The Red Moon Collection - 2 - Three Phantoms
Docking bay E-19, Omega
It took hours to offload all of the equipment belonging to Kallux, Tyrixis and Vayren. Will was glad they were on Omega, as the amount of military-grade hardware might have aroused considerable suspicion at nearly any other port. Kallux, Tul and Shansa had already left in the Kodiak to deliver the krogan's gear to a storage facility that he would use until a permanent base of operations could be established for the Red Moon Collective. After that they would stop by docking bay C-6, where the helpless Pride of Kalabsha would, hopefully, be ripe for the snatching. The others remained at the Hyperion's berth to assist Vayren and Tyrixis in their departure preparations. The salarian and turian soon found themselves standing over Corsin's large footlocker while sorting through its contents.
"I'm afraid I will have to take this," Vayren informed Tyrixis. "It could contain data pertinent to Spectre operations."
He lifted Corsin's holopad from the crate and held it between them, waiting for her objection. The turian's eyes fell on it briefly before returning to the footlocker.
"Fine," she answered without argument.
Will and T'lees stood off to the side to watch the process while Eleena finished up her work in the engine room. Will was surprised at how empty Corsin's locker appeared to be. He then reminded himself that the majority of the room was most likely reserved for the hardsuit and rifle that he had been wearing when he was killed. Tyrixis lifted a set of clothing from the footlocker and ran her fingers across the top. Will wasn't an expert in turian fashion, but it appeared to be a semi-formal suit adorned with blue, yellow and red embroidery. Vayren's eyes glanced over to the suit briefly before looking back down into the crate.
"I'm surprised he still had this," the doctor commented.
She turned and set the suit into the bag that sat behind her.
"A classic surris," T'lees mentioned to no one in particular. "It is a timeless design, many would say."
Will raised a brow. "A surris?"
The asari nodded toward Tyrixis's bag. "Yes. A piece of turian semi-formal wear quite popular outside of the more traditional turian worlds. The first of the style were actually designed by asari well over seven centuries ago."
"Ahuh." Will turned his attention back Tyrixis and Vayren. "I don't keep up with fashion that much."
Tyrixis reached into Corsin's footlocker and withdrew a handgun. Both of her hands gently grasped the weapon and slowly rotated the pistol from side to side as she examined the make and model. Will watched Vayren open his mouth to say something before changing his mind and shaking his head. The doctor placed the pistol in her holster and stared down into Corsin's crate.
"That's it," she said quietly.
Vayren nodded in affirmation. "So it is." He activated his omnitool. "My taxi should be here in just a few minutes," he declared.
The salarian knelt and shut his footlocker before turning to face Tyrixis. Will and T'lees took a few steps forward as the turian drew the strings on her bag and stood with them. Will looked around the small circle and cleared his throat.
"I can call Eleena out if you want to say goodbye," he offered.
"I have already said my thanks and goodbyes to the others," Vayren informed him. The Spectre looked to Tyrixis and drew a small breath. "It was an honor working with you, Doctor Rentarius. And your brother."
He extended a hand to the turian who eyed it momentarily. A few seconds later she silently accepted the gesture and shook once. As their hands parted, Vayren looked over to Will and T'lees with a small smile.
"Thank you for the good work," he said simply. "And Captain... don't stop what you're doing out here. Someone has got to keep the ruffians in line and the Spectres are far too understaffed."
Will smirked. "As long as there are vengeful businessmen and outgunned Spectres to pay the bills."
"You could be doing far worse for equal or more pay," Vayren reminded him. "I wasn't sure such anomalies existed here in the Terminus. I suppose that is one of the many things I learned from Agent Rentarius."
"Yeah, well..." Will shrugged and nodded toward the salarian. "Good luck with whatever top secret assignment you get after this."
The Spectre smirked. "I don't believe in the forces of 'luck,' but I appreciate the gesture."
A buzz sounded from Vayren's omnitool to alert him of the automated taxi that had arrived outside the private docking bay. Minutes later they had loaded the salarian's footlocker into the skycar and watched as it lifted into the air and soared off toward the commercial spaceport. Will, Tyrixis and T'lees stood outside the doorway to docking bay E-19 until the hum of the taxi's engine could no longer be heard. Tyrixis broke the silence as she stepped toward the street.
"I must go," she said quietly.
Will frowned and took a step after her. "Hold on."
The turian stopped and turned to face him. Her harsh, penetrating eyes stared him down as he looked back with uncertainty.
"I just wanted to thank you for the help," he explained.
"And for saving my life," T'lees added from a few feet behind Will.
Tyrixis looked to both of them. "I do what I can."
"I'll transfer your portion of the payment when it comes in," he assured her.
She reluctantly nodded. "Thank you."
Will looked to her bag for a quick moment. "What will you do now?"
The doctor let out a sigh. "As I said before, I will return to Palaven to inform my father of Corsin's passing. After that, I..." She shook her head. "I do not know."
"You're always welcome aboard the Hyperion," Will assured her with a small smile.
"I will remember that," she replied. "But for now, I must find my own way."
