that's impossible..."
Vengeance moved his hands to his hood and swept it back, revealing a face covered with cybernetics. Wires were trailing in from his neck and shoulders and there were pulsating lights beneath his almost translucent skin.
Despite the radical changes from the indoctrination, the face was very recognisable.
Vengeance was Renswick.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Revenge - Part 5

"He's here!" shouted Srateris from outside. Thomson's eyes snapped open. He was already in full armour, so all he had to do was collect his M-8 Avenger from the side of the bedroom compartment, and exit the tent.
Thomson immediately levelled his rifle at Vengeance, and fired a quick burst of rounds. They were blocked, of course, but it was worth a try.
His mind went back to his training as he started closing in.

Seven Years Earlier...

"When it comes to biotics," explained Thomson's commanding officer, "They are pretty impossible to get past. Your only chance is to make sure they can't use their powers. Most biotics will have a relatively long recharge time, so they will be weakened for a few seconds after every attack they make. Some Asari, however, have pretty much no breaks between attacks. They can launch warp after warp after warp at you without any rest. So just rely on your weapons. If they get lost there's always a tracking device in them."
"So how do we deal with them?" Renswick asked, "There must be a way to stop their attacks."
"No, I'm afraid not. Biotic energy is pretty much impossible to stop unless you're a biotic too," the CO pointed out, "So Thomson, you're fine."
Thomson grinned, "Yay. Renswick, I bet you're regretting your parents not exposing you to Element Zero."
Renswick glared at him, "There must be a way. Not even biotics can stop a blast of dark energy at close-quarters. I'm going to try and find a way around it. Thomson, throw a shockwave at me."
"Uh, now?"
"Yes, now. Practice makes perfect."
Thomson stepped away from Renswick and a mass effect field gathered in his hand. He thrust his hands forwards and a blue shockwave tore through the air towards his partner. It wasn't the strongest he was capable of doing, more for practice than anything else.
Renswick tried punching the shockwave but he was knocked to the ground.
"Again," he said as he stood up from the ground. Renswick prepared a concussive shot ready to fire.
Thomson waited for the tingling feeling that meant his biotics were ready to use again, then launched another shockwave.
Renswick fired the concussive shot. There was a ripple in the shockwave as the round detonated. The shockwave was halted and dissipated completely.
"Fuck yeah!" Renswick laughed, "Ha! Biotics! Who needs them?"
Thomson threw him backwards with a pulse of blue energy, then grinned. "Well, they are kind of useful."

Thomson fired a quick burst of gunfire from his rifle to cover Srateris who also started getting closer. Not even a biotic could prevent a blast of dark energy at close quarters, so his entire plan consisted of getting in blast range and trying his best to take Vengeance out.
As Vengeance turned towards him, Thomson noticed that his eyes were glowing blue. Almost like a Husk's. It looked like some sort of indoctrination, maybe caused by the Reaper. Still, any advantage they could get would be extremely useful against such a powerful foe. Indoctrination could only work in their favour, since it would make Vengeance slower than usual.
Vengeance fired a blast of biotic energy at him, but Thomson had enough time to throw up a quick mass effect field to block the strike. When his rifle clicked empty, all the bullets being blocked, he threw it to the sand and drew his Predator pistol instead and began firing with that.
Srateris fired his sniper, but the round was blocked by a biotic barrier. However, the distraction by having to summon a mass effect field and concentrate on sustaining it, doubled by the fact that he was indoctrinated, meant that Thomson could draw his knife and slice into his back. It wasn't a deep cut, but it would reduce his combat capabilities.
Vengeance turned and back-handed him across the face. Thomson staggered slightly but raised his pistol and tried to shoot the powerful biotic in the face. His pistol was grabbed and knocked to the side. Vengeance dissembled his pistol with the press of a button on the inside of the trigger guard.
As his gun fell to pieces, Thomson punched Vengeance in the face. He grimaced slightly as it felt like his fist had hit a brick wall.
Vengeance swung a punch at him, but he ducked, smashing his palm into Vengeance's stomach. The biotic doubled over, so Thomson took a step back and unleashed a shockwave.
Emi had not been part of the attack planning. Bei had just woken up and was scrambling for her Reegar Carbine, but they had presumed that Emi would have kept out of it.
They presumed wrong.
Emi cautiously walked out of the tent, and saw the battle that was happening before her. Srateris was firing his sniper repeatedly, all rounds being blocked, whilst Thomson was in a fist fight with a powerful biotic.
There was a flash of blue and then Vengeance biotic jumped next to her, then they both vanished.
"Emi!" yelled Thomson. He stamped his foot on the ground in anger and sadness. His foot kicked up a small cloud of sand, "Fuck!"
Srateris sighed, "Now there's only three of us. We don't know where they are to even try and rescue her."
"We're going to rescue her," Thomson pointed out firmly, "We have to."
" Where do you think we should look first?" Bei questioned. Her voice was raised in frustration. Emi had been her friend, after all.
"Well," growled Thomson, "We should start in the location that is shown on my tracking beacon, after I slipped the tracker in my pistol into Vengeance's pocket when he disassembled my gun."
Srateris smiled, "Clever."
Thomson was in no mood to joke, so he just nodded and took out a device from his belt.

