This logfile is imported from aitelogs2 and may contain errors or wrong timestamps.
#MSVJackOfDiamonds – February 25, 2018
It's been a long trip. Longer than the chase on account of the damage to the ship. But now it's coming to an end at last. That to-some familiar vertigo-like feeling as the ship drops out of FTL with a shudder. Halisi and Senya are both in the infirmary, preparing Oxaris to be moved. Elena was mid-meal in the galley, and her gaze almost instinctively goes up at the feeling, before she turns her attention to the window. Stars.
Xiu is down in the cargo module, and she quickly sits up from her cot, looking around in search of confirmation from someone else. "We're-... are we there?"
Oxaris turns her head slightly as the ship drops out of FTL. She hasn't said much more after her incident with Ilyna, conserving her strength. Well, what little she has. She looks to Halisi, blinking slowly.
Nathan was napping at his workstation when the ship dropped out. He blinked himself awake and his omni-tool pings, sending the message he had prepped for his sister. He yawns and stretches himself out, walking around to pack his kit up. He's in his undersuit with his boots on, but the rest of his armour is stowed away along with his dirty clothing.
Zaylus reaches down for his feet, the slung arm inhibiting his post-nap stretches just a bit. Straightening himself up with a soft huff, he turns slightly toward Xiu sitting up on her cot. "Feels that way." He murmurs loud enough for her to hear, turning his torso as he continues to stretch.
Ilyna has recently woken up, and has been sitting in the bed ever since. She wasn't hungry, and she could wait until they were back planetside before making her return. The feeling of the ship exiting FTL causes her to sit up a bit and look towards the viewport, a small smile showing up. If Li hasn't woken up yet, the barrage of notifications from Ilyna's omni-tool finally connected to the extranet is bound to
disturb her sleep. Ilyna is still wearing the clothes she did the day before yesterday: a black shirt and gray sweatpants.
Jason has still been operating on limited sleep, but he's kept the drinking to a minimum as they've reached the last leg of their trip. Best not to give Vasquez anything else to be angry about. He's seated in the galley, datapad in-hand. As the familiar feeling settles in, he gives a glance over towards the viewport, a lopsided smirk settling in as the distortion around the ship breaks. Almost home.
Leah passes a glance to Xiu, a small smile crossing her lips. "Soon." she says, her own omni-tool informing her that her trio of messages have reached a comms buoy with a set of beeps. She lets out a deep breath, finally allowing the tension in her chest to dissipate.
Li stirs, blinking. There's a brief moment of panic before she finds Ilyna, quickly calming down. She sits up, crawling over to sit on her knees next to Ilyna, peeking at her omni-tool, still waking up judging by the look on her face.
Ehanis is seated on a create down in the cargo hold, her duffel bag resting against the side of it. When her omni-tool finally connects to the extranet, she types a quick message without even looking at any other notifications. She has her winter coat on but not buttoned up, ready to get out of here the moment the ramp is down.
Jattic has taken back to his cot, but the rustling of the ship exiting FTL is enough to wake him. With a deep grunt, he swings his legs off the side of his uncomfortable resting place and his boots find the ground. He glances about the cargo unit, but Leah's response to Xiu answers his question before he has a chance to ask it.
Jessica still not particularly accustomed to off-planet travel, startles from her new home in the quarters corridor, hand shooting to the wall she's seated against as if afraid the ground may drop out from beneath her. It's not until the rustling stops that her gaze darts about. "WE ARE DYING OR WE ARE HOME?!" she shouts loudly, hoping that anyone within ear-shot will respond.
Xiu 's relief is obvious. She's still far from home, but it's one step closer. She nods a couple of times in response to Zaylus and Leah before slipping her legs off the cot and starting to put on her shoes.
Elena blinks in confusion as Jessica shouts, unable to respond before Jason does so. The unexpected exclamation actually elicits a surprised chuckle from her, a shake of her head following as she quickly finishes the last of her food, sliding out of her seat. "Here we go..." she says quietly.
Zaylus finishes off his stretches with a satisfying roll of the head, taking in a deep breath and holding it before letting it out low and steady. His omni tool wouldn't make a sound, nor would he bother to check it. Crossing back behind a crate, he begins to gather his few things in preparation to disembark.
Ilyna pulls the omni-tool towards her with a biotic field and starts poking at it with one hand, scrolling through the list of messages that show the sender and subject. She gives a apologetic look to Li as she slings a free arm over her shoulder to pull her closer. None of the names are ones Li would recognize, except maybe Vynira; Ilyna doesn't speak much of her friends and family back on Thessia. The
subjects have some urgency to them, evoking a frown from Ilyna. Hopefully Vynira had given an explanation, because there would still be another hour or two before she could answer them herself. She gestures at the viewport. "We're almost home, Li," Ilyna says.
Oxaris sucks in a pained breath, looking at Halisi as she makes a very sluggish gesture. "Could... Zaylus accompany me? If... he doesn't mind?"
Li leans against Ilyna, burying her face partially against her side but offering no verbal response.
Halisi nods after looking up from her omni-tool. "Certainly. I've notified the clinic ambulance to standby at the spaceport. Now... hold tight, this will hurt." she says before she and Senya carefully lifts Oxaris over to a stretcher - not ideal, but the only option that works with the layout of the ship.
Jason sets down his datapad and retrieves the omni-tool from his pocket. He lays the device on the table as the glowing orange interface projects before him. Scrolling through the contact list, his smirk widens as his finger hovers over Vasquez' name. Taking in a deep breath, he starts the call, silently hoping that Aite's shitty infrastructure will cut him a break for once and push the call through.
