Captain Victus looked up when his second walked up to his station.

"Sir, we just received a transmission; voice analysis confirms it as coming from Spectre Kryik," she began.

"What? Play it for me."

She pulled up the entry on his terminal and played it. After it finished, he started it over again. What had he found? The missing scouts or something else?

"Did the coordinates get through?"

"Yes, sir, they did."

"Order the frigates to get to the coordinates ASAP and make sure nothing comes or goes from that location until we can get there."

"Yes, sir!"

She gave a crisp salute and stalked off to begin carrying out his orders. He strode up towards the cockpit, but was stopped before he reached it. One of the analysts spun their chair around before bounding to their feet with a salute.

"Sir! We just picked up a large explosion coming from the surface of the planet!"

"Show me."

He dropped back into his seat and pulled up the footage of the thermal image of the planet. He played it back for the Captain.

"Where did that occur?"

"Approximately at the same coordinates where the team was lost."

Victus nodded. At least that outpost wouldn't be causing any more problems.

"Good. Let me know if you spot anything else."

"Of course, sir!"

The pilot glanced his way at the sound of his boots.

"Sir. We've picked up two small vessels that left the planet just ahead of that explosion."

"Did one of them transmit that message from the Spectre?"

"We believe so; neither of them is answering the comm though. We were unable to get a lock on which one it was before the transmission ended, sir."

"Understood. Head us to the coordinates XO Valonis issued to the patrol."

"Yes, sir."


Garrus managed to stay awake throughout his entire orientation. It had been a win, as far as he was concerned. It had helped that he had seen the light on his omni-tool flash, indicating that he had a message awaiting him. Knowing Lily, there was bound to be something inappropriate in it or at least he could hope so, so he would save it for reading when he was finished for the day and he could enjoy it in private. His eyes frequently strayed to watch the time, but at least he hadn't nodded off like the salarian next to him. When the instructor finally released them, he waved off the offers to go to one of the local bars. There was something more important he wanted to do tonight.

He stopped at a little food stand on his way back to the tiny apartment he currently called home. His father had offered to let him stay at their family home, but no way was he going to stay there; not when he and Lily were so close to getting some privacy. He dropped his dinner on the small bar that served as his table or desk before setting the locks behind him. It wasn't the safest place to live, but he figured any criminals would think twice before taking a chance on hitting the home of someone in C-Sec armor.

A glass of water joined the carton of food. Although he would have preferred the expensive bottle of wine that sat inside his cooling unit, however that was being saved for a very special occasion. He pulled out a strip of meat, not bothering with the niceties of plate or silverware, before opening his omni-tool and looking at the first message. His mandibles splayed wide in a smile at seeing it was indeed from Lily. He read it through once before going back over it once more. A few chuckles escaped at the thought of that poor recruit being pitted against Lily and Serlo. True, he was with Relmos, but it was obvious that hadn't been enough.

He grabbed another slice of meat just before he opened the second message. His eyes narrowed as he went over the short message, once then twice. He checked the sender; it wasn't from Creon who often had questionable taste in what was funny. It was from Ceryx, and that was when he knew it wasn't a joke. The meat fell with a dull thud against the surface, followed closely by his hand.


Nihlus adjusted a few more controls before addressing the ship's VI.

"Computer, status."

"Warning. Communication relay is inoperable. Warning. Aft thruster is currently operating at ninety percent. End of warnings."

"Hopefully that message was received by the Intrepid," Lily said.

"They got it. They might have to verify that it was my voice before they act, but they better take out that base while we tie up this loose end in front of us."

It only took a few minutes for him to set up the on-board navigation to take them to Mindoir's system. The fuel cells were full - one of the reasons he had chosen this vessel. He glanced over at his companion. A faint frown crossed her face and one hand fell to hold her side.

"Come on, let's see if there are any medical kits on board, and check how your wound is doing. Gunshot, I presume?"

"Yeah, it stings a bit is all. I'll be okay."

