Chapter Nineteen - Decisions and Consequences
July 14th, 2170
The sun roiled in its death pangs, a dance that would last at least another one-hundred thousand years. Natural galactic events like the death of star were never immediate. They were slow, predictable, easy to understand.
The Illusive Man wished that the races that inhabited the galaxy were a bit more similar to that ideal. It was a worthless wish, and he knew it, and he quickly focused on the anger that was welling up within him.
Stepping through the array of holographic displays, his lips twisted downwards in displeasure.
"What is he thinking?" He growled, fingers tightening around his glass. He could save the galaxy, but first the galaxy needed to stop getting in his way. He turned to look at Miranda, rage boiling behind his eyes. "What. Is. He. THINKING!"
Miranda Lawson paid no mind as the Illusive Man hurled his glass of whiskey across the room. It shattered against the floor in a show of wastefulness that would leave many poverty stricken cities on Earth weeping. Wasting a one-hundred dollar glass of alcohol was nothing compared to the inconvenience that he found himself in. He would have to take care of this mess, and there would be consequences for those who had forced his hand.
The Illusive Man's rage was fierce, and it often led to death, but he never let it get out of hand. His anger was always justified, and he always focused it on those whom truly deserved it. Miranda had never had a harsh word spoken in her direction from him, and all it took was being competent to avoid that. She was so far above competent that she had no worries.
Inez Simmons however, was joining what she was sure was the latest in a long line that had drawn the ire of her boss.
Instead of commenting, Miranda turned her focus back to the displays and the singular news report that was projected on all of them, stepping forward. Her heels clicked against the reflective polymer under her feet, a sound she found pleasing, almost musical.
"Play it again," she said, her voice even and calm, completely unaffected by the show of force.
The image of Inez Simmons on all of the screens jumped, replaced instead with a fairly typical looking news program. Stepping closer, Miranda watched with careful eyes, looking for any details that she might have missed on the first play through.
Cerberus data trawlers had noticed the anomaly almost immediately, shunting the broadcast to the Illusive Man's office as they did their best to trace the signal back to its origin. They were having far more luck than they had anticipated, and it was only a matter of time before they could give him a location.
On the screen, two reporters sat behind a sleek black desk, an Asari and a Salarian part of the Citadel News Broadcast. Miranda recognized the program, having watched it on occasion during her workouts and paperwork. They were going through their daily report on the news across the galaxy, completely normal and unremarkable. Still, Miranda didn't look away, listening to every part of her subconscious to see if there was something she was missing.
"On the human colony of Yandoa, an Eldfell-Ashland Energy ship, the Keramidas, exploded in atmosphere," the Asari reporter said, giving a false smile of sympathy to the camera. There was no way that she gave a care about a tiny human colony, like all other Asari that Miranda had ever met. "This led to a catastrophic breach in its generator, spreading dust-form element zero throughout the entire southern hemisphere."
As the Asari continued speaking, the Salarian reporter put a finger up to his ear, listening to whatever the person on the other end was telling him through his ear piece.
"Wait." He held up a finger to silence the Asari.
"What?" The Asari blinked, startled at being interrupted in the middle of the show.
"Wait." The Salarian repeated himself, his already wide eyes seeming to go wider at what it was he was hearing. Miranda noticed that his left eye twitched ever so slightly in agitation. It was an interesting quirk that could be the first signs of rare wasting disease that was present in only a quarter of a single percent of the Salarian population.
Blinking to clear her thoughts, Miranda returned her full attention to the broadcast.
Hearing it all, the Salarian straightened up. Miranda couldn't help but note that he looked shaken and afraid.
"We have breaking news from the Equestrian—" Before the Salarian could even finish his sentence, the image cut to static. That in and of itself was telling, and meant that whoever had worked on filming the message she knew was coming was trying to tap into a specific feeling of fear that had been far more prevalent even just a century ago. The main standard for communication had become subspace messages, which was utterly free of any static and disruptions.
The static disappeared a moment later, revealing a dark room, too shrouded in shadows to see anything beyond the single light shining down out of frame above. The Citadel News Broadcast feed had been hacked, and Inez Simmons was front and center. He looked half-crazed to Miranda, and she easily saw the signs that he was dressed in a suit that he had been wearing for more than a couple days.