Leah glances across the room to Nathan from her spot on the floor. "Sleep well?" she asks, a bit more of her usual, upbeat self shining through, renewed by the knowledge that they're finally almost home.
Nathan hefts his duffle-bag filled with his gear, a gentle grunt coming from his chest. He takes a few steps away from his workstation, snatching up his Argus (being the only weapon he couldn't fit in) before glancing to Leah. He... sleptish. Wasn't exactly the best sleep, wasn't the worst either. "Well enough," he decides on. "Will probably sleep better once I'm in my own bed."
The response is near-instantaneous despite the local time being in the early AM. In fact it seems Vasquez actually responded before getting the omni-tool within talking distance, judging by the rustling that marks the start of the call. Some TV noises and a distant call from Vasquez of "Mute it!" to someone else sounds before an almost-frantic "Hello?! Jason?!"
Ilyna shuts the omni-tool off and slips it into her pocket. She gently rubs Li's shoulder while looking through the viewport. "Should we go down to the hold?" she asks. There's enough time for Li to set their pace, although Ilyna would prefer to be down there before the ship enters atmosphere in case it's unable to dampen the effects of that.
Halisi and Senya start to carry Oxaris out of the infirmary and down the stairs into the walkway above the cargo hold. It's a slow process, as they maintain great care in relocating the turian.
Leah reaches out to her sides, a groan escaping her as she arches her back to stretch. "That makes two of us." she agrees through a yawn that refuses to fully manifest. Sound sleep has mostly eluded her during the journey home aside from her drunken night in the galley. "Uhh-... my bed, I mean. Not yours!" she's quick to correct. A bit of red creeps into her cheeks at having even bothered to correct it and, as tends to
happen, her mouth gets to work. "Not that you were even thinking I meant your bed! But-... Hey, don't look at me like that!" she frowns as her gaze is drawn to Jattic and the four eyes fixed to her.
Jattic gives an exhausted sigh. "Please. Just... stop." he pleads in a low, guttural growl, "Save your flirting until I am no longer within earshot."
Leah scrunches up her nose, muttering a quiet: "I wasn't flirting... I was just saying-..." her explanation drifts off into an inaudible mutter as her gaze briefly darts to Nathan in embarassment.
Zaylus snickers at the batarian's comments, acting more interested in leaving for the main cargo hold.
Nathan didn't initially interpret it as that. But seeing her get all flustered and then combined with Jattic and his 'I hate all humans' thing, he starts to grin and watch her embarrassment grow. "You haven't even taken me to dinner yet and already you're trying to dive into my bed. No decorum these days," he says, accompanied by a dramatic and wistful sigh. He flashes her a wink as he lowers the duffle
bag to the ground so he sit on it closer to the others. Better than talking across the room at any rate. "And we're really not that complicated, Jattic. At all."
Ilyna gives a small smile, and after gathering the clothes she wore on the first night, she makes her way to the ladder. She waits for Li to climb out first before following.
Li is fairly quick to start her climb, stopping to look at Jessica once she arrives in the corridor. It's not the first time she's been around her, but still, it's not hard to guess what caught her attention.
Elena moves to give her dishes a quick wash by the sink, hearing the start of Vasquez and Jason's call as a result.
Jason's lopsided smirk widens as he hears the sound of Vasquez' voice. Of his wife's voice. He swallows hard, pushing down the surge of emotion as he comes up short on what to say. "Hey." is all he manages at first, having to clear his throat before continuing. "We-... uhh-..." he glances off to the side before looking back into the omni-tool despite it not being a video call, "...We're just about home, Linda. Just dropped
out of FTL." He pauses again, wanting to express just how much he missed her. But the terms they left on weren't the best and he's not sure where her head is, so the words just get caught in his throat. "Might want to have Jasper meet us down by the spaceport."
Leah's embarassment only grows, causing her frown to deepen. "Oh fuck off!" she snaps at Nathan, making no attempt to wipe at the bangs that have fallen in front of her eyes in hopes that she can hide behind them.
Jattic presses his hands to his thighs, another grunt escaping him as he rises to his feet. "It seems that she is seeking courtship." he muses aloud. "Impress her with a show of strength and you will be a father within Aite's next moon cycle." As usual, it's hard to tell whether he's joking or not given... batarian. Either way, he scoops his own bag up off the ground before giving Nathan a hearty pat on the shoulder and
Leah's cheeks turn from red to crimson. "I'm going to kill you, Jattic." she threatens. "Actually kill you. With my hands. While you sleep."
Zaylus can barely stifle his laughter as he crosses into the main cargo hold, hurrying along to avoid the eyes of the humans as he snickers indulgently. Who would've thought it, a batarian comedian.
Xiu blinks as she listens to the exchange after finishing with her shoes. She muffles a snort with her hand as she follows after Zaylus, having no possessions to speak of that needs collecting.
Jessica remains seated, her good eye wandering to the new arrivals. She's used to the staring. It has become a part of life for her. Her first instinct when she catches someone staring is usually to get snarky, but she just doesn't have the energy for it right now. And after everything they went through to get Li back, she finds herself simply lifting her hand to give the girl a small wave.
Nathan grins widely at Leah, about to counter her with more teasing until Jattic speaks up. He looks at the batarian with wide eyes and Nate finds himself going crimson too. His mouth starts to work before his brain can catch up, leading to; "Uh, nonono, she- that's not how this... I mean, she...". He blinks, falls silent, then blurts, "I am not dad material!" He clamps up and rubs the back of his neck,
There's a brief pause before a sigh (or is it a laugh?) sounds on the other end of the call. "Of-... of course. Are you-... is everyone alright?" Static rises as they start to approach the edges of the atmosphere, the curve of Aite visible through the viewports. Vasquez' voice is briefly garbled. "...about Li?"
