#Kalus'Compound – February 13, 2019

Fasha has the air of someone trying a little too hard to look confident and in charge as he strides across the snow-covered field. It's undercut a bit by the fact that he's struggling a bit with the deep, heavy snow. "Greetings!" he offers with a cordial wave as he approaches. The batarian looks to be somewhere in his twenties, with light orange skin and an unremarkable stature that is somewhat disguised by the extravagant

outfit. "I was so glad to hear that someone had found this one. She was my favorite, I-... credits? Of course!" he exclaims cheerfully, as if it only just occured to him. He gestures to the adjunct, who produces a credit chit from his coat, holding it out with a polite, businesslike look. Fasha's attention turns to Tara, a smile on his face. "Soon you will be back home. Things are going to be just like they used to be!

Better! With my father gone, there will be no one to keep us apart anymore. You will have your old position in the house back."

The red-armored guard that accompanied Fasha lets out a disgruntled noise at his behavior, shifting uncomfortably in place behind his lord. The two guards in gray are paying no attention to the exchange it seems, keeping watch on their surroundings instead. Behind the shuttles, there is no sign so far that Leah has been noticed, but both shuttles do have tinted windows on both front and sides, although the fronts are facing away from the

trees from which Leah emerged.

Tara 's gaze is burrowing into the snow between them and the batarians, frozen in place, her body motionless. She seems on the verge of hyperventilating, her rapid breaths the only thing that gives away that she's not a statue.

Leah remains on her approach, keeping steady- but careful- pace through the snow, eyes on the windows. "Almost there. Just keep their eyes on you for a bit longer, Mendez..." she says over comms. As she hears Fasha call out to Tara she tightly clenches her jaw. Thrusters. Focus on the thrusters.

Mendez passes another glance Tara's way before watching the young batarian, resisting the urge to just floor him right here and now. The comms chatter in his ears helps to keep him on task. He looks to the credit chit, gesturing to it with a nod of his head. "I'm not just gonna take you at your word. She stays where she is until I know the credits are on that chit." he says as he shifts in place, stalling for time. "Let's see

'em." His gaze shifts to the other guards, studying them. Their armor. Weaponry.

Nathan grips his sniper tightly, sucking in a deep breath once more. Count to five. Breathe. Count to five. Breathe. The plan will work. The plan must work. He fights back the urge to run down there and grab Tara, to drag her to safety, to protect her. The thoughts barrage his brain like a cascading waterfall, threatening to drown him in flashbacks and paranoid alternatives to this mission. Focus. FOCUS.

Fasha seems almost taken aback by Mendez' questioning, his attention torn away from Tara to the look up at the tall human. "My father would not have taken kindly to House Bar'adon's honor being questioned. Lucky for you I am... more reasonable. By all means, go ahead and check the chit." he offers. The adjunct is still holding it out for Mendez to take.

There is still no sign that Leah has been noticed on her approach to the nearest shuttle, the one which Fasha and company emerged from.

Mendez cocks an unamused eyebrow as he levels his gaze on Fasha. He drills holes through the young batarian with his eyes as he reaches out to accept the chit. "Lucky for me." he agrees dryly. He brings his forearm up and turns his gaze to the holographic interface that projects from it and begins the process of scanning the chit for the funds. He's certainly in no rush.

Leah lowers her Mattock as she reaches the first shuttle. She remains low and close to the shuttle to minimize her risk of being seen should anyone look out the window. "Planting the first charges." she announces over comms. As her rifle folds up, she allows the magnetic systems on her thigh plating to hold it in place while she removes a charge from her waist. She quickly begins attaching the device to one of the thrusters and

priming it before moving on to the next thruster on her side of the shuttle. One near the front. One near the back. With any luck, that should be all it takes to ground them.

Nathan bites down the urge to direct her, to position her to the optimal spots where she should place them. She knows what she’s doing. She can handle it. Besides, the formula within is potent enough that even in sub-optimal positions, it will still cause enough damage to ground the aircraft. So, he waits. And waits.

As Leah is planting the second charge, on the front thruster, the door behind her slides open with a hiss. "Back away! Hands where I can see them!" a gruff voice commands. A batarian in a red jacket is in the now-opened doorway, concealed by the shuttle to both Nathan and Emma. There's at least two others in the shuttle that Leah would see if she turned around - a human woman who looks just a couple of years older than Tara, with dark

olive skin and shaved black hair, and a batarian man who might be about thirty, with pale brown skin and a light build. Both have the mark of House Bar'adon branded onto their foreheads, although the former wears a simple gray cloth tunic while the latter wears something that looks more like a jumpsuit, with a toolbelt accompanying it.

