"Fastlane!" Hyun roared the pilot's name. A flash illuminated the cockpit, Fastlane visibly turning her body as she pulled on the stick. The ship groaned as a blast rocked the entire superstructure.
"Shields holding!" Her quartermaster reported, "The shot grazed us, Ma'am." Ssi-bal, she cursed inwardly. Grazed? That felt like it tore through the hull.
Hyun gritted her teeth as sparks flew overhead, her eyes tracked the holo-map, an angry red triangular blip speared towards Iwo Jima's retreating green icon. Five thousand klicks away, SSV Malaya moved in two-thirds speed, the blue icon flashing red in intervals as two hostiles chased her. The crazy Russian was actually bogging down the hostile frigates. She shook her head in disbelief.
That left her to handle a damn cruiser on her own.
A cruiser that shot an honest to God death ray that almost sheared the Iwo Jima in half! Not much she could do against that. Hell, these bogies were playing with them at this point, the cruiser could blast a hole in the Iwo Jima judging by it's position.
"No response from task force Marseille, captain." Comms officer Muller said hurriedly. "Static from Blue Ridge and the other frigates." The man was practically pale when she'd turn to him. "They're gone, Hyun."
She inhaled. Her mind was piecing every available information she had at the moment. Task force Marseille, MIA or utterly destroyed. No reinforcement. It was safe to say the same fleet they were up against was to blame. Purgatory was a jump away, and they were chased from the relay. The hostile ships were faster too.
She was sweating bullets despite the room being cold. Her hand tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, her hair had come loose, but she couldnt find a moment to care. "We need to link up with Malaya." She said under her breath. Staring at the holo-map didnt help, it only reminded her of the dire situation. They were too far apart to do anything, split down the middle by coordinated force.
"What's the situation, Ma'am." XO Ellison said, coming in the CIC as he pulled off his hardsuit helmet. "The cerberus agent is in the cargo bay, doesn't seem like she's about to do anything malicious." He reported quickly. She nodded. Hyun couldnt care less about that right now.
"And my dad?" She asked, brow furrowed. Her dad was honestly getting too close with that snake. She trusted him to keep an arm's length, but that woman was as sly as they came.
"I had Bravo squad escort him back to the crew quarters." He replied. That was good enough. She quickly briefed her XO, wasting no time. By the end, he was bent over the tactical feed, scrutinizing every piece in play. "This isnt good." He remarked.
"We can't turn or slow down." She said, tracing a line. "We're just barely over the cruiser's maximum weapon range."
"That's a short range." He said, glancing up with a quirked brow.
"Fortunately they don't have torpedoes." Yes, small victories. Too small to make a difference now, but eh, got to take them where she could.
"That laser is liable to rip us apart if it gets a direct hit though." She reminded. Ellison's jaw stiffened, a solemn look on his face. He knew as much as she did; one shot and it's all over.
"What's the play, captain?" He asked.
She straightened her back, gaze washing over the rows of her officers at their stations. "Abandon ship." She said.
"Ma'am, this isnt the time for-"
"Captain! Cargo bays opening!" Quartermaster Weller's voice cut Ellison off.
Hyun furrowed her brows, "Belay that." She said, "Who cleared the order?"
"It's the Cerberus', Ma'am." Hyun scowled, her jaw tightening. The damn bastard was saving her own skin!
"Let her go then," She said in a low tone. "See how she fares against the cruiser." A part of her felt wrong, just a tiny bitsy part. Easily won over by the overwhelming feeling of wanting revenge. Her death wouldn't be on her hands so Hyun wouldn't feel as bad. In fact, the operative might just be saving them. The cruiser would go chase after her. She's a bonafide hero. Hyun suppressed an undignified snort.
Her dad might tell her off though.
Well, one would have to excuse her for not being able to stop the unkillable supersoldier from doing whatever she wanted.
"She's headed straight for the bogey." said Ellison, Hyun glanced down at the tactical-feed. A blue blip split off from the Iwo Jima, setting on a direct course into the oncoming hostile cruiser. She might've been wrong about the operative. Maybe she was a hero, if the woman was happily jumping out the questionable safety of the frigate to kamikaze the bogey. Then, she had at least earned some of the captain's respect.
