Chapter 16: Strange Bed Fellows
Aut simul stabunt aut simul cadent
"They will either stand together or fall together"
A little late but merry Christmas and happy New Year! To the 2020 I say this: Don't come back!
LLC Nighthunter; Minos Wasteland cluster
Independent Scout Freighter
"I am telling you we can increase the duration of the stealth fly by increasing the polarity of the lithium heatsinks" Lannya suggested while handling her console in the drive core of the Nighthunter.
"You are not wrong Lannie, but doing that could exert considerable stress into the kinetic barriers emitters" Ez Kowalzcyk answered while checking down the power fluctuations in the core.
"Lannie?" the quarian engineer stated in a teasing tone.
"It's an affectionate… pet name, I am getting tired of calling you Lannya all the time, I mean if you don't mind" he stated.
"Not at all Ez" she answered in the same playful tone, Ezequiel could swear that she was smiling or whatever related to a smile in the quarians behind the helmed.
It had been an interesting couple of months since he and Lannya have joined the crew of the LLC Nighthunter. Captain Harper had not been shy about their intended purpose: to find anything about the operations and capabilities of the Terminus Black Fleet and this Terminus Combine, as to stop them from interfering with the interests of the Alliance.
Yet his gut told him that there was something else, he felt like an outsider amongst this crew of elite operatives worthy of the ASB patronage; it was even worse for Lannya who the crew treated with respect and kind but more often than not looked at her like a weird animal in a zoo; at the very least his friend was not the only quarian onboard, there was also a male quarian doctor who specialized in cybernetics apparently as there were rumors that the Black Fleet had cybernetically enhanced soldiers during the invasion of Illium and the captain wanted an expert to research any new alien tech.
Also the Nighthunter was nothing like the ships he have served on or worked at, she was a highly modified luxury yacht turned into an independent military vessel but she was the complete opposite of any stoic and functional Terran Navy ship; everything in her screamed luxury almost to the point of the obscene.
Many of the crew had fallen in love at first glance with the Nighthunter, enjoying the bar and the sauna as if they were in the middle of a short leave, Captain Harper have even joked that it would take a mobile crane to detach his partner Eva Core's arms from the hull; she was the most beautiful and luxurious ship all of them had seen.
In Lannya's case the effect was much more pronounced. In the Quarian Migrant Fleet resources had always been scarce; there was no place for large scale accommodations much less leisure. The Nighthunter was like a flying five star hotel.
In the bar the tables and much of the furniture were made of smooth cedar wood of beautiful design; while in the main atrium at the topmost deck of the ship was a glass ceiling that allowed for an otherworldly view of the stars with the infinite cluster of shining stars filling the black canvas the floor perhaps trying to create an image of reflection of the night was covered by a surface made of gorgeous black marble, with white and golden rifts.
The day they arrived Lannya had been like a child on a toy store, touching everything with her three digits gloved hands trying to feel every texture and every material from which the ship was made of. Her excitement has barely decreased on the past few weeks even though her focus has switched from the interior design to the ship's technology which to Ez's opinion was nothing extraordinary.
The reason why the Nighthunter has been chosen as their vessel was clear to him, even after so much refitting and systems repurpose, she was still mostly a civilian ship, with not a trace of rift gate technology, neutron-antimatter core or neural adaptive energy grids. If the ship was either destroyed or captured it was not a critical loss and the Alliance could simply disavow them if they were compromised.
Ez's train of toughs was interrupted when the low beeping of console called to him, the core diagnostic test was completed; there were no anomalies, he forced himself to relax perhaps he could take the time to invite Lannie for a cup of coffee, even though there were only two quarians onboard the bar had been stocked with dextro food and beverage.
He didn't want to think about the war happening right outside their hull plating and cloak; this mysterious Black Fleet and their allies were pushing hard towards Citadel Space, various colonies across the Traverse had been raided or downright invaded like Illium. Council Fleets have been deployed to hunt them down as the bulk of their forces prepared for a counteroffensive to liberate Illium and push the invaders out of their space according to the media, but Alliance Intelligence reports told a different story, the Council was not losing but it was certainly not winning.
The vessels of the Black Fleet were equipped with reaper technology like the Tiamat cannon, and they also possessed a large degree of mobility and cunning. When the fleets of the Council stretched thin in order to hunt down smaller raid fleets, larger better equipped flotillas moved to ambush them; whether that was due to access to stealth technology or rift gate jump no one could tell but the black fleet was like a well led wolfpack stalking for prey, many analysts were comparing the Terminus Black Fleet's operative doctrine with that of the German Kriegsmarine during World War Two with their fleet of submarine U-boats hunting down any unsuspected lonely allied vessel.
They have passed through many debris fields, all belonging to Council species' ships.
A general alarm went through the ship; everyone raised their head in attention.
"Attention all crew" the voice of Commander Camile Dumas on the general coms went through their omni-tools. "Conference room in five" she ordered.
Ez and Lannya crossed the atrium and arrived at the conference room, the antechamber of the room centered on a big long wooden table was like a small luxury bar, it was fully pack with members of the team, a large rachni brood warrior in a black praetorian bio-suit nicknamed 'Burk' stood up from the rest.
"Everyone stood in attention when Captain Harper followed by Commander Dumas entered the room, taking the seats at the head of the table.
At his signal the rest took their seats as well but a large male synth named Nath4an covered in black and grey armor as well as the rachni Burk remained standing next to the table.
"Good morning" the captain began. "I will get right to the point we intercepted a distress signal from the Arrae System; it is Asari apparently" everyone exchanged gazes but no word was spoken.
The Lilim Valkyrie took the word next. "We are going to check it despite the danger; we need Intel regarding the movements of the Black Fleet and if we find survivors they could be a valuable trading chip in any exchange with the Citadel" she stated.
"I will lead the away team, Hislop and Massani will come with me" she explained.
An hour later
Arrae System; Minos Wasteland
Orbit of Gellix
"Are sure you want to lead the away team Commander?" Captain Jack Harper asked as the away boarded their G-37 Condor Dropship. "I can lead the squad instead or Eva…"
"You are the captain, unless the situation demands it your place is in the CIC, not in the field and while we are not officially Alliance military is standard procedure for the XO to lead the away missions" the lilim Valkyrie stated, Jack Harper nodded.
The Nighthunter main cargo hold was used as a small hangar for the Condor dropship and a couple of Black Wasp Hover bikes that could be used both in the ground and to traverse short distances in the void, the team had assembled there after stopping by the armory to grab their gear.
After the crew left the hangar all the air was sucked out of the chamber just before the large metal doors leading to the void opened.
Leaving the mother ship the Condor flew towards the white and brown planet in front of them, they passed through a cloud of ship debris; most of them belonged to turian and asari ships, easily recognizable by their platting color and markings.