Fasha waits a little impatiently for Mendez to finish the scan. "This world is miserably cold..." he mutters as he looks around idly, wincing a little against the cold. "As you can see the credits are all there." They are indeed.

Tara is still remaining frozen in place, her tension obvious to anyone.

(*...Nathan and Emma. He has a handgun pointed at Leah's head, close enough to bypass her barrier. There's at least...)

Leah draws in a sharp breath, freezing in place kneeled beside the front thruster, both hands on the charge. She complies. Slowly. Making sure to drag a thumb across the front of the charge's interface to prime it as she does. "Well... that's a problem." she mutters under her breath. She slowly rises to her feet, both hands at head level as she slowly turns to face the man the voice belongs to and finds herself face-to-face

with a pistol. Her gaze darts to the passengers inside before she levels it on the batarian before her. The gun in his hands. No shouting yet. That means there's still time to salvage things. It's an odd sensation, staring down the barrel of a gun. For most people, this would probably be the part where they piss their pants. But for Leah, it has the opposite effect. It helps to clear away some of those pre-combat jitters.

She's in the thick of it now. No time for nerves. He's close. Too close. When she acts, it comes like a strike of lightning. It's not even conscious action, just muscle memory. A maneuver she trained over and over until she no longer had to think about it. Her right hand snaps forward to grip the barrel of the gun, jerking it to her right while she leans her head to the left to ensure that, if he can get off a shot in

time, it'll go wide over her shoulder. With her left, she slams a palm into his arm, just above the elbow, and twists at the waist in an attempt at snapping his arm and wrenching free the pistol in one fluid motion. If successful, she follows it up with a quick, brutal strike to the throat.

Mendez furrows his brow as if intently studying the readout. "...Was this the amount posted?" he asks, glancing through his brow to the young batarian in faux confusion. "Pretty sure you're about five-kay light. Let me-..." he mutters, swiping at his interface.

Jattic watches from the doorway of the hangar, unable to see much without venturing outside. "What is a problem...?" he growls, his grip on his Avenger tightening as he hears Leah's utterings.

Nathan blinks as Leah’s muttered voice comes over comms. His immediate thought is that one of the charges wasn’t priming, that perhaps an arming mechanism short circuited or there was a simple flaw in the programming. However, his interface keys in a green blip for the charge she just armed, so that suspicion is immediately slated. The second, and most likely outcome, is that she’s been caught. But there was no

gunshots, no alarms raised. So that therefore presents more possibilities. She’s been caught, but has already dealt with the issue or two, there hasn’t been time for it to escalate immediately. Either way, the plan is about to kick into motion. His HUD now comes to life, the master control units of all the explosives across their battlefield blink into life, carefully categorised and filed to the side of

his HUD, quickly and easily accessible with a simple flick of his eyes to the corresponding group. Next, his weapons interface fuses with the weapon in his hands, assisting him albeit mildly with wielding the weapon that he had fallen out of practice with. Thirdly, he mutters a quiet prayer to God off the comms, his native tongue weaving together a chant that his father taught him in a small church merely a

few minutes walk from the small but comfortable home he once lived in back on Mother Earth. The time is nigh, the gears are turning. Soon, this decrepit site will become a maelstrom of bullets and fire, a parallel to a time that he still oh so fears. That still plagues his thoughts, that hounds his darkest moments in the dead of a starry night. And he has a job to do. Tara. Protect Tara, she asked him. Protect

Tara, the little girl’s voice pleaded to him in his mind. A soft, scared voice from many many moons ago, on a distant world far from Aite. “I will,” he says softly to the ghost in his mind’s eye. He won’t fail again.