Leah gives a deep wince, eyes closing and unwilling to reopen them again. "Just stop talking. Everyone... Stop... Talking..." she mutters aloud, red as a tomato.
Jattic cold as ice, steps out into the hold without so much as a reaction to the embarassment he has caused. It's not even clear if it was intentional.
Nathan nods quickly, setting his weapon across his lap. "Yep, no talking. Sounds good. Nooooo talking." He taps a little beat out on his gun. After a moment, he looks up at Leah and sets his gun down on his stuff, before walking over to Leah and going to crouch in front of her. He reaches out to rest a hand on her shoulder, before smiling broadly. "We're home," he says.
Jason gives a couple of nods to himself even though Vasquez can't see him. "Yeah-... Yeah, everyone is good. Ortoratus took some hits, but doc managed to keep her stable. We'll be transferring her to the hospital as soon as we touch down." Small pops of static continue to fill the background of the call. "And Li is fine. Safe and sound and with Ilyna. We-..." he trails off, deciding not to get into it as he releases a deep
sigh, "...It's a hell of a story, Linda. One that I'm gonna fill you in on when I'm back." Despite the aching muscles, bumps, cuts, bruises, and sheer exhaustion, there's still excitement in his voice. Finally back home.
Ilyna is right behind her, and she does catch her staring. She does not intervene, however, now is not the time to correct her behavior. Ilyna does give a small smile at Jessica's wave. "Good morning," she says. "Thank you," Ilyna adds with a nod, the tone of it hinting that it's about more than just letting Li's staring slide.
Elena gains a faint, sad smile as she overhears the exchange. These mercenaries were people too. With loved ones waiting to hear from them. Didn't make up for what happened to James. Not by a longshot. But at least everything wasn't shit. After finishing with the dishes she's about to head for the bridge, but as she spots Ilyna she stops. "Ey, uh... just... bring those by the ship later, yeah? No rush." she says,
Li 's gaze briefly falls, but when she looks back at Jessica she returns the small wave with one of her own. It's obvious she doesn't mean any harm. Just a curious kid.
Halisi and Senya carry Oxaris down more stairs, into the cargo hold proper. As the ship starts to shudder from atmospheric entry they set her down on the deck.
Leah pulls in a deep breath, holding it for a moment as she feels Nathan's hands on her shoulder. She lets it out as her green eyes open once again. "We are." she says softly, choosing to focus on that fact rather than the embarassment washing over her. She reaches across herself and places her hand atop Nathan's, a small smile resurfacing. "I think I'm going to sleep for a week." she adds with a snicker.
[22:01] Elena_Herrera gains a faint, sad smile as she overhears the exchange. These mercenaries were people too. With loved ones waiting to hear from them. Didn't make up for what happened to James. Not by a longshot. But at least everything wasn't shit. After finishing with the dishes she heads off towards the bridge.
Jessica's gaze falls briefly as she hears Ilyna's words. She's picked up a gun many times in her life. But it wasn't often that she was thanked for it. What should be pride is replaced by a nagging bit of shame. Guilt, as if Ilyna knows this. But Jessica forces herself to meet the asari's gaze once more and gives her a nod in return, grunting an affirmative, simple: "Mmm."
Elena gains a faint, sad smile as she overhears the exchange. These mercenaries were people too. With loved ones waiting to hear from them. Didn't make up for what happened to James. Not by a longshot. But at least everything wasn't shit. After finishing with the dishes she heads off towards the bridge.
Zaylus spots Oxaris being brought down into the cargo hold, his mandibles twitching in a cautious smile. He moves a little to catch her eyeline as she peers around, nodding his head up in acknowledgement and smiling a bit wider for her.
Nathan chuckles quietly and gives her shoulder a squeeze before slipping his hand away from her. "In your own bed," he says with a shit-eating grin and a wink.
The static grows as the atmosphere interferes with the signal, Vasquez' voice being drowned out. "...-to that. Kzzzzr... -good-... ktttttthhhhh...-there soon."
Oxaris catches Zaylus' eyes and she smiles at him, mandibles twitching at seeing her fellow turian. She makes a weak gesture to beckon him over, having no strength to shout across to him.
Leah instantly shoots back with a quick "In my own bed!" But as she realizes he's just joining in on the teasing, her smile drops away entirely, eyes narrowing as her hand lifts up, middle finger extended as her cheeks brighten up once again like christmas lights that were plugged right back in with Nathan's words. "I'm not too tired to kick you in the jaw, Nate." she deadpans. "Not by a longshot."
Zaylus quirks his head a little, casting glances at the doctors as he crosses the hold to Oxaris' side. "Hey." He greets softly, raising up his hand just a bit.
Nathan laughs, probably the most heartfelt one he has given during this entire damn mission. He continues to smile, going cross eyed as her middle finger is raised before him. "I'd be disappointed if you were," he quips back. He refocuses his eyes and reaches up to push her hand down a modicum so he can see her face clearly. The smile persists. "...we're home," he says again, more to himself with a hint of
disbelief in his voice. They made it back. No alarms to indicate they're being chased. No creepy robo-zombies. No nothing. The disbelief is clear in his eyes, but it mixes with the radiating joy.
Ilyna tilts her head a bit at her reaction, but her smile remains. Ilyna realizes it's not the time to pry into what's wrong, so she settles for a nod before moving to take Li's hand once the ship enters atmosphere. "Let's go," she says before taking a few careful steps towards the galley.
Oxaris responds quietly, weakly. "Hey. You doing... okay?" Her talons fall to her sides and her breathing is laboured. A few hits, as Jason put it, was putting it extremely lightly.
Ehanis glances up at the walkways, but she is still sitting on the same crate waiting for the ship to land and the ramp to open.