As they entered Gellix's low orbit the sight of the planet draw the full attention of the three person squad; Camille frowned. This planet had a sour yet colorful history:
Gellix had been given to the krogans after the Rachni Wars, but it was bitterly contested in the Krogan Rebellions and later reconquered by the turians. This left the turians as caretakers to a levo-amino-acid-based world that they could not inhabit themselves but were unwilling to give up.
In cooperation with the Vol Protectorate, the turians attempted to rent the planet out for colonization. Between the high price and a surface littered with unexploded ordnance, however, Gellix found few reputable tenants. Its most notable inhabitants were penal colonies. To those who know of it today, Gellix is a symbol of tragic waste: an entire garden world nearly forgotten by the galaxy at large.
Most of these penal colonies and private outposts had been evacuated when the raids of the black fleet spread through the Traverse.
Camille looked at her omni-tool, due to the integration of Citadel and Quarian technology, the new version of terran developed omni-tools have completely replaced the previously used data-tools; the Terran omni-tool nevertheless were better than those in the Citadel; Porter synthetics and Lutece laboratories have upgraded them with advance AI algorithms and processors alongside advanced recycling tech that enhanced its fabrication capabilities.
They have analyzed the message through various filters, it was definitely asari and with a high priority code reserved for Spectre channels, this was going to be interesting.
The condor landed with a soft thud as the team exited the ship taking in the snow covered alien surroundings. "Dumas to Nighthunter we have landed, we are proceeding to the distress beacon in foot" she informed.
"Understood, we will stay in stealth mode and keep our distance, good luck; Nighthunter out"
The three humans headed towards the wreckage of an asari ship which had crash landed in the middle of a frozen plain; it was good that it was day time as temperatures decreased up to 40 below zero during night time.
"Commander" Zaheed began. "It would have been better to bring the hover bikes, why didn't we"
"The hover bikes are just in case we have to make a cover rushed break in or a quick exfill" she answered. "This is recon only for now" Zaheed Massani nodded.
As they reached the cluster of scorched craters that formed the crashed site; the shattered hull of an asari frigate in the center; holes created by mass accelerator cannons decorated the once elegant frame of the vessel.
Just as they crossed half the distance, an aura of coldness went through her spine; she raised her fist signaling the group to stop. Ben and Zaheed looked at her with confusion.
She focused her enhanced perception there were multiple auras, voices in the vicinity, moving around them, surrounding them; she concentrated and focused on them, their resonances were not familiar but they were clear.
"Don't make any sudden move" she said in a low voice. "Let's return to the Condor, there are enemies around us, it's an ambush" she whispered as the group began to turn around, riffles aiming at their surroundings, moving their sights from every shadow and possible enemy cover.
They slowly began to walk when a high speed projectile pierced the air right next to the head of Camille.
"Take cover" she shouted as she activated her guardian drone. The flying bot hovered next to them and began projecting a square kinetic barrier so they could use as cover.
Dozens of mass accelerator riffle bursts made impact on the barrier while the three sprinted towards a large fragment of broken vessel their closest cover; then a fast approaching rocket moved towards them, like a flying fireball… before making an impact on the ground right next to them…
The entire world quake as the three were thrown at every direction, like a group of ragdolls in the hands of a giant spoiled brat.
As she landed on the ground, dust covered Camille's eyes, she could not see, but she felt shapes moving towards them their resonances betraying their identities: Asari, Turian, Salarian, some wounded, some healthy, some hungry, some tired, all frustrated and angry.
Her head was ringing like a bell, shell-shocked and in pain but she was not wounded; her armor and barriers have protected them well, as she moved to clean her eyes of dust and rose up someone moved next to her and everything went black.
Ice cold water was poured into her face waking her up, her gaze was on the floor, as drops of water dropped from her hair she attempted to stood up and realized that her hands were bounded behind them by ropes, her eyes still hurt but she could see the individuals surrounding and her two comrades also in ropes at her right.
She was on the open with the sky above them, sitting in a crate with aliens looking at them with absolutely no hatred only curiosity.
An asari female in white and blue armor was in charge looking at her cold eyes; next to her was a turian with white paint on his face and a nervous Salarian on her left.
"Who are you?" the Asari asked them as Ben and Zaheed recovered their senses.
"Where is your ship?" the blue skin bitch asked then.
"We are a salvage crew, we were hired to recover any technologies and gear from the debris left behind" Camille declared, standing by their cover story.
"Yeah right…" the turian next to her stated. "The ship you landed is too small to have FTL capabilities" he grabbed one of their riffles next holding it with care. "And these weapons are far too advanced to belong to scrapers, you are either Alliance soldiers or mercenaries…" he declared.
"Bloody hell" Zaheed said. "A turian with a brain, who would have believed it"
Ben even in ropes smirked, while the Turian's eyes narrowed into an angry glare.
"What is your mission? What are you doing here?" the asari leader asked again.
"I will tell you" Zaheed interrupted as he smiled darkly. "If you or the other blue bitch sucks my dick"
The Asari spectre punched him hard on the face, Zaheed glared at her defiantly before spitting red blood in the ground.
A Salarian came towards them his eyes nearly bulging out of the sockets. "Spectre Vasir our long range sensors have detected ships entering orbit" the revealed spectre looked at them.
"Human?" she asked.
"No" the Salarian stated, panic in his voice, if his species could sweat he would be drenched in it. "They are Batarian!"
Everyone exchanged nervous gazes, right before they could see the sharp terrifying shapes of Batarian dropships heading towards them in the sky.
"Bloody fucking hell" spat Zaheed.
An hour later
"We will fetch a nice price for you human" a disgusting four eyed, yellow skin alien looked at Camile with a hungry look on his eyes. "So nice features, soft and warm, just like the Asari"
Camile just stood in the cell…well cage in which they have locked her and his two companions glaring at the Batarian with a gaze bordering on frost. They would bide their time and escape.
All around them were many other cages containing the rest of the Citadel ship's castaways; when the Batarian ships approached them she had all but beg her captors to release them so they could fight alongside them, better dead than a slave.
But the Asari bitch refused right before the ship fired at them with some kind of concussion blast explosives; they have all been taken, that bitch of Vasir had tried to resist, struggling with her biotics but the Batarians have surrounded her before beating her to a pulp and placing some kind of high tech clamp around her neck and chest that prevented her for using her powers.
The Batarians have disabled their omni-tools and recovered their gear but while they knew about biotics but they didn't knew anything about plasmids; they had an advantage there.
In the other cages the prisoners barely spoke or moved, they were all wondering if this was to be their fate, to end up as slaves, never see their families or their homes ever again.
She stood up, as her senses picked something, familiar auras very close, friendly-familiar resonances beyond the bulkheads, on the other side of the walls of the cage as her captor continued to examine her.
"I wondered if you female humans have…" the Batarian disgusting ranting was stopped when the lights of the cargo hold that served as a prison began to flicker; then they shut down and flickered in a continuous rhythm… no, not continuous or random… there was a pattern.
Camille smiled and the Batarian looked at her with confusion…
As the lights stopped flickering one of the Batarians tried to contact the engineering crew in order to scream at them.
