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#MSVJackOfDiamonds – January 21, 2018
Husks crumble under the covering fire of those on the ramp, stumbling over one another as they chase after the last escape. Jason's leap is enough to bring him aboard on his own voliton, and Senya helps him up and past the barrier before urging everyone else back, going to slam a fist against the button to close the ramp. It starts to move with a slight jump and then a groan as it slowly ascends.
Nathan assists Senya in urging the others up, waving his hand. He casts one last look to the Collector vessel, gritting his teeth beneath his helmet in anger, before moving back.
Ilyna lets out a sigh of relief once Jason is safely lifted past her, and she moves back inside the barrier. She had Li and her friends and family were safe, now they just neede to get away. Ilyna anxiously watches the ramp close, hoping that the collectors doesn't have any further hindrances to their plan of escape.
Ehanis steps back through the barrier, and starts making her way across the cargo hold towards the stairs. She has had enough of this.
Jason lands with a thump, quickly reaching out for Senya with his free hand as his Revenant hangs loosely in his other. He casts one glance back at the still-chasing horde as he pulls himself past the barrier with the asari's assistance. Turning in place, he merely watches the sea of husks filling the platform. It's only now that everything they just pushed through begins to settle in and he feels a shake settle into his
shoulders, as if he's consumed way too much caffeine in a short time. It takes a moment before he steps forward and places a hand on Jessica's shoulder, urging her back inside.
Jessica dumps the thermal clip out of her Falcon, allowing it to clatter to the ramp as she loads a fresh one in. "We beat you, you stupid fucking bugs!" she shouts, cracking off another pair of Falcon rounds even as the ramp begins to lift up. "Collectors? Mmm? How you are liking collecting this?!" she howls, Crack "Mmm?! Mmm?!" Crack It's not unti she feels Jason's gauntleted hand on her shoulder that she begins
to pull back, her good eye still locked on the wall of bodies until the cargo ramp lifts high enough to obscure them from her view.
Leah is quick to step back from the barrier once Jason is onboard. She immediately moves to the nearest crate and presses a palm against it to hold her weight up. Drawing in deep breaths, she begins to unclasp her helmet.
Jattic remains a few paces behind the firing line that had formed, watching with labored breaths until Jason is safely in the cargo hold. Only once the ramp begins ot lift does he give in to his fatigue, gauntleted hands moving to his knees as he hunches over. "...We are not out of this quite yet." he grumbles. "We must prepare ourselves for another engagement. They may yet still posess the capabilities to prevent our
Zaylus gets back through the barrier, allowing himself a second of slumped relief before straightening out again. His good arm gently cradles the other, now unburdened by duty. Stepping around the edge of the hold, his eyes scan the people there. He's looking for Oxaris.
Halisi turns her attention to the injured as soon as she's gotten her bearings. She points to Jason and Zaylus, giving the former barely a moment to recover. "I need you to get Ortoratus to the infirmary immediately!" she says, gesturing to the armored turian on her stretcher before heading over to the Eclipse biotic herself. Oxaris is by far the heavier of the two, and needs more muscle to carry. "If any of you have urgent
Senya activates her comms. "Pivin, everyone is on board. Get us out of here." she says urgently before moving to help Halisi with the biotic. Together they start rushing her up the stairs towards the infirmary, shoving Ehanis out of the way as they pass.
There's a shudder as the ramp closes, and the ship starts to stir to life. The telltale vertigo of the internal dampeners kicking in as the Jack of Diamonds starts to move. "Getting out of here." Pivin's voice sounds over comms. "Likely that-" he's interrupted as the ship is violently shaken. "Ship-to-ship weaponry! Let's hope the storm can keep up obscured!"
Elena falls over, landing on her bad leg with a pained cry, grasping her thigh as she remains on the floor.
Jason's breathing is still uneven, but he complies to Halisi's request with a firm nod. "On it." he says, rushing to the stretcher and leaning down. He grabs each side on the end near the turian legs and waits for Zaylus to join him. Passing a glance Halisi's way, he swallows back at the pit forming in his stomach. "...You need to start running tests, doc. The sooner the better." he says, the lull in action once again allowing
it to settle in that he may very well be infected. What other explanation was there for what happened on the Good Things Come? But it's been hours... He pushes the thoughts out of his mind for now. Right now, he has a teammate that needs assistance. And that's what he's going to focus on.
Nathan breathes heavily as he backs up, swallowing as he stares at the closed door. He feels his chest tighten and he shakes his head, reaching up to pull off his helmet and drop it against the ground with a metallic thud. "Mein Gott. I-... wha-...". He looks to Nadia on the floor and he chokes on his own breath. "I'm sorry..."
Ehanis scoffs. "Was that really necessary?" she snaps as she's pushed into one of the corners. She grabs onto the railing as the ships starts shaking, and manages to stay upright.
Makk steadies himself against a crate, holding on to Wrench as well. "Get-... get to the engines. You can handle it." he says quietly, giving her a nod and shooing her off.
Jattic reaches out to balance himself by leaning into a nearby crate. His gaze snaps upwards as he hears Pivin's announcement. "Get us out of here!" he growls over comms.
Xiu just barely manages to stay upright as the ship shakes, looking around in fear. Nothing she can do but hope for the best...
Leah just manages to get her helmet off when the rumbling ship causes it to tumble from her grasp and fall to the cargo bay door with a clank. She braces herself against the crate, her bangs falling into her face. "Is this day ever gonna end?" she grunts. Her eyes are bloodshot, cheeks stained with red from what looks to be a pretty severe nosebleed.
Halisi and Senya soon disappear out of view up the stairs, after a brief stop to steady themselves against the shaking.
Zaylus follows Halisi's gesture to the wounded turian, rushing over to comply with her command. He picks up the end near her head, biting down on the lingering pain as he attempts to keep her steady despite the ship being rustled.
Oxaris is hoisted. Her body is soaked in blood of husk, Collector and her own life force. The only indication she's alive is the very faint wheezing of her breathing.
Even despite the ship's mass effect generators, there are faint, but stomach-churning shifts in gravity and creaking throughout the hull as Pivin performs evasive manuevers.
