The Return of Archangel
"… morphine derivative for the pain, she'll take a while to recover from the surgery, as simple a cosmetic procedure as it was."
"Hey Doc, she's waking up." A deep voice came from nowhere.
"Too soon." A female voice replied. "Administering more sedative now."
"Stop!" The first voice ordered. "Any more sedative will react badly with her painkillers. Let her come round."
Kasumi blinked as the harsh halogen lights above overwhelmed her vision. Straining to pull herself into a seated position, an arm softly appeared around her shoulders for her to lean on, helping her as she succeeded in righting herself.
"Thank you." Kasumi winced as the arm was removed and she leaned back on some pillows. Looking around, she took in her surroundings.
She was laying on a simple hospital bed in some kind of infirmary. Her skin felt like it was on fire in some spots, and a dull ache persisted pretty much everywhere else. There were three occupants in the room other than herself. A female human, a male batarian and a male salarian.
The salarian walked to the sink, filling a cup with water, and returned, offering the drink to Kasumi.
"Take this." The salarian suggested. "It'll help to clear your head."
Kasumi took the water and drank a few sips.
"Thank you." She said. "Where am I exactly?"
"Before we get to that stage, we should probably do some introductions." The batarian commanded from across the room.
"Indeed." The salarian concurred. "I'll start. My name is Doctor Maelon Heplorn."
"I know you." Kasumi replied. "You were Mordin's rogue student on Tuchanka."
"Indeed I was." Maelon replied, a look of something inscrutable momentarily flashing across his face. It was gone as quickly as it came, and he continued. "That means you were one of Commander Shepard's crew. Is he coming?"
Kasumi was quiet for a moment.
"No…" She replied softly. "The Commander is… no longer with us. Defeating the Reapers came at a cost."
"I see." Maelon replied. "I'm sorry for your loss. He was a good man, I could tell that from our brief meeting."
"My name is Kasumi Goto." Kasumi stated. "I was part of Shepard's crew, and then I went to work on the Crucible project."
"You're a scientist then?" Maelon asked.
"Not exactly. I was sent here by G… well, you know him as 'Archangel'." Kasumi clarified.
"Impossible, Archangel's dead." The batarian scoffed.
"Hear the girl out please, dear." The woman standing next to Kasumi ordered.
"Thank you." Kasumi replied. "Wait… 'dear'?"
"Will these reactions never end?" The woman mock-sighed, smiling. "My name is Kate, and the sullen batarian over in the corner is my husband, Balohr."
"Wow…" Kasumi exclaimed in surprise. "A human-batarian interspecies marriage?"
Kate winced slightly as her cheery expression faltered.
"I'm sorry, that was a ridiculously clinical description." Kasumi apologised sheepishly.
"Well, we're in a very clinical setting, so we'll let it slide." Kate replied, her smile returning to her face.
Kasumi took a moment to look at the two. From what she knew of batarians, Balohr was an older male, and Kate was around Doctor Chakwas's age.
"How long have you been together?" Kasumi asked brightly.
"Together twenty years, married for seventeen." The batarian replied as Kate opened her mouth. "And now that you know enough about the three of us to write a complete dossier, I'd like some answers."
The batarian had made his way to his wife's side, and was looking at Kasumi with an even stare. His wife turned to him, exasperation evident on her face.
"When we found her she was being sliced to pieces by Cerberus and was tied to a…" Kate was cut off by a scream.
The source of the scream wasn't hard to find. Kasumi was thrashing around on the bed, panting and screaming.
"Grab her legs, she's having a delayed reaction to the trauma!" Maelon commanded as he grabbed the thief's arm. Balohr threw himself over the end of the bed, grabbing Kasumi's ankles and holding her down.
"Sweetheart, it's OK, you're safe!" Kate called out to Kasumi as she grabbed her head and brought her close to hear chest. Kasumi was sobbing and gasping frantically in distress by this point. Kate held her close and gently stroked her hair as her thrashing waned.
"It's over, honey." Kate soothed as the thief cried. Kasumi snuggled into the maternal embrace as her wails turned into sniffles.