"Sir we cannot contact the bridge" one stated.
"Those damned dumb head technicians" one ranted. "What did they do to the systems…"
Camile laughed, drawing their attention.
"What is so funny slave?" her captor asked smiling but stood back completely terrified once he saw a ball of green color energy and mist appearing on her left hand.
In an instant the energy and mist hit him and covered him as a living dark spirit trying to take over his soul, all the prisoners including her own companions stood there mouth agape.
"What…" one of the Batarians asked as he watched his comrade covered by the mist, but before he could even finish the phrase, the green mist covered Batarian draw his sidearm and shot him, the two remaining Batarians panicked and attempted to draw their weapons…
"Jurl you crazy…" he was death then, a bullet in the brain, his partner as well, blood bursting from a deep wound in his neck, right near the throat.
"Open the cage" Camille ordered the green mist still on his hand and around the deranged Batarian; the guard looked confused at her then he took his omni-tool and opened the metal door.
She and her comrades left the cell, to the confusion and envy of all the prisoners.
"How many crewmen and ships are?" she asked the Batarian.
"Fo…ooo…forty…five… men and the…there… is only us… one ship… the others le…le…left the system… we… were left to… scour the…e crash site" the Batarian struggled with each word as if he was on physical pain.
"Thank you" Camille smiled from ear to ear as she moved her glowing arm next to her head. "Now die".
The deranged Batarian looked at his gun slowly approached his head with his fingers near the trigger his arms were shacking, his eyes were now completely devoid of any of the previous confidence and now stood filled with fear; he looked as he was struggling with every fiber of his being to stop the dark presence that had taken over his soul. Finally the gun in shaky fingers settled near the forehead with the index finger grasping the…
"What…?" the Batarian gasped, his four eyes filled with tears, dying was one thing, your body forced to kill yourself was another. "What… are… you?" he demanded.
"I am the galaxy's apex predator" Camille answered, a flicked of her hand and the Batarian's head burst in an explosion of yellow gore.
Then as the green mist vanished from her hands Camille nearly fell to the ground exhausted for holding the connection for so long; Ben Hislop moved to support her.
"Holy cow mate" Zaheed Massani exclaimed. "Was that a plasmid?"
"Yes its call Possession, it can only be used by someone with a psi link like a lilim" she answered, her gaze moved towards the doors.
Zaheed and Ben grabbed the guards' weapons and prepared to fight whatever came through those gates; the other prisoners looked at them with both dread and hope.
"No need, just stand down" ordered Camille she knew the resonances of those in the vicinity.
The doors opened with a metallic hiss and three individuals entered the storage bay; to everyone but Camille's surprise they were two humans and one Quarian: Eva Core was at the lead, flanked by Engineer Ezequiel Kowalzcyk and Lannya'Werr vas New Rannoch.
"What took you guys so long?" she joked as the rescue party looked at the corpses in the ground. "By the way nice touch with the light flickering in Morse code to warn us"
"Well it seemed like you had the situation completely under control" Eva answered looking at the corpses in the floor as she moved close and shock hands with Camille.
"Commander we need to move, the crew will find our entry soon enough" Ez stated.
"So you are the rescue team?" Zaheed asked. "What is our exit?"
"These pirates took the Condor when they captured, it's still in their hangar bay" Eva explained. "As for how we entered, these two, me and Nath4n managed to move undetected in our two black wasp hover bikes; flying silent and attaching to the ship's hull while they discharged heat in the planet's magnetic field, we were fortunate that the ship's gardian array didn't detected us. Nath4n is still waiting for us magnetically clamped in the outer hull; he is standing by ready to cut off life-support systems once we leave the ship"
"Smart and crazy, what lunatic came with that plan, the captain?" Zaheed asked.
"It was mine actually" Ez stated. "Miss you too Massani" both men smirked.
"Let's just get the hell out of here shall we" Ben Hislop suggested to the agreement of the entire group.
"Hey" one of the alien prisoners a male Salarian exclaimed. "Please help us, you cannot let this Batarians to take us; I would rather be burn alive than spend a single day as a slave" many of the other slaves added their voices into the chorus.
"We cannot leave them like this" Ez stated.
"They are Citadel aliens, we don't need to do anything" Zaheed said. "If they want to burn so bad then we should just blow the ship before we leave" many gasped in horror at those words.
"Are you crazy? I will not do that" Ez stated firmly, next to him their Quarian teammate agreed.
"Neither shall I"
"Silence" Camille ordered. "This is a vessel of the Black Fleet, we need Intel about their operations and we cannot take the ship alone"
"As an old Terran proverb says the enemy of my enemy is my friend" The prisoners all stood hopeful and eager.
Ez and Lannya hacked the terminals and opened all the cages; the prisoners burst out and began arming themselves with any weapon they could find, in total there were five turians, four Salarians and two Asari including Spectre Tela Vasir, the latter was in bad shape still in the anti-biotic clamps and covered by bruises and torn clothes.
A tall turian with white facial paint stood next to her, while the one of the Salarians eagerly thanked them for letting them go.
Lannya hacked and released the clamps while Ez applied bio-medi gel into her wounds.
"Thanks" the proud Asari said, as she began summoning her biotics eager for a fight.
The rest of the prisoners formed a circle around Vasir while the humans and Quarian surrounded Camille.
"Ehhh Commander there is one more cage left to open" Lannya hesitantly stated, revealing the reason for her nerves at once.
"Open it" Camille ordered.
"You heard me"
The cage opened and with heavy steps came out a large Krogan with reddish brown plate and skin, the scar of a long claw wound going from the quad to the chin.
"So Krogan do you have a name?" Camille asked while their new alien comrades holding their newly acquired guns, and staring at the krogan with distrust.
"Wrex" the grave booming voice of the Krogan answered. "Urdnot Wrex"
"Well Wrex" Camille summoned her powers and telekinetically lifted a shotgun before handling it to the Krogan. "How would like you to come with me and shot your way out of this ship?" she smiled.
The Krogan smiled wide as well, taking the shotgun in his hands.
They divided themselves into two teams, one led by Camille heading for the bridge intending to take the ship and recover Intel and the other shooting their way into the hangar bay in order to recover the Condor and leave the slave vessel.
The Krogan Wrex, Vasir, a male turian soldier named Saren, Zaheed and Camille rushed through the hallways clearing out any obstacle in their way. The slave ship was in chaos, Nath4n have infected their com systems with a virus and the crew was cut off from each other; Camille thought about the encounter in Kaldir from history lessons and wondered what Luna Da Silva and Missuro Su Kwon must have felt when they were literally abducted by aliens for the first time in history.
Us humans we were little children then, now we are the biggest kids in the playground
Arghhh the krogan Wrex shouted as he sent a biotic shockwave into a group of Batarian riflemen and rushed towards them like an angry bull; the Batarians previously stunned by the biotic blast were thrown into every direction; it was like a bowling ball hitting a group of pins; a full strike some would say.
Zaheed whistled impressed.
"To the bridge" she ordered.
