December 13th. It's nearly noon by the time the Redrock shuttle sets down in the hangar. Jattic, being uninjured, gets to unloading their things as soon as the shuttle door slides open. Their night at the compound was a long one, spent cleaning up the mess they made. Digging up explosives. Burying bodies. Packing up their gear. Watching and waiting for a follow-up attack that never came. In the morning, Jasper assisted in moving the
#RedrockAgency – April 21, 2019
Jattic having spent most of the night on watch, is still in his hardsuit when he disembarks from the shuttle with a duffelbag in each hand, silently moving to unload their things.
Leah has changed back into her normal clothes- boots, black pants, and a jacket over a simple, light blue top. Dirt and exhaustion paint her face as she exits the shuttle, armor crate in tow, head low as she favors her left leg.
Nathan steps out of the shuttle, having stowed his armour into one of the many duffle-bags that he took with him. Instead, he's dressed in now a plain white top, cargo trousers and boots with a warm jacket pulled over the top. He's favouring one arm over the other, the gunshot wound still causing him significant grief with his movement. The grenadier is exhausted, plain to see on his weathered face. However, he can't
help but feel relieved that they're back at Redrock, even if they're going to receive the biggest chewing out of their lives.
Ilyna waits by the hangar door as the shuttle sets down, and walks up to her as soon as she sees Leah exit. She doesn't look happy to say the least, but the state of the people makes her expression soften. "How bad are your injuries?" she asks as she looks over both her and Nathan. Ilyna's wearing her usual casual dress.
Halisi 's sleep has been light and sparse, keeping watch over Mendez and the batarian mechanic with Fergus' help. Fortunately there have been no complications from their surgeries during the night. It's not hard to see that the stress and lack of sleep has her run down, but her gaze is still sharp and focused as she waits by Ilyna's side. She's worked far longer under far worse conditions in the past.
Tara steps off the shuttle behind the others, doing her part in offloading their gear. She's silent as ever.
Jasper climbs out of the shuttle behind Tara. Ilyna's question causes him to scoff. Having got the sitrep during their morning moving shuttles and flying home, he speaks up in their stead. "Tweedle-Dee has a stab wound and a gash up 'er leg." he explains, passing a glance Leah's way to study her for a moment. "Judgin' by the way she's walkin', gonna guess it ain't too nice." He then turns his attention to Nathan, his expression
hardening a bit. He knows Nathan far better than Leah, so of course he's the one who gets the brunt of Jasper's ire. "Tweedle-Dumb here is shot. Says it's through-and-through. But we might wanna have him checked for some head injuries, too, cuz he don't seem ta be thinkin' all too well lately."
Nathan affords Jasper the most half-assed response to his ire and that takes the form of a weak wave of his hand and a sigh. It's a rare day when Nathan doesn't have anything to say back in his defence or to launch a counter-attack. He just seems to accept it. That, and his messages to Sandbeck... didn't quite go as planned. A Fast Response Rehabilitation Unit was being deployed, but the one helming the pick-up was
Leah doesn't have a much better response for Jasper than Nathan. Just a small, low glance his way before turning her attention back to the asari with a weak shake of her head. "It's-... nothing." she decides, "Really. Just a cut. How are the people that were brought in?" she asks in turn, gaze shifting from Ilyna to Halisi, "...Mendez?"
Ilyna raises her brows at Jasper's explanation and reaches out to take Leah's crate. "No, put down the crate and let Halisi examine you," she says. "That's an order."
Halisi doesn't look much happier than Ilyna with the pair. Unlike the asari her expression doesn't soften at seeing the state they're in. "They're all alive. Mendez is... stable, for the time being. He lost a lot of blood, and it's hard to say yet if there is any long term nerve damage." she updates, and already approaching Leah. There's an undercurrent of admonishment in her tone. This could have been avoided. "Let me get a look at
Tara stops near Jattic after putting down the things she was carrying, watching the exchange quietly from a bit back.
