"Resolved my ass." John muttered as he read Verahl's message. He knew Lux'd get away with a 'slap' on the wrist like that fucking salarian psycho and little else probably. That damned over evolved dinosaur was fucking breaking mission, springing this bullshit on them.
In a fit of anger he lashed out punching the wall, his armoured fist denting and cracking the fiberboard paneling that lined the room. Letting out an explosive breath, he rubbed his face and moved into a good covering position.
Paladin sat in the razor's seat, in the back against the wall dividing the pilot from the passengers, it was a habit one of the "lead elephants", as his old CO used to call the older soldiers the recruits were attached to, after the traditions used in training circus elephants, had educated him on "first on in, last one out". He had loaded in as soon as he saw the Batarian coming. When Verahl asked if there were any questions, Ethan spoke up.
"Do we have any intel on what we have to look forward to in there? Numbers? Equipment? Biotic ability? Hell, even species would be helpful. Do we have any idea of layout? How much distance are we covering between insertion and extraction?"
All fairly standard questions, but a good answer to any of them could mean the difference between life and death for the men and women in the Razor.
Preven sat, quite surprised that Esten had picked him, when even by his own admission Esten could have gotten together with another, much more skilled sniper for support.
Just as Preven prepared to ask Esten why , he heard Ethan begin asking questions, all of which seemed quite important. Probably shouldn't bother him. Thought Preven as he waited for the answer to those questions as well.
Another rocket slammed into the upper level of the club above. Each wall was already showing dents and depressions from the stress of the attack, and the barrage of missiles and rounds fired into them. From the four main windows upstairs, Dregger, John, and Triven were engaged with several of the Splits that had arrived. It was still early on in the battle, only a few of the Spits soldiers had arrived, but more were undoubtedly on their way.
The row of stores across the street had been seized by them, and had been hastily fortified to protect them. Most of the shutters over the storefronts had been shut to provide cover, but the doorways were kept open, and were where they would fire from. Above the doorways were a series of offices that had also been taken. Like the club, several had windows that had been shot out, and were now serving as additional spots to fire from. In total, there were three different stores that had been taken, each with a couple of the Splits occupying each, and with shared connected office area above.
The Club had also been prepared though. On the second floor were four windows, each serving as a bunker for Aegis to fire from. The doorway had also been barricaded with almost everything that hadn't been bolted down around the dance floor. Tables, chairs, and the odd stool each were used to prop up and obstruct the entrance and halt any attempted access that didn't require explosives. The doors had already been blown open though by a couple rockets, but the barricade was still holding firm. For the moment, the equipment held by the Splits wasn't enough to destroy the barricade, as many of the M-77 anti-personnel missiles lacked the punch needed to blow the blockade to smithereens. Through the gap in the barricade, Lux had set up his Shredder, and was laying down fire on the lower street doorways he could see, suppressing whoever poked their head from behind cover long enough to draw his fire.
"Everything in the back is set!" Brooks yelled as he bound through the DJ booth once more. "The hallways are wired with all the charges and mines you gave me. It'll take hours if they tried to disarm them all without having another detonate on them!"
"Good," Lux said as he fired another burst. "Because you have other things to do now!"
"Such as?" Brooks asked as he headed towards the stairs.
"Fetch me the second Shredder by the crates!"
Brooks stopped as he heard Lux's instructions. He wanted to join John above and help him from there, but it looked like Lux had other plans for him.
"You're going to be the second half of this team," Lux said as swapped his Shredder with the one Brooks brought him when he approached. "I fire, you reload. These Shredders are good at ripping people apart, but have always taken too long to reload, especially in combat. You load, I fire, when I'm empty, we swap."
"Isn't having another gun firing from above more important?" Brooks protested as started to eject the four spent clips from the top of the Shredder.
"Not as important as maintaining this one," Lux replied as he let out another burst of fire. "Hurry up!"
"Do we have any intel on what we have to look forward to in there? Numbers? Equipment? Biotic ability? Hell, even species would be helpful. Do we have any idea of layout? How much distance are we covering between insertion and extraction?"
"Currently, they're only starting to launch their counter attack, so numbers are hard to determine," Verahl said as he looked over towards Ethan. "All that's certain is their attention is going to be focused straight on that club. It's not certain if we'll only have a couple squads or the entire company coming down on us. If it's only a couple squads, securing and extracting will be minimal, and we'll be behind the walls of the Elixir soon. If more are sent though, then all of their attention will be focused on this fight, and so we need to have as many of our forces deployed as well."
Verahl stopped for the moment as the Razor rocked, slowing down a bit before turning.
"As for their equipment, Biotic potential and mix, we have as much intel as we had before on it. They're decently equip, are fairly mixed, Turians taking up the largest portion, Humans after, but Biotics capabilities aren't know. As far as can be told there are at least a couple Asaris in their ranks, but none of the rest would be obvious to tell unless we see it used."
"And for the layout and extractions, those are still being worked on. The club has been secured, but easy access to it will be almost impossible. We'll land nearby and secure additional buildings, and engage the Splits from there. The Razor will be able to drop us in the thick of things by having us drop from it, but the Gauntlet will be forced to land at least a couple streets away in order not to be at risk of being hit. Same can be said for extraction. We'll need to secure the area before we can bring the Gauntlet in close to pick us up with a reasonable guarantee of safety."
"Five minutes!" Kryxus yelled from the cockpit as the Razor lurched forward gaining speed.
John ducked as a missile slammed into the facade near where he was shooting. This is fucking insane! We should've just blown this place and bugged the fuck out! Swapping to his own ML-77, he fired a salvo at the nearest Splits position. The anti-personnel missiles pockmarked the building having no real affect, except to draw more fire to John's position.
"So, Lux." John commed, not bothering to hide the contempt in his voice. "You have a plan, or do we just sit here until they decide to blow the building up themselves?"
"We hold until their reinforcements arrive!" Lux said as he released another long burst with his Shredder. "When Meer rears his face, we'll blow it off, then fall back into the back alleys!"
With another burst, his Shredder clicked empty, and Lux tossed it at Brooks, picking up the newly filled one beside him.
"Keep it up!" Lux yelled out as he concentrated his fire at one of the Splits that had exposed himself for only slightly to long. The rounds pierced his shields, and sent him to the floor. Lux doubted it killed him, his armour likely having taken the brunt of it, and only throwing the merc onto his ass, but it was still enough to make others around scurry back into cover. "I've brought enough clips to keep this up for hours!"
Raven and his squad sprinted into the back of the gauntlet and rapidly readied themselves in as the mechanical beast shot into the air. Lux is pinned inside of the club and the Moons have the whole of the place surrounded. Verahl is going to probably have them fast rope on to the rooftop or into some cover to move quickly into the building. That leaves Karnak and I.
Opening a direct comm to the batarian, he began, "Karnak how far away from the club are you?
We are ten minutes out from the club's southern entrance. Have the gauntlet come in and pick us up.
Negative Karnak. Are best chance is to divide their attention to as many fronts as possible. I want you guys to move in on foot fast and hard. Lux's squad is going to need all the help they can get.
We be there inside of ten minutes. Be careful Karnak. This mission has already gone FUBAR. I don't want to lose anyone else."
Cutting the connection, he signaled for the pilot to lower the bay door of the gauntlet as they got nearer to their destination. Standing just off of the ramp, he looked over the clusterfuck that the club had become. Shit. We are going to be exposed and surrounded from jump. Still, I can't leave them inside. "All right people, Lux and his squad are boxed into a position on the club's first and second floors. The Split Moons are trying to move in for the kill. We cannot let that happen. Karnak and Team 2 are already moving in on foot. Verahl and Team four will be going in through the roof." Pausing as the Gauntlet touched down, he nodded to his team before sprinting down the ramp. "Let's get this shit done."