"Hello." He gave a jerky wave to the camera, which was frustratingly unleveled, canted ever so slightly to the left. "My name is Inez Simmons, and I hate all of you."
He laughed, a half crazed sound that was quickly throwing every last bit of sanity overboard.
Miranda rolled her eyes. These types were the worst. There were never any of the more obvious signs of the raging displeasure that led to revenge based rampages from those susceptible to psychotic breaks (and apparently Inez was one such person). It made it difficult to get ahead of events.
"What, you don't believe me?" Inez leaned closer to the camera, and Miranda noticed just how engrossed he was. His hair was completely unkempt and he hadn't shaved in the past several days. Or maybe he had, but had decided to stop halfway through. It would explain the patchiness. "Well you should. I have the power to reach out and hurt you wherever you are. It doesn't matter if you're the Primarch of Palaven, a Matriarch of Thessia, a Dalatrass of Sur'kesh—"
Inez grinned wide, as if he had just pulled off the greatest coup the galaxy had ever seen. With the reports from Equestria that were just starting to roll, Miranda wasn't sure or not whether he had.
"— or a Princess of Equestria. I can reach out and hurt you. I will kill the ones you love, and I will kill you," he continued. Shaking his head, Inez leaned back, slumping his shoulders. "I wouldn't have to do this if all of you weren't so stupid! You are all vermin, but humanity can help. We save you from yourselves."
"It doesn't work the other way around. You should all see that!" Clenching his fist, Inez shook his head, his features twisting angrily. "It doesn't work the other way around!"
He held up a picture of Riley Shepard, almost too close to the camera for it to focus. It was from the trial, but it was clear and obvious just who he was raging about. "Equestria has decided that they're good enough to look after one of our daughters. They're wrong. They need to be punished."
"I will punish them." His scowl deepening, Inez crumpled up the picture. He pulled out a lighter, setting fire to the picture. "Never again will any of you decide that you are good enough to 'save' us. They will be punished, and this poor girl will be released from the sinful life that she has been forced into. The Royal Castle of Equestria burns, and you will all learn your lesson. Terra Firma, Humans First!"
The broadcast ended.
Dropping down into his chair, the Illusive Man clenched and unclenched his fists. Reaching into his suit jacket, he pulled a half-empty carton of cigarettes from his pocket and slipped one out. Lighting it in a single fluid motion with the lighter he had pulled from the pocket, he lifted the cigarette to his lips and took a long drag.
Leaning back, he let the familiar ritual calm him.
"This is the worst thing that could have happened." Miranda stepped away from the screens and they disappeared into oblivion. Sighing, she rubbed the bridge of her nose.
"I know." The Illusive Man took another drag of his cigarette, focusing his attention on a single whorl on the far right horizon of the sun. Any day now, he knew that it would burst into a solar flare, sending radiation spewing out into the cosmos.
"It's going to push so many away." Miranda couldn't imagine what this was going to do to their recruitment efforts. They still had to be so careful, relying on rather unreliable people in the seediest parts of humanity. It was the only option, but the type of people they wanted to attract would stay away after such a high-profile crime.
"We need to remove him from the picture," Miranda said confidently. It was the only option. Luckily, assassinations were something that Cerberus excelled at, the perks of being an ex-Alliance black-ops directorate.
"I know." The Illusive Man looked up at Miranda, annoyed at the entire situation. It was not how he had wanted to spend his day, but he would, because he was a servant of humanity. Inez Simmons was turning out to be everything that he stood against. "I know. I already have my best man on it. He'll take care of Inez, and he'll do it publicly. He does not speak for Cerberus, and he will not taint the rest of the galaxy with his filth."
"Ethan." Miranda rolled her eyes. Ethan had been skilled once, but she wasn't so sure that he still had that edge. "You're sending Ethan? What do you think he's going to be able to do this time? He already failed to kill the idiot once."
"He didn't fail." The Illusive Man knew more than Miranda did about the entire operation, and he had far more faith in the man. He had been there since the beginning after all. Loyalty deserved something after all. Maybe not loyalty in return, but something. "He just didn't try very hard. It won't be a mistake he makes twice."
"Very well." Miranda bowed, acquiescing to her bosses wishes. "If that is your wish."
"It is." The Illusive Man stood, feeling the sudden need to replace the drink he had thrown across the room.
The burning sting of smoke wafted across Princess Celestia's nose, and it was just another reminder of how much she had failed her little ponies. It was the smell of death and destruction, and she had hoped to never have to experience it on her home planet.