The Reaper disabled Emi's voice amplifier system inside her helmet by hacking into her suit. It had changed it to such an extent that no matter how much she shouted and screamed, no one could hear her. But shout and scream she still did.
She was escorted into a room by two Banshees. The Banshees frightened her. She just wanted to run back to Thomson... She started crying. She didn't know where she was or how she got to the small building. She had seen hundreds of frightening Reaper creatures. Blue-eyed monsters with grey, twisted flesh and almost translucent skin.
The room was small and dull. The walls were a pale brown colour. There were two pieces of furniture, and that was it. Two chairs. One soft and leather, the other misshapen and made of wood.
She was forced to sit down on the wooden chair. She could feel every lump as they started digging into her, but none were thin enough to pierce her suit.
Instead of having her hands tied her back, they were forced behind her and held that way using a mass effect field. Her arms were in an uncomfortable position and they started aching nearly instantly.
Whilst she was being held in place, a Banshee lowered itself down to the level of her helmet. Emi was so close that she could see wires through its grey flesh and sharp teeth in its mouth. It screamed at her and she screamed back, but hers was filled with fear. She tried to back away but the chair prevented her from doing so, so all she could do was shut her eyes. She felt herself starting to shake uncontrollably.
The Banshee extended its hand, which had several long claws protruding. Its nails must have spanned about half a metre, and looked extremely sharp. It placed its hand over her helmet and pushed her head back against the chair, and held that too in place with a mass effect field. She tried struggling but it had no effect on the blue energy that bound her.
Tears were spilling out of her helmet through the induction port. It ran down her environment suit and landed in a pool at her feet.
The Banshee also seemed to be smiling at her when it moved back to its normal level. There was a blue flash and then the Banshees vanished altogether.
She was trembling uncontrollably, crying and screaming. But she could not be noticed inside the confinements of her suit.
She not-so-silently begged and cried for Thomson to come to rescue her. He always did - he even launched a near-suicide mission for her when Cerberus had her captive... But it felt different. There was outnumbered, then Reaper outnumbered. Thomson couldn't even know where she was, let alone the military strength of the Reapers.
The cloaked man who had attacked Thomson strode into the room. Even though the Banshees were no longer nearby, the energy that was holding her in place remained.
"Hello Emi'Derik," said Vengeance. He was still wearing his hood, though light from his blue eyes and advanced cybernetics protruded outwards. Almost like a man fused with a robot.
Emi said nothing. She glared at him, not that it would have any effect considering she had a helmet on.
"Well," Vengeance chuckled, "This is no fun. Let me activate your helmet's electronic systems again."
"... Bosh'tet!" she screamed at Vengeance as soon as he had disabled the Reaper code using his Omni-tool.
"Well, I presumed a young... thing such as yourself would have better manners," laughed Vengeance, "But then again, all your species are just a bunch of liars and thieves. I can't expect you to have common decency like us."
"... You're no human," Emi sobbed, "You're a monster..."
Vengeance shook his head, almost sadly, "And I thought you'd remember."
There was something about his voice. Something familiar. It was horribly distorted by cybernetics, but... She realised in complete shock that she knew who and what it was.