Tyrixis gave him and T'lees a curt nod and turned to march off toward the market district. Will watched as she very quickly disappeared in the crowd that grew the further she walked.
"She is deeply troubled," T'lees noted.
"That's a fuckin' understatement," Will snorted as he looked back to the asari.
"That being said, I feel she will persevere." T'lees had continued to stare after her. "She is stronger than she appears, and she appears quite strong."
Will let out a sigh and led the two of them back into the docking bay.
"What is our plan now?" T'lees inquired.
"Drinks," he answered with a small smirk. "Tul, Shan and Kallux should be ready to meet us at Discharge soon."
"'Discharge?'" T'lees contorted her face in confusion.
"It's a bar," Will explained as he called for Eleena with his omnitool.
"I suppose that would make sense, given the directive of 'drinks.'" She closed and eye and shook her head. "Such colorful names here on Omega."
"This your first time here?" He perked a brow and faced her while waiting for Eleena to appear.
The asari smiled. "Oh, goddess, no. In fact, I have been here far more than I would have liked."
"Well, get used to it," Will said with a grin. "We don't have many other options for a supply hub."
The boarding door to the Hyperion hissed and slid apart as Eleena came sauntering through with a satisfied smile.
"Guess I missed the sendoff?"
She came a stop next to Will and T'lees.
"Yep," Will put an arm around her shoulder. "But you're just in time for the R and R."
Will, Eleena and T'lees had arrived at Discharge to find it only about half-full. Additionally, the others were nowhere to be seen. They found a booth near the back of the blue and purple tinted, cylindrical room and put down a their jackets to hold the table before hurrying to order their drinks. Eleena and Will waited as the bartender slowly made his away around the circular bar at the center of the room while T'lees browsed the holographic menu curiously.
"What can get you?" The batarian bartender finally asked as he arrived in front of them.
"Scotch neat," Will and Eleena answered in near-perfect unison.
Will turned and raised a curious brow. The asari smirked and shrugged.
"You had a craving last night when we..." She looked over to make sure that T'lees was not paying attention to them. "Well, you know. And I kinda latched onto it."
He chuckled and looked back to the bartender. "We'll have something single malt. Nothing fancy." Will turned back to Eleena. "You can pick up cravings from... bonding?"
Eleena gave him an amused look. "You can pick up a lot more than that."
Will crossed his arms and leaned against the bar. "Huh. Is that why I've been so curious about jumpsuits the past few days?"
They locked eyes and shared a small laugh as their drinks were set beside them. The bartender moved on to T'lees and nodded.
The asari tore herself from the menu and smiled. "A Blue Serenity, please."
Thirty seconds later a neon blue mixed drink appeared next to her. The three of them collected their drinks and returned to the booth just as Kallux, Shansa and Tul'Sorrin entered on the far side of the room. They spotted the others and, after ordering drinks for themselves, joined them at the table.
"So?" Will took a tiny sip from the cheap, plastic snifter his scotch had been served in. "How'd it go?"
He could already discern the answer from their attitudes and ecstatic expressions. The trio exchanged a few quick looks before Kallux took a sip of his ryncol and sat forward.
"See for yourself," he answered.
The krogan pulled a datapad from his belt and accessed the hangar's security camera feed. Will, Eleena and T'lees leaned forward curiously as he set it at the center of the table. The feed of a camera on the outside of the station blinked to life and slowly panned back and forth to show the full length of the same sleek corvette they had seen on Neidus.
"We hit the drop location after confirming the ship was here," Tul informed them. "They delivered the root system access keys, just as I ordered."
Shansa turned and grabbed the krogan's arm. "Kallux..."
He laughed and took another sip of his drink. "Don't worry, you'll get a chance at the helm. In fact, I was hoping Eleena and Tul could help with some diagnostic passes."
Will finally looked up from the holopad. "I wasn't planning on calling everyone back from shore leave to cast off for at least a week." He looked over to Tul and Eleena. "It's up to them."
Eleena swirled her liquor coolly as she eyed the ship. "I had some plans," she gave Will a sly look, "but I can spare a day or two."
"I would be glad to help," Tul added.
Kallux grinned and retrieved the holopad. "Good. I'd like to get a feel for the systems before you all set out again."
Eleena leaned back and took a small sip of her scotch. "Mmm, I can't wait to tear that thing apart."
The krogan narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
"I mean... help you with those diagnostics," she jokingly recovered.
"It is a beautiful ship," T'lees commented. "Will you rename it?"
Kallux tilted his head and looked off to the side. "Hmm, hadn't thought about it. Should I?"
"Well, the name does seem rather irrelevant now, does it not?" Tul inquired as he sipped some of his drink through a metallic straw. "The Kalabsha System has no significance to the Red Moon Collective."
Shansa nodded her head quickly. "Plus, it may have been tagged as the Pride of Kalabsha by some dastardly individuals. You probably don't want anyone thinking this is still Antarian's ship."
"True," Kallux shrugged. "Any suggestions then?"
Will downed the last drop of his scotch. "Why not something commemorative like the Taxalur or Rentarius?"