Ilyna is caught completely unprepared as the ship begins to shake, but luckily the ramp was close enough for her to step back and brace against it. "What was that?" she asked, looking around as relief gives way to panic. She doesn't have comms, so she didn't hear the pilot's announcement.
Nathan doesn't wait for a reply from Niklos, knowing all to well that there is nothing Nathan can say or do to help him right now. And it's just another life he couldn't save... another to bare. He turns and strides over to Leah, scooping up her helmet with one hand and reaching to stabilise her with the other. He looks to the others and says, "We need to find something to hold us down. This could get really
Jessica is deposited right onto her ass as the ship shakes. "Fuuuuck." she grunts, dropping her Falcon to the floor as she props herself up with the palm of her hand. She doesn't look to be in any rush to get back up, and soon enough her gaze wanders over to Nadia and Niklos.
Jason's low posture and a career of living on ships helps him to keep his balance despite the rocky start to their escape. As Zaylus joins him, he gives a small nod to the turian. "Alright, on three." he warns as before starting his countdown. "One... Two... Three!" On his mark, he lifts his end of the turian and begins scooting off towards the infirmary, doing his best to balance speed and stability. The weapons fire
they're taking is another matter entirely, but it's a problem he has no control over. All he can do is keep occupied and hope Pivin knows what he's doing.
Li holds on tight to Ilyna as the ship shakes, letting out a tiny grunt of pain she hits the ramp. No crying follows. Just silence as she keeps holding onto her.
Leah glances up to Nathan as he moves to assist her. She brings one hand to grasp onto his arm in an attempt at remaining upright, passing an apologetic look his way for the sorry state she's finding herself in. "I-..." she begins, interupting herself with a few short nods, "...I'll be fine, Nate. I just need a minute to catch my breath. Really." Her gaze moves to the others. The wounded. The dead. The exhausted. "They need
Lucy is sitting up now, her back against a crate as she stares ahead, jostling slightly with the shaking of the ship.
Makk is letting out strained breaths as he leans against the crate, eventually sliding down into a sitting position with a loud grunt.
ColonistMother looks around after the shaking, and the motions that follows, the uncertainty and fear in her eyes obvious. "What's-... what's happening?!"
Zaylus hoists on Jason's mark, trying to watch his footing instead of looking too closely at the mangled Oxaris. But it gets the better of him eventually, and he flinches at her pitiful shallow wheezing. Not long ago she was throwing him around the same cargo hold that she now clings to life in, and he can't help but feel somewhat pessimistic. "She's in it bad." He mumbles, almost
Nathan looks to the wounded, the exhausted... the dead. He lingers on Nadia and he swallows, shaking his head softly. "I've done what I can... and it wasn't enough. Come on, you strained yourself too much. I don't know much about biotics, but even I know that this-" he motions to her face, "-is not good. So... just let me help you. Please." He shakes his head a little, the gravity of what they just survived finally
Jason does his best to focus on where he's going and keeping Oxaris from shuffling about rather than looking at the state she's in, but Zaylus' remark causes him to venture a glance down at the turian. With a short sigh, he gives a small nod. "She'll pull through." he says as he looks across to Zaylus, mustering up as much confidence as he can. "We're not gonna get through all of that-..." he hazards a glance in the general
direction of the cargo ramp they just arrived from, "...just to let her die on this ship. Now come on." With one more brief glance to Oxaris, he seems to speed up his efforts, carefully navigating the staircases.
Halisi and Senya are inside the infirmary by the time Jason and Zaylus arrive. With only a single medical bed, the Eclipse mercenary has been placed on the floor.
Leah's gaze remains settled on Nadia, only tearing it away as Nathan gestures to her face and the bad state she's in. "...Reeeeal charmer, you are." she teases, though there's not a whole lot of enthusiasm behind the joke. Just exhaustion. Pain and exhaustion. Still, she relents with a slow nod as she places a hand on his shoulder to help hold up her weight as she starts towards the infirmary.
Nathan smiles weakly, but it is fleeting. He just helps her towards the infirmary in silence, her on one arm, her helmet tucked under the other.
Zaylus meets Jason's gaze across their wounded teammate, and ventures a shallow nod at his conviction. It takes another moment for him to start believing it, and though it seems counteruntuitive, Oxaris' pained noises actually seem to help. At least she's making some kind of noise, it would be a lot more concerning if she was totally silent. "Yeah. You're right." He breathes, hustling
Ilyna moves to sit down with her back against a crate near the ramp, still cradling Li in her arms. She's still looking around the hold awaiting an answer to the question she asked, but she doesn't repeat it.
Jattic accepting that there's little for him to do to assist in their escape, decides to join the others in assisting the wounded. He takes a knee beside Elena, offering a gauntlet down to her. "Come. Let us get you to the infirmary." he offers in a low hum.
Elena nods a couple of times, grabbing Jattic's gauntleted hand and pulling herself back on her feet with his help.
Jattic gives a grunt as he shoulders Elena's weight before casting a glance towards Ilyna, Jessica, and the rest still near the ramp. "It appears they're attempting to stop our escape." he says, "Unfortunately there is little we can do aside from put our faith in the pilot and ready ourselves for another engagement should it come to that." Looking towards the closed ramp he adds: "I would recommend distancing yourself from
Ehanis stops on her way to the kitchen and moves over to the doorway to the bridge. She looks out the viewports without saying a word.
Jason remains silent for the remainder of their trip upstairs. Pivin's announcement causes a relief half-sigh half-chuckle as he does his part to hoist Oxaris onto the medical bed. "Alright, you're up, doc." he says as he takes a couple steps back, one hand moving to his hip as his other finally begins to work to unlatch his helmet, "Do your thing."
Pivin is working frantically on the bridge. They've escaped the gas giant's atmosphere, and space is all that's ahead. They're slipping out of the planet's gravity well as fast as they can.
Halisi nods. Both her and Senya entirely focused on their jobs. "Give us space. Have anyone else that needs medical assitance wait outside. These two have to take priority."
Zaylus draws back quickly once Oxaris is settled in place, making room for the docs. He doesn't intend to linger in the infirmary, and wordlessly retreats to the staircase.
