The control scheme for the aircraft was rather straightforward. It didn't know why it even bothered preparing multiple hacking suites, it should've been predictable considering AM-1R4 had easily tore through the omnitool's security.
Nevertheless, hubris was a human's weakness, not a machine's. To practice caution was a practice into perfection.
It sat in the leather pilot seat, it's cyber suites told it if it were human, it would learn to appreciate the leather, a sought out arrangement in a human vehicle. It affirmed internally as it plunged a singular digit into the aircraft's cpu port.
Any semblance of resistance from the aircraft computers swiftly destroyed in less than a second.
The vehicle was now it's to control. The terminatrix dismounted from the seat, and took to the open air again, it needed weapons, much as it preferred it's internal weaponry; it wouldn't be able to choose its battles, opportunistic organics would see it as prey when it assumed it's female skin, when the truth is far from that.
It gathered all the weapons it could from the batarian corpses. They were rather interesting, foldable and with a considerable decrease in muzzle size, the databanks it procured from the normandy and Bralo's omnitool told it much it needed to know. These weapons operated on a different principle, shaving a block of metal with every squeeze, sending a miniscule fragment down range with the aid of zero matter technology.
How the organics had come to find such a resource was a mystery, how it even exists in the first place was a bigger question. Not that it bothered to dedicate processing powers to calculate; all it mattered was the termination success rate. So far it didn't impress.
But perhaps it was too early to render judgement, a terminatrix was built to withstand heavier punishment after all.
The kodiak door slid open automatically as it approached, a minor program it installed into the CPU via nanites, it worked now as an extension of itself, which was slightly jarring given it's own incompatible CPU. It's cyber suites emulated the human emotion of annoyance as it was reminded by it's impediment, urging it to dent the snowscape with a blast of plasma.
If it had it's original neural CPU, it's mission would undoubtedly be secured.
Which brings it to ruminating about the fate of it's original CPU. Was it lost? Destroyed? Or organic incompetence asserting itself again by misreading the fine lines. It chose to believe the CPU was destroyed, the terminatrix knew it would have been nigh unstoppable under skynet's command, leaving the resistance with desperate measures.
It stepped into the kodiak, strapping the folded weapons into racks installed on the ceiling and side doors. The cabin area was spacious enough to seat six, not that it mattered now.
The door slid close behind it as AM-1R4 reached the controls. The engines roared to life, heat melting the encroaching snow on it's hull, and then slowly it rose from its snow tomb. The terminatrix pitched up as the kodiak gained speed, controlling it was second nature, like a glove over it's own hand, but it couldn't help but admit it was cumbersome , akin to flying a HK-aerial transport.
The transport shook, violent winds threatening to throw it off course, the TX anticipated it; Soon, the rocking gale was no more than the wind that pushed the sails, throwing it higher into the sky.
It broke atmosphere a moment later, the thrusters slowing to a crawl, ousted from the planet by momentum. AM-1R4 brought up the galaxy chart, numerable destinations available to it. But the one that caught her was the BSV Vulcan A.K.A mother ship, it's holographic icon floating above Hawking ETA.
The thrusters flared to life, mute against the black canvas of space, it sped to the nearest relay. Though speeding was a generous term, TX thought it to be crawling, this transport was definitely not built for long range interstellar travel. At this rate, it suspected it would take days if not weeks to reach the relay.
Time it had, though it was unsure what the Blue Suns would do to Jane Shepard's corpse.
It could do nothing to speed up it's chase, so it resigned itself to the cabin area, where it sat cross legged, and began to take apart the weaponry available for study. It would prove to the resistance how much of an asset a Terminatrix can be.
The lone Kodiak soared through and beyond Alchera's reach, passing even the Normandy's debris unhindered, unconcerned. Unawares of a silent wolf amidst the wreckage
Captain Breto smiled a toothy grin, his tongue lapped across his sharp filed teeth as he watched the blip on the screen fading away from the planet. He had been waiting, biding his time for the Blue Suns to fuck off. Much as he loathed to admit, his lone destroyer wouldn't fare well against the cruiser they had in orbit.
But against a kodiak transport?
Oh, he was already imagining the goodies those mercs had salvaged. Alliance tech was common enough, but this was the Normandy, the hero of the Citadel's ride.
"Follow that little shit." He said, his voice low, threatening. The ingrates he had for a crew voiced aye, and the ship lurched forward, the screeching against the hull didn't bother him, probably a stray heap of metal from the Normandy.
The mere prestige of being the first Batarian to salvage the Butcher of Torfan's wreck would be immense. The respect and credits would flow between his legs, just because he danced on Shepard's grave and brought a few knick knacks back. And by that time, he wouldn't need this rustic piece of shit, he'd have his own motley of batarian marines and a cruiser instead of a hand me down Turian frigate from the blasted human wars.