"Right behind you Raven."Sal said as she loaded her Tempest with disruptor ammo. She was ready worried though, this mission so far had gone to smoothly. Blessed Ancestors just let it be paranoia. Ver really needs to have a mission go right for a change. She thought to her self as she followed Raven. He can handle it I'm sure if things go wrong somewhere, but it'll be better in the long run for 'em, and us.
The Razor lurched to a stop as it began to hover over the street. Ahead of them, the firefight between Lux and the Splits could be seen. Not wanting to risk placing themselves too close to it and leaving themselves exposed as they roped down below, the Razor held a bit back to try and keep the squad from being pinned before they could even reach the ground.
The second the Razor entered into its hover, two doors on each side by the front opened. Verahl had been standing in the cockpit doorway as they approached, and had everyone stand and form up in two lines so that they were ready for it. As the doors slid open, the ropes dropped, and Verahl pointed at each door.
"Go!" He chanted as Esten and Preven grabbed their respective ropes and lowered themselves to the street below. Terina and Knox followed after, and finally Paladin and Verahl were left. Without wanting to keep the Razor still for a moment longer, Verahl nodded at Paladin as they both started to drop themselves onto the street below.
Before Verahl and Paladin could touch the ground, a window shattered from an apartment across from them. As Verahl looked up to see the source, a rocket flew from the broken window and towards the Razor. Within seconds, it made contact with the back end and exploded. The Razor rocked to its side, away from the blast, its armour having absorbed the force of the blast. Verahl and Paladin released their lines as they did, falling the rest of the short drop to the ground. As the Razor began to move forward down the street, another came from the stores further down. Kryxus was able to pitch the Razor sharply though, without having to worry about sending Verahl or Paladin into a building beneath him, and was able to have the rocket fly past him as it sailed towards the bottom of the level above them. With that Kryxus started to bank the Razor and accelerate, pulling away from the street, to line up a proper strafe, and to avoid any further shots.
"We need to take out that nest!" Verahl commanded as his squad ran towards the lobby of the apartment the rockets were fired from. The squad assembled behind him at the doors of the lobby, and as they opened, entered with guns drawn and ready.
"The shot came from the seventh floor," Esten said as he walked towards the elevator panel. He attempted to activate it but got no response. "As suspected, the elevators have been disabled."
"You know as well as me how slow they can be Esten," Verahl said as he pushed the doors to the stairs beside the elevator open, and held his gun upwards at the small landing above it. "Now move up there and take out that nest."
Everyone in the Gauntlet was on edge on the flight over to the firefight. Raven had responded and updated Verahl a few times as they flew, but little else was spoken. After what felt like hours, the Gauntlet finally started to descend as it stopped in an empty lot a couple blocks off from firefight.
When the bay doors opened, and everyone was off, a sense of their surroundings was achieved. The firefight couldn't be seen from where they were standing, but it could be heard. Dozens of gunshots from several rifles could be heard relentlessly, and the occasional, but all too frequent still explosion accompanied them. While landing closer would have made it possible for them to join the fight quicker, the risk of having the Gauntlet subsequently shot down would be far too high.
As Raven readied his squad to move towards the firefight ahead of them, and join up with Lux and the others, another explosion could be heard. While everyone expected several to be heard from the firefight, this one was different. It sounded more distant, and away from Lux and the Splits position. Shortly after, another entire set of gunfire was heard accompanying it as smoke started to billow from where the explosion had hit.
"What happened?!" Pallat screamed as he brought himself back to his feet. The shockwave from the explosion had shattered all of the windows along the street around them, and threw Pallat and Xiev to the floor. Karnak didn't have time to answer him as he grabbed the back of both of their collars, yanking them up, and running through the gates that Verdix and Janx had opened.
"Ambush!" Janx yelled as the five Batarians continued to run forward, passed the gates, and towards the large building in front of them. To their side, the cause of the explosion could be seen. The fuel tanks at the side of the building had been ignited by a hastily shot rocket that had been initially aimed at them. Smoke began to rise from the fire that now engulfed the tanks.
"In here!" Verdix yelled at the door he had been able to open at the side of the large building. A much larger one was in the middle, but he had been able to reach a smaller on on the side and get it opened by the time the rest of them had caught up with him. As they funnelled inside, several shots could be heard from behind them, hitting the side of the building and doorway.
Once they were in, Verdix closed the doors. It was only now that they were able to look around at where they had entered. Several different civilian craft and transports were around them, lined up on all sides. Tracks were on the floor that went under plates that each rested on, that led out to the larger set of doors they had ignored. It was a hangar of some kind, either for storage or for sale, but it didn't matter at that moment. All that mattered was getting to safety to Karnak, and making sure that they got away from whoever was shooting at them quickly.
"Raven!" Karnak yelled over his Comm. "We've been ambushed further back and forced into a local hangar bay! How far out are you?!"
Lux watched as the Razor turned away to pull back from the street. He had managed to shoot one of the Splits armed with the ML-77, but as he did, another stood out and fired at the Razor.
"Concentrate fire on any of them with explosives," Lux yelled as he fired at the other Split as he turned back behind the doorway. "I don't want them even getting a single shot on the Razor next time it passes!"
Moments after Lux finished speaking, silence fell on the street. All of the Splits that had been exchanging gunfire with them had stopped. Lux moved his rifle between doorways, scanning each one as he waited, but no movement could be seen from them.
"Brooks, check the back hall, make sure they aren't trying to work their way through," Lux ordered as he grabbed a thermal clip beside him, and reloaded the Shredder himself. "Take the spare in case you run into any trouble."
Brooks complied, grabbing the second Shredder and making his way back across the club floor to the hallways. While he did that, Lux locked the fresh thermal clip in and threw the two spent ones to the floor.
"Dregger, how are things up there?" Lux asked over the Comms, taking a moment to activate them instead of yelling at the top of his lungs.
"The Turian got clipped," Dregger responded.
"He's still alive; John's trying to tend to him now, has him sitting beside the staircase, away from the windows."
"Got it, keep him---"
From each of the doorways, several grenades were suddenly thrown. Lux looked at the ones rolling close to him, before turning himself away from the barricade to try and avoid the explosion. The seconds passed by, but instead of hearing the sound of several blasts, a sharp hissing could be heard from the street. Lux turned back and looked out, but now found a thick fog greeting him.
"Shit," Lux muttered to himself as he stepped back from the barricade, and towards the bar. As he stepped back, still facing the doorway, he opened his Comm Channel once more to Kryxus. "Can you see anything?"
"All I see is smoke," responded Kryxus from the Razor. "Almost the entire building is engulfed."
"They could be advancing on us right now, fill the street."
Only moment after Lux asked, he could hear the turrets from the Razor blaring as the gunship tore past. Lux focused on listening to what was happening on the street after it passed, hoping to hear a few moans from wounded Splits hit by the gunfire, but he only found silence.
"Dregger, John," Lux said over the Comms. "Get set up from the balcony; they're going to be trying to get in here under cover of that smoke. Brooks, get in the DJ Booth, and set up the Shredder there."
Each responded to Lux, confirming his orders as he quickly moved back across the club floor. He stopped by the ammo crate, picking it up, to take it from by the walls on the lower floor to somewhere more accessible. Running out of clips at this point would spell doom for them all. He grabbed the crate and lifted it, lighter without the Shredder in it, but still heavy even for a Krogan to carry, and made his way back to the dance floor. When he reached the edge between the bar and the floor though, an explosion rocked the club, as one of the walls was blown apart.
They were in.
