Chapter 4: Raid on Port Royale
Omega Station, Omega Nebula 2175CE/1998AD
The three shifted nervously as the trio of holo-consoles glowed dimly, there was a flicker… then three figures were projected into the darkness.
"Councillors," the older of the two Turians greeted.
"Agent Arterius," the image of the Asari returned, then looked to the other figures, "Agent Kyrik, Captain Kirrahe."
"Councillors," they greeted.
"Report!" The Turian Councillor demanded.
"I made contact with both Nihlus and Captain Kirrahe so we could make our reports together, and to share some startling Intel," Saren began.
"Very well," the Salarian said, "let's hear the rest of your Report."
"I arrived on the station shortly before the Attack," Saren began, "I met Nihlus by accident shortly after, we met in a secured location and he shared what intel he had."
"At the time, all I could find was that they seemed to be a large group with a Human face," Nihlus stated, stepping into the projection envelope, "but discrete scans on apparently Human members produced double life signs: either one human, one anomalous or two anomalous, I later determined that the two anomalous readings were due to the apparent human being genetically different enough to be registered as another species."
"I continued the scans after I arrived," Saren picked up, "we determined the ones with the anomaly were in fact blended with some kind of symbiote."
"However there was one real anomaly," Nihlus stated, drawing the Council's attention, "the group has two obvious leaders, or at least they form the public face."
Nihlus pulled the images on his Omni-tool, "The woman is an Alliance citizen named Miranda Lawson, two years ago she went missing along with her sister from her Father's estate on Bekenstein, she reappeared on Omega a week later with her partner to cut a deal with Aria for this group, however it's her partner we're interested in."
The woman's image faded so the man's filled the projection, he was handsome, with faint aristocratic features, long dark red hair tied into a ponytail and falling over the front of his left shoulder and dark emerald eyes that seemed to pierce the soul.
"This man is an enigma," Nihlus stated, "he first appeared on Bekenstein the day before Lawson disappeared and converted several tons of Gold, Silver and Platinum to Credits, opening an account in the process and disappeared. Over the past two years he's made numerous purchases for industrial equipment and manufacturing tools as well as enough weaponry to defend a mid-sized colony, he then purchased a charted but unclaimed world on the far edge of Alliance space away from Citadel space and had the equipment delivered there. Three surplus Turian frigates were also delivered and were apparently refitted with advanced technology."
"Indeed," Kirrahe agreed, "fourteen months ago, those three frigates detected an STG stealth ship and another stealth craft of as yet unknown affiliation entering the system, the frigates tracked and intercepted both craft, several warnings were broadcast but both ships believed the warnings to be bluffing as our stealth technology had not been defeated, the crews arrogance amplified by the known age of the approaching ships. The unidentified stealth craft was closer and thus targeted and destroyed by energy weapons from cruiser range…"
"Excuse me!" the Turian Councillor spluttered, "You mean to tell me that the Salarian Union has known of a potential threat for Over. A. Year. Yet deigned Not to inform the Council?"
Both Kirrahe and the Salarian Councillor ignored the Glare.
"At first it was believed they'd fitted the vessel an enlarged GARDIAN laser, but later analysis suggested Plasma based weaponry, unfortunately our ships were chased away from the wreckage each time we tried," the Councillor explained, "In light of this, it was decided to observe and gather as much information as possible, but we now can't approach the system at all as every vessel attempting it is intercepted."
"After that, Omega became our best option for practical intelligence," Kirrahe agreed.
"We were able to scan a bloodstain after the fighting between Sons of Menai infiltrators and local forces," Nihlus continued, sending the Councillors the data.
"But… this is…" the Salarian Councillor, Valern, was both incredulous of what he saw and almost speechless.
"No amount of genetic engineering could have changed his DNA like this," Kirrahe added.
"So this much redundant DNA… is natural?" The Asari Councillor, Tevos, asked.
"We don't know it's redundant, Tevos," the Turian Councillor, Sparatus, warned.
"It seems humans are a lesser evolved form of this species," Kirrahe pointed out.
"Do we know anything about their motives?" Tevos asked.
"We only know two things for certain," Nihlus began.
"First, they've rented out the largest slipway on the station to build a ship," Saren said.
"The other thing is that they call themselves The Tau'ri…"
Omega Station, Omega Nebula 2175CE/1998AD
The first thing I was aware of was the warm, soft body lying on top of me, the second was a warm, moist and Very snug embrace to a certain part of my lower body.
