The Legacy of Wrath
An air of stunned silence descended on the gathered onlookers as Asura pulled himself up to his full height.
"I won't ask again!" but the Shinkoku's blazing fury suddenly dimmed somewhat as the towering giant caught sight of the gleaming automatons standing before him, strangely alien but familiar all the same.
If Liara's brain hadn't already been trying to reboot itself, it was now. One of the gold plated constructions let out a clear and audible demand in Vedic Sanskrit for him to halt, which was shortly followed by a second demand for his surrender from the other one. The response was short and rather predictable.
"Nahīṁ!" the effect was almost instantaneous and the first automaton let out a high pitched shriek before lashing out with its staff, as the two guardians attempted to rush him at the same time. "LET'S SEE YOUR WORTH!" bellowed Asura as he met them head on.
Not too far away:
"Holy shit," muttered Jack in open disbelief as she watched her towering friend go toe to toe with the two weird looking robots, from behind the relative safety of a nearby tree.
"You got this big guy," the biotic whispered as the giant slammed a metal fist into his nearest opponent, which somehow managed to block the strike with the main body of its staff, but it did clearly bend under the impact.
"I think it's time to leave," declared a voice from nearby suddenly. The female criminal became aware of a trio of people nearby, one of them looking awfully like the egg- head they'd come here to save.
"And here I thought I was going to be the third wheel," grinned the biotic coldly as the all too familiar glow washed over her arms. "Looks like it's my lucky day after all."
The surprises just seem to keep coming today thought Liara uneasily. She dodged to one side as a blast of biotic energy tore through the ground all around her, one moment she'd been led rather forcefully away from the escalating battle (though it was more like some kind of natural disaster at this point as the ground cracked and heaved all around them.) The next moment she'd been thrown clear as an extremely angry looking human slammed into the Asari matron, sending her crashing into the nearby undergrowth with a bone shuddering crash, before turning her attention fully towards Liara. If the human had intended to say anything it was cut short by a savage right hook from the female drell that seemingly materialised in front of her in an instant. Events rapidly escalated after that.
"Is that the best you've got you frog faced bitch!" roared the tattooed woman loudly, as she ducked under a power infused kick and planted an elbow squarely into the face of her attacker, who was sent stumbling backwards, cursing profusely as crimson gore coated the bottom half of her face.
"There is no need for such slurs" retorted the senior priestess evenly as she slashed at the air where only a split second earlier the human's head had been and for a long second Liara could have sworn she caught sight of a dark line cut cleanly through the air, but a moment later she blinked and it was gone, but the maiden couldn't help but feel a cold feeling run down her spine.
"God damn it, why won't you just get stuffed!" roared Jack and she dodged to one side as the uncomfortably silent drell attempted to cut her in half with a horizontal swing from the glowing edge of her hand. "Because you're really getting on my nerves!"
"The feeling is more than mutual I assure you," replied her opponent calmly as she took a stance. "I would ask that you do not get in our way, but judging by your choice of companions that is highly unlikely."
"Well aren't you smart!" snorted Jack dismissively as she coated herself once more in dark energy. "Let's see if you can fight as well as you can talk."
"As you wish." The pair slammed into each other once again sending clumps of turf somersaulting into the air, as the ground broke up beneath them.
"Surrender!" the artificial construct demanded once again in flawless Vedic Sanskrit as it lunged at Asura with the razor sharp end of its staff, attempting to pin one of his legs in place with the weapon. "Submit to the divine mandate of heaven."
"Not until my duty is done!" Countered the shinkoku sharply as he blocked an attack from the other machine that had attempted to get round behind him and take him by surprise.
"You have been warned," declared the second automaton coldly, dodging to one side as it narrowly avoided taking a metallic fist to the side of its gilded helmet. "Submit to our emperor's will and he will be merciful."
"You talk too much for machines!" snarled Asura in his native tongue as he darted forward catching the nearest construct off guard as it quickly took a kick to the chest plate that sent it flying backwards into the undergrowth with a crashing thud. "NOW FIGHT ME!"
The four biotic users flinched momentarily and the din of battle suddenly increased exponentially, as the main event nearby got underway, with gusto, judging from the deafening crescendo that washed over them, like a ferocious tide.
