A couple of hours later the com unit chimed and aroused us from our prolonged nap. I woke up recognizing two blue arms still entangling me from behind. Worming my way out I answered the communicator. "Gray here, what's up."
"It's Sagrin, you've got an appointment 30 minutes ahead, Aria is awake and wants to see the two of us, get your sorry ass down here." The Turian answered, his voice unusually anxious.
"Got you, will need a couple of minutes to get ready and I won't leave this building without a gun in my hands."
"Alright then, meet me downstairs at the shuttles, we'll be waitin' for you." He ended the call.
"This one's anxious like hell, I wonder why, she'd be cheering at what we accomplished in the short time. However, I should get going."
When I turned around two amazing blue eyes gazed at me. "I suppose you get dressed, he seemed to be in a hurry." Was her simple comment regarding the short dialogue. "I wonder why he seemed so anxious, not that I'm an expert, but I'd figured you've done quite well regarding the circumstances."
"My thoughts exactly." I grabbed the upper torso piece of my armour to don it. "There's only one way to find out."
"Right, so be off with you." She lowered her head. After a few moments of silence except the muffled sounds of my armour she raised her head again. "Gray" barely a whisper.
I stopped in motion as her barley recognizable voice carried a deep sadness. "Serena." Moving closer to her I could see tears welling up in her eyes. "Hey, I'm not going on a combat mission right now, ok?"
"I…I know, but so much has happened in those few days and I can't distinguish between wrong and right any more. I told you 'bout my feelings and at first it felt right, but I fear I'm driving you away with all that. You're clamped enough with you're mission and I keep buggin' you with the petty feelings of an Asari youngling."
I sat down beside her and hesitantly took her hands in mine. "Serena, listen to me. You're led by your emotions and feelings and you express 'em as it's usual for your kin and that's absolutely alright. In fact I'm the best example what happens if you're tryin' to contain and condemn your feelings and emotions."
"Seems you're considered a youngling by your kin but remember, you're thrice my age, a lot o' time to gather knowledge and wisdom, although it might be not on that specific battlefield called relationships. There's a famous saying among my people: Life is a lesson, you've learned it when you're through." I took a deep breath, her sad expression had lessened a little.
"I'm fine, thanks for the kind words and your understanding, and now be gone, or that Turian will come up and collect you."
"Alright then, see you soon." I exited our room and went down to the shuttle area, Sagrin, Liselle and another Asari awaited me together with a couple of pilots, Jason among them.
I raised an eyebrow. "Hi guys. So it is four shuttles today? You're not takin' any chances this time."
"After yesterdays events, I'm not takin' chances on anything, better be safe than sorry."
"Agreed, doesn't hurt to be cautious."
We entered the shuttles and took off to meet the uncrowned queen of Omega. The flight was uneventful and all of us were rather glad about it. As we approached the clinic I recognized the tight security around the perimeter, guards on every door, on the roof and on patrol. Additionally shuttles were circling the sky around the building.
"It seems the strength of our troops hasn't lessened, an impressive force you've gathered down there." I commented towards Sagrin.
The Turian snorted. "Only the air patrols, the guards at the main entrances and inside are own troops actually. All the rest is hired guns to discourage enemies. I doubt it'll be enough to frighten them off once they get desperate."
"Well, then lets hope we can bring her back to the headquarter as soon as possible."
"This's actually my biggest concern, she'll be vulnerable on the run and I'm sure we'll be attacked once in full force once we're taking of. I'm in for suggestions."
"That's what's worrying him all the time, maybe she's desperate to leave the clinic and he doesn't have a clue how to accomplish that.
"Let me put some thought into that one, for now we've got an appointment." I replied calmly, already pondering about possible ways to get her safely back to her quarters.
The Turian and me left the shuttle, the others stayed outside as only the two of us were invited. Each door we passed was tightly guarded until we arrived at an elevator; the door was open and the guards had build a defensive position around the entrance. Every enemy would have to fight through a bulletstorm to get past them. Sagrin nodded to the guards and entered the elevator. Once the doors were closed he used the retina scanner to identify himself.
"Only me and Liselle get past this scanner, besides some selected doctors and nurses o'course. Her room is three floors below ground so an air attack is pointless."
"Seems you've done everything you could to protect her, anyway she's vulnerable out here." I commented his explanations.
"My thoughts exactly, that's what all the fuss is about. Since we've landed a hit yesterday I've got a knot in my stomach 'bout this place. And my stomach's responsible I'm still in one piece after 20 years on this hell-bent station." His voice was calm but had a grim undertone.
The elevator doors opened before I could answer and we stepped outside into a small hall nearly bare of furniture. Liselle awaited us already.
"She seems to be closer to Aria as I assumed, she's much younger, at least as far as I'm able to judge an Asari's age that is."
I was interrupted in my thoughts as the Asari stepped forward and addressed us. "There you are. She's awake and approachable, but still weak, she drifted off a dozen times in the couple o' minutes I talked to her."
"Considering the blow she swallowed a few days ago that's more than anticipated." Sagrin commented. "Anyway we should keep this as short as possible."
Liselle raised an eyebrow. "You tell her that, she's burning with anger and she wants to bite back. Try to keep it short and calm, don't overstrain her."
I listened to the conversation silently as Liselle addressed me directly. "As I told her what you've accomplished she insisted to get your sorry ass over here. Don't know the reason but be prepared to get the nicest job in the pipe." Her gleaming eyes were accompanied by a wry smile.
"That's the bane of success, isn't it?
"Get used to it, once this's over and you're still alive you gonna be one of the big boys in town." She nodded into the direction of the door." Now move, although she's pleased with you, she's still impatient."