Quarian Model - Right Foot

After 3 hours of work yesterday I have built... Its foot.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Revenge - Part 4

Emi was crying. She had started just after the attack. Thomson was desperately trying to comfort her. They were sat next to each other, holding hands, and her head was tilted so it rested against his shoulder.
Her suit was expelling her tears through the emergency induction port as a gentle stream of liquid, which patted slightly on the sand and started forming a small pool. Her tears were quickly soaked up.
Thomson kissed her helmet, then called to Srateris, "I think we should take that as a sign to turn back and leave."
Srateris shook his head, "We should take that as we're getting close. They were freshly made. The Reaper created them to attack us."
"How do you know that?" Bei questioned.
"The transformation wasn't complete. Their eyes weren't glowing."
"Do you want to go back to the ship?" Thomson asked Emi, embracing her tightly, "I can set a course for the Citadel if you want."
"... Will... Will you come with me?" she sobbed.
Thomson sighed, "I don't think I can... I'm sorry..."
"... Then I'm staying too..." Emi said softly, "... I'm staying with you."
"No matter how many times we're attacked?"
"... No matter how many times you're attacked."
Bei walked up to them, "Well, Quarians are loyal. Once they are in a relationship with someone they'll stay with them for the entire life. Not only that, but you're a human and you let Emi have children. I'm pretty sure she'll stay with you no matter what. Even though it's probably slightly less because of having children, and slightly more the making of them, knowing her."
Emi sighed, "... I've never been that bad..."
Her tears were starting to slow to the odd drop from the induction port.
Thomson kissed her helmet, "I love you, Emi."
"... I love you too," she answered, "... And I always will. No matter what."
"No matter what," Thomson agreed, and squeezed her hand.
"We'll move now," said Srateris, "The Reaper knows our position. We need to start moving closer to it to take it out. And when we do..." He took out a very large rocket launcher and fastened it to his back, "... We'll give it hell."
"Can't we just wait?" Thomson asked, "Emi needs a moment longer."
The Turian shook his head, "Every moment we waste, the Reaper has more time to build up another army to attack us with."
"It isn't a waste of time," Thomson frowned, "I care for her, and to be honest a single Reaper isn't as important to me as she is. So we wait, or you can go without me. And not having a biotic on your team against another Banshee wouldn't be the best idea. It's up to you."
Strateris stood up, "Don't threaten me, Lieutenant Thomson. You might be a Spectre but I am older than you. I have had more experience. I know what I'm doing. And as team leader, I say we're moving out. Now."
"As team leader," answered Thomson, "You should care about those who are in your squad. Emi is here too. If you want us to work at full capacity, we'll have to wait for a few moments longer. Hell, if the Reaper can detect us here, moving won't make any difference. We'll still be under threat. And I'm sure if it had more forces, it'd have sent them against us. There aren't actually many beings that populate Tuchanka."
"Love has blinded you, Thomson," Srateris pointed out, "If you had any sense about you, you'd realise that staying here is a bad idea."
Thomson stood up, too, and looked him in the eye, "If you had any sense about you, you'd realise that your team matters more than a single Reaper on a practically empty planet."
"This isn't just about the planet!" Srateris yelled, "A Reaper can cause untold damage to everything. A few years ago, a single Reaper nearly managed to destroy the Citadel. Imagine if that'd happen again."
"I know what would happen," Thomson responded, "I was there when the Citadel was attacked by Sovereign and the Geth. Don't you think, if this one was capable of inter-stellar travel it'd already have flown away? It isn't about the fate of the galaxy. It's about one Reaper. One Reaper. When one of your team needs just a few more minutes to recover from a near-death experience?"
"But she isn't important! She's one Quarian, no offense Bei, who doesn't even know how to handle a pistol. In comparison to what could happen, she doesn't even matter!"
Thomson hit him in the face. Not hard enough to break anything, but enough to make him stagger back, "She matters to me!"
"Keelah!" Bei yelled, "Just shut up! We'll wait for Emi, OK? Bosh'tets!"
Srateris ignored her, and punched Thomson in the stomach. He doubled over and the Turian smashed his knee into Thomson's face.
Thomson dropped on to the sand, but threw Srateris backwards with his biotics. As he fell towards the ground, Srateris grabbed his sniper rifle and brought it around so it was facing at Thomson.
"Stop," Humin said, "Fighting illogical. Reaper is enemy. Not each other."
"... You're a bosh'tet!" Emi cried at Srateris, "... Just stop... Thomson was just trying to look after me... there's no need for this..."