"I take no orders from you human" the turian shouted.
"Then don't" she answered, she didn't like the resonance of this turian. "Just follow my lead if you want to survive" the Turian surprisingly nodded at that.
Finally they cut through the last of the opposition and arrived in front of the door to the bridge, there was no console so they could not hack it, the metal was thick reinforced steel… she summoned her plasmids powers, her winter blast.
The reinforced door was riffle proof, laser proof… but after a little freezing it was definitively not Krogan proof as Wrex burst through the door with a biotic nova, shocking the bridge crew.
The rest of them charged in guns, biotics and plasmids blazing.
"Clear" Zaheed said as they took down the captain.
"Very well" then she took a hacking dart and stick it into the main console; it's nano technology tentacles like cables dig into the circuit board. "MINERVA we have a connection, copy everything" she ordered the AI of the Nighthunter.
"Eva we have secured the bridge, how is it going on your end"
"Clear, we have secured engineering and the hangar bay also Nath4n has taken control of the cameras and sensors, the ship is ours" Eva Core answered through the com link.
"Understood, be ready to…" she was interrupted when the sensors detected two more Batarian ships exiting the mass relay; the captain had sent a distress call.
"Shit" she exclaimed.
Trying to deceive the enemy cavalry didn't work, the two Batarian frigates rushed towards them and immediately opened fire, they knew the ship had been compromised by escaped prisoners; Camille took control of the helm and guided the ship towards the system asteroid field.
"What are you doing?" Vasir asked. "You will kill us all"
"Not likely" Camille opened her coms. "Nighthunter, this is Dumas, we have taken the ship but we need support, it's your turn Jack"
While the Nighthunter had not been originally designed for combat she was still armed to the brim and in a close quarter fight her ion laser point defense cannons gave her the advantage.
"Take us in" Captain Jack Harper ordered.
MINERVA's hologram appeared on the CIC. "Captain the Nighthunter is not equipped with mass accelerator cannons I recommend closing our distance and fire a hail of disruptor torpedoes at close range. I should warn you though, once we opened fire we will leave stealth mode, the heat sinks cannot storage the residual heat of prolonged ship combat"
"Very well, prepare to open fire on my order"
Like two vultures circling their prey, the Batarian frigates moved to intercept the slave transport, but their sensor never saw a shadow in the thermal radars appear from behind them until she revealed herself firing a storm of disruptor torpedoes.
The first ship was immediately hit in the engines, her drive core overloading and exploding in a matter of minutes, the second was more fortunate, her barriers held strong and they turned around heading for their new prey.
In the slave vessel, many of her systems began to fail, they have been hit a few times and her structural integrity began to suffer.
"We need to abandon ship, head to the Condor or to the escape pods" she ordered, for once the asari specter and turian didn't question her orders; they rushed through the door with Zaheed and Wrex following them close behind.
"Commander Dumas; this is Nath4n" the soft voice of the Synth spoke through the com link.
"MINERVA has copy every file in the ship's computers and I have taken remote control of them; are you interested in a risky tactical maneuver?"
Camille smiled once more.
On the other side of the ship
Once they realized they were outgunned and cut off, the remaining slavers began to retreat and close every door behind them, to no avail as Lannya's hacking skills were top notch and the ship's firewall were nothing compared to the processing power of their omni-tools connected to the fully self-aware AI of the Nighthunter.
"Close the doors, close them!" one Batarian officer shouted.
"Which ones?" asked another Batarian pirate.
"All of them"
The blast doors closed locking the freed prisoners.
"We have them" one Batarian laughed, before an alarm called behind them as they looked to their horror at the doors of the airlock.
In an instant the door opened and every four eyed alien in the room was sucked into space, their frozen corpses floating in the empty void.
At the other side of the blast doors, Lannya'Werr left the console, after ordering the airlock to close again.
"All clear" she said with an emotionless voice.
"Well done, Lannya; now let's go" Eva guided the group towards the Hangar bay, the Salarians and a young asari following her; while Ez put his hand in the Quarian's shoulder in a gesture of support, when she looked at him he nodded, she nodded back understanding.
In the interior of the condor dropship, the prisoners from every race barely fit in the passenger area just as the ship prepared to depart.
"Commander we have secured the Condor, all the prisoners have been accounted for, we are ready to depart once you arrive" Ez said as Zaheed took the helm.
"Negative" she answered. "Once Zaheed and the rest arrive leave at once, we are being flanked by one enemy frigate and the Nighthunter is about to move to support us, Nath4n and I will take another way"
"But Commander…" he was interrupted.
"You have your orders engineer Kowalzcyk" she said and cut the transmission.
The Asari spectre, her turian sidekick, the krogan and Zaheed arrived soon enough; in the cabin the foul mouthed soldier took the helm as Ez sat in the copilot's seat.
Receiving the confirmation signal Zaheed nodded and Ez remotely opened the hangar doors, and the Condor flew out of the slave ship's hangar.
As they made their distance from the slave ship, they watched through the windows as the remaining Black Fleet frigate struggled against both the Nighthunter and the captured slave transport.
"The condor has left the slave vessel sir" MINERVA informed. "Our crew is safe, only Commander Dumas and Specialist Nath4n are still in the captured ship"
"Damned you Dumas" he spat; he understood the reason of his 2IC to stay in the enemy vessel; as advanced as she was the Nighthunter was still no match for a dedicated alien Warship even something as poorly built as a Batarian frigate. Nath4n and Camille had taken command of the slave transport and they were using it to even up the odds.
As much as they could at least, the transport was barely frigate size and was poorly armored with few weapons; only a pair of mass accelerator cannons and its minimum gardian array.
Nevertheless they were winning Nath4n the synth operative who had accompanied Eva's rescue party had hacked into the slave transport subsystems and was coordinating their movements with MINERVA the AI of the Nighthunter.
What could a Batarian captain do against two AIs operating in perfect synchrony as they command their respective ships in battle; the Batarian frigate was outmatch as they turned to chase the Nighthunter and fire their axial gun, Dumas turned her ship to strike from behind or the flank. Their AIs also had better aim, each shot fired by the Nighthunter's point defense ion cannon meant a direct hit in a vital subsystem: they had already disabled the enemy ship's coms array, so they had no way to call for help.
Another Ion laser blast pierced the enemy's kinetic barriers; the negative energy dipolarizing the hull making a hole in the shields it was followed by a pair of disruptor torpedoes that blew right into the frigate's armored platting; opening a big crack in the hull.
Now the Batarian/Black Fleet frigate was a dying beast but still capable of inflicting a bite; one of her shots finally made impact on the captured slave transport.
"Captain this is Dumas, the vessel's drive core is going critical I am abandoning ship. Do you have the Intel?" she asked through the coms.
"We have it, Camille, you and Nath4n must leave now; that's an order" Jack Harper ordered.
"Willco" she answered before cutting the coms.
In the condor the passengers burst into cheers when the enemy ship finally exploded into a blue fireball.