Zaylus winces slightly as she speaks. He may have overestimated how much better she'd be doing by now. If anything she's looking worse than when she first woke up. "Well, my drinking capacity has been cut in half, but that might be a good thing." He jokes weakly, quickly abandoning the careless response. "Don't waste your time worrying about us. You've got some shit ahead of you."
Oxaris watches Zaylus for a moment before she turns her omni-tool on and very weakly taps the interface. She shivers, a cold sensation passing over her, but she manages to do what she needed to. Zaylus' own omni-tool would've received a file.
Jason furrows his brow as the static drowns out Vasquez' voice. "Linda...? I'm having trouble hearing you, Linda." he says, instinctively raising his voice as if that might overcome the static. His smile slips away as frustration begins to set in, but he silently reminds himself it doesn't matter, soon enough he'll be back on Aite. "The call is-... I'll see you soon, alright?" It seems like he has more to say, but his gaze
Jessica sighs to herself, deciding it's probably time for her to go grab her crate. Using the wall once again, she pulls herself to her feet and starts towards engineering on her journey back to the cargo unit.
Leah allows a small snicker to escape as her hand is pushed away, washing away her frown. A week of stress. Worry. Fear. Finally released. "Come on. Let's get ready to get off of this tin can." she says as she reaches out to grab ahold of Nathan's shoulder, not bothering to ask for his help as she uses him to pull herself to her feet.
Nathan rises to his feet as she uses him to help her up. He offers no complaints, smiling all the while. "Best idea I've heard so far." He nods to her and turns back to go and collect his gear.
Vasquez is barely coming through now. An "Alright." is all that's heard before static takes over again. The ship's kinetic barrier is shimmering outside as the atmospheric entry continues.
Wrench is in Engineering, monitoring the output of the terminal atop the stairs, and adjusting mass effect field strength as needed to keep the ship from tearing itself apart on entry. A focused frown is plastered across her face, and she doesn't even seem to notice Jessica.
Zaylus furrows his browplate, having expected some kind of mom-like response from the wounded turian. His curious gaze follows her motions to her omni tool, and though his doesn't indicate the receipt aloud, he follows her well enough to check. Silently, he opens the file sent.
Oxaris blinks slowly. The file opens to show a locked message. It doesn't play, nor is it titled anything. She looks up at him, a laboured breath escaping her. She tries to speak, but it just comes out as a pained moan.
Ilyna stops to glance out the viewport once they're in the galley, before looking towards Jason. It was safer to wait for the ship to finish re-entry before continuing anyway. "Hey," she says, not saying anything more in case Vasquez has more to say once the signal improves.
Zaylus studies his omni tool for a few seconds before slowly shaking his head, casting his confused gaze back on Oxaris. "I don't understand." He says in a whisper, "What... what is it?"
Jason passes a glance to the viewport, the lopsided grin returning to his face. "Soon!" he repeats, once again trying to beat out the static. But it's all that he manages before the call is completely interrupted by the static and soon enough Vasquez' information is replaced by 'Call Lost'. But it's not enough to ruin his mood. He collects his omni-tool and rises from his seat, glancing Ilyna's way. "Hey." he responds in turn,
big grin in place. "Should be touching down soon, munchkin. You ready to go home?" he asks, directing his question to Li.
Oxaris seems to choke on her words, but she manages to squeeze a few out. "If I... I don't-... if I die, the message will unlock. Watch it. You'll understand," she says, voice barely above a whisper.
Zaylus blinks, uncomfortable confusion clouding his eyes and catching his voice. "Why?" He manages, the simple question representing many uncertainties the turian is likely too weak to explain. But he can't keep the word from sneaking out as his head shakes slowly once more.
Halisi moves back to Oxaris' side, keeping a close eye on her vitals. "Please. Give her some space. She's in no state for extended conversations." she says apologetically to Zaylus.
Ilyna looks down to Li when her hand is clasped, offering her a reassuring smile. "It's fine," she whispers. She knows the ship has taken some damage during the escape, but she is not alarmed by the rough re-entry. Ilyna looks back up at Jason. "How is Vasquez doing?" she asks.
Zaylus nods dumbly in response to the doctor, pulling away after a moment of hesitation. Confusion dominates his features as concern begins nipping at its heels. But he turns away from her and the doctors as he spaces himself in compliance, as well as affording himself some distance from an exchange he hardly understands. He looks at her message again, frustrated by the lack of
Jason snickers to himself as he sees Li's reaction. Been a long time since the shudder of a ship bothered him. Just fades into the background at this point. Ilyna's question pulls his attention back, however, and he gives a small shrug. "Didn't really get much of a chance to talk. She answered, though, so I guess that means she's not waiting to stab me for running off like I did. For now? I'll take it." Not feeling
particularly comfortable with the topic at hand, he's quick to follow up with a question of his own. "How about you?" he asks, "You two holding up alright? Get some rest?"
Li keeps a tight grip of Ilyna's hand, her gaze on the chaotic view outside the viewport. She doesn't seem to pay any mind ot the grown-ups' conversation.
Ilyna chuckles at his assessment of the situation between him and Vasquez, but the change of question evokes a sigh and a slight look of guilt. Maybe he wasn't saying that as jokingly as she thought. "As well as we could be, and yeah we did," she says. "Halisi has let us stay with her while our apartment undergoes repairs."
Jason runs a hand through his hair before the cybernetic prosthetic comes to rest on the back of his neck. "Oh, that's-..." he nods a couple of times, resisting the urge to put his nose into her business. There will be plenty of time for that once they're back on Aite. "...That's pretty generous of her." he says, though it's pretty clear there's more questions swirling around in his mind. "Well, you know you've always got a
The shuddering ceases as the atmospheric entry finishes. Nothing but darkness outside now. Cloudy nighttime. The rest of engineering is empty as Jessica passes through.