The man that spotted Leah pulls the trigger too late, a shot ringing out as the round passes over her shoulder, hitting the snow harmlessly. All of his eyes are wide open in surprise as the gun is wrested from him with ease, unable to catch up to what's happening before he falls out of the shuttle, landing in the molten slush with a splash, clutching his throat and gasping hopelessly for air. The human slave inside the shuttle lets out a

startled gasp at the gunshot, hands flying up to her ears as she winces. The batarian slave is equally shsocked, eyes darting between Leah, the man she took down, and soon the guard at the opposite shuttle door who has spun around upon hearing the commotion and the gunshot that quickly followed. "Betrayal!" the guard cries out upon spotting Leah, harpoon gun rising and a large metal spike flying her way through the shuttle. Fasha looks

absolutely baffled by the sudden gunshot and shouting, but his guards are springing to action. One of the gray-armored once steps in front of Fasha to shield him, while the other starts to raise his weapon towards Mendez, but the barrel has barely reached his kneecaps when the side of his helmet erupts into a spray of blood, bone and brain matter, body slumping lifelessly into the snow like a marionette with its strings cut. The sound of

Emma's Black Widow rings loud throughout the compound. The shot must have punched straight through the guard's barrier. The red-armored guard was halfway towards turning towards the shot of his comrade by the shuttle when he sees one of the guards by Fasha go down, quickly starting to spin back but in no way ready to fire.

Tara 's gaze flies up upon hearing the first gunshot, staring in a panic for any sign of Leah.

Leah immediately turns the downed-guard's pistol on the second, preparing to open fire as soon as she catches sight of him. Unfortunately she's unable to squeeze the trigger before a large, metal stake is flying her way. Combat- especially close quarters combat- shares much in common with her other passion. Dancing. It's about footwork and reading your enemy's movements as if they were your partner. Knowing your body and its

limitations. Positioning, grace, dexterity, and power in equal measures. The moment she hears the crack of the Kishook, she twists at the waist, leaning to the side and trusting that her command of her body will be enough to contort her out of the way of the incoming projectile. Unable to check for threats, she has little choice but to roll into the shuttle in search for a defensive position to cut off the guard's firing

line. The shuttle she just planted explosives on. The enemy shuttle. "Get Tara to the warehouse!" she calls out over comms, her first instinct to make sure Tara is safe. "Only had time to set charges on one shuttle! We can't let the other lift off!"

Mendez snaps his attention past Fasha, eyes widening at the sound of gunfire. The holographic display of his omni-tool dissipates as he reaches for the shotgun on his back, nearly finding himself in the sights of Fasha's guard when its head pops like a water balloon. The moment of chaos allows him to pull his Katana free and it unfolds with a loud CLICK in his hands. His gut reaction is to push forward. Leah might be in danger

and there's only a single guard between him and their target. All they need is to get him and they control the outcome of this. But Leah's words in his ears halt him in place. It's comes as both a relief that she's okay and a reminder that Tara is jus ta few paces back, probably scared out of her mind. He immediately begins to backpedal through the snow, leveling his shotgun at the guards between him and the shuttle and

letting off a quick blast in hope of keeping them on the defensive. He racks the shotgun and lets off a second shot. "Tara! Run!" he commands in that deep, booming voice of his.

Jattic hustles from the hangar door, bounding towards the building closest to him, Avenger clutched close to his chest as he tries to move into a position where he can be more useful. "Moving to assist in covering your retreat, Mendez!" he growls.

Nathan exhales once. The gears click into place as his prayer ends. Time to work. “Emma, second shuttle, target the cockpit! Keep that thing pinned down!” He turns and braces his sniper rifle against the low wall, already sighting on the batarians close by to Mendez. Target acquisition, locate the larger threat. Aim for a kill and if that isn’t possible, keep them suppressed. He targets the guard beside Fasha.

His gun recoils hard as the heavy sniper round is shot, the stock kicking into his shoulder. He waits for the shot to strike to allow his HUD to process and recommend any adjustments before he racks the slide to load in a fresh clip.

The remaining gray-armored guard takes a shot to his shields, staggering back into Fasha who falls into the snow, looking around in a panic. The shotgun blasts that hit not long after deplete what's left of the guard's shields and dig into his armor, with a few shards going past him into Fasha's legs, causing the latter to cry out in pain. The red-armored guards takes a few shards to his shields without trouble, firing off a submission

net at Mendez, which is quickly followed up by a harpoon. By the shuttle, the guard curses as Leah dodges his shot. With no time to reload his right hand lets go of the weapon, an orange glow enveloping his hand as he charges into teh shuttle, swinging a fist at the agile biotic. There doesn't seem to be anyone else in the shuttle aside from him and the two slaves, but there is also no cover to speak of, just seats that line the walls,

and two doors, one to the cockpit and one that likely access the drive core. The human has pressed back into her seat, stunned by fear as she tries to stay out of the way of the fighting. The batarian slave on the other hand gets on his feet once Leah rolls past him, brandishing a wrench from his toolbelt which he uses to take a swing at her back from behind. The doors to the second shuttle are now opening on both sides, a trio of armored

figures spilling out on either side, two in gray and one in red in each group.

