Robocops and Robbers 12
The Mako screeches to a halt outside the Exo-Geni office, with Garrus shouting, "We've got more of those spider things!"
"I'm on it," Wrex chuckles, turning the turret on the encroaching Geth.
A grand total of ten seconds later and the entrance to the office is cleared. The team hops out of their ride and pull their weapons. Murphy, as they move towards the entrance, notes, "This doesn't make any sense."
"What? That the Geth are attacking this no name colony?" Wrex asks.
"Actually, that makes a great deal of sense," Liara interrupts, "Feros is one of the most well preserved Prothean colonies every found, and it would certainly hold a large amount of data on anything the Protheans held."
"Why aren't you here, then?" Garrus asks, curious
"Exo-Geni refused OCP's proposal for a joint dig," Murphy tells him, "They managed to pull the wool over the Council's eyes with how extensive the ruins were, and when everyone figured out what they'd done, it was tied into a very neat legal bow."
"Then what doesn't make sense?" Garrus asks.
"Why the office is so far from the colony," Murphy tells him, then he hops into a pit with some broken stairs at the bottom, "Looks like the door's over here."
The team enters the office building, and instead of the main entrance, it looks like they've found themselves in the parking garage. Wrex chuckles, "Looks like we're lost."
"We aren't lost," Murphy objects, "We're just, taking an alternate approach."
Garrus rolls his eyes, "Well your app-"
"Varren!" Liara interrupts him, and the four turn their guns on the charging beasts.
A quick hail of bullets reduces the number of varren to the point that the survivors retreat, scampering into holes along the walls and barking at each other in anger and pain. The team lower their weapons and move towards the door on the other end of the hallway, but their advance is stopped when Wrex gets shot in the face.
The massive Krogan grunts as his barrier flares and collapses to the sudden multitude of bullets, and he ducks his head and shouts, "Hey!"
Murphy and Garrus, somewhat used to unexpected and intense shootouts, turn their own guns to the attacker. They see a young woman somewhere in her thirties desperately firing into the Krogan's armored hide, clearly hyperventilating.
Before they can do anything, from call for calm to shooting her with stun rounds, the woman freezes in a stasis field erected by Liara. The woman's eyes twitch as she tries to take control of her body back, but fails. A silent scream escapes her lips as the Robocop gently takes the gun from her hands and waves for the asari to drop the effect.
Lisbeth, as her nametag read, falls away from them and starts crawling backwards on her hands and knees, "Please, oh god! Don't hurt me!"
"You okay?" Garrus asks Wrex as Murphy approaches the cowering woman.
"Fine," Wrex pulls a few bullets out of his carapace, "Impressed, though. Kid got the drop on me, that's hard to do."
"If she's been hiding from the Varren, it makes sense that she'd be able to mask her presence from even you," Liara notes.
The three carry on their conversation for a minute or two before Murphy rejoins them, "Alright, I've got her access card, should get us through any locked doors."
"Learn anything interesting?" Wrex asks.
"I did," Murphy nods, "Exo-geni has been conducting human experimentation on the colonists, exposing them to a local entity called a Thorian."
"Local entity?" Garrus asks.
"It's a plant that controls minds," Murphy explains further, then transfers some data to Garrus's omnitool, "Doctor Baynham has been collecting evidence that she planned to bring to the colonial board."
"Bet the Geth attack put a damper on that," Wrex snorts.
"It did," Murphy nods, "She had reached the extent of her investigative abilities when this whole mess happened."
"Isn't Dr. Baynham the woman we were asked to find?" Liara asks.
"Oh yeah!" Garrus grunts, "we were supposed to keep an eye out for her."
"Well she was keeping an eye out for us, instead," Wrex pulls another bullet from his cheek, "Let's go, I wanna kills something."
"Let's hope Shepard isn't running into any hotile locals on his end," Garrus notes to his partner, "Cause that sucked, funny, but I wouldn't wanna be Wrex's face right now."
- Noveria -
Shepard growls as he hides behind heavy cover, "I told you we should have just killed them when we had the chance."
"We didn't know they were gonna start shooting at us, skipper," Ash notes from beside him, then peeks her head up, "Shit, Tali, they've got a Mech!"
"On it," Tali opens her omnitool and starts to hack, "Cover me!"
Kaiden and Shepard pop out of cover; the former throwing out a biotic explosion to get the Peak 15 security staff from getting close to their position, the latter to take a few shots with the rifle he got from the Order at the advancing Mech.
"How the hell do they have an Ed?" Shepard asks, rhetorically, "Binary Helix doesn't have a reputation for using other company's products."
"OCP makes good stuff," Ashley notes, and pops out of cover to take a few shots at the security guards.
All in all, there were twelve less rent-a-cops than there were at the start of the fight, and the Spectre team was down only on ammo.
"Got it," Tali exclaims, then swipes her hand across her screen.
"NEW ADMINISTRATOR ACCEPTED!" Ed-2009 exclaims, and turns its weapons on the security officers, to their horror.
As the mech turns their attackers to paste, Shepard asks Tali, "What did you do?"
"Alex gave me admin access to most of OCP's ordinance," Tali tells him, smiling under her mask as she picks Ed's targets, "Not the ships or anything like that, but for stuff like firearms and mechs."
"Firearms?" Ashley asks.
"Yeah," Tali nods, "Everything OCP makes apparently has a kill switch installed that lets anyone with high enough clearance to take control.
"Who the hell has clearance for that?" Shepard asks, now worried for the state of the Alliance's military contracts.
"Detective Murphy said that it was him and me," Tali tells him, "And that he's gonna take it away once the mission's over."
Shepard decides that it probably isn't a good idea to point out that doing so would still leave his fellow Spectre with the most dangerous big red button in history. Murphy was a Spectre, they were all big red buttons, really.