Jessica continues down the stairs. Down the ladder. Through the main reactor. As the cargo unit's doors slide open, she catches sight of Nathan and decides to pointedly ignore him as she steps over to her armor crate and ensure everything is packed away.
Leah passes a brief glance Jessica's way, but otherwise continues to go about her business in preparation of their departure.
Jattic is merely standing atop the landing just outside of the cargo unit, gear in-hand as he awaits their landing.
Nathan sits on his duffle bag, not even aware Jessica has stepped in. Or just chosing to ignore her. One of the two.
Jessica refusing to be defeated by Nathan's ignoring, ignores him even harder! A deep scowl is etched onto her face as she goes through her crate. Ignore, ignore, ignore. I'm ignoring you!
Ilyna gives Li's hand a slight squeeze as the shaking stops. Ilyna frowns at Jason's reaction. She had not failed to notice Jason's awkwardness about her and Halisi, just like when he left the cabin two days ago. "Thank you," she says. "I won't forget to show up for work. I'm sure there's a lot to do because of-," She sighs. "I'll do my part."
There's a slight shift as the main engines cut out, manuvering thrusters taking over. Time for landing.
Jason gives a couple of brief nods. "Think we've all got a lot on our plate after this. But I'm sure everyone could use a few days to recharge. I'll talk with Linda, see about putting things off until everyone has had a chance to recover." he offers, circumventing the awkward subject. "Been a few days of travel already, I figure the reports and debriefs can wait another few days." As the familiar shift of thrusters kicking in
moves throughout the ship, he casts another brief glance towards the viewport before looking back to Ilyna with a sigh. Not a sigh born out of frustration, or anger. It's an eager sigh. Eager to put this whole ordeal behind him for now. "Guess that's our sign to get moving."
Nathan stands up and hefts his Argus onto his shoulder. He wanders the cargo hold, walking over to a window to peer out of it to gaze across the approaching landscape. He never thought he'd be so glad to see it. Freedom Falls. Home.
Ilyna nods. "That would be nice," she says. "We could all use that, and you deserve it, everyone that showed up does." She nods again, and starts walking towards the stairs. "Yeah, let's go," she says. The asari has only now realized that she doesn't have any shoes. She doesn't mention it, however; hopefully the walk to the shuttle is very short.
Jason gives a couple of nods in response. She's not wrong. They've all been put through the ringer. He silently follows behind the pair, eager to put boots on solid ground once again. Eager to see Vasquez once again. Eager to just... be home.
It's not long before the landing process is finished, and with Redrock's team all gathered up in the cargo hold, the large door finally starts to open, slowly lowering to the sound of hydralics in need of lubrication. Redrock's shuttle is already landed just outside the open hangar door. Vasquez is standing in front of it, waiting intently as her ponytail whips in the winter wind. She's changed out of her sweatpants, in grey
jeans and her olive-green winter coat now. Cynthia is there too, in her military jacket. Wrench has emerged from engineering, taking a seat atop the walkway much as she did when they first departed, observing the mercenaries below. Xiu, as well as the colonist and her son are in the hold as well. Outside, next to Redrock's shuttle, is the clinic's skycar ambulance. Halisi's colleagues are waiting to bring Oxaris aboard.
Sofia is also waiting near Vasquez, having gotten a taxi to the spaceport. She sticks out like a sore thumb, dressed in expensive winter clothing more befitting to Earth fashion. Well, expensive clothing bar her paperboy cap that she wears. She looks at Vasquez and smiles sweetly.
Sofia blinks and offers a much more muted smile to Cynthia. Sofia isn't one to give up trying to be nice to people, but with Vasquez? Lost cause.
Ilyna is shivering as the cold outside air starts to fill the cargo bay, the shirt no match for the Aitian winter. She doesn't voice her discomfort though.
Ehanis is standing close to the ramp, ready to leave the moment it sets down. She has had enough of this mission.
Jason having collected his gear, stands just beyond the large ramp as it lowers. His long sleeved white t-shirt is no match for the harsh Aite winter, but he doesn't seem to particularly care. The chill that instantly settles in is just another reminder that he's home. His lopsided grin returns as his eyes move to Vasquez and he pulls in a deep breath. But he quickly remembers he's still on the clock and wipes the dumb smirk
off his face. "Alright, everyone! Load your shit up and lets get the hell out of here!" he calls out, but remains in place. He's still got business with Lucy before he can just take off, so he waits, assuming she'll be down to see them off.
Leah raises an arm, offering Vasquez a wave in greeting as she lugs her armor crate behind her. She snickers to herself as she playfully nudges into Nathan with her shoulder before setting off down the ramp.
Jessica has since pulled her undersuit back on all the way and is donning her gauntlets to help fight off the winter chill. She keeps her gaze low as she begins descending the cargo ramp with her luggage in tow.
Jattic glances Jason's way and, when it's clear he's not budging, reaches out to take his boss's luggage. With his own and Jason's in-hand, he starts down the ramp towards the shuttle.
Jasper is just inside of the shuttle, door wide open as he waits to recieve the gear. A big, friendly smile crosses his face as he sees his old four-eyed pal emerge from the ship.
Nathan steps forward and he smiles as Leah nudges him. Seeing his sister, however, puts a new burst of energy into him and he takes off at a jog down the ramp. He drops his gear and opens his arms. "Sofia, you got my- oof!"
Sofia barrels into her brother, wrapping her arms around him in a tight squeeze as she closes her eyes. She holds him tightly, shaking her head. "You said two days, you asshole."