"Kind of makes me glad that I only have to deal with you whack jobs," commented Jack absentmindedly as she slammed the Asari matriarch's face into the forest floor viciously. "Now die!" the angry woman repeated the manoeuvre several times until she was forced to disengage as the other Athameian came to her fellow's rescue.
"You'll regret that," snapped the drell coldly as she was suddenly enveloped in a glowing green glow "Face the goddess's wrath!"
"Bring it prayer bitch!" countered the biotic as she unleashed a blast of dark matter energy that would have sent a normal person hurtling out of view at a breakneck pace, but not this time as with growing confusion and concern the biotic looked on as her opponent shrugged off the impact and launched herself through the air towards her, mere moments later.
"Fuck!" but Jack didn't have time to follow up on the comment as she ate a punch to the face that ripped through her barriers and connected squarely with her jaw with a meaty thud.
"I will give it to you," stated the female drell evenly as she continued to land blow after blow on Jacks exposed form as she attempted to defend herself from the rain of attacks "You are powerful, but raw power isn't enough to overcome experience" the remark was quickly followed up with a loud crack as the reptilian figure snapped her right arm like a twig.
"I would apologise but at this exact moment in time I don't think you would accept it" she added steadily over the bellowing roar of expletives that cascaded out of the tattooed woman's mouth.
"I'll fucking destroy you!" spat Jack as burning rage coursed through her veins. "You hear me you gecko like fuck!" she flared at full power, pushing her attacker back away from her as the young woman vaulted back upright, ready for round two.
"Is there really a need for racial slurs?" questioned the drell as she adopted a fighting stance, the strange green power slowly flowing over her form.
"Shut the fuck up!" bellowed the biotic as she vanished in a glowing blaze, but once again the skilled opponent managed to sidestep the attack and the only thing that prevented Jack from eating a counter attack was a blast of biotic energy that slammed into the figures exposed back, sending the drell staggering forwards just-in-time to eat a straight left from the angry biotic that sent the Athameian crashing into a nearby tree.
"How do you like that bitch!" crowed the bruised and battered woman as she gingerly cradled her aching limb in her good hand. "Bet you didn't see that coming!" Unfortunately her celebrations ran rather hollow as a bellowing roar echoed out over the surrounding landscape.
"I take it that your here to rescue me," stated the maiden from nearby as the pair quickly made their escape from the conflict zone as a tree came sailing overhead. "Not that I'm ungrateful but..."
"You were expecting the big guy?" retorted Jack dismissively. "Well you got stuck with me instead princess, let's go." The remark induced an unhappy glare from the young Asari but she had the clarity of mind to put her displeasure to one side as a split-second later one of the lumbering automaton came somersaulting through a nearby clump of trees in a shower of gleaming metal fragments.
"I think that would be for the best," she spluttered and the duo beat a hasty retreat as the deafening clash of battle drew ever closer.
"YOU WILL KNOW PAIN!" Asura's roar reverberated throughout the tree covered hill side as he slammed a metallic fist into the faceplate of the nearest synthetic opponent with a sickening crack as he sent it slamming into the dirt some distance away, but it cost the Guardian General dearly as a split-second later there came a sound similar to shattering glass as the tip of a staff speared clean through the Shinkoku's left side and came rocketing out the other, chunks of artificial skin flaking away as it did so.
"Submit for judgement!" declared the second construct coldly as it ripped its weapon free before distancing itself, as the automaton ducked out of reach of his counter attack.
"YOU DARE!" a wave of burning red energy began pouring out of the cracks that criss-crossed the giants torso. "YOU DARE!?" the damaged guardians swiftly took a few steps back as the ground around the general began breaking apart under the torrent of energy that was beginning to be unleashed.
"Warning, mantra levels surpassing safe thresholds, cascade event imminent, immediate suppression of target is advised," stated one of the robots loudly as the two assailants quickly spun their staffs around in their hands before they sent them hurtling like javelins towards the enraged foe, who didn't even bother to dodge as he closed the gap between them and in some ways it was worse as Asura seemingly shrugged off the two brazen rods that slammed into his body, one taking him in the shoulder, the other burying itself mid way up its length in his chest.
"KNOW PAIN!" bellowed the Shinkoku in his native tongue and his flame covered fists wrapped themselves around the nearest construct's throat before he turned the struggling opponent into an improvised weapon as he smashed the unfortunate synthetic into its colleague in a shower of blazing green sparks, as plating gave way under the force of the impact.
