Here it is, the long awaited chapter for AWA, I know it had been a long wait. Sorry for delaying it further but I had some issues with the internet and I literally had to write this chapter in two days. Considering its length I think you can fogive me for that, I made it nice and long and it is a action packed chapter full of cool stuff.
Now the story itself is getting an overhaul, but I will not be changing the story over until it is caught up. So you can expect more chapters inspite of the rewrite so you don't have to worry too much. Now, without further ado I give you the next chapter.
Are We Alone
Chapter 20: Rescue Mission
Milky Way / Attican Beta / Theseus System / Orbit of Quana
The Theseus System was a Prothean goldmine, of the five planets in its systems – along with sixty or so moons – three planets had large numbers of Prothean ruins. Feros has large numbers of cities and skylines making it an archaeologist's dream to learning about Prothean culture. Sharring has multiple harvesting stations on the moons to collect Helium-3, the technology on those moons were supposedly more advanced than what the big three of the Council races were using.
Finally, there was Quana, a large planetoid with a plethora of resources and a massive mining infrastructure that even after fifty thousand years was still remarkably intact. Mining colonies and cities dot the surface, as well as beneath it, and it is one of the most well preserved Prothean ruin in all the galaxy. Making it a salvagers or treasure hunters dream, if they can scour the depths deep enough to find anything.
If most of the technology on the surface had been restored this could become a major mining center for any race at little cost to themselves. Given that this system hosted a human colony on Feros this entire system and the cluster by all right belonged to the System Alliance.
It did, until the Council took over and seized all assets. The Council had been doing a lot of thieving, in fact they put some resources into harvesting this planet for all its worth, using human credits and lives to accomplish it. Down there was Prothean ruins, precious ore, pirates and mercenaries, but most important of all was the person they were looking for.
"Simple enough." Ichigo mused, going over the data they had gotten from the Extranet along with from the Executor Pallin.
What they found was that there was a massive operation on Quana to not only mine resources but also salvage artefacts to sell on the Black Market. This was one of the major funding operations for the Citadel Council during their tyrannical reign over the Alliance. Most of what they got from selling here was put towards plundering the rest of Alliance space in their witch hunt for the Shinigami.
Along with just to keep humanity in check.
Here they would be searching for Liara T'soni, daughter of Matriarch Benezia, an expert of Prothean technology and history. She would be an asset in tracking her mother down and figuring out what Saren had planned, possible even about the vision he had seen in the Beacon on Eden Prime. When this was over they could hand her over to Executor Pallin, likely he would want to know what Benezia had been up to and also having an eye witness to put crimes to names would certainly help.
"Where is everyone?" Ichigo asked, he had expected their little team would be up here looking over the details but only Urahara was here.
The bastard was sporting a bruised cheek, having received a nice punch after he attempted to get Tali to dress in a skimpy swimsuit. He had to intervene after the guy got a little too handsy with her, he was certain she would never turn her back to him ever again.
"They are down in the armoury, testing out the new toys." Urahara said, smiling jovially.
Ichigo decided to check up on them, for the simple reason to make sure they were safe and sound, last thing he wanted was them getting hurt or humiliated by one of Urahara's inventions. Bastard often liked messing with people for no good reason, Tali could attest to that and so could he.
"I hope what you made down there is going to help and isn't spiritually made." Ichigo said, let it be known that Urahara was still on his shitlist for causing him grief for going off and helping people and involving himself in mortal affairs when Urahara told him not to.
Yet he would do the exact same thing and even more.
"Don't worry, I only improved on what is already there, and then some, nothing magical about what I made for them." Urahara replied, although that was likely not the case, whatever he made for them was probably going to be a couple centuries ahead of anything anyone has ever made.
Ichigo was under the impression Urahara was trying to expand his business, weapons and armour was a big trade in the Milky Way after all – legitimate or not. It was even known that Elias Halliot was a known weapons manufacturer in the Terminus, he had an entire line of weapons and armour to his name. If a pirate, an infamous one at that, could become a weapons manufacturer than technically anyone could.
Especially some shitty candy store owner.
Moving back into the temple he went down a few levels and found the four of them going over their new armour. He had to say that it looked different from the usual stuff they made, even military grade didn't look as advanced as what they were wearing. Most armour was a polymer weave that acted similar to Kevlar, and they put a lot of emphasis on barriers rather than physical protection. Armour plating had sort of died out, and usually you only saw that on some high-end armour or in the Terminus.
He was certain whatever he gave them it would be better than most.
"This is incredible!" Tali shouted, she had only been wearing this suit for ten minutes and going over its schematics.
It was legitimately the most advanced piece of equipment she had ever had the privilege of using, let alone hearing about. When it came to technology there was nothing a Quarian wasn't aware of, even some of the more experimental and hypothetical tech out in the galaxy was known to them. But what she was wearing right now blew all that out of the water.
Her suit is an allotrope of carbon consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice. The element itself was Graphite, but due to the process of turning it into a single atomic layer it had become what is known as Graphene, a highly experimental material that has applications in almost every field of science.
Just looking over the basics this suit could filter out toxins without the need of a rebreather or filtering system, the skin weave over her body actually filtered the atmosphere around her and produced oxygen. It also acted as a semi-conductor that produced its own energy from its surroundings, heat and electromagnetic fields would power the suit. In fact it could steal energy from other sources, and if she was reading it right possibly redirect or render them inert.
Bullet would lose their effectiveness, the mass effect field around them would dissipate faster than normal when hit and even biotics would weaken when meeting the metal. If it was configured correctly the metal could be designed to completely make mass effect fields inert upon contact.
Just thinking of the applications made her head swell, the suit itself was only outlining the basics of what it could do. But the thing was, it could change and adapt based on the users knowledge and awareness of what Graphene could do. If you knew what you were doing the sky was the limit with what this suit was capable of, and possibly even more. Sadly not everyone was smart enough to know how Quantum Containment was or how Trilayer Transistors worked.
But she did know, she knew that she was wearing one of the most advanced forms of combat armour in the galaxy right now. Shockingly enough, hers were the smallest one out of the four of them, and made to act as support rather than frontline combat. While her armour had been configured with some basic commands and features, they were just simple commands to show of what the suit can do at a minimum.
She was probably the only one aware of that however. As for the others, they were likely starstruck with what they were seeing, only grasping at the flared edges of a rope that ascended to the heavens and beyond.
Garrus and Chellick were busy fawning over their armour, heavy chested suits that had some minor modifications between them. Garrus was most definitely a sniper, given how he was loading up on a lot of tracking and sensor mods it made sense he would use stuff like that. Chellick was a little more rounded, going through all the different variations just to see what they would do.
While Wrex decided to forgo subtlety and finesse and go straight to Krogan Warlord in a Bloodrage. He was a walking battle tank, having enough armour he could possibly survive shots from an actual tank, and probably strike with as much force. Looking at the specifics on the Krogan's armour she had been able to find, she was shocked how much of it was designed to bludgeon and utterly eviscerate someone.
"I like this." Wrex said, raising his arm and several plates expanded outward before a hard light projection occurred along with a biotic field.
He literally had made a gauntlet on his arm, a big one, and based on the energy output they could expel a force of nearly forty-five hundred newtons. That was more than what some cannons could dish out, and he had that in his fist, and he could do that with nearly any part of his body too. It was going to be scary seeing him taking on entire squads of enemies with that kind of arsenal.
"I have never seen weapon likes these either." Garrus said, holding an oddly design assault rifle.
It was simple enough in design, did not have much in the way of sleekness but it looked functional. Garrus lifted an assault rifle and took a simple white rectangular piece from the table and placed it on top of the weapon.
The rectangular piece magnetically clamped onto the assault rifle, breaking apart into smaller cubes and merging with the weapon. From there every part of the Assault rifle began to change, turning from an assault rifle to an actual sniper rifle. He continued to fiddle with it, changing it into different variances of a Sniper Rifle, Assault Rifle and even a Shotgun. It seems that all the weapons have a base template that can be modified with certain attachments, giving a single weapon a great deal of versatility. This function could be performed while the weapon was holstered, these weapon attachments added to the weapon based on the users input.
Something like that could make anyone able to build a weapon solely on their needs in the moment, and these modifications can be made and disassembled from the Omni-tool using the fabricator. Tali was looking it over and based on this you could technically made anything with the weapon attachments, turning a weapon from as simple as a pair of pistols to a miniature railgun.
"That man is more than he appears, he has got to be one of them." Tali murmured, there was no way he could be anything but a Shinigami, this kind of technology was beyond anything someone from this galaxy could produce.
"I am loving all these toys." Garrus said, lifting up his weapon having been configured into a sniper rifle, a heavy duty one that could probably go through a tank – and then a few other things before it stopped. "You think we can keep this after we are done? I would really like to keep this."
"Don't care what he says, I am keeping this." Wrex said, she could actually feel the smirk through his massive, chromed helmet.
Looking at the squad she had already guess what everyone's role would be, the three of them would be taking up long range, mid-range and short-range combat. Garrus was going to be the former, given his preference to trying out a variety of sniper rifle modification. Chellick was a bit more balanced, resorting to some assault rifles and a Shotgun. Wrex…
He looked like he was eager to rip someone to pieces with his own hands.
As for herself, she would be the support. Her training in firearms was limited, having only really fired a pistol in her entire life and only at her father's request. So, her role in the squad would be using the wide arsenal of toys at her disposal to level the playing field, logistics, hacking, sabotages, and so forth.
It was a logical solution, but a part of her wondered if Urahara realized she would understand how these suits would work and would know how to use them efficiently? That she was to cover the rest of her team where they lacked.
"How the hell did you design all of this?" Chellick asked, looking past her and towards the entrance of the workshop.