After making sure Triven was stabilized, John moved to a window to see if he could spot anything through the smoke, before moving to his new position. After the Razor's pass he scanned the street as much as he could. As he was about to step away a sound reached him, feet moving fast across the street below, snapping the rifle to his shoulder he began to search for movement. There he thought, as he saw a shadow in the smoke. Must be green, you never run in a straight line, just gets you killed. Leading the target, John stroked the trigger sending a burst into the smoke. The next thing he heard tore his heart out.
A piercing shriek ripped through his ears, cutting to his core. An explosion from the lower levels rumbled through the building as shouting rose from the street below. "Is anyone hit? Everyone sound off!" "We're all good, must've just been a...oh god! MEDIC! We have a civilian down!"
His rifle drooped as the realization of what he'd done hit him. "No, no, no!" He muttered, as he watched a Slips medic dash out and drag the casualty to cover. It's all their fault! His mind raged, as he stood, numb, in the window. If they hadn't attacked NONE of this would of happened. He was about to spring into action, when several rockets struck the building, one hitting the edge on the window in front of him.
Normally his shield would have shrugged off the worst of the blast, leaving John only a little bruised. Sadly due to the earlier software failure, that was not the case. The old, out of date armour couldn't stop all the shrapnel as a piece severed his carotid artery. The blast threw him against the back wall, causing the wound to open further. He bled to death within seconds.
The shock of the explosion sent the timing on Paladin's drop all to hell. He was fortunate enough that his shields took the shrapnel that would otherwise might have crippled him. But as he fell, though he originally planned to land on his feet, the air blast from the explosion sent Ethan on his ass. Paladin scrambled for a bit, regaining his footing. He typed briefly on his omni-tool, diverting some power to getting his shields restored quickly. He looked up at the building that the missile came from, just in time to see a second careen towards the Razor. As the gunship swerved out of the way he saw it get into a position to offer firing support to the ones on the ground.
"We need to take out that nest!" As Verahl ran for the building, Ethan joined the rest of the squad behind Verahl, moving towards the building holding the rocket launcher, and no doubt a few other hostile targets. They began moving up the stairs to where Esten had told them the enemy was encamped. Ethan had his locust pulled, ready to load a thermal clip into any thing that moved and he didn't recognize.
Lux grabbed the end of the rifle from the Split and tore it from him. The Human had no chance of holding onto it as Lux send it flying across the room. With his other hand, Lux grabbed the Split's helmet, and with all his strength, slammed it straight into the wall beside him. He could hear the visor shatter from the impact, and the Human began to scream from the shards of glass now lodged in his eyes.
With the Split dispatched, Lux ran back. He was still caught too far in the open. He had managed to throw the box off thermal clips at the DJ booth where Brooks was, but it'd be almost impossible for him to reach them still without being torn to pieces. Lux knew he needed to set up a crossfire with Brooks the best he could on the section of the wall blown open by the Splits or else they'd risk being overrun. Lux could feel the rounds glance off his shields as he vaulted the countertop of the bar, and squatted behind it. He dropped his Claymore to the ground, already having used its shot up and not having the opportunity to reload it yet, and drew his Shredder, and began firing upon the wall. Brooks was doing the same from the DJ booth, leaving little exposed for the Splits to hide behind as the two created their crossfire. From the balcony above, Dregger and John could be heard firing down on the street. Lux hoped they weren't only blind firing through the smoke, but were managing to at least injure a few before they got to the opening.
But the Shredders soon began to show their flaws as Brooks and Lux started to run low on ammo. The Splits that had been pushing them, drawing their fire and then moving back as quickly as possible. They were forcing both to burn through their magazines, making them unable to keep up the trap they had laid for them. Soon enough, Brooks was down behind the DJ booth, fumbling with what clips he had left and trying to load them into the Shredder. As he did, the Splits began to surge through, getting more and more daring, and soon enough concentrating all their efforts on Lux. With his shields running dangerously low, Lux dropped behind the counter, grabbing his Claymore, and forcing another thermal into it.
"Dregger!" Lux yelled into his Comms. "You and John get to the stairs. Abandon the windows, they're inside now!"
"It's only me up here now!" Dregger responded as he moved above to engage those below him. "Snapped and broke rank, jumped straight into the street!"
Lux swore as he rose back above the counter. As he did, he found another Split charging at it, with a shotgun drawn as he rush towards Lux's position.
"Mine's bigger!" Lux bellowed, taunting the Split as he fired the Claymore. The Split soldier was knocked right off of his feet, as he dropped backwards to the floor.
Lux began to load in another clip as he swore under his breath over the loss of yet another of their squad. The odds were growing slimmer by the minute unless they tried something. Lux had planned on the Razor being able to provide more air support for them and for them to hold the windows for longer, but with the street still shrouded, the strafing runs were ineffective.
With the Claymore loaded again, Lux decided to get in closer to the breeched wall. If he could hold it for even a little while, it'd be enough time for Brooks to be fully loaded. He fired his first round at the closest split. Most of the round hit the support beside him, but it was enough to send the soldier scrambling for better cover as large pieces of the support fell off. Before ejected clip could even touch the floor, Lux had already slammed in another. He took aim at the soldier's back as he continued to dash towards the booth further back.
Before Lux could pull the trigger though, someone else had. The grenade struck by Lux's feet, and sent him tumbling backwards through the air. When he crashed back down, through one of the nearby tables, Lux was disoriented, and separated from his Claymore.
"Breeching!" Verahl yelled as he turned back from the door, bracing himself as he reeled back and the charges detonated.
The explosion was small, but enough to destroy the doors completely. The hallway was engulfed in smoke. As the smoke rose, the alarms engaged and sprinklers started spraying over each of their heads. Before the smoke could clear though, they were already moving.
Paladin and Terina entered the apartment first under the cover of the smoke. Paladin found his way behind the counter of the kitchen, while Terina had run further in, holding behind the doorway of the attached bedroom. At the opposite end of the apartment, the Splits were lined up. Most were covered behind the large columns along the windowed doors that opened onto the balcony. As Paladin and Terina attempted to suppress the Splits, Verahl moved in with the Preven and Knox. Knox kicked over the table near the kitchen as he ran in and dove behind it, as Preven slid in beside him. Verahl moved back behind the kitchen counters beside Paladin.
"How many?" Verahl asked as he began to rise and fired off a few rounds at window shattering it, raining glass down on the balcony and the heads of the Splits.
"Counted four, possibly a fifth!" Paladin responded as he fired at a Split that began moving from cover. A couple rounds went wide, but most of the burst hit, bursting through his shields and into his armour. The Split staggered back behind the column, obviously wounded, but still clinging into the fight.
Verahl reached to his belt as the others kept their fire up on the Splits, keeping them pinned behind their columns. The orders were for them to keep a wall of fire up for as long as possible at the start. They needed the advantage immediately or else they would run the risk of rockets and explosives being fired into the apartment. Something Verahl wanted to capitalize on first. From his belt he lifted a grenade. He pressed the small button in the centre, extending the fins, as he tossed it through the blown out window. The grenade flew through the shattered frame, and as it began to pass by the columns, it detonated.
Brooks cranked back, hearing the loud click of all the thermal clips in the Shredder locking into place as the low hum of the full and ready charge echoed out from it.
Each shot fired from it sent the Shredder jumping back into his shoulder, but Brooks kept it down and aimed straight at the opening in the wall across from him. The Splits were sent scrambling for cover as Lux started to get back to his feet. Brooks kept the wall of raw firepower around him, blocking any Split from being able to get a shot off on him while he recovered and was finally able to stand again.
"Lux, get back from there!" Brooks screamed as he continued to lay down fire on the Splits. He knew he was burning through the rest of his reserves far sooner then he should, but if he didn't, the Splits would be over him in seconds.