Jasper remains back by the shuttle to assist Jattic with unloading the rest of their belongings. The batarian gets some heated looks his way as well.
Jattic seems content to just keep his mouth shut, his head low, and his focus on unpacking lest he find himself in Ilyna's crosshairs as well.
Leah straightens up a bit at Ilyna's response, cocking an eyebrow. It briefly looks as though she's going to say something. But she seems to reign it in, biting back on her words. She's in enough trouble without digging the hole deeper. As Halisi speaks up she looks her way. The news about Mendez causes her to let out a deep breath. He's alive. The follow up statement causes her gaze to turn low, a small nod following. An
acceptance of guilt. She releases her grip on the wheeled crate she was dragging behind when Halisi approaches. "It's not too deep. Nothing that can't wait." she explains, casting a brief glance Nathan's way. "Take care of him first."
Nathan sets down the duffle-bag with a grunt, the news about Mendez reassuring, albeit mixed with a deal of uncertainty as to just how bad the damage is. He blinks, looks towards Leah and gives her a stern look. "It's a clean gunshot wound, Leah. Yours is significantly worse. I can wait. You need to be seen to."
Ilyna sighs, and her expression hardens again as they test her patience. "Leave the prioritization to Halisi," she says. "I need an explanation for why you took a team out on a dangerous mission without even letting me know." She pushes the wheeled crate over to where Jasper or Jattic can easily take it, since they know where it's supposed to be better than Ilyna.
Halisi ignores Leah and Nathan's attempt to shuffle her attention around, raising her omni-tool to Leah and starting a medical scan. A red holographic grid projects from the device on her arm, and she slowly sweeps it down the biotic's body. "Remain still, please."
Tara 's attention lingers on the conversation for a moment, but she soon gets back to helping with the unpacking in the background.
Leah looks a bit taken aback by Ilyna, merely watching her in silence for the moment as she takes the crate away. "It wasn't a mission." she says sharply, straightening up a bit as Halisi's scan begins. She draws in a breath, attention straight ahead as she waits for the medical scan to finish.
Ilyna shakes her head and turns back towards them. "You brought Redrock personnel on our shuttle with our equipment," she says. "And half your team arrived here yesterday with freed slaves that needed shelter." Ilyna steps closer to them. "That makes it a mission, and that's why you should have come to me instead of going on your own."
Halisi remains silent as she finishes her scan of Leah, furrowing her eyebrows at the breakdown on the display. She moves on to Nathan rather than interrupting Ilyna, starting to repeat the process with him.
Leah draws a deep breath through her nose as she focuses on Ilyna once more. The look on her face says are we really gonna do this right now? "Okay." she says, almost as if to herself, relaxing her shoulders as Halisi moves on. "You want to know why I didn't come to you, Ilyna? I didn't come to you because I know exactly what you would've done. You would've put a team together to come with me. Redrock would've
paid a whole bunch of people on my behalf- because I sure as hell wouldn't be able to afford to pay for it myself- to go and put themselves in danger- to go and die- for a fight that isn't theirs." She swallows, looking right at Ilyna. A bit of the fight seems to drain from her momentarily, her voice softening. "I-... I couldn't let you do that."
Nathan falls silent as he listens instead, avoiding Halisi’s eyes as he stands there. There’s not much for him to say or do at this point. It’s probably better for the whole situation if Leah takes the helm on this. Knowing his sodding luck, he’ll just make it worse.
Ilyna narrows her eyes at her. "You're right that I would," she says. "That's what we do for our people, and this mission could have used a bigger team, better preparation both here and in the field and...." The asari shakes her head, and averts her gaze for a moment. "You both went with me into the unknown to rescue Li," she says, her voice softer. "Don't you think I would have felt responsible if we lost
Halisi finishes her scan of Nathan, stepping back as she prods at her omni-tool, eyebrows furrowed. It seems she doesn't consider it urgent enough that she needs to interrupt the conversation.