He grinned. "You don't have to prove how tough you are to me, Pink Commando. It will take at least a day to get to the next star system, so we have some downtime."

A soft laugh escaped her. "I knew I should have come up with a better name. How long was I out of it?"

She pushed herself out of the chair and moved slowly towards the back of the ship. Nihlus was only a few steps behind her.

"You and your partner went missing," he glanced down at his omni-tool, "yesterday morning. It took me nearly a day to find the entrance and get inside of their base undetected. Not to mention coming across you."

"You said that they thought I was dead? Crap! That means they notified my Mom. Double crap! I bet one of my friends sent a message to Garrus as well."

He nodded as they walked. He went through numerous drawers and containers before finding anything remotely like a first aid kit. He gave her a pointed look and gestured at the top half of the leathers she had taken from the asari. With a sigh, she pulled up the top, showing that the bandage that encompassed her waist now had more red than before. He carefully removed the bandage to look at the wound underneath. He dug through the kit, pulled up a tube of something, and slathered it along the stitches.

"Garrus doesn't sound like a human name."

"He's turian. We went through basic together and he is in C-Sec now. And there is no way for me to make sure that he knows that I'm okay."

Nihlus nodded. "Not until we get communications working again. Well, the stitches are holding at least. This should lessen the chance of infection for now. Looks like it was a through and through shot; they must have wanted you alive for a reason."

She grunted. "Hard to interrogate a dead body."

"Ah, that would explain them going to all that trouble then."

Using a fresh roll of bandage, he applied a new dressing to her wound.

"This will have to do until we can get back to the Citadel."

"Citadel?"

Nihlus gave a soft laugh. "Unless you would rather be left on Mindoir?"

"No, thank you, sir. I just expected you would bring me back to the Intrepid."

He shook his head. "As soon as we deal with this ship and make sure that the Intrepid has dealt with the other base, I need to return to the Citadel. Besides, after being shot I figured you deserved some downtime. Why don't you lie down and get some rest and give your injury some time to heal?"

"You have to be tired too, sir. I could take first watch -," she began.

"It's Nihlus," he said with a wave of a hand. "I think we can dispense with the sirs."

"Oh, uh, I'm Lily."

"Alright, Lily, I won't lie. A few hours down sounds good, so you can take first watch. At least the thermographic sensor is still working, so keep an eye on it to make sure that the other ship is staying on course for that system. If it changes, get me. The VI should alert you if anything else comes up, and of course call if me if it does."

Lily gave him a grin before heading up to the cockpit. He watched the human leave for a moment before looking for somewhere dark to close his eyes. He programmed his omni-tool to alert him in three hours before settling down on a bed he hoped had been cleaned before the Protheans went extinct.

She settled into the pilot's seat. The adrenaline slowly drained from her body, but the ache in her side kept her grounded. Falling asleep while on watch with a Spectre onboard was not something that was going to happen to her. The computer displays were straightforward, so she pulled up the systems she was supposed to keep an eye on and soon she settled back to look at the stars. She rarely had a chance to see the galaxy like this. Military ships weren't exactly known for having portholes for their occupants to look out of for fun. With communications down, even Nihlus's tool wouldn't be able to send out a message. They needed to end this threat quickly. Her mouth quirked upward in a grin at the idea that she might get a chance to have an unexpected visit with Garrus. Maybe the patrol had left the range of the comm buoy before anyone had been able to send out a message to either him or her mother. Well, if they did go out, at least she could look forward to 'I'm not dead' sex with Garrus. Her mother, on the other hand, would just use this as another reason that she should leave the military. Never mind the fact that it was Mindoir this time that she was helping a Council Spectre save. If that didn't give her career a boost, well, nothing would.

Nihlus wasn't exactly what she had expected; he was far more personable than she had thought someone who worked directly for the Council would be. His trust in her was a heady feeling. If only there was something she could have done differently and saved Filon.

~Thanks once more to Mordinette for all her help again! And another thank you to the readers, thank you guys!~