On his feet again, Lux was already back into the fray. Brooks watched as he saw Lux grabbed his Claymore from the floor and fired off the round still locked into it before running back to the stairs near the edge of the dance floor by Dregger. All while he did this, Brooks kept the Shredder aimed down on any Split who dared even try to poke an inch of themselves from whatever cover they found.
Then he heard an unfamiliar sound. Instead of the normal click indicating that the thermal clips had been fully used that Brooks had come to dread over the past hour, a loud his could be heard from the magazine as smoke began to rise from the cracks. The entire gun was fried now.
Not missing a beat, the Splits responded. Brooks dove under the DJ booth as he saw all the Splits in the club simultaneously rise from behind their cover. Six different soldiers started to pour hundreds of rounds into the booth above him. The remaining bits of glass on the edges of the window were hurled into the booth, as the wall behind it had shot after shot denting into it.
Crawling under the rain of fire, Brooks made his way to the door to the hallways. Keeping as pressed to the floor as possible, he made his way across, focused only on the exit in front of him. As he finally inched his way to the edge of the room, the sound of a shotgun have a clip locked into it cracked behind him, as Brooks looked back to see a Split standing in the booth window looking down on him.
Lux held his shot, knowing he'd need to wait until the Turian was drawn closer to make full use of it. Dregger used his Biotics at the Turian Split that had ran to the booth Brooks had been in. Lifting him from the ground and pulling him back before he could fire, Lux fired when he floated by, sending the Turian drifting back aimlessly through the air away from the two of them in a cloud of suspended blood.
"STAY AWAY FROM HIM," Lux roared as the thermal clip hit the floor.
With that Lux and Dregger now had the attention of the remaining Splits in the club directed at the two of them. All they needed to do was hold for a minute longer for Brooks to get out and they'd be able to follow him.
"Brooks, second floor, bar counter, get Triven out and get running," Lux said into the Comms as he lowered his Claymore and drew the rifle Dregger had given him, firing at whatever he saw in front of him. "Explosives in the hall have been disabled, the two of you get clear, Dregger and I will follow after."
"Lux, you two have to get out of here now," cracked Brook's voice over his Comm. Lux could barely hear him over the sound of the firefight and the ringing in his left ear. "You can't hold them all for long enough."
Lux chuckled slightly at Brooks. Another round bounced off his rapidly depleting shields.
"We're Krogan, we'll hold," was all he replied with.
The streets were deserted. The firefights that had sprouted up had sent everyone around them fleeing to any safe place they could find. The only time Raven and his squad even ran into another person, was a single lone Salarian that ran across the street in front of them from one alley to another. When battles such as this were waged it was the only time the streets of Omega would fall silent.
When Raven and his squad reached where Karnak and the Batarians had retreated to, Raven stopped, holding them up on the corner before street that ran alongside the hangar. The occasional bursts of gunfire could be heard echoing from the inside. The hangar ran down for three blocks, with the main doors in the middle. The squad was held one street above it, near the far left end. Raven then peeked his head around the corner, and turned back when he saw it that it was empty.
"What are we waiting for?" Haley asked as she pointed to the hangar across the street. "You not like them or something? There's no guards outside that you need to kill."
"That's the point," Raven said as he turned back. "They wouldn't leave the outside unguarded in case any of them tried to pull out. If anything, they've set a sniper up somewhere around us."
"You want us to check?" Ocara asked as he stepped forward.
"No, I want you take him," Raven said as he looked across the street at the hangar. As he said this, another burst echoed out. "Fast."
Raven looked down at the street, thinking of what to do.
"Sal, cloak and set up somewhere on the street," Raven said as he motioned with his hand. "Rest of us will hold until the all clear is given."
Sal nodded as she drew her sniper and edged towards the corner of the street. Taking a deep breath, she activated her cloak, giving off a slight shimmer before disappearing completely. Raven could hear her faint footsteps blending away into the background noise of Omega and stood by the corner waiting for her to report back to him.
Almost a minute had passed before Sal broke Comm silence. Raven hadn't seen where she had set up. Whatever cover she had taken she was using it perfectly.
"Bosh'tet!" Sal swore as she kept scanning over the rooftops. "I can't see anyone!"
Raven clenched his hand as he looked back down to the hangar across the street. They couldn't wait any longer. If they did, there'd be nothing left of Karnak or his squad. Action needed to be taken.
"Sal, if the sniper's there, I'll attempt to draw his fire," he said as he holstered his weapon. He would need to be as quick as he could in order to make it as tricky as possible if the sniper shot at him. "Once she's taken him out, I want the rest of you in there as soon as possible."
As Raven readied himself to run from the corner, he felt someone grab the back of his armour, and pull him back. Raven looked over his shoulder to see Ocara gripping the back collar plate. He had his sniper stowed on his back, and was hunched slightly over.
"If I might interject here for a moment here," Ocara said as he gave Raven a quick smile. "But I don't think we should be risking a commanding officer for something such as this."
Before Raven could reply, Ocara tugged harder, pulling Raven out of his way as he sprinted into the street. Ocara was running, half hunched over, with his head tucked tightly to his chest. With each step, he raised his shoulders as high as he could and braced himself for the inevitable shot.
The firefight stopped. Several of the Splits could be seen at the base of each pillar, crumpled limp on the ground. Terina and Knox started to move forward across the room to the balcony. In the corner, Esten returned to visibility. The sounds of painful sobs of those left alive could be heard coming from the balcony. Terina was the first to step out onto it to assess the damages.
Around her were four Splits sprawled out. The one closest to the explosion had his neck torn half apart. Another lay by the railing, not moving, in a pool of blood. The other two were still visibly alive though. One was an Batarian propped up by the railing. His eyes were bleeding. Shards of glass and shrapnel from the grenade had ripped them apart. The other was an Asari. Her legs had been torn to ribbons from the explosion.
"No!" the Asari screamed panicking. "Get away!"
"Calm do---" Terina began to say. She was cut off before she could finish though.
The Asari's hand shot up, as her Biotics flared in an attempt to defend herself. Terina was lifted off the ground, and began to float above the railing.
"HELP ME!" Terina yelled back at Knox as she grabbed onto the edge of the balcony's railing.
Knox rushed forward, trying to grab her leg and pull her down, trying to pull Terina back from the brink, but just as he got hold of arm, the Asari threw her arm up again, as she was engulfed in a blue aura. The throw came from underneath Terina, striking her in the chest. She was sent sailing back, over the edge, over the streets of Omega.
Knox stood still, frozen in place by her yells a she plummeted to her death. Hearing Paladin's call, he blocked about the audible horror lest he suffer the same fate. He grasped his knife and lunged forward, plunging it deep into the Asari's neck, severing the carotid artery in one swift motion. Not stopping, he withdrew his knife and stabbed again, the mechanical motion fading to a blur swallowed by the din of gunfire that only ceased to broadcast the sickening crack that silenced Terina's hysteric pleas. Forcing himself to stand, Knox averted his eye from the bloody sieve that the Asari's body had become.
Their suspicions of a sniper had been proven correct, when Ocara was half way across the street the shot rang out. It hit him in his side, glancing off his shields, but still staggering him almost enough to trip him as he continued to run forwards.
"Got him!" Sal exclaimed as she locked her sights on a room half way down the street. It had been dark before, but the flash of a muzzle could be seen from inside it. As Sal gazed in, she realized that in the shadows, she couldn't make out where exactly the sniper was.