"Condor to Nighthunter, open the doors and roll the red carpet we are about to arrive" their alien passengers just exchanged confused looks at the mention of a red carpet, then they turned towards Lannya who just raised her shoulders as if saying 'I have no idea either'.
"Shit the other ship is going critical" Ez explained.
"Don't worry lilims are hard to kill and Camille Dumas is the toughest of them all" Zaheed stated.
He was not wrong before the slave ship exploded everyone looked through the windows completely amazed as a the white skin synth Nath4n, who didn't need any spacesuit to survive in the void piloted his black wasp hover bike like some kind of futuristic renegade motorcyclist gang member; a cable connected to the bike was dragging a cylindrical escape pod. Their lilim commander Camille Dumas was clearly inside.
LLC Nighthunter: Hangar Bay
It was a bizarre sight to say the least to see a couple of Citadel aliens standing next to the rescued members of the crew: there were three Asari; two turians, one male another female and two salarians both males in the group; they all have been members of one Council Task force flotilla sent into the territory occupied by the black fleet only to be ambushed and force to make a final stand in the orbit of Gellix. They managed to survive by abandoning their ships and meet down in the surface near the wreckage of an asari vessel.
They have deployed the distress beacon to call any rescue team or lure any enemy ship into an ambush; unfortunately or perhaps unfortunately the Nighthunter's away team has fallen into the trap.
The assault of the Batarian pirates had thinned their numbers, these were the survivors.
Everyone turned around when the airlock opened and entered Camille Dumas accompanied by the synthetic white skinned mech Nath4n and to the surprise of everyone two Batarians in cufflinks.
"Nath4n take these two idiots to the containment cell" she ordered the synth who nodded and dragged the two aliens away.
"Now time for introductions" she declared to everyone present, the former prisoners followed her with their gazes as she walked towards them.
"Welcome to LLC Nighthunter, in order to save time I will be honest about our mission: we are an independent frigate trying to find any Intel regarding the operations of the Black Fleet" she began. "I guess you have already met some of my crew"
"I am Commander Camille Dumas executive officer and second in command of this vessel" then she gestured towards the Terran group. "Specialist Eva Core, chief of operations; Engineer Ezequiel Kowalzcyk chief engineer; Zaheed Massani chief tactical officer and Ben Hislop armory chief. You will meet the captain and the rest of the crew soon enough" she explained crossing her arms; Ez noted she had ignored Lannya in the presentation.
"Now it's your turn" all the former prisoners looked at the Asari in white-blue armor with conflicted gazes and not one of them said a single word.
"That would not be necessary Commander" a female voice spoke through the speakers drawing the attention of everyone.
"The Asari in armor is Tela Vasir Council Spectre and also covert operative for the individual known as the shadow broker" the asari gasped as the prisoners looked at their comrade with surprise.
"The turian with facial white paint is Corporal Saren Arterius junior member of the Turian Special Forces Blackwatch…" she was interrupted.
"Wait a minute" Camille found herself stating. "Something to do with General Desolas Arterius?" she asked staring at the Turian with a cold gaze.
"He is his younger brother as for the rest of the group I have no known IDs included in the CODEX" the voice declared.
"Fascinating, it's not an organic voice and its interactive functions are far too advanced to be a VI, definitely an AI" one of the Salarians stated to the surprise of everyone.
"Quite perceptive sir" the hologram appeared in the middle of the room. "I am MINERVA; I serve as this ship's AI and handler of the electronic warfare and intelligence systems"
"Remarkable although disturbing as well" the Salarian almost raced through every word. "I am Dr. Rulhu Dor and this is ensign Ruuken of the Salarian STG"
"Caena Vikandros" the female turian explained. "Turian armigers, medic corps" she stated.
"My name is corporal Myla and this is sergeant Jurenis we are both Asari Commandos, originally assigned to the Light of Lusia as a protection detachment for Spectre Tela Vassir" the young asari explained, although it was hard to call that one 'young' as her age most likely was above 100 years old.
"Nice to meet you" Camille began before her gaze settled in the Spectre and male turian. "Well most of you; I have to admit I have actually met your brother operative Arterius, right after the liberation of Shanxi" her voice was ice cold.
"It was not a pleasant experience" she added before turning towards the Asari. "And you Spectre Vasir I have heard about you and your certainly famous or infamous reputation; well it depends who is telling it in the end"
"Anyway" Camille began. "I will talk with my captain but I think he will agree, I have an offer for all of you" she smiled as the Citadel crew exchanged gazes.
A few hours later; Nighthunter's CIC
"Praggia? Are you sure?" Captain Jack Harper asked MINERVA.
"Yes captain" the AI answered. "I have decoded all the encrypted and corrupted files from the slave ship and the debris of the two Black frigates, the planet Praggia is listed as a vital location; they have it labeled as a main conversion center, whatever that means"
"Interesting" Camille stated. "Praggia used to be a Batarian colony that was abandoned when the genetically engineer plants implanted there began to grow out of control; the planet is now completely covered by overgrown jungles, it could not be difficult to hide a blacksite or a military base there"
"Anyway are you sure that we can trust the Citadel task group? inviting into the ship and revealing our mission was risky enough" Eva stated. "Having them join to the operation is complete madness"
"They could be useful assets as for the mission, they are all competent operatives for what I have I seen and whatever they know we will know as well" the lilim stated. "Also we can use the goodwill and influence in the Citadel"
"Anyways, I would like to confirm this Intel and we have two prisoners onboard" Jack Harper added looking at Camile. "It's your turn Dumas" the three in the room smiled.
LLC Nighthunter, mess hall-bar
For the Citadel operatives present in the ship it was an awkward experience to eat and drink in the mess hall surrounded by all the human crewmen who looked at them with a mixture of curiosity and mistrust.
In the corner of the mess hall right next to the wall that contained a window leading to a magnificent view of the void, the windows were a structural weakness but in combat scenario a set of armored plates were deployed to cover them.
At the table overlooking the window was a group composed of the Spectre Tela Vasir; the turian Saren Arterius, a young Asari, the female turian Caena Vikandros and the two Salarian STG operatives; they were all sharing a meal and talking in low voices hopping to avoid any word from reaching the ears of their hosts. Food was good thankfully; the kitchen of the Nighthunter had been well stock with both levo and dextro food.
"I have no idea human ships were so…" a Salarian began.
"Unpractical and ostentatious" Saren said.
"I was going to say luxurious" Dr. Rulhu Dor answered. "Look at the texture of these tables, they are of well carved wood and the design of this bar, is amazing, also I love the food" the Salarian doctor added before gulping a salad of boiled eggs, with pieces of fry chicken and parmesan cheese, all covered by soy sauce which was extremely salty but delicious nevertheless.
"Aren't you worried about poison?" the turian medic Caena Vikandros. "I am not sure it's safe to eat" she said while staring at the plate the human cook had served her consisting in boiled morganic eel covered in mustard and garlic sauce, the smell was making her stomach churn.