Zaylus makes himself busy with one of Redrock's crates as he did on the outbound trip. His face is still set in thought, and he seems unfazed by the cold as he sets off toward the shuttle.
Vasquez wastes no time in starting up the ramp towards Jason at a quick pace, boots stomping against the metal. No orders, instructions or words to the rest of the team. Her focus is singular, a tense stare on her face. As soon as she reaches him... she wraps him up in a tight hug, burying her face against his neck as she locks him in place.
Jason's assumption proves correct. Lucy descends onto the walkway along with Elena, both of them starting to head down the stairs. She stops when she spots Jason and Vasquez, drawing in a deep breath before continuing.
Ehanis exits the ship, dragging her close-to-bursting duffel bag after her. She takes a seat in the shuttle without a word. It's too early in the morning for her to arrange any other transport on so short notice.
The paramedics quickly move to collect Oxaris. They move her from the stretcher to a rolling bed, starting to wheel her to the ambulance while Halisi moves alongside them, giving instructions.
Oxaris is transferred, slipping in and out of conciousness. Her eyes roll over to a spot past the Redrock shuttle and she stares hard at it. "...no...". Black sweeps over her vision as she passes out.
Watching 's head follows the rolling bed, face hidden behind a plain, grey helmet. He unfolds his arms and takes a step back before walking off into the town.
Leah's smile only grows as she watches Nathan and Sofia. "Don't worry!" she calls out to Sofia, "I kept him out of trouble. It was a full-time job, though!" she teases. As she reaches the shuttle, she passes her gear off to Jasper who quickly tugs it into the shuttle and slides it aside.
Jessica follows suit, lazily lugging her crate up to the old man before climbing into the shuttle herself to pick out a prime seat before anyone else can.
Jasper slides Jessica's suit aside as well and offers a hand to help her inside, but when she doesn't accept his help he moves on to recieve Zaylus' crate with a grunt and a bit of effort. "How ya'll doin'?" he asks the turian, casting a glance pointedly towards the paramedics, "She gonna pull through...?"
Jason braces himself for impact as he catches sight of Vasquez. He's been in this position before. She was worried, frustrated, and it's time to pay the piper. He nearly winces as she collides into him, his body tensing up before he has time to realize that he's been pulled into a hug. It causes a short, surprised chuckle to escape just before he returns the gesture, cybernetic arms wrapping tightly around her. As her head
comes to rest against his neck, he presses a quick kiss against her hair, suddenly having forgotten about Lucy.
Nathan glances at Leah as she walks past. He narrows his eyes at her and slowly raises his hand with an extended middle finger. Which is then quickly slapped down. "Ow! Hey!"
Sofia glares at Nathan. "Don't be a dick!" She smiles at Leah with glassy eyes, wiping at them with the cuff of her jacket. "You should start getting paid!"
Zaylus allows the crate to be taken off his hands, blinking once before really registering the scruffy human. He gives him a shallow nod, "Yeah, she will." He murmurs unconvincingly in response, heading to join Jessica seated on the shuttle.
Vasquez can't help but let a relieved laugh slip out. She presses a kiss against Jason's neck. And then another. She kisses her way upward, and by the time she reaches his lips and her eyes lock with his, tears are threatening to escape. Another laugh and a sniffle follows the last kiss, after which she just stares at him, her hands relocated to his neck, keeping his head close. The immense relief is obvious in her
Halisi heads for the shuttle after Oxaris is put into the ambulance. She pokes her head in, looking around until she spots Zaylus. "Could we have a word?" she asks.
Ilyna starts walking towards the edge of the ramp, looking across to the shuttle. "I can carry you," she crouches down to offer. "Both of us don't need to step on cold ground."
Zaylus doesn't make it far before Halisi's voice beckons him back out. He obviously didn't expect to be summoned now that they've returned, but he doesn't protest, nodding and silently following the doctor.
Halisi stops not far outside the shuttle, gesturing back towards the ambulance. "Oxaris asked if you would accompany her to the clinic. It's your choice, of course, but I thought you should know. If you wish to do so, just let the paramedics know."
Jasper's gaze remains fixed on Halisi and the paramedics as they transport the turian, worry creeping into his expression. It's not until his attention is caught by a dufflebag being hurled at him that he looks away just in time to catch it. Well, it's more of a block with his forearms that causes the bag to fall to the shuttle floor than a catch. "Ah. I see someone is in a mood." he says, his smile slowly returning as he
Jattic hoists his second bit of luggage into the shuttle, offering Jasper a simple grunt. "I'm not in any mood, old man." he insists. "It's just the sight of you that incites violence."
Jason allows a few more surprised chuckles to slip out as Vasquez shows far more public affection than, most likely, the rest of their relationship combined. "So-... Uh-..." he stammers, casting an uneasy glance about until Vasquez' lips press against his, pulling his focus back to her. "Miss me?" he asks, the lopsided grin returning once again as his arms remain wrapped around her waist.
Leah gives a loud snort. "You're telling me!" she calls back to Sofia as she assists Jattic in putting his luggage on the shuttle. Once finished, she wipes her palms against the thighs of her pants and begins to stroll over towards Nathan and Sofia, big smile on her face. "Never really sets in until your feet are back on the ground. Glad to be home." she muses aloud, casting a brief glance down to her clunky boots.
Sofia releases her brother to turn and walk over to Leah, throwing her arms around the woman to pull her into a hug too. "I'm happy to see you all back. Whenever Nate goes out on a mission, I-" She stops herself as her eyes water up and she sighs. "I'm just glad everyone is back."
Nathan looks to Leah as his sister walks over to her, offering her a warm smile and a gentle nod. He doesn't need to say anything. Not now.