I kept my eyes closed and ran my left hand down the spine of the amazing woman currently using me as a mattress, tracing the curve of her vertebrae then the small of her back before trailing down and cupping the left cheek of her supple arse.
This wasn't the first time in the past two years we'd shared a bed, hell we'd been dating when we started and our first shag had been ten months into the project when the Captain's cabin had been finished, but I still felt like a virgin high school nerd who'd scored with the Head Cheerleader every time I woke to the feeling of Miranda's firm breasts pressed into me and the gentle tickle of her breathing on my neck.
I raised my right hand and brushed away her silky hair from her face and placed a gentle kiss on her temple, earning a slight moan from the sleeping beauty.
"Morning, Miri," I say gently, running my right hand through her hair as my left kneads her arse.
"Morning," she replies with a smile, climbing up onto her elbows to kiss me then stretching like a cat, she then gave me a smouldering look, I moan as pleasure shoots through my loins as the muscles in her love tunnel ripple around my rod.
"Miri!" I moaned, half my mind screaming for the sensations to continue, the other saying I had other things to do, "No! Not after last night, my balls feel like they'd implode if we went again so soon!"
I've been pretty blessed by evolution below the belt, and Miranda certainly appreciates my endowment when I hilt all ten inches in her, I certainly enjoy the way she massages the seed from my productive lemon sized orbs with her biotics, but they tend to be very soft and malleable the morning after.
"Miranda!" I exclaim, pushing her hips up and off my prick, "We're two weeks from launch! I know it's mostly repetitive tedium, Gods know I'd rather spend all day here with you, but we have work to do, work that will delay the launch if we don't get it done!"
"Spoilsport," Miranda whispered huskily in my ear, then climbed off me and the bed, my eyes are glued to her perfect arse as she walks over to our ensuite bathroom with her hips swaying sexily, she stops at the door, looks at me over her shoulder and gives me a flirtatious wink, then disappears from sight.
'Ancestors! Sometimes I almost regret being in love with a fallen Goddess,' I thought.
Then I started to hear low moans from the bathroom over the sound of running water.
Caleston Rift, 2175 CE/1998 AD: Sons of Menai Dreadnaught 'Chosen of Palaven'
"We're in the Final stages of preparation, Consul, the Fleet will be ready to depart within the day," Lorek Varus barely inclines his head, dismissing the ship's XO.
He'd founded the Sons of Menai in 2158, in response to the Council curtailing the Hierarchy's efforts to bring Humanity to heel. Their goal was to bring the Galaxy under Turian dominance, bringing Humanity to its rightful place as a Turian client species, then the Batarians and the Terminus systems before turning to those limp dicked cowards on the Council.
Unfortunately they hadn't gained the power and recognition they needed, they were reduced to Mercenary work until the current Turian Councillor decided to sponsor the company in order for them to do his dirty work, providing ships, supplies, bases and logistic support. Unfortunately he believed they were loyal to him and Palaven.
They were loyal to Palaven but not for the reasons the Councillor believed, and once Omega was secure they'd have no need for the fool.
"Once the Fleet is ready we depart to Omega," he declared, "Tonight is just the beginning: Today Omega, Tomorrow Erthe!"
The raucous cheers didn't distract the men from their tasks, continuing on with the efficiency and dedication expected of Turians.
Within the hour, the first frigates began the long trip to Omega.
Nihlus Oraka looked over his shoulder to see me enter the control room, "we're going through the last batch of calibrations for the targeting sensors but the sensor net is online."
"Bring it up."
A large holoscreen along the back wall lit, showing the net of thirty sensor buoys around Omega and all Relays connecting to Omega-2.
Course the Tau'ri had laid considerably a higher number of much more advanced buoys on the side.
The net of overlapping sensors tracked everything in a two hundred lightyear radius of Omega and a twenty lightyear radius around all the connecting Relays in real time.
"Pretty quiet, eh?" I asked, watching the sloth-like movement of several STG ships on silent running, while a freighter convoy struggled to stay ahead of a squadron of Batarian warships.
A red rune flashed urgently in the corner of the screen, I looked over to see nearly three dozen frigate signatures converge on the Caleston Relay, followed by nearly three dozen more signatures, a mixture of frigates, cruisers and two Dreadnoughts forming a half sphere around the Relay.
"We've got Company!" I shouted to Nihlus, the Turian hit an alarm that sounded a siren around the station, the lights dimmed briefly as power was re-routed to the weapons and shields.
I ran into the nearby guard room and started pulling off my jacket and boots, I opened my locker, one of several I'd placed around the station that only I could open, and started pulling out my armour and BDU.