"Forgive us our Emperor," spluttered one of the damaged synthetics weakly. Moments later its head was removed from its shoulders in a fountain of glowing green fluid, it was quickly accompanied by its battle brother, as the enraged giant slammed its hand clean through the remaining constructs chassis, leaving it a ruined mess.
"Die with honour" muttered Asura as the life bled out of the guardians optics, unfortunately he didn't get to savour the victory as gut churning pain tore through his right arm as a blast of pure mantra smashed into his exposed side, sending the giant crashing into the ground as a third guardian came storming out of the tree line towards him, its staff glowing with barely contained energy. "Must have been trapped in the wreckage of the transport!" spat the general angrily, as he caught sight of the charred and blackened appearance of the newly arrived automaton. "SO BE IT!" The towering figure flared his fury once more as the construct darted forwards, its weapon at the ready.
"It's gone quiet," muttered the tattooed woman softly, as the pair knelt, half hidden, in a rather spacious bush, which considering the last few hours wasn't that unwelcome to Liara, who had found herself in rather strange company of late, and this included her rescuer who, though rather blunt, at least seemed determined to keep her out of harm's way. This had translated into them sprinting for dear life, deeper into the forest, until the sounds of battle had died into the background.
"I think we've lost them" wheezed the young maiden breathlessly, as she allowed herself to drop back down onto the damp forest floor with a light thud.
"Yer but we also lost the big guy," muttered the rough looking woman, scanning the surrounding tree line. "That idiot better not be doing anything stupid." Liara winced ever so slightly.
"I think that our version of stupid and Asura's are up for interpretation," she stuttered uneasily, her confidence quickly evaporating in the face of the frigid atmosphere radiating from her new associate. "Not that that's such a bad thing."
"Yer right," snorted her rescuer irritably. "That moron has a knack for getting into trouble." Her gaze fixed itself onto Liara pointedly. "Case in point, who the fuck attacks the Asari home world singlehanded?!" Liara felt her eyes widen in disbelief.
"He did what!" the biotic cringed slightly at the volume.
"Keep your fucking voice down!" she snapped "Yes we are technically attacking your home world, if by attacking you mean running the navel picket line around the planet, how the fuck do you think we got down here in the first place? It's not like the big guy or myself can just walk through customs." The maiden blushed slightly in embarrassment.
"You have a point Miss..."
"Nought, Jacqueline Nought" replied the individual coldly. "Just going to get this out of the way right now, I really don't like you right about now." The rather blunt statement caught the academic by surprise and she blinked at Jaqueline in shocked surprise.
"My apologies..." but the remark was quickly brushed to one side by the human biotic with a wave of her hand.
"It's not you personally, just the shitty situation, my arm" she gingerly lifted the broken limb up into view "We also had a rather close encounter of the fighting kind with a council spectre on the way over here, so the sooner we get the hell off this world the better."
"He fought a spectre!?" spluttered the Asari "Goddess, why?" Her rescuer grimaced.
"The purple bitch got the drop on me when I was coming back from talking to that friend of yours, the old woman with the kid."
"You mean the Lawfords, are they ok?" hastily questioned Liara, a note of worry creeping into her voice.
"They're fine. The stuck up bitch caught me on the way back, would have been able to take her if the cheating shit hadn't pulled out nullification grenades." Miss Nought flexed her shoulder painfully at the memory. "Hurt like hell"
"That does sound unpleasant," murmured the young maiden sympathetically.
"Imagine someone stuffing a power cable up your ass and turning it on, it was like that," muttered the tattooed human. "Didn't help them much in all honesty, the big guy turned up right after they did that and delivered one hell of a smack down." Liara grimaced, she had witnessed the Shinkoku's wrath first hand and could only imagine the carnage that had been unleashed.
"If that is the case then we'll need to leave as soon as possible," countered the academic pointedly. "Before the local security forces lock down the space ports and start a planet wide manhunt."
"You're not talking to some amateur here blue," stated the biotic. "This won't be the first time that I've blasted off some council rock and it won't be the last. " Their conversation was sharply interrupted by the sounds of crashing wood as something came smashing through the tree line towards them. "Get behind me!" snarled Miss Nought as an all too familiar aura wrapped itself around her, which quickly vanished into thin air as the figure came staggering into view.