The kodiak must've sensed the Kvervan approaching, it's thrusters flared. Whoever was in command of that Kodiak was a greenhorn, that was for sure. Who ran from a destroyer in a kodiak? Who ran from anything in a kodiak? Those things had the aerodynamics of a bag of bricks, looked like one too.
"What are those Blue Suns up to?" The Navigator on his right, Kromo, asked.
"I dont fucking care what they're up to, get them close!" He seethed, the long hours of waiting had gotten to him, followed by the lack of good company.
Kromo looked like he was about to retort, but knew better, turning back to his console. They were closing the distance, just a hair widths away from the tractor beam's effective distance. The sensors beeped, signaling the kodiak entering range, the tractor fired, a barely visible blue beam crossed the screen, but the Kodiak turned upwards, just barely escaping.
The beam snagged air.
Breto cursed, slamming a closed fist on his armrest. "Turn! Send warning shots!" He waved over to the pilot and gunner, "Listen here, you blue punks, I'm giving you one chance to turn yourself in, or I'll blow you back to Alchera." He fumed, releasing the broadcast button once he was done.
The Kodiak stilled before them, maybe finally had some sense knocked into the newbie flying the thing. Still, for a damn newbie they managed to slip the tractor beam, that was some feat. Breto gave them that.
The tractor beam fired again, the blue light latching onto the Kodiak without resistance this time, "Alright." Breto exhaled, pushing the comms button, "You sorry excuses for marines better be ready in the hold, we got a kodiak coming in, don't shoot if they don't, otherwise kill em." He said simply.
Finally, things going his way for once.
Ukerem finally got to see action for once. Being from Ghedoun caste, he counted himself lucky to be a part of Captain Breto's crew, despite the man's temper and overall lack of leadership. Sure, Ukerem probably was a second rate marine, just a pair of hands on a weapon, but what matters is, these hands were not on a pickaxe.
That's all that mattered. So he tolerated Breto's bullshit.
"Ukerem, remember what the Captain said." His sergeant reminded, Ukerem nodded. There wasn't much words to be had with the sergeant, he was a good batarian, one of the only good ones in the ship. He kept the Marines in his squad in line, Ukerem couldn't say much about the others though.
"Fall in!" Sergeant Oparam called, M8s avengers unfolded. It was considerably heavier, either the captain bought new mods for the guns or the lack of food is leeching his strength slowly. They all knew how impossible the former is so he settled for the latter.
A thin mass effect field erected; the rear cargo door opened, klaxons blared in the background, muffled slightly by the helmet he was wearing. To think, a thin piece of physics magic separating them from cold death.
A kodiak emerged, brought forth by a barely visible trail of blue, it lazily floated towards them. The fact that it was a Blue Suns kodiak elicited excited cheers from the others. The Kodiak landed not too far into the cargo hold, maybe expecting to take off as soon as they get close, but the cargo hold doors closed again, so much for that huh, Blue Suns?
Ukerem held no love for the mercs, or any mercs for that matter, they usually got into Hegemony business, claimed it as their own, sometimes doing better off. And that didn't sit right with Ukerem.
Sergeant Oparam took point, they all surrounded the Kodiak, giving it a wide berth incase the mercs wanted to go out with a bang and took some of the marines with them. The door opened, guns clicking in anticipation.
"Step out with your hands up, mercs!" The Sergeant yelled.
Footsteps resounded inside the cabin, then a lone batarian stepped into view, his hands up and judging by the look in his eyes, he had seen better days. His blue suns armor riddled with holes and black spots marred the sides, likely the result of explosions. Ukerem never felt bad for a merc, he wasn't going to start now.
"What the hell happened to you?" Oparam murmured with a hint of surprise.
"Left me," The batarian croaked, his voice was nasally, like a pre-teen batarian. "Thought I died...but I lived." His eyes was devoid of any emotion, like so many Ukerem had seen, the ones that survive battles come out like this, he'd never thought he'd see one fresh out of the oven.
"Take him to the brig." Oparam ordered, Ukerem moved towards the merc, he didn't respond to movement, he might just start to feel bad. He'd feel like shit if these guys left him to die on a dead planet.
He brought the batarian's hands down, cuffing them behind him with no resistance. He prodded for him to walk, thankfully he did, there wasn't much to be had kicking a downed man.
Ukerem and another private led him through the winding corridors, their helmets off, now the dreadful smell of piss and shit can grace his nose again. Sometimes Ukerem envied the humans and their ability to pinch off smells.
"Not a word." Ukerem cut the private off. He nodded meekly and promptly kept his mouth shut.
