Chapter 9 - Part 1
Alex waited impatiently for the docking process to finish. The woman stood at the door and tapped her foot while Moreau finished. The man could tell from a glance that the Greek was hell bent on doing something about what happened. It couldn’t be more known by him or anyone else that had spent the last day and half with the woman. And there was a fire in her eyes that told him someone was paying. Gus shut down the engines and sighed, letting the door unlock so Alex could leave.
Kraz eyed whom he considered his Battle Master, seeing the impatience and rather pleased with how things seemed to be going. The Krogan cracked his knuckles and gave a low chuckle which made Henry arch his brow. The Krogan just grinned at the human the slapped him on the shoulder. “This is the kind of thing I can get into,” he told Henry who understood after a brief moment and then gave a sharp nod.
To Henry, Liara was a sweet, innocent girl caught up in a firestorm of greed. Unlike the rest, he knew who exactly Liara’s mother was and the influence the Asari matron wielded. No one ever accused Henry of being stupid now. “I just hope this doesn’t blow up in our faces Kraz,” he said and gave a shrug before following the hyper active Alex. “I cannot imagine how Alex would handle it. Liara is like the younger sister she never had.”
Narzun nodded with a faint sub harmonic grunt. “I know one thing. The Suns are going to regret riling her up. I intend on being there to see this. You all should be thinking of this, otherwise she will go on her own. It is possible she will get killed. I rather keep her around.”
Selah could hear from Narzun’s tones that he was worried about what would happen. Selah on the other hand accepted what would happen. She was more than willing to pay any price if it meant helping Alex. The younger Asari had come to respect the human as someone different, a human that had no prejudices and harbored no ill will towards anyone that didn’t act first in a manner unfitting. “It doesn’t matter. I will go where ever she goes and help her to the best of my abilities.”
Kraz grinned at Selah and smacked his fist into his other hand. “I agree. I will go where my krant and Battle Master takes me. This will be a fight worth it.”
Of the entire small group, the Krogan understood better than the rest about battle. While he was young, he still had more experience than most of them except for Alex and Narzun. The rest just nodded in agreement with Kraz, they could not disagree at all. It was action they needed and all of them were willing to follow Alex into battle. Henry, more than the rest, had a stake in this. He was an ex-merc but he had a bone to pick with the Suns and to get his vengeance on them would be bittersweet but satisfying.
Alex stepped off the Vengeance and gave a sharp glance around. She strode up to Morlena when she saw the Asari and nodded to her. “’Lena,” she said her tone sharp.
Morlena studied her a moment then smiled at her. “Welcome home Alex. I am very glad to see you alive and well.” Morlena then held her hand up. “We will talk back at the Land. I do have the information you want and we need to discuss things.”
Alex pondered Morlena’s greeting but couldn’t find anything to fault about it. “You know, I think this is home now for me. At least it feels like it. I will always have Greece in my heart but here, I have friends and a life. And one of those friends desperately needs me.”
Morlena tried not to wince at the harsh sounds of Alex’s last words. “I do not disagree with you at all.” She saw the rest gathered and nodded. “Come on. The quicker we get back the better it will be for you,” she said with a smirk in Alex’s direction.
They left the spaceport and Morlena had a large aircar waiting for them. They all piled in; still in their armor but none of them felt they wanted to take it off. It took about a half hour to get back and they all walked in without giving much mind to the patrons or bouncers who greeted them with grins and smiles. Some of the bouncers though, they caught the hard glance Alex had and went quite, nudging their co-workers when they continued. Something was going on and a few of them could almost see the writing on the wall.
“Hinema, get the cook to make enough food for us all and have it brought back to the meeting chamber. We will be there,” Morlena said in passing and the bartender nodded, shooting off the favorite orders of the group from her omni tool. Morlena strode into the conference room and then let them enter, shutting the door behind as a lock engaged. “There, no one can enter and no one can hear what is said. This information I have is of a particular nature.”
Alex stood there, her arms crossed over her chest and she glared at the back of Morlena’s head before the Asari turned around and expressed her concerns over the data she had procured. For a moment Alex tensed up then she sighed and nodded, understanding that sometimes sensitivity of information was best left to those who knew how to handle it. So the Grecian woman sat down at the head of the table and the rest followed suit with Morlena sitting opposite of Alex.
Alex leaned forwards and brought her hands up, fingertips in contact as she leaned her chin on her thumbs. Blue-green eyes settled on Morlena and waited for her to begin talking. She had a contemplative look in her eyes now and Morlena was glad that Alex was now in the mindset of thinking instead of reacting. She looked at the rest, eyes sticking to her sister a moment then returned to the human sitting across from her.
“This is the situation. One of my contacts brought me a series of correspondences between the Hegemony and a Vido Santiago who is one of the leaders of the Blue Suns. The other leader, a Zaeed Massani, most likely will not be leading the Blue Suns soon. I believe Vido is going to attempt a coup. At least that is what my contact says. It is a possibility which means we have a shot at taking down the group that took the students with little resistance. This is the good news.”