The fact that Luna was beside her was the only thing that kept Celestia going. She wasn't sure what she would do without her present, but it certainly wouldn't have been pretty. Who could have guessed so many years ago that it would have been Luna to be the voice of restraint? Certainly not Celestia.
Taking a look around, Celestia took in the destruction, a penance for her sins, not that it would even come close to making amends. Deep down, she wasn't sure that there was anything that ever could.
Surprisingly, most of the town was still standing. How that was possible she wasn't sure, but it was a bit of a miracle anyways. In the middle of town lay the still burning remains of the ship, giant chunks of metal reaching up into the sky, twisted and melted. There were spots that still burned hotter than the surface of her sun, but she had quickly contained those, almost subconsciously.
Celestia vowed to herself that she would make sure the town was restored better than before, an she would pay for it all from her own purse.
"Your Majesties!" A Lunar Guard rushed up to them, the leader of the contingent of Royal Guards that had arrived several minutes ago. "The attackers have fled into the Everfree forest. We are pursuing them, but I am afraid that we will be unable to catch them all."
Celestia grimaced, having to restrain her mane and tail from bursting out with the full glory of her sun. She had no desire to blind the survivors of the attack, they had been through enough. She walked up to one of the armored figures, lying dead on the ground with the lower half of its torso missing. Celestia remembered this one. She had literally torn it in two with her magic.
"Let us see who dares to attack Our Little Ponies." Celestia glanced over at Luna.
"Don't leave us waiting, sister." Luna steeled herself, but there was no pity in her eyes for the dead being.
With the full might of her magic wanting to burst out unrestrained, Celestia tore the helmet off of the body, breaking all of the titanium seals like they were paper. The face that greeted them burned the anger they both felt even deeper into their hearts.
"Maybe he is part of a mercenary group," Luna suggested, trying and failing to be the voice of reason. She was almost past the point of caring. "It could just be a coincidence."
Celestia lifted up five more bodies that were scattered around her, ripping off their helmets to reveal that they were all the same.
"No." Celestia shook her head, sure in her belief. "They are all Batarians. This was a deliberate attack on Equestria, and I will not let it stand."
"Search the remains of the ship." Celestia turned to the Lunar Guard. "I want to know what happened."
"We have been betrayed," Celestia said, not watching as the guard hurried off to follow her orders. Turning to Luna, her sister took a step back at the intensity burning in Celestia's eyes. "We have been betrayed, but by whom, and for what reason I do not know."
"We shall find out," Luna said with a reassuring voice. "It is only a matter of time."
"Indeed." Celestia nodded. Her eyes flared white, and the heat of the sun flowed through her for just a moment, a lapse of control. "It is only a matter of time."
"Come with us sister, and we shall hunt down these vermin." Luna spread her wings, snorting in anger, pawing the ground with her hoof.
"It would be my pleasure," Celestia murmured flatly.
With a mighty leap, they took flight, speeding towards the Everfree.
The past thirty minutes had become Tyra's absolute worst nightmare. From the moment that the ship had arrived above Ponyville and exploded, she knew that nothing would ever be the same again. There was a truth in that that she simply did not want to acknowledge, but was completely unable to avoid.
Taking a ragged breath she could stop it as she worked herself into a panic. She searched through every bit of rubble, trying to find their eldest daughter. Sofi was clutched safely between Tyra's wings, confused at all of the commotion going on through the city.
"Where is she?" Tyra clacked her beak, asking the question to herself as much as she did to her husband.
"I don't know." Voss was uncharacteristically quiet, wishing beyond everything that he had just insisted they go visit the Rainbows first. None of this would have happened if he was just a bit more forceful.
"GILDA!" Tyra shouted, ignoring the pain in her throat. She could lose her voice for all she cared, as long as her daughter was safe. "GILDA!"
There was no response, at least not from their daughter. Instead, all that they heard was the burning of fire and the cries of ponies going through the same motions they were, searching for their loved ones.
A few yards away, Tyra noticed a grey earth pony mare wandering forward, her eyes red from all of the tears she had been crying. Seeing her, Tyra rushed forward and grabbed the mare.
"Have you seen my daughter?" Tyra was desperate. She knew she was desperate, but that didn't matter. Gilda was gone, and nothing would ever be right in the world again.