Tali turned around and saw the weapon designer himself, Kisuke Urahara, along with Ichigo walk in. The man was still wearing his usual shabby garb, and despite the bruise on his cheek he looked so jovial. But even so she backed away from him to make sure he did not try anything again.
"I just improved on what was already there, not that hard when you have an active imagination as mine." Urahara laughed off.
He was obviously being sly about this, because he was in no way humble, this armour went leap and bounds above the best armour you could get anywhere in the galaxy. Even some of the more theoretical armours and rumoured secret projects out there didn't match up to this kind of masterpiece.
"I like it, you don't have to worry about paying me, I'll take the suit." Wrex said.
"Can I assume that means I need to pay you for the next mission?" Urahara asked, smirking slightly as he looked towards the Krogan.
"You can pay me with a new gun." Wrex replied, not even missing a beat to get something more out of this deal, Urahara likely had anticipated it.
Tali was beginning to think that the man was stringing them all along without them realising, that he was somehow convincing them all to join for one reason or another. Truthfully being with them was probably her only way to be safe, as for everyone else they likely had their reasons.
Wrex was simply easy to guess, and he probably didn't care as long as he got something out of it.
"Guess I will have to have a few things lined up if I want to motivate you." Urahara said, laughing as he stepped forward.
"Hey, is this technology like from your world or something?" Garrus asked.
"No, it isn't." Ichigo responded in place of Urahara. "This is simply your own technology refined to a higher level, it is better than the standard but do not become complacent with it. We are giving you this so you can actually fight against some of the bastards you are going against."
Tali realised that, she knew that they would be fighting against Asari Commandos and the Geth, both having training and weaponry way above the norm of most military personnel. They would need an edge, and she was certain this would be that edge, just looking over what her suit can do convinced her of that, she was certain they were going to be invincible.
"Looking over the capabilities of my armour alone I am certain I could fight off a Commando." Tali stated, the armor could amplify her strength along with the kinetic reinforcer in her armour weave, more than that it could dampen kinetic energy, whatever they threw at her she could shrug off.
Ignoring the limitless applications of her suit it did come with some basic utilities that suited her role as support for the squad. Combat Drones, onboard VI assisting hacking and sabotaging subroutines, and even deployable shields. She could provide everyone with extra protection and even hamper her enemies.
"Considering where you are going you might be doing just that." Ichigo said.
"Sounds like fun." Wrex said, clearly not afraid of the prospect. "How we getting to the surface?"
"I will be opening a Senkaimon Gate below to allow instant deployment to the surface, from there you will be infiltrating their main base and searching for T'soni." Urahara said.
Tali had recalled him mentioning that, the Senkaimon was some sort of gateway that allowed near instantaneous transportation between two points. Based on what was said it could breach into the dimension that separates their worlds from the Shinigami's, and their range could extend from one side of the Galaxy to the other.
"Can't we just land the saucer and step out?" Garrus asked.
"I have to do a couple things in the system, and just waiting on the ship isn't going to do any of us any favours." Urahara replied.
Tali had heard that they had to avoid being seen or noticed, apparently their kind might be coming after them for breaking the rules. Scary to think that they had to avoid not only Benezia and her cronies but also the Shinigami. They hadn't told them much, but she wondered what would happen to them if they were exposed as knowing about the Shinigami, would they be killed?
"If things get rough I can come to you easily enough, so if things get drastic send a message and I will come as fast as I can." Ichigo said, handing her a piece of paper, a simple looking strip of paper with symbols and lines drawn onto it. "It is a Senkaimon Ticket, tear it and it will open a Garganta nearby that I can reach you through."
"Sounds good, lets get going." Wrex said, lumbering forward and only caring about getting into the mission so he could fight.
Tali thanked Ichigo and walked with him out, she didn't really have the courage to ask him much. They had a mission ahead of them and despite everything there were things that still worried her about the Shinigami in general. Now that they were working with one she had to wonder what that meant for them long term and where things went from here.
"Don't be nervous, if you have any questions let me know and I will try to answer them." Ichigo said, it was sudden and unexpected, could he read her mind or something.
"How did you…?" Tali tried to ask.
"It doesn't take a genius to know you are still worried about being around us, we are still strangers after all. You have your concerns, I get that, so if you need to know anything let me know and I will clear things up. I have been in your position before, not fun not being in the know, so I'll try and save you the irritation of trying to figure out what angle Urahara is trying to play." Ichigo said.
Tali felt some relief knowing she had someone she could speak too about this, especially someone who actually could give answers. Ichigo had this odd aura about him, despite being the most well known Anomaly out there he was oddly approachable, especially when you worked up the courage to talk to him.
"Thanks. I'll take you up on that." Tali said, smiling slightly and nodding her head, he returned it in kind.
Their walk was silent from there, moving from the palace and out into the open planes, which to her surprise were actually larger than originally though. The palace was adjacent to the open field, it was right in the middle of it, meaning this vessel was housing an area comparable to maybe a city.
She didn't get a chance to ask before she looked over to their destination, there was a large stone arch near a series of small rocky mounds. Beside it was Tessai, activating it and creating a portal between the arches. It looked like some sort of break in space, literally, the actual air appeared to be cracking and within she saw a darkness that appeared fluid.
"I assume you have the ticket?" Urahara asked, Tali giving him a nod in response. "Great. All you have to do is tear it and say a phrase, from there it will open a Garganta and Ichigo will come running."
"What's the phrase?" Tali asked.
"Jigoku ni hotoke." Kisuke replied, that confused Tali for a moment, before she got him to repeat it so she could at least rehearse what he said.
"Buddha in Hell?" Ichigo said, giving Kisuke a bland look. "Given how crappy you manage your ships I think a more appropriate thing to say is: 'Kankodori ga naku'."
"That is so rude Ichigo!" Kisuke whined.
"Whatever." Ichigo muttered. "Use it when you find Liara, that way you can get right back to us. But if you run into something you cannot handle tear it right away and I will be there."
Tali nodded, looking at the seemingly unassuming piece of paper, who would have thought it could have the power to create a tear in space. But when it came to the Shinigami they were often capable of the impossible.
"Can we go now?" Wrex demanded.
"Yep! It is all ready for you! Enjoy your trip!" Urahara said, gesturing to the Senkaimon and giving a farewell wave to them all.
They moved forward and stepped through, but as they did Tali heard Ichigo say something to Urahara. What he asked and what was said was unheard, but she definitely heard Ichigo yell just as they passed the threshold.
"What do you mean you haven't fixed the elevation issue?!"
Surface of Quana, Keprus Mining Site, Northern Hub – Sixth Sector
The first thing he noticed when he stepped out of the portal was the distinct lack of solid ground beneath his feet, Garrus had just enough time to glance down to see he was several hundred feet above the ground.
"Shit!" He yelped, tumbling forward and falling towards the earth.
He heard Tali scream, even Chellick let out a shout, Wrex however just laughed as he plummeted towards the ground like some big meteor that did not care where he crashed down. Crazy bastard likely thought he could survive the fall, maybe he could, but Garrus wasn't going to test his own luck in that regard. But he had no idea how to prevent that from happening.
"We need to slow down!" Tali yelled, before she started fiddling with her omnitool. "I have an idea!"
A moment later three plates on her back shot off and then around them formed a holographic drone, these guys were not the usual spheres that he had seen before. Appearing more as some sort of miniature Mantis Gunships, or what counts as such. They flew away from one another, towards himself, Chellick and Tali, and then snagging each of them by the hand. A clamp formed around his wrist, an actual holographic clamp that fit nice and snug as it encased his entire hand, and immediately his descent was slowed.
"Nice thinking!" Garrus said, slowly floating towards the ground.
Just them he heard a boom and looked to see a cloud of dirt and rock, looks like Wrex just touched down. He wondered if he was okay, although he was still getting a readout from Wrex's suit that said as much, he still had to wonder if it was possible to come out of that unscathed. It seems his vitals were okay, his armour had not been breached, there wasn't any immediate threat in the vicinity.
Looks like he was getting out of this with only a bit of dust on the shoulder.
Although, Garrus wondered if his suit was actually reading his intentions, because how the hell did it just bring up the display like that? He decided to check himself, and test something else out, he wanted to call Wrex over the comms and as quick as the thought entered his mind it did so.
"Wrex, you doing alright?" Garrus called over the comms.
"That was fun, didn't even feel it." Wrex said, a chortle escaping his lips.
Garrus didn't say anything, just continued to float down to the ground, and as he touched solid earth the drone let go and retreated back towards Tali before returning to her back. Impressive tech, those drones had slowed their fall and had been programmed very quickly to save them. More than that she could control three of them, directing them to different targets as well, also their design and the plates on her back show she could use nine in total.
If he could make suits that literally react to your thoughts, you have a very powerful piece of equipment on your hands. Urahara certainly had made some versatile and advanced armour systems. Even untested Garrus was already seeing how this was a step above all the rest.
"I wouldn't mind doing that again, have some poor bastard under me next time and watch him go splat." Wrex said, standing up and looking no worse for wear. "Let's continue the trend, find some assholes that need to die."
Wrex didn't wait for anyone to say anything, annoying but he wasn't going to try and stop him. There technically wasn't a leader in this squad, well maybe himself but he doubted that the Krogan would listen to him – on account he was a cop, and a Turian. As least Chellick had his back, and maybe Tali. Despite that all they could do was follow after the hulking Krogan who was looking for a fight.
They found it on the edge of a large excavation site, it appears that the pirates had been recommissioning some of the Prothean mining infrastructure. How? He couldn't make heads or tails of it, this stuff was ancient and yet somehow they were able to refit it, that certainly wasn't easy. But he had to admit that in doing so they were making a lot of holes, he noticed several other excavations sites a couple kilometres away.