"Goddess no!" the two of them darted forward as Asura, battered, body broken and missing an arm dropped to his knees a few dozen meters away from the pair, large gaping holes dominating his person.
"Oh shit, oh shit," Miss Nought had seemingly lost her composure and her speech quickly degraded into a cavalcade of barely coherent curse words. Nervously she ran a hand across the giant's cracked and blackened chest. "Just hold on big guy, just hold on." The human glanced over towards the young maiden in desperation "Help me," she mouthed frantically.
"We need to get him to hospital," stammered the Asari uneasily as she grimaced at the horrific injurers done to her friend, although the seeming lack of blood was rather strange.
"Don't need a healer," wheezed the wounded demi-god weakly as he raised his fractured face to look at them, the two individuals flinched at the sight, the man's skin had been broken away to reveal the thick bands of muscle underneath and the academic was struck by the artificial nature of the man in front of her, like an ancient statue, its lacquer broken and flaking with age.
"I can see your heart beating dude, you need a fucking doctor!" countered Miss Nought in disbelief as she attempted to get the man mountain to his feet.
"Your medicine cannot help me, I have transcended beyond the mortal realm," muttered Asura quietly, as the two individuals, with his weakened aid, managed to drag him upright.
"What the fuck does that even mean!?" snapped Jaqueline, as the three of them slowly moved off deeper into the green and pleasant land.
"The Eight Guardian Generals of Heaven, along with their divine emperor were considered god-like by the rest of the Shinkoku Trastrium, " explained Liara uncertainly, as she drew on her years of wisdom. "They were worshipped, had shrines built to them, it's not impossible..."
"That he's what, a god? Come on..." snapped the human biotic as she rudely interrupted the young maiden. "Get serious."
"It's not impossible" replied the academic nervously. "There's much that we don't know about his people's technology, it's not completely outside the realms of possibility, that he's been enhanced to such an extent that he surpasses normal "mortals" as he calls them." A bizarre look of disbelief and worry darted across the woman's face as her mind apparently digested the information being offered.
"Then how the fuck are we going fix him?!" she demanded sharply "Because there's no fucking way in hell that I'm just going to sit around with my thumb up my ass as the big guy bleeds out in front of me!" It was a good question and one that Liara had been considering quite deeply for the last few moments.
"Mantra," stated the maiden suddenly. "We need mantra."
"What the fuck is mantra?" countered the human irritably as the pair manhandled their lumbering companion through the thinning woodland.
"Mantra is a type of energy that the Shinkoku Trastrium civilisation used as its primary fuel source," explained the archaeologist excitedly, as she slipped back into a professional mind set.
"Well that's great and all but in case you haven't noticed he isn't a blood hovercar or spaceship!" snapped the biotic angrily.
"I am well aware of that" replied the Asari tiredly, rolling her eyes at the comment. "But if you'd let me finish, mantra is an energy source that we know a little about. It was theorised by some of my colleagues that it was in fact natural, occurring within all life forms. I experienced it first hand when I stumbled upon the building holding him originally."
"What, like chakra and all the hippy trippy shit?" questioned the woman incredulously.
"Indeed, in fact I once wrote a paper linking such traditions on earth back to the known Shinkoku religious practices," explained Liara, as she re-adjusted her grip around what was left of Asura's missing right arm.
"So what, we need to get him to drink the stuff or something?" muttered Miss Nought "And where are we even going to find it, because I'm guessing that shit from twenty thousand years ago isn't just going to be lying around all over the place."Liara again winced again at the comment.
"And in that lies the problem," she admitted. "Mantra is heavily controlled within council space, so the only places we'll find any in significant quantity is in a secure facility, like a laboratory or mega corporation." Rather understandably this wasn't well received by her rescuer, who let it be known by the string of expletives that issued from her mouth.
"Finished?" Enquired the maiden after a few minutes had passed.
"Yes, " came the cold reply. "Not that it does us any good, no offence but you don't look like the type to be knocking over buildings."
"I will be the first to admit that I may lack the experience for such an undertaking. I do have confidence in my abilities, something that the good general will attest to." Miss Nought glanced up at the towering giant above her.
"Is that so?" she muttered.