The system we used now wasn't as sophisticated as the Hardsuits used by the Relay races, in fact we looked like throw-backs, (think ODST BDU from Halo Reach), but between the thick plating, the Titanium/Naquadah/Trinium micro-weave fatigues and the basic shields designed by a disillusioned Jaffa engineer who owed Bra'tac a favour they were easily competitive with the Hardsuits, except in vacuum or hazardous environments where our limited air supply was a hazard.
I returned to the Command Centre to find most of Aria's right hand minions milling about as the current shift workers were joined by their comrades and a few Allied personnel.
I looked to my right to find General Jacob Carter, aka Selmak of the Tok'ra, in full armour minus the helmet looking very worried.
"A merc fleet is heading our way," I tell him, leading him and Soling, the Jaffa leader, over to the centre console and point to the sensor readouts just as the lead frigate group exits the Omega-2 Relay, "And a big one at that."
Both men shuffle uneasily, "That is a considerable force," Selmak commented.
"Numbers alone do not guarantee victory," Soling retorted.
"Quantity has a Quality of its own," I quoted, "What worries me is the lack of obvious transports, it would take at least a Legion to pacify the station, they've enough frigates but they're unlikely to get enough past our guns to make up the numbers."
"They have forces on the station already," Selmak concluded after studying the board a moment.
"That's what I thought," I reply, "Jacob, I want you here to lead the guard detail, Soling, head back to our barracks and take charge there, we don't have the numbers to afford to chase them into the sewers and ensure our holdings are safe, return fire if engaged but don't send out any squads unless I say so!"
Both men nodded and left, I turned back to the console and ordered the defences brought online. Over the next few minutes the technicians reported as each weapons platform and shield emitter came online, "divert all traffic away from the station and lock down everything in dock, we don't need anyone doing a bug on a windscreen impression in the middle of a battle".
My comm bud buzzed as the technicians carried out the order and I opened the channel, "Emrys?"
"Why has your air raid siren disturbed my beauty sleep?" oh yeah, she's pissed.
"A fleet of nearly a hundred contacts, including two Dreadnaughts is on route from Caleston," I reported, then checked the feed on a new terminal, "the readout from Omega-2 confirms this is their last stop. I'll politely suggest digging out your old commando gear as there are no transports with them or in their wake."
"…You think they already have forces on My station?"
"Half the scum of the galaxy call this place home at one time or another," I retort, "I doubt they have too many but spread the landings out and even you wouldn't be any the wiser, they're probably counting on the element of surprise to catch you off guard and the other gangs capitalising on the chaos."
"I'll be there in fifteen."
In the end we didn't have fifteen minutes…
The fleet arrived in ten, their arrival coincided with a large Turian force breaking out of Kenzo district.
Miranda threw a Warp at a Turian, helplessly flailing from a pull, detonating the field, killing the Turian and two more below him.
She fired her M-4 at another, but a Biotic Barrier was thrown up, blocking her shots.
"Fuck!" she ducked into cover, "Cabal!"
An MG team switched targets at her shout, the Barrier strained under the heavy calibre fire but held long enough for the Turians to find cover.
"Cabals present in attacking forces, not good," Miranda didn't need to look over her shoulder to recognise Doctor Solus.
"That's the first one, but you're right," Miranda said, firing again, "They likely have more spread out to bolster their forces."
"Problematic," Mordin stated, firing an Overload on a Turian with Tech Armour, detonating the holo-plating and taking out three others, including a Cabal, around him.
The remaining Cabals throw up a large Barrier, allowing nearly a platoon to open fire with only limited fire from the Tau'ri penetrating the Barrier, a fact that caused clear concern on the Cabal's faces.
"We don't have time for this," Miranda muttered, then looked over to her men.
Both Aria's troops and the Turians ignored the order until orbs emitting a Biotic glow landed at the Barrier's edge.
The resulting blast as the prototype Warp Grenades detonated the Barrier was easily the largest Biotic explosion most could remember from living memory, even some of the Krogan on Aria's crew who could remember the tail end of the Rebellions.
Surprisingly few Turians were killed by the detonation, but the survivors would credit that to the skill of the Cabals, unfortunately most were still in the open so a few moments later the last two Cabals and a dozen others retreated back the way they came.
"Bastion, Venus, the push through Gozu has been turned back," Miranda reported.
"Confirmed Venus, pull back to Shorncliffe, Sharpe's moving to flank the force approaching Afterlife."
"Understood," she glanced around for any enemy stragglers, then looked to her men, "Bring it Home, Move Out!"