"What?" The mare asked, blinking stupidly, her once perfectly styled black mane sticking to her face with blood.
"Please!" Tyra begged, struggling to take in any breath. "She's only seven years old. Have you seen her?"
The grey mare didn't respond, only staring blankly forward. Seeing that she wasn't going to get any answers out of her, Tyra moved on. "GILDA!"
Twilight, Shining Armor, Rainbow Dash, Spike, Cadance were still playing the game of Risk, having divided Riley's pieces up between themselves. The girl had been gone for nearly twenty minutes, and Cadance had already decided that if she was gone much longer, she would go and look for her herself.
Dancing Star and Cherry Blossom watching them play, intrigued by the exotic game.
Sadly, none of them had any clue what was happening in Ponyville, Twilight's tower had been sound-proofed against the rest of the world after she had accidentally cast a spell that made her loud enough to be heard from Manehatten.
"I think Cadence is kicking your flank, Twilight." Shining leaned into Cadance's side, grinning dopily. Whatever drugs he was on, they were definitely the good stuff. He giggled, thinking he'd said something terribly funny.
"Thank you, Shiny," Cadance kissed his cheek tolerantly, knowing that she was going to be able to lord this moment over him for a long, long time.
"You're welcome," he murmured to her, his eyes half-lidded.
"Do you have any idea when he will be back to normal?" Twilight asked, looking at her brother strangely. She wasn't sure that she liked happy-go-lucky Shining Armor. It was more than a little unsettling.
"The drugs should start wearing off soon," Cadance said with a shrug. "But he'll have to take another when that happens."
Twilight scowled, annoyed that she wouldn't actually get to spend any meaningful time with her brother because he was to high to actually act like himself.
"Ha!" Rainbow cried out, flaring out all six of her limbs and wiggling them in a victory dance. "I win Asia. Deal with that, Twilight!"
Twilight quickly proceeded to soundly beat Rainbow Dash out of Asia. "Dealt with."
"What?!" Rainbow stared at the board incredulously, wondering just where she had gone so wrong. "No!"
Before the conversation could continue, there was a quiet thud, followed by a much louder explosion that rocked the tower. The door shot across the room, crashing into the opposite wall, and all of the ponies fell back, scared out of their minds.
Soldiers poured into the room before any of them could even figure out what was happening. Dressed completely in armor from head to toe, all they could make out was the fact that they were bipedal.
"DON'T MOVE!" The tallest of the soldiers shouted, dressed in the most ornate armor out of all of them.
Instantly, the mercenaries had their weapons trained on the unicorns.
"If I see so much as a spark from those horns of yours, I will put so many bullets in your heads that they'll have to identify you with your DNA." The soldier looked over the ponies before him through the faceless plate of his helmet.
Crying, Twilight backed up into Cadance's chest for comfort. For all of her brilliance and logic, she was still only a seven year old filly, and she felt a little bit safer when Cadance wrapped one of her legs around her.
"If you leave now, nothing will happen to you." Technically being the highest ranking being in the room, Cadence glares at the mercenaries. She was quite proud that she managed to keep a quiver out of her voice. "We will not hunt you down, and we will not see that justice is served."
The soldier laughed, then ignored her, turning to face the others surrounding him. "Search the rooms. Find the girl."
Four of the soldiers broke away from the main group, heading towards the three bedrooms. The other eight kept their weapons trained on the ponies.
"You're making a big mistake!" Dancing Star wondered just what it was inside of her that made her speak out in such situations. "Do you know just who you're attacking."
"Yep," was the simple response from the soldier.
"… Well…" That brought Dancing Star up for a pause, and Cherry put a restraining hoof on her back. "You're still making a mistake."
"No mistake." The soldier shook his head, setting his rifle onto its magnetic clamp on his back.
"This is the tower of one Twilight Sparkle." He pointed at Twilight, who whimpered. Cadence pulled her closer, lifting Rainbow off the couch with one of her wings and doing the same with her. "The purple one. No. We're right where we're supposed to be."
The mercenaries returned from the rooms. "She isn't here."
The Mercenary Leader turned his attention to the ponies that he had taken captive. Reaching up, he pulled off his helmet to reveal that he was a human with brown hair and blue eyes.
"Now, I am going to ask some questions, and it will be better for everyone involved if you tell me the truth." He waited to see if they were going to put up any form of protest.