"I do not need either of you to put yourselves at risk for my sake, I will heal in time," rumbled Asura quietly almost as if the act of speaking was causing him pain.
"And how long will that take asshole?" challenged Nought as she ran a glance over the Shinkoku's ruined appearance. "Fuck, what were those things anyway?"
"They spoke Vedic Sanskrit," whispered the maiden uneasily as she too glanced nervously at her self-appointed guardian. "You know what they are don't you?" The imposing figure let out a pained sigh.
"They are the Doji, the primary ground forces of the Shinkoku military," declared the general grimly. "Though I do not know which guardian fleet they hail from. It has been too long and judging from their appearance these particular Doji have been heavily modified by whoever is now commanding them," Liara grimaced.
"I didn't know that they were Doji" She whispered "But to the faithful of Athame they are unmistakable as the guardians of the faith, the protectors of the high temple and the personal bodyguards of the Most Holy."
"Ok, I'm lost," interrupted the tattooed woman irritably, as she let her opinion be known. "Why are a bunch of cultists running around with twenty thousand year old robots?"
"That is rather hard to explain," stammered the maiden as she found herself the focal point of everyone's attention. "The cult has always had a strong interest in Shinkoku artefacts and history and have been the main driving force behind a large number of archaeological expeditions, that have discovered key sites of scientific interest over the centuries."
"Bet the Council doesn't like that," chuckled the biotic evilly. "Those guys really don't like sharing power with anyone, especially not with a religious organisation."
"It has been rather tense the last half a millennia" admitted Liara. "My mother blames a lot of the problems on the Turians. Their government does not like split loyalty in their society and the cult represents that to them, so they like to kick up a fuss." That got a laugh out of Miss Nought.
"I bet, hey is it true that your leader, what did you call her? The Most Holy, is it true that she is immortal or something, right?" questioned the human, as they found themselves emerging onto rolling plains of well kept farmland, that stretched away as far as the eye could see.
"I have heard some people suggest that. It has been a topic of much debate over many years as to what is the exact nature of the Most Holy," explained the academic excitedly, as she slipped into her area of interest. "I'd even heard some individuals speculate that the Most Holy could be the last surviving Shinkoku, but judging from our current companion, I'd say that was now slightly inaccurate." That drew a snort out of the biotic.
"You hear that big guy, sounds like there might be another one of you running around out there."
"It was to be expected," declared the intimidating figurer quietly. "Even with our retreat to the home territories my people would still be watching for the old enemy's return." An air of cold dread was slowly creeping into the conversation.
"You're talking about the Gohma Vlitra aren't you," questioned Liara uneasily as the little group made their way through what appeared to be a field of Paederia foetida, with its strong sulphurous odour.
"Those were the guys that did in the Protheans right?" countered Nought only to receive raised eyebrows as the others took in her statement. "What? just because I've got tattoos doesn't mean I don't read, not a lot else you can do when your hiding from the local security forces," snapped the biotic sharply.
"Jacqueline," chastised the wounded Shinkoku gently as he pried open one eye to fix her with a disapproving stare.
"Fine," huffed the woman. "God you're such a boy scout."
"Getting back to the topic at hand" declared the academic tiredly. "Are you telling us that the Gohma Vlitra still exist?"
"In some form, the long war taught us that the old enemy is never truly gone, only waiting, we must be ready for their eventual return." His remark sent a cold shiver down the spines of his two listeners.
"Yer, really not looking forward to that shit," muttered Jacqueline, as the distant rumble of farm machinery began making its way towards them, carried by a light breeze.
"Seems that we're no longer alone," stated Liara uneasily, as the trio caught sight of a large, but slick looking hover vehicle that was trundling happily across the lush green fields.
"Good, I was tired of walking," muttered the human biotic, as a familiar blue aura wrapped itself around her form.
Serrice Spring Dawn Memorial Hospital:
"So let's recap," groaned Nihlus for the umpteenth time that day. "After interrogating Doctor T'soni's associates, you received information that the primary target was rapidly approaching your location with the intention of escorting the VIP off the planet." The Asari matron rolled her eyes dismissively as she indicated he should pick up the pace, with a wave of her hand. "After which you mobilized local assets to locate and reacquire the doctor, as well as keep an eye on the most likely point of contact that that the primary target would use to find her companions.