Ukerem knew well enough Breto would chew them both if he found out they talked with the merc, who was silent throughout the walk. "Nothings in this shit can." A voice came through the comms, "Weapons, but nothing good."
"Dumbasses." Ukerem mutters. As if the main Blue Suns force would leave anything behind, though surprisingly they did leave the Kodiak behind.
After a silent trip down a level through the elevator, and through the cramped corridors lined with empty crates, barrels and all manners of trash the Captain cant be bothered to get rid of, they finally reach the brig or the slave pen, depended on who was going in.
It was a simple affair, a room with a singular cell, and perhaps and even simpler lock that keep honest men honest. The real deterrent that kept the prisoners from escaping was the revenant machine gun one of the guards sported. Those things would mow down a group of people like grass.
Ukerem unlocked the cuffs, and the merc entered the cell without a sound, the guard shot Ukerem a questioning look, he just shrugged. The cell doors close, the locks clicking. Damn, the merc looked out of place in the cell, surrounded by a dozen others, mainly unruly vorcha and slaves from various species. His blue and white number stood out like a sore thumb, but at least he wore the dead and despairing expression on his face like the others.
That's done now, whatever came next that was the guards problem. Wordlessly, Ukerem nudged for the private to follow him back, maybe there's something good to eat this time.
Breto kicked the Kodiak's side door, right into the shitty Blue Suns logo, leaving a visible footprint.
"That's all, sir." Sergeant Oparam ended his report, if he had any qualms about the captain's temper, he didn't show it.
"Fucking Blue Suns." He seethed, his voice low. The cold rage building within him. They left nothing for him to scavenge, nothing except a broken batarian and a kodiak. The latter he could pawn off for some change but the former…
"Strip this Kodiak, leave it barebones." He said to Oparam as he turned to leave the cargo bay.
His footsteps carried him down to the holding cells. Cell, singular. He almost forgot he had the other cells taken out and left with only one, but it was large by comparison. Like an animal pen, not too different from what he's keeping in there at the moment.
Vorcha scum and useless slaves.
He entered the holding area, receiving crisp salutes from both guards he stationed there. They were the more disciplined ones, too bad Breto had to waste their talent making sure these pukes didn't escape.
"You." He said, one of the guards perked up, "Get that Blue Sun in the interrogation room."
He walked across the cells, the smell was caustic, he hurried his steps, entering the interrogation room and taking a seat. "Disgusting animals." He muttered. The door opened again a moment later, the guard with the Blue Sun in tow.
He was placed in the seat across, a blank look in his eyes, Breto had seen dead men like these. Not in the body, but in the mind. Breto had caused his fair share of them to slaves. No matter, all he needed to know was how much did he fetch to the Blue Suns.
"Your name and rank." Breto began smoothly, his anger welled inside, but he didn't get to captain by banging every head each step of the way. Sometimes he had to finagle his way in, these were one of the times. He couldn't afford to break the man more than he already was.
"Bralo. Private." Private Bralo stated, his voice was firm. Breto felt the well of rage threatening to explode. A private? That's basically fodder! He had no use for this kind of rabble.
"Well Private Bralo," The words slid out of Breto with a hint of venom, "What did you find down there,hmm? Why are you half dead? Find any Alliance survivors?"
For a moment, Breto thought he'd overloaded what's left of the Blue Suns mush brain when he didn't answer, then he nodded, "Yes, a survivor."
"One survivor?" Breto couldn't keep the interest from his query.
Only one person can drive off a horde of Blue Suns and it better not be who he thought it was. "Is Shepard alive?" His fists tightened on the metal table, he was just one word away from flipping it over.
"No," Breto smiled, unclenching his fist. Either the merc was lying just to placate him or he was telling the truth. But who else could make the Blue Suns pack up and leave?
"A human woman." Bralo's stare was vacant.
"A human woman." Breto repeated, incredulous. "Who was she? N7? Is she still down there?"
"Yes." Breto was unsure if that single answer applied to both of his questions, but took it nonetheless. For a moment, Breto began to doubt the merc's sanity, entertaining the fact that the merc was too far gone to make sense. Probably didn't even recognize Shepard killing them when they turn tail and ran.
"Ill fucking catch her." Breto said, more to himself than Bralo. If he did catch the N7 or Shepard, then at least hell get out of this shit situation with some dignity.
"Unlikely." Bralo murmured, but Breto ignored him, already off his chair and a step away from exiting the room.
"Take the useless sack of shit back and take off his omnitool." He ordered over his shoulder. He had enough of this piss hole to last him a month.
The vorchas were riled again, their incessant screeching began anew, the words were slurred, Mortimer cursed, cupping his hands around his ears. Nevermind the smell, his nose became numb about a week ago. They only shut up when food was delivered, even then, their dining etiquette left much to want.