The second shot gave her the position. But it was one that should not have been taken. With already weakened shields, and struggling for balance, it sent Ocara sprawling to the ground. Sal didn't hesitate or stall when she pulled the trigger. She saw exactly where the sniper was positioned in the flash, and wasn't going to let him stray even an inch away from her lined up sights as she took her shot.
Rook ran out on the street when the second shot was fired. He had already thrown up a Biotic Barrier with the intent of stopping an additional shot had it come down to it. Sal kept her gaze fixed on the dark window as Rook ran out, but a third shot wasn't taken. She gave the all clear, and Raven and Haley ran out, joining Rook on the street.
"Where's he hit?" Raven asked as he reached Ocara. Rook was already kneeling over him, blocking his view to tend to him.
"Got lucky," Rook muttered as he pulled back and let Raven in. "Couple inches lower and it'd have gone through his skull instead of his horns."
Ocara was still sprawled on the ground, grimacing as he held onto the tip of one of his shattered horns. It had broken off most of the right one, and the back half of the middle one. It was painful but nonlethal. Even if they had Miles on hand, all he'd be able to do is administer some painkillers to him.
"Haley, bring him inside the hangar and watch over him. The two of you find somewhere safe to hold up when we get in," Raven said as he got up. Sal had come down the street to meet them. "The three of us are going in to help the best we can."
Without wasting any more time, Raven ran towards the doors of the hangar with Rook and Sal right behind him. Ocara would be fine if given time, but it was something the rest of them didn't have. Karnak was far worse off than him, and it was time they finally got to him.
"Keep it steady," Esten said as he and Preven aimed down on the street below.
Verahl and the rest of the group had moved on to secure the street below, leaving Esten and Preven behind to provide sniper support from the balcony. The section between the club and the stores held by the Splits was still obfuscated by smoke, making precision shots impossible.
"If you catch something through the smoke, even if it's just a limb or a shadow, take the shot," he said, still fixed through the sights of his scope. "Don't simply fire blindly though at the centre and hope to connect."
The Razor buzzed closed by the building. With the rocket launchers disabled, it was free to fly with little to stop it. As it passed, it unleashed a barrage of machine gun fire from its main gun into the smoke.
"After all," Esten said, refusing still to break his gaze. "That's his job."
A single shot from his rifle helped punctuate his words.
The Split troops were starting to pull back from the Club and towards their storefronts. He could see rounds being fired from far down the street, near the base of their apartment at the ones fleeing. Verahl and his team were still far away, but they were trying to connect with whatever they could. Esten on the other hand was at a perfect range, able to reach out and peg of multiple targets.
The first shot clipped a Split in the knee, piercing the shields, and sending him to the ground.
"Take aim at those retreating," Esten commanded as he moved back to fire at another running soldier. "The back is still a big target."
Preven took a moment to line his shot up with a thug limping out of the club. He was obviously in much pain. His weapon was discarded, and he was trying to run despite the horrible shape his leg was in. He paused as he looked at him, his finger hesitating to pull. The man was injured, and attempting to retreat, without any medical aid he might not even have been able to---
Before he could finish his though, the rifle beside him cracked once more. Through the scope, Preven could see the damage done by it. While it had been aimed for the head, the round had gone slightly low, and had ripped through the man's throat. He dropped to his knees. One had extended to the ground, attempting to balance himself, while the other was latched to his throat, trying in vain to keep the blood from coming out.
Esten hissed in annoyance. He shifted his position from gazing down the sights of his scope. He reached down to the magazine on his rifle and ejected the spent thermal clip from it.
"He's going to bleed out," Esten remarked coldly as he reached back to grab a fresh thermal clip from his belt. "Finish him off."
Preven tensed up as he still looked down the sights of his rifle. He could see the man still flailing around on the ground in pain. Verahl's team was concentrating their fire on the last one running across the street back to the stores. The only person with a rifle still trained on the wounded man was him. He was the only one that could end his misery.
Preven fired his first shot.
With his shields flickering between a low charge and completely depleted, the only thing going through Lux's mind was where Meer was. Cowering behind waves of disposable soldiers he guessed. Sending enough to weaken them, ensuring he'd be safe from them, only brave enough to show his face once his opposition was almost completely worn down. Lux hated him even more for it.
But as it began to look like they'd be nearly over run, the Splits started yelling amongst their ranks. Lux didn't know what was happening, but knew it was an opportunity he'd need to exploit.
"Brooks, get to the window, fire at whatever moves!" Lux yelled up the stairs. He could see Brooks approaching the bar counter from where he was, getting ready to pick up Triven. "Make them pull back!"
Brooks looked down at Triven, before following what Lux said as he bolted to the window. Before he could start firing though, he was yelling back to Lux.
"It's Verahl!" Brooks shouted, sounding almost ecstatic at the realization over what was going on. "They're coming down the street! Esten must be somewhere as well!"
Lux and Dregger ran up the stairs. The Splits were already running through the hole of the club's wall, not even looking back. When Lux and Dregger made it to the window beside Brooks, they saw the smoke had cleared and the Splits pulling back. John and a couple of the Splits bodies were laid in the middle of it. The remaining Splits were running as fast as they could to the other side, routing back to the storefront. From one of the doorways, a large Krogan walked out, screaming at the soldiers to turn around and get back. It was Meer.
"I'm empty!" Lux yelled, he had already pulled his rifle up, trying to take whatever shot he could at Meer before he could get back. "Give me a clip!"
Brooks scrambled for one of his few remaining ones as Dregger took his shot. He fired what was left in his clip. The rounds glanced off of Meer's shields, angering him as he took a step forward, screaming at the club window above him.
None of them could hear what he was saying. But before he could even get a few words out, he was sent reeling back. A large chunk of his crest was blown off from his right side. Esten must have been able to line his shot up and connect with the Krogan in the brief time he was exposed. Meer bellowed in pain as two of the Splits beside him grabbed him by the arms, and pulled him back into the storefront.
Sal turned as she and Raven split up too find their comrades. They were dead split up so they needed to be found and soon. She weaved her way through the hanger, ducking and dodging behind various vehicles; transport shuttles, cars, and a Flaming red sports shuttle complete with racing decal. Well some one's compensating for something? She thought as she listened to the sounds of the sporadic firefight.
She was worried about her comrades; their missions lately hadn't usually ended very well. With someone dead, dying, leaving, or betraying the company, the missions rarely yielded results the company was happy with. Sal took a deep breath to calm herself. Easy Sal, easy girl. Focus on the now, not the later. She told herself as she headed towards the sounds of battle.
She ducked behind another car as a burst of gunfire flew past its mark and shattered the window of a car a few feet behind her. She was getting close, to someone, but wasn't yet able to tell if they were friend or foe.
"C'mon pick up the pace Sal-Rena, as you sit here and hide your comrades are dying! Move it!" She muttered to herself moving as fast as she could while avoiding stray shots.
As she rounded another transport truck she saw a body on the ground. She moved closer carefully, making sure to keep her tempest leveled, just in case it was an enemy. She swore when she saw the Elixir's logo on the uniform. She knelt and tilted the head to face her. One of the guards at Elixir, Xiev she thought his name was. Damn it! I've got to hurry if I want to get everyone else out in time. She thought as she stood. A second later she felt an arm snake around her neck, and felt a knife blade press against her abdomen.
"Easy there Quarian or I'll gut you like him," She heard the man say behind her.
"I thought it'd take more than a few shots to bring him down. Dumbass didn't even have shields on." He said making her look towards Xievs corpse. "Just like you, one shot and you're more likely to die because of the sniffles."
He laughed as Sal quivered in anger. She cut of his laugh with elbow to the gut, he loosened his grip enough for Sal to get free but she wasn't able to get a gun out in time. She turned to see the knife streaking at her and she barely jumped back in time. He kept up with the short slashes and thrusts making Sal unable to keep her gun on him long enough to get a good shot. She felt her back hit a car as she tried to get away from another cut.