"I was there Kryik," stated the robotic tone that emanated from the wounded agent's data pad as she typed in a response. "Can we get on with it!"
"Look the Council wants a status report," countered the Turian evenly as he glanced over at his colleague. "And more importantly a damn good explanation for everything that just happened, so you're going to want to get your story straight believe you me."
"Your equally to blame Kryik!" The spectre nodded.
"True, but unlike you I didn't manage to fuck it up in full few of the general public." This comeback earned him a withering glare and a less than polite hand gesture from his fellow agent.
"News?" the question wasn't unexpected. Ever since regaining consciousness Vasir had been more than a little forceful in wanting to know up to date information concerning the ongoing investigation and had to be reprimanded by her college before she would consent to remain in her sick bed.
"Some," admitted the Turian grimly, earning him the matrons full attention. "Local security forces were called to a large agro farm after its owner reported that one of its workers had her hover craft stolen by several unknown individuals, one of them a massive human." Vasir's face twisted in a chilling snarl at the mention of the target.
"What else?" she typed forcibly "That can't just be it" Her fellow agent nodded.
"The witness said the large human from what see saw was badly injured and was basically being carried by the other two"
"Other two?" Nihlus grimaced as she picked up on that fact.
"From the descriptions given, one was definitely Jacqueline Nought, the other judging from the fact that she was an Asari maiden in her late stages points to the fact that it was more than likely Doctor T'soni."
There was a blast of pressure, as a thin veil of biotic power wrapper itself around the enraged Asari spectre.
"What is going on in here!" demanded the head of department a split second later as he, along with a number of nurses, came storming into the room "AgentKryik I permitted you to talk to your colleague under the strict instruction that she was not to become agitated! My patient is in a delicate state at the moment and any unnecessary stress will only exacerbate her condition further!" The Turian let out a long sigh, he hated dealing with doctors. In his experience they were one of the few professions that tended not to give a damn about his elite status and though he'd never admit it, being on the sharp end of a nurse's temper was not something he particularly enjoyed. For the time being then, he simply sidestepped a potential storm by allowing the medical personnel to swarm around his colleague, as they attempted to calm her.
"I take it that Agent Vasir was less than cooperative" stated a voice from just behind the spectre.
"Even on a good day Tela doesn't really like to play ball" muttered Nihlus tiredly as he glanced over his shoulder at the younger looking female Turian who had been waiting patiently outside for the last few hours. He didn't know what the council was playing at sending this civilian for him to babysit but considering that she was the kid of Castis Vakarian itmeant that Councillor Spartacus was definitely up to something. Those two had been thick as thieves back in basic training, if his unauthorised snooping into his bosse's background had been anything to go by.
"Shall we depart then?" enquired the young female evenly as she fixed the agent with a long stare.
"Fine, I need to check in with the local security chief anyway," muttered the agent wearily. "Something didn't sit right with me about the post operational report, the one that the first officers on the scene handed in."
"Do you think they're lying?" countered his unwanted companion with obvious interest, but the question went unanswered as the pair trundled out into the late afternoon glow.
"How goes the recovery mission," asked High Priestess Leius grimly, from behind her data pad. She fixed Sister Tev'yais with a long glare, fortunately for the acolyte in question she'd kept her head bowed low as the Asari matron knelt before her superior.
"We've recovered all the blessed remains of the guardians Revered Eminence, they'll be returned to the High Temple in the next few hours."
"And the local authorities, have they been spoken to?"
"As far as anyone knows nothing happened out there besides the theft of some agricultural machinery," replied the matron respectfully.
"Good, keep it that way," declared High Priestess Leius coldly. "The last thing we need is the local security forces causing problems at this point in time, especially with spectres snooping around." the air around them turned tense.
"Do you wish me to distract them?" questioned the acolyte quietly. "Knowing the agent in question it will be more than likely that he'll attempt to interfere." The statement drew a dismissive snort from the older Asari as she slowly eased herself out from behind her desk.
"If he didn't then I would question the basis of his appointment." Her Revered Eminence began slowly pacing back and forth across a meticulously handcrafted carpet. "No, Agent Kryik is rapidly becoming an unwanted annoyance, one that should well and truly be plucked, but now is not the time." The matriarch came to a halt in front of her fellow Athameian. "At the moment our primary focus needs to be keeping collateral damage to a minimum."