"If they wanted to kill us, they would have executed us already" taking a sip of her coffee and a bite of her sandwich, the young asari corporal Vyla stated; her CO Sergeant Jurenis was resting in the private room the humans have assigned them.
"Fair point" the turian conceded, before taking a bite of the eel, her eyes shone with gusto, it was delicious.
"Still I am not sure what are we going to do or what the humans plan to do with us" Saren declared. "We cannot trust them, we should plan an escape"
"Very risky" the other Salarian stated. "And to be fair, the humans have been cordial and honorable so far, unlike many of our own" he said looking at their asari commander with accusing eyes.
"Tell me Spectre Vasir" he began. "Is it true that you work for the Shadow Broker?" all the eyes in the table turned towards the Asari spectre who returned the gaze with anger but sighted in the end.
"I have an arrangement with the Shadow Broker" she finally confessed. "He provides me with Intel regarding high profile treats to Citadel Space and the Council, while I look the other way at his less concerning operations. Don't you dare criticize me STG, war and complicated affairs make for strange alliances and your people and the turians know better than anyone that sometimes is necessary to choose between one evil and another; no matter if it's the lesser or greater"
The Salarians exchanged gazes with the Turians it was clear she was speaking of the genophage designed by the Salarians as tool for a genocide committed by the Turians and right on cue the Krogan Urdnot Wrex entered into the bar and took a seat next to the human known as Zaheed Massani, within minutes the two of them were laughing and speaking friendly, they have clearly bonded a bit during the ship's scape.
Then another being joined with the two of them at their table, drawing the attention of the Citadel group, it was large rachni brood warrior, embedded in some kind of bio-suit. The large alien big ass black spider with tentacles asked for a plate of processed glucose, he gulped the orange soup of liquid sugar in minutes before returning to the banter with the krogan battlemaster and the human skirmisher.
A human, a krogan and a rachni sitting in the same table, the Council's worst nightmare perhaps, thought Vasir.
"Anyway" she began. "What have you hear about the humans and their mission? Have you overheard anything?"
Saren answered first. "For what I heard from the rest of the crew they are meant to recover any Intel about the Black Fleet; they have also stated that they believe the Terminus pirates are using Reaper technology…"
"Ahh the Reapers, the ancient machines who exterminated the protheans and every other space faring species from their times according to the humans, and which also built the majority of the mass relays" a Salarian began. "So far facts seem to give credit to that theory given the extend of the prothean extinction also if both the Black Fleet and the humans' technology are based on the Reapers' tech then it would explain both their differences and similarities"
"Maybe or maybe they were the humans the ones that gave the technology to the Terminus rebels and founded them" Saren suggested with some level of doubt. "Maybe this whole mission is to try to cover their tracks as their proxy allies went rogue"
"Possible yet unlikely" the Salarian doctor countered. "Reports about piracy and the grow of the Black Fleet faction in the Terminus Systems have been going on before even the relay 314 incident, that the humans could support the Black Fleet in recent years in one thing, for them to travel to the Terminus System undetected back and forth for decades is another entirely, even their rift gates have limitations for what I understand"
"Maybe" The Asari Spectre stated. "Still we should tread carefully during this temporary alliance"
"Yes you should" another voice draw the attention of the group, everyone in the table turned towards their interloper: a young female Quarian in her well-made hermetic suit holding a cup of coffee with a straw. Then to everyone's surprise she took a seat in the edge of the table.
"Don't worry I am not here to spy on you, is not needed there is not a single word you say that is outside the reach of this ship's AI; MINERVA hears all" the Quarian stated with a tone bordering on humor before taking a sip of her coffee through the straw.
"So why are here suit rat then?" Saren asked with disgust, Lannya didn't seem to care about the insult.
"To take a seat with the rest of the odd ones" she answered shrugging her shoulders, as the table stared at her confused. "We are all outsiders here operative Arterius, aliens in a vessel filled with humans"
Everyone exchanged gazes, the quarian made an interesting point.
"But I have to say, I enjoy working in this vessel even though the Nighthunter is not even a true warship"
"What?" one of the Salarians asked. "Then what kind of vessel is this?"
"For what I heard, the Nighthunter was originally named Athena and was a luxury yacht for some rich Human businessman until he lost it in a game to the Alliance Admiral Elizabeth Comstock" everyone stood at her in disbelieve.
"The Butcher of Halliat?" Saren Arterius asked, using the title the turians had given to the infamous human admiral who had destroyed an entire fleet in the Halliat system.
"Yes and apparently she had the ship refitted and gave it to this task force as a private military ship" the Quarian explained.
"Interesting" Tela Vassir said holding her chin in her hands. "But why are you here Quarian? What do you intent to gain in this mission?"
"I have a name, is Lannya'Werr vas New Rannoch, Spectre Vasir" she countered. "And as for why I am here, is simple I am doing my part for the Terran Systems Alliance" she stated with pride in her voice, surprising the members of the table.
"So you are paying your benefactors for their good will?" Tela Vasir laughed. "Do you really believe the humans are helping you and your people out of the kindness of their spirits?"
Behind the face plate it looked as if her eyes had narrowed into a frown.
"I have been working with various humans for quite some time Miss Vasir, unlike many other aliens I've met those I have met were actually honest, they did not hide their interest behind some old or noble ideals; they were quite pragmatic. When I volunteered for this crew, they did not even question my reasons they just told me to push my own weight and add my perspective and knowledge into the mist; also that I continue learning and conducting myself with excellence; as a true Terran" the Quarian made a pause as in deep thought.
"What does that mean?" the female turian next to Saren asked, for the Turians there was nothing more important than the greater good; the wellbeing of the collective of the individual above that of the individual; humans were different, they embraced individuality and materialism, with their neo-objectivistic philosophy and their diversity of beliefs and cultures which were an invitation for chaos.
"It means that things like trust, respect and friendship are not granted… they must be earned" another deep voice cut in, they all turned around to see the engineer Ezequiel Kowaletzcyk approaching them with a sandwich in his hands before taking the last empty seat at the table.
"The truth is ladies and gentlemen" the human began. "The Rachni and Synths which stand part of the Alliance have earned our trust, respect and the title of Terrans and hopefully the Quarians can do it as well one day if that it's their decision" he declared while staring back at Lannya.
"It's a simple fact, that me, and the rest of my crew does not trust you; but I heard the krogans have an old say: Seek the enemy of your enemy and you will find a friend. We are not friends…yet" he made a pause.
"But we have a common enemy, this Black Fleet, so it's a start, better just leave it at that" he finished before taking a big bite of his sandwich.
Everyone exchanged gazes, the human engineer made an interesting point. "Let's go Lannie" he said to the Quarian, he was about to rose and leave when the other Asari stopped them.
"Wait a minute" the young commando stated. "You say you don't trust us and to be fair, we cannot blame you, but why should we trust you then?" she asked.
"Simple, you can't but working with us serves your interests better, besides you don't have many other options. You are still in position to ask the Captain to leave you in any planet in proximity to Citadel Space" he answered. It sounded like an honest simplistic answer.
