Welcome to Omega.
Karnak slowly started to open his eyes, struggling to keep them open. The light from the room was making it very difficult for him to see what was going on around him. All he could make out were the shapes of various machines near his head. He could feel wire running down the length of his body, attached to different parts. Some were there to pump a variety of a fluids and drugs into him, while the others took readings to monitor his vital statistics. He could hear one of the machines letting of a quiet, but high pitched alarm. Karnak tried to focus on which one it was, but he could hardly even read the screen of each of the machines, only being able to make out the odd shapes and trends of what they were recording.
Then, a figure loomed over Karnak. The light obscured the details of who it was, as Karnak tried to place him. He opened his mouths a bit, but found it hard to speak. His voice cracked a few times, as he tried to talk.
"Who are---" he croaked, but before he could finish he was interrupted by a large amount of water being poured onto his face.
"Rise and shine Karn," Miles said as he tilted his glass back up, and slowly swirled its contents.
Karnak coughed and winced slightly as the water trickled the wrong way down his throat. He brought his hands to his face, and rubbed the top of his brow, as he felt a severe headache making its way over him. He then brought his arms down, and lifted himself from the table, until he had his legs hanging off the end and was sitting on the edge. The room started spinning as he started rubbing his head again to attempt to relieve the headache.
"These will likely help," Miles said as he shook a small capsule of pills in front of Karnak's face. Karnak quickly probed his fingers inside, and pulled out a small handful of pills.
"Yeah... Only take one now, we'll stretch them out over the next--- Two's fine, I mean hell, you're probably having a major--- Three's a bit excessive Karn, I mean it will--- C'mon, four is plenty, no more, you're only supposed to take up to six a day after all."
Karnak glared at Miles as he dropped the remaining few pills back into the bottle.
"Right well, Verahl will be happy that you're up again. That means he isn't down a---"
"Who exactly are you?" Karnak bluntly interrupted. He didn't bother getting up, instead opting to still sit, at least until the dizziness stopped.
"Oh yeah, you would have been out for that bit," Miles said. "Name's Miles, I'm the new Doc here."
"Where exactly is here?"
"The new base owned by the Aegis Protection Firm."
"How did Verahl manage to get us a new base with a medical facility?"
"Well, I've only known him a few weeks, but I guess he's one for looting, or at least not letting something of value go to waste."
Karnak stared at Miles clueless, trying to figure out what he was getting at.
"Let me put it to you this way Karn."
"Don't call me Karn."
"No worries, let me put it to you this way then Karnak. You got shot several times at close range. The wounds were severe, and you were dead unless you could reach a medical facility fast. Fortunately for you, you were within about... Maybe 30 yards of one."
It started to dawn on Karnak.
"In other words, you're in the ex-4-6 base. Congratulations, you guys won!... I think I have some scotch around here if you want to celebrate, even though everyone else started celebrating, what, five weeks ago?"
Karnak sighed as he shook his head. He knew enough know. Aegis had beaten the 4-6, had taken their base over, and here he was, five weeks later, still recovering from the injuries of the assault.
"Here, drink this," Miles said as he handed Karnak a fresh glass of water he had filled. "And I'll fill you in on what you missed."
The Doctor then explained to Karnak all that had happened in the five weeks that had passed. The rest of Aegis had been able to neutralize the remains of the 4-6. After the base had been taken, several of the remaining 4-6 stationed around the district fled, leaving for other gangs or companies to join or sinking back in with the civilians of Omega. The leader had hidden herself within the vault of the base, and tried to withhold the siege as Aegis tried to find a way to open the doors. Within a few days, she had realized there was no hope left. Her communications had been severed with the rest of the 4-6, but she already had known that the remains of her gang had fallen apart. The ventilation and electricity to the vault had also been shut off, leaving it hot and dark for several hours. She had been able to have all overrides to the door disabled since she shut it, making it so no one, not even Sal, had been able to open it. With dwindling resources left inside with her and no one left on the outside to save her, she decided to end it herself rather than give Verahl the final victory. A few minutes later, after a number of shots had been fired; two remaining gang members opened the doors to the vault, seeking mercy from Verahl. Their leader, and two of her body guards had committed suicide, rather than surrender. They did not want to die however, so they dropped their weapons, and hoped that Verahl wouldn't have them executed. Miles laughed as he reached this part, stating that the two of them were still in the prison cells nearby. After that, Verahl concentrated on getting their new territory organized, and under Aegis's control. Several fought against their new rule, those being humans that had moved to within the 4-6's domain for their stance on aliens and their protection. Others though joined peacefully. Part of the borders though were taken by other gangs, who simply moved their borders down a street or two while Aegis took time to achieve their dominance. Verahl didn't worry about losing a couple streets though, instead happy to have taken out the 4-6 with so few casualties. Karnak asked Miles if anyone else had been injured in the fighting. Miles said that Verahl and Esten had both been injured by a powerful Vanguard of gang, who had managed to defeat Raven in a duel, but was forced to flee near its end. Lux had also taken a number of wounds during the battle, but thanks to the nature of him being a Krogan, he had been able to recover from all of them. He then mentioned Ocara, who had gone through several injuries as well, and had even been tortured by 4-6 members. He had recovered a few weeks ago though, but he said that he had still been walking with a slight limp.