"I like the idea of remembrance, but I've never been a fan of naming ships to do so," the krogan smirked.
T'lees put a finger to her lips in contemplation. "What about a name that helps signify the purpose of the Red Moon Collective?" She took a sip of her blue mixed drink and turned her attention to Kallux. "Compared to the goals and motivations of most organizations in the Terminus, this group of yours is quite aberrant."
"Hey, there you go." Eleena looked over to Kallux. "How about the Aberrant? I kinda like that."
Will nodded in agreement. "Gets the message across." He smirked. "In an ironic sort of way."
Kallux raised his glass and downed a small gulp of his ryncol as he pondered the suggestion. "You know what? I kind of like it, too." He grinned and looked around the table. "Aberrant it is."
Those without empty glasses raised them and downed a sip of their drink of choice. Will, whose glass was empty at the moment, looked around the group with a smile. It was nice to see the relief on their faces.
"So, Tyrixis and Vayren have left?" Tul asked knowingly.
"Yep, right before we headed over here," Will answered. "I told them before we docked that they were welcome to join us."
"They don't seem like the bar type," Eleena mentioned with a shrug.
"Neither does she," Shansa joked as she nodded toward T'lees.
Kallux grinned amid a small bout of laughter. "I wouldn't say that. She just looks like she belongs in a Thessian lounge that charges a hundred creds a drink."
T'lees laughed softly. "Oh, goddess. Not anymore I'm afraid. My old social circle has not spoken to me since I was declared a criminal and forced to flee asari space. And one look at me now would most likely not help the situation."
Will furrowed his brow slightly. "Hey, there's no need to put yourself down. It's just an eyepatch."
The asari grinned playfully. "I was talking about if they were to see the rapscallions who accompany me."
"Hey!" Eleena leaned her head back and swallowed the last sip of her drink. "If anything, you are accompanying the rapscallions. Not the other way around."
Tul snickered and glanced to Will. "Did Vayren or Tyrixis say much?"
Will shook his head. "Not really. I think Vayren was trying to keep things as professional as possible."
"Not surprising," Kallux mentioned.
"And Tyrixis..." Will let out a small sigh. "I'm not sure, but I think she'd rather not linger on her time with us."
"I can understand why," Shansa admitted with a frown. "Corsin was a good man."
The crew's lively expressions gently sank as silence spread across the table. A server stepped up to the table and placed a new glass in front of Will before looking around the table to see who else was low. As she walked off, Will lifted his drink to the center of the table.
The others raised the glasses in acknowledgment before drinking.
"I wish I could have thanked him properly," T'lees said solemnly. "Had he not insisted on giving me a chance to prove myself..."
"I'm glad he did," Will finished.
Another short silence fell over them as Will looked around the table curiously. The others seemed to have become lost in their own thoughts.
"So, Kallux," he asserted, "have you done any work with the RMC yet?"
The krogan nodded in affirmation. "Yes, actually. Many of the other senior members are headed to Omega as we speak. We'll be meeting to establish protocols and the like." He looked over to Will. "I'd like for you to attend, if you have the time."
Shansa grinned as Will let out a groan. "You just had to ask," she jabbed.
"Do we have an agenda set for after our downtime?" Tul asked curiously.
"That depends." Will raised a brow to Kallux. "Any leads?"
"I've got a few that could use some looking into," the krogan answered. "Mostly gang problems."
"Might not even need to leave Omega for that," Eleena mentioned offhandedly.
Will's omnitool bracelet buzzed as a message arrived. He raised his wrist and activated the tool see a funds transfer alert had been delivered. His eyes widened slightly as he opened the message, then widened further as he read the amount of credits that had been deposited into the crew account. Eleena was the first to attempt a look at whatever had caught Will's attention.
"Whatcha got there?" She asked while leaning over to get a better look.
"Oh, nothing," Will said as he deactivated the omnitool. "Just a reminder of why I love fighting the good fight."
"Which is?" Eleena looked him up and down.
Will smiled and gave her a pat on the shoulder. "You'll find out in a day or two after I finish the accounting." He stood and stepped to the edge of the table. "For now, how does a round of irresponsibly expensive drinks sound?"
With an overwhelmingly positive response, he turned and headed toward the bar while trying to hold a small smile. When Vayren and Corsin had approached them just under a month ago, he was worried that their proposition would be more trouble than it was worth. Given all that had happened, he was still trying to decide if they had performed as well as they could have. There had been too many close calls. One too many deaths. But they had also succeeded in taking down a monumental threat. He came to a stop at the bar and closed his eyes for a moment, taking in a deep breath.
"What'll it be?" The bartender asked.
He opened his eyes and cleared his throat. "Something expensive." Will paused as the small smile returned to his lips. "We're celebrating a job well done," he decided. "And tomorrow's looking damn good."
Of that, he was certain.
And thus ends Volume Two! The third installment is already in progress and is going to diverge a bit from the tone/theme of one and two, so I'm really excited for how it will (hopefully) turn out. I'm aiming to get the first chapter of Volume Three up in a week or two, so keep an eye out for that on my author page. Thanks for reading, and if you liked it, leave a review!