"Got ya now, girl!" He yelled, a blood thirsty grin crossing from ear to ear as he lunged forward. Sal tried to side-step, but was unable to dodge the thrust. She grunted in pain as she felt the knife sink into her left shoulder. As she shoved the Split soldier away, he lost his grip on the knife, leaving it embedded in her shoulder. She grabbed the end of the knife and yanked it out of her shoulder. She raised it towards the human as a few drops fell from it. She could feel the various antibiotics and medigel already bubbling into the wound under her torn suit.
The human smiled grimly, his eyes darting between Sal and the knife in her hands. He seemed almost thrilled at the prospect of Sal fighting back.
"Come and get it human, unless you're scared of a wounded Quarian." Sal mocked the human as her shoulder bled. She was on borrowed time, she need to deal with the Split soldier and find the others. Then she needed to get back to Doc Miles. The longer it took, the longer she would be sick. Or the sooner she would be dead.
"I'll take your mask as a trophy!" screamed the human as he dashed forward. Sal thrust her arm out swiftly towards him, but he nimbly sidestepped away from her outstretched arm, and grabbed her by the wrist. She wasn't trained to fight like this.
"I'll mount it on a wall," he giggled as he pushed her arm back towards her. Sal was bashed again into the transport behind her. The human now had the knife facing towards her, and was using his weight to inch it closer and closer by the second. Sal grabbed onto the handle with her other hand to stop him, but it was no use. The space between the blade and her chest was rapidly shrinking. "You're one of few races I haven't had the chance to kill."
Sal began to contort as the knife began to press against her. She could feel the pressure of the point as it began to press down once more on her suit. It soon began to slowly rip through, before finding her flesh underneath. A cocktail of meds and blood began to seep from the tear. Sal looked up, not wanting to witness it plunge in any further, but all she could see was the grin of the human as he watched with fascinated glee.
The large metal pipe connected with the side of the human's skull. His expression went from one of psychotic enjoyment to complete blankness in less than a second. He released his grip of Sal's hands and the grip of the knife as he slid to his side and slumped onto the transport beside them.
Sal was still cringing as she looked over. She could make out that it was a Batarian, but not who. He wasn't finished though. He stood over the disoriented and barely conscious human, and raised the pipe once more. The human began to sputter something in protest, but before he could finish, the pipe was cracked hard against the other side, driving him to the ground.
"Never a simple mission," Karnak said as he dropped the piece of broken pipe into the blood pooling beneath his feet.
His armour was splattered with blood of different colours and pierced in several locations. On top, was the most recent layer of the human's blood. Underneath it was one of a darker blue hue, mixed with patches of his seeping from the punctures.
"You going to be able fight like that?" he said as he grabbed Sal's shoulder, looking at the wound.
"Assuming the antibiotics do their job, I'll be able to last a while," she grunted as she tugged at the blade sticking partially out of her. With a strong pull, she yanked the blade free and threw it to the floor. The medigel pumping around would stop the bleeding. "What about you?"
"Stabbed, beaten, shot, normal day," Karnak said as he picked up Sal's rifle from the ground. "You still going to be able to hold this?"
"I'll manage," responded Sal as she took the rifle from his hands. As she did, she felt Karnak's hand reach down her side to her holster, and pull her pistol from it.
"Then I'll take this instead," he said as he checked the clip and beckoned for her to follow.
"And my shotgun," he said as he turned the corner wide and slow. He'd already been jumped too many times today to try and rush them anymore.
The two continued on for a few minutes, scanning the aisles between the hangar's vehicles. They didn't spot any more Splits though. As they reached the end, the Comm channel broke as Raven's voice came over.
"Sal, Karnak? Can you two hear me now?" Raven's voice crackled.
"Loud and clear," Sal said as she paused to rest against the side of another transport.
"I've disabled the jammer blocking Comms, as far as I can tell, the rest of the Splits have fled."
"We've been thinking that for the past couple minutes," Karnak replied as he lowered the pistol, but refused to holster. "Raven, have you found anyone else?"
"Found Janx and," Raven paused, he was probably double checking the other's name. "Verdix. Found them in this corner of the hangar. And before you ask, yes, Verdix is fine. Janx is going to need some patching up though."
Karnak gave a slight sigh of relief. It was one burden lifted from his mind, but others still remained.
"Xiev got tagged early," Karnak spoke over the channel. "Pallat was able to fight off the one that got him, but was wounded himself. Going to secure them now."
"Alright, meet by the main doors for extraction, Gauntlet will be touching down soon."
"You're shitting me," Dregger said, his finger pressed to his Comms. "I'm going to have to find out what Turian's drink then and get him a barrel of it."
Lux and Brooks were keeping their rifles trained on the entrance to the storefronts. It had been over a minute since Meer's speech. Since it, not a single Split had dared show their face. Lux was able to see from the window Verahl, Knox and Paladin getting closer to the club as they waited.
"That wasn't Esten," announced Dregger as he resumed his place at the window. "It was that scrawny Turian guard."
"What?" Brooks remarked.
"I asked him myself," he proclaimed, giving off a low chuckle as he did. "Said he had been repositioning himself at the time and left the Turian behind in case any more decided to make a move. He must have been looking straight at where you had fired Lux, and taken the shot when he took that step too far."
Lux hadn't expected the shot to be from anyone but Esten. Ocara or Sal might have been able to pull it off, but he still had his faith firmly placed in the demented little Salarian having fired on him.
"I'm sure he'll take ryncol just as badly as any other race," Lux commented as he stepped away from the window. Verahl and his squad were almost at the wall of the club. "Stay here."
Lux walked down the stairs towards the club floor. He glanced over the shattered remains of Volt, the walls crumbled and scorched from the battle, the floor and furniture coated with flesh, metal, and flame rendering it unrecognizable to those who knew it before. He shifted his gaze to the bodies that lay across the dance floor below him. A few members of the Splits lay dead around the club. Triven lay on a table upstairs, while John was sprawled somewhere on the street below. He and Dregger, though fairly wounded, could make it back without immediate medical attention and Brooks seemed unscathed.
"Splits have retreated," spoke Lux as he watched Verahl move through the hole in the wall of the club. "John is KIA. Same with that guard that was with us. "
Verahl didn't bother to acknowledge a word spoken by Lux.
"Knox, watch the hole, Paladin, the door," he said as he pointed where he wanted each to take position. "Esten and Preven will regroup here."
Lux stepped back and walked up the stairs. He could hear Verahl still talking into his Comms as he turned back, issuing commands to Kryxus to pick them up with the Razor.
They had been yelling at each other for almost ten minutes on opposite ends of the desk; letting their frustrations fly out of both of them. Their emotions were beginning to cool down but tempers were still high. Never before had Verahl and Lux been at this far ends.
"You disobeyed a direct order!" Verahl yelled.
"One that showed weakness to give!" Lux responded, not giving a chance for his commander to cut in. "Aegis has a reputation that you've been let slip!"
"You dare speak to me about the reputation of my company after what you just pulled?!" Verahl screamed back, his temper flaring back up.
"I do when you work against all we've established!" Lux repeated. "You've been losing the edge you held sharp for years!"
Verahl was taken aback for a moment by this.
"Your name used to send fear into the hearts of half Omega, but now what does it remind them of?! An old Batarian that's been holding back the capability he used to command!"
Verahl let out an audible growl as he reached for his holster and drew his pistol.
"Maybe I should put a bullet through you as an example for others then!"