Down below hovering over the pit was a platform, on it he could see guards and machinery being transported down while crates filled with ore were being brought back up. Dozens of shuttles being loaded up and waiting to be sent off, a couple hundred workers moved around the site, supervised by several dozen guards.
They also noticed that their methods of maintaining order and morale was using the butt of their guns and what appeared to be shock collars. Didn't take a genius to know that these people were not working here of their own free will. He wouldn't mind to just start shooting, but with so many civilians milling around it would be risky, better scout the area out and find out what they have here.
Giving it a quick once over he found where their main base was just on the edge of the platform, and it didn't look like it had any external defences. It was nothing but a nice little container where they likely slept and ate, should not be too hard to get inside. Which was good, because there was a nice telecommunications array smack dab on top of it, likely how they could communicate with the other bases. Sabotage that and they might not have to worry about waking up the entire planet when they dismantled the dig site.
"Tali, Chellick, you guys go and hack into their network and take down their communications." Garrus ordered.
"Got it." Chellick said, sliding back down the slope with Tali and making a run around the site and to the back of that structure.
"Wrex, wait for my signal, I will give you covering fire from the ridge." Garrus said, looking towards the Krogan, who didn't seem to give much in the way of resistance or confirmation.
Garrus then released a drone, yeah, he didn't recall his suit had one until Tali used her own. But this one was configured for reconnaissance and terrain mapping, through that he was able to find a nice little overcrop giving a good view of the camp. He kept the Drone around as well, he was getting a live feed of the camp below and it was marking his targets for him, it was even mapping out their patrol routes as well.
Just as he continued up a small rocky slope he got a lot of pings just to his nine o'clock, he stopped and quickly snuck towards where he was picking up close to fifty separate signatures. He leaned out around the edge of a small hill and looked into a ditch, he was shocked to see what was there.
"Garrus, me and Tali found a mass grave over here." Chellick called over the comms.
"Yeah. Me too." Garrus said, looking at the corpses of dozens of humans, all of them stripped of their protective wear.
He stepped forward, looking them over and noticing something on their bodies, lots of scars and even a few cybernetics. Most of the cybernetic implants were along the cranium, and some of it looked to have fresh scaring and even signs of infection.
"They're slaves." Chellick muttered over the comms.
"How can you tell?" Tali chimed in.
"Surgical incisions along the back of the skull, likely they have been outfitted with obedient chips, that is a Hegemony speciality." Garrus replied, he had run into a slaving ring not so long ago on the Citadel.
When humans became ostracised the Batarians had attempted to start capturing and implanting them with obedient chips. The intent was to cause further strife by making them commit acts of terrorism that would rile up the Council. The plot was foiled although there was little empathy given towards the humans that were used like that, most getting imprisoned rather than helped. So in the end the Batarians were successful, certainly caused more problems for mankind.
"So they are using slaves to mine the place." Chellick said. "Guess it is the only way they can handle this kind of operation without having to pay for a workforce."
"All of them are human." Tali said.
"Yeah…" Garrus replied, not going any further, more than likely most of these people were forced here – either as slaves or made into them – by the pirates or the Council was up for debate. Either way, it didn't look good. "I'm in position, let me know when their communications are down."
He waited a few minutes before he got the go ahead from Tali.
"Wrex, start breaking stuff." Garrus stated.
A moment later Wrex came charging down the slope and started shooting, that drew a lot of attention, but that was the point. Attacking the camp would cause too much collateral damage, so instead they would lure the pirates to one area and scare the workers away. It was simple and efficient, besides the pirates wouldn't expect it to be hard to take down a single charging Krogan, how wrong they were.
Wrex charged right through a line of mercenaries, punching and shooting them as he got close. His Shotgun was heavily modified, it tore through barriers and armour like it was tissue paper, and the person inside was shredded. But blowing people apart with a Shotgun wasn't enough for Wrex, he needed to get his hand bloody. Garrus saw Wrex create his gauntlets and literally punched a man in half, gory for certain but it did the job.
"Time to start picking off the herd." Garrus muttered, taking a shot and blowing a merc's arm off and exploding out the opposite side of his body. "Whoa, maybe I should have gotten something used against people and not tanks."
He took another shot and one more fell, his torso vanishing almost completely. He took several more shots, six more mercenaries dropped dead with most of their bodies disappearing, and then Chellick joined the fight. The fight was over in three minutes, fifty-three dead, thirteen by his own rifle, the majority went to Wrex who barrelled through them all.
"I love this." Wrex muttered, the fact he kept saying that must have been because he couldn't express anything else but his undying affection for his new toys. Likely he would never feel this way ever again.
"I can imagine." Chellick said, looking at the dismembered and bludgeoned corpses littering the platform. "What do we do about the slaves?"
Garrus looked over to the crowd of human slaves, all of them in worn out environmental suits, definitely not regulation or something you use when mining. A single tear and the entire thing would be compromised, and if you so much as scraped yourself against a rock you were done for.
"Just call the Alliance, they can deal with them, we got a job to do." Wrex said.
Garrus didn't like the idea of just leaving these people here but they didn't have much of a choice, they had to find T'soni and extract her. They could do anything for everyone on the planet, they had to make do with what they could.
"Tali can you contact the Alliance?" Garrus asked, contacting her over the comms.
"I can, but I also found a lot of evidence on their network, their security is not that good. The Council is deeply involved with everything happening here, as well as on the other planets in this system." Tali said. "But it seems that they have been directing those resources somewhere else, to someone else."
"Copy the data and send it, and give us a copy as well, I want to know what they did here." Garrus said, he couldn't just leave without knowing, he needed to know just how far the Council had fallen. "Also, see if you can get in contact with the people here, see about directing them to the cargo ships to wait for rescue. Better they are safe in there than leaving them out here."
"Understood." Tali said.
Garrus watched as the human slaves started walking over towards the cargo ships, it was good that they had at least enough free will to do that. He hoped the Alliance got here fast, who knows how many other mining camps there were and how many hundreds of humans were forced into slavery.
"So, are we going down there?" Chellick asked, leaning over the railing to look down into the excavation pit.
"Yes." Tali said, strolling forward and looking down into the massive mine, it had to be several hundred feet deep. "The Protheans built massive underground structures in these mines, small cities with artificial atmospheres. So deep that no one else has gotten down there before, from what the logs show Liara is down there."
Garrus didn't need to be told twice.
They commandeered a crane and began their descent, as they went deeper they found hundreds of crevices and tunnels drilled into the rock. Probably where deposits of ore and mineral veins were located, they were stripping this place for all its worth.
"How much did they get out of here?" Garrus asked.
"…Eight hundred thousand tonnes, in the last year, and this was just this sector. But that isn't all that they have been digging up, Prothean Relics are plentiful here. In fact based on some of their manifests even the Council didn't receive, they located eight Prothean Beacons, two destroyed, five damaged and one intact."
Garrus was shocked to hear that, they had found Prothean Beacons down here? Plural? By the spirits that would make this the biggest find in the entire history of any species. A damaged beacon on the black market could be worth a space station, the technology alone was valuable due to its ability to compress vast amounts of data and transfer it.
An intact one however, you couldn't put a price on that, no matter how big.
"What happened to them?" Chellick asked.
"Saren took them, all of them, shipped them off world to who knows where. He seems to have been very interested in Prothean technology, he used this place as a major harvesting ground for anything that caught his eye. Anything he didn't want he would sell, anything he did he would keep for himself." Tali said.
Garrus had to wonder what Saren was up to, the man had openly attacked Eden Prime and with the Geth. His goals were unclear but from what Ichigo and Urahara had said he was working with someone that they considered a threat, that alone made him nervous. Because if whatever they were chasing could be a threat to them, that made it clear it was on their level.
As they touched down on the bottom of the shaft they surveyed the area, it was oddly deserted. But what they did find were remnants of Prothean buildings and tunnel networks. Tali had informed them that this far down a lot of Prothean ruins existed, so deep that they had only just been excavated. These tunnels created a network across most of the peninsula they were on, in fact some even stretched over the continent that same peninsula was connected to.
It seems that not many of them were connected anymore, they were using the mine shafts to try and reopen these old tunnels to get inside. Makes sense that they were getting so much out of this, they were exploring places long sealed away by time.
"Which way?" Garrus asked.
"This way." Tali said, pointing to a wide tunnel a hundred meters from their position. "Deploying a Drone."
Smart move, if they had a drone moving ahead of them they wouldn't have to worry about anything waiting for them up. To his surprise however the drone began to flicker and disappear from sight, they had cloaking technology? He wasn't going to question it, but he was going to go over this thing when he got back to the ship.
They took off on a jog, moving down the tunnel at a good pace, Tali deploying two more drones to cover their rear in case something comes up behind them. But as they continued their run he notices something, they weren't exactly getting tired, he didn't feel too worn out from the jog. It had been an hour at least and he still felt fresh, was the armour doing something?
"Contacts up ahead." Tali said, quickly stopping and pointing ahead. "Three hundred meters, six guards, two are Krogan."
"Finally, a challenge." Wrex said, but Garrus raised a claw to stop him.
"No, I want me and Chellick to test out our gear." Garrus said, looking to his longtime colleague. "Tali, keep their comms jammed, and give us support if we need it."
Tali nodded, and while Wrex's body language showed he wasn't pleased he relented. The big guy had his fun topside, now it was their turn to test out their capabilities. Garrus changed his weapon on his back, removing several modelling cubes he had installed and installing some new ones. Now he had a shotgun in hand, not his favoured tool but he wasn't going to complain.
"Chellick, with me." Garrus said, moving forward quickly with Chellick at his side, with Tali and Wrex taking up the rear.
Using his optics he was able to look up ahead and saw the patrol in the distance, they were coming their way.
"Hey, how did you cloak that drone?" Garrus asked.
"Graphene is a natural light filter, it can be used to reflect and bend light, you just need to think about doing it and a subroutine will take over." Tali informed.
