Robocops and Robbers 14

- Outside the Garage -

The Mako slides to a stop twenty feet from the garage into the Feros Colony, and there's a moment of collective silence. It end with a shriek, the grotesque caricatures of humans rising to their feet in unison and letting out keening noises.

"That just doesn't sound right," Wrex grunts, "No way a human could make that kinda sound."

Garrus doesn't say anything, just pops open the doors to the Mako and firing with his rifle. There is a spurt of green from the closest grotesque as it drops to the ground with a hole in its arm. The Turian steps out of their ride and takes aim at another while he notes, relieved, "These creepy fuckers aren't people. Green blood."

"Understood," Murphy's voice notes over the radio.

"That's a relief," Liara sighs as she steps out of the Mako after Garrus and hits one of the creepers with a throw, sending it careening over the edge of the bridge, "I'd hate to do that to a person."

"Don't sell yourself short, kid," Wrex says as he pulls himself out on the other side and mounts Kalros, "You've got the instincts for this kinda work."

As the Krogan gleefully reduces the remaining creepers to mulch, Liara looks to Garrus and notes, "I'm not sure if that's a good thing."

Garrus nods in understanding, but no more words are spared as they move to the door controls. A few button presses and the doors begin to rise.

- Inside the Colony -

Robocop moved a quietly as he could, making sure to avoid spaces where he could be seen by the controlled colonists. They really couldn't be in calling the shots, they were moving like old marionette puppets directed by something that didn't know what arms and legs were for.

He had to wonder what the Thorian actually looked like, Exo-Geni hadn't been kind enough to leave any pictures around. Notes had indicated that it was more fungus than actual plant, so all Murphy could really imagine as he slipped behind some containers and watched as the colonists set themselves up to repel his teammates was a giant mushroom.

After a few minutes, the area was clear and he could see the container the colonists had used to cover the path towards the Thorian. A few seconds of analysis and he could see the crane was still attached to the container.

Kneeling down, Murphy focuses on connecting to the the local extranet. A few seconds and he had to stop himself from grunting in frustration, the crane wasn't part of the network, which meant he was going to have to either move into the open to operate it, or spike the panel quickly and leave his arm there.

Either way he was going to need that distraction, "Whenever you're ready guys, make a lot of noise."

- The Stairway to Feros Colony -

"Heh, heh, heh," Wrex chuckles, the barrels of Kalros spinning, "I can do that."

Garrus and Liara take up position behind him as he lets out a bellowing laugh and starts to advance towards the staircase. Already behind them are two unconscious colonists with their arms bound with omni-forged cuffs, and in front of them were about to be many more getting the exact same treatment.

As Kalros bellows out a constant stream of electricity, Garrus radios Murphy, "that work?"

- Crane Controls -

"Like a charm," Alex smiles as he stabs his spike into the control panel and disconnects his left arm.

He swiftly moves back into cover as he accesses the crane controls. He finds the right commands and is very grateful that the Thorian clearly knows nothing about disabling machinery. With a lurch, the crane lifts the container from the passageway.

Murphy is about to make his way towards his arm, when a pair of colonists come running back. His eyes widen under his visor as one of them trips over some exposed wiring and falls. There is a cracking sound as her arm snaps, but she just picks herself back up and moves the crowbar acting as her weapon into her free hand.

Sighing, Murphy decides to take them both out before the Thorian can cause any more harm to them than he already has. He raises his pistol, and fires twice. The lightning rounds hit the two and they drop, jerking wildling as they spasm their way into muscle lock.

OCP had spend a lot of money on stun technology, billions of dollars over the years, and he was very glad to see that they actually worked as he'd wanted them to. OCP's electrical guns were still in the prototype phase, and while they were perfect against synthetic enemies like the Geth, Alex had still been a little skeptical about how successful they'd be against people.

After retrieving his arm, he slips into the hole he made by raising the container, asking the others, "How're things going out there?"

- Just Outside Feros Colony -

Liara thrust her free hand forward and a black ball of dark energy lists through the air. The Thorian, not knowing what the ball is, has the colonists try and shoot it. It doesn't get a chance to regret its choice as Kalros barks and the colonists it was controlling twitch and drop as their muscles spasm.

Then the singularity detonates and lifts three more colonists into the air, where Liara calmly puts each down with a single shot from her pistol. Wrex laughs, "Girl, you're getting to scare me!"

