Chapter 9 - Part 2
It was dark and silent, Liara in peaceful sleep when she was jolted away by two loud sounds. It took her tired mind a few moments to place what those sounds were. Those sounds were followed by another shot which sounded different. The Asari froze because the sound was so unexpected in the middle of a camp where the only person who had a gun was Alex. Her eyes widen then and she eased back on her cot, her back against the wall.
The sound of someone crying out had her trying to make herself smaller, maybe she could hide? Suddenly three more shots rang out, deafening her since they were right at her back. She jerked and fell off the cot to the floor when the chatter of an assault rifle sounded out in response. The mass effected particles pinged off the prefab it seemed and she was glad she was on the floor.
A voice she had never heard before shouted out and suddenly the door to the prefab was forced open. She glanced up to see the barrel of a shotgun aimed at her and her eyes widened in fear at that. She almost wet herself in fright. Neither the merc nor Liara heard the thud of Alex taking down another merc silently. Another merc pushed pass the one with the shotgun and kicked the other student out of the bed. Then both were forced outside and thrown down at the feet of a human in blue armor.
Liara could tell this man was not new to fighting, not from the way his armor was scuffed up. Then she had her turned at being tied up like the rest, glancing around and hoping Alex would save them. Then she noticed just how many mercs there were. There were a lot of them and she was afraid to say anything.
“Whoever you are, come out and we will not hurt you but continue to fight and you will be killed,” the leader said with an angry rumble to his voice.
Liara wanted to tell Alex to not do it, to not give in. It was obvious to her at least that this human was not forgiving at all. If she were to speak or say anything she was certain he would aim at her and kill her and that was the last thing the Asari wanted. She just wanted to live, to study the Protheans and be respected.
“Yea, alright,” Alex said out of the darkness and everyone turned towards the voice as the human appeared in the light with her pistol held by the barrel.
Liara wanted to warn her, wanted to tell her to run, to get away, to leave them and come back but again, that might prove to be her death. So she remained quiet, looking towards Alex and begging with her eyes for the human to not do this. But it was too late. What happened next was something so horrifying that she no longer fought the mercs at all.
“Throw that over there,” the male said and pointed to his left. Alex did so as he lifted his hand up and flicked it, ending up pointing at Alex. The sniper shot made all the students jump.
Liara watched as Alex staggered back, a spreading red stain almost dead center on her chest. She cried out and was whiplashed with the barrel of a shotgun in response to that. Her gaze never left Alex as the woman looked down at the red stain then coughed up more blood. The last sight she saw of Alex was the human falling backwards and the thud along with the laugh by the male. She was no fighter and whatever spirit she had faded into nothingness.
“Dumb bitch, wasn’t really skilled. They lied,” the captain said and spit in Alex’s direction. “Grab them, let’s get out of here. We got what we came for,” he said and prodded Liara with one foot. “That one, none of you touch her or you will find yourself lacking hands after I cut them off with a rusty, fucking spoon.”
The students and one teacher were beaten and dragged back to the shuttle the mercs had landed on the planet. They tossed them all into a corner and held their weapons on them during the transit from ground to ship. Then it was a dark cell and separated, barely fed or watered. From the sounds Liara heard, she was glad that she was given a reprieve but she had no clue why that was.
After 3 days in that dark hole of a cage, Liara and the rest were dragged out and transferred back to the shuttle, taking it back down to some building in the middle of a crumbling metropolis long forgotten. Liara recognized it as being part of the ruins on Feros. She had always wanted to come here but time and study had never permitted it and now, now she was being dragged down here. Why?
A few hours later the entire group was picked up and forced back to the shuttle and by the hurried movement she knew something was wrong. Later on she would overhear two of the mercs wondering who the mole was that gave them up to the Alliance Special Forces. That explained why they were moved once more but now, now she was in a darker place and it smelled. She had no clue where she was this time. It was a station of some sorts but they were brought in on a shuttle and she barely got a glimpse of some neon lighting before the buildings hid it.
Trent was quite upset to lose some of his men to that woman. She couldn’t be what they said about her and he ripped the informant a new asshole over it. It was pure luck that she had gotten four of them. Jen’lan found two with holes and one with a broken neck and the Asari had gone down before them. Yerl’me’s shot was dead center though and he was extremely happy about that. The Batarian got a bonus for that shot.
Still, he complained to Vido for the wrong information given and then growled about the luck they had to catch wind of the Alliance op that almost found them. Now he was stuck in this rotten piece of shit station to wait for orders and afraid of what would happen if the Queen caught wind of their little group of slaves. He had the men patrolling, waiting for word of his shipment’s movement. Vido told him it wouldn’t be more than a few days to a week and he rolled his eyes.