Was it that simple? Apparently so, as Chellick had just vanished from sight. Garrus shrugged and did the same, putting some thought to it, and with that he had cloaked himself. He was definitely going to see what make this suit tick when he got back home.
"Chellick, you take right, when I engage hit them hard." Garrus whispered, taking cover next to a pylon along the wall.
The patrol was within arm's reach yet didn't even glance their way, these cloaks were good, he couldn't even see the shimmer from where he was certain Chellick was waiting. As they passed he noticed the two Krogan taking the front, big and imposing as usual, but even Garrus thought them puny when compared to the juggernaut Wrex had become.
Garrus stepped out of cover and approached the closest merc, the Asari didn't see him coming, he reached forward and wrapped his arm around her neck and then raised his shotgun towards the man beside her. She let out a choke and as the man turned he blew his head and some of his torso apart. The gore showered on the two mercs behind him, causing them to stumble in shock, he reached up and grabbed the asari by the throat and ripped out the seal on her neck – along with her trachea.
As she fell forward dead the two mercs tried to raise their weapon before both were gunned down by Chellick. Quick and easy, and looking down at the gore still on his talons he had to admit he was a lot more capable than he realised.
He was drawn from the blood and viscera in his palm by a bellow, turning he saw one of the Krogan charging him and firing. Garrus was pinged several times, his shield held against the barrage, and in the few seconds he had to retaliate – which he wasted gawking – the Krogan was already on him. He raised his rifle and tried to bash him aside, Garrus raised his claw and tried to grab the weapon. He thought he could at least push himself back or away, but he didn't think he would actually be able to stop the swing.
He did, however, do just that.
Garrus had caused the butt of the rifle and stopped it right there, holding it back with a single hand, noticing a series of pulses along his arm. He didn't know what that was, but whatever it was had amplified his strength to the point he could actually resist a Krogan. Sadly, he was caught gawking and received a headbutt from the lumbering lizard.
Garrus stumbled back, dazed, but far from harmed.
As the Krogan raised his rifle to shoot Garrus grabbed it and tore it from his grasp, tossing it aside and raising his shotgun. The Krogan charged forward to grab for the weapon, Garrus twisted to the side and took a swing at the Krogan. To his surprise his fist shattered the helmet the Krogan was wearing, air hissed from the broken frame and send the big guy tumbling to the ground gasping for air. Garrus looked at his fist, wondering just how much strength this suit was giving him, before he raised his shotgun and took a shot without looking.
The Krogan's head, along the with hump on his back, was blown away, leaving a large crevice in the torso of the lizard. He turned to look at Chellick, and no surprise there he was standing there shaking his head in disappointment. The Krogan he had dispatched at his feet and filled with holes, taken out cleanly and efficiently.
"He got the drop on you. You're getting rusty, or maybe you haven't been keeping up on your close quarter training." Chellick said.
"Says the guy who got his ass beaten right beside me by an Asari Commando." Garrus retorted back.
"Yeah, but the difference between me and you is that we were fighting two mercs rather and commandos." Chellick replied.
"You two done arguing?" Wrex said, stomping forward along with Tali.
"That was… kind of brutal." Tali said, looking queasy as she looked at the dead mercenaries.
Garrus did have to agree that their deaths had been far from pleasant, decapitation by shotgun to the head was not pleasant. Neither was tearing out someone's throat. Looking at the other Krogan he saw that he had been riddled with holes. Garrus was wondering if he had some issues given how he had killed three people in a gory fashion when compared to his colleague.
"Didn't know my own strength, I actually caught a Krogan's swing and even broke its helmet. How?" Garrus asked, they had to keep moving, so he decided to ask while they ran down the tunnel.
"It's the suit, it distributing its energy reserves into the weave and created a counter force to hold back the Krogan's attack. Kinetic Barriers work by repelling objects moving at specific velocities, usually anything moving at speeds greater than the speed of sound would be triggered by the shields. The same principle applies here as your armour reacted to the attack and sent a return current through your arm to negate the force of the swing from the Krogan." Tali stated.
"You are telling me we can repel close range attacks from Krogan?" Chellick asked.
"Based on what I have read, we could even resist Biotic fields and pulses, and given this suits make-up it is possible to even negate them." Tali said.
Biotics? She had to be kidding. To be able to repel and negate Biotics would technically make this armour a superweapon. Taking out Biotics often required a lot of finesse and skill, often surprise attacks. Going against one head to head, the odds would be stacked against you, if this evened the field it would change a lot.
"What is so good about this suit's material anyway?" Garrus asked, turning and moving down the highway.
"Graphene is a new material, relatively new anyway, most of the races in the galaxy have been studying it for years, centuries even. But getting it to work has been difficult because manufacturing it is difficult, its structure needs to be altered based on applications it is being used for. Graphene is revolutionary, it can be used for nearly anything, plating, medical technology and even communications." Tali stated. "It's biggest application as of now is Quantum Entanglement Arrays. And the material used to make Graphene, Graphite, is actually used to make carbon fibre polymers which high strength to weight ratios."
"So… how dangerous would this suit be in the wrong hands?" Garrus had to ask.
"Garrus, to be perfectly honestly, if you gave this to a squad of ten people you could potentially take on the entire Citadel police force. And I am not joking here, this tech is terrifyingly versatile, increase our numbers by two and a half and we could take on armies." Tali said.
That was scary to consider, this armour was probably something that should be mass produced, if some madman got their hands on this it would be chaos. He had no reason to take Tali's statement seriously, who had absolutely no clue about how actual combat was different than make believe in those sub-par movies. It wasn't one where a single guy could take on fifty guys and not take a single hit, it wasn't like that.
That was what he was hoping anyway. The alternative was not something he liked to consider.
"Contacts up ahead, a large number of them as well." Tali said.
They continued forward, coming to the end of a tunnel and finding another large excavation site, this one bigger than the last. Prothean structures having been excavated from the stone, a miniature city now visible. And it was occupied, a lot of guards moving around and keeping it protected, from what it did not matter.
"Got seventy contacts, gun emplacements too, what the hell is with these defences?" Garrus muttered.
"They are warding off the competition, this place is a gold mine for everyone here, so valuable they would fight rather than flee when someone comes knocking." Wrex replied. "They got some heavy ordnance as well."
"This is the Northern Hub's Forward Base, this is where they expanded out from into the other excavation sites, they are transporting everything here and then back to the Central Hub." Tali informed, likely hacking into their systems.
"Where is Liara? In the Central Hub?" Garrus asked.
"No, the Eastern Hub." Tali replied. "They have her in some excavated ruin there, we can… wait… I am picking up some comm traffic. There aren't their usual frequencies, these are Asari Commando channels."
"Patch us in." Garrus hastily asked.
"Gather all available resources and relics you can, we are evacuating the planet and pulling back to Feros." A monotoned female voice spoke over the comms.
"What? You can't be serious. We got hundreds of thousands or ore and artefacts down here, no way we can get it all out." Another replied, male this time, much more emotion in his words this time, surprise and maybe a little fear.
"This is an order, this site may have been compromised, and you are no longer under Saren's protection." The woman said. "As of now you will take orders from me."
"What do you mean?"
"Saren has been captured, the Alliance has broken from the Council, and they will be coming to reclaim their lost colonies. We do not have much time to complete our mission, focus on that, and nothing else."
"…Of course, Lady Benezia… I will see it done."
The comms cut off there, but the realisation hit hard on who was here now. Benezia had turned up to clean house and likely extract her daughter, something that they could not let happen. Garrus went over it in his head and tried to figure out how much time they had, but Tali was already giving him an answer.
"They will be touching down in fifteen minutes, based off that they could reach the Eastern Hub in another twenty. We have that much time to get there before they extract Liara." Tali said, good, they had a timeline.
"Can we sneak through here?" Garrus asked.
"It will take too long, we need to get to her quick." Wrex said, pulling out his assault rifle. "We push through to the Eastern Hub."
"They will know we are coming." Chellick said.
"Then the only thing we have to worry about is how many bodies they send to slow us down, and nothing is going to slow us down." Wrex replied.
Garrus knew that they didn't have time to think, they had to react and this was their only chance to get Liara before Benezia was flying off with her. He nodded and grabbed his sniper rifle, turning to Chellick and Tali. This would be their first big firefight, their trial by fire, no time to be nervous.
Without a word he turned and rushed out into the open, quickly locking onto a man operating a turret and blowing him in half – along with taking out the turret as well. He turned and fired again, blowing another guy away, he lined up a third shot and by then everyone else was already moving
Wrex charged past him, his body encased in a biotic glow as he rushed towards a truck and smashed into its side. The hit threw the truck off its wheels and flipped it, crushing several mercs on the other side and letting everyone know they were here to slaughter them. Wrex then turned and started shooting at anyone nearby, unloading full auto on anyone that he caught in his peripheral. Chellick charged forward as well, running faster than a Turian normally could and taking down people with quick bursts from his rifle.
Ten seconds in and they had taken down a third of the defenders before they could retaliate. Turret fire peppering their position, but immediately drones came to their defence and deployed barriers. Garrus took aim, as he did the barriers opened for him to get a shot, he hated to admit it, but he was starting to understand why Wrex 'loved' this.
He took the shot, shattering the turret and blowing the guy operating it away, he then turned to another and opened fire. Wrex and Chellick were mowing down anyone in their vicinity, the two Drones with each of them offering decent protection and covering their blind sides. Tali was just ahead of him, having a good vantage over the field and guiding her drones. Six were covering them from attack, and the remaining three were on the offensive, concentrating their fire on gun emplacements and barricades.
Say what you will about the girl, lacking in actual combat experience, she was earning her keep right now and probably doing better on the body count than he was.
"Gunships!" Chellick yelled.
