#Leah'sHouse – February 14, 2022

RC 's gaze darts down to Leah's hands for a split-second but then it fixes back on her eyes as he inches closer. There's an understanding in his eyes - he recognizes that the diminutive human in front of him is far more dangerous than she appears. His expression has a distant intensity, thoughts running a mile a minute as he turns the situation over in his head, trying to work out his options. He moves slightly to his left while

continuing to get closer, putting his back to the Talons. The barrel of his rifle lowers as he starts to get within arm's reach, but he hasn't made a move to cuff the woman in front of him. He's moving oh-so-slowly, like someone trying not to startle a wild animal, four dark eyes locked on Leah's like he's searching for something. "...can you take them?" The words are hissed through needle-point teeth, too quiet for a translator to

pick up, but there's no need. They're in English.

Crux watches nervously, her omni-tool screen all but forgotten. She shrugs one shoulder to keep the strap of her backpack from slipping, looking ready to spring into action.

PinkHair blinks hard and shakes her head. Fingernails dig into the palms of her hands as she lets out a huff of air.

Florrus shifts his weight from one foot to the other, his left hand shifting from the grenade launcher to rest on the grip of the pistol holstered on his hip.

HumanTalon waits impatiently, Carnifex lowered now that the batarian has approached Leah. White vapor rises from the back of his cobbled-together power armor as the hot exhaust from the generator meets cold winter air.

Tara blinks and stumbles a little as she’s pulled inside and hugged. Francois’ question is met with a series of small nods. She’s obviously rattled, and there’s a lost look in her blue eyes.

Zoe is hiding under Francois’ bed.

.

Francois seems pretty rattled himself. There's also a healthy dose of confusion on his face, though he's quite certain that whatever is going on outside, it's not good. That much is clear. Still, he's doing his best to keep himself together. "What's going on? Where's Leah?" he asks, one hand remaining atop Tara's shoulder in hope of providing something of a calming touch.

Leah draws in a breath, shoulders rising as she does. "It's not too late to walk away from this..." she says as RC begins to approach, her words sharp. One final offer to the group in hopes of avoiding bloodshed as she feigns submission. Because the moment he attempts to cuff her, there's no turning back. And there's no way in hell she's going anywhere with them. That was never in the cards. She just needed to get closer.

Neutralize the effectiveness of their weapons. She's well aware that as soon as she were to leave with them- to give them total control of the situation- her chance of survival would drop drastically. And, judging by the way the turian's hand is resting on his sidearm, he must know that she knows that, too. She doesn't make any sudden movements as the batarian's words reach her ears, instinctively peering past him, checking

to ensure that the others didn't hear him. She swallows at the lump in her throat, eyes trailing along the figures lined up behind the batarian, sizing them up one last time before meeting RC's gaze. Unexpected, but that's one less threat on the field. Maybe two, if the woman with the datapad's obvious concern for the batarian is any indication. The suspected biotic is still a wildcard. Nothing to imply she's another

ex-Talon. Another hired gun? She could go either way once the batarian's hand is tipped. Same goes for the vorcha. Her answer comes in the form of a small, almost imperceptible movement in an attempt at avoiding setting the others off prematurely. Just a subtle dip of her head, green eyes never leaving the batarian's.

RC lets out a sighed word. Batarian. It goes untranslated, but it sure sounds like a curse. He still looks like he's thinking hard, but his expression shifts to grim determination as his index finger leaves the trigger guard of his Vindicator to toggle the fire select from 'burst' to 'full auto' with a faint click. Another hushed mumble follows: "Not the girl-"

Florrus ' pistol is drawn in a split-second, a burst of automatic gunfire flying Leah and RC's way.

RC swivels around the moment he hears the unfolding gun, hip-firing his rifle as he turns. Shots pepper the vorcha and the two Talons, the former taking a bullet to the head and collapsing in the snow, but kinetic barriers protect the latter two, and the batarian's weak shields fizzle and pop under Florrus' fire, the last few rounds striking him in the chest and sending him to the ground, Vindicator spraying into the air before

overheating.