Emma 's aim swivels to the second shuttle, searching for a clear shot on the cockpit. "Negative." she replies calmly but urgently. "No firing angle." The eruption of gunfire by Mendez, Leah and Fasha causes her sights to hastily swing back. "Watch your fire!" she urges harshly, but movement at the corner of her vision draws her attention before she can take aim. "Reinforcements! Second shuttle!" she calls out.

Tara doesn't run. In fact, Tara doesn't move at all, remaining frozen in place as bullets start to fly, eyes wide in shock and fear.

Leah is already one step ahead of the guard. With no cover to speak of, she's immediately on her feet once again and leaning back out of range of the enforcement gauntlet. The movement at her back causes her to swivel in place, catching the arm swinging a heavy tool at her with her right hand. It takes her a breath to even register that it's one of Fasha's slaves, her first instinct to drive a hard, closed-fist strike into the

batarian's unprotected ribcage with her lest hand as her body acts on instinct and training. Using her momentum and her control of his arm, she attempts to switch positions with him. Keep all of the hostiles on one side. In line of sight. Don't let them surround you. It's not until her brain has caught up with her body that she uses her left hand to grasp one of the shocker grenades and

attaches it to the jumpsuited-batarian's torso. Activating it, she steps back and plants a heavy boot into his chest in an attempt at kicking him into the guard. She takes a step back, trying to take the moment to create some space between her and her attackers in hope that Nathan's toys work.

Thiago helmet snaps shut, face plate clasping together as he continues his retreat through the snow. He's in the middle of racking his shotgun to send another load of shrapnel their way- Emma's protests be damned- when he finds himself engulfed in the guard's net. His massive body spasms, teeth clenching as he drops to his knees, desperately trying to fight off the effects as a harpoon crashes against his shields.

"Tara-........!" he grunts through the pain and clenched teeth, willing his uncooperative muscles to obey him. "RUN!"

Jattic high steps through the snow, shouldering against the corner of the building to halt his momentum. He swings out along the southern side and begins to put shots down on the fresh batch of guards, picking his shots carefully. On its own, it's not much, but hopefully it should add to the chaos, help to keep Fasha's people in disarray, and wittle away some shields for the snipers to- hopefully- clean up.

((left hand*))

Nathan refocuses his aim on the Batarian protecting Fasha, his crosshairs settles at center mass. The rifle kicks again, the dampeners in his gauntlets doing very little against the recoil of a Mantis. He takes a moment to peer down into the battlefield and, seeing Tara frozen in fear, kicks into action. Protect Tara. Run. “Mendez, I’m going for Tara! Emma, cover. But if you can get a shot at disabling that

shuttle take it!” He leaves the rifle where it is, turning and sprinting full tilt to the ladder. He slide near to it, using the momentum to slide himself into the first few rungs, although he almost stacks it and his grip falters for a moment. He manages to keep himself from falling, however, and grips the ladder, letting himself slide down with a metallic screech. Protect Tara.

The guard in the shuttle staggers forward as his swing misses, only to immediately have the batarian slave shoved at him, causing him to let out a grunt as he shoves the electroshocked man aside with a bladed forearm, the slave screaming in pain as the blades cut into his back. The guard charges forward to try and grapple with Leah, hoping that the blade armor will give him the advantage in close quarters. The human slave, meanwhile,

darts out of her seat, fleeing out into the snow in nothing but her tunic and a pair of simple shoes. She most definitely isn't dressed for this kind of weather, and her speed drops substantially as she stumbles away through the snow, heading for the woods. Outside, the guard in front of Fasha is shot in the chest, the high-powered round punching straight through his flimsy armor and lodging itself in the crawling Fasha's back, who

collapses face-down into the snow. The red-armored guard, meanwhile, has moved in on Mendez, raising an omni-tool clad hand as he prepares to fire off a blast of ballistic blades to finish him off. The new reinforcements, meanwhile, have started to join the fight. The group facing the compound quickly pull back into the cover of the shuttle as Jattic opens fire on them, several bursts of gunfire - and a harpoon, going his way. On the

other side, the three guards rapidly advance towards the first shuttle.