Garrus looked up, seeing three of them descending into the pit and opening fire. A barrage of bullets came down on them, Chellick rushing over towards Wrex and using the lumbering Krogan as a shield. Their Drones came together and pooled their shield strength to resist the barrage, but he doubted that against a barrage of two gunships they would hold for long.
"Take them out!" Garrus shouted, lining up a shot for the cockpit and firing.
The glass covering shattered and blew apart, the pilot however was lucky to not have suffered the same fate. Garrus clicked his jaw and tried to fire again but the third gunship was already firing on him, his shield drone condensing his shields to hold against the barrage, it was doomed to fail but he wasn't going to waste a chance to fire back.
He raised his rifle and lined up a shot, ordering for the drone to drop the shield. As soon as it dropped he fired, blowing apart the pilot and shredding most of the gunships internal machinery. It careened out of control before crashing into the side of the pit and falling to the ground a flaming ruin. He turned to the two other gunships, one was still firing and the other was lining up to shoot two rockets at the pinned Wrex and Chellick.
"Missiles incoming!" Garrus yelled, raising his rifle to shoot, but the rockets were already on their way.
Then the damnedest of things happened, the drones shielding Chellick and Wrex shot forward and latched onto those rockets. A biotic field surrounded the rockets and stopped them mid-air, how they could do that he had no idea but that wasn't the most surprising part.
Tali was walking forward and fiddling with her Omni-tool, Garrus looked back and noticed that the Gunships had stopped firing. Looking back he saw that they were hovering there motionless, but the one thing he did notice was the drones latched onto their underbelly. Has she actually hacking into the gunships with the drones?
Tali then made a turning motion with her finger and those missiles the drones had stopped began to turn around. A spark moved over the missiles and they were powering up to launch, this time back at the senders. Then with a single gesture the Drones let go of the missiles and the gunships, what happened next was a dazzling explosion of fire and metal. Both gunships blowing apart and crashing into the mud.
Garrus strolled forward and turned towards Tali, who had a hand on her hip, he could almost see the smug look on her face.
"I think I am starting to like you kid." Wrex said, strolling forward and giving a nod towards Tali.
"You were just waiting for them to shoot some missiles at us, weren't you?" Chellick asked, laughing as he walked on.
"I thought they might try it if they couldn't shoot their way through, so I had a plan for that. It worked pretty well." Tali said.
"Looked more like showing off." Chellick replied.
Garrus however was not as jovial, while he was not displeased with what she had done or the fact it was a crapshoot, he was more concerned on what she had said to him regarding these suits' capabilities. If they could disable a Mantis Gunship, stop missiles midair and in motion, along with holding out against three gunships… maybe her assessment of these suits' capabilities was not so farfetched.
That was worrying, because this stuff… he didn't know if anyone should have it… least of all any of them.
North to East Highway / Central Hub Junction
They didn't have much time on their hands to reach Liara, Tali had just told them that Benezia had landed and was already loading up their ships with whatever they could carry. With Saren gone they would need another cash cow to fork out the credits to keep their little conspiracy going.
"Resistance is picking up!" Chellick yelled, jumping over some cover and gunning down some more mercs.
Their little stint back in the Northern Hub had alerted everyone that they were here, and given they were tearing through everything in their path it made sense they were under heavy fire each engagement. They were outnumbered ten to one, usually, now it was becoming twenty to one, and soon it might become thirty plus five tanks to one.
"Doesn't matter, keep pushing." Garrus said, taking out a turret one second and then the next he shot through an APC.
Wrex was in front, shooting anything in front of him, having decided to upgrade his assault rifle to a heavy machine gun. He had heard of those things before, Revenants, nasty bits of work, and the one Wrex had was worse, given the lethality of their weapons in comparison to what was 'normal'.
"Flanking right, could use support." Chellick said, a moment later three drones were on his six and following him as he pushed through an enemy firing line.
This armour was beyond what any of them expected, the protection it provided was in league with some heavy assault armour. Hell, he would even say this could outshine Spectre armour, shields and armour plating all, because even if he lost his shields, he didn't feel anything.
He turned and shot through three mercenaries, the three Drones covering his sides and back, as he moved so did they. He aimed in one direction they covered his other three, anything turned up it would be peppered full of holes. Not once had he taken a shot in the back, or anywhere in the last few engagements.
There was no way to explain it, but he felt a strange awareness of what was ahead of him, he was focused and whenever something popped up he would shoot it down. He was quick to pull the trigger and nothing was slowing him down, he had no idea how, but he seemed to continually be in the zone. Made him nervous when he first realised it, thinking the suit was doing something to him, but considering the results he would push it to the back of his mind until this mission was over.
"Area clear. Move up!" Garrus said, leaping down from his perch and leading the charge.
They were fighting their way towards the Eastern Hub, they had to get there and down into an excavation site where T'soni was being held. They didn't have much time, based on radio traffic she was already being extracted by those present to be handed off to Benezia at the Central Hub.
"ETA on arrival?" Garrus asked.
"Twelve minutes! But they will have her in half the time!" Tali replied, despite getting involved in these fire fights she was still out of her element, always worrying.
"We should split up, slow one of them down." Chellick said.
"Tali, can you get behind them so they can't get to the Central Hub?" Garrus asked.
"…Maybe, I need to access the Central Hub, but that shouldn't be too hard, we go there we can intercept before she can get Liara out of here." Tali said.
"Wrex, go with her, we'll keep pushing to the Eastern Hub." Garrus said. "If you can't do anything to slow her down try and hold her until we get to you."
"Got it!" Tali said, while Wrex gave a grunt as he turned and followed Tali down a nearby junction.
Chellick looked over his suits features and found the drones on his armour, he had two he could use, and he deployed them. The reason he hadn't deployed them before was because he didn't know if he could use them with as much finesse as Tali. But they were down a vanguard and their support, he wasn't going to go into this without at least something watching his back.
"Another group ahead." Garrus said, on another perch and looking down his scope. "Evade!"
Chellick dove to the right and into cover, just in time as something sailed past him and blew up the APC that they had passed. Staying in cover he used his drone's mounted recorder to look around the corner, he grimaced as he looked through the feed, it seems that those tanks were right on schedule.
"Fifty credits say I blow it up before you kill all the mercenaries." Garrus said, trying to keep things light.
He had his concerned that these suits were making them feel invincible, deluding them into thinking that they couldn't be killed. That they could take on anything, he was legitimately worried about that, not afraid or anxious, worried as in worried if you turned off the stove back home or if you forgot to pick up some groceries.
"Make it a hundred, and if you aren't done when I am, I'll be taking that tank as well." Chellick replied, bolting out of cover and charging the enemy line.
He snagged a piece of broken metal and threw it at a merc, it nearly carved his head in half, his buddied were dead a few second later. Chellick didn't know what this suit was doing to them but right now he didn't have any fear to show, didn't know how, he was going to figure it out eventually, but for now he was in the moment and he was not going to let up.
Eastern Hub / Prothean Ruins / Grelja District
It had been a nightmare for her, these last four years.
Her time studying Prothean ruins and archaeological sites had been something she enjoyed immensely. She had delved into the ancient past and into the unknown histories of their predecessors and tried to understand their culture, technological wonders and mysterious extinction.
Liara knew that her profession was not one many looked at with any respect, for they thought there was little more to learn about the Protheans. The Asari were all about the future, seeing where things will go and lead towards, the past was done and gone and while the Protheans were respected there were few who delved into researching them for long. Archaeology relating to the Protheans is considered a pointless existence, one that should not be wasted on something that would give no results or reward for the effort.
Most give up after a few decades, seeing the futility of such work.
But she was an exception, defying all expectations and becoming one of the foremost experts on the Protheans. She had even gone further than that, learning about many other races that even predate the Protheans, some by hundreds of thousands of years. Her work had been revolutionary, despite many calling her foolish and naïve, but what she had discovered would change all that they knew.
If only someone listened, someone who would understand her work and what it meant.
For years she worked alone, unable to find someone who believed in her work and what she was trying to achieve. Short term acquaintances was the best she could do, even then there was little about her time with them that was memorable. She was better off being alone, as sad as that was.
But then someone came to her, saying they believed in her work. Someone she had never thought would say that to her, someone she wished only to rekindle with after so many years of separation between them.
"Get moving!" She was shoved forward, nearly falling over as she tripped on an uneven piece of stone.
She was being forced to run through the ruins, guarded by twenty mercenaries. Trapped in these dilapidated depths for nearly four years, never allowed out in the sun and forced to continually look over Prothean documentation and records along with information related to 'The Beacon'. It had been a hellish existence.
Now that was all changing, from what she could piece together she was being extracted from the planet. Saren had been captured and imprisoned and the Alliance had broken away from the Council Races, in a way she was thankful for that, seeing how many human slaves were being brought here she was glad the occupation was being broken. She only hoped that they were fleeing because it was under attack, that raised her chances of escaping, if only a fraction.
But the only thing that could sour an already bleak situation was the person she was being forced to run towards.
"Lady Benezia! Thank the spirits, got worried we might run into whoever is shooting up the Northern Hub." The Turian guard said.
His name is Irex, he has been her guard and taskmaster for the last three years, and someone she hated more than anyone else. Even more than the woman he was addressing with such respect that was contrast to the cruel viciousness she had to endure since meeting him.
Liara looked up towards the emotionless face of her mother, clothed in black and looked down at her with dead eyes. She couldn't see a single trace of warmth within those dark orbs, whatever had happened to her mother had turned her into someone else. Or maybe she didn't really know her that well, for her to sell her off to slavers and pirates for some mad scheme.
"We are leaving, you will provide assistance in transporting her to the surface." Benezia said, glancing towards Irex.