"I didn't think anything could scare you, Wrex," Garrus ducks and body checks a colonist that tried to brain him with a pipe, shooting the downed man to stun him before finishing, "Why is she the one that scares you?"

"You're C-Sec," Wrex grunts, turning Kalros in a wide arc as he looks for new targets, "You been working with rules your whole life. Blue here's been working with Spectres."

"I'm a Spectre!" Garrus objects, swapping his weapons and putting a trio of rounds into creepers that are trying to rise.

Wrex laughs, "I'll start believing that when you stop being such a damn girl scout!"

"A what?" Garrus asks, now really confused.

"You mean the humans with the cookies?" Liara asks, smiling.

"Yeah, them," Wrex nods to Liara, "Bunch o' proper kids, acting all prim and proper and trying to sell me cookies."

"You didn't buy their cookies!?" Liara asks, aghast, those things were delicious!

Wrex looks at her like she's insane, "Of course I bought the cookies… that's not the point!"

"What is the point?" Garrus asks

Wrex opens his mouth, stops, then closes it for a second and frowning. He finally admits, "I forgot."

"Why are you guys talking about cookies?" Murphy's voice asks over the comms.

"Came up in conversation," Wrex coughs, and the trio step into the colony proper.

- The Thorian -

"Looks like all we've got are those damn Creep things left," Wrex notes, his voice crackling in Murphy's ear, "You find the plant yet?"

"Yeah," Murphy stares up at the massive growth handing in this central spire, "Don't know if we can call it a plant though."

"Why not?" Wrex asks, and his audio is cut by the sound of Kalros firing, "How hard is it to call something a plant?"

"Sending visuals."

"The fuck?"

"Yeah, I'm with Wrex, the fuck?" Garrus agrees.

Liara even adds her two cents in, "Indeed, this is like no other recorded species of plant ever discovered."

"Thanks guys," Murphy sighs, having hoped for more, "Any advice?"

"Fire," Wrex suggests, "Lots of fire."

Robocop rolls his eyes and steps more fully into the massive chamber housing the Thorian, looking around and letting his target tracker identify anything that might pose a threat. The biggest threat to be posed looked to be from the hundreds of Creepers that his tracker was highlighting.

He'd need to use lethal rounds then, but not before figuring out what was going on with the monster plant, because it was currently choking on something. How a plant could choke, he had no idea, but it was clearly trying to vomit something up.

"You are unwelcome!" the green Asari the Thorian spits up declares. She looks to be in her Matron stages, and she was very naked.

Murphy replies, "I know, I've come to negotiate."

"What would a creature of meat and steel need to negotiate with one such as I?" The Asari asks, "I have already spoken with your kind!"

"No, you haven't," Murphy refutes, "You've spoken with thieves and traitors, enemies wielding fire."

At the mention of fire, the Asari flinches back, as he suspected she would. He looks up at the monstrous creature, "You are the sovereign power of this planet and it was invaded by interlopers and Geth."

"And they are now our thralls!" the Asari retorts, "And the Machines are stopped."

"By me and my team," Murphy tells her, or the Thorian, seeing as it was what was pulling the strings, "And so we have requests."

"Requests!?" The Asari snarls, "Saren had 'Requests!' When I gave him what he wanted, he tried to burn us with his machines!"

"Saren was here?" Alex blinks, they'd known the Geth were attacking, but that was about it, "What did he want?"

"I will tell you nothing!" the Asari screams, getting right up to his faceplate, "It is my cipher, not his! He stole it, for he broke our bargain."

"Saren is a secondary concern," Murphy sighs, "What I really need is for you to free the colonists."

"They are thralls," The Asari tells him, calmly, "They are mine."

"I am willing to make an exchange for them," Alex tells it, "As I said, I am here to negotiate."

- Feros Colony -

Wrex slams Kalros into the chest of another Creeper as it leaps at him, and then the deluge of fire splits the thing in half and reduces the ones behind it to chunks. Garrus fires three shots with his rifle and three creepers drop. Liara lets out a pulse of biotics to send the charging creepers careening away.

"I don't know how much longer I can keep this up," Liara pants, having used her powers more in the last half day than she had in a long time.

Wrex grunts in acknowledgement, "Yeah, these creeps keep coming."