"Yet the Black Fleet's weapons technology is practically a match to yours; you say they are your enemies but…"
"How can you be sure that the Black Fleet is not some kind of proxy ally founded by the Terran Alliance?" he interrupted her, surprising the group who could not believe that he was so open.
"Well" he made a pause. "Within the fog of war nothing is certain, according to a few reports the Black Fleet tech is based on that of the ancient enigmatic reapers, just like much of ours. Other rumors even say that they may be the product of some kind of miscalculated secret operation by the Alliance government. Who can say what the truth is and what not"
"But to be fair, the Black Fleet's technology is similar to ours, just like the Asari are similar to us humans" he smiled looking at the two asari. "Even our DNAs have a large degree of matching but that does not mean we humans created the Asari and I actually doubt that the Asari made us"
Everyone in the table exchanged gazes; the two asari looked at each other disturbed, in deep thought.
"I still don't believe a single word you are saying human" Saren Arterius stated with a voice filled with angry resolve. "You humans are good at fighting and your tech is impressive I admit that, but in my eyes you have more in common to the Batarians than to any of us"
"Really?" Ez frowned at the comparison. "Why is that Corporal Arterius? Which similarities do we have with the Batarians?"
"The selfishness" Saren answered. "Like every newcomer species to push for more than what you have earned and refuse to recognize your place"
"You are undisciplined, divided, arrogant and insatiable; I have studied your history you thrive more in war than in peace, you constantly place the needs of the individual or a minority above the needs of the many; be it for religion, economy or nations you always try to find an excuse to kill each other. You humans are practically your worst enemy: you have killed, enslaved and even downright exterminated one another. Do you know why is it that you achieve unity and made into space… It was not true a great set of values or strong leadership it was through fear, when you realize that there were other intelligent sentient beings out there you were simply cowered into cooperation by the risk of being exterminated"
"I have seen how your species sees mine and the Turian Hierarchy; you say that we start the First Contact War and that we did, it was a mistake that got out of control; but the truth is that your Alliance knew about the existence of the Citadel for decades, have you revealed yourselves much sooner you would have been welcome into the galactic community with open arms and not as an aggressor who needs to be contained"
For a very long minute no one said a word in the entire table, actually in the entire bar, many have heard Saren Arterius' ranting and were glaring at him with disgust but Ez was calm and had an unreadable expression on his face, before the lines of his lips curved into a small smile.
"Tell me then Corporal Arterius" he began. "How long did your Unification Wars last?"
"What does the Unification Wars have to…"
"Do with this? Everything" Ez stated. "Your species Corporal have also been fighting practically since the beginning of time; and your divisions and conflicts followed you into the stars even. Your unification wars lasted nearly sixty years, far longer than any war in modern human history and with a death toll of billions. How many died during the rachni wars, or the krogan rebellions, or the cleansing wars in the Asari homeworld of Thessia that allowed for the unification of the species or the feudalistic conflicts of the Salarians during the overpopulation of Sur'Kesh. History is not a what if… Corporal"
"All of our species, have had dark times and a turbulent succession of historical events; the point is learning from both our triumphs and mistakes, not trying to denying by enlarging the failures of others"
"You say we humans are naturally selfish, materialistic and isolationist" he began. "To be fair our history has a long list of tragedies caused by the perversion of ideals like altruism, spiritualism and collectivism; so instead many of us decided to embrace a rationalistic objectivism and some could say that it was through this new philosophy that we have achieved all that we built in the last century"
"Do you know when I was a kid I watched a documentary about the first exploration missions into space at the beginning of the twenty first century" Ez looked to be in deep though and his expression had switched into a sense of sadness.
"It was before the revealing of the city of Rapture alongside their technological advances, the nations of Earth were still distrustful and separated of one another, barely forty years before we had a ship landed on our own moon; and a year before we have sent a drone into the nearest planet in our own solar system; and it was during that time when a crew of scientists from different nations began working on space probe meant to be launch towards the ninth planet in our system"
"Many criticized the mission as a complete waste of resources, how many people were starving around the world? How many of them could be saved if the credits spend in that probe and rocket launch as we still used fossil fuel were to be diverted towards them instead? And to be fair what was the true value of surveying a frozen arid rock like Pluto the ninth planet of our system? Our moon Luna was a strategic source of resources and a critical position while Mars our closest planet was a possible candidate for future colonization…so what was the point of Pluto's probe?"
"The chief scientist in charge of the project had stated that by surveying Pluto during the planet's summer period when it was closest to the sun and the frozen traces in the ground were melted into the atmosphere would allow the probe to observe one of the oldest terrains in the solar system and discover the entire geological history of all our planets. But they were running out of time, if they didn't launch as soon as possible they would miss their window: it takes 248 years for Pluto to completely orbit Sol; the probe would take decades to reach it and if the planet entered winter before the probe arrived they would miss the chance to see the entire Pluto's geological surface without the ice cover layer of the frozen atmosphere"
"In the end the probe was launch in 2009 I think, I don't remember very well; at that time it was a true technological masterpiece: it was the fastest man-made object in history, through simple propulsion it moved at 15 kilometers for second, everyone in the team and in various space exploration agencies celebrated as it was determined that the probe would fulfill their mission it would reach the planet in time to survey the surface before winter arrived"
"Even then it would be nearly twenty or thirty years before the probe would reach it's intended destination and many weeks after that before the transmissions would reach Earth and the survey data could be study in depth" he made a pause, looking at the ground with a lost gaze.
"And this is the sad part, the scientist in charge of the project who I also don't remember his name was more than sixty years old. Most humans at that time were lucky if they live pass 80 or very few reached the age of 90; so that single genius doctor who had dedicated his life to science and the advancement of humanity would most likely not live to see the culmination of his life's work. He would die before the probe would reach Pluto"
"In the end he did but the probe still reached Pluto and once the survey data arrived Earth no one could believe the readings; their discovery would change the course of Human history" he made a pause once more.
"But it wasn't the surface of Pluto the one that had captured the fascination of every astronomer, physics and engineer of Earth it was the survey data of Pluto's moon Charon"
"The reading and scans showed that the moon was not a piece of rock and ice as originally thought, there was a metallic construct buried under that a giant layer of ice"
"When the basic information at the Mars's ruin's archives was finally decoded they finally confirmed the probe's discovery"
"Through that single primitive probe my people have discovered our system's mass relay and a path towards a new future"
"Whatever you think about my people Corporal Arterius" he stated. "You should know we are not so different you and I; but to be fair I might have more in common with you and Lannya than with an ignorant farmer from one of our frontier colonies. In human history there are instances when a time of warriors and dictators coexist with some of the best artists, scientists and philosophers"
"We are a species filled with contradictions: individuality and adaptability through necessity incarnated some may say. And yes, our diversity of opinions, beliefs and ways of life may serve as a source of chaos and perpetual conflict; but they are also one of our greatest strengths, no perspective or focus might be out of our reach"
"So in conclusion Corporal Arterius I hope this mission is successful after all each and every one of us is fighting for the same cause; the wellbeing of our respective peoples"
"Also after hearing what I have just said, I recommend you to not underestimate my people's intellect and drive" he stated before rising from his seat and walking away with the Quarian Lannya'Werr following him.