The saving grace of this situation Mortimer had found himself in was that at least they weren't tearing him apart for food.
They saw first hand what happened to those that got touchy… and then proceeded to eat the corpse. Damn. The thought made the bile rose in his stomach. He curled into himself, facing the wall. The muffled sound of the cell door closing resounded through the floor panels.
So they got someone new.
He turned again, propping himself by the elbow before sitting cross legged. The cell was dimly lit, Mortimer was sure it had multiple lights before, now only two remained and one of them had the habit of blinking out whenever this ship wanted to go forward. He rose to his feet, the air was thick with sweat and whatever else these fiends secreted.
He slipped in between a suit rat and a batarian, they didn't protest to his use of force. Hegemony knew how to neuter their toys well, but he wasn't planning on becoming one. He just needed an out, someone with half a brain to collude with. Hed tried talking sense into most in the cell, even the Vorcha's but they were intent on staying in here and living the good life.
That or his persuasion skills required a whetstone.
The first thing he saw was the blue and white ensemble, and the silhouette of a batarian. A Blue Suns member, huh. This batarian merc however was slightly taller than other batarians he'd ever met, but that's only because he only had the pleasure of dealing with such species on the account of his current predicament.
"Hey you." He whispered as he approached, he reached out his hand to tap the merc's shoulder, when suddenly he snapped his head over.
"Yes?" His voice was vacant of any emotion, he turned slowly to face him, the lights barely illuminating the merc's features, but what Mortimer could see was the merc was absolutely wrecked.
"Mortimer." He said, clearing his throat and fixing his glasses. Mortimer extended a hand to shake, to which the merc stared at for a moment then tentatively shook, Christ his hand was cold. It was like touching bare metal.
"Private B-Bralo, Blue Suns." He introduced himself with an odd stutter, for a splig second the retiree thought he saw flashes of light in the merc's eyes. He did appear to be sizing Mortimer up, his eyes going about him like the scanners on citadel.
"Look, I'm not at my very best here, so you'll have to excuse the smell and loose laces." He said dismissively, but Brolo did not respond. "Hey, uh.."
"You are human." He remarked, or was it a question? His ears were getting deaf from the vorcha's screeching.
"Yes, I am a human." Mortimer affirmed for good measure, "Never seen one before? Huh, would have thought the merc gig would get you to see new people and new sights before promptly destroying them."
If Brolo was offended by the jab, he didnt show it, "Where are we?" He asked instead, an odd question. He can't tell he's in a hegemony destroyer?
"You're in the BHV Kvervan, a repurposed Turian destroyer." Mortimer explained, "Repurposed for nefarious means that is." He said as an afterthought. If that wasn't enough the turians waged war on the alliance before, now a turian destroyer is actively capturing human slaves.
"Destination?" The merc asked, completely unperturbed by the fact he's in a hegemony destroyer. What is this to him? A taxi?
"A slave processing center, I wager." He answered, leaning against the wall, the Vorchas were oddly quiet, he risked a glance at the corner, they were eyeing the Blue Suns, but the merc didn't seem too bothered by their attention.
A second pass.
The merc's mouth open, "I cannot afford deviations." He remarked firmly. Then turned back to face the cell door. He appeared to go over the locking mechanism, examining it like a child would, though cautious enough not to touch it.
"Hey, don't do anything funny merc." The guard on the other side of the room warned, he waved the machine gun in his hand to emphasize the unsaid threat. Luckily the merc took the hint and backed down, though probably not for his own benefit, he didn't seem to appear all too bothered.
"Bralo, come here." Mortimer gestured the merc to come over to his corner of the cell. He approached, almost knocking the suit rat and bataran aside when they didn't gave way.
"Don't worry about them." Mortimer said, "Batarians made them docile, they'll listen to whoever holds the whip." Why did he even need to explain? Bralo was a batarian, he'd know this from birth. But it was hard to kill old habits, teaching was his sole passion. Seeing Bralo so clueless and empty made it so easy for Mortimer to drop back into his usual profession.
When Bralo didnt seem to be responding anytime soon, Mortimer cleared his throat, where should he start with his grand scheme? Damn it, lock up a retired lecturer, two hegemony slaves, a trio of vorchas and lets throw in a socially inept merc for good measure. He's sure the punchline was somewhere out there. "Listen," He began in a whisper, "I've been here for well over a week… And I don't intend on staying here for another." He stared at Bralo hard, relaying an unspoken message. 'I want to get out pronto.'
Thankfully, Bralo nodded,albeit slowly. Maybe unsure what's an old man like him could offer. Well, not much; just his entire retirement fund, or his family wealth, not like they'll be needing any of it soon. Mortimer would be content with getting out of this with his dignity. "I can give you creds, hows fifty thousand sound?" He offered, reigning a cringe, he didn't sound too confident to his own ears. Hopefully the merc was as socially daft as he looked.