"I-I'm sorry…" Kasumi gasped as she ran out of steam.
"Don't worry about it." Kate whispered softly as she withdrew from the embrace. Kate brought over some tissues, and Kasumi wiped the tears from her face. "I spoke a bit too harshly. Had you forgotten what had happened?"
Kasumi nodded as she calmed herself down.
"Likely the drugs." Balohr guessed. "Sorry kid. I guess that what my wife was about to say was that given the state you were in when we found you, you clearly were no friend of Cerberus."
"Indeed. 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend', I believe is the human proverb." Maelon interjected.
"What happened exactly?" Kasumi asked.
"We hacked Cerberus' comm channels and monitor them constantly. News of an outsider gaining access to the station made it around pretty fast." Balohr replied. "We decided we had to get to you before Cerberus killed you, or at the very least before Patriarch could get to you."
"You were unconscious and losing blood rapidly when we found you." Kate informed her softly. "Any doctor other than Doctor Heplorn here probably wouldn't have been able to save you."
Kasumi looked down at her own body. While most of it was covered by a surgical gown, her exposed arms were free of any apparent injuries, with the exception of some bright pink discolouration running in lines all the way down.
"I fixed your broken arm and strengthened the fracture line with some nanotech." Maelon explained. "Your scars, which were numerous, have been dealt with. The pink will fade in about a week, and you'll look like nothing ever happened. Unfortunately, the psychological scarring is not something I can fix."
"Maelon!" Kate hissed scornfully.
"I'm sorry, was that rude?" Maelon asked, genuinely uncertain.
"It's fine." Kasumi replied. "Given the magnitude of the hissy fit I just threw it's not exactly a secret."
"Do you remember much?" Balohr asked.
"Not really." Kasumi replied, shaking her head.
"Well regardless of whatever you want to tell us, you should probably know that when we blew the door, the only person in the cell was you, which implies that your interrogator got what he wanted." Balohr informed her with some sympathy.
"She." Kasumi spat by way of correction. "She got what she wanted."
"You brought the fucking head!?" Zaeed whispered as the group ducked into a shipping container.
"Yeah." Aria replied, panting.
"Care to explain why?" Zaeed asked as their pursuers ran past their hiding spot.
Relaxing slightly now that the chase was over, Aria placed the head on the ground as she unclipped her helmet.
"Show of force." Aria replied. "The Queen of Omega is back, and Cerberus sure as hell knows it."
"I see." Zaeed replied calmly. "So there goes Archangel's stealth plan. And also, they don't actually know it's you, because they didn't see your face."
Aria was quiet for a moment as Zaeed's words sunk in.
"Well…" Aria trailed off.
"Want to hear my hypothesis?" Zaeed asked.
"Not really." Aria replied. "But I imagine that won't stop you."
"You've spent so much time playing mum with the kids that you decided to throw yourself off the fucking deep end to prove to us all that you're not going soft." Zaeed ventured.
"That's ridi-" Aria began.
"EXCEPT," Zaeed butted in, "none of us thought you had gone soft, and so what you ACTUALLY did was potentially FUCK the plan and nearly get the three of us killed TWENTY MINUTES after setting foot on the station."
"I agree." Kolyat said, speaking for the first time since the escape from Afterlife. "And I think Archangel dressing you down in front of all of us didn't help matters."
"Well said kid." Zaeed replied. "And, for the record, you surpassed my expectations in there. Nice work."
"…Thanks." Kolyat replied, letting the unexpected compliment sink in.
"You can NOT speak to me like that." Aria growled at the two of them.
"You still haven't got it yet have you?" Zaeed exclaimed in exasperation. "You're not the Queen of Omega anymore! And at this rate you won't be Queen ever again – because you'll get us all fucking killed before you get the chance!"
Aria opened her mouth to reply, but was cut off by the beeping of Zaeed's Omni-tool. Bringing it up, Zaeed read the message.
To: , , U. Grunt
From: K. Goto
Guys, I've been rescued by the human-friendly resistance. Co-ordinates for rendezvous attached.