"As you command your Revered Eminence," murmured Tev'yais respectfully. "What are your orders?"
"Keep an eye on the council's agent, I want him kept away from anything that could lead back to the faith," commanded the high priestess firmly. "You are not allowed to engage him in combat unless there is no other choice. You are permitted however to silence anyone else, as long as they are not a member of the faithful." She turned around to stare at the pearly white statue that nestled in a corner of the room. "Now, go with the Most Holy's blessing sister and do not fail us." The acolyte bowed deeply before quickly exiting the room.
"The Council's interference is becoming troublesome again it seems" declared an all too familiar tone that echoed out of the sculpture. "Send word to Sister Tevos, remind her of her duty as a member of the faithful"
"Of course Most Holy," murmured the high priestess respectfully, as she lowered her head in a sign of respect. "What do you wish me to do about the young T'soni and her associates?" she added quietly. There was a short pause.
"Observe them but do not interfere, inform me if anything changes."
"As you command."
Somewhere on Thessia:
"Dude, you look like shit," stated Jack plainly as she glanced over at the bandaged figure that dominated one end of the shipping container they currently found themselves hiding in.
"Language," murmured the giant quietly, he'd been rather vacant the last few hours after the rush of battle had fully worn off.
"Don't you start," snapped the human biotic sharply, jabbing a finger in her companion's direction. "You're in no state to be bossing me about right now." If the towering Shinkoku heard he didn't answer. "I thought so." There was a long pause as the pair sat in silence, with only the occasional heavy clang of industrial machinery, from somewhere outside, to disturb them.
"Where's Liara?" Jack glanced up from her study of the surrounding metal plating, in time to catch the questioning look that had painted itself heavily across the man's face.
"I take it you weren't awake for that bit," countered the woman evenly. "Well don't get your panties in a twist, she's just stepped outside to take care of something, Little Miss Princess will be back soon." It hadn't taken long for Jack and the good doctor to well and truly tire of each other's company, thus they found themselves in their current situation.
"You shouldn't have let her go alone," rumbled Asura irritably, as he attempted to drag himself upright once more. "It's dangerous."
"And having me walk around in broad daylight, is that really going to help?" snorted the biotic, as she made her way over towards him. "Now sit back down before you break something else off." The fact that the big guy was walking around without an arm and seemly not dying from blood loss was rather unsettling for the other members of the group. The big guy didn't even seem to care so they'd quickly bandaged him up and dumped the general somewhere quiet, out of the public eye.
"I gave her my word," muttered the Shinkoku quietly but he didn't really resist, as Jack gently forced him back into a sitting position.
"And if you want to keep your word stay here and heal up," she snapped. He could be so stubborn when he wanted to be, fortunately for both of them the criminal's omni tool shuddered into life.
"I'm back, can you let me in please," stated an unmistakable voice from the other end of the line.
"Be right there," muttered Jack tiredly, as she stood upright. "Don't move!" she commanded, glaring down at the Shinkoku, before heading back across the freight container towards the rear doors. "You weren't followed were you?" came the challenge, as she cracked the hatch open slightly.
"Not that I'm aware of," countered the Asari irritably as she shoved passed the tattooed woman and into the narrow space, arms weighed down with shopping.
"Get anything good?" questioned Jack as she snatched one of the grocery bags from the maiden's outstretched hands and began rummaging through it.
"Some Torinozoku," stated Liara sharply as she sent a disapproving glare at the human biotic before turning her full attention towards the guardian general, who was still propped up against the back wall. "It's a kind of Asari takeaway."
"So what, we need chopsticks or something?" Questioned Jack as she pried one of the plastic boxes open, before taking a sniff.
"We eat it with forks," countered Liara in a mildly caustic tone before turning back towards Asura who by this point had pulled himself upright into a slightly more comfortable position.
"Where did you go?" he rumbled as the young maiden changed his bandages, not that he needed them, but it made the pair more comfortable if they at least attempted to keep some sense of normality with him.
"I went to get some food," she murmured distractedly before fixed him with a reassuring stare. "I'm fine really."
"You shouldn't go out on your own," criticised Asura weakly "Next time go with Jacqueline, it's safer."
"Because hanging around with me is such a good idea," the wanted criminal stated mockingly, as she tucked into her meal. "Look big guy I'm pretty sure that even blue can handle something as simple as a food run."