"And that's pretty much that. A few new people have signed on with us as well, while a Meer and Thanya both quit. Thanya I think left for Illium, and Meer got into a fight with Verahl and Lux and decided to leave soon after."
Miles took the glass from Karnak as he grabbed his arm and helped lift him to his feet.
"Feeling a bit better now?"
Karnak looked down to his chest, and ran his hands over the bandages that adorned it. These were the wounds and marks left from the shots that had pierced his armour. He jabbed a few of them softly, and felt small pains emanate from them.
"Trust me, those painkillers are making them feel like nothing right now," Miles said as he handed the bottle to Karnak. "In fact, you're probably feeling little right now. Now, only take one every four to six hours, two if it's really hurting, and up to six a day. Remember that. If you need to be reminded, come back down here and ask, it's what I do. Now, I'm betting Verahl's wanting to see you, so I suggest you go talk to him."
Karnak nodded and headed towards the doors, before turning back to Miles.
"Just head to the top floor," Miles said before Karnak could open his mouth. Karnak again nodded and made his way towards the stairs, heading up to see Verahl.
Ethan, "Paladin", sat in the common room cutting up some fruit with his impressively sized hunting knife and talking with some of the members of the Merc group that had just hired him. They were mostly rookies that probably joined because the recent success Aegis enjoyed, Some told stories of their time in combat, showed off their scars and postured in an overly-masculine fashion that befit people in their line of work. Ethan showed off the burn that covered a sizable portion of his chest and was rewarded with suitable oohs and ahhs as he recounted how he got it, and what he did to the Krogan who gave it to him. He exchanged some of the jokes he had picked up in his time to spouts of laughter from his small audience ("where do you find a Salarian that you gave coffee? about twenty miles from wherever he started") He spouted off some note-worthy names of bounties that he had brought in, to surprised exclamations from the greener recruits as they heard ones they recognized. Eventually he had enough time in the spotlight, and let the others tell their own stories, which he responded to with exclamations and comments when he found it appropriate. Keeping an ear out for any flaws the crew might have that he should be watching out for, he'd already picked out the rookies and the vets, now he was listening for anything he could use later.
As he sat back and let the "kids" tell some pretty impressive stories of their own, he reflected on how he wound up with this job in the first place. After bringing in some punk debt-ditcher to Omega to probably get the shit beaten out of him (although Ethan had managed to talk to the bookie out of killing the kid, having him work off the debt instead) he got into his ship and accessed the net, when his VI, Jeeves, told him he had a message, he opened his comm and saw a Batarian on the other end, telling him about the reputation he had as "Paladin" and offering him a job. While Ethan was rarely one for long contract work, the money seemed decent, and the crew had a good reputation, by Omega's standards anyway. So he signed on, with a few provisions. Notably that he wouldn't be an official employee, and as such he could leave or abstain from missions at his discretion, he would have to provide his own hardware, guns and armor, but could make use of common company materials.
He left the group, telling them that if they wanted a good story that they should ask him about how he got the name "Paladin", and offering to show the green recruits some tricks he had picked up, knowing that it would most likely consist of things that any soldier learns in basic. He stood up and walked up the flight of stairs and into the club connecting to the firm, deciding that a few beers wouldn't go amiss before heading back to his ship/home, which was sitting in the docks nearby.