Oxaris can feel them around her. Her teammates. Their voices are muted, as if she was submerged in water at the precipice of drowning. It reminded her of her childhood. Of the ocean. Of that day. That brief, weightless and painless moment where the water fills your lungs and you heart thuds its last few beats. That was this moment all over again. But that was bright. All she can see is darkness. "Hnng. Hnng."
Jason gives a couple of silent nods to Halisi's words as he works his helmet off, tucking it beneath one arm. There's a few bumps and bruises and a thin, still-bleeding cut across the right side of his forehead. "Yeah..." he agrees with a glance towards the turian leaving the room. Once Zaylus is out, he takes a step towards Halisi and lowers his voice. "...You need to start testing people, doc. I don't-..." he stammers,
licking at his lips as he searches for the right words. "...Things happened out there." he settles on, perhaps somewhat cryptically as he backs up and draws in a deep breath. "Get them stable." he continues as he starts towards the door, "...But keep up the pace. We don't need a repeat of Di Yu."
Ilyna sighs, and as the ship starts rumbling she stands again and starts taking slow careful steps towards a few crates at close to the stairs. She looks about to fall over any moment now, but she still opts to carry Li.
Leah breaks away from Nathan as they approach the infirmary, moving to place a hand against the wall to support herself. "...How is she?" she asks with a glance towards the emerging Zaylus.
Halisi mumbles a quiet, focused "Oh no you don't..." to herself as she works with great speed. The scanner is running as she works, connecting to the turian's armor, and sweeping back and forth across her body for in-depth information, giving her all the data she needs. Smoothers, to stabilize the reactions of the stimulants. ANother injections to stabilize vitals, as much as possible in her current state. Senya preps
equipment for emptying her lungs, and to start assisted respiration until repairs can be made. Time to start working the releases on the armor... a nod is her only response to Jason, her focus clearly on the patient now.
Nathan lowers his hand as he looks to the turian expectantly, turning his gaze to the door he just stepped out from.
Elena makes her way to the infirmary with Jattic's help, sitting down against the wall with a slight grunt and a nod of thanks to Jattic.
Jessica slowly-but-surely rises to her feet with a groan upon hearing Jattic. She scoops her weapon up off the ground and reholsters it on her back as she follows Ilyna across the hold. "This job fucking sucks." she says plainly.
Zaylus has his head down as he steps out, shoulders slumped in exhaustion. He spares the humans a glance and a shake of the head. "I... I don't know." He replies with weary honesty, hazarding a look back inside. "Alive." He adds, pausing as if to say more... and then shaking his head again. "Excuse me." He mutters, brushing past them without another word.
Oxaris is clearly not in good shape. Her armour saved her from having her insides melted away, but there are numerous gunshot wounds across her body. Internal bleeding, cracked bones, stimulants pumping in her veins. And then... she goes into cardiac arrest.
Jason pauses at the door to give a glance back towards Oxaris. He watches for a moment longer and then exits the room just before things start to go south. Her life is in Halisi's hands now. All he can do is wait. He makes it into the corridor just in time to see Zaylus marching off. His gaze moves to the new arrivals and he cocks a thumb back towards the infirmary. "They're working on Oxaris right now." he says with a sigh.
Nathan looks at to Zaylus as he marches off, sighing softly as he then turns toward Jattic. "How... how did you get out your pods?"
Senya takes over at her own suggestion, far more experienced with treatment of turians than Halisi. Wires are immediately hooked up, and precision electro-stimulation starts in order to artifically pump her heart until it can get going on its own again. There's a frenzy of activity in the infirmary as both doctors move about, their words inaudible from the outside.
Jattic releases his hold on Elena as she takes a seat. He, too, takes a seat beside her. "She is strong." he says in response to Jason, giving a deep, confident nod, leaving it at that. When Nathan speaks up, he begins to work at his own helmet. "We were not put inside of pods. We were left behind. Immobilized. I believe they planned on executing us." he recounts, "Had it not been for the doctor, they may have succeeded.
Ilyna sighs. "Watch your language," she says flatly, not looking back at her. "Not that I disagree," she adds in a mutter. She sits down with her back against a crate, and gently rubs Li's back.
Nathan nods softly and glances at the others. The wounded. He nods much more sharply and steps back, turning to head off to... somewhere. Just somewhere out the way. Behind a crate or something so he can go over his weapons and armour. Take his mind off of it all.
Elena gives a couple of distant nods, just watching the doctors work through the infirmary window, remaining seated on the floor.
Ehanis doesn't interrupt the salairan, and keeps quietly watching the viewports. She has a wound on her arm from the fragment that hit her during her and Nathan's improvised breach in the pod room, but the medi-gel is keeping that under control.
Jessica glances blankly towards Ilyna, then to Li, causing her to realize the context of the asari's statement. "We fight some big-... big-..." she stammers, unable to decide just how to describe James, "...man-monster-thing! We shoot a crazy-... crazy fucking-... whatever the fuck that woman is that we kill!" she gestures wildly as she recalls Li's mother, "Then we kill our way out of a ship filled with people who are
turning into robot stuffs and trying to fucking eat us! I am thinking maybe some bad words are the least of her worries, yes?"
Leah watches as Nathan walks off. She moves to follow, but a sharp pain in her head reminds her of why she's outside of the infirmary. With a sigh, she merely takes a spot amongst the rest of the wounded along the wall. Forearms on her knees, she buries her face against her arms.
Jason listens as Jattic speaks, furrowing his brow at the new information. Did they only take humans? As Nathan sets off, however, he adjusts the helmet under his arm and follows after.
After a brief exchange with Wrench to confirm the readiness of engineering, Pivin reaches for a set of previously untouched controls, and announces over comms: "Entering FTL." The ship lurches subtly as its enveloped in a mass effect field, the stars outside distorting as they enter FTL, finally leaving this system behind. A relieved sigh escapes him as he leans back in his chair.
Nathan continues along until he is out of view with the others. He turns to the wall and leans against it, before slowly sliding down it and ending up in a sitting position. He sets Leah's helmet on the ground and stares emptily into the space before him, his shoulders shaking as he lets out a pained chuckle that slowly begins to turn into a hybrid of disbelieving laughter and sobs. It all hits him at once. He was
trained as a peacekeeper, EOD. He fights pirates and other scum like that. Not some fucked up aliens with mechanical zombies that were once people.