Hyun realized she needed to capitalize on the event regardless.
"Helmsman Fastlane," Hyun said, clasping her hands behind her. "Coordinate with Quartermaster Weller, if bogey one-one shows sign of chasing after the launched Kodiak, we beeline towards the Relay."
"Aye, Captain." Both officers affirmed.
There was a slim chance of getting out of this alive. Her lips pursed as her gaze went down towards the blue blip inching closer towards the cruiser. If the woman was going through with her plan then Hyun wished her all the best, but if she wasn't; If this was just some botched attempt at running away; then go to hell, Amira Jaeger.
Or maybe the ships were Cerberus from the start, coming to recollect their precious little agent.
That was more unlikely.
IFF returned nothing. No model, no make and certainly no transmission from the three ships. Ha, that'd be a laugh. Fighting a new race would be funny in it's own way; humans weren't exactly veterans in spacefaring. And here she was, probably starting a new war on behalf of humanity. Though in her defense, they started it.
Hyun knew they took the bait when the ship turned, swerving harshly; the Iwo Jima groaned under pressure. Now it was a straight sprint to the finish line. "What's the status on the Kodiak?" asked Hyun.
"Destroyed, captain." Comms Officer Muller replied. Hyun let a moment of silence pass. The Cerberus operative deserved that at least.
"And Malaya?" Hyun chewed her bottom lip, finger tapping anxiously on her uniform's sleeve.
"Heading towards the relay as we speak." There was a hint of optimism in his voice, but his expression restrained. Good sailor, he knew better than to count his eggs just yet.
"Bogeys one-two and one-three broke off from pursuing the Malaya. It seems the Kodiak did more damage to the cruiser than expected." Quartermaster Weller chimed in, smirking.
"We're not out of the woodwork yet people." Hyun cautioned. Grossly aware of how her heart thumped against her ribs. Come on, come on! She thought, biting her lip.
The CIC was deafeningly quiet, interspersed with hushed chatter. She felt like she had to say something noble. Like the captains from the holovids. 'It was a pleasure serving with you all.' That has horribly corny and cheesy. But ultimately decided against it.
They were getting out of this alive, by hook or by crook.
A sudden explosion rocked the ship sideways. Panels dropped from the ceiling, exposing fried circuitry, the officers quickly reached for the nearest extinguisher. "Sitrep, Weller." She asked, trying to sound as composed as she could be.
"Fast moving bogies are strafing us." He replied, incredulous. "I-Theyre stripping the shields bare." The helplessness in his voice made Hyun understand how annoying the targets are for Weller. Great just great. Why does she always get hit with a curveball.
"Retask all GARDIANs to bringing them down ASAP." Ordered Hyun.
Sirens wailed to life, signaling a hull breach. Shit. They stripped the shields that fast? "Anytime now, Weller." Her voice rose impatiently.
"They just dropped three of our GARDIAN systems, Ma'am." He reported dejectedly. "Those things are too fast."
"Looks like there's no choice Ellison." She told her XO. He just nodded grimly as he sealed his helmet over his head. "All hands, prepare to abandon ship." Hyun spoke into her omni.
A different siren blared, conveying a renewed sense of urgency beneath it's deep whirring tones. One by one her officers began filtering out the CIC, their faces stricken. Hyun gazed away. Given a chance, they would probably stay behind knowing she'd be the last one out of the fire. They were a great crew; it'd hurt her if she lost even one of them to the faceless aliens out there.
Hyun hurried to the cockpit, relieved when it's already vacant. Fastlane was as hard-headed as they came, amplified for her love of flying and just going fast. Hyun tossed away the long speech she'd prepared for Fastlane incase she was being stubborn.
Okay, piloting an Alamo class frigate on her own shouldn't be too hard. She breathed. Taking a moment to compose herself as she tried to feel comfortable.
A million blinking lights and panels stared at her.
Shit. This was why she didn't become a pilot. All these procedures were a nightmare. Flip one switch and you needed to account for some complicated mathematical equation and then flip another to offset that. So she settled on gripping the stick, procedures be damned and yanked it.