Morlena paused to look at the group, trying to gauge their emotional response. She was inwardly pleased with how they responded to the information. “The other issue is this. Most likely they will use Liara as a wedge with the Council or with the Matriarch’s Council or both. This cannot happen. I have a vested interest in this never coming to fruition. And aside from that, most likely those students taken will be sold as slaves. Most of them are the brightest students the University has and with Nosra taken, the University is losing a much respected member of the facility. While this does not concern me, it’s a bonus if we recover her also.”
Here again Morlena paused to gauge each of their reactions. All of them were attentive and listening hard to what she said with only Alex’s eyes sharp as glass. This was the determination Alex would show time and time again in the future that they all would remember first seeing in the conference room. Morlena was going to continue but a knock came to the door and she got up and opened it, letting Hinema and another server through. They deposited the meals before the group and left without a word. Hinema knew an important meeting when she saw it.
Rising up, she moved over to the collection of hard liquors and wines, selecting a robust cordial and pouring a snifter. She set her glass down at her seat and then picked up a blue bottle, tossing it to Kraz. The Krogan removed the cap and took a sip, grinning at the hard taste of ryncol. For Narzun, she poured a expensive glass of Turian whiskey out for him and slid it over. She knew Selah liked the Blue Caber wine and poured a glass for her. For Tad she slide over a bottle of water, knowing the Salarian didn’t drink at all. Finally for Alex she cracked up a bottle of Ouzo, pouring some over ice in another snifter then setting the glass down before Alex and leaving the bottle within reach.
Alex watched the rest with a faint smile. They all were happy to be there and started to eat. Her gaze flickered up to Morlena when she sat the glass down and the human picked up the glass, taking a sniff first then a sip. A soft laugh came from her at tasting the liquorish flavor of the ouzo. She took a large swallow and then dug into her meal, washing bites down with the smooth liquor.
When they were done, Alex leaned back in her seat and brought her gaze to Morlena. The matron smiled briefly then glanced at the rest, finding their attention was on her. This made her smile more. She took a final sip of her cordial and then stood up and walked around the table to the side that was empty. A quick flick of a haptic button had a holo rise up from the center of the table. They all looked confused at her and she smirked.
“Do you know how a mercenary company starts?” She didn’t wait for them to respond but kept talking. “It starts with a core group that has all the same ideals. It starts with a leader,” she looked at Alex a moment. “It has its captains,” and then her eyes turned to the rest. “Each of them are brothers and sisters, willing to fight for each other and instill a loyalty to each other that cannot be broken. In you six I see this. I see this in the way Alex has added knowledge and training to each of you. And you repay her by being the best you can be because of that. I see her working with the newer bouncers and I see how they respond. As an employer, I could not ask for more from Alex nor any of the rest of you. Why I say this? Because I think you can start the core group and your reputation will soar. Alex and each of you will make sure of this. I have contacts that can help launch the group so I have to ask if you 6 are willing to start this venture?”
Morlena literally put Alex off her current train of thought with what she said and her jaw dropped as she stared at the Asari in total surprise. The rest glanced at Alex then back to Morlena then back to Alex like they were watching an old world tennis match. Narzun turned his attention to the Asari matron and snorted a bit. Kraz just grinned widely. Selah was just as surprised as Alex and that showed in the wide eyed stare she gave her sister. Henry looked thoughtful a moment while Tad’s gave continued to go back and forth between Morlena and Alex, curiosity showing.
Alex thought about it. She really stopped thinking about taking out the Blue Suns and thought about the ramifications of starting a merc company. Her first thought was that she liked it but the second thought that crossed her mind was if she was allowed to do such considering her position within the Alliance.
The rest watched Alex’s face, saw as she thought things over and the frown that ended it. Each glanced at the other then Morlena who continued to watch Alex then smirked at the frown. With a press of a button she forwarded a message to Alex.
Alex was brought out of her thoughts to the faint beep of her omni tool and glanced down, the tool turning on and displaying the message. She blinked and then tilted her head back up. “That was your doing, wasn’t it?”
Morlena nodded slightly. “I had to know who you were Alex. I have… contacts in your Alliance willing to explain. It was through one of them that I was able to gather information about you. Someone thinks you are a great asset. I happen to agree.”
Alex leaned back and sighed, rubbing her hand over the back of her neck. “Ok,” was all she said but everyone at the table broke out in huge smiles.
Morlena nodded. “This will be unique at first considering your troops come from the bouncers. I think all of them should take turns at being a bouncer. Right now we have better things to consider, like Liara and the rest. The information I have is about a safe house location that the Suns use.” She pressed a button and the hologram changed to show the safe house.
Alex leaned forwards to study it, finding the entries and exits and making note of choke points within. She lifted her arm up and her omni tool came to life as she transferred the image so she could take a closer look at it.
