Chapter 6: Into the breach
I nodded to the Krogan and set to work on his cuffs. Soon enough we were both free.
"Got any weapons kid?" He asked.
"Just this." I said holding up my knife. "But I have a few stashed in the shuttle I came aboard in. If we can get there, I can hack open the weapon's locker."
Tharn grunted, "The docking bay in on the way to engineering, the bridge is in the opposite direction. Give me that knife, I'll find my own weapons before I storm the bridge. You go get your guns from your shuttle."
I didn't have to guess how he was planning on acquiring his weapons. "Are you going to be able to keep it quiet while you do that?" I asked.
Tharn growled, "I'm sure the Batarians won't raise any objections if I bite off their heads first."
The image of Tharn jumping out of the shadows like a velociraptor from Lost World came to mind. "Sorry I asked." I said handing over my knife, which looked comically small in his massive hand.
"Alright kid, you ready?" Tharn asked.
"As ready as I'll ever be." I said.
"Good." We made our way over to the door. Just before I opened the lock, Tharn looked at me.
"Hey kid, pro tip. You get in a fight with a Batarian, go for the eyes. It always messes with their heads."
"I'll remember that." I said.
"Good. Now let's get to killing."
I opened the door. I should have expected that there would have been a guard. It only made sense to have someone posted to keep an eye on the new slaves. The door opens and he's standing right in front of it with his back turned to me.
"What the?" The Batarian turns around.
I'm amazed at how fast I react, I stand up and my hand snakes forward and I put two fingers in his eyes with enough force to rock his head back and send him to the ground. He clutches his eyes and starts to scream, but Tharn is there and puts an armored boot to his head. The Batarian falls silent before his voice raises too much commotion.
"Not bad Quarian." Tharn says with approval.
"Thanks." I look down and start running through the Batarians pockets. I find a couple of credits and not much else. His weapons however are another story. He has an assault rifle and a heavy pistol. I use Observe on both of them, which tells me they aren't that great, and hand them both over to Tharn. Chances are he's going to be needing them more than I will.
I grab the Batarians omni-tool and power it on. The guy doesn't even have a password on his tool. It takes me two seconds to empty all the credits in his account and wipe it clean. I hand it over to Tharn, after downloading a map of the ship.
"Stay in touch." I said.
Tharn nods and moves to the hallway, before he leaves though he stops and looks at me, "You got a quad kid. Thanks, for giving me this chance, I've heard stories of what Batarians do to Krogan slaves."
"Tell you what. We get through this, you can buy me a drink and we'll call it even." I said.
Renown increase with Tharn Tomaka
With that the Krogan turns and starts making his way down the hallway and is surprisingly quiet given how heavy he is. Soon enough I follow him but when I reach the end I turn the opposite direction to hanger bay.
I'm nervous as hell right now. All it would take would be for single Batarian spotting me and I'd fail the mission. I hear voices up ahead and I slow down and look for a place to hide. There aren't too many options. I can hear the voices getting closer any second now they could turn the corner up ahead and I'd be spotted.
There's a door to my right. I don't have a better option so dive in. Turns out it's a bathroom, an empty bathroom thankfully. I put my helmet to the door and listen closely and soon enough I can hear a pair of voices walk past the door and down the hallway. I wait until their gone before I let out a sigh. That was too close.
"There has to be a better way of doing this." I mutter. I pull up the map I got from the Batarian earlier and take a good long look. Then I notice that there's a maintenance duct that lead right to the hanger deck, and it just so happens to exit right next to the shuttle I came over in. The entrance is back down the hall from where I came. Even through it takes me closer to the Batarians that just walked past I figure it's better than walking the hallways out in the open.
I walk out of the bathroom and head back down the hallway as quietly as I can. I can see the two Batarians still chatting as they walk. I follow them for a bit before I find the entrance to the maintenance duct. It opens with a quiet hiss and I slip inside and shut it.
"What was that?"
I hold my breath.
"I didn't hear anything." The other one says. "Come on, this ship's old. Some of its falling apart, let's go."
"Yeah your right." The first one says.
"You need to stop playing those horror games man, they're messing with your head."
"You're probably right."
And suddenly I have flashbacks to Alien: Isolation. Thanks assholes.
I turn around and start crawling down the duct. There's not a whole lot of room, and I have to belly crawl my way through some areas.
Hey kid. How's it going? Tharn messages me.
I'm in the maintenance duct right now. Making my way to the hanger bay. You? I answer.
I'm stuck in a storage room right outside the mess. It must be chow time because there's a lot of them out there. Keep going I'll radio if anything comes up.
Got it. I shut off my omni-tool and continue towards my objective.