Ilyna looks up at her with a tilted head, listening to her words. She's interrupted for a moment as she feels the telltale signs of a ship entering FTL, and she lets out a small sigh of relief. "Maybe you're right," she says, "but we're lucky enough to be able to put this nightmare behind us," she glances down at Li, ignoring the pain in her neck from that movement, "and I... I will do everything in my power
Jason trails behind Nathan, in no rush to catch up with him. As he enters the weapon's station after him and spots the state that he's in, he gives a short sigh. He slowly moves to the wall beside Nathan and leans up against it. As he slowly lowers himself into a seated position beside the man, he gives an exhausted, pained grunt and sets his helmet aside. "Yeah. Been there." he says simply with a glance Nathan's way. He
focuses on his gauntlets, the relief provided by the FTL jump more than enough to convince him to start removing his armor. "...Sorry I pulled you into all of this." he offers softly as he begins to work the armored pieces off.
Jessica seems to panic briefly as the ship shudders into FTL. But when Ilyna doesn't show any signs of worry, she tries to play it off by shifting a bit to hide her concern. Ilyna's words cause her to shrug her shoulders. A 'normal' childhood. What does that even mean? Would she know it if she saw it? "You are an asari working as a mercenary and raising a human child out in the Terminus Systems." she says with an amused
snort. "I am thinking that maybe normal was never an option for the two of you." With a deep breath she leans back, pressing her head against the crate she's using for a backrest as she stares out blankly across the hold. After a moment's consideration, she looks back to the pair, studying them. Everything they just went through was for that little girl. Ilyna. Jason. Redrock. They risked their lives and dove head
first into a hornet's nest just to bring her home. It caused an uncharacteristic sincere smirk to cross her lips. "...Maybe that is not so bad." she decides as she turns her attention back out towards the hold.
Nathan chokes it back as Jason enters, trying to cover it up as best he can. He shakes his head and dismissively waves him off. "I'm fine. I just... just need a moment to process. And- I'll be fine." He curls his hand into a fist and raps it against the side of his head, offering a weak laugh with wet eyes. "Just a knock to my head was all." It's not a convincing performance in the slightest and he knows it. He
Zaylus shambles back down into the hold, blinking wearily and slowly flexing his fingers. He finally takes a moment to undo his helmet, dropping it on the ground as he sets himself down near the mother and her child. He doesn't look at them, or anyone else, as he runs his hand over his fringe repeatedly.
Jason sets his first gauntlet aside and begins working on the second. Not that it changes much. Synthetic armor gives way to synthetic hands. He gives a low snicker in acknowledgement, nodding a few times. "I-... I hope you understand why we were so-..." he trails off, gaze remaining fixed to his armor as he unlatches and unclasps the armored glove. "...Those were people back there." he continues with a deep sigh. "All of
them. Just...." he interrupts himself with a shake of his head, "...people. Mothers. Fathers. Children. Brothers. Sisters. Just... people. Changed. And not a god damned thing we could do about it." As he tosses his second gauntlet alongside his first, he finally looks Nathan's way, the day's exhaustion clear as day in his eyes. "I've been where you were, Ten. I watched an entire ship of people I was assigned to protect
turn. One by one." He gives a few distant nods to himself as his gaze moves back to rest on the floor just in front of him. "...I just wanted you to be ready for what you were about to see. Because I couldn't have you out there second guessing yourself. It's my job to make sure you come home. All of you."
Ehanis smirks behind her helmet upon seeing the mass effect field envelop the ship, and she steps away from the door. She heads for the kitchen in search for the strongest booze she can idenfity. They were finally out of the fray, and without anything to really occupy her, she neede the escape.
Ilyna gives Li a gentle squeeze while listening to Jessica. Ilyna has been a stranger to normalcy ever since she was a child, and her every attempt at it had been abnormal in how careful she needed to be. "Yeah, maybe... it's too much to ask for," she says, "but I won't stop trying." She does return her smile before closing her eyes, pulling Li a little closer and resting her chin genlty on top of her head.
An insistant crackle of static electricity and a subtle, discordant tone across the shipwide comms, that distills into a voice that seems to echo across every room on the ship. Mechanical. Familiar. "Fragile vessels of blood and flesh. Your existence is but a blink in the eyes of eternity. Oblivion is all that awaits you without us." Lights seem to dim, flicker. In the weapons bay, it suddenly becomes very clear that the two
drained humans are not alone. A glow of red light in a dark corner, and a sound of shuffling metal as the voice continues. "We offer salvation through annihilation. An existence you cannot even comprehend. Infinity. Unity. Yet you struggle." A misshapen form shuffles into view. It should be impossible by all accounts, looking more at home in fantasy vid. Boots. Two mangled legs, bone exposed in more places than one. A cracked
and broken hipbone, forged together by metal. A metal tube where a spine should be, charred fragments of ribs where a torso should be, hovering in place in a biotic field. Collarbone, Shoulderblades, little more than cracked shards and metal haphazardly fused into one. A single arm, in no better state than the legs. A hand with greyed skin, deformed into a claw. A loose-hanging lower jaw of bone and seared skin. A face hidden
underneath long strands of frayed and singed black hair. Glowing red eyes underneath. Arcs of red lightning moving across the whole of the monstrous revenant. "Time and again you rise and struggle, only to be swept away. Why do you fight to delay the inevitable? Is your ignorance so profound that you think this a victory?" A gaze that moves slowly from inspecting its own gnarled hand, to Nathan, and then Jason. Burrowing into
each. An unsettling, almost incapacitating gaze, and presence. "Our Arrival is soon at hand, and there will be no stopping that tide. You will end, as all have before. As all will after."
Nathan listens to Jason and he can't help himself as his body shakes again. The terror of it. His hands work frantically for something and he ends up just gripping his own arms, shaking his head as his eyes close and his teeth grit. "Fuck... Fuck...". He brings his legs a little closer to himself, resting his forehead against his knee. When the manifestation appears, Nathan looks up, eyes wide... then he sees red.
In an instant, he changes from the scared, vulnerable man to a seething beserker. This thing. This was responsible. For all of it. It must be. It has to be. He is instantly on his feet and he draws his pistol, levelling it at the twisted abomination he sees before him. "Fuck you!" Bang! "Fuck you!" Bang! "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!" Bang! Bang! Bang! "You wanted aggression?! I'll fucking give it to you!"