Tara 's attention finally snaps to Mendez, gaze darting between him and the approaching batarian in a moment of indecision before she turns and runs, tripping and stumbling as she hurries as fast as she can through the snow.

Emma 's eyes widen as she sees the guard and Fasha go down. "Helvetes jävla-...." she mutters under her breath as her warning is ignored, cutting herself of and refocusing. Mendez still needs cover. Another loud crack sounds as the red-armored guard falls forward, a gaping hole in his chest, jagged bits of ceramic armor and ribs surrounding the mess of flesh within.

Mendez powers through the pain and gets a boot beneath him. Teeth tightly clenched, he grips the net and tears it from his bulky frame, launching it into the snow at his side. With deep, heavy breaths he climbs back to his feet and gives the angriest rack a shotgun has ever seen. He passes one glance back Tara's way and- once he's sure she's on her way back towards the warehouse- he shoulders the Katana and fires a shot towards

the guards attempting to take cover from Jattic.

Jattic's shields fizzle and flash as gunfire peppers him, forcing him to swing back into cover. But if they're shooting at him, it means Mendez has time to recover. Tara has time to run. Leah has time to-... to do whatever the hell it is that she's doing. And that's what counts. He hazards a glance around the corner just in time to nearly have his head taken off by a harpoon, forcing him right back into cover. "Think I have

their attention." he huffs over comms in a growl.

Leah is certainly in no rush to get in close with the very sharply-armored batarian. But with gunfire pouring past the southern side of the shuttle towards Jattic, the only way off is through the man approaching her. Of course, this is where she excels. The moment he gets within striking range, she darts in with a flurry of strikes. Open palmed strikes against armored sections. Chest. Stomach. Head. Designed to jostle him

about. Closed fists to the ribs where the armor plating falls off. But as she feels him get a grip on her, she braces herself against the shuttle floor, minding her footwork to keep from merely being muscled about. She brings her gauntleted hands against the inside of his arms in an attempt at keeping some spacing between herself and the sharp blade armor.

Nathan sprints full pelt out of the warehouse, footfalls crunching the snow beneath his feet as his Argus is already unfolded and shouldered against him. Seeing Tara run towards him, he moves to meet her halfway in an attempt to intersect his body in front of her and any stray rounds that might find their way there. After all, he likely has the heaviest armour and shielding out of everyone there. “Inside, go, go,

go!” He raises his rifle, switches to single shot, and fired a few rounds as suppressive with the explicit intention not to hit anyone bar terrain or let it fly off into the distance. His eyes drift to the slave running into the forest and his hands grip tightly around his gun. He has to restrain himself from running after the slave and moving her to safety, to shelter her from the engagement. He knows that

chasing after her will just draw attention to her and likely get them both killed. Focus on Tara. As soon as it seems like Tara is out of imminent danger, he would fall back gradually to regroup with her in cover.

The guard in the shuttle lets out a growl as he grabs Leah's arms in turn, aiming a hard knee toward her gut before aiming a strike at her head, bladed forearm tearing across her helmet. The batarian slave lies slumped on the floor, bleeding badly from his back. Behind Leah the group of guards that isn't engaging Jattic is rapidly moving up on the door she came in from. Outside, the adjunct has left Fasha behind and is running for the

second shuttle, into Jattic and Mendez' field of fire. The guards there are still firing out from the cover of the shuttle, a few shots going at each of the two engaging them, but soon the gunfire stops. A moment later someone appears in the shuttle doorway. A krogan, clad in gray blade armor. His headplate has been removed, replaced with an armored plate that bears the symbol of House Bar'adon. A tall figure clad in black-red armor, with

a four-eyed helmet, steps up behind the krogan, bringing a small blade up to the side of his head, performing a quick stab that prompts a roar of pain from the krogan, who is subsequently pushed out of the shuttle. The krogan staggers to the ground for but a moment before letting out a frenzied cry and immediately charging towards the first person he sees. Mendez.

Tara briefly steadies herself with Nathan's help before continuing to run at his urging, making for the safety of the warehouse. Her breath's are rapid and panicked once inside, gaze darting around all over.

Emma 's aim shifts to the batarians coming up on Leah. One shot left in the Black Widow. She takes aim at one of the gray-armored guards, dropping him with a squeeze of the trigger and causing the remaining two to run for the cover of the shuttle Leah is in, pressing against the outside of it. "Mercier, incoming behind you." she warns.

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