"That's good isn't it?" Kolyat asked, having read the message over Zaeed's shoulder.
"No way." Zaeed replied. "That isn't her, it's a trap."
"How do you know?" Aria rolled her eyes.
"She and I were on the same team for months. We had every meal together and she took every opportunity to annoy me. In short, she's a friend. She doesn't write like that. For starters, there's no kisses or anything else cute about it." Zaeed explained. His Omni-tool beeped again.
To: Z. Massani
From: G. Vakarian
Subject: Re: Co-ordinates
Trap. Heading to your position now for rendezvous.
"See?" Zaeed asked Aria smugly.
"Grunt, do you hear that?" Archangel's disembodied voice asked.
"Gunfire." The young krogan replied, his voice seemingly also appearing from nowhere. "400 metres. Cerberus weapons. Assorted others."
The krogan instantly started running in the direction of the battle, his heavy retreating footsteps the only indication that he was on the move.
Smiling, Garrus started to run after him.
"Guys, do you read? We've found the resistance battling Cerberus at the following co-ordinates, I'm letting Grunt off the leash." Garrus shouted over the comm as he ran.
"Acknowledged. We've lost our pursuers, so we'll head to you." Zaeed responded.
"Pursuers?" Garrus asked, breaking off from Grunt's path and heading up a flight of stairs.
"You can ask Aria when we get there. Zaeed out."
Garrus grasped the hilt of his knife as he cautiously edged up the stairs. Sure enough, two Cerberus soldiers in Nemesis gear were covering the battlefield, hunched over a balcony railing.
Their shields flickered; the knife wasn't going to do for these kills. As Garrus readied an overload, unleashing it on the confused snipers, he unclipped a grenade and skimmed it across the floor in their direction.
The resulting explosion hurled the two over the railing, scorching the floor and raising the temperature considerably as it did so. Smiling, Garrus sauntered over to the now vacated spot, dropping his cloak and readying his sniper rifle.
Surveying the battlefield, Grunt was nowhere to be seen.
"The fuck…?" Garrus queried under his breath.
Suddenly, Garrus' feet were dragged out from underneath him, leaving him splayed on the floor. Unholstering his pistol and whirling round, Garrus came face to face with his missing krogan.
"What's going on Grunt?" Garrus asked as he holstered his weapon. "You never pass up the chance to kick some ass."
"Something's off down there." The young krogan replied cryptically. "Smell, cut through the blood rage."
"What smell?" Garrus asked, genuinely confused.
"Pheromones." Grunt clarified. "There's a krogan battlemaster down there, or nearby. Not sure which."
The gunfire had died down while Grunt was explaining himself. Engaging both their cloaks, the two peered down into the battlefield below.
They were just in time to see a krogan boot crushing the skull of a downed Cerberus trooper. The krogan looked up, and surveyed his surroundings, tens of vorcha swarming around him.
"Patriarch…?" Garrus asked Grunt, his voice low.
"Affirmative." Grunt growled. "Smells different. Powerful."
"We shouldn't forget this guy ruled Omega for centuries. Aria had difficulty taking him down." Garrus recalled. "If he's back on form, he could be bigger trouble than Cerberus in the long run."
"He's far from his base." Grunt noted.
"He sure is." Garrus replied. "After something. Kasumi maybe."
"How would he know she's here?" Grunt asked.
"I don't… What's he doing?" Garrus asked suddenly.
Patriarch appeared to be sniffing the air, and his gaze was slowly travelling towards the two hidden soldiers.
"If you can smell him…" Garrus began.
"I smell a bit strange to other krogan." Grunt growled. "Makes me more memorable."
"COME OUT URDNOT!" Patriarch suddenly bellowed. "OR DOES YOUR CLAN SUDDENLY FIGHT FROM THE SHADOWS LIKE SALARIANS?!"
"Guys," Garrus began, opening his commlink, "we've got a little bit of a situation here."
"I've made up my mind." Kasumi huffed, arms crossed.
"You're not going anywhere." Kate replied, mimicking Kasumi's pose. "You've lost too much blood. Frankly, I'm surprised you have the energy to talk."