Another deafening crack echoed out over the rooftops of Omega, the sound seeming to linger heavy in the air, even after the immediate bang had passed. The shot seemed to disturb the very air on the roof of the Aegis headquarters, fracturing the delicate sense of calm that had once hovered in the air, the sense of calm that was 'oh so' rare in Omega, though ironically, shattering that fragile calm seemed to be one of the only things that allowed Ocara to feel at peace these days.
Things had been like this since his walk out from Aegis all that time ago, though it had piqued when the 4-6 base had been assaulted, when he had escaped from torture and captivity to find his love Lexi, dead.
He didn't blame Aegis for her death, they had even rescued him and accepted him back into their fold, even though he had been the cause of the mayhem. He didn't even blame 4-6, though they were certainly scum of the highest caliber and it had been one of their bullets that had ended Lexi's life, they were only a part of what caused Lexi's death, a consequence that Ocara himself had brought about.
But Ocara wasn't going to be defeated, not by loss, torture or even injury, Ocara was stronger than that and besides, without his sunny optimism and cheerful disposition, he was pretty sure Aegis would fall apart or kill one another, especially the Krogan.
And so, the Turian resumed his target practice, high above the streets of Omega, on the roof of the Aegis HQ that he had turned into both an impromptu firing range and his own private retreat, a place to escape from trials of duty and gazes of his companions, to contemplate and to try and rebuild himself once-more.
Sal sat in the common room listening to the new recruits converse, old battle stories from the sounds of the conversation and the number of boasts from some of them. She looked up from her disassembled Viper sitting on a small table she had brought in from her room. She grabbed the samll glass filled with a blue liquid and ice. She detached the small filter strw from the front of her mask drank.
Keel'ah I'm glad I'm able to actually drink again without going overboard. She thought happliy as she sat her drink down again and resumed her work on her rifle. She knew the pieces were in working order but disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling had become a habit of hers drilled into her from her drill sargent on the Hadran and her current boss, Verahl. Plus all the other stories she had picked up in her pilgramige about soliders or other mercs dying because of bad equipment helped pormote the habit.
Santius sat in the common room, silently fiddling with his omnitool. He tried as much as he could possibly manage to keep his mouth shut, despite the criticisms of all of the rookies roaring through his head. After a very short while, he had had enough, and left the room, determined to find himself a drink.
The elevator doors to the rooftop opened and out stepped two of the club's guards, Janx and Triven. Each normally kept tabs on the Elixer downstairs but had come up to the rooftop to check out the gunfire. Janx was a Batarian, and Triven was a Turian. Each wore black clothing, and on the left arm of each, the club's symbol was sown in.
"Hey, buddy!" Triven yelled. "You've been told before to keep the shooting to the range downstairs. Down there, no one can hear you, but up here, people outside waiting on the street to get in can."
Janx walked towards Ocara while Triven remained by the elevator, holding the door open and waiting for him.
Almost immediatly after Ethan sat down one of the bartender's approached him.
"What'll it be?" she asked him. She was a young Asari who had been working at the club since soon after the removal of the 4-6. She had seen Ethan a few times, and knew he worked directly for Aegis. This made him one of their more important customers who should be served immediatly.
"You're serving him and not me?" a patron nearby said, rather loud and angry. "I've been waiting here how long and you get to him right away? Where the hell is my service?"
Terina walked into the club just in time to hear the angry patron. Moving quickly, she sat a the table next to his. "You seem a bit upset that he was served first. Clearly, you either are unaware of who owns this bar, or you are unaware of who that man is. Which is it?" She smirked. "You should calm down. Have a drink."
"I've waiting for---" the patron started to say before turning around to see Terina, and giving her a smile. "Actually, what about you? You want something? A Salarian liquor? Batarian ale? What you looking for?"
She smiles back. "How very kind of you. I can afford my own drinks, though."
"Listen guys, as I've said before, the range downstairs is tiny and shit, if I take out ol' Nag here, the barrel will brush against the targets" said Ocara, as he stood so he could get eye level with Janx. He liked the bouncers (though he was sure the feeling wasn't mutual), they did a good job of keeping the club running smoothly and keeping out the scum, but they did sometimes take their jobs a little too seriously, though with Verhal as a boss, one could be forgiven for not wanting to fuck up.