Sagrin moved forward and opened the door as noiseless as possible and gestured me to get in. She sat half upright in her bed surrounded by various machines issuing a constant murmur and occasional clicking or hissing noises. Her usually purple face was pale for an Asari and had a strained and skinny appearance as if she hadn't slept or eaten for days. The eyes were deep-set but gleaming like dark gems and fixed on me. Beside no obvious injuries were visible, although the rest of her body was covered by blankets, cables and other unrecognizable stuff.
"Forget 'bout sayin' somethin' polite, for someone lickin' my boots I gonna ask the nurses. If not for you I won't sit here like an old hag surrounded by all those hissin' and hummin' machines, and that is why I'll need your services again." Her voice was hoarse and low but carried an angry determination.
"Well, I skip the amenities, straightforward is it then. I saved your ass back there and now the payback mission's on me, too. My situation hasn't changed a bit, someone out there wants your ass and mine likewise. That's pretty much fucked up situation, how do we bail out?"
At first she didn't answer, then a barely visible smile played around her mouth. "I guess you're well aware of the irony that the obvious solution to your misery is my death, and yet you not only prevented exactly that but also played a major role in savin' my organization." She paused again, maybe to wait for a reaction from my side, then continued. "Considering this I'm sure I can trust you, elevatin' yourself into a very small circle of people."
"Guessed that much, you didn't bring me here to tell what I already knew." It was a statement, not a question.
The smile broadened a little. "I've got a task for the two of you." Her gaze switched to Sagrin who had remained silent so far. "Get me out o' here, better today than tomorrow."
Sagrin and I exchanged a quick glance, just what the Turian had suspected. He nodded. "I assumed that much. Still I don't have a plan, especially considering all those clickin' and hummin' machines attached to you."
"I already asked these gibberin' doctors 'bout that and I'll get along for a time without 'em. Of course they don't recommend that. And I won't get their recommendation for quite a lot of stuff I'll intent to do."
Sagrin snorted, his mandibles flared. "Somehow I knew you're gonna say that. And I'm pretty sure they won't recommend a rollercoaster ride like Gary and me enjoyed the other either."
"Sounds tempting, but for once I'm inclined to agree, clearly not recommendable."
"Well then, chances for a ground transport?" I chipped in.
Sagrin shook his head. "Takes too long, we'd have to cross half of Omega, that's an open invitation to send us to hell."
"Agreed, if they know 'bout the transport that is."
"You'll be sure the whole building is under permanent observation and every vehicle arriving or leaving will have highest attention." He stated.
"Right, but if they hunt down wrong deer, another one can sneak out unseen." Four doubtful eyes were fixed on me as I continued. "We pretend to fly you out with full security and everything, assuming they take that bait we sneak you out in a standard ambulance shuttle shortly after."
Sagrin's face resembled the Turian version of a frown, mandibles flared, he obviously disliked the idea, while Arias face didn't betray her thoughts.
She addressed her security officer without commenting my proposal. "Your opinion is quite obvious. Anyway give it a second thought, the longer I'm stayin' the higher's the chance they gonna give it another shot right here. Right now they're licking their wounds, this' gonna change soon enough and surely they'll come back for a second try."
The Turian nodded hesitantly. "Agreed, but if they're not going for the bait…you're as good as dead."
The Asari closed her eyes for some moments, breathing heavily. As she opened her eyelids again her expression was grim but determined. "I'm willing to take the risk."
A seemingly endless silence followed. "And now guess who's gonna play the bait in this game…sometimes I should think about consequences before actually opening my mouth."
Aria continued as nobody said something. "Sagrin, you gonna coordinate the fake escort, Gray and Liselle will accompany me in the ambulance shuttle. I'll arrange everything on this end, get back to me once we can get started, and be quick."
The Turians mandibles flared again before he spoke. "Honestly I don't like it, lacking a better idea, we gonna give it a shot." He gave me a side glance. "I'll need a couple of hours preparing everythin'. What 'bout the other guys Gray hired, I've seen them fighting - quite an asset if you ask me."
"Airborne their skills are wasted, Racen's a decent pilot but I bet you've better ones in your team. Leave them out of it waitin' in a shuttle circling the area, and if it gets nasty somewhere groundside we're droppin' em right into the shitstorm."
Aria grinned. "I bet your Krogan friend's 'gonna like the idea, and it's good to know we've an ace up our sleeves." Her gaze swept from me to Sagrin. "Then that's settled, let's get movin' boys."
Sagrin's face pictured grim determination and he just nodded before turning around in order to leave for the elevator. As he had left the room her attention switched back to me. "He's an old war horse, reliable as a rock but not the one you'd call for clever tactics."
I raised an eyebrow. "I figure you'll need both on the long run. But right now the direct lane is blocked, we'll have to take the by-road"
"Make sure Liselle knows the details and brief our little shitstorm team, somethin' tells me we're gonna need 'em. I'm taking care of things on this end and see to means of transportation."
I nodded and left the room just to run into Liselle who waited impatiently on news as the Turian seemingly had left her standing in the dark. "Don't dare to run for the elevator, I'll pin you to the wall before you'd even know it."
"Nice to meet you, too. Sagrin didn't agree to the plan how to get her out o'here, so he was steaming a little as he left. Before you ask, it's you and me who'll fly her out."
I filled her in on the details before calling Racen on a secure channel. I didn't find him surprised about my call. "Gray, 'bout time someone tells us what's going on. Couple o' minutes ago this whole building started to hum like a bee-hive and nobody's tellin' us what all the fuss is about."
"Well, you won't like it, but here's the plan, and seemingly we're in the middle of the shitstorm again."