"Now, now, do not be so cruel, she is your daughter after all, catch up why don't you, after we are done you will never see her again." A man said, wearing a hood but Liara could tell he was human. The fact he was free of any restraints and didn't appear to be a slave was all the more surprising, they didn't employ a single human here, at least not one that could hold a gun.
"Who the hell is this?" Irex said, an instant dislike towards the man, likely due to the fact he was human.
"I am your new benefactor, no need to be so crass, we will be friends very soon." He said, before turning and moving back the way they came. "Now come, we have no time to waste."
Benezia halted all argument from Irex and ordered him forward, saying they will treat him with respect as he will be leading them for the time being. Liara was dragged forward unceremoniously, forced to keep walking even if her legs protected. She had not been given much a chance to walk and exercise, she had been forced to remain at a workstation for hours at a time daily to look over records and information.
Even if she wanted to escape there was little hope for her, she was alone and there was no one she could trust. Unless some sort of miracle happened there was no way she could get out of here.
They came to the Central Hub, it was a large domed bunker that sat nearly half a kilometre below the planet's surface. Here was where all the different sectors connected to, everything that was going off planet would come here. The lower level sorted out what was going up, the second levelled was where it was screened before going up again to the hanger. After that it would be sent out into the Terminus, never to be seen again, she likely would end up the same way.
Once she stepped inside, she would be surrounded by hundreds of mercenaries, all armed to the teeth, hope of escape all but died here. There may have been little before but at least there was a miniscule amount she could cling to and pray something happened that would let her at least flee. They came to the hatch, a massive door that was reinforced by who knows how many locks, she had lost count at twenty when she tried to listen to every mechanism that shifted in the door.
"We don't have enough ships to transport the cargo and the people, what do we do about them?" Irex asked.
"Leave them here, if they want to continue mining they are free to do so. Tell them they can keep everything after we leave." Benezia replied.
"Will do." Irex said, sounding pleased.
The hatch opened with a hiss and groan, she expected there to be a swarm of guards waiting on the other side. There were, but not in the state she was expecting.
Bodied littered the floor, close to a hundred corpses, with blood painting every square inch of it. Standing amongst the carnage was a heavily armoured Krogan with a large assault rifle in hand, he was looking right at them.
"Who the hell are you?" Irex yelled, raising his weapon along with everyone else.
The Krogan didn't answer, instead scanning the crowd before his eyes focused in on her. He didn't say a word, only kept staring, and then something snatched at her arms and she was catapulted forward, she let out a startled scream as she came careening towards the Krogan.
He caught her in one arm and then started firing from the other, her guards were being mowed down quickly and had it not been for the Commandos they all likely would be dead. They had brought up some barriers and were trying to advance forward, but then the doorway sealed itself and locked.
"See, that was easy."
Liara turned to see a Quarian strolling forward, pushing in a few commands into her Omni-tool. Then the pressure on her arms disappeared, before something reappeared hovering on either side of her. She saw two drones hovering back towards the Quarian, had she used them to send her flying through the air.
"Liara T'soni?" The Quarian asked. "My name is Tali, we are here to rescue you."
"Rescue?" Liara asked, momentarily struck with shock. "Oh! Thank the goddess! Thank you!"
"Talk later, we should leave." The Krogan said, shouldering his weapon and looking towards the door. "There was a human in some robes back there, fucker wasn't normal."
Robes? Did they mean that human who was their new benefactor?
"…Robes? On Keela. Do you think that was him?" Tali said, obviously worried. "Hey, Liara, did that guy say anything?"
"N-no… he just said he was their new benefactor…" Liara said, and the moment she did she noticed they both stiffened.
"Fuck, it is him. We need to get going before…" Wrex went quiet, his grip on his weapon tightening.
Liara strained her ears and heard something, groaning metal, it sound like it was being crushed and torn at the same time. Turning she looked at the hatch and to her shock watched as it was being pried open. Two hands snaking in between the gap and forcing it to expand, as it grew larger she could see the smirking visage of the human behind it.
"Just our fucking luck he's here too." The Krogan said, raising his Revenant and firing.
The man ignored the bullets and stepped through the opening, smirking as he strolled towards the Krogan. No matter how much he fired the man wasn't harmed, the bullets harmlessly bounced off his body.
"Wrex! We cannot fight that thing!" Tali yelled, reaching for something on her belt. "Garrus! Chellick! We have Liara, but War is here! I'm contacting Ichi…"
She was cut off suddenly, the robed man had disappeared from his spot, she turned and found the human had seized Tali by the throat. His other hand reached up and grabbed her by the mask, slowly applying pressure and causing it to crack. She flailed desperately to escape his grasp but it seemed futile.
"Now don't go ruining this for me, he isn't someone I want to see just yet." War said, smirking as he applied more pressure.
"Drop her asshole." Wrex said, stepping forward and drawing back his fist.
It expanded and a mass effect field formed around his arm, he threw it forward with all his might. The human let go of Tali's throat and grabbed the fist, the explosion of kinetic energy sent Liara flying back and landing on a body and dousing herself in blood. Looking up she was shocked that he had grabbed the fist and was slowly applying pressure, metal could be heard groaning as he started to crush the Krogan's hand.
"Hilarious, you actually thought these toys would be enough to harm me? I am a god, I was made to be invincible. Nothing can best me, least of all some inferior lizard!" He said, forcing Wrex down to a knee.
Tali then fell back, a hiss of air escaping from her suit as she released her face plate, the man looked at the screen before crushing it in his hand. Tali had to be desperate to risk dying of an infection just to free herself from his grasp. But she raised her arm and pointed towards War, and nine drones appeared behind her and converged on him. They surrounded him and formed a biotic field, and with a quick motion he was lifted off the ground and away from them. But he still held onto Wrex, dragging him off the ground with him.
War laughed, before twisting in the air and tossing aside Wrex and into a nearby scaffolding, it shattered on impact and the Krogan kept flying and slammed into the wall. The concrete crumbled and he fell down crashing into the debris below, buried further by the wall he had shattered. Wrex slowly pushed himself back up, stumbling as he did so, the fact he was alive seemed impossible to consider.
"Honestly, you short lived creatures never cease to amaze me with your foolish attempts to delay the inevitable." War said, before he swung out with his arms and with some strange force shattered the barrier and threw away the drones. "Why not simply submit, die for a cause greater than your own, and let us feed on your suffering and demise, like all the rest have."
He was floating down towards the ground, how he was doing this wasn't because of residual biotic energy from the drones or from himself. This was something else, something she didn't understand… could he be one of the Anomalies?
"You first asshole." Wrex said, standing up and charging the man, body encased in a biotic aura.
Debris and bodies were blown away as he rushed forward, the kinetic energy he was releasing was intense that even several meters away Liara felt herself being pushed away. There was a boom as he struck the man, who had not budged from the strike, holding the Krogan back with a hand. Another laugh came from his lips as he pushed Wrex back and into the wall, shattering the concrete and dazing him once more.
Liara had no idea how to process what she was seeing before her, how could any of this be possible. That human had pried open a reinforced metal door with his bare hands and was able to causally hold back a Krogan with biotics like he was a child. She had heard of the Anomalies many times, but she never thought that they were real, just some silly rumours. Even if they were used as an excuse for the occupation of Alliance space, she thought it to be something more reasonable.
She was being proven wrong.
"Now come along my dear, we mustn't dawdle, we have much to do." War said, offering a hand towards Liara.
Liara for a moment had thought maybe that she was free, that she could escape from this hell. It had been dashed away, by this monster that had dispatched her two savours with ease. What hope did she have on resisting him? None, her only choice was to follow and hope her fate did not end with her death. Although she had her doubts that would be the case, what awaited her was likely just that, possibly even worse.
But where she had given up Wrex had charged back in, swing widely and landing two punches against her captor. The strikes did not faze him, he didn't even flinch from each strike, only letting out a sigh as he stopped the third punch and seized the Krogan by the collar and tossing him into the side of a parked APC. The vehicle caved in underneath his body, he was motionless for a few moments before he pulled himself free and tried to attack again.
War seemed to have enough, drawing a blade and casually slicing off his arm at the elbow. Wrex was momentarily stunned before he was forced down to the ground, his legs having been cut off. Ever defiant he tried to stand, but War pulled him up and dangled him in front of him.
"Your species was so much fun to toy with, honestly you wouldn't believe how many test subjects we had to experiment with when we got our hands on some of your females." War said, giving a derisive laugh as he plunged his sword into Wrex's chest. "You would have made a fine reflection of myself, but it seems that those primitive miscreants from that backwater world have already gotten their claws into you."
He twisted his sword and ripped it free, a shower of gore followed, before he tossed aside the motionless Wrex aside. War then turned to the coughing Tali, having been choking on the air ever since her mask was broken. Even down this far underground the atmosphere was far from pure or clean, and given Quarian physiology she would likely going into shock if she didn't get somewhere sterile soon.
"Your turn now little miss." War said, using his foot to push her onto her back.
He smirked and raised his sword, but she raised a hand and presented a torn piece of paper. Liara was flabbergasted, along with War, what could that possibly mean?
Liara heard the voice, and in an instant saw worry appear on War's face, he turned sharply and tried to defend himself. He raised his sword to block a black blade from cutting his head in two, but that didn't stop another from burying itself into his stomach. He let out a cry of pain before he was thrown back, smashing through some pillars and walls that made the roof begin to collapse.
Standing there was an orange haired man in black and white robes, he had two blades in his hands and was looking over the Quarian.
"You alright Tali?"
"Yeah… thanks Ichigo… Wrex… is he?" Tali wheezed, her throat raspy, nearly being crushed likely having done so.
"Don't know, get him back to the ship, we might be able to save him. I will take care of War, just get out of here." Ichigo said, disappearing with a boom.
Tali staggered to her feet and raised her arm, her Omni-tool appearing, then the Drones along the ground started to rise back up. Hovering over towards them, five latching onto the downed Wrex and two grabbing on herself and Tali.