Zaylus nods in muted understanding, gaze drifting over to the paramedics. He takes a small step back, his head beginning to shake. "I don't know if I..." He trails softly, biting his tongue in front of the doctor.
Vasquez draws in an uneven breath, another brief chuckle escaping before she pulls back, wiping at her tears the gloved back of a hand. "You asshole..." she mutters quietly, the words followed closely by another sniffle as she shakes her head. She takes a deep breath as she looks at him once more. "Let's go home." she says, unable to supress a faint smile.
Ilyna lifts her up with a slight grunt, and starts moving across to the shuttle. The shivering only gets worse as her feet hits cold ground, but she keeps walking. She looks around the shuttle for where to sit down before settling on the seat beside Ehanis, dropping the clothes she's carrying and pushing it underneath it before sitting down.
Halisi nods softly. "Don't worry. Your under no obligations. She'll be well taken care of regardless." she assures, her attention turning to Ilyna when she spots the asari, moving to take a seat next to Li, offering them a small smile.
Zaylus shrinks under Halisi's measured response, wincing as prickles of shame pick at the back of his neck. As her focus drifts he's about to turn back and rejoin the shuttle party, but a pulling thought takes him back to the paramedics. Gritting his teeth, he balls up his free fist, before letting go of the tension again. "I'll go." He concedes softly, giving the doctor a short,
One of the paramedics wave Zaylus in. It seems they've been informed of the possibility of him joining the transport.
Leah is a little taken aback by the sudden hug, but she's quick to return the gesture with a snicker. "Yeah... You and me, both." she says softly, giving Sofia a quick squeeze before releasing the hug. "How have things been around here?" she asks, quick to turn the focus from the week they just experienced. With little knowledge about just how much Nathan tells her regarding his job, it's not something she's particularly
Jason snickers to himself, merely watching Vasquez with a big smile on his face. Seeing her again causes all of the events of the past week flood back to him. All of the close calls. The near misses. The echo that creature left in his mind. The thick, all-encompassing darkness that has become all too familiar during their encounters with these... things over the course of their careers. The lingering fear that this fight is
only beginning. That hollow, nagging pit in his stomach telling him that he's not invincible and it's only a matter of time before all of this catches up to him. And he hides it all behind that lopsided smirk. "You got it." he says, casting a quick glance Lucy's way, "Just-... I have a few things I need to take care of first, alright?" he offers with an apologetic tilt of his head.
Sofia steps back and looks between the pair of them. "Things, have been... goood. Quiet. Nothing has changed." She suddenly gains a rather... shifty look.
Zaylus quickly climbs in, giving a nod of acknowledgement to the paramedic that waved him in. He sits quiet and still, looking outside the transport.
Leah furrows her brow, looking from Sofia to Nathan. She folds her arms across her chest, watching the two. When Sofia gives her revelation, Leah's big, bright smile returns. "What kind?!" she's quick to chime in.
Sofia turns to Leah, finding an ally in the woman. "A cat! I figured when I left he would be lonely so I found a place selling pets from Earth and-"
Vasquez ' focus turns briefly to the group of people waiting behind Jason. Crew? Maybe. But... the kid? "Of course." she says, looking back to him with a hint of confusion. She shows no sign of seeing through his facade, oblivious to just what happened out there. She reminds by Jason's side, studying the unfamiliar faces.
Jason turns a bit to better face Lucy, finally removing his arms from around Vasquez. Instead, he puts one arm around her shoulder, pulling her in for a bit of a sidehug. A bit of guilt settles in as he looks to Lucy, suddenly feeling as if he's rubbing it in after the loss she just experienced. But after the week he's had, he has no interest in pulling away from Vasquez just yet. "I-... uhh... Thanks." he says simply as he
looks from Lucy to Elena. "I'm guessing you're gonna be spending a little time here for repairs. Figure I'll give my contact a couple days to respond. If I don't get anything we'll take the-... uhh-..." he casts a brief, awkward glance Vasquez' way, "...Cargo out of your freezer and dispose of it.... Perferably with a flamethrower." he sighs. "Anyway, in the meantime, mi casserole es su casserole." he butchers, "You
Leah blinks a few times, excitement shining through despite the week's exhaustion. "A cat?!" she exclaims. "I wanna see!" Turning to Nathan, she gives him a shove in the shoulder, addressing him much harsher than Sofia, "Invite me over, asshole! I wanna see your cat!"
Nathan staggers at the shove, turning to look at her with wide eyes. "Wha- I haven't even see the cat! I don't even know it's name!"
Sofia smirks up to her brother. "His name is Pixel. He's half grey, half black. A perfect split down the middle."
Nathan sighs and shrugs his shoulders in a defeated fashion. "Okay... fine. Pixel. My cat is apparently called Pixel."
Leah puts her whole body into a precious: "Awwwwwwwwwwww." She gives Nathan another hard shove. "That's so cute!" she continues, far more aggressively than is fitting for the situation. "That's it. I'm coming over. What is today?" she asks nobody in particular, gaze shifting from Nathan to Sofia, but she gives neither a chance to respond, "It doesn't matter." she decides. "Day after tomorrow! You're introducing me to Pixel!"
Lucy gives a single nod, a neutral look on her face. One she struggles to maintain, lest the emotions underneath overwhelm her. "I-... yes. We... will be grounded for the time bein'." she confirms. Her eyes close as the struggle grows harder. Jason and Vasquez' display has done little to help her keep herself in check. Deep breath. Eyes open. Another nod. "I want those things off my ship as soon as possible." she
Elena rasies an eyebrow at Jason, opening her mouth to say something but just shaking her head to herself instead. She steps forward slightly to put a hand on Lucy's shoulder. "I can handle this, Roja. You don't need to-..." she starts quietly, but the captain shakes her head, re maining in place.