Leah seems about to respond when Ilyna brings up Li's rescue, causing her gaze to lower. It seems to knock a bit more of the fight out of her. She draws in a breath as she meets the asari's gaze once more. "I know this is our job, Ilyna. It's dangerous and everyone working here has accepted that. I get that." she explains. "But-... You said it yourself." she continues, an almost apologetic wince accompanying her words. "We went
into the unknown for Li. And you better believe I would've been there whether or not you were paying me. But-... James? Nadia? You can't honestly say it doesn't bother you. It wasn't their fight." she says simply. There's a slight bow of her head and she lifts a hand defensively, as if to buy herself time to clarify. "And I'm not saying their deaths are on you. Like I said, what we do is dangerous. I know that.
But-..." she trails off, swallowing the words caught in her throat. The name caught in her throat. Her gaze lowers as she recomposes herself and, when she meets Ilyna's gaze again, there's a bit of lingering emotion behind her big green eyes. She gives a defeated shrug of her shoulders. "I have enough blood on my hands, Ilyna." she says plainly, the words and the somber, tired chuckle that accompany them sounding like a
sad admission. "I didn't want Redrock paying a bunch of strangers I barely know to go and die on my behalf. I've caused you guys enough trouble. This had to be-..." she trails off once again, gaze turning to Nathan. "...If I'm expecting people to go and risk their lives for me, it had to mean something to them, too." She lets out a small breath as she shifts her focus back to the asari. "...I wasn't trying to cause you
any trouble, Ilyna. I just-... This was something I had to do." she offers with a small shrug, the undertone of an apology beneath her words.
Nathan gives Halisi a small nod as she steps away, taking her silence and lack of urgency as a sign that he isn't about die from some poison that was coated on the bullet or to an infection or whatever. Instead, he merely steps a little closer to Leah, standing by her side with his arms by his side as she says her piece. He doesn't add to it, for everything that should be said has been. All he can do is show his
support to her, even if it's just a small nod of his head and standing by her side. After all, it may have been a fucking horrific day, but he doesn't regret going. And if there's a shit storm to come from the higher ups about it, then he's going to damn well stand there with her when it comes.
Ilyna listens to what she says and her stern expression is barely there anymore. "There is a lot weighing me down, Leah," she says. Ilyna reaches out to place a hand on her shoulder. "We would have helped you because you mean something to us, and your concerns about the team -- we could have gone over those beforehand."
Halisi gaze scans across the others before speaking up. "I need to get you two patched up properly. Can we continue this conversation elsewhere? Go take a seat in the briefing room while I get my things. The infirmary is... full." Her gaze travels to Jattic and Tara. "Any injuries?" she asks.
Leah gives a small nod of her head Ilyna, seemingly realizing that- regardless of her opinion on the subject or whether or not she believes she handled it properly- they all want the same thing in the end: For everyone to come home in one piece. "...I know." she says softly to the asari. "And you have no idea how much that means to me, Ilyna. You-... Redrock-..." she's quick to correct herself, "...have done more for me than I
deserve." It still amazes her that she finds herself here with Redrock after everything she did. Damien. Vasquez. The mere thought of Cerberus and what they made her do causes a lump to form in her throat and forces her eyes to dart away from the asari's. Her hand searches for Nathan's, giving it a gentle squeeze. A small attempt at selfish comfort. "I am sorry for the trouble I've caused." she offers sincerely, forcing
herself to make eye contact once more. Though whether she's referring to this recent unsanctioned outing or previous 'troubles' is unclear. Having said her piece, she finally acknowledges the doctor's request with another nod and starts on her way, giving a tug at Nathan's hand in an attempt at pulling him along. "Come on." she offers.
Jattic gives a shake of his head to the doctor, arms briefly folding across his chest as he listens to the exchange. "I am not wounded." he clarifies in that blunt, guttural batarian way of his.