"Not… anymore," Garrus notes, and the other two turn to look in the same direction as him.

There were dozens left, but they'd stopped their assault. They were standing still as stones, watching the three of them as they took this break to reload.

"Guess Alex is negotiating with the Thorian," Garrus notes.

"Yay," Wrex grumbles, he hadn't had this much fun against such poor odds in centuries, and it was good to feel the blood pumping.

Liara smiles, pulling out an emergency biotic bar, the kind that helps commandos get back to the front during battles, and takes a bite.

- The Thorian -

"What do you want?" The Asari asks.

Murphy resists the urge to roll his eyes, and instead just repeats himself, "I want you to release the people you have in your thrall and to let us leave the planet."

"And what will I receive in return?" It demands

"What do you want?"

The reply is swift, and almost exactly what he was hoping for, "I want to be left in peace!"

"I can make that happen," Murphy agrees, "I'm a Council Spectre, I have the authority to put planets under quarantine, make it so that if anyone comes here they're breaking the law. If they do that, they're yours."

"After you leave, any who come after would be mine?" The surprised rumble from the Thorian tells Murphy that it hadn't expected that. It probably expected that he'd want to take everything from it.

It was right now that Alex was very glad that he was a Spectre and not some administrator or beholden to anyone but the Council. If he'd made this declaration as anyone else, it would have been voided as soon as he left the planet, and he'd have ended up with a lot of intense scrutiny.

But the same thing had happened with the Yahg only a few decades ago. The Spectre sent to figure out what had happened to the diplomatic mission had dropped a very large explosive on the crashed Citadel ship and declared the planet quarantined. Once the Council read the reports and agreed, they'd even established a fleet to stop interference in Yahg society, or Yahg society from interfering in Council space.

He'd just be doing the same here, if the Thorian agreed.

He nods to the Asari, "Yes, any who come after I leave will be yours."

"When will you leave?" The Asari asks.

Murphy watches as another Asari is disgorged from the plant's tentacled mouth, a proper blue one, trying to stay focused, "As soon as a ship large enough to carry everyone arrives."

"When?"

"I'll need to check," Murphy tells it.

"Check."

He turns his comms back on and calls Garrus, "Team, I need you to connect with the shuttle and get an ETA from Joker on how long it'd take him to get here."

"Right, shuttle isn't big enough for all the civies. Gimme a minute."

- The Normandy -

"Commander, we've got a call from Garrus," Joker's voice comes in over the intercom, "Needs to know our ETA to Feros. I thought we were waiting for them at the Shadow Sea Relay?"

John looks up at the speaker and then back at the Rachni in its container, "Patch him through, Joker."

"Will do."

There is a click as the signals are changed and John's omni-tool lights up, "Shepard, we need the Normandy for pickup."

"What happened to the shuttle?" The Spectre has to ask.

"Won't be big enough, we're evacuating the colony," Garrus tells him.

"Evacuating? The Geth are that bad?" Shepard rises to his feet with this question.

"Not exactly," Garrus sighs, "Look, it's gonna sound really weird."

"Any weirder than finding a Rachni?"

"Maybe…"

"Save it for the briefing then," Shepard tells him, "We're on our way to the RV point, so we'll just pass it and pick you up at the colony."

"Great, how long should that be?"

"Joker, how long till we can reach Feros?"

The intercom buzzes as Joker responds, "Fifteen Hours, plus or minus a half hour or so. That's with mental math, by the way, be in awe of my genius!"

"Fifteen Hours, Garrus," Shepard tells his fellow Spectre.

- The Thorian -

"What are hours?" the green Asari asks

"Uh…." Murphy doesn't know how to properly respond to that, and looks down at the blue Asari for help.

The Matron looks up at him, then turns her eyes to the green version of herself, "We will be departed by the setting of the sun tomorrow."

"Good," Green nods, then waves a hand, "Begone, do not return lest I make you Thralls once more."

Murphy helps the Asari, garbed in commando gear, get to her feet and asks, "What's your name?"

"I am Shiala," The Asari tells him, "I served with Matriarch Benezi-Ah!"

Murphy catches her and holsters his gun, very glad that the commando didn't know he was helping hunt her boss down. Asari were a protective bunch, and hopefully she'd be safely behind a good protective barrier before she woke up.