More weaknesses, Revenge noted, as Vengeance closed in on the group. Once again the Human was trying to protect his mate, whereas Srateris was doing probably the more logical thing under the circumstances, even though that was pointless too. Its scans were too broad for them to hide.
It sent a stream of data to Vengeance, who demanded to attack the group first. Not to kill them - just to test them. The data translated as "The Turian will be number one target. Incapacitate him first. If you wish to deal with the Human, go after the female Quarian who is not armed. They have an emotional attachment."
There was a delivery report as Vengeance received the message, but did not answer.
At least Revenge's partner did not realise he had activated his indoctrination pulse as soon as they had met. Having another somewhat more mobile body could prove useful.

Thomson and Emi had returned to their tent and hadn't spoken to Srateris since. Emi had thanked him for thinking of her, but had said that she didn't like violence. She seemed slightly better, whereas Thomson kind of felt guilty. It was slightly selfish of him to argue with someone whilst Emi had been upset, even if it was for her benefit.
The only sounds from outside the tent were the soft whistling of sand as it passed over the polymer fabric.
A low pitched laugh echoed across the darkness. It sounded almost synthetic in nature, and a second throaty chuckle gave the impression that it was getting
closer and closer by the moment.
"... What was that?" Emi asked from beside him.
"I'm not sure. Maybe a Krogan," Thomson replied, keeping his arms wrapped around her stomach. They were laying in the bedroom section of the tent, their heads resting on a medium sized pillow.  Both of them were facing the same direction, though Emi was curled up in his arms. Both hands were on her slim stomach, holding her close to him as they tried to get to sleep.
His hand, almost by itself, travelled the full length of the side of her environment suit. He felt the curve of her neck, the gentle smoothness of her stomach, and the sloping of her hips. She responded by humming slightly, the glowing orbs in her helmet disappearing. She had closed her eyes.
"I love you," Thomson said, "I really do."
"... I love you too," she said, "... I was threatened, interrogated and kidnapped, but I wouldn't change our meeting at all... It's the best thing that has ever happened..."
"You really are the best thing that has ever happened to me, too," Thomson said, stroking her hips slightly, "And that's why I want you to have my shield generator."
"... But..."
"No buts, Emi," he said, "I want to make sure you're protected. I'll be fine. I always have my biotics to help me."
He unfastened a black rectangular device from his back and fitted it against Emi's hips. He activated it with the push of a button.
The laughing noise got closer.
"I'll go and tell that Krogan not to come near," he sighed, standing up and exiting the bedroom compartment. He fastened on his breather helmet and unzipped the tent, stepping out into the cool night.
He took his M-3 Predator pistol from his holster and held it in his hand.
"Excuse me, we're trying to get some sleep here," he called to the person making the laughing noise, "Would you mind being quiet?"
There was a dark figure a few metres away from him, clad head to toe in a black cloak, with a hood that shrouded his head in shadow.
"Who are you?" he asked the figure, "You're too small for a Krogan."
"You can call me Vengeance," hissed the figure. His voice was strange, almost like a thousand different people speaking at the same time, "Don't worry, quoting my friend Revenge 'We will have plenty of time to get to know each other'."
"Yeah, right-"
The figure spun and caught Thomson with a vice-like grip to his throat. He was taken by complete surprise, and was lifted off his feet with his hands hanging limp by his side. His head started pounding from a lack of oxygen almost instantly.