"I…" Kasumi opened her mouth.
"Save it." Balohr cut her off. "Kate can literally argue for years."
He crossed over to her, handing her an Omni-tool.
"Call your team." He continued. "We could use some help…"
He shared a look with the salarian and his wife. Things were clearly not going well.
Kasumi strapped the holoemitter to her forearm, wincing as it pulled on her newly knitted flesh and bones.
"Tracking them now." Kasumi announced, her fingers flying over the brightly lit keys.
"How did you break through the Cerberus encryption?" Kate asked, shocked at Kasumi's progress.
"It's chaos in Cerberus headquarters." Kasumi noted, bringing up one of her minimized screens. "Bullet damage to the main computer and something about… decapitation? Must be a glitch. They don't even notice I'm in their files right now. I'm uploading as much as I can to your main computer."
"…Thanks kid." Balohr replied, seeming shocked, and perhaps touched. Kasumi guessed that he may have lost a lot of men trying to make even a tenth as much progress as she was making in a few minutes.
"I've found them!" Kasumi exclaimed brightly, sharing the security camera feed with the monitors all around.
The occupants of the room stared at the screens for a few seconds.
"What the hell are they doing?" Kate asked, peering closer at the monitor.
"I honestly don't know…" Kasumi trailed off as she took in the bizarre situation on-screen herself.
"Well, this all went to shit fast." Zaeed sighed.
Aria, Zaeed, Grunt and Kolyat were on their knees, hands on their heads, surrounded by Patriarch's vorcha.
The battlemaster himself approached them slowly, the krogan equivalent of a spring in his step very pronounced.
"So… you have returned." He grinned at Aria. "You braved the Reapers simply to die at my hands."
"Well, what can I say, we have a history." Aria drawled.
"Indeed, and what an ancient history it is." Patriarch chuckled. "But now, Omega will once again be mine, and you'll be whoring in the slums."
Aria scowled as Patriarch bent down to pick up the decapitated head in front of her.
"Cerberus. How pitiful they are." Patriarch remarked as he inspected the head in his hands. "And yet they drove you away from this place when I could not. What is the human saying? 'Timing is everything?'"
"It certainly is." Aria smirked.
Time seemed to stand still for the old krogan.
One second, he was locking eyes with the dead human whose head he held in his hands. The next –
Sniper rounds boomed as vorcha's heads began to explode like the one Patriarch had just been holding.
However, these beheadings were the result of the sniper rounds, not a remotely detonated inferno grenade hidden in each vorcha's head.
Then, as Patriarch reeled in agony on the floor, the prisoners were knocking vorcha around like ragdolls, and assault rifle fire was coming from all around.
Aria screamed with rage as she unleashed her biotics at a cluster of vorcha, Zaeed and Grunt had elected to dispatch them hand to hand, while Kolyat was combining biotics with precision pistol work. Garrus continued his work from the balcony, dispatching the hapless vorcha at range.
Fire. Blood. Rage. Violence.
The prisoners fought like gods, Patriarch mused as he lay motionless.
Quickly, the last of the vorcha fell. The prisoners approached slowly, standing in front of the prone krogan side by side, Aria at the centre.
A turian in blue armour came to a stop at Aria's side. The five stood before the gasping krogan, staring down at him as he lay dying. Drell, turian, asari, krogan and human, fighting as one.
Silently, the turian unholstered a pistol, expertly whirling it around in his hand so he held the barrel, offering the weapon to the asari at his left.
"Why thank you Archangel." Aria accepted the offer graciously, gripping the weapon firmly.
"Patriarch…" She chuckled. "You never learn do you?"
She took careful aim at the krogan's remaining, uncharred eye.
"And now you never will." She smiled, pulling the trigger.
A/N: Massive delay in uploading new chapters, I know. Life has changed utterly for me since I began this story, and I have a lot less free time, but that's changing soon.
I originally hoped to finish this before the Omega DLC comes out, but that probably won't happen. Regardless, my ending for this is planned, so the DLC shouldn't change anything.
Thanks to all my reviewers, you really make this feel worthwhile :)