"Maybe then you'd get back what you've lost," Lux responded as he stood, unflinchingly staring down Verahl's barrel only a foot away. "Maybe then you'd have your name spoke of in whispers by your enemies and not mocked!"
Verahl continued to keep his aim on Lux as silence fell between them. It took a while before Verahl lowered his weapon, slamming in on the desk in front of him.
"You've gone soft Verahl," Lux said, in a calmer tone than before. "Before you'd be willing to take chances, before you'd have ordered the right commands, not the safe ones. It makes those against us strike out of a feeling of opportunity rather than hiding from the ruthless Batarian Commander that you were known as before."
"Before, you could live with the results of your orders, you were able to accept the consequences of your actions without a second thought or hesitation," Lux spoke, still more softly than before. "Now, you care too much for those beneath you. You have become afraid of accepting the consequences of what you send your men to."
"That is a lie," Verahl snapped back.
"You know it!" cracked Lux. "Otherwise you wouldn't be carrying the pieces of the dead, lamenting over them and marking each as your own personal failure."
Lux pointed around the office as he spoke, from the charred breastplate that belong to Xandus, to the photo of Zara on the wall beside him.
"Verahl, what this company needs you to do, is for you to loosen your grip. Before, you send men to fight without hesitation or second thought. While it left several dead, it brought you great gains. You moved up Aria's ranks quicker than almost anyone else. I'm not saying do that here, but you can't try to shelter each member of this company from every danger possible to them. In our work, you don't have that ability. No matter what you do or try, people will die, and you've got to come around and accept that fact once more if you want to lead this company right."
"Are you threatening my leadership," slowly hissed Verahl as he reached not for his pistol, but his shotgun.
"No," responded Lux as he continued to stand his ground. "My actions today weren't out of rebellion but out of the intention of setting you in the right direction. I've known you far too long to betray you now. You are one of few that I have viewed as a peer."
Verahl rested his hand on the trigger guard of his shotgun, but didn't bring it out. He continued to stare Lux down while he spoke.
"But that doesn't mean others won't take advantage of it," Lux said, keeping his eyes locked on Verahl's. "I keep Dregger under control, but if let off his leash, I would not be shocked if he attempted a coup for power. He'll only respect raw force and what comes of it. Though there's one you should be far more concerned with."
Verahl released his grip and broke the stare for a moment as he sighed and took his seat at his desk.
"Who is it you feel that I should be concerned with then?" Verahl asked as he leaned forward over his desk.
Verahl sat silently for a moment, thinking of a way to refute it.
"He's unstable and unpredictable. Even you've admitted you have no idea what he's thinking most of the time. He's going to sit with us as long as he thinks siding with us will give us his best odds. And I'm certain recently, he's watched those odds slide away."
Still Verahl did not respond. While he never bothered to express it, it was something that he had long agreed with.
"I accept responsibility for all that happened today," admitted Lux. "If you need to still blame someone for the deaths of others, today hold me accountable for all. But, you'll need to accept once more that this will happen, regardless of how much control you attempt to exert over it."
Verahl nodded, and waved his hand forward, allowing Lux to continue.
"I will also give you the credit of the glory for today's battle," conceded Lux.
"Glory?" Verahl said, half laughing, half insulted.
"Despite what you may think, today was a victory that will be remembered," Lux said. "A fraction of Aegis was able to hold out against the onslaught of the Splits, and shatter their forces. People will be speaking of this. We won't be underestimated by an outfit such as them for a while now. I will put out word that all I did was under your orders. That you commanded me to hold ground and draw out as many forces as possible, before you sprung on them personally with a separate squad, cutting the exposed down to pieces."
Verahl started to consider the implications of today's events in the eyes of others. It had been a while since he had considered the reputation Aegis held. The 4-6, the Splits, both underestimated the true value of Aegis when they acted. With the events of today, perhaps that consideration would now be lost.
"But, you need to act on this Verahl, you need to capitalize on what it means," stressed Lux. "I've made Aegis stick out once more. While it was at a cost, consider it as an investment in what will come and how others will act to us. You need to keep this rolling in our favor if you truly want to expand from a small company on Omega to one of its most key players."
With that, Lux finished. Verahl sat there for a moment, contemplating what had been said to him.
"Go," Verahl said to Lux as he beckoned to the door.
"Think hard on this Captain," Lux said as he walked out of the room. "And consider all that it will mean from here on in."
After a minute of clawing at the wall above him, he was able to find the small control panel for the bedroom in the darkness. His eyes felt strained as light shone from its orange interface. Mechanically though, he accessed the alarm from the menus, a process he had literally become able to do in his sleep, and was able to shut it off. He lay there for a moment, the sheets of the bed half covering him, as he opened his eyes in the blackness, and stared down into the pillow in front of him.
It was three months since he left the Alliance. He lay there wondering where he'd have been right now if he stayed. He was scheduled to be stationed on Mindoir for a few months, but had been looking to transfer to the SSV Hastings that should have been patrolling the edge of the Skyllian Verge. He'd heard that the rate for Batarian pirate raids had been down from the previous year, but there was no way of knowing if that trend would continue. Maybe now even if he had stayed, he'd be being scrambled to one of the colonies there to try to stop whoever was troubling them from doing any more harm.
But the time for fantasizing and playing hero in his mind was over. The day had just started, and Lee wasn't looking to waste any more time in bed thinking over what could have been when it was time to deal with the present. He pulled himself from the pillow, and looked at the orange control panel. With a few flicks, the curtains on his small window peeled back, and the lights of the room came on. Lee closed his eyes for a few seconds, as they adjusted to the sudden brightness, as he pulled the covers off of himself and swung his feet from the bed.
He sat for a moment on the edge of the bed as he stretched his arms and legs. He looked at the time, and saw he still had his hour and a half before he was expected to be on base, just enough time for him to finish his morning routine.
The next hour had him completing his morning exercise, and shower, as well as cooking up a decent breakfast. The apartment was empty except for him while he did this. Jasmine had turned him down to moving in with her, saying that she just didn't know him well enough to be able to commit to something like that. She had believed he'd be like almost any other, and be gone after a few months of trying. It was something he'd have to prove to her.
With his routine done, Lee grabbed his jacket and holstered his pistol before heading out. He kept his armour at base, but since joining up with Aegis, had only been asked to wear it twice. Both times he had been tasked with simply securing a location and making sure that Verahl and those inside were not interrupted. The Batarian had been in negotiations with a couple other of Omega's dwindling factions, in an attempt to create a true and lasting partnership between them. Many of the remaining factions of Omega were now uniting under more widely recognized banners in an attempt to continue their survival and guarantee their stake in the station. It had become time for Verahl and Aegis to do the same.
The next half hour had him taxing over to Aegis's headquarters. He'd check in and see what was going on, and see what the day looked like for him. It was like being back in the Alliance. At almost any moment, he could be called back into action and he had to be ready for it.
The doors opened as he approached the club. It was currently under renovations that were claimed to be just simple redecorations. Really though, it was all just fortification for Aegis's base. The walls were being thickened, turrets were installed, and a new security system was being put in place to attempt to run everything. By now it seemed like the only way to get in forcefully would be to dismantle the entire station around it.
"Morning Haley," Lee said as he walked into Aegis's lobby. Haley had been a guard working at the Elixir before, but had become the company's new secretary and communications expert in the month since they fought the Splits. "What's today looking like?"
"Well, you're actually going to be needing to work for once," Haley replied, her voice still brimming with sarcasm. "The boss has another meeting set up and wants you to attend. What is this, the second time you're needing to put on your armour and actually do your job? Hell, I've been working harder than you since you signed on."
"Third time actually," Lee replied, a small smile crossing his face as he walked by. "And my job involves being me getting shot at."