The rest looked at the building, Narzun about the only one concerned about the tight quarters. He saw Alex working on it and relaxed, knowing she would show them all the points and give them a plan of attack. The Turian rose up and refilled his glass, bring it back to his seat and waited.
Morlena watched Alex as she started poking at the schematics and gave a rather wide smile of satisfaction. Now she had Alex into a thinking mode for certain and things would end up better she figured. So she curled her arms up over each other and leaned back.
Finally Alex sighed and shot the data back to the hologram, certain areas lighting up in red, others in blue. “Ok. It’s not a great location for us. Its tight, small hallways, lots of blind areas, close quarters. SMGs and pistols or shotguns is what we should take.”
Alex manipulated the holo. “Here,” she pointed to the red locations. “These are the chokepoints. Here, here and here.” She pointed to each location in turn. “We will have to be careful. Narzun, I want you sniping but not primary. Kraz, shotgun and point, with Henry and Selah as backup. Tad, you and I will be taking a separate route through the back. Silent kills. Make sure you cloaking device is in working order.”
Alex frowned at the holo. “Two teams. Me and Tad, then the rest of you. You will breach here,” she pointed to a weak point in the structure where a hallway intersected with a wall. Without knowing where the students and Liara are, you guys will have to clear room by room. Me and Tad will come up behind whoever is there and take out the backend. Hopefully we will meet in the middle and have everyone safe. Does anyone see anything I might have missed?”
Narzun leaned closer and touched the holo, turning it as he looked over. He opened up the building a bit more. “I think here is where you might want to come in,” he said, pointing to a window on the upper floor. “This is a smaller, isolated room. We go in loud, and you two come in quietly.”
Alex thought that over and nodded, it made more sense. “Good idea, this will draw out anyone from the 2nd story down into the first story, giving us an easier time to case the top floor first and then meet you guys. It’s simple but we don’t know exactly what is in there either. We are going to be going in blind. And that is one thing I don’t like.”
Narzun shrugged. “Recon. Scout out the building first then go in.”
Alex almost face palmed herself at that. Of course. “I might be a tad bit rustier than I thought,” she said after a minute of silence. That earned her a chuckle from the Turian.
They all went silent when a knock at the door came and Alex frowned then nodded to Henry who got up and opened the door. A soft murmur hit their ears as one of the bouncers gestured behind them. Henry nodded and stepped aside, letting in the woman.
Jan Moller strode through with a cool look till Henry closed the door and then sighed and eyed Alex with a bit of tired resignation. “Sometimes I wonder if it was easier to ignore you than to let you through,” she said but her tone was teasing and the wry smile on her lips said she was joking.
“You would be bored sitting at your desk knowing the Matron’s Consul like I do,” Morlena drawled out and Jan laughed.
“Very true. Anyways, Alex.” She pulled a data card out and offered it to the Greek. “This came by courier about an hour ago. It’s from the big guy,” she said and Alex’s eyes lit up and she smiled slightly.
The mention of the name brought pleasure to her, she knew it was good but she didn’t know what it meant. Still, something good was better than something bad. “I don’t know who that is but I know they are a friend at least.” She took the card and slid it into her pocket for now.
Jan glanced around then looked at the holo. “Why are you heading to there? Last I knew, they had cleared that place out about 3 days ago. Vicious little bastards,” Jan said.
“What?” Alex’s voice was sharp and she clenched her hands.
The envoy was surprised at the harsh tone and then furrowed her brow. “What happened?” She looked between Morlena and Alex.
Morlena answered the human. “Two days ago a group of Blue Sun’s kidnapped a group of Serrice students out on a teaching expedition. One of them was Liara T’soni.”
Jan grabbed on to the back of the nearest chair in shock. “Dear god. Great and our SF fucked that up hard. They found a few newbies and nothing else. Damn it.” Jan dropped into a chair no one was sitting in and sighed heavily.
“Batarian pirates have been attack random locations, taking people of any race or species for slaves I would assume. Someone somehow managed to slip information to SI about a location which happened to be this building. I know because I was there during the meeting. Never seen a building like this before,” she motioned at the holo. “Anyways, they sent in SF, not N7s but the SF instead. All’s they found was 3 newly joined mercs and no information at all.”
Morlena’s shoulders slumped down and she shot a glance to an enraged Alex. Alex looked ready to go through a legion. A legion. Legion. Her eyes lit up. She turned to Jan. “Well this is you Alliance’s fuck up. Alex is N7 as you well know. We are going to need to find out where they went now.”
Jan nodded. “Let me get in contact with a friend in SI, let me see what they can give me. It helps that Alex is. Give me a day ok? Alex please?” Jan turned to the angry Greek only to have icy rage shown to her.
“A day,” Alex said clipped. Everyone got the feeling she would then start going through every Blue Sun she crossed over and start ‘asking’ them.
“That gives me time to get more information too. We can pool our resources together Jan,” Morlena said. “Also, I think a fitting name for the group can be The Legion.”