The Iwo Jima responded to the order, veering in an arc. Streaks of mass accelerated rounds whizzed at the oncoming cruiser as the Alamo class frigate's twin guns boomed relentlessly against the deafness of space. Like a blossoming flower, lifepods began jettisoning from the Iwo Jima as it turned. Pillars of GARDIAN lasers scratched the sky, determined to keep the hostile fighters at bay as the pods flee.
Back on the ship, Hyun got off the pilot's chair, dashing towards the nearest pod which was , coincidentally, very far. Ssi-bal, she cursed inwardly. The heavy footfalls of her magboots clanged on the alloy floor panels. Sparks crackling, the faint smell of smoke hung in the air. She dashed into the corridors, the sleeve of her uniform brought up to her nose. It didn't help much; she coughed, eyes blurred by the tears welling in her eyes.
She pushed onwards regardless, determined to see everything through. She needed to survive, if not for her own sake, then for her dad. The thought of him on firm ground frantically looking for her made her ache more than the choking smoke did.
Hyun wheezed, dropping to a knee. The ship shuddered after another explosion. Crap. She couldn't stand anymore without getting faceful of smoke. She began crawling her way towards the stairs. She was on the third step when she felt herself being lifted up and carried bridal style, the arms under her strong and firm.
"Goddamn it, Ellison!" She barked, trying hard not to wheeze. "I told you to evacuate!"
"Negative." It wasn't Ellison's voice. She wiped the tears from her eyes. Blinking a few times as her vision cleared. The smoke was palpable, almost blanketing her savior's face. Feminine from the curve of her cheeks trailing to the pointed chin. The smoke cleared, just barely when she ambled up the stairs. Affording Hyun the sight of glowing unblinking eyes.
"I...You died." Was all she could mutter, her throat drying up.
The agent gazed down, her eyes darting from her face down to her neck. "Conserve your energy." she said, climbing quicker. Hyun was pulled tighter into the agent. Awkwardly, she looped her arm behind the Cerberus operative, the fabric of her lab coat odd and cold to the touch.
They arrived in front of her quarters, Hyun angled her neck to allow the scanner to read her eye but the operative leaned back, Hyun felt the operative's knee brushing her back and then; Slam. The door busted open, a crash emanated from inside as the door came flying off. "What the hell." Hyun murmured.
"The vessel's systems are malfunctioning." She remarked casually, "It wouldn't have mattered."
Hyun gazed around the room with what little vision she was afforded, frowning. Goodbye , work desk. Goodbye bed that might as well be a slab of metal. Good riddance reports. Who was she kidding? A pile of reports with her name on it was waiting for her at Arcturus if she managed to get out alive. Then she perked, remembering something.
"Check for anything under my work desk, please." Hyun almost pleaded, but managed to sound a bit dignified.
The operative didn't sigh nor did she argue as she instantly turned, walking over to her desk. One hand beneath her gone as the operative searched. She must've found it, judging by the questioning look she was giving the held item in her hand.
"Don't ask." Hyun told her.
The next few seconds were spent securing Hyun to the seat inside the lifepod. Which only fit one. Hyun was fully prepared to get left behind as soon as the operative found out. But she was pleasantly surprised when she was the one getting strapped to the lifepod chair.
This woman was an enigma. And certainly not the kind of Cerberus operative Hyun had first thought. And she didn't buy the whole 'save humanity' crap Cerberus loved so much. They would gladly kill a few humans for their own benefit.
"Breathe into this." The operative--Jaeger held up a breathing mask to her face, Hyun allowed her to loop the apparatus over her head. Breathing in quick succession afterwards. Never has a breath of recycled oxygen felt so good.
"What about you?" The question felt bitter in Hyun's mouth, but she felt indebted to the operative and it didn't feel like this trend was going to go away soon.
"I will survive," said the operative. The hatch closing behind her before Hyun could ask any more. The interior of the lifepod was small, but it could've fitted both of them fine. Why did she have to meet every hard-head in the galaxy?