I make my way to the hanger bay without any trouble. Luckily the grate above me is slotted to allow easy access to the power conduits so I can see what directly above me. There's one Batarian in the hanger but he's working on a gunship's engine. He doesn't see me as I slowly lift the great above me and open the door to the shuttle. It seems like forever since I was in here last, but it couldn't have been more than twenty minutes.
By performing a special action you have learned a new skill
You have learned Sneak
Sneak (lvl 1 0.0%): They'll never see you coming. Allows The Gamer to hide his presence and remain undetected while moving.
While active makes you harder to detect.
Activation Cost: 3 SP/sec
Higher levels make it easier to remain hidden.
Note: Moving too fast will deactivate this Skill
I pulled up my omni-tool and sent Tharn a message letting him know that I was at the shuttle.
I'm not going anywhere. They're still stuffing their faces, luckily I'm not too far from the Bridge. He responded.
Alright send me a message before you head out. I'm going to get my guns and make my way to engineering. I'll make my move as soon as you're ready. I send back.
I close my omni-tool and walk over to the weapons locker. I see a data pad right next to it and open it up.
I can't get this danm thing open. As soon as you're done eating go get a plasma cutter and cut this thing open. Hopefully there's some decent weapons in here, or I'm gonna be pissed.
"Hate to say it Dalin, you're going to be disappointed." I said.
I sit down and started hacking into the weapons locker. It was slow going. Gilo is obviously a better hacker than I am. The electronic lock is completely scrambled, and it takes me almost half an hour to get the segments of code re-organized. As soon as that's done I enter my original password and grab my pistol and the shotgun I got from Korvan.
I crouch down and activate my Sneak skill. I open the door opens, I see the same Batarian from before still working on the gunship. I smile at my luck and go back to the grate and crawl back into the maintenance shaft.
"Where to next?" I mumble. I pull up the map of the ship again. I can follow this maintenance duct almost all the way to engineering. I start crawling.
I'm as close to Engineering as I can get without giving away my position. I send to Tharn.
Nice work. These pyjaks just got done eating. I'll make my move in a bit. Wait for my signal then hit Engineering. If we move fast enough we can catch them while their still making their way back there. Good luck kid.
I nod to myself and pull out my shotgun. My plan is to use my Close Quarters Combat skill and take out the Batarians that are in Engineering as fast as possible before my stamina wears out.
Alright kid this is it. GO!
Tharn's message comes over loud and clear. I climb out of the duct as quickly as I can. I run to the door leading into Engineering. There's are six Batarians working the consoles. None of which are wearing armor.
I smile at the look on their faces as they take in the sight of Quarian holding a shotgun. I see one start pulling up his omni-tool. I turn the gun on him and squeeze the trigger. The high velocity pellets tear into him right where his lungs should be. Before any of the others could react I move onto the next one and squeeze again and he joins the second one on the deck. I keep firing until the gun overheats. There are still two Batarians standing. I missed one of my shots earlier, because I rushed, so there's one more than there should be. Without thinking I drop my shotgun and pull out my pistol.
By now the last two remaining Batarians have taken cover and I do the same. They also have pistols. I hear a few rounds ping off the wall next to me. My stamina is sitting at 250 so I should be fine if I keep this short. I take a quick peek and see one of them is standing strait up. I turn and use my Rapid Fire Shot on him putting five rounds right in his chest. My gun shrieks as it over heats beyond capacity. I duck back around to let it cool, but the last remaining Batarian has a different idea.
He come rushing around the corner hoping to catch me off guard. Luckily my Mind of the Gamer skill keeps me focused. Instead I shove the gun away and go to poke him in the eyes. He doesn't flinch and instead punches me in the side. I feel my breath come out in a rush.
"Not so fast suit rat! I'm going to make you pay!"
Rather than answer I throw a punch that connects with his jaw, but it doesn't have nearly the desired effect. He kicks me in the gut and I fall back. I land and feel something digging into my side. I realize it's the shotgun I dropped earlier. I grab it and roll to the side before he can stomp my face in. He sees my gun pointed at him and dives to side. I fire and catch a bit of his hip.
"Argh!" he cries as he falls on his side. Before he can get up I pull the trigger again. This time his head explodes and sprays the back wall.
I let the gun fall from my hands and lay there for a second to catch my breath. My ribs are hurting and I'm pretty sure I sprained my wrist and my ankle at some point. With a groan I sit up and hobble over to the door. I close the door and lock it. I then walk over to the consul and hit the button labeled 'Emergency Shutdown.' I smile as the drive core just stops and I feel the subtle shift in my ear letting me know that the ship has come to a stop.
"You alright kid?" Tharn calls out on my tool.
"Yeah Tharn. I'm good. How's the bridge?" I ask.