"We got to hurry." Tali said, before an explosion went off.
Liara shielded her eyes and looked to the source, the crumpled service door had been blown open, swarming through were dozens of mercenaries. Tali drew her pistol and started firing, it was wild and uncoordinated, but it was all she could do. Then Liara was lifted off the ground, she was turned around and rocketed up the elevator shaft towards the surface.
She turned to see Wrex being dragged up behind them, Tali taking the rear and trying to pick off anyone below them. A moment later they were at the top of the shaft and in another section of the hub, but unlike down below the guards here were very much alive. Looking on in surprise at their sudden and unexpected arrival.
Tali leaped up from the shaft and landed in front of her, the drones breaking away and then opening fire on the pirates. She grabbed her hand and started dragging her forward, shields deploying around them and making sure any stray bullets did not reach them.
"This is Tali, where are your two?" Tali said, likely calling someone over the comms.
"On our way! We are on a highway to the Central Hub! Under heavy fire, have you got her?"
"Yes, but Wrex is badly wounded, and Ichigo is here, he is tearing up the facility below us, we need to leave quick before this entire place comes down." Tali said.
"Understood, keep her safe, we will be there soon!"
Tali turned and drew her pistol, firing at some pirates that tried to flank them, she kept shooting before picking up a pistol from the ground. She turned and offered it to Liara.
"Can you shoot?" Tali asked.
Liara looked at the pistol being offered up and was hesitant to take it, many times she had a weapon in range and whenever someone caught her looking, they made sure to remind her not to try anything. She had scars to prove it, and for a moment she hesitated to reach for the weapon, but then she quickly took it and started shooting.
She had been trapped in this hell long enough, suffering at the hands on these monsters, she was not going to sit back and take it anymore. It had been a few years since she fired a weapon, done anything remotely physically strenuous, but that wasn't going to stop her from taking some form of revenge on these bastards.
"Keep moving forward, we need to get into the CIC, from there we can get to the docks and get out of here." Tali shouted.
As she said that she saw up ahead the CIC bunker, heavily reinforced and having the only elevator out of this ruin. A barrage of fire came down on them, automated turrets and manned ones opened fire on them and forced the two into cover.
"We can't get through!" Liara yelled.
"Give me a minute!" Tali shouted in response, fiddling with her Omni-Tool as the Drones started retaliating.
Liara could do nothing but wait as their cover was slowly being whittled down by the constant fire, and to make matters worse they were being surrounded. Liara saw a few Turians moving to their flank and readying their weapons to fire, one with a rocket launcher.
"Behind you!" Liara shouted.
Tali didn't respond and instead two Drones turned and fired, killing the Turians before they could do anything.
"Calm down, we are going to be fine." Tali said, barely heard over the gunfire.
"I don't think we are." Liara replied, looking back the way they came and seeing the Elevator coming up, Asari Commandos and two familiar faces with them. Irex and Benezia stepping out after their guards, weapons raised and intent on taking her back.
Tali didn't seem to care, only focusing on her Omni-tool as they slowly started to get closer. The Commandos erected a large barrier ahead of them and started moving forward, shrugging off the drone's bullets.
"You cannot run, there is no escaping here, give up and you might be given the luxury of a quick death like your ally." Benezia said, her words were hollow to the ears, but the threat was definitely not.
"I have been running from you for days, now I can fight back, there is no way I am going back to that!" Tali yelled.
"You, you are that Quarian." Benezia said, frowning as she spoke.
"I am, and I got some new toys you might not like." Tali said, swiping her hand across her Omni-tool and immediately there was silence.
The turrets had stopped firing, but they continued to spool, they shifted and aimed right towards Benezia and her entourage. Her eyes widened and she took a cautious step backwards, before turning to glare at Tali.
"Turned out I was the one Quarian you shouldn't have messed with!" Tali yelled.
Without wasting another word she pressed a single finger down on her Omni-tool, then the turrets opened fire, unleashing thousands of rounds on the platoon of mercenaries and Asari commandos. The commandos in front strained to hold back the barrage, the biotic barrier ahead of them breaking apart under the stress and then their shields followed a moment later. They were torn apart, and when they fell those behind them rushed to cover.
"Alright, up we get." Tali said, grabbing Liara and dragging her towards the CIC.
Before they reached the door it opened and popped out three Krogan, who immediately rushed them. Tali raised her pistol and started shooting, but it wouldn't be able to take them out before they got close. As one got within reach he reached for her face, she grabbed his arm and with impossible strength forced him to a knee before unloading her pistol point blank into his face.
The second came up and grabbed her pistol and arm and held it back, the third doing the same with her other arm. Tali struggled, fighting with all her strength to free herself, but with two Krogan holding her in place there was little she could possibly do. Liara stepped forward and started shooting them, trying to help her.
It worked, Tali was able to free her hand and angle it towards the Krogan's chest, then a holographic blade formed along her arm and punched right through his chest. He fell back and then Tali turned to the other and stabbed him in the neck. As he gurgled his last breath Tali pushed him away and then grabbed Liara to run into the CIC.
Liara turned back and saw that their pursuers were still giving chase, even after suffering such heavy losses they were not going to give up so easy. They entered the CIC and waited only a few moments longer to allow Wrex's body to fly through before sealing it behind them. Tali was already working on getting rid of the guards inside, leaving a trail of destruction ahead of her as she fought to secure their only route out of here.
They fought through the halls and rooms and made their way to the cargo elevator, and as they broke into the room they were under heavy attack. Another gun emplacement waiting for them and forcing them to deploy their drones to not get torn apart.
"Why do they have all these guns here? Why not outside?" Tali shouted.
"Can you hack it?" Liara asked, before their cover started to disintegrate right behind them.
"Not that fast." Tali said, looking over towards Wrex. "Just when having you around would have been great."
"What about us?"
The sudden voice startled Liara, before an explosion went off and the barrage on their position died down. Liara didn't dare lean out of cover, she didn't have any barriers on her and she didn't trust her biotics at the moment.
"Where have you two been? I have been fighting my way through this entire place for the last twenty minutes!" Tali shouted, clearly annoyed.
"We knew you could handle yourself, I mean you outsmarted Benezia's Commandos for days didn't you?" Garrus said, a loud crack following these words and a distant boom following. "Area's clear ahead of you."
"Do you have that Senkaimon ticket?" Chellick asked.
"I needed it, War turned up and I had to get Ichigo to deal with him." Tali replied, coming out of cover and deploying her drones to fight.
"Then we need a different extraction plan, there are plenty of ships topside so we can go there." Garrus said. "Get to the elevator and get it working, we are going topside."
Tali rushed over towards the elevator, shooting at anyone that got close. Liara was left standing there and worried about being left unguarded, until a Turian walked over towards her, she was worried for a moment.
"Easy there, ma'am, I am Chellick, former C-Sec." He said, raising a placating hand. "Glad we got you out of there when we did, any later and we might have lost you."
Liara didn't doubt that, she was being pulled out for what was likely to be her execution or to be put through something that would see to her demise.
"Who are you? Why did you come here to save me?" Liara asked, walking with Chellick towards the elevator, another Turian was standing nearby and looking over the Krogan.
"Mostly because of your relationship with Benezia, she is probably the most wanted criminal in all of the galaxy right now after what she did to Eden Prime and who she was working with." Chellick replied. "We need to stop her, and truthfully you are the only one that can help us do that."
Liara didn't know how much she could help, she only knew so much and most of that wasn't anything important. They kept her on a tight leash and only let her work on deciphering some ancient texts. But she wasn't going to say that until after they got her off this planet and somewhere safe.
Central Hub / CIC Cargo Elevator
Garrus turned towards Chellick as he escorted Liara to their position, he was glad at least something went their way. Although now they had a few problems to deal with, the first being their extraction out of here was no longer viable. Using that ticket had all but robbed them of a quick and speedy retreat from the facility, and with Ichigo indisposed they had to make their own way out. Which was going to be tricky, this place had a lot of defences that would not be easy to bypass.
To make matters worse, their heavy hitter had been taken out of commission, so fighting their way out was not going to cut it. Tali's suit had been compromised so a drawn out fight could be dangerous, especially since she no longer had adequate protection. Infection could set in soon, they had to get her out before she became a liability to the mission, and if she fell so would Wrex.
Speaking of him, when Garrus looked down at his dismembered body, he could not suppress a shiver at seeing how brutalised Wrex was.
"So, Wrex, that thing did it to him?" Chellick asked, looking over the wounded Krogan.
Garrus knew the details, having heard them from Tali, and what she described was far from pleasant. This Horsemen had torn through Wrex like he was nothing, tossing him around and overpowering him as easily as a Krogan might dominate a Salarian. Considering Wrex as he is now could murder another Krogan very similarly to that it made it even more terrifying how bad he looked.
"Yes, that man was fast, he could have crushed my head with his hand if he wanted to, and even overpowered Wrex when he was using his biotics. If Wrex wasn't wearing that armour he would be dead right now, it's shocking he is even alive in spite of that." Tali said.
Garrus had looked over some of the suit's readouts and to their surprise Wrex was alive, unconscious and likely comatose, but alive. Krogan may be tough but getting impaled through the chest was one of the few things that can take down in one fell stroke.
"I knew these suits couldn't match up to anything like an anomaly, but I at least thought we could put up a fight." Garrus said, he believed that this could at least keep them alive, and he didn't mean barely alive. "So Ichigo is dealing with him then?"
"Yes, the moment he turned up the guy lost all his guts, figuratively and nearly literally." Tali said, a grin on her face that looked a little too cruel.
"You are becoming too accustomed to violence, a little too fast." Garrus said.