The lifepod rumbled as it's main thrusters engaged, easing into a controlled flight path as it cleared the debris field. Hyun scooted closer towards the viewing port. Her breath fogging up the mask she wore for a moment before clearing. The lifepod pulled farther away from the Iwo Jima. Plumes of explosions racked the Alamo-class frigate. A beauty even in her deathbed. GARDIAN beams still streaked the space around the ship dutifully even as the fighters strafed again and again.
Until a final pillar of light awoke from out of nowhere, splitting the frigate in two, before it's ruptured core consumed the wreckage in a miniature sun, lighting the sterile white interior of the lifepod for a split second. Her first assigned ship; Floundered by unknowns in the first open space battle ever since the Turian-Human contact.
Hyun sank in her seat, inclining her head. She hoped her little gambit paid off and everyone was alive. It was a tall order. Especially after something so violent. But it kept her going knowing someone out there counted on her to make it out.
Then she heard a knock on the hatch.
Tentatively she brought her face close. Hyun almost jumped out of her seat when Jaeger's surprisingly not-dead face filled the port, her empty crystalline eyes gazing inside, darting sharply. The operative opened her mouth to speak-Curiously, the port didn't fog up from her breath. Then she blinked and glanced over her shoulder.
"Captain Yung." Jaeger's voice filled the cabin. It was coming from the console. How the hell was she doing that? Not only that, someone explain to her why the woman was outside her lifepod like she was taking an evening swim. Hyun sighed, she supposed she shouldn't be surprised now. She knew the woman could survive in those conditions. It was just so jarring to see it with her own eyes.
"Yes?' Hyun said into the feed.
"I require you to pilot this vessel to these coordinates." said the operative, then a string of numbers displayed on the screen. Hyun quickly inputted the coordinates without a second thought. Might as well trust the woman by now, she reasoned. The console refused, giving her an error number she couldn't care to look up.
"Autopilot is dead." She told the operative.
"Manual controls are available." Jaeger replied easily. She didn't notice the glare Hyun sent her way.
"Excuse me, the last ship I flew by stick just exploded right behind you." She retorted. Jaeger only gave her an appraising look.
"Do it or we will perish." She wanted to ask what Jaeger meant, but a streak of red laser flying past the port answered her unspoken question.
Not this again. She inhaled. Then steeled her nerves as she pushed the throttle lever to full speed. The pod's engines roared beneath her, she spared a glance towards Jaeger, still clinging onto the pod. An uncaring air about the operative as she paid full attention to their pursuers.
Navigating the small pod through open space was a relatively simple affair, she could use her foot to fly and they wouldn't hit a thing. It was entirely different when you're being gunned by dedicated air-superiority fighters that spewed lasers. She had to fly the glorified tub in unpredictable ways; a random barrel roll there, a hard turn here, and yep that's a laser. Shit. Flying through a debris field would be safer than this.
Her attention was fully invested on the screen in front of her, displaying a camera feed of the pod's frontal cone. Jaeger should count her lucky stars that Hyun was nothing but unpredictable, if it were anyone else, they'd be dead already. She began to realize it was growing increasingly difficult to concentrate with the weapon flashes passing by the port as a blinding red beam would pass, then a blue-ish hue would illuminate the interior in retaliation. It was damned distracting. Now she knew why CIC didn't have windows. That and it'd be a bad day if one of them cracked.
Where the hell was that coming from? She spared a quick glance over the window, there it was again. But the shots weren't passing by them, no, they were aimed to the rear. She cursed, Jaeger had a gun on her the whole time. Something that spat blue muzzle flashes it seemed. Perhaps she shouldn't have skipped gun training then she might've had an idea what the operative was using. She prayed it was a handheld rocket launcher because Jaeger wasn't taking down a fighter with a handgun.
The thought of the maniac out there shooting at a deep-space fighter with a peashooter while hanging onto a lifepod like it was a car chase elicited a short chuckle from her. It wasn't a full-blown mad laughter yet, thank goodness. Her sanity was still intact. But the thought was funny to the deep and secluded part of her mind where she still thought she was dreaming it all.