"I think everyone's dead," Kaiden notes, looking up from cover, only to duck down when Ed-2009 starts to swivel in his direction, "Uh, Tali, you know the kinda reputations those things have, right?"
"They're really good at killing things?" Tali ventures.
"Yeah," Kaiden agrees, then adds, "Everything."
"Everything," he emphasises, then tells her, "I'd rather not end up a fine red mist, so could you shut it down?"
"Oh, alright," Tali sighs, then adds, "But we're coming back for it when we're done. I've always wanted a big robot puppy, and this is perfect."
It really was, because the Ed-2009 had fixed its ancient predecessors problems with stability and stairs with the simple addition of a second pair of legs. The end result was a giant mech that resembled a puppy with guns for ears and a disposition towards biting.
OCP had built the equivalent of a robotic chiwawa.
- Feros -
Wrex laughs as the Geth ship fell out of sight, "Ha! Suck it!"
"Suck what?" Liara asks.
Wrex freezes, then after a few seconds of silence he tells her, "the barrel of my gun… is what that means."
"Oh," Liara smirks behind the Krogan's back, "Is that what it means?"
"Yes," Wrex nods, slowly, turning. Then he sees her smirk and he breaks into an even bigger guffaw than before, "Damn, kid, you got me!"
"Yes I did," Liara saunters past him and out the main doors.
Murphy and Garrus chuckle as they follow her, the Turian patting Wrex on the arm as he passes in commiseration, "She got me a few times, too."
"How is there that much deviousness in such a little girl?" Wrex groans
"No idea," Garrus shrugs, "Just be glad she isn't after you, Alex has to deal with it all the time."
"Does he even have a quad?" Wrex asks.
"I'm pretty sure only Krogan have a quad," the former C-Sec officer notes.
Wrex lets out a laugh, "No wonder you're such a pansy, Turian."
Garrus rolls his eyes, lapsing into silence as they exit the Exo-Geni office. He sees Lizbeth Baynham waiting for them at the Mako and turns a questioning glance at Murphy.
"Dr. Baynham has state's evidence," the other Spectre tells him, "and it would be somewhat cruel to leave her all alone out here."
"Yes, left alone in a mass of Prothean ruins," Liara snorts, "what could be worse?"
Alex smiles at her, "You know what I mean."
Liara smiles back at him, then climbs into the Mako, "So what's our plan?"
"We drop Dr. Baynham off with her family, then we figure out what Saren wanted with the Prothean," Murphy tells her, getting behind the wheel.
"Where is this big plant anyway?" Wrex asks, grabbing the guns again.
Murphy activates the vehicle and tells him, "Under the colony."
- Noveria -
"Alright," Tali flicks her omnitool and a hard hologram pad comes into existence in her hands, from it rises a three dimensional map of the room they know Benezia to be behind, "Here we go."
Shepard points at the entrance in front of them, "They've bottled us in, this is the only entrance we can reach without running into a line of fire from the Geth or Benezia's commandos."
"So what's the plan, Shepard?" Kaiden asks.
"We spring the trap," He tells his friend, then grins and points over Tali's shoulder, "With that."
The Ed-2009 slumps in the middle of the floor, and Kaiden shivers, "You do remember the vids, right boss?"
"I do," Shepard rolls his eyes, "I also know that there've been more than two hundred years of updates so that he doesn't fill us full of holes."
"You really taking that risk, skipper?" Ashley asks, knowing that it's only the desperate and the stupid that buy the Ed-2009s when there were dozens of better models out there, though for a lot more money.
"Hell no," Shepard grunts, "We're pushing it through the door then hiding."
"Aw," Tali pouts, "But I want one!"
"Ask Murphy when you see him again," Ash tells her, "I'd rather not have two tons of friendly fire up my ass."
Tali sighs, "I'll get to work."
"Link visual feeds to Ed's camera's" Shepard tells his team, "We need to know what we're facing before we get in there, and not just a scan. I want us with visuals."
The other three nod and when Tali activates the cumbersome mech, they link their feeds into the machine. It starts up, jerking to its feet and looking around. Hidden behind cover, they watch as it scrolls through options on its HUD, before finally selecting the 'Patrol' option.
The Ed-2009 trudges through the door they'd opened. It led to a hallway, with Benezia at the other end. Tali plots the mech's course, and it opens the doorway on the other end of the hallway. Shepard narrows his eyes when he sees that Benezia is indeed there, standing atop a large platform facing the biggest bug he'd ever seen.
Two minutes later and he knows exactly what kind of creature it is, "Rachni? The fuck?"
"I thought the Krogan wiped out the Rachni?" Kaiden asks.
"That isn't what's important right now," Tali notes.
Shepard looks at her and tilts his head, knowing she can't see his raised eyebrow.
"Benezia is talking to the Ed," Tali points out, then adds, "Like it's you, Shepard."
The Spectre blinks, then turns his attention to the feed, and sure enough, the Matriarch was carrying on a conversation with the Ed-2009 as though it were Shepard, carrying on the second half of a conversation.
"She's insane," Ashley notes.
"Probably," Shepard agrees, then sighs, "Shit."
"What?" Kaiden asks.
"How are we supposed to tell Liara that we had to kill her insane mother?" Shepard asks, "That's like when they shot Old Yeller! And who doesn't cry when Old Yeller gets shot?"
"Who?" Tali asks
"Old movie," Kaiden tells her, "Shepard loves the classics."
"Save it for later," Ashley demands, asking, "The hell are we supposed to do?"
"I don't know, but whatever it is, we better act fast," Shepard groans as Benezia decides to flex her biotic power and the feed to the Ed-2009 cuts off.
The explosion from the other room isn't encouraging.