Ehanis is on her way out when the voice gets on comms, and she puts down the bottle she was carrying on the table near the door to the hallway. "Always with the fucking taunts," she grumbles to herself. "How the hell did they manage to be a rumor for so long." She hears the gunshots and starts jogging towards the front of the ship. "What's going on?" she asks over comms.
The shots impact fruitlessly against a red biotic shimmer. Nathan's pistol is yanked out of his hand with a biotic glow and a crackle of electricity. The claw envelops it, and it is crushed with a sound of grinding metal, pieces scattering across the floor. The revenant remains standing in place, staring. "This is not a fight you can win. This flesh and metal is but a vessel." It's voice still carrying across the ship. Coming
Ilyna snaps her eyes wide open and looks around the hold at the voice on the speakers and the dimming lights. She is too exhausted to do anything meaningful, and opts to instead bring up a barrier arround her an Li. Like during the escape, it's weak and unstable, and would likely be made quick work of should they be attacked.
Li starts to shiver, her fingers digging in painfully hard against Ilyna's skin as the voice sounds.
Jason instantly startles the moment the familiar voice enters his mind. Fear settles in at first, worried that it may only be him who hears it. Worried that it's merely another sign of the infection writhing within his body. It's not until he sees the look on Nathan's face that he reigns it in. The ghastly figure's arrival causes him to rise to his feet, his exhaustion all but forgotten as he reaches for his Phalanx a half
step behind Nathan, bringing it to level on the creature. As Nathan's weapon is snapped away, his finger hovers over the trigger. He winces slightly as that intrusive voice once again penetrates his mind. But it doesn't attack. At least not yet. Given the small quarters, he'd need to maneuver to get to his Revenant. The Chakram Launcher and Nathan's grenade launcher are useless here. If there's a fight to be had, they
need backup. He reaches out with one hand, placing it across Nathan's chest to stall him. "Salvation through annihilation?" he asks, prepped to open fire the moment this thing looks at him the wrong way, "...Doesn't sound like all that good of a deal to me." He passes a brief glance Nathan's way as he takes in a deep breath before looking back to the twisted creature, "Can't say that's an existence I want to
comprehend." He bites at his lower lip before swallowing hard and continuing to try and stall for time. "What in the hell is all of this about?! We've heard stories-... rumors-... myths about the Collectors forever. Why now?! And why us?!"
Jessica seems about to respond when the voice echoes throughout the ship. A long, nearly whine escapes her as she bangs her head back against the crate. "Fuuuuuuuuuuuck! Do they ever! Fucking! Stop!" she groans.
Jattic has removed his helmet, so he's out of the loop on comms. The voice, however, causes him to rise to his feet, using the wall for assistance. His head is immediately on a swivel as he looks about for any sign of the intruder.
Zaylus also misses the comm chatter, and pushes his hand hard against the side of his head, groaning quietly.
Across the cargo hold surviving crew and rescuees look around in confusion and fear. This is new to most of them. Elena's breathing turns quiet, as if she's afraid to make a sound. "Wh-... n-... we..." Lucy swallows hard, gripping her pistol tightly as she looks around. "Where are ya?! C-... come out!" In the infirmary work stops for only a moment. It's not hard to see the fear in Halisi's gaze, and it's a testament to her
Nathan watches the weapon get torn away from hands and he snarls, taking a step forward when Jason's hand stops him. The man seethes, shoulders rising and falling as the looks at the perfect object to vent his anger and frustration. But he holds his position, hands balled into fists as Jason asks his questions. "And what the fuck are -you-?! You're not a Collector, that much is pretty fucking clear."
Oxaris was stabilized. Just. But even in her state, the voice creeps into her and her strained breathing seems to wheeze louder.
The avatar of the Revelator studies the two humans, showing no sign of aggression as it remains in place, unstable body shifting slightly side to side, seemingly held together only by the mass effect. "Your species has the attention of those infinitely your greater. We are the Revelator of ultimate truth. You will cease your struggle once you understand."
Pivin's voice sounds over comms, but there's a great deal of static, same with Ehanis: "Something is happening! Ship comms are-... what is that?!"
Ehanis lets out a frustrated sigh and stays put, opting to cover that area until she has an update from whoever is engaging the creature. "You sound really fucking inescure about your 'infinite greatness'," she says, not over comms, while she aims her pistol around the room.
Jessica grabs onto the crate to pull herself to her feet with a tired, frustrated grunt. Her hand moves to her Falcon with little worry over the fact that she'd be firing a grenade launcher inside of a ship. She looks to Ilyna who has chosen to hunker down and shield Li. Seeing the scared state of the young girl, she reaches over with a gauntleted hand and rustles the girl's hair. "You stay here, mmm?" she offers Li while
giving Ilyna a quick wink, "I will go and kill the monsters." Taking in a deep breath, she grips her Falcon tightly and slowly begins to move about the hold and waiting for the fight to come to her, unsure of what's going on.
Jason furrows his brows as he looks from Nathan to the creature in front of him. Despite Nathan's proclamation, he has no reason to think otherwise. "...We're not looking for a fight with you. Collector-... 'Revelator'-..." he shakes his head, "Whatever you want to call yourself. But you've taken our people. Friends." he says, biting back on the anger boiling inside as he's suddenly reminded of everything they've lost to
these creatures, "Loved ones. You've ripped families apart. Shattered lives. So if it's a fight you want...?" He swallows hard, the grip around his pistol tightening as he gives a few nods, eyes locked on the form before him, "...We'll give you one. And just like we beat you today? We'll beat you again. And again. And again."
Zaylus pulls his head from his hand, shaking himself out of his stupor and snatching up his helmet with a sudden thought. He snaps it back in place, hefting himself to his feet with a muffled grunt and drawing his pistol.
Leah fights her better judgement and climbs to her feet alongside Jattic, pained grunts escaping her the whole way up. "Where are they?" she mutters to herself as her hand reaches for her Carnifex.