"Targets terminated." Jaeger said a moment later. The absent flash of red lasers through the port confirming her statement.
Hyun stilled in thought as she processed what just transpired. Jaeger brought down two fighters by herself. Whilst clinging onto a pod; moving thousands of kilometres per hour. Without computer aid. A feat the Iwo Jima failed to do. Suddenly it didn't seem very humorous. They had tried to kill her not so long ago and for all the trouble the Iwo Jima's crew had caused the Cerberus operative, she repaid by saving them. That spoke volumes of her character. Though Hyun couldn't exactly place what her motivations were; One thing she knew though, this woman was determined.
If Hyun wasn't so preoccupied by her ruminations, she might've noticed the endoskeleton outside reforming it's sheath after the prolonged battle. The human features slowly coming together as it retracted it's plasma cannon.
Hyun never felt so tired in her whole life. Not even recalling something that felt remotely close to what she was experiencing right now mentally and physically. Physically, inside and out, she felt the need to add. Her lungs still burned, and she couldn't help but blink more times than necessary. Mentally, she was exhausted with the wall she had to put up, more than once she felt like crawling into a corner and let it be.
So with a tired mind and body, she had been navigating the pod near a local gas giant's asteroid field, where lo and behold, the damned Kvervan was parked waiting like it had been planned all along. It wouldn't surprise her if it was at this point, everything fell so remarkably well in place.
"THV Kvervan to lifepod number zero-zero-one, do you read?" It was Comms Officer Muller. She managed a faint smile.
"You know it's me darn it." She said, and there was a chuckle. Make it a few chuckles. They were all on the Kvervan? Oh Lord make it so.
"Reading you clear, Captain." Muller said, it was hard to tell through the audio feed but he sounded relieved. "Hangar bay doors are open, let the autopilot handle the landing, Cap."
Hyun cringed, "Yeah, well, you see. I'm flying stick right now."
A rustle, then the whine of a chair being shoved away, "Holy shit, are you for real, Yung?" Fastlane interjected, incredulous. She took Hyun's silence for affirmation, "Well what do you know. You could fly after all."
"Fly. Not land" Hyun said firmly.
"That is acceptable. You have done an admirable job thus far." Jaeger's voice interrupted. "I will assume control." Fastlane and her crew's hectic queries were silenced when the comm cut off abruptly.
That left Hyun time to gaze outside the port as the pod took on a life of it's own. Jaeger was still hanging outside, omni active on her arm. Hyun wondered how it felt being outside in space bare-skinned like that. Then wondered again, what kind of enhancements did Jaeger undergo to even survive the things she went through. Was she even still human? Cerberus enhancements were… Inhumane. For all their talk about keeping humanity at the top, they were not afraid of transcending real humanity.
Jaeger's skin was practically unmarred by radioactivity, solar flares and whatever mad things space did to an exposed human--make that any organic being, she corrected. The out of place lab coat worn over a white blouse flowing faintly. Hyun wasn't sure the operative was even human anymore now that she's actually observing Jaeger in her natural abominable habitat.
But what did it matter? Jaeger saved her. Saved her crew.
It took a few moments until the Kvervan slid into the port view. Now Hyun will gladly admit she didn't know the barrel end of a gun. But a ship; she'd gladly tell you when the thing was manufactured just by looking at it. Just dont ask her to fly. She was taking a rest from flying the things personally.
The Kvervan was a Hastatus-class destroyer, a beautiful Turian ship; but that goes without saying. The recognizable dual back-swept wings design was both aesthetically pleasing and practical at the same time. A trait the other races in the galaxy seem unable to balance. Granted, she loved the Alliance's tough and bulky outlook on ship designs. But if it came to a vote, Turians had this in the bag. Sorry, Alliance.
Having thought that, the ship was in flimsy shape. The flaps on the backswept wings that allowed for atmospheric navigation were visibly rusted even under the low-light conditions of space. And the guns! Dear Lord! They looked like they were locked in place by overflowing oil that hadn't been changed for decades. Damned batarians don't know what they have until they lose it.
Literally, in this case.