"Okay." Bralo said.
Okay, wow, okay. Mortimer didnt think hed agree. Maybe his luck is turning around. "I have a plan." Mortimer whispered, the low hum of ventilation and skittering of the vorchas' chatter masking his conversation. He glances over the merc's shoulder from time to time just to make sure.
"You see, I think, this place was under renovation, not too long ago," He began, turning away from Bralo to kneel; carefully, he pried away the edges of the wall panel, it curled outwards in itself, barely revealing circuitry behind. "And they didnt do a good job of cleaning up afterwards, so I reckon, someone with your background, you could hack it or do whatever it is you mercs do, and disable this whole ship." Wow that sounded alot more idiotic when he mouthed it.
"Probable." Bralo said.
Mortimer grinned for the first time, "Thats the spirit, but...that's the extent of my plan, I haven't gotten past the part with dealing with the guards yet,thought I could bribe them, and then there's the actual part of escaping the ship." He inhaled, and regretted it a moment later, a coughing fit racking his ribs, "I've never flown anything in my life before."
"That is negligible."
"Well, you're welcome." Mortimer groused, it's not everyday you get caught by Hegemony batarians and someone inside already has a plan to get out. Tsk, young un's these days. He didn't even know why he complained, lesser work for him if Bralo wanted to handle everything from here on out. "So I figure we wait a few days just for everyone on this boat to calm down before we make our move."
"Unacceptable," He said, Mortimer held back a sigh. There, the infamous mercenary hotheadedness.
"Food! Hegemony meat! Where is food?" A vorcha screeched suddenly, all chatter ceased. The metal bars clattered as the guard brought his baton across it forcefully, the ringing subsided a second later, leaving some vorchas clinging to their heads.
"You'll get food when the captain says so, pigs." The guard said, turning his back away, "I swear all they do is eat," Mortimer heard him mumble.
He exhaled, "I know you're in a hurry," He clicked his tongue, "In fact, if I could, I'd be the first person to jump ship. But with your arrival, the ship's going to be tight on security," He gestured his head towards the guard, Bralo's attention followed, "They're not even indulging the vorchas, probably tight on food too." This ship was sinking fast, Mortimer knew, and he travelled on ships once in a blue moon.
Bralo seemed to mull over the statement thoughtfully, that's good, his brain was working. He needed a companion with a working brain. But this one certainly lacked peoples skills. The merc nodded, unsure whether Bralo understood him or was hell-bent on getting out of here this second. The merc approached his corner, kneeling beside Mortimer, gone ahead and dipped his hand into the opening.
"What the hell are you doing?" Mortimer fumed, half-whisper and half-shouting, this wasn't going too well, the plan was a bust if Bralo proceeded right away.
"Calm yourself." He assured, his tone level as usual. "I am scouting our path."
Mortimer stared at the merc, blinking from one set of eyes to the next. Damn Batarians, he'd never know which one to actually look into. "That's…" He exhaled, swallowing the lump in his throat. "That's a good plan." Yes, he affirmed internally, that's good. Military like, information is power sort. Mortimer slumped against the wall, took off his glasses and wiped the lens with the edges of his ruined shirt.
He put them on again, his vision clearer now, he glanced to his side, Bralo was deep into his spying gig, Mortimer decided not to prod him anymore, maybe with an extra pair of eyes, he could finally sleep without those vorchas leaning over his from everytime he woke up.
A noise roused him,he had trouble opening his eyes, two days without proper sleep could do it to him, more so in his old body. They were voices, loud, raspy. Vorcha. Mortimer grumbled incoherently. His brain was banging on his skull and he could finally smell again, he wished he couldn't. "Oh God." He held back a dry heave.
"Skrez hungers! Food! Batarian meat! Where food!" The voices were clearer now, as clear as a vorcha's can be. The other vorchas screech and growl in agreement with their leader.
"Shut up, food's coming." The guard lazily replied, sounding like he'd had to put up with the vorchas' complaints for a good amount.
Mortimer opened his eyes, his glasses still perched on his nose, the light dimmed still, with the other flickering, hanging to last hopes. Bralo was beside him, a knee propped on the floor and his eyes facing at the cell door. "What's happening?" Mortimer whispered.
"Stay in the corner." Bralo ordered, Mortimer pursed his lips and nodded. That was as close as an emotion he'd gotten from Private Bralo, his was a clear order. Stay out of whatever his batarian brain was planning. So Mortimer pushed himself deeper into the corner, knees tucked to his chest. He wished he could be farther away from whatever's that's about to happen, but this was as far as he got and that wasn't reassuring.