"What's that supposed to mean!?" snapped the archaeologist sharply. "I'm perfectly capable of looking after myself thank you!" The remark drew a disbelieving snort from the wanted woman.
"Yar because getting kidnapped by not one but two parties really instills a sense of confidence in someone," countered the biotic coldly.
"Enough Chōkarā" the brewing augment died before it even began as the Shinkoku's hard tone rumbled out across the narrow space. "We are facing enough enemies already without turning on ourselves." Liara had the grace to blush, something not copied by her fellow biotic who just let out a low grumble before turning her attention back to her meal.
"It took me a bit of digging but I think that I've found a ship that will take us off world," declared the good doctor uneasily, as she quickly changed the dirty bandages for fresh ones, checking on his seemly slowly regenerating body at the same time.
"Yer and that doesn't sound like a death trap at all," declared Jack from around a mouthful of fried meat. "Who in their right mind is going to smuggle people off planet in the middle of a system wide lockdown." There was a slight pause that went on for far too long for the criminal's taste. "We are being smuggled off world right?"
"I wouldn't call it smuggling per say..." stammered the Asari. "More like bulk livestock transportation," there was a long silence.
"You're throwing us in with the fucking space cows! What the shit!"
"It's not like I had much choice Miss Nought, you are both highly wanted fugitives with multimillion credit bounties on your heads," retorted the academic coldly. "I was lucky to find a bulk goods freighter that was willing to take this cargo container without asking too many questions"
"You do realise that we need air to breathe right? We're not like bloody fruit!" The maiden rolled her eyes at the comment.
"Of course, this an atmospheric controlled storage unit after all, I can set the amount of oxygen that it draws from the ships life systems, you'll be fine." The statement was met with disbelieving looks from those involved.
"I can't be the only one to think this is bat shit crazy," muttered Jack quietly, as she glanced over at her towering companion. "Back me up here big guy." The stone faced Shinkoku grimaced ever so slightly.
"I appreciate you are uneasy about this Jacqueline but given our current situation I do believe that this is our best option to leave this world peacefully or as peacefully as possible" declared Asura.
"Because of course you're all about subtlety, the guy who jumped out of a shuttle without a parachute."
"You did what!" spluttered Liara as she spun around to glare in worried confusion at her friend. "By the goddess, why?"
"We didn't have time to land" came the disinterested reply. "It's nothing to be worried about." The remark was not well received by the maiden who took on the unmistakable appearance of an angry blueberry, something that the human biotic found deeply entertaining, but before any of them could comment there was a gentle knocking on their cargo door.
"Competent my ass you were fucking followed!" snarled Jack as she vaulted to her feet, food flying everywhere as her lunch was quickly discarded. "Fucking shit!"
"What do we do?" the nervously question from the maiden as the pair quickly flared their auras simultaneously as there came a second round of knocking on their metal door.
"It would be rude not to answer it" rumbled the Shinkoku as he pulled himself upright. "Liara, Jacqueline get behind me" the pair exchanged knowing looks as they noted the slight swaying of the giant as he took a step forwards.
"Yer, not going to happen big guy," countered the biotic human evenly as the smaller duo took the initiative and threw open the hatch as they stepped out into the light of day.
"Good Afternoon," declared Solana Vakarian evenly, as she bowed head in polite greeting. "May I have a word?"
Somewhere not too far away:
"Come on Vozz we're going to be late for Professor Veritus's class," shouted Arnold from across the small atrium. His fellow student, was neck deep in his datapad, in a quiet corner of the room.
"I'll be right there," replied the young Salarian, as his hands danced frantically across the keyboard. "Go on without me." He didn't hear the answer, as his attention remained transfixed on the short recording that was looping on the glowing screen. "Vedic Sanskrit," whispered the trainee academic in growing awe as he gazed at a close up of an all too familiar face that had become plastered across the extranet.
Sorry for the wait folks really life came a knocking and I had to answer, hope you all like this chapter and a big thank you for reading this
A big thanks you to everyone who left a comment in the last chapter, it means a lot to know that people like my stories, So a I respectfully ask that you READIED & REVIEW if possible, if you have questions I'll be happy to answer without spoiling future plot points.
I'll see you all next on the next chapter.