Nathan keeps staggering. "Would you-" Another one. "Hey, cut it-" annnd another. "Right!" He steps forward to give her a shove in her shoulder, a stupid grin on his face. "Fine! You can see the damn cat if you stop shoving me. And bring some drink. Because if I know Sofi-"
Sofia claps her hands in delight and does a little jump on the spot. "Oooooh, if you're coming over, I'll make dinner! You can bring Tara too!"
It's not long before the ambulance doors close, and it takes off towards the clinic. No time to waste in transferring Oxaris. Visits and updates can wait. Her health takes priority.
Jason opens his mouth to respond, but all that escapes is a sigh. He nods, lowering his gaze to the ground briefly. Seeing the impact on Lucy causes him to retract his arm from Vasquez' shoulder despite his previous unwillingness to do so. The last thing he wants is to further this woman's pain. "...Yeah. Of course." he agrees, a bit of his enthusiasm fr being home drained. The sound of the ambulance doors closing draws his
attention that way and it lingers for a moment until the vehicle disappears from sight and he looks back to Lucy. "...You need anything, Lucy..." he offers, looking her right in the eyes. "Anything. You come to us, alright?" His gaze shifts to Elena, offering her a small, hollow smile, "That goes for all of you..."
Leah gives a big, bright smile as Sofia makes an offer for dinner. "We'll be there!" she assures without bothering to consult Nathan. As he begins to bicker with his sister, however, Leah furrows her brow. "Are you telling her not to invite me over?!" she complains, reaching out to give him another hard shove. "You don't get a say in this!"
Nathan staggers. AGAIN. "No! I'm not saying th- wait, why not?! It's my goddamn home! I above all others get a say in it. And I say I want you and Tara to come over and have dinner with us! But it's because I invited you over. Again." He nods firmly, arms folded across his chest.
Vasquez feels more than a little out of the loop, but she doesn't interrupt the conversation, studying Lucy and Elena with a slight frown and letting Jason do the talking. He's clearly familiar with the crew. She'll need to be updated later.
Lucy nods slightly, sucking in her lips further. Her gaze falls away briefly before going back to the two of them. She doesn't seem very interested in talking. Not now. Not yet.
Elena nods as well, meeting Jason's gaze. "Thanks, man. We'll... keep it mind, yeah?" she says, glancing briefly to Lucy.
Leah frowns playfully at Nathan. "Well good, because me and Tara are coming over! But it's to see Pixel, not you!" she teases.
Jason studies Lucy for a moment before another small sigh escapes him and he turns his attention back to Elena, a small nod his only response. He falls silent for a moment, realizing it's probably best if he just leaves it at that. He makes no attempt at explaining things to Vasquez despite being well aware of how confused she must be. It's certainly not the time and the days to come will undoubtedly be filled with plenty of
explaining. Instead, he glances to Xiu and the others. "Alright, folks. Everyone on the shuttle. We'll swing by the Respite and get you all set up with rooms until we can get a better handle on what to do next."
Zandra doesn't need to be told twice. She gets moving pretty much right away, limping slightly as she heads for the shuttle.
Miriam walks up to Jason with her son in hand, offering him a grateful smile. "Thank you. For... all your help." Her gaze turns to Lucy. "You too, Captain. We can't thank you all enough for getting us out of there." With that she starts to walk to the shuttle, wanting to get her son out of the cold.
Leah glares at Nathan through strands of hair. Her cheeks puff up and she blows a mouthful of air to clear the bangs from her eyes. "Keep pushing your luck, Nate!" she threatens, though the hint of a smile shows through.
Jattic watches Nathan, Leah, and Sofia blankly from beside the shuttle. "Enigmas." he mutters with a shake of his head.
Jasper has settled into a seated position at the edge of the shuttle door, legs dangling over the side. "Aw, don't be such a grump, Jattic. Let 'em have their fun. They're young."
Jason continues to prop his smile up as Miriam addresses him. "Just glad you and your son are safe." he offers in turn. As the others clear out, he remains in place, watching the shuttle fill up before looking back to Lucy. "Captain Crawford." he says with some false formality as he extends an open, cybernetic hand towards the woman to shake before his departure.
Nathan smirks and chuckles, reaching up to do the exact same thing again. Pushing his luck. Smart man.
Lucy extends her own hand to shake Jason's, a stiff formality taking over as an easy way to hold things together until she's alone. "Take care of each other." she says with a glance to Vasquez, an uncomfortable expression crossing her face as she takes a step back, turning to leave.
Elena gives Jason a nod, lingering in place a little longer, hands stuffed into her pockets. "We'll talk." she says, more of a statement than a suggestion. "Later."
Leah swats at Nathan's hand when he messes with her hair again. Thrusting a finger towards him, she opens her mouth to speak when Sofia chimes in, causing her to fall silent as embarassment settles in once more. "We should get going. Don't want to hold the others up." she says instead, unwilling to get herself caught in yet another uncomfortable situation. As she backs up, her big, bright smile returns and she glances to
Jason falls silent as Lucy turns to leave and remains so until Elena speaks. "...Yeah." he agrees simply with a small nod. After a few moments, he reaches out and once again lays an arm across Vasquez' shoulders to pull her in close. Without explanation, he plants another quick kiss against the top of her head and begins to lead the way down the ramp, arm remaining around her shoulders.
Nathan puts his hand on his sister's face and slowly pushes her away. "Two days. Come on, lets go home."
Vasquez watches Lucy leave, her frown deepening slightly. She follows with Jason, letting the questions wait for later. All that's important right now is that they're back.