The moment he said that Tali looked at him surprised; he could tell because her face was actually visible to him. That alone made this stranger because despite that she wasn't freaking out that she was being exposed to contaminated air. It made this kind of awkward because that one Fornax magazine he read with a Quarian spread was coming back to him. He would admit that those images were definitely not edited, it was a damn shame they always wore containment suits.
But the important thing here was that she was okay with violence and mass slaughter, this was her first mission after all.
"Yeah… now that you mention it, I didn't really feel anything when I was fighting… I was…" Tali started.
"Focused, you were completely focused on the task ahead." Chellick finished, walking up towards them. "The suits are likely responsible."
Garrus had his worries about this, about the suits making them overconfident, but it looks like there was something in them making sure they didn't get that far ahead of themselves. He didn't know if he should be worried, or if he was capable of being worried while wearing this damn thing, but it brought up some questions.
"There are injectors for Medi-Gel, maybe other chemical injections are present." Tali said, already bringing up her Omni-Tool to see.
"That can wait." Garrus said, looking up to see they were getting close to the top. "What kind of resistance are we going to have to deal with when we get up there?"
Tali tapped away on her Omni-Tool and brought up a holographic display, some video showing as well, and it was not looking good. They were moving up to the hanger, a big one with a lot of open space and high platforms – with a few turrets and other guns placed on them. He counted eighteen tanks, they might not all be able to fire on them all at once but the number was still something to be worried about.
"They pulled back everyone here, six hundred and twelve mercenaries, twenty-three APC's, eighteen tanks, they have about a dozen Mantis Gunships, but they haven't taken off yet. We are not equipped to take that many on." Tali said.
"Where is the closest hanger we can snag a ship from?" Garrus asked.
"Eight hundred meters South-West, we just need to take a hard right, but we need to cut across the edge of the main platform, there is a lot of open ground there." Tali said.
Garrus saw a line and true to her words they had to literally hug the wall to get there, and that was a straight line. They could probably cover that distance in thirty second if they went full sprint, but the problem was that Liara could not go that fast. and even if they could, they would still be getting shot at.
He thought for a moment and something came to mind.
"Ma'am, I need you to hop on Wrex, he can be your personal shield, don't worry he won't be hurt." Garrus said, looking at the surprised Asari, yeah, he knew it sounded ridiculous, he turned to Tali. "I want you to send Wrex flying to that hanger, cover him with your defensive drones, send them all and when they get there, they can secure a ship for us."
They would need to get out of here fast, even if they get to that hanger there was no telling if they could get a ship started up before they were blown apart. If Liara could get a ship off the ground and they just had to hop on and fly out. Problem was they still had to run for half a minute through heavy gunfire with no support from drones.
Chellick and Tali however didn't seem to concerned, truthfully he wasn't so worried either, he knew the moment he got this suit off he would be shitting himself from all the death defying he had to endure during this mission.
"Will you all be alright?" Liara asked.
"Sure… I am confident… we can make it." Garrus said, nodding his head and thinking they had a good chance of making it.
Despite that assertion he could almost hear the whisper in the back of his head saying he was going to die. They didn't have much time or chance to change things now, they were one floor away from reaching the top, he took a deep breath and placed his weapon on his back.
"Tali, get me something that makes a big boom." Garrus said, handing her the rest of his weapon blocks and letting her make something they could use to at least distract those bastards long enough to get Liara out of sight before they realised.
She didn't take long, making up something that was nearly as big as his torso.
"Here, aim for the centre of the platform, should cover us." Tali said, handing him a monstrosity of a weapon that was fat and oddly short. Stumpy really, and he noticed a few pulsing parts on said gun, what the hell kind of weapon was this? "You get one shot, make it count."
"I will." Garrus said, aiming down the sights. "Liara, hand on tight, Tali send her as soon as I fire."
The elevator came up slowly, he felt his pulse quicken despite his odd calm, every inch the elevator rose was agonising to deal with. As soon as he peaked over the edge of the floor he could see the mercenaries already aiming and readying to fire, but he was already holding the trigger and charging up the shot.
He released and then a bolt of ionised energy shot out and sped like a missile, he didn't see the projectile but he sure as hell saw the results of it before it detonated. A soldier just ahead of him was missing half his body, it had been vaporised and it looked like the rest of him was still disintegrating and anything else had a nice hole through it.
Then it hit solid matter, the energy flattened out against something, releasing a lot of heat, then a bright light engulfed his vision. Garrus was thankful for the shielding on his helmet, because then he could see the large explosion of what could only be nuclear energy that shattered the centre of the hanger and turned everything to shit in a moment's notice.
Garrus hadn't seen Liara depart, but he could hear her squealing from here, he dropped the weapon and took off running. Tali and Chellick right behind him, they ran as fast as they could, and luckily for them the hangers lighting had been disrupted by the explosion.
"What was that thing?" Garrus asked.
"An experimental high explosive round, Graphene can store vast amounts of energy, but also generate it as well. I didn't know if it would work but I was able to create a miniature fission reaction by separating hydrogen atoms in our suits air tank by using the suits…" Tali tried to explain.
"Do it later! We got to get away from here!" Chellick yelled.
He was right, because in the ten seconds they had been running the lights were back on. Garrus drew his rifle and took aim, finding a turret and gunner looking their way, he blew the bastard in half. Chellick did the same, firing shots at anything in range ahead of him, Tali provided some support with her pistol.
They were over halfway there before they were being fired upon, Garrus deployed his Drone and made sure it had its shields up. It would buy him a few seconds but it was better than nothing. Although he knew on the final stretch, he would be relying on his armour to take the brunt of the assault, lets hope it held.
"Tank!" Tali yelled.
Garrus turned and looked, his suit already calculating possible trajectory patterns of its shot and he saw that they were all in the firing line. With their backs to the wall it didn't matter if it missed, the explosion would do the damage the shell didn't, they had to stop it from even firing on them. He raised his Rifle and lined up a shot and hit the muzzle of the tank, didn't matter if it was dead centre or nicked it, as long as it threw off that shot they were safe. Luckily it was, the front of the barrel was warped and when it fired the slug the thing got caught and blew out the side of the barrel and its flight path was skewed.
"Keep running! We're nearly there!" Garrus yelled, just then something exploded right next to him, a big explosion as well.
He and everyone else was thrown back and away from the wall, it was a hard impact but not enough to keep him down. He jumped up and pulled Tali to her feet, Chellick was running again, he turned to see another tank lining up a shot and then he pushed Tali forward. The cannon went off and everything behind him exploded, he felt shards of concrete and stone smash into his back, that he certainly felt.
More explosions went off, they were more random this time, likely thanks to the smoke screen that had formed thanks to them blowing up the wall. They rushed through the door and nearly collapsed to the ground, Garrus let out a pained gasp, he was hurt. His faceplate was cracked, but he made out the reading showing some ruptures along the spine of his suit.
"Keep going." Garrus said, ignoring the pain and trying to jog towards the ship, he could see the drones outside it waiting.
Chellick came up beside him and helped drag him towards the ship, they moved up the ramp and he was dropped to the floor. Thankfully they didn't need to say that they were ready to leave, the ship was taking off and speeding away as the ramp closed.
Garrus pried the helmet off his head and took in deep breaths.
"That was intense." Garrus said, pulling himself up and onto a nearby seat and groaning as he felt whatever shrapnel was lodged in his back irritate him.
"We got out though, counts for something." Chellick said.
Guess it did, two former cops, one Quarian on Pilgrimage got out of there while keeping a civilian safe and dragging the heavy ass of a Krogan Battlemaster with them. Honestly, it was a miracle that it happened at all.
Now they had to escape anyone chasing after them, along with avoiding any AA guns that would try to shoot them down.
"Anyone in pursuit?" Garrus asked.
"No, I put the Drones around the ship, they should keep us cloaked until we get to the Ryo-Okhi." Tali said, Garrus was surprised, she remembered the name of that stupid ship, he sure as hell couldn't.
Garrus just leaned back and tried not to upset his injuries, it had been a long day and while he had been calm through most of it he was starting to feel the fatigue. Chellick was already trying to get him out of his armour, Garrus didn't fight it, he just let all of it melt away.
He closed his eyes for a moment, he felt a dreamless sleep take over, at least he thought he slipped into a sleepless dream. Otherwise he was bleeding out, but he didn't have much time to think before everything went black.
The next moment he was wake, a hand on his shoulder shaking him away. Looking up he saw Chellick hovering over him.
"Hey." Chellick said, grabbing his arm and pulling himself up. "Ichigo found us, we are back."
Garrus nodded steadying himself as he was pulled to his feet, wincing as he felt the shards in his back pinched on his muscles, he powered through and walked down the ramp. The familiar open desert outside the ship's temple was welcome, told them that they were safe. Ichigo was waiting for them, looking no worse for wear, good for him.
"Did you get him?" Chellick asked.
"No, bastard slipped away, someone saved him before I could finish the job." Ichigo replied. "You guys okay?"
"Hurt, but we will live, anything else happened while we were gone?" Garrus asked.
"Yeah." Ichigo replied, looking grim. "We got a lot to catch up on, it seems things are more serious than what we thought."
Garrus didn't like the way he looked when he said that, all but screamed that things were going to get worse for them. He was starting to regret taking part in this, no matter the cool toys and fun adventures you go on there was just too much pressure.
He turned to see Wrex being carried towards the Temple, Tali still without her faceplate and Liara looking around in shock. Yeah, this was probably going to be how thing end with their missions now, someone is going to get their ass handed to them or get mortally wounded.
"At least it beats being a cop on the Citadel." Garrus muttered.
"Couldn't agree more." Chellick responded.
Both of them strolling towards the temple and basking in the sun after a long days work.
There you have it, although truth be told I was thinking of splitting this up into two chapters. But thought against it, I wanted you to see the very end of this conflict. Hope you like it.