LLC Nighthunter (independent frigate): Previously known as the LLC Athena, the Nighthunter is a modified 590 Jump Super-Yacht designed by Mc Donald Star Engineering, the exorbitant price of this vessel type has resulted in only five ships of the class ever constructed; all belonging to either extremely rich CEOs or joint private clubs of businessmen, politicians and celebrities; including the Athena which originally belonged to the CEO of Ryan Industries until –if rumors are to be believed- he lost it in a poker game to a powerful member of the Alliance Parliament associated with Admiral Elizabeth Comstock of the Second Fleet.
Standing 210.0 meters in length, 40.0 in height and 75.0 of beam she is as big as a military frigate. The commercial advertisement of the ships says this: "With an elegant, sleek exterior that belies its spacious interior, the 590 Jump is a true marvel of engineering; crafted to impress from every angle by combining a unique, innovative design with the finest materials and the most advanced technology. The result is a vessel that is in a class all of its own, a masterpiece that truly expresses the Terran sense of both elegance and functionality".
Originally designed to host parties and meetings of rich dignitaries the ship holds many private guest rooms, a large mess hall with a bar with a kitchen, a private conference room and even a small sauna with a luxury bath.
After acquiring the vessel Admiral Elizabeth Comstock ordered various modifications in order to turn the ship into a mobile command center for small commando type operations: the Athena renamed Nighthunter is now equipped with minimal stealth capabilities through a network of lithium heatsinks deep within the ship's hull that stores heat and alongside a layer of ceramic platting and rearden heavy ship armor makes the ship virtually undetectable to most sensors.
While not a true warship the Nighthunter carries a generous armament with two javelin disruptor torpedo launchers located in the sides of the ship, the vessel is also armed with an array of anti-missile and anti-fighter craft GARDIAN (General Area Defensive Integration Anti-spacecraft Network) point defense lasers, with Ion negative charge and ultraviolet frequencies.
The coms of the vessel have been upgraded as well and the ship contains a smart terran AI named MINERVA which handles the ship's electronic warfare defense.
-Captain Jack Harper – Commanding Officer (Combat Tech Specialist): Leader of Admiral Comstock unofficial secret unit codename Task Force Sigma, Jack Harper is an elite cover operative with a high IQ and nearly eidetic memory that has been highly trained in counter intelligence and advance warfare. As a combat specialist he makes use of recon and hacking drones as well as non-lethal plasmids: Electroshock, Telekinesis and Mirage decoy.
He was born and raised in the world of Chiron in the Alpha Centauri System, the first and so far most populated human extra solar colony; he is the CEO of Harper-Core Aerospace a ship manufacturer company.
-Commander Camille Dumas – Executive Officer/ 2IC (Lilim Valkyrie): As many second generation lilims Camille Dumas was born in the planet Praxis a child of a female lilim and a male Terran marine, possessing a high Psi coefficient something rare in 2° generation lilim she was immediately inducted into the Order of Interpreters at the age of 14.
Powerful, skilled and smart she rose to the rank of Valkyrie quickly and draw the attention of an ambitious member of the Alliance Parliament.
-Eva Core – Chief of operations (Plasmid – Enforcer): Though as nails and ruthless, Eva Core is as gentle as a meat grinder. Her training in weapons is considerable but her mastery of plasmid combat is terrifying. Enhanced perception, plasmids: Electro Bolt, Telekinesis, incinerate, Winter Blast and Gravity Well.
She is joint CEO of Harper-Aerospace with his oldest friend, partner and CO Jack Harper.
-Ben Hislop – Armory Chief (Soldier): Young and eager, Ben Hislop's training is more focused around weapons and explosives than enhanced warfare or plasmid use. He has enhanced stamina and strength as well as a powerful adrenaline boost added to better mental disciplines.
-Ezequiel Kowalczyk– Chief Engineer (Technician): Hailing from the colony world of Amanecer Ez Kowalczyk is one of the newest members of Task Force Sigma; he was recruited due to his expertise of alien hardware and software as well as his strong set of moral codes.
-Lannya'Werr vas New Rannoch (Engineer): Friend of Ez Kowalczyk she was recruited as a propulsion engineer.
-Zaeed Massani – Chief tactical officer (Skirmisher): Former ASB operative Zaeed Massani is a capable soldier who isn't afraid of doing things outside the book; his combat style is very aggressive relying on a combination of specialized weapons and heavy plasmids like Gravity Well, Insect swarm, Ion Storm and Cyclone Trap.
-Nath4n (Synth operative): Male synthetic serving in the Nighthunter as a power engineer, hacker and enforcer.
-Dr. Belen Reggiani – Chief Medical officer (scientist and medic): An expert medic and a capable xeno biologist Doctor Belen Reggiani is a vital asset for the crew of the Nighthunter.
-Kalis'Vael vas New Rannoch – Science officer (Quarian – scientist): Biologist and medic, Kalis is a unique asset; specifically regarding his expertise in cybernetic enhancements.
-Dr. Mathew Groznik – Chief Science officer (Technomancer): Expert in foreign technology, Dr. Groznik serves as the ship's local researcher, and also provides upgrades and modding to weapons or armor.
-Burk – Heavy hitter (Rachni brood warrior – biotic): The only rachni serving on the Nighthunter who acts as the team's heavy biotic support; completely encased in a praetorian combat armor designed for Rachni brood warriors Burk is a true powerhouse.
-4 Synths serving as auxiliary crewmen
-MINERVA: ship's AI.
G-37 Condor Drop Shuttle: Tactical drop ship issued for the Nighthunter, The G-37 Condor is a prototype drop shuttle which contains minimum stealth capabilities and limited weaponry. Unlike other drop shuttles use by the Alliance's Marine Corps like the Raven or the Vulture, the Condor is a medium size craft capable of transporting up to 14 people, including the pilots, with a total of 12 in a cramped cargo space with full complement, as well as a VI for navigation.
C-19 Black Wasp Hover Bike: A prototype design by Ryan-Fontaine Industries, the C-19 Black Wasp makes use of Lutece levitation technology to hover from the ground at a minimal cost of energy. Through powerful thrusters almost beyond the scale of the bike, the Black Wasp can transition from merely floating to real flying at incredible speeds in the zero G environments. Black wasps hover bikes are a popular purchase among the wealthy youth of the Alliance and as a regular work vehicle for working and repair crews working at orbital facilities.
For military uses are modified versions of the C-19 that have mounted weapons and kinetic barriers and can be used as fast recon vehicles for special forces units or survey crews.
Hope you like this chapter; this is a transition more than anything, future chapters will delve into the Ellusive Man's origin story within this new AU.