"Now come on guys, the club is so popular we'd turn a profit even if we had Krogan strippers" said Ocara as he stood up and leant against the low wall behind him, involuntarily quivering at the thought of Krogan strippers.
"Don't care, we got people noticing, and we can't have it affecting business," Janx said as he picked up a few of the thermal clips that lay near Ocara.
"We know Oleene told Verahl off about this before," Triven said as he cracked his fingers and waited for Janx and Ocara. "So we expect you to stop this sort of thing. She says if you cost her or the club a single credit, she'll make a tab just for you."
"Well, is there anything else I can get ya then?" the patron said, with another sickening smile.
The bartender behind the counter winced a bit.
He's going to get himself killed... He doesn't even realize who he's speaking with.
"Look, what do you want? I'll get you it right now if you promise you just leave these two alone," the bartender said nervously, hoping he took it and left the two others alone.
The patron ignored the bartender though, and focused only on Terina, still giving her the same perverted smile as before.
"Very subtle. Allow me to share your subtlety. You are going to go to another table and wait for a drink in silence. No more complaints. If you don't, well, things may get bloody. For you."
Ethan ordered his drink from the Asari behind the bar, and a second for Terina, using his biotics he passed hers over, "thanks for the assistance Terina, but he's just an idiot, nothing I can't handle"
Terina took the drink, waving a hand to Ethan in acknowledgment of his gift. However, she continued watching the patron, waiting for his response to her very thinly veiled threat.
The patron glanced back and forth between Ethan and Terina a few times before shrugging.
"Fuck it," he blurted loudly as he brought one of his arms down heavily on the counter, giving an audible thud. "Just get me an ale."
With that, the patron ignored the other two as he waited for his drink. He started scoping the club out once more trying to find the next piece of meat to hit on, and one that would hopefully not hit him back.
Ethan took a swig of his drink and turned to Terina, "It's a good thing he backed off, it's always embarrassing fighting drunks, it's like fighting kids, there's just no challenge."
"A fight is a fight." She raised her glass, then took a drink.
Uvakha Korat entered the club. The inherant pulsing rythmn of the music was loud; Omega was always loud. Korat disliked this. When it was loud, he would not have optimal sound perception, and as a result, would need to pay more attention to his other senses to make up for his weaker hearing in order to operate at peak proficiency. Korat ALWAYS operates at peak proficiency.
As he passed a disgruntled bar patron, most likely ready to drink himself into a depressive or violent state of intoxication after a failed mating request, and towards two of his new colleagues, in an attempt to join them to promote effective commaradery and efficient teamwork. Not one of his favorite things to do...
He had previously sized them up upon meeting the team. Ethan was human, colonial, psychologically immature by Korat's standards, but a trained and effective fighter in rough situations, whether or not those situations were his own damn fault. He was a evidently a moralist of some sort, seeing as he dropped out of the military for most likely personal reasons, only to join an outfit like Aegis. This could be a downfall. Korat found that persuing a sense of morality was a weakness, and chose to improve himself rather than to try foolhardily to save the world around him.
The Asari, on the other hand, was most certainly a violent and brilliant warrior, but Korat had not seen her excersize much self control.
Korat needed to know EVERYTHING about this company. He needed to if and how much he could trust them.
He approached the pair.
"Not all fights are the same, Asari. Combat scenarios change, and strategies effect both events and the overall outcome of an occurance."
He grunted, forming a sneering grin.
"In truth, there are nine kinds of fights."
"I don't go looking for fights. I am not adverse to one if it is efficient in the long run, however." Terina looked up at him. "And of course combat scenarios change. For example, he was a harmless drunk. A threat worked. However, had he drawn a pistol, I would have had to draw my shotgun, and flip the table for cover."
"look at him, if he's had combat experience outside of a bar room brawl then I'm a Rachni," Ethan quipped, "if he drew his pistol it would've been simpler to just force him to shoot up then take him down. A quick flip of biotics to the barrel of his gun, then a fist to his face, no one's dead and he's out of the bar, quick, clean, easy."
"But I am interested, you said there were 'nine kinds of fights'?"
Santius entered the club, scanning for anyone that would be worth talking to. He noticed the group gathering inside. He spent a moment deciding whether or not to even bother talking to them. Eh, I've got nothing better to do, he thought. "What's happening over here?" he said to no one in particular as he walked up to the group.
