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Another Realm V: Einherjar

For those new readers just opening this story, please be aware that this is the fifth story in a series. While it will hopefully be possible for you to simple dive in, I would recommend reading the earlier stories in the series before this one. At least AR III: Ronin and AR IV: Vengeance are likely required to get a good idea of what's going on.

Chapters will be taking on a slightly different approach after the prologue. Each will have a very long section from Cieran Kean's point of view, followed by a shorter section from Voya'chi vas Xentha's. Interludes will be from Trena T'Laria's perspective. Most if not all chapters will also have news segments on the bottom.

Here's to hoping that you all continue to enjoy this series,

Katkiller V


Date: 11-27-2184

(8 months after AR: Vengeance)

A clatter of armor and a tired, almost whistling groan made me crack one eye open as my meditation was fucked up by the new arrival.

It took my brain a few moments to disentangle itself from the memories it had been lost in, but when it did my irritation grew from a glower into a full-on glare. "Vakarian."

Garrus Vakarian, aka Archangel, leaned slowly back in the chair he'd appropriated at our table. His massive sniper rifle was extended and leaning against his side, dark blue armor pitted with impact marks. Though his full helmet concealed his expression, I could still tell he was grinning at me. "Sorry, did I disturb something? Praying to the Asari goddess? Thinking about naked Batarian women?"

I couldn't help but snort. "Stop sailing in my waters Turian, remember it's my job to be the sarcastic asshole."

"Must have missed that memo." He shook his head, glancing to where Voya was slumped over on the table's other booth. "Surprised you're still alive after the hanger."

"Same." I grunted back, the moment of levity already passing away. "Lost too many there."

"Same." He replied, his voice lowering. "Never seen a Krogan move like that before."

"Yeah." I let out a slow breath between my teeth, raising a hand up to run it through my oily hair. I needed a bloody shower. And sleep. And a naked... my head shook a little. I needed a lot of things, none of which I was going to get in the next couple of hours. "Surprised you came back."

"Shouldn't be." Garrus shrugged with a quiet clatter of armor. "We'll die with everyone else if Ganar gets his claws on the environmental controls."

I snorted. "Fair point."

He seemed to eye me through his visor, then turned to glance at the heart of the club. "What's the plan?"

My left shoulder rolled. "Take as many of them with us as we can."

There was a dry chuckle. "That much I assumed."

"We're covering the upper levels, focusing on the entrance to the VIP zone." I waved a hand in its direction. "The others are on sentry duty right now. It's the only obvious route that Krom or anyone else can take to flank us. Setup some token mechs in there to make it less obvious that we'll be waiting for him."

The Turian nodded slightly. "He won't try the lowers?"

"Cresting Wave has kill-zones setup at three of the doors and they sealed the rest of them." I shrugged again, "Besides, I don't think Ganar would let Krom get that far away from him at this point. He'd probably make a run for Doru and the docks if Ganar tried to send him anywhere near them."

Garrus considered that for a few breaths before exhaling loudly enough for his helmet speakers to emit the noise. "We'll setup on level four. Good sniping angles to support you and the main floor. Only five of us left, but we'll do what we can."

I eyed him for a few breaths, then shook my head tiredly. "And it would let you shoot us in the back if the opportunity came up?"

"You think that I would?"

"Yes." I retorted bluntly. "Right now we've got the frenemies thing going, which I'll admit is kind of a Terminus tradition, but you don't exactly like me."

"No." He admitted, his tone equally as blunt. "But right now you're the far lesser evil. If, by some miracle, we pull this off, you've got my word that I won't shoot you. Today, anyway."

My lips pursed slightly as I considered that, then I nodded and sighed as I realized that that was going to be as good as I was going to get. Athame's azure, considering the crap I'd thrown in his face the last time we'd spoken in person, it was better than I could have expected. Assuming that he wasn't lying at that moment of course. Garrus was a practical kind of man in his own way, especially after nearly two years on this bloody station. His conscience might twinge a little when he pulled the trigger but at the end of the day he'd still do it.

"How long do we have?"

Grunting at the question, I glanced at my omni-tool. There weren't any flash-updates, and given that no one had come running to wake us up... "Hour, probably less. You'll know when it's time."

The Turian nodded and rose with a tired sounding grunt. "I'll get my people setup."

Raising a hand, I gave him a moderately mocking salute with two of my fingers as he departed.

Voya waited a few breaths before stretching her arms up and above her head, revealing the heavy pistol she'd concealed beneath the table while 'sleeping'. When she spoke her voice was tired, but alert. "Hypocritical asshole."