As she watched her squad fall back, she looked to the distant skyline, or what passed for one inside an asteroid.
"Be Careful Anthony," her whisper was almost unheard in clamour of departing or scavenging soldiers and mercs.
"We've been pushed back on two fronts and are meeting Heavy Resistance approaching Afterlife, We Need Reinforcements!"
"Stand your ground, Centurion," Varus ordered, "we are moving in now."
Cutting the line, he turned to the Captain, "Take the Fleet in!"
Emrys swore loudly as a sniper round broke his arm, tearing a large chunk out of his tricep in the process, he ducked back behind the hulk of the gunship his squad had taken out earlier.
The force aiming for Afterlife was the largest, backed up by light and heavy mechs as well as a handful of Turian built gunships. Tactically, putting this much effort into taking the club was borderline stupid, as the club was barely defensible to a large and determined force. Strategically, Afterlife was the symbolic heart of Omega, even before Aria and Patriarch it had been the place the Overloads held court, taking it was a significant morale victory, more so if it could be held.
The battle seemed to freeze as the whole station shook.
The Turian fleet swept into action, the frigates flocked into wolf packs and dived towards the station, weaving sharply to make the defender's lives difficult. The cruisers moved above, taking the high ground and positioning themselves to swoop in and shield the dreadnaughts while also launching the half a dozen fighters they each carried. Half the fighters stayed with the cruisers, the rest hared after the frigates.
The station guns fired as the frigates opened up, ferric slugs and plasma bolts crossed paths, some detonation or ricocheting harmlessly, the rest proceeding unimpeded.
The frigate's fire splashed harmlessly against the shields, glowing gold briefly as the rounds were stopped.
The frigates fared poorly, the ferric slugs were slowed or halted by the ship's kinetic barriers until several vessel's barriers failed under the onslaught. Others were seared open as the plasma ate through the thin armour, spontaneously igniting the oxygen in the compartments below, the flash surging through corridors, vents and lift shafts before bulkheads could be sealed or internal Barriers erected. Some ships were even more unlucky, or perhaps luckier compared to their compatriots, as their fuel tanks or drive cores were struck, instantly destroying the craft.
The cruisers, seeing their smaller brethren struggling to survive, closed and fired. The larger rounds made more of an impact on the new shields, causing some emitters to fail under the strain, allowing some shots through, but the emitters recovered to fast to allow the cruisers to capitalise.
The station gunners weren't idle, ignoring the frigates to fire on the cruisers, this time adding the heaviest weapons to reach out and touch the cruisers.
The largest Mass Accelerators claimed four cruisers in the first volley, but the rest of their shots went wide as the ships desperately dived, rolled and banked to avoid the beams that now lanced out from the station.
The surprise of Varus and his staff was so complete, they failed to react as three cruisers flew in front of the dreadnaughts, allowing the two ships to be claimed by those strange energy beams, the flagship's sister however managed one last act of defiance as the plasma burned through their hull, overcharging their Mass Accelerator and firing one round before the beam severed the ship in two.
The surviving ships fled in a panic at the loss of the command ships, less than twenty frigates and cruisers escaping the reach of Omega's strange new weapons.
"They're pulling out!"
Cheers erupted from Aria's men and the Tau'ri, the Pirate Queen herself striding out to deliver her own brand of justice to the former pretenders to her throne.
A brief nod to Emrys was all the thanks he knew he'd get, as Aria unleashed her own formidable Biotics on the now stranded Turians, he passed command to Soling and began the trek back to their HQ, looking to find a medic before Miranda found him.
Emrys looked up from the book he was reading one handed to see Miranda walk in, settle onto his bed, and start scanning his arm.
"Got tag teamed by two snipers, one got my shields, the other got my arm," he explained, "if I hadn't moved when I did the bastard might have got my head."
The gasp clued him in that he'd said the wrong thing, he pulled her into a one armed hug, even as she tried, if half-heartedly, to stop him, "sorry Miri," he said gently, touching his head to hers, "but you know the risks we have to take. Sometimes I can't stop worrying when you go off on your own here and I don't stop until you're in my arms again."
"Really?" her voice was quiet, but held a certain vulnerability, she lay into the hug at his nod and returned it as she lay her head on his shoulder, "damn it, I know you can fight like Wrex, but it doesn't make my fears any less real."
"Two weeks, Miri," he said reassuringly, "two weeks and we're off this hell hole, safe on our own ship."
Miranda smiled and pushed him back onto his pillows, lying down with her head on his shoulder to read his book with him, "two weeks until we're free."