Their bodies were probably floating somewhere around Purgatory space if her dad's words were true. The woman spaced them all in a big pile of dead batarians. Hyun was too tired to dredge up any semblance of sympathy for them.
The pod slowed to a drift as it came into the hangar bay area. Harshly dropping like a pebble as soon as it cleared the mass effect field. The force of the impact would've tossed her if she hadn't buckled up. Hyun took a moment to breathe, images flashed in her mind. Wow, she couldn't believe she made it. It was surreal. She had been prepared to die in a few instances but the scythe never came.
A sharp hiss broke her reverie.
The hatch door came loose, popping open like a cork. Then Jaeger's head came into view, silent as she dropped in, unbuckling Hyun like a baby from it's seat. And before she could say anything she was draping over the woman's arms yet again. God damn it, she cursed inwardly. If she wasn't tired then this Cerberus agent had another thing coming.
The lights were blinding, she had to bring her arm over her eyes to shield them and then regretted it when the smell of smoke from her clothes struck her nostrils. Footsteps hurried towards them, and then she felt something cold on her neck.
"Is she alright?" It was the voice of her CMO, Samir. Pressing his gloved finger against her vital point.
"I'm fine, doc." Hyun mumbled, adamantly refusing to move her arm from her eyes when the doctor nudged. She was too embarrassed by the state she was in right now to care. Here she was being saved by the woman she wanted dead not so long ago.
"Hyunie!" Oh good. Dad. "I'm glad you're safe." Hyun risked a peek, her dad looked worried despite his tone.
She managed a faint smile, "I'm good, dad."
"Um, Madam-Miss? Err, agent?" She heard Samir stumble over his words, "Would you please bring the captain to the… Medbay." The reluctance at the end worried Hyun. If the exterior of the ship looked bad, then what of the interior? Surely not that bad right?
It was awful.
And they weren't even near the medlab. They were walking through bloodied corridors, floor and wall panels scorched by explosions and peppered with bullet marks. If that wasn't bad enough then the smell was worse. The coppery scent of blood hung in the air like death itself, mixed in with the after smell of explosions.
"Smells like another tuesday." Wagner commented behind Jaeger, accompanied by Brooke and the rest of the crew that wasn't tied up with duties. Apparently the two marines felt obligated to make sure the Cerberus operative 'wasn't gonna try anything'. Jaeger didn't seem perturbed by the notion.
"We don't get into enough action for you to be saying that." Brooke snorted, there was a playful yet careful air around them. Every so often, Jaeger's sharp movements would make them snap their weapons up, revealing their true suspicions.
"Don't do that." Jaeger cautioned. There was no malice, no emotion, merely a warning. "Or you will hit your captain." Oh, okay. She was worried for Hyun. That sounded too personal. No, the woman just wanted to save as many people as she could, and that included her as well.
The rest of the trip to the medbay was a silent one. Brooke and Wagner had dropped the chatter too. Relegating themselves to guard duty outside the medbay as Jaeger and the others entered. She was placed on a bed that's only slightly worse than her own on the Iow Jima. And the smell. Why did everything smell in here? Why did the Batarians have to be so disgusting? It didn't seem like anything in the medbay was washed in years.
And judging by how CMO Samir was frowning at the boxed medication he was holding at eye-level, the drugs were not meeting alliance standards too. Samir turned, pulling out the medication from it's box. He drew a long sigh as he stalked back to the edge of her bed,"Well, this will do, I suppose."
"You suppose?" Hyun squeaked.
"I won't lie, everything they have in here is mainly for putting people to sleep rather than real medication." He said, "And it doesn't seem you need anything but rest, but drink this too." She grabbed the cup offered to her and drank it in one go. It left a bitter taste the back of her throat.
The doctor nodded in satisfaction, and then walked away. "If you need anything ring the-" He paused, remembering where they were. "Just knock on the metal tray beside you or make a noise, Captain. You do excel at that." He said with a smirk. She made a face.
"We are all glad you are safe, Captain." Samir said finally as he disappeared from view, but the clink of instruments told her he was still in the medbay. She turned on her side, her dad patiently waiting for his turn to take a poke. This should be a good.