"Good." He nodded, flexing his jaw. "Now, where is Riley Shepard."
"Who?" Cadance asked, hoping that she looked as innocent as possible.
"Don't play coy with me, bitch." He rolled his eyes. "You know perfectly well who I am talking about. You're little lie would be a whole lot more convincing if you told me the truth."
Stepping forward, he pulled out a high-powered pistol. Without a word, he leveled it at Shining Armor and pulled the trigger.
It fired with a crack.
Shining Armor screamed, the bullet ripping through his unbroken hind-leg.
"Shiny!" Twilight and Cadance shouted at the same time.
"Good." The soldier nodded, pleased with himself. "I have your attention. Don't do that again or the next shot goes right through his brain."
"Please!" Cadance begged, tears filling her eyes. "Don't hurt him!"
"All you have to do is tell me what I want to know." The soldier smiled at them, a sickening look.
Cadance glanced at Shining, who was on the floor, a pool of blood forming under his leg. She glanced down at Rainbow, who looked horrified and shell-shocked. The filly had no idea what was happening, nor did she have any real understanding of why.
Seeing all of this play out on Cadance's face, the Mercenary Leader leveled his pistol at Rainbow's head. "I'll give you until the count of three before I blow the little rainbow thing's head off."
"No!" Cadance shouted.
"You're a monster!" Dancing Star couldn't understand where the Royal Guard was. How had they gotten through the Castle's security?
"You'll never get away with this!" Cherry had never hated a being so much as she did at that moment.
Rainbow whimpered, burying her head deep into Cadance's barrel.
"Please! Have some mercy!" Cadance begged, sobbing.
"Tell me what I want to know, and all of this will end. Two!" He checked his pistol lazily.
Cadance looked to the heavens, as if asking forgiveness for what she was about to do. Taking a deep breath, she called out. "WAIT!"
The soldier paused, watching her carefully.
"She's here." Cadance hated herself. She hated that she was giving up one girl to save another. Was this how a Princess was supposed to act? She wasn't sure she liked it very much.
"Where?" The solider asked.
"I don't know." Cadance shook her head. "We were playing a game, and she got frightened and left. She's been gone for thirty minutes by now."
Hiding in the shadows just beyond the doorway, Riley practically hugged the wall, praying that no one had heard her coming up the stairs. Her ears wide open, she could only listen to what was happening inside Twilight's apartment, powerless. She was horrified that one of the fillies had almost got shot, and she did nothing to stop the tears streaming down her face.
"That's not good enough." The male, the leader Riley guessed, said. "If she's not here, and you don't know where she has gotten off to, there is no reason to keep you alive."
Riley lifted a hand to her mouth to keep herself from crying out in shock.
"You're a monster!" Cadance cried, followed by the whimpers of the fillies.
"No," the leader said. "I'm just making a lot of money for this."
"Someone would pay you money to kill a girl?" Riley could hear the disgust in Dancing Star's voice, as well as the fear. The older mare was simply hiding it better than the rest of them. "And you accepted?"
"It's a lot of money," the leader repeated.
Riley could hear the sound of footsteps inside of the room, and she pressed herself tighter against the wall. She didn't know what she should do.
Clamping her eyes shut, Riley found herself back in the closet on Mindoir. She was curled up on the floor inside of the closet, watching through the slats as her mother tried to get her father's gun to work. The shotgun was finicky, and only her father knew how to make it work without any problems.
"Come on you stupid piece of shit!" Hannah cursed, her hands shaking in terror. She knew that her husband and youngest daughter were as good as dead, and all she could do was try to keep her oldest alive.
The retort of are several shots of gunfire from elsewhere in the house rang out like thunder, and Hannah screamed, her face red from the tears. "NO! You bastards! I'll kill every last one of you!"
A Batarian burst into the room, and Hannah used the gun like a club, smacking the alien upside the head. It only stunned him for half a second, and he was back up and swinging at her before she could react.
Hannah dropped to the ground, the Batarian rushing to get on top of her, a slathering, lecherous grin on his face.
Riley shook her head, wanting to be strong, wanting to save her mother, but she was too weak. She was afraid. She was small.
She didn't want any of that.
Opening her eyes, Riley took a tentative step forward, unsure of just what she was going to do, but knowing that she couldn't let what happened on Mindoir happen again.