The patron recognized the Asari as she approached and quickly moved away from the counter. She shook her head as he scurried off, and continued towards the others.
"That's the question I should be asking Santius," Oleene said as she approached the mercenaries.
Oleene served as the business half of Verahl, watching the clubs and businesses that were now under Aegis's control. This included the Elixir, the club they were all currently in.
"Now, is there going to be a problem with all of you in here?" she started as she walked in front of all of them, making sure their attetion was focused on her. "I told Verahl earlier, I don't mind if you come up here for drinks, but what I do care about is if you start up a fight in here. Do you know how hard it is to attract decent customers if your club is known only for the bars that break out in it? No offence Korat, but we'd attract more of your crowd, and having more then two Krogan in a room at once is normally just asking for trouble, either for each other or more likely for the rest of the damn room."
She took the patron's seat in the middle of the mercenaries as she waited for their response.
"No one's starting anything. I just came up for a few drinks, then some drunk fool wanted to make trouble, started yelling at me and hitting on Terina. That's hardly the kind of clientele you want is it?"
"Ha, god forbid my tab get any bigger, last time I made a note of it, it looked like a phone number" joked Ocara, shouldering his rifle and rotating his neck as he did so. Once his rifle was secured around his shoulder, Ocara stood up from his leaning position and walked past the two guards, bidding them a tongue-in cheek remark by way of a goodbye as he descended the stairs into the HQ once more.
"I was about to come down anyway, just needed to calibrate the sights. Same time tomorrow?"
"The kind of clients I want in here are the ones that show up with an account full of credits, and leave with it empty," she said as she picked up a drink from the counter that the bartender had poured her. She took a sip and was about to start speaking to the mercenaries again, before turning back around to the other Asari. "Make another, this time remember, two parts juice, one part liquor, if you can't get the drinks right we can put you at a pole."
The Asari bartender quickly took the glass and emptied it and started preparing a new drink for Oleene.
"Now, where were we? Oh yes, the difference between a harmless drunk like him and the rest of you, is that if he starts a fight, Janx will be on him in a minute and teach him a lesson on manners in the alley behind the club. You on the other hand, will draw a gun on him if he tried something like that, or beat him to within inches of his life in front of the rest of the club."
She paused a moment as the new drink was set to her side. She took a sip, nodded at the bartender, and focused once again on everyone else.
"I'll remind you of the little deal we have going on up here again. As part of what Verahl and I worked out, all of you are entitled to your share of free drinks here as long as you behave. That includes not getting smashed up here and causing trouble, or getting into a bar fight with some random drunk that gives you a bit of attitude. Understood?"
Janx fiddled with the heat sink a bit before tossing it back to Ocara as he left.
"Next time bring some of that Salarian's food up, I could use a good meal," Janx yelled before walking back to the elevator.
Triven shook his head at Janx's remark before sending the elevator back to the lobby.
Paladin raised his drink in a sort of mocking salute, "you're the lady with the drinks, I know a good thing when I've got one, and I'm not about to mess any up. 'No killing the customers'" Paladin gave her a wry grin and raised his drink again at the Asari before drinking it down.
"But for the record, the one you might want to be warning is Terina, I saw her hand over that shotgun of hers before he backed off, this is Omega, no one is unarmed, the last thing anyone needs is a firefight, especially one we're not getting paid for."
"Well you want to get into the occasional scrap, don't you? Just to keep your skills sharp and to stave off boredom" said Ocara jokingly, as he came up behind the group in the club, having only caught the end of the conversation and was hoping to hear what got them a telling off from Oleene, though even on the best of days one could witness a bollocking from the business manager just by simply hanging out in the club.
Ocara took a seat a couple chairs down from Oleene and ordered himself a drink, nothing too strong though, as Ocara had given up heavy drinking when Lexi had died, in an effort to try and forget her, though conversely he found himself remembering her whenever he drank now, but still, a little reminiscence wasn't a bad thing.
"So Terina, I'm guessing you were the cause of this?" asked Ocara playfully, smiling at the merc and shaking is head in mock disapproval as he said so, since not only did he know her temperament, but Ocara wasn't the type of person that liked to offend anyone, even inadvertently.