One of the guards approached the door, whilst the other casted a vigilant eye on them, trigger finger already itching to fire it seemed. The cell door opened slightly, just enough for the guard to slip a big bowl of whatever devious concoction they've deign to name food. Mortimer's stomach growled anyway, traitor. The Vorchas were the first to pounce on the offering, the cell door locking back.
Mortimer glanced to his companion, to see what he'd make of this, but found the merc not paying attention, his arm inside the panel. Mortimer heard a sound, like a mini-drill, something they've used to put his prefab home together. Then the room went dark, even the guard area. The usual hum of ventilation slowly dying. Then a tussle, a vorcha screeching in pain and a thump-clang as something--somebody dropped on the floor panels.
"What the fuck happened to the power? Lights! Lights!" Mortimer heard the guards fumbling.
A loud screech resounded, metal on metal and then a heavy drop on the floor. The cell door, Mortimer realized, then a wet splash--"Fuck what the hell is this?!" A guard cried, accompanied by frantic slops.
"Batarian meat!" Skrez growled in the background, Mortimer was unsure what was happening. So he tucked his knees closer. "Eat! Food!" A raucous cackle, then hurried steps.
Then the first gunshots erupted, the small space illuminated in the muzzle fire, Mortimer saw the flashes, all three vorcha's ganging up on the first guard, ignoring the hail of gunfire from the second sporting the machine gun until Skrez got up, screeching madly with a bloodied mouth, the holes seem to knit by the second, it was like watching an old flick from way beyond, Skrez moved faster than Mortimer would've imagined, flashes of light made it seem like he was teleporting short distances until he pounced on the second guard.
He continued to fire, even while Skrez was digging into his throat, until with a crack of bone the guard finally stopped. The room fell into silence again, except for the sound of teeth gnawing into flesh, contented humming and growling from the vorchas as they devoured their treat.
A hand grabbed his arm, strong and firm, Mortimer almost let out a pathetic whimper. He adjusted his glasses frantically. "Relax." It was Bralo, Mortimer allowed some measure of composure back.
"What's happening?" Mortimer asked, he was hauled up his feet, and pulled away, he tried to time his steps to Brolo's but his was just too fast. Like he could see in the dark, maybe those extra pairs of eyes were useful after all.
"Stay here until I return." That didn't answer his question, Mortimer was about to ask again, but found himself shoved inside another room, this one smelled decent at least. The door closed behind him. Bralo had better not leave him to die in here, he thought, grappling the darkness as he tried to navigate. He finally found a corner, then slowly dripped down against the wall.
It pivoted on it's heel as it walked back to the corpse, kneeling to retrieve the revenant light machine gun, it had to pull away from the eaten batarian, the Vorcha ignored it, opting to direct it's attention towards the piece of arm in it's grasp. It examined the revenant, painted a faded red, scratches on it's side marks what it surmised were kill notches. The TX noted a similarity between humans and batarians in that regard. Or perhaps this weapon's previous operator was a human.
It's cyber suite provided all it knew of the weapon; deftly, it's fingers exchanged another heat sink, the heated mag clanked and hissed. Wordlessly, it squeezed the trigger once. A screech. Then, scrambled movement, it's optics track the panicked vorcha. But it didn't terminate. Data files reminded her that these creatures were resilient, seconded only to a Krogan. So it grabbed it by the scruff of it's neck, it scratched at the TX's armor; their talons were sharp, but inefficient against it's polyalloy.
It twisted it's wrist, it's neck followed the movement, tongue drooping between it's sharp bloodied teeth. It released it's grip, just in time to catch another Vorcha mid-pounce with a punch directed towards it's abdomen, it's fist punctured through the sinewy flesh, it made no sound as the TX pulled back, the vorcha sliding off it's arm like a used glove. The last Vorcha was more cautious, circling it instead of following the others. AM-1R4 didn't have time to accommodate it's futile struggle; the TX fired first, the vorcha catching fifteen rounds in the chest, dazing it enough for the machine to rush and deliver a chokeslam. It surprisingly survived, albeit half-dead, the TX buried a dozen bullets in it's cranium until it's life signs were depleted.
That left the question of what to do with the remaining two xeno life forms.
It posed no threat to Mortimer, but it raised the revenant nonetheless, two shots left the barrel, the quarian and batarian slumping to the floor, dead. It could not take chances. It was as Mortimer said, they hold allegiance to the whip. They were a tool, like it was. With varying usefulness of course.
It bent down again, now the immediate area was secured, it could finally retrieve the last piece.
Bralo's omnitool, a significant tool to aid it's continuity in masquerading as Private Bralo. It wished it could do without the cumbersome device, but the future held too many variables that it couldn't specify yet. It's only means of blending in was undoubtedly easy to detect in this era. It searched the guard's pockets one by one until it successfully found it, placing it on it's forearm again.