"Don't give me that look, Hyun." Mortimer said, hunched forward as his elbows were propped on his knees.
Hyun dropped the sour-face. "Were you praying or somethin'?" She teased.
"I don't need to, our mutual friend already delivered you safely here." He said. She groaned. She didn't need to be reminded of that. Jaeger was nowhere in sight. After dropping her off the operative had disappeared, probably to yell at some of her crew.
"Yes, I'll thank her later." She mumbled, barely missing the stare her dad was giving her. "And apologize of course." She added.
"Good." He remarked pointedly. "As far as I can tell, we're safe here in the meantime. Get some rest. Someone will come by to wake you up when it's time to move." He assured. Hyun was too happy to oblige, her eyes drooping heavily. She didn't usually fall asleep quickly, not even under pressure. What the heck did the doc give her. With half a curse uttered, Hyun drifted to sleep.
When Hyun came to, it was by her own accord. Her eyes bleary as she blinked away. She sat up. Her dad was asleep on the chair. Figures. She got off, and draped her blanket over him.
"You're awake." Samir said from inside an office, he looked up at her. "Hmm, would've thought it kept you down longer."
Hyun furrowed her brows, "Can't keep me down, doc." She remarked firmly. Not in a million years! Hyun-Ae Yung won't stop, can't stop.
"Oh well." Samir declared dramatically, "Ellison is on the bridge deck, he might want to speak with you."
She nodded her thanks to the doc as she passed by the other beds, occupied by familiar faces. Most were unconscious, no doubt given the same treatment by the doc. Some were groaning in pain, Hyun's jaw tightened. She'll make the alien bastards pay. But first she needed to get her bearings right.
The elevators didn't work. She should've guessed after the fifth time she tried calling for it. She opted for the destroyed stairs, her leg almost caught in a hole after a misstep. "Ho, there, Captain." Brooke said just as soon as Hyun caught sight of marine duo.
"Do you ever go anywhere without a helmet, Brooke?" Hyun asked, returning the salute Brooke and Wagner gave her. Even his inseparable comrade, Wagner, had his helmet off.
Brooke tapped his helmet twice, "Saved me more times than I can count." He replied.
"That's not much if you can't count past three." Wagner interjected. Brooke laughed anyway, his voice robotic through his helmet's filters. "Go on in, Captain." Wagner motioned towards the blast door, then held his hand up to stop her. "Mind the blood puddles. They still ain't dry." Hyun grimaced.
The bridge doors open, and it felt like stepping onto the Iwo Jima's CIC the first time. Her crew had taken their respective places. XO Ellison had his back to her, hands clasped firmly behind him. He glanced over his shoulder, nodding, then returned his gaze towards the bridge, "Captain on deck!" Then a chorus of replies in return.
She played it off casually, falling beside Ellison. "Welcome back, Captain." Ellison said.
"Good to be back." She replied just a little too quickly. Hyun's furrowed her brows, "Where are we standing, Ellison." She asked solemnly.
"Well, in shit right now." He replied. "The ship is in shambles, some of our injured crew are in the medbay," Some? That was a miracle. "And most of the injured are in the crew bunks, we can't fit them all." Oh, her face fell. "We've no food whatsoever in this boat, the guns are jammed in place, firing them would mean moving the whole ship. And we have people MIA." He finished.
"Any good news?"
"The good news is the hostile fleet isn't tracking us, they're crowding around Iwo Jima's wreckage." He said, "Vultures." He spat with barely concealed venom.
"Eezo traces suggests they managed to flee the AO." She sighed in relief, that was something. Now all that's left is to wait it out, but that wasn't a good plan either. They'd starve by the end of the cycle.
Her eyes scanned the bridge for a sight of a certain blonde. "Where's the cerberus spy?" Hyun asked. She had half expected her to barge into the bridge any time now, but that didnt seem to be the case. Ellison shrugged in reply. "Ring her omni or something, I want to know what the next step of her plan is." Ellison turned to her curiously, a brow curved.