“So this dumb bitch, she steps out with her gun up and Yerl pops her center mass on Trent’s command. Should have seen the look on her face,” the scruffy human merc told the group around him at the bar. He mimicked the look of surprise that Alex showed and then started to fall back, catching himself with a high pitched, drunken laugh.
Another merc punched him on the shoulder. “Shut up you fool,” the Batarian hissed but the damage was done. The bartender, a short volus swiped the counter and then jumped down off the platform. It was time for shift change anyways and he greeted the racist Batarian before waddling off. Once he was back to his room he took out a chip and placed it in a slot on his suit before bring his omni tool up and sending a message off.Target found. Blue Sun in warehouse district. Scholarly regards. –DZ
Then he shut off the omni tool, pulled the chip out and set it on the metal counter. He torched it into nothing but ash before moving off to get something to eat. It was about time to return home, maybe Ath would let me go and replace him. The Volus thought nothing more about what he had just done, mind focused on his next meal.
Two relays away a console beeped once with a secure message. The almost violet colored Asari moved over and hit a button, watching the message pop up. Then she turned and her omni tool lit up and she shot a message out to someone else. That message was then sent to a third party for delivery. The Asari sighed then and rubbed her face. “May the goddess protect you and your friend little wing,” she murmured before heading back out to the louder bar, taking orders and putting work on her mind.
Neither Liara nor Trent were prepared for the reckoning that the Blue Suns were about to get once that message was sent though both would think an avenging angel rained fire down on them later on. For that moment Liara felt lighter somehow at the same time the message was relayed. She didn’t know why but she felt protected in a brief moment before that faded but it had done what it intended to do and that was give her hope that things would be ok.
Hours later a shot would ring out and then a loud, harsh voice would rant so loud that everyone heard and Liara was crestfallen. That shot had herald the end of the department head’s life. Nosra had been shot by a careless idiot that hadn’t realized Asari’s were more than just like human females. The sounds of Trent stomping down and then the single crack of a pistol told her the merc had paid for it with his life.
They all wondered what would happen, frightened by the closed rooms, the scant food and drink. With the Batarians there, they knew they were going to be sold. It was just a matter of time on waiting for the slaver transport to happen. So day by day they all prayed or wished for someone to come rescue them. And each day brought more pain, hunger and thirst to those students who were not Liara.
Kept separated, none of them knew what was going on but they could hear well enough the squabbling the mercs made and even some had a taste of the cruelty that could happen in reality. There was no doubt that the depraved minds of the Blue Suns were far worse than any harsh teacher they had ever had and each handled it in different ways. The one Salarian they had with them had gone comatose, unresponsive to anything.
Liara on the other hand, her mind kept replaying that sight of Alex after she had been shot and she mourned the death of her only friend. After one bout of crying and Trent slapping her, she was quieter when mourning for Alex. She didn’t even know what would eventually happen to her but there was an idea that someone had specifically wanted her and that frightened her as much as watching Alex fall over.
It was on the fourth day that things started to change for Liara and the rest. It started out quietly, their jailers feeding them with a wake up kick, and ended with the roar of rage that sung sweetly in Liara’s ear.
To the Blue Suns it was the last day they would have to spend here and they were more than ready to leave for another score. The bonus alone from this job would have them able to drink and whore themselves sick or get that wanted weapon they longed for. Alas that would never happen to them as hell came raining down on them in the form a resurrected avenging demon. The one merc that survived the ordeal would later swear that they had been taken out by a dead woman come back to life. They would call her “Demon” after the tale he spun of her rage.
Four days earlier an unknown Volus sent an encrypted message out. Four days before, that message was expanded, transferred to three different people. And four days before, that message came in physical visit to an Asari many systems away on a planet whose biggest fame was Serrice University.
“Morlena, you have a visitor,” a voice said after the door opened. Kraz jerked his head and stepped back, letting the Asari through to the office. He had a damn good idea of what it was about but let things roll as they were.
“Morlena,” the Asari said with a slow smile.
“Gansula,” she said in response and motioned to the chair as she rose up to get them both a drink from her private stock. “What do I owe you for this visit?”
Gansula laughed as she took the glass offered and took a sip. “Ah, I thought it would be best to bring this to you and it is free of charge. The patron that gave this over to me made sure to make note of that. And the message is: Warehouse 2104, Omega. I think you can understand what that means.”
Morlena took a swallow of the wine and watched the Asari across from her. She showed no response to the words till she lowered the glass and gave a deadly smile. “Thank your patron for me and for Alex thought I am sure they knew the results that would come from this. Still, for bringing this message to me, here.” She offered a credit chit to the Asari who took it without a word.
Gansula understood the meaning behind the chit and she tucked it away. This is why she was willing to be loyal to Morlena; the Asari knew how to pay her help or information brokers accordingly to the actions taken. Gansula rose up. “A pleasure Morlena,” she murmured and walked out, knowing Morlena was now focused on something else.