She wasn't going to lose any more family.
Blueberry and Solar Ace sat in their Princesses respective spots in the Situation Room, working with the Generals to try and get the right ponies moving to the right places. On the screens, they watched as several volunteer Pegasus' details moved clouds over Ponyville. The rain was needed to put out the fires, but it blocked the satellite view. Automatically the satellites switched to another spectrum of light, seeing right through the cloud cover to the ground below.
"Does any pony know where Dancing Star is?" Solar Ace asked, interrupting an aide who was spouting more information he had already heard three times. He thought he heard a no from somewhere in the crowd of ponies.
"I don't care how much it is going to cost, we need to put a halt on all ships leaving the planet." Blueberry had been butting heads with the same Noble Unicorn for the past ten minutes, and they kept coming back to the same point.
"Ridiculous, and impossible to enforce anyway!" The Noble said with a sigh, frustrated and scared. Still, at least he wasn't giving up and running away, which was a lot more than could be said for a lot of the aristocracy. He was one of the only Noble's present in the room, and as much as Blueberry didn't want to admit it, he did have an idea of what he was talking about.
He was also in charge of the treasury, which made talking to him more than a little difficult.
"If we don't stop them now, then the attackers will be able to escape. They'll smuggle themselves off world on any ship they can find." Blueberry wanted to smash her head against the table. She was getting absolutely nowhere.
"And they'll be willing to wait. It doesn't matter if we stop all flight tonight, and even tomorrow, and the day after that." The Noble shook his head, making the same point for the third time. "They'll wait until the ban is lifted, and they'll be hidden on every ship heading back to Citadel space. It simply isn't feasible."
"I don't hear you coming up with any better ideas!" Blueberry protested, just as angry and afraid as everypony else. This was the first true crisis that Equestria had ever gone through on their own since joining the galactic community without the assistance of humanity.
"Really." Solar searched the crowd, not seeing the one pony he really needed in the room with him. "Does anypony know where Dancing Star is? She needs to be here."
One of the aides shrugged.
Do we have somepony looking for her?" He asked. At the shake of the head no, Solar groaned. "Go find her!"
One of the Generals was listening to an aide who had rushed up to him, holding up a hoof to quiet the room. "Hold. I've got a casualty report."
The room stilled, turning their attention to him.
"Don't make us wait," Solar urged.
"The last census puts the town population just above two-thousand." The General took a moment to glance around the room before reading the part that everypony was waiting to hear. "Guards on the ground have been able to make a rough estimate from missing ponies reports, and it isn't good."
Blueberry rolled her eyes, frustrated that he was taking so long to actually get to the numbers. "What are the numbers?"
The General took a breath before continuing. "Four hundred dead, eighty missing, and reports are still rolling in."
"Missing?" Blueberry raised an eyebrow at that, confusion filling her. "Where did they go? It's not like there's a lot of places they could hide in a town that small."
The General frowned, not really wanting to explain, but having to anyway. It wasn't at all a pleasurable thing to think on, and he was sure quite a few of the ponies in the room would be having nightmares by the time they got around to sleeping.
"They could be trapped in the rubble. Their bodies might simply not be there anymore." The General saw exactly the reactions he expected from them. Revulsion, sadness, and anger.
"Where could they have possibly gone?" Blueberry asked, incredulous.
"They could have been burned to ash."
"Oh, Celestia," Solar murmured, wondering just how much more they were going to have to deal with.
Far away from Ponyville and Canterlot, a group of Batarians twenty-five strong in painted camouflaged armor rushed through a dark town. They didn't know its name, nor did they particularly care. They were following a plan that had been hastily thrown together, and they were hoping that everything worked out like they hoped it would.
Slung over all of their shoulders, each of them carried a large bag on their shoulders, several unconscious Equestrians held within.
They made their way through the outskirts of the town, weaving through buildings towards what they hoped was a private shipping company in the small warehouse district.
"Search quickly," the Batarian leader whispered at the lower caste Batarians surrounding him. "Be quiet about. If we're found, we're done for."
The Batarians broke away in groups of fours and fives, looking for any avenue of escape.
Several of the Batarians stopped in front of what could have been a large hanger. Grinning at each other at their luck, they dropped their bags and moved to open it.
Sliding open the doors, they found exactly what they were hoping for within, a medium sized transport vessel, more than big enough for all of them.