"Apparently so does mine," remarked Haley as she turned back to her desk. She had been told about what had happened to the last secretary Aegis had, murdered by one of their own when they went rogue. That's why Haley made it clear to the company that beneath her desk, she had placed one of the shotguns from the armoury, and had it loaded with armour piercing rounds for her. It had mostly been as a joke statement to get the others to respect her, but she knew that in her line of work, being the closest to the main doors of the base, that one day she may be forced into using it.
Lee walked down the stairs of the base and saw several members of the company lounging in the common room. He could smell and hear something sizzling on the stove in the kitchen as he passed, as he watched Dray move like a tornado through his spice racks.
He knew that he'd be expected to be suiting up at some point, but Haley hadn't made it clear to do it soon. It wasn't going to be for at least a couple hours until they were called to protect Verahl's meeting. Until then, Lee could just kick back and relax with the other mercs and take it easy for the time being.
Kyra awoke to the soft beeping of the alarm, after a short night's sleep and a long day of traveling. She quickly shut it off, silently vowing for the thousandth time to find whoever invented mornings and kick their ass.
She sat in bed and mentally prepared herself for her first day on the job at Aegis. Even 2 weeks after she had been shot, the wounds still hadn't completely healed from the failed mission that got her kicked out of the military by Alliance brass.
Kyra pushed that thought out of her head: They had needed someone to blame, and since she was the only one to make it out, that made it easy. Not her fault, but there wasn't anything to be done about it now.
She put on a decent outfit, not wanting to make a bad impression her first day on the job. Kyra was going to have to rely on these people, and they on her, so it wouldn't do for them to think she was sloppy. Let's just hope that this squad will be more well trained than my last one. Seemed like they were rookies on their first mission the way they reacted under fire. she thought with a sigh.
She exited the barracks and headed over to the mess hall for coffee and chow, and then picked a table in the corner so she could keep an eye on the entrances.
Dray continued to shift through his spice rack in a fury as Kyra approached. He was murmuring under his breath as he checked over his shoulder and saw her getting closer and closer. He continued to race across the shelf, glancing hurriedly at each label, searching for the one not marked. Paprika, Ground Man-Yana, Onion Powder, none were what he was looking for and the steak was still sizzling beside him.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" Dray stuttered as he started to toss spices out of the rack and onto the counter beside him. "I should have finished it by now like the rest; I wanted to have them done before you got up so you could start off right here!"
He raised a hand to his head and clenched his brow as he let out a pained groan of defeat. He reached down to one of the half spilt shakers on the counter, and dragged himself back to the steak on the grill. He sprinkled it over and then took it off the stove. He slid it off onto a plate nearby. The plate already had eggs on the side, one scrambled and one over easy, with a couple slices of toast nearby and a couple short, thick sausages nestled between them.
"I, I didn't know how you like your eggs or steak," he continued to stammer as he slid the plate in front of her and grabbed the cutlery and placed them on the sides of the plate. "I just wanted, it being your first day and all, to start it off well, but I couldn't find the right seasonings, and I've probably left the steak on too long, and the eggs came out far more runny then they should be."
He turned back and grabbed the coffee pot and mug on the counter behind him, as well as a small pot filled with boiling water and a couple teabags.
"I'm sorry," he continued to slur as he stepped back from the island counter separating them and hung his head down. "I, you deserved better, and I screwed up again. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry..."
He looked back up again at her. His glassy, black eyes still tried to avoid making contact with hers.
"Is, is it... Can you settle with it or should I make something else instead?"
Several Months Earlier
A hand grabbed David's shoulder, shaking him awake. "Hey we're docking...welcome to Omega." Rubbing his face with the heel of his hand, he mumbled a thanks to the crewman of the freighter he'd hitched a ride home on, and made his way to the airlock.
After making sure his gear had made the trip unmolested, David stepped into Omega proper. The combined smells and sounds of a half dozen different species, heavy traffic, and general decay washed over him, and in an odd way relaxing him. "Man it feels good to be home."
Making his way to his apartment, he was passing club called 'Elixr' when the doors flew open and a Loki mech crashed into the street. Like many other passersby he stopped to watch as a man, dressed in only his underwear and carrying a rifle, walked out of the club and shot the mech before going back inside. As the confetti, which had erupted from the mech when it died settled to the ground, David laughed. "Well even for Omega that was a new one."
Stopping just short of his destination, David gave his appearance one last look over in a convenient store front. Satisfied with everything, he made his way up the steps and into the building for a meeting with his (potential) new boss. Running a hand through his hair, he approached the receptionist, he smiling. Damn, she's kinda cute...I wonder if she dates mercs? "Hey can you do me a favour, and let your boss know that a David T. Rahl is here to see him, he should be expecting me."
"It'll be fine." Kyra answered. "I've lived off of what I could find for most of my life, and then off of what the Alliance saw fit to give us. What you have here is probably the best meal I've had." She was not entirely sure what to think about this Salarian, but was fairly sure he needed to calm down or he'd have a coronary.
"You should relax a bit" Kyra said, as she poured herself a cup of coffee. "It'll make you happier". With that comment, she took her food and sat at the corner table. She was still a bit nervous about pretty much everything at that point, what with starting a new job on a new planet, with people she had never seen before.
Let's see what else today has in store she thought, as she ate the well-prepared breakfast.
Knox grumbled as the shrill beeping of his alarm clock shook him out of a sound sleep. He sat up with a grunt and shook his head, trying to shake that last bit of sleep out of his head. He got up, got dressed and made his way out to the main room, making sure not to make it look like he was arrogant or anything, just sitting down on a nearby chair. He knew that he was one of the new men on the block, and so did the company.
He lit a cigarette and stared off into space, thinking about things, like the good smelling food and the events of his past employment here. He didn't think it was gonna be that exciting, just being a bouncer at the club. Never did he expect to become a full-blown merc. The large man shifted his weight and leaned an elbow on his knee with a sigh.
Sal stepped off the elevator and into the lobby still breathing heavily. After her stab wound had recovered a couple of weeks ago, she had decided to work on her hand to hand more, so as to avoid both being sick again, an experience that was about as enjoyable as having her head smashed in with a large brick, and Paladin nearly having a heart attack. He had been more of a hindrance than a help before he got her to the clean room on his ship. She had changed suit's, something she had been meaning to do for a while, so she could make the need repairs to her old one. Her new one was the company colors and modified to allow better shields in combat. Not much but enough to let her know when to move before things got really bad.
Her old suit, now fully repaired, was on Wires'....no. Her ship, along with most of her other supplies. She had thank Paladin profusely after they had gotten it cleaned out, He had the security codes and had made the job of getting in a hundred of time easier. And all he had wanted out of it was a few choice bottles of Alcohol and a working mech. She was more than happy to oblige. It was a pain to clean out the ship, but most of the junk Wires had kept was either still useable, or in good enough condition to sell. The alcohol she sold, the finer drinks going to whoever paid for 'em some of the more basic one's she gave to the club. Oddly enough he had had refined Turian Liquor, which she kept. After the junk, alcohol, and scrapped mechs were sold; the ship still looked like a piece of crap, hardly presentable to the fleet. Now she waited on enough credits for parts, most of the ship needed to be repaired or replaced. The drunk little weasel may have been good with mechs, but he was terrible with a ship. She had been surprised the piece of junk hadn't fallen apart mid flight.
She walked into the kitchen to find a woman seated at the counter. Must be a new recruit, Kyra? I think that's what her dossier said. She sat next to her as Dray moved around the kitchen. "Hello, Kyra right?" Sal asked the new recruit. "Sal-rena Nar Hadran. Sal for for short." She said introducing herself to the woman.