The terminatrix exited the brig, it's cyber suite hacking into the ship's mainframe, forcing it to lock the door behind it as an added security measure. It was slowly gaining control of the destroyer, each second passed was a small victory in it's name. But to achieve the ultimate control of the craft it had to directly interface with the controlling console, that meant going directly to the bridge.
It allowed the ship to restore some power, just so it could take the elevator up to the bridge on the third floor. The terminatrix glanced up, it's heat vision tracking multiple targets facing the second floor elevator doors. The elevator almost passed the second floor, well on it's way up to the third, until an explosion rocked the compartment, blasting the doors open. It threw the terminatrix back into the wall. It quickly recovered, just in time as a hail of bullets were about to greet it.
It tracked five targets, three behind a makeshift cover, the other two on each side of the wall across. "You dead yet, Blue Sun?" A batarian's voice shouted over the din of gunfire and crackle of electricity.
The terminatrix responded with a peek shot from the revenant, hitting one behind the makeshift cover. It's red,yellow and orange heat signature slumping down, cooling to a silent blue. The room was littered with more gunfire as a response, it spotted a signature priming a grenade in it's hands, "Grenade!" It heard the batarian yell, sending the explosive through the air and into the elevator compartment.
AM-1R4 caught it with an open palm and threw it back over the cover. A resounding explosion blasted through the corridor. It checked through the walls, the heat signatures were bleeding and dying. It slipped through the destroyed elevator doors and walked over to the dying batarians. One leaned against the wall, head tilted up as it approached, all four of it's eyes widened and then an incomprehensible string of words escaped his lips.
It knelt to scavenge from the dying batarian. Blood sputtered from his lips. Organics, stubborn till the dying breath. It pulled free a few heatsinks, finding no place to deposit it's finds, the terminatrix pulled the bandolier from over the batarian's head, hooping it over it's own. It regarded the batarian curiously, it's eyes never strayed far from it's pillaging. Their culture believed in the soul departing through the eyes after death, must be why it was uselessly trying to keep it's eyes open.
The terminatrix decided to snap the batarian's neck. It's head lolling to the side, lifelessly.
It's hands flew instantly to the revenant, unfolding it and swiftly bringing it to bear at the next dying batarian and squeezed a shot. It dropped the M-3 predator unceremoniously, a last hope to dispatch the terminatrix snuffed. It must have felt despairing, to fight an enemy such as it.
It only meant AM-1R4 is fulfilling it's purpose, with the added bonus of inflicting damage to morale. Deciding it now had sufficient ammunition, it relegated to using the stairs, the route took it through the crew quarters, most of the batarians were already aware of the situation, but some were blissfully ignorant, sleeping away as their home is systematically taken apart.
It strode through the hallways, revenant unfolded in one hand, an M-3 pistol in the other. The remaining batarians tried to block it's path, but fell short as they'd get mowed down as soon as they register on it's optics. It brought up the M3, and pulled, the sound was sharp and muted, the sleeping form of a batarian on the other side of the plasteel wall convulsed and stilled. It detached the revenant's heat sink, docking in a new one with clock work efficiency. The batarians on the far side of the hall must've thought it ran out of heat sinks, their forms readying to fire, but AM-1R4 squeezed the trigger again.
The batarian's cowered behind the wall, their curses audible beneath the ringing fire of the revenant.
It's advance through the ship was slow, but it was thorough. It estimated around thirty-six batarian casualties, excluding the vorchas and slaves. That was half of the ship's crew, with another half waiting for termination. It rounded the corner, revenant spitting rounds non-stop, the counter on the right side of it's HUD reminded AM-1R4 it had fifty rounds before it would need to replace the heatsink.
The batarians tried to flee to the bridge, their ranks and morale broken. It's internal checklist was satisfied. Gain information, confuse the enemy, break through and demoralize; pursue. Though it hadn't been assigned to command a legion of terminators before, this simple exercise merely proved it didn't require a legion of T-600's to break an organic military composition. Unstable organic emotions would do half of AM-1R4's work for it.
It's ascension on the flight of steps proved to be challenging, laden with traps and occasionally batarians peek firing from the top floor. It didn't dare test it's systems against the explosives of this future. No, it detected them from afar, shooting them before it could do any harm. The grenades on the other hand were another matter entirely. It slapped a grenade back whence it came with the length of the M3 predator. The resulting explosion rocking the ship slightly.
The hall leading to the bridge was devastated by the amount of grenades it had returned, piles of makeshift cover blown to pieces, body parts littered the floor. The squelch of it's footsteps as it walks in what's left of the batarian defense team spurred it's termination subroutine further. The thumping heart beats of the surviving batarians' were like blips on it's radar, they thought they could play dead, thinking it would spare mercy.