As soon as the Asari left Morlena punched a button. “Kraz gather the rest and head to the conference room.” Then she rose up and headed there, finding the plans for the area where the warehouse was. Less than two minutes later everyone had piled into the room and Alex paced like a caged lion as she waited for Morlena to talk.
“We have a target location now. It’s on Omega and that doesn’t surprise me. It’s situated in the Kenzo district. I do not believe they have been dumb enough for Aria to know about it. She might be lawless but she knows the ramifications,” Morlena said and brought up the holo of the area.
“Warehouse is here,” she said and the building lit up in red.
Alex spun and stared at the holo, pondering it and then nodding. “We’ll need a sniper with a spotter as backup. I am going in cloaked,” she said, voice as sharp as a blade.
“I can do that,” Narzun’s dual toned voice came out.
“I can spot for him,” Tad said, knowing this was not a fight he should be in the middle of.
Alex nodded. “Kraz you are going to be the demolition tank here. The more chaos you can cause and the louder you can be, the better it is for me. I’ll need the rest of you covering Kraz’s ass though. I rather have more bodies going in. Before it was just me and over fifteen of them. I do not want to overestimate them again. And I have at least one payback coming to the leader of the group. This means you do not touch him. He’s mine.”
Kraz gave a bark of a laugh and Selah grinned. “Ok, making note of that, no touching the leader, Alex wants to rip him apart herself,” Selah said and smirked. That got a smile from Alex.
It was a brief smile though as she frowned at the layout. “Most likely they will have a token guard outside. The issue is I don’t know how many they have there if this is one of their bases.” She chewed on her lip, thinking of all the possibilities. “I wish there was more data on the building. I guess some recon is due here once we get boots down on Omega.”
Each of the others looked at the displayed holo and they agreed. Without knowing where everything was they would go in blind and might get the students killed because of that lack. Each of them tried to think of something to say to reassure Alex but they knew too well what could happen and each of them did not want to even say anything for fear of setting Alex off. The human was barely holding her anger back as was.
Narzun hummed and then reached out to shift the view of the holo. “Most of these warehouses are the same because they are prefabbed.” He narrowed the view in on the building. “No upper floor but one side might have offices. That would be where they would put the students I think. There are two configurations. Offices on the ground floor here,” and the holo highlighted in green the area Narzun spoke of.
“If this is how it is set up then what I would do is have you guys come in here away from the offices,” Alex said and pointed to what was the dock. “Looks like an explosive charge would do the trick but it might be a killing alley too there.”
Narzun nodded. “I would have to be lower to be able to snipe inside the building or have a high powered rifle with thermal. Either is obtainable. The other configuration as I said has this side filled with office space on two separate floors with a catwalk running down the center of the building. That would be more feasible because I can set up there and have a view of everything.”
Alex nodded. “I can come in first with my cloak on and clean up the catwalk then you can cover me before the rest go loud. This is a bit more of a problem because then the dock is closer but it also makes an easier escape.”
Alex scowled a little bit more at the holo and then lifted her gaze up. “We leave in a few hours so prepare. I want to get Liara and the students out of there as soon as possible. It’s been…” She trailed off to think. Three days out, a day of travel… “Five days now. And given the time frame they must have either missed the SF or packed up within hours of landing on the other site. Either way, I don’t want those students in their hands any longer than a full week. How long will it take to get to this Omega?”
Morlena pondered the question a moment. “It is right off one of the relays so not long. You would have to ask Moreau for more accurate information.”
Alex nodded but it didn’t matter. She caught everyone’s eyes. “Prepare, make sure your armor and weapons are in working order.”
The rest nodded and rose up, exiting the room. Alex stayed behind, her eyes on Morlena. The Asari serenely sat there as the group exited and then sighed and waited for Alex to speak. There was no doubt in her mind what Alex wanted to say but the human surprised her none the less.
“I appreciate your help with this. If not for Liara, I would probably have died by now. I can only do the same for her. No one deserves this least her of all people,” Alex said, worry finally showing where rage and anger had been before.
“I know your feelings on this. Your honor reminds me of Turian honor, if humans can have such a thing. Besides, if you do venture into the merc world, not only will you earn a lot of credits but so will I as the broker of any deals made,” Morlena said with a faint smirk.
Alex gave a short laugh at that. “True. You will be doing the hard work in brokering deals and work for us. And I am sure you have no limits on contacts to finding work. Your offer and suggestion surprised me a lot. I never thought about it till you said something. I mean I have the Alliance but I am sort of in hiatus with them right now till they recall me.”
The Asari matron nodded and then gestured to the door. “Go on. I know you want to go rescue Liara. We will talk more once you get back.”Alex nodded and pushed back from the table, getting up from her seat. “That we will,” she said before she exited the room and left the contemplative Asari wondering of the resulting body count once Alex was done with the Suns.