Thomson's arm almost instinctively levelled the Predator at the figure and emptied a full magazine into the figure's stomach. The man, however, raised his hand and his palm crackled with dark energy, blocking the rounds as soon as they exited his weapon.
The concentration of sustaining a powerful mass effect field gave Thomson the chance to knock the figure's hand away. He hit the floor, coughing and forcing air back into his system. Yes he was wearing his helmet, but it still didn't stop him from being unable to breathe when someone's hand was around his throat.
He reloaded quickly and backed away from the dark figure. Thomson quickly tried to remember the training he and Renswick had gone through. How to combat someone who could block bullets.
Thomson fired twice, once at his stomach, once at his head. The cloaked figure summoned a biotic barrier and blocked both with a solid field of kinetic energy.
The figure splayed his hands and a shockwave knocked Thomson off his feet. He was thrown backwards several metres and landed in a pile, but was up again and launching his own biotic shockwave. It was countered instantly however, with a biotic barrier.
Both he and the figure threw a warp at each other, and they collided in the air - causing a blue explosion that knocked both of them backwards and rattled the tent that Emi was inside.
"Srateris!" he called, "Bei! Humin!"
"They cannot help you," laughed Vengeance, "No one can."
Srateris exited his tent with his Black Widow drawn and raised. The figure launched a warp at him, disabling the Turian's shields with a small blue explosion and making him duck back into his tent whilst they regenerated.
Thomson meanwhile drew his knife and used the distraction to leap at the figure, slashing at his chest. The blade cut through his cloak and into the skin beneath. Thomson's blade had a small trickle of blood on the tip.
The figure hissed in pain and sent a mass effect field around his leg and then pulled, making him shoot across the sand like a slingshot.
Emi walked out of their tent.
"... What is... oh... keelah..."
The dark figure flung a shockwave towards Emi, this one more powerful than any that he had used on Thomson. The only thing that kept Emi alive was Thomson's shield generator. It flickered but still kept running, and Emi staggered back.
Srateris fired his sniper at the figure, but the man used a biotic barrier to block the round, then threw him backwards with a mass effect field. Emi meanwhile tried to run away but was dragged back by the figure's biotics.
Humin stepped out and sent a neural shock through the air towards the man, but it was blocked by a sphere of dark energy. Thomson leaped back at the figure with his knife, stopping him from attacking by firing repeatedly with his pistol until it clicked empty.
Bei's shotgun fired a beam at the figure, but once again the gunfire was halted. Thomson failed to draw blood because the knife was knocked out of his hand, and he was thrown backwards.
Srateris fired his sniper, but it was in haste so the bullet past inches away from the cloaked man.
Humin activated his Omni-blade, an extension of the Omni-tool, and slashed at the figure with it. The man casually backed out of the way, and launched a biotic warp into Humin's stomach.
It ripped the Salarian apart almost instantly.
"No!" Srateris yelled, firing another shot from his sniper. It was countered with a small blue sphere of energy that seemingly sought the round and intercepted it.
Thomson pushed a mass effect field at the figure and he was thrown off his feet. But the stranger biotic jumped towards Thomson and slashed a short sword at him. He got a large cut across his chest and he fell to the floor.
There was a splashing noise as a round from Srateris' sniper hit the man in the hand. He hissed in pain, kicked Emi in the chest, and then vanished.
Thomson struggled to get to his feet. He put pressure on his wound, though a small trickle of blood did drip through his fingers. His first concern was Emi.
He half-crawled over to her winded form on the sand. She was gasping for breath and was curled up in a ball, hands cradling where the figure had kicked her.