"We're waiting on her, Captain?" Ellison asked. Hyun knew it sounded like she was giving away control freely to the Cerberus operative, but the woman was the only one with a shred of a plan.
"I don't like it either, but what plan do we have right now?" She deflected, "We're on her ship and we can't really force her to do anything either." Ellison nodded grimly, understanding the implications instantly.
"The ship will not move until I allow it." Jaeger's voice resounded through the bridge. Hyun exchanged glances with Ellison.
"Well right now we need to move because no one thought of stocking this entire goddamn ship!" Hyun told her.
A reply came from behind them, "Forward a complaint to the Batarian Hegemony." Jaeger said, strutting towards them. Her dad's voice reminded Hyun to apologize, but she pushed that thought away for now.
"Captain, movement from hostile fleet." reported Muller, Hyun turned. He had a frown on his face as he swiped a hand over his pants, drawing a streak of blood. "T-Theyre-Collecting the lifepods!"
"Get yourself checked, Muller." She said quickly, casting a sideways glance at Jaeger. "Well?"
"Well?" The operative said blankly. She should've caught on to what Hyun was suggesting. It was her main mission after all. But suddenly this woman was playing ignorant.
"Save them? They're my crew. They're human." Hyun gestured at the tactical-feed, a second rate model compared to what they had on the Iwo Jima. Jaeger's face was indiscernible when Hyun tried to read her.
"Negative." The answer stilled Hyun. Turning her body to face the operative, arms crossed over her chest.
"What do you mean negative? You saved some of my crew!" Hyun was faintly aware how she sounded like a spoiled brat but she didn't care. If she had to beg for Jaeger to save them she would.
"We are in no capacity to do so." replied Jaeger evenly.
"We have a ship… and some weapons." Ellison butted in, Hyun nodded gratefully. The other officers were looking at their little argument with hopeful expressions.
"Weapons that we will have to restrain from using lest we endanger your crew on board their vessel." Jaeger said, then continued without giving them a chance. "They will not have that constraint. The cycle will repeat if we choose to engage; This vessel will be destroyed and it's occupants captured." Jaeger stared Hyun down, the blue eyes searching into Hyun's.
Hyun let out a breath she didn't know she was holding, Jaeger's eyes breaking off from hers. The operative's arguments were logical to any captain. But it was harsh and calculated, she made it sound so mundane. And that was perhaps the trait that tied her to Cerberus finally. Everything was numbers and probability.
And it wouldn't surprise Hyun if Jaeger held the same belief that the end justifies the means in her own way.
"Why didn't you save them too earlier?" She muttered under her breath.
"Resources are limited." Jaeger replied. Bugger her resources. Hyun pinched the bridge of her nose, annoyed and mad at herself for not being able to do anything. "It would be prudent for you to return to Alliance space and muster a force in retaliation." Jaeger suggested, probably out of sympathy. Screw her sympathy too. Hyun didn't need that. She needed to get her crew back.
Ellison pressed her shoulder reassuringly, eliciting a sigh from Hyun. "Alright." She said, staring at the red dots on the tactical-feed.
I'll come back to save you. I promise.
Until then, she still had injured sailors on board that needed care, not to mention food. Jaeger was right, Hyun gritted her teeth. That didn't make the decision any easier, but the woman's intentions were there. "Are we running silent?" Hyun asked. Weller replied with a nod then a curl of his lip.
"The ship is hiding quite well for it's size and shape it's in." Weller commented offhandedly. That's turian design for you. Or perhaps it was the batarian's custom modifications. Either way, she was thankful.
A/N : I forgot to address the comment about mass effect weapons vs terminatrix's armor.
I admit it does sound like I buffed up her armor when she's facing something that spits grains of metal sand at some fraction of lightspeed.
The way I look at her, however, is she's an anti-terminator terminator. Built to go against other terminators that were reprogrammed. By that point, the resistance also has plasma weaponry. Adding to that, I also think the mimmetic polyalloy would lessen the impact, definitely scratch and plunge into the liquid metal, but not enough to penetrate the dense hyper-alloy beneath. But under sustained fire, maybe it'll kill a TX. IDK.
As always, thanks for the reviews, favs and follows!