Jattic's shoulders rise and fall with each deep breath, that red glow returning to his balled fists as the enforcement gauntlets encase them. "Someone must have been infected." he says in a low growl. "I knew it was a bad idea to bring these people aboard..." He begins his sweep, starting down the hallway for any sign of the invader(s).
Jattic's shoulders rise and fall with each deep breath. After snapping his helmet right back on, that red glow returns to his balled fists as the enforcement gauntlets encase them. "Someone must have been infected." he says in a low growl. "I knew it was a bad idea to bring these people aboard..." He begins his sweep, starting down the hallway for any sign of the invader(s).
Nathan lets his knife slip from his gauntlet and he holds it in a reverse grip, the armour creaking from how hard he grasps it. "You got that fucking right, Jase," he snarls, jabbing a finger towards the creature before him. "You mess with one of us, you pick a fight with everyone. And, just for the record... breaching charges ain't hard to come by. And I sure as hell wouldn't mind shoving another one inside your
Ilyna doesn't even need to open the barrier as it easily gives way to her hand to poke through to ruffle Li's hair. "Shout down to us if we need to move," she says to Jessica. She grits her teeth as Li's hands dig into her. "Shhh, it's... going to be fine," she murmurs.
A single, staggering step forward. The reconstitued form of what's left of Mingxia is barely holding together. "You have merely delayed the inevitable. Struggle, and you will face oblivion. Submit, and your ascension will be assured. You cannot comprehend our true nature. We do not die. Destroying this form accomplishes nothing."
Elena bites down to prevent herself from vocalizing her pain as she forces herself back onto her feet, grabbing her SMG. She finds herself leaning against the wall almost immediately however, panting.
Jason bites down hard, growing increasingly tired of the taunts and threats. He gives a brief glance towards the door. Still no reinforcements. Come on. "I don't know, buddy. Consider me sceptical. Maybe this whole little-..." he gestures towards her-... it with his Phalanx, "...possession gig you've got is working out for you right now. But I saw plenty of your people die today." He gives a cocky little lopsided smirk.
"So don't you worry. You might be able to hide behind 'this form' today." he continues, mocking the creature's tone as he repeats it's words, "But keep fucking with us and we'll find you." The smirk fades away as he repeats the sentiment. "We will find you." he assures, "And you sure as hell better hope that 'form' holds up better than the ones we chewed through today."
Nathan reaches over and allows his Argus to unfold, moving to pull it off even with the creature stood just before him. He would shoulder it and raise the weapon at it. Great thing about the Argus... it's brilliant in close quarters. "I dunno. Looks kinda frail. I think a simple boot to the midsection will send that thing crumbling. So, how about this, O' Mighty Revelator of whatever the fuck your self important
ass thinks... why don't you piss off before we tear you a new asshole like we did with the dozen others bodies?"
Jattic grunts in frustration as he moves door-to-door. Bathroom first. He taps at the door's interface and steps aside
Leah follows alongside Jattic despite her state. "Clear..." she says as she gives the bathroom a sweep with her Carnifex.
Jattic growls over comms. "Where are they?!" he announces, hoping someone has some intel he can act on.
Jessica offers Ilyna a simple nod as she sets off up the stairs, swallowing back the fear in her throat. She slowly moves to the cargo unit, tapping the interface as she silently hopes some horrible monstrosity doesn't leap out at her.
Zaylus spots Jessica and soon groups up near her, unsure exactly whats going on since his helmet was off, but certain things arent over yet. He holds his pistol up and shadows her as she opens up the cargo unit.
Ehanis remains where she is. "It'll shut you up," she grumbles. She cannot hear any more gunshots, which is concerning since the annoying glowing collector is still talking. "I heard gunshots on the floor below earlier," she replies over comms. "I'm by the bridge."
The revenant seems entirely unfazed. Then again, there's hardly any face left to judge from. Just standing and staring, head turning with that same unsettling motion. The room subtly growing darker. An insistant tone, almost out of the audible range, growing louder. "We are infinite. Kill one, and a hundred will take its place."
Jason sucks in a deep breath, a chill settling in each time the creature speaks. That piercing, nagging tone at the back of his mind a constant reminder of Di Yu. Of that room. The inescapable darkness. But the being before him is a hollow shadow of the powerful foe they faced on that forsaken planet. A pathetic stand-in barely able to hold itself together. "I guess that just means we'll have a whole lot of targets to choose
from, then, won't we?" he asks, adjusting his grip on his pistol. He hazards another quick glance towards the door before his gaze shoots right back to the broken form of Li's mother. "Look, if you came here to ask for our surrender and brag about how superior you are even though we just kicked your teeth down your throat..." he shrugs his shoulders indifferently, "...Then I think me and my friend here are just gonna go
ahead and put a few rounds in you and then go about our day if it's all the same to you. Been a rough day and I could use a beer. I'm sure you understand."
Nathan nods along with Jason's words, the urge to just hold down the trigger and let loose on it overwhelming him. But it was only a minute ago that it pulled his pistol from his hands and crushed it. Unlike the Predator, an Argus is much more expensive to replace, so he'll give it a few seconds before he decides. "So stand still and it'll be over reasonably quickly. Can't say it was nice knowing you or anything,
Jessica startles as Zaylus moves up behind her. "Gah! Don't do that!" she mutters, her heart racing out of her chest as she gives a shake of her head and steps into the cargo unit, weapon raised.
Jattic nods to himself as he hears Ehanis. "You haven't found anything up there?" he asks as he steps over to the armory. Locked. That narrows things down a bit, at least. His gaze moves down to the weapons station. He casts a look Leah's way from behind his visor before stomping over to the door.
Leah quickly steps in line with Jattic, returning the look with a nod. Only one place for the gunshots to have come from. She stacks up on the door, pistol held tightly in her hands as she waits for the batarian to open the door.
Zaylus shoots Jessica a funny look. "Do what?" He mutters, peering into the cargo unit after her, but not following. He stays out on the stairs, looking upward.
Ehanis gives the room one sweep with her pistol before getting back to him on comms. "No, nothing so far," she replies. "I'm staying here though, in case it tries to attack the bridge."
Jessica remains only a couple of steps into the cargo unit, sweeping about. "That!" she clarifies in a stage whisper. "That! You come up behind me! Is a good way to get stabbed!" she continues to ramble through her own fear.