Srateris and Bei went to the rapidly dissipating particles that once made up Humin. They were without a medic. Humin had been a good warrior, and in the end he had thought about the team rather than himself. It had been an unnecessary sacrifice, especially just for a distraction, but it had ultimately led to them surviving.
Thomson held Emi's painful chest as she groaned in pain. Her hands rubbed her knee where she had been dragged back. It was a good thing for her suit. Otherwise she'd have been leaking blood. Which, for a Quarian, would be an invitation for a slow and painful death caused by the common cold.
She turned her head towards him, "... You're injured..."
"So are you," he grimaced.
"... I'm not bleeding, though..." she said, rolling over. She called Srateris and Bei over to Thomson with some medigel.
They rushed over away from Humin. Bei took out a canister of a clear liquid and some bandages from her belt. Thomson made sure they could see the wound by opening his armour.
Luckily their location had low levels of radioactivity in comparison to the rest of Tuchanka, which meant that Bei could apply some medigel to a bandage and fasten it round his torso without any kind of exposure to harmful levels of radiation.
Once the bandage was fastened, he sighed with relief as the pain started to be dulled by the chemical. With the help of medigel, the wound would be healed in a less than a day.
"Who was that guy?" Srateris asked, "He killed Humin!"
"I don't know," responded Thomson as he climbed to his feet. His body felt tired and was aching, but at least he was alive, "But whoever it was, I'm going to kill him."
"Does anyone want to say a few words in Humin's honour?" asked Bei, "He unknowingly sacrificed his life so we survived. I think that deserves something."
"He was a good soldier," said Srateris, "But a better friend. He was a valued member of our team, and it won't be the same without him."
"And now he will be with the ancestors," Bei added.
Thomson helped Emi to her feet. Bei and Srateris had both known Humin previously, and he didn't want to say anything since be hadn't known the Salarian that well.
Emi hissed in pain with every step she took. Unfortunately because she was Quarian, the medigel couldn't be applied so she'd have to rely on her body's healing alone. It was clear she had severe bruising on her chest, stomach, hips and knees, but nothing was broken and nothing was bleeding, so she'd be fine as long as she was allowed to recover.
Thomson grabbed his knife and his pistol, and returned them to his belt. He helped Emi into their tent and lowered her down on the makeshift bed, then went back outside to Bei and Srateris.
"In future we should coordinate our attacks better," Srateris sighed, "Work as a unit instead of individually. Thomson, without your biotics we'd have all been killed, so... thank you."
Thomson nodded.
 "We should remain here tonight and set off in the morning," Bei said, "It's unlikely that Vengeance will attack again. We did manage to injure him, after all."
"I agree," said Srateris, "But I'm keeping watch."
"I'll go see how Emi is," Thomson responded, "She really shouldn't be here..."

"You failed," said Revenge with a stream of data, "You're supposed to be powerful."
"I am powerful!" responded Vengeance with a short transmission, "I just got distracted by the human."
"Keep concentrating on what matters," Revenge told him, "Otherwise we will fail."
"I know. I just hesitated. Almost like I was unsure. It will not happen again."
Well, that was the indoctrination working.
"Make sure it does not," Revenge said, "Or I'll go and attack them myself. You will strike again at dawn. In exactly six Earth hours."
"Yes," said Vengeance as he applied medigel to the wound on his hand, "And this time I will kill everyone."
He won't, thought Revenge, the group, though diminished, was still powerful. He'd be lucky if he could take down the unarmed Quarian with his current injuries.
Oh well. Once Revenge had taken control the wounds would have no effect.