It shot one through it's neck, a wordless whimper escaping.
As if woken by a surreal nightmare, the other half-dead batarians awoke, reaching for the closest weapon. The smarter ones tried to crawl away, with little success as bullets meet their backs. AM-1R4 ignored the pings of bullets on it's armor, silently relishing the look of incredulity on the batarian's face as none of it's attempts to hinder the terminatrix seem to work. It delivered a quick stomp on the batarian's neck, breaking it.
It approached the bridge doors, shut tight. "You're not a damn Blue Sun, Bralo! I know what you are!" It was Captain Breto's voice coming through the comm system, devoid of his previous confidence. "You're a fucking SIU operative! What the hell did I do to warrant this? I paid my dues to the Hegemony! Brought my share of slaves!" He reasoned.
AM-1R4 tilted it's head slightly, "Slaves? Did you bring human slaves?" It asked, it needed to know. It's primary directives beckoned for it to ask the captain to clarify.
"Yes! Yes I did! Most I brought were humans" He admitted proudly, as if his admission would exempt him from termination. "Humans were easy to take! Practically defenseless, nobody cares about them out here. They were all I took! Look, I'll find some turians, asari, whoever you guys want, just leave me and my ship!"
The doors opened by it's command, AM-1R4 heard enough to render judgement. There were no more soldiers, merely sniveling bridge hands, cowering either behind or beneath their respective stations. The captain was facing it, a pistol in his lowered hand. His heart rate skyrocketed, the sweat glistening off his amphibious-like body. Had he lost his nerves?
"This is my ship!" He roared, his voice quivering. "You can't do this to me! I am Captain Breto!"
"Captain Breto." It's voice morphed, reattaining the default feminine voice, the polymimetic alloy swam across it's armor, sculpting the features of Dr.Amira Jaeger.
"You are terminated." Breto's eyes widened, his arm moved, but AM-1R4 was faster, three shots dead in his head. It's aim adjusted quickly, firing a dozen more rounds into the bridge, the shots puncturing through thin console and into flesh. Whimpers escape from the scurrying batarians, bleeding and frightened.
It spared them no more time, burrowing more rounds into their exposed backs, until the final body hits the floor, expired. Deeming all threats eradicated, the TX folded it's weapons, slinging them over it's head as it approaches the main control console.
The buzz of it's transjector spinning clashed the passive hum of the ship, it dug it's transformed index finger into the control panel until it gave away, the transjector finally gaining access. It's nanites had already gained most access to the ship, this was only securing it's hold onto the destroyer.
The Kvervan lurched forcibly forward, the TX dipping it's toes in controlling the huge vessel. It noted how despite it's technological superiority, it could not cover every part of the ship's systems, unlike the Kodiak. It attributed this drawback to it's incompatible CPU.
This was a foreseen variable in it's calculation. Mortimer the human will have to render some assisstance, much as it loathed to expose the human to harm. Not to mention the aging human lack of proclivity towards spacefaring.
Future missions will be challenging at the rate it was going, calculations telling it would be nigh impossible to accomplish it's directives when it could not even interface with the ship properly. It's alloy teeth gritting, the TX pushed itself deeper into the ship's systems, burrowing into every crevice, rooting it's nanites like humans would insert their hand into a puppet.
There was no resistance from the ship itself, logically it would be under it's direct command already. Yet, here it was, still exerting outrageous amounts of effort to wrestle more than just the rights to flicking switches.
It was failing.
It knew this, it's eyes narrowed to slits, the Amira façade had melted away to its endoskeleton minutes into its fruitless endeavour. Why? It made no sense. Even with the underpowered CPU, it wouldve had little problem slaving the ship. Every second it pondered was every second it's systems reported it's chances of recovering Jane Shepard slimming.
It slammed it's free hand into the console's side, the metal crumpling around it's formed fist. Surprisingly, that seemed to unload some calculations from it's systems. Deattaching itself from the console, the TX straightened itself, and fixed it's composure.
The black expanse of space stared, it's endoskeleton reflected off the thick glass. The polymimmetic alloy crawling up to form around it. There was no other choice, Mortimer will have to suffice. It was prepared to threaten the human to see it's way, if he proved to be uncooperative.
For his own and Jane Shepard's sake. He will comply.
Dr.Amira Jaeger turned with a flair, the polymimmetic labcoat billowing behind it as the TX descends into the depths of the ghost ship.
AN: Thank you for the reviews, they push me forward. Sometimes pull me back, just so I can reanalyze my things.
So to note, the terminator will not be assuming Jane Shepards place, itll find its way info the Commanders retinue. In due time.