"This exchange is over." A rise in intensity of the note. A crackle, and then a pop in the speakers. A discharge of electricity in the weapons bay, arcs of red lightning and the remnants of Mingxia collapse, no longer held together by the will of the entity that inhabited it. The lights return to full strength, the hum of the ship once again the only noise that fills the air.
Zaylus snorts unsympathetically, starting up the next set of stairs. "I dare you." He growls, "Take your best shot." The pop in the speakers sends his head on a swivel, and he mutters something too low to hear, turning back to get Jessica's reaction.
Leah swings into the doorway, gaze darting about before locking onto the collapsing figure in the middle of the room. "Wha-..." she begins, snapping her pistol to Mingxia but she's already little more than a heap by the time Leah's finger nears the trigger.
Jason visibly winces as that dull droning in the back of his head intensifies and he jolts forward a step as he perceives Mingxia's actions as a threat. But as she falls apart, confusion settles over him. He gives a brief glance Nathan's way, as if to check if he did something. Then to the new arrival at the door. "The fuck just happened?!" he asks. Still, the relief provided by the distancing droning brings a small amount of
comfort. Like ridding a headache with pain relievers. "...I think it's gone..." he mutters, gaze moving back to the mound on the ground, doing his best to focus for any sign of that deeply engrained, nagging feeling that always seems to overtake him whenever it is around. "...I.... I don't hear it." he says. Because 'hear' is much more comforting. What he really meant to say was 'feel' it. Inside of him. Just like back
Jessica briefly looks as though she's ready to argue when the lights begin to brighten and her aim snaps upwards, as if the lights may attack. "Whatthefuckisgoingon?!" she calls out.
Nathan stares at the pile of pieces and machine. He snarls and moves over to it and raise his boot to stomp on any of the larger pieces, over and over and over and over. He doesn't say anything. He just keeps crushing the pieces, even if they break apart into minuscule fragments. He just keeps stomping over and over.
Zaylus ducks out of Jessica's possible line of sight, gritting his teeth in culminating frustration. "Spirits, would you stop that? How do you still have energy to be this fucking skiddish?" He snaps, weary but incredulous.
Lucy listens in something akin to resignation, every strange word from that unsettling voice. And then sudden quiet. She keeps a tight grip of her pistol, just waiting. Listening, gaze wandering across the hold.
Jason swallows hard as he watches Nathan in silence for a moment, still desperately trying to listen over the sound of heavy boots against bone and sinew and cybernetics. Listen for that sound. For that feeling.
Leah winces each time Nathan's boot comes down. "Nate..." she says, lowering her pistol and taking a step towards the man and reaches out to place a hand on his arm. "...Nate I think-... I think it's dead..."
Jattic steps in behind Leah, unsure of what just transpired. It takes him a moment to get his bearings before realizing he should report back to Ehanis at the very least. "I-.... believe the threat has been dealt with." he reports over comms. "...Wolfe and Tennhausen seem to have it under control." he adds, unsure of the validity of that statement as he watches Nathan savagely stomp about.
Jessica swings around to face Zaylus, weapon still shouldered for a moment longer than is probably safe. In her defense, she does lower the weapon as soon as she realizes she's pointing it at Zaylus. "I am not sk-.... whatever it is you called me!" she argues, unsure of the meaning of the insult leveled at her, but quite sure she doesn't want to be it given the context. "I am just-... If there are more of those things
Crack. Crunch. Clang. Thump. There's little left but shards of bone, metal, and brain matter. Lifeless. Then again, so it was the first time.
Nathan keeps on stomping. The spot he is hitting doesn't even have anything worth stomping on, but he does anyway. "Rah! It killed them! It did this to them! To all of those people! To that Marine! To that Scientist! To that young woman! All of them dead because of this thing and we couldn't save them...". He kicks a chunk of skull across the room and aims the Argus at the mound, his hand shaking as he holds the
gun one handed. He doesn't pull the trigger, he just seethes at the pile. "We could've saved them... we...". The Argus clatters to the floor and Nathan just clutches his face, shaking his head. "What the fuck is going on?"
Zaylus drops his gaze on her weapon until she brings it down, and he looks back up at her. "Uh huh." He agrees dryly. Upon recieving Jattic's hesitant all-clear, he lowers his weapon down to his side. "Sounds like you won't get the chance." He mutters in dawning relief, frustration for her slipping away.
Ehanis lets out a sigh when the lights return to normal and the creature has said its good bye. The batarian's hesitant all clear is all she needs to hear to leave her post. "Got it," she says over comms before taking off her helmet and returning to the galley.
Jason remains silent as Nathan seems to break down, his gaze lowering to the rifle as it falls to the floor. "...Ten..." he begins, hoping to calm the man down, but nothing else follows.
Leah tightens her gauntleted hand around Nathan's arm, merely watching him. "I don't-... I don't know, Nate." she says in response to his final statement. "...But we did everything we could for the people back there. You saw how it was in there. It's a miracle any of us made it out alive..." Her hand moves to the side of his face, trying to pull his hand free and press her armored palm to his cheek and urge him to look her
Jattic's gaze remains on the skull as it rolls across the floor. As Nathan begins to break down, he sloowwwwwly backs out of the room. Smack dab in the middle of emotional breakdowns are no place for a batarian. "Let the others know that everything is under control, Pivin." he says once back in the hallway.
Jessica furrows her brow, her eyes locking on the turian. One brown, one milky white. "The fuck does that mean?!" she asks, her lack of a helmet keeping her out of the loop.
Zaylus tilts his head at her for a moment, then lets out an "oh". He taps the side of his helmet and explains, "They said it's clear." He says, with barely a hint of lingering animosity. "Whatever it was the boss took care of it." He says with a half shrug, turning to look upwards again. He doesn't want to crowd the space up there... but they're not getting a lot of news down here.
Nathan reluctantly turns his head to her, fingers leaving red blotches of skin where he pressed hard. He just stares at her. He knows deep down that she is right, that the fact they're even alive is a miracle unto itself. But the flashbacks haunted him while he was awake and he watched an innocent young woman get more or less executed before him by a Collector. A -Collector-. He sucks in a deep breath and closes
his eyes, reaching up to pull her hand away from his cheek. "You... need to go and sit down. Rest. I-... fuck, I'm not fine with any of this. I just need... need some time to wrap my head around this." He tries to move by them without another word, leaving his gun amongst the remains of the possessed woman.