Jasper shoots Jattic a glare. "Yet." he grumbles, to which the batarian seems more annoyed than threatened. Surely Jattic could beat Jasper to death with his own arm before the old man could even take his cap off. The tired mechanic turns his attention towards Tara when Leah begins dragging Nathan towards the infirmary. Tara seems to be spared from whatever frustration he has garnered for the others recklessness, his expression
softening ever so slightly as he looks her way. "You goin' with 'em?" he asks, "Prolly gon' be in there fer a while. We got plenty a' food upstairs with the others if yer hungry."
Nathan links his hand with hers, returning the squeeze with one of his own. "Okay," he responds to her, allowing himself to be pulled away by her. He'll offer his own apology when he's spoken to... or when someone starts hounding him about it. Same thing. He follows her a few steps before he slips his hand out of hers. However, he merely exchanges it with laying it around her shoulder. Part as a form of the selfish
comfort that she craves, part because he can't help but worry about her condition. She did, after all, take quite a beating. "It'll be alright," he says softly to her.
Ilyna opens her mouth to say something but refrais as the doctor speaks up, and starts walking next to them towards the briefing room. "Jason and Vasquez doesn't know yet, but they will as soon as they are back," she says. "Oh, and one more thing before I leave you to get patched up, do you know the status of the slavers? Is there a possibility they could still come after us?"
Tara blinks, looking at Jasper. Her eyebrows furrow a little and she glances Leah's way briefly before looking back to him. "Where... are the others?" she asks.
Halisi heads off down the corridor towards the infirmary to retrieve suturing equipment and medigel.
Leah winces at the mention of Jason and Vasquez. At least she has a few more days to prepare before they return. A sense of dread settles in at having to explain herself to Vasquez. A fact that's mirrored by the shift in her expression. Ilyna's follow up question causes her to glance back to the asari, brow furrowed. "I don't think so. We stayed an extra night to wait for any sort of search and rescue party. Cleaned up the site
as best as we could. I don't think there's anything that leads back to us, and the only ones who have even heard the word 'Redrock' are the people we rescued." she explains, casting a glance to Nathan as if to see if he agrees.
Jasper reaches up, palm over the top of his cap to adjust it. "Up in the rec room. We set up some cots fer them ta get some shut eye. Plenty a' grub if yer hungry. Matter a' fact, I think I might get me a bite." he says, though it's almost assuredly more of an invitation to accompany her if she doesn't feel comfortable going on her own.
Nathan pauses to look over at Ilyna too, nodding. "We're in the clear. There's nothing left for anyone to track, we made sure of that. And even if there was, the weather will cover anything that we missed up. Trust us."
Ilyna opens the door to the briefing room and steps aside, and nods at their report. Nathan's instruction to trust them does evoke a frown from the asari, but she doesn't mention anything of it. "Noted," she says. "We will keep a guard here at all times until the freed slaves are picked up. You two relax and follow the doctor's orders, okay?"
Leah forces a small, hollow smile at Ilyna's instructions, her exhaustion overpowering whatever appreciation she can muster. "We-..." she gestures to Nathan with a nod of her head, "...put out some calls. So they should only be here for a few more days or so. In the meantime, I'll stay with them as often as I can. It-... wouldn't be right to make Redrock pay someone to watch over them." she says with an apologetic tilt of her
Jasper glances about at the others before giving Tara a stern nod and leading the way, leaving Jattic to deal with all of the luggage on his own. "Well let's getcha fed then." he says through a small smile.
Nathan nods alongside Leah. "I've made a few calls to Sandbeck. They're sending a F.R.R.U over here as we speak to take over. Uh, A Fast Response Rehabilitation Unit," he clarifies. "A few days at the latest. Then from there they'll be able to look after the liberated."
Ilyna sighs at Leah's suggestion. "No," she says. "You're doing no such thing until Halisi deem you well enough to fight... in case they do track you back to us." She simply nods to Nathan's report before turning around and walking off to check on Li.