"No argument." That had been one of the many things I'd called him to his face, but it had probably been the one that had infuriated him the most. "You all right?"

Glowing eyes narrowed to slits behind her visor. "We're about to die." She left off the 'you-fucking-idiot' but her tone said it for her.

"You're free to try and make a run for it after Krom is dead, if you want." I offered calmly.

"Don't make me shoot you." Her voice lowered to a growl. "You know that I would."

I snorted. "I know. Come on, we should go make sure the others are still alive up there. See if we can get setup."

Voya let out a quiet grunt, sliding out and standing as I did. She took a few extra breaths to holster her weapon and stretch, her petite frame arching slightly as she groaned. "You sure? You could keep talking and then I could shoot you in the leg. It would make me feel better about our imminent deaths."

My eyes rolled as we turned, heading towards the nearest bridge that would carry us across the main floor and over towards where the other survivors from this debacle were waiting. "If you did you'd have to patch me up afterwords, or get someone else to do it. And then you wouldn't have anytime to find a private room to-"

There was a low snarling sound before an armored boot lashed out at my leg. I avoided getting my knee kicked in sideways thanks to an awkward hop to the side, but accepted the punch she tossed into my side. "I told you to never bring that up in public!"

Grinning to myself, I held my hands up in surrender. "I know I know, can't tease you one last time?"

"No." She growled, visibly considering making good on her threat to shoot me before turning away. Tossing her head once to make her disdain perfectly clear, she strutted angrily away. Which was perfectly fine with me. She fought better when she was pissed off, and if we were going to have any chance of surviving this we'd need to fight at something beyond merely 'better'.

The thought made me frown, then firmly shake my head as I realized where that mental current had gone. I couldn't think in terms of things like survival... that ship had sailed. We weren't walking out of this, it was stupid to even think like that.

We'd have to fight at our best to make sure we took Krom out before Ganar. The man was a sadistic fuck and a complete asshole, and coming from me that definitely meant something, but he wasn't unskilled at fighting. Nor was he stupid. There were better than even odds that not only did he know we'd be trying to ambush him, but that he'd have some fucked up counter-play in mind.

Which I was also perfectly fine with. I had a few things hidden inside my own harbor, things that Vakarian being here could help with.

I hoped.

"Hoped a lot of things, this last year Cie." I reminded myself quietly, glancing down at where Nyreen was holding court. There were fewer officers now, and even as I watched a pair of junior Talons were bringing their commander her helmet and rifle. An Asari wearing the armor the Cresting Wave clasped hands with the Turian before turning away and heading for the lower levels.

As if she could sense me watching, Nyreen turned, staring up at me. After a long moment she gave me a tight nod before returning her attention to her subordinates. Barked orders began to fill the air, gang members who'd been sleeping and catching what rest they could began rousing themselves and bustling into purposeful motion. The few members of Aria's guard who'd survived the initial attack quickly joined them, directing the commotion as best they could.

I let out a slow exhale, then nodded firmly. Yanking my helmet off of its strap on my belt, I pulled it up and over my head. The HUD flickered over the visor slits as it synced with the rest of my armor and weapons.

"Cie, you there?" Voya's voice echoed from the speakers behind my ears, all traces of her annoyance with me gone. "Something just tripped the initial perimeter alarm in the VIP zone. The mechs are active."

"Confirmed." I grunted back, the flashing alarm making itself readily apparent in the corner of my vision. "Set them to plan three until losses hit forty percent, then go to plan zero."

"On it." She replied promptly, "You joining us?"

"Yeah." My legs were already moving, accelerating to a quick trot as I headed to where I could see her and the others. "Let's get this over with."

Next up is the first saga – Xenthan Honor

Very short prologue here, mostly to make sure that the spoilers are as small as possible. This chapter takes place immediately after the prologue for AR:IV Vengeance, so feel free to go back and re-read that if you need a quick refresher. For those curious, the events in both that prologue and this one will be taking place in the latter portions of the fifth (and last) saga of this story.

Thanks to Greater Good Ireland for the story image, which also now graces the Tropes page. Additional thanks to the Blocked Writer, who has the unenviable task of keeping me on track as he beta's everything.

Please read and review, criticism is welcome, flames not so much, as usual. Reviews are my lifeblood as a writer.. every-time my email goes off with a review it makes me want to write more, so please take the time to leave one. Guests can leave them as well, and it only takes a minute, so please. Even if it's as simple as "I enjoyed it, please continue."

Thanks, Kat