Jessica's gaze follows Zaylus' up as she steps out of the cargo unit. "...Oh." she mutters, though her grip remains tight on her Falcon as she stares upwards. Pivin's announcement soon after seems to bring her out of her daze, however, and she finally snaps the Falcon up onto her back. Drawing in a deep breath, she glances back to Zaylus. "...Why everything is so fucked?!" she blurts, seemingly out of nowhere.
Leah merely watches Nathan as he pulls her hand away, and soon after her gaze drops to it. She gives a couple of shallow nods. She certainly understand the need for space. This is all still new to him. "...Yeah." she says softly. "But-..." she begins to add, giving a small shrug of her shoulders, "...You're not alone in this, Nate. Okay? Just-... I'm here, alright? If you need to talk." She steps back, her gaze traveling
about the room. At the mess on the floor that looks pretty much how she feels. The blood from her nose has dried and her bloodshot eyes have dark rings around them.
Zaylus affixes his pistol back to his waist, trying to run the free hand over his fringe and ending frustrated to find his helmet in the way. Jessica's outburst catches him off guard. He hadn't really had the chance to wonder that himself. "Because it is. That's all that matters." He mutters, sighing deeply and leaning against the nearest solid fixture.
Jason once sure the dull droning has completely gone away, steps forward, giving Nathan a pat on the shoulder with a synthetic hand to punctuate Leah's point, but he doesn't say anything. What's there to say? He's been in Nathan's position. For better or worse, however, that felt like a lifetime ago at this point. Soon enough he steps away and begins to retrieve his gear off the floor in silence.
Ilyna frowns at the conclusion being reached so shortly after the lights returned to normal. She believed it was over when they left the system, then this happened, so she has little reason to truly believe that they are safe. Regardless, she pushes these worries back, and lets the barrier fizzle out. "Let's go to our room, okay?" she says in a low, flat voice. "I... I'm too tired to carry you, so you'll
Nathan stops at the door and he glumly nods. He remains quiet for a moment before turning his head a smidgen to look at her. "I know... but I'm not one for smothering people with my problems." He pauses and thinks back to their talk in the Respite. It seems like a lifetime ago now and it causes him to rub his forehead at the sudden surge of pain. "Okay... not often one for it rather. I-... I'll come see you after
you've been checked up on by the doctors. I promise." He nods to Jason at his pat and smiles thinly. Even that small act is enough. He looks at Leah for a moment longer, before turning and disappearing out the room. He slowly makes his way to where his possessions lie, just eager to get some food in his belly and some drink.
ColonistMother seems to relax at Pivin's announcement, but a lingering dread remains, even as she tries to put on a confident expression to talk to her son.
Lucy just drops back down to the floor, back against the crate. Her grip of the pistol loosening as she stares ahead.
Jessica takes a position against the wall just outside of the cargo unit, merely leaning against it. She pulls in a deep breath, puffing out her cheeks before pushing it out in a huff. "...I never see anything like this." she says somewhat distantly. A rare bit of honesty brought on by nerves and fear and a day full of insanity. "I-... I don't think I am wanting to see anything like this." she continues, giving a few shakes
of her head. "Never again. I just-... I want to go home." she decides, and finds herself caught off guard for just how much she longs to be on Aite. A place she's convinced herself she hates for so long. Because for all of Aite's shortcomings- and there were many- it was still home.
Zaylus snaps the seals on his helmet and brings it under one arm, confident that if trouble starts again they'll know it somehow. His mandibles flare as he slowly blinks, never looking over at the human but hearing her words unfiltered. It's not hard to sympathize with each of her sentiments, broken as they may be. At her last he nods unconsciously, looking down at the floor. "Me
too." He finally replies, as genuinely as anything he's ever said. "Me fucking too." He drops his helmet and runs a comforting hand along his fringe, returning often to his favored coping mechanism.
Leah gives Nathan his space, merely returning his gesture with a small smile that she has to force in order to reach. Once he's gone, she glances Jason's way. From Jason to the mess on the floor. Nothing needs to be said between them. They've both been through this hell before. How many times can they keep coming out the other side? With a small nod she, too, takes her leave after having given Nathan ample space.
Jason's expression has grown somber. Tired. As Leah leaves him to his thoughts, he shoves his gauntlets into his helmet and tucks it under his arm. As he moves to leave the room, what's left of the skull catches his eye and he steps over to it, lowering into a crouch. He reaches out, lifting the object in his free hand and looking it over. He never knew Mingxia. She was nobody to him. But she was Li's mother, for better or
worse. A sudden bit of guilt settles in at the unceremonious way she was just... discarded. Just a tool for who-or-whatever this 'Revelator' is. Did she worship it of her own accord? Or did she have no choice, enthralled by technology that he still has no more understanding of than he did when he left Aite. The question nags at him and he finds himself feeling a twinge of sympathy for whoever Mingxia may have been.
Perhaps in another life, under different circumstances, things would've been different for her. Perhaps she would've been a perfect mother. But that's not the circumstances they find themselves in. He sucks in a deep breath, looking the broken and battered skull over in his hands. "Li's in good hands..." he says aloud, a small message to Mingxia to ease his own guilt. "...And if you're in there somewhere?
Whatever-the-fuck you are? Come after us again and I'll kill you myself." He drops the skull to the floor and stands up, casting one more glance behind him to the mess left behind before leaving the room.
Ehanis leaves her helmet on the table in the galley, and takes the bottle with her down the corridor towards engineering. She stops at the end of the it and slooks across engineering to see if the door to the drive core room is unlocked. It was the only out of the way place she could think of where she probably wouldn't be bothered for a while.
Unfortunately for Ehanis, it's locked. The monitoring station atop the stairs is unmanned, and the room itself seems to be empty.
Ehanis sighs and casts a glance back to the hallway. The galley is probably filling up any moment now and her plans of hiding in the core room has been thwarted by a locked door. Ehanis considers the monitoring station, but that would look suspicious. She gives up her search, sits down on the top step of the stairs, and uncaps the bottle to take a long swig of it.