"It's secure. I've got the Captain's omni-tool."
"Good. Go ahead and lock down the ship then open all the doors except the ones that lead to the slave pens, the Bridge, and Engineering. I'll overwrite the security program from here and open the airlocks." I said.
"Sounds good kid. Give me a second. There. The ships locked down."
As soon as Tharn says that I hear pounding on the door. "Not a moment too soon. I got company."
"Same here. Get to work. We don't have much time. If they start cutting through the door we're done for."
"Right." I get to work at the console and start working. As I work I start hearing the pounding get more and more frequent. It sounds like the Batarians are onto us. I finish the last bit of coding and call up Tharn.
"Tharn, it's ready. You good?"
I don't need any further encouragement. I activate the program that I just wrote. It unnerves me to hear the constant pounding go silent, but between the knowledge that they had a worse fate in store for me it's hard for me to stay that way for very long.
My eyes boggle at the amount of experience I just gained. That's enough to level me up several times over. It seems that killing enemies in combat grants me way more experience than just completing Assignments. If the six Batarians gave me 900 Exp earlier then that means each one was worth 150 exp. That means I must have just killed another sixty Batarians or so. I sit there and think for a bit, sixty Batarians seems like an awfully small crew compliment. Cruisers typically have between 100-200 personnel onboard, depending on the military they serve. If that's the case with these slavers, they I should have gotten almost double that amount. The only think I can think of is that I must have gotten half the usual experience for killing them via computer.
"Tharn, it's done."
"Any idea where you want to go kid?" He asks.
"Yeah. Let me close the hatches and re-initialize the drive core. I'll be up at the bridge in a bit."
The Bridge was a mess. Tharn was covered in blood. There were bodies all over the place.
"Have fun?" I asked.
Tharn just gave me a creepy laugh. I sat down at the navigation console and plugged in the coordinates for the Migrant Fleet. I knew that chances were we'd run into a Heavy Fleet vessel long before we reached the main body of the fleet. Hopefully they'd talk first before shooting at us.
"Where are we going?" Tharn asked.
"The Migrant Fleet. They'll have the resources to get the slaves somewhere safe. Besides I have a traitor I need to hand over to them."
"What about me?" Tharn asked.
I turned and looked at him. He looked a little twitchy at the idea of going to the Quarian Migrant Fleet. "What's wrong?"
Tharn just growled. "I've worked as a mercenary for a while now. I've killed a few Quarians during that time, at the time it was just business. You kept me from being a slave, and I said I'd follow you but . . ." he trailed off.
"But you'd rather not go to the heart of the Quarian Fleet." I finished.
"Yeah." He said.
"How old are you, Tharn?" I asked.
"I think I'm ninety, maybe a hundred." He admitted.
My eye's widened, that was extremely young for a Krogan. It bothered me a bit that he admitted to killing Quarians, but without his help there was no way I would have been able to take the ship.
"Can you fly a shuttle?" I ask.
"I can plot a course through a relay, and I can land, but not very well." He says.
"Come with me."
Together the two of us make our way the hanger bay. We spend the entire time in silence. I don't speak until we reach the shuttle I took from the Migrant Fleet.
"Take this." I said.
Tharn looked at me, eyes wide. "What?"
"Take this and go home to Tuchanka. Stay there for a few years and learn something." I said.
"Why are you doing this?" Tharn asked.
"Because, I know what it's like to be in over your head." I said. "I don't think you're a bad person Tharn. Sure you've done some questionable things, so have I. Hell I just spaced an entire crew and I don't feel bad about that. Nobody's perfect Tharn. You helped me, now I'm returning the favor. Take whatever credits you got from the Captain's omni-tool and just go."
Tharn's eye's narrowed for a bit, "You're alright for a Quarian Marine, you know that?"
I couldn't help but laugh, "I'm no marine. I'm only 15." I said,
Tharn's eyes widened for a bit, then he too started laughing. "What's your name Quarian?"
"Tola'Nor nar Tenkuku, at your service." I said with a dramatic flair.
Tharn laughed out loud. "Tola if you ever need me, just call. I'll crack a few heads for you, or maybe more."
"Just do me a favor Tharn. Keep out of trouble for a while? Maybe a few years or something. I'll look you up when I go on my pilgrimage and we'll have a couple of drinks."
"HA! You got a deal!" I watched as Tharn boarded the shuttle and took off. Technically the shuttle belonged to the Migrant Fleet, but I figured a Batarian cruiser would be more than enough to pay for the loss of a single shuttle.
A/N: I'm sorry it's been a while. I've been having to deal with medical issues for a while and I haven't felt like writing. But I'm starting to get better now so don't fret. More updates should be coming soon. Let me know what yall think in the reviews and comments.