Crux 's eyes widen in shock as she cries out "RC!"

Tara swallows. "There's-... there's people outside. With guns. Leah-" She cuts off as gunfire erupts, answering the question of what Leah is up to. Her gaze reflexively snaps towards the front of the house, body stiff with worry.

Francois is unable to keep the worry from coloring his expression as Tara speaks. As the burst of gunfire sounds out he, too, snaps his attention in the direction of it. "Merde!" he lets slip once more and quickly steps back over to the bed to scoop his omni-tool back up. "She told me to contact Redrock but I-..." he stammers as he pokes through his projected interface, words hanging in the air his eyes scan across the words on

the screen which results in a frustrated sound escaping from the usually-composed older man when he's once again met with no signal. He tosses the device back against the mattress of his bed a little harder than intended, hand moving to the top of his head. "I can't-... I'm not getting a signal!" he exclaims, the panic beginning to seep into his voice. After a moment of silence, he pivots Tara's way sharply. "Your

omni-tool! Do you have it?!"

Leah is a step ahead of RC, a flash of blue swirling around her as soon as his finger leaves the trigger guard. She steps out past the batarian, bounding towards the man in the exosuit while ripping the turian from the ground amidst the exchange of gunfire with a simple gesture of her left hand. A twist of her waist and a swing of her left arm smashes him into the ground. Hard. Her hope is to take him out of the fight just long

enough to buy her those precious few seconds she'll need to even the playing field. Without missing a beat, she steps from her left foot to her right in a large stride, coiling her body and launching herself at the human, having deemed him the next biggest threat. It's an elegant series of movements, using the natural positioning the biotic throw left her body in to set up a hard, biotically-powered open-hand strike with her

right hand, perfectly chained throughout her body, with the intent of catching him squarely in the throat. She's not pulling her punches. This is life and death and she needs to incapacitate as many of them as quickly as she can.

Florrus barely has time to react to his suddenly weightless state before he crashes into the snow with a thud, leaving him dazed and in pain.

HumanTalon just barely manages to bring his gun-arm up to block Leah's strike, the motors in his mechanized armor whirring as they strain to compensate for the biotic energy imparted. He just barely avoids having his Carnifex slam him in the forehead. "Fuck! Kill her!" His counter is quick, bringing his arm down hard in an attempt to pistol-whip Leah.

Crux is frozen in place for a moment as she struggles to process what's happening, but then she rushes towards RC who's lying on his back, the snow around him stained red. She drops to her knees by his side, entirely ignoring the fighting as she goes to checks his pulse while muttering a distraught "Nonononono..." to herself.

PinkHair looks completely baffled at first, gaze fixed on the fallen batarian for a moment before darting to Leah and the Talons. The shout from the man in the exoskeleton makes her spring into action. Biotic energy ripples around her as she pulls a trench knife and rushes Leah from behind, aiming to bury the blade in her back.

Tara flinches a little as Francois tosses his omni-tool, her attention snapping back to him. The question makes her eyes widen and she nods, digging it out of her pocket and holding it out for him.

Francois' eyes move from Tara's face to her hands as she begins digging in her pockets. He's quick to accept it, rapidly poking and swiping through the interface, eyes scanning this way and that until his expression suddenly darkens. "No, no, no, no, no..." he mutters, giving the interface a few more pokes before biting down, gaze lowering towards the floor, disbelief entering his tone as he speaks once more. "...Nothing." The

hand holding the omni-tool hangs loosely at his side as his other hand covers his mouth, eyes turning towards the door as his mind races to figure out something, anything, that he can do.

Leah is already on the move again as soon as her boots hit the ground, swiftly stepping out of the way of the pistol whip. It's somewhere amidst this exchange that it registers that the vorcha is out of the fight. It'll take a moment for the turian to get his bearings. The batarian is down. Regrettably. He didn't buy her nearly as much time as she had hoped. And the hacker has more important things to worry about right now. She's

no threat to Leah. That only leaves one unaccounted for. That faint, familiar hum that tickles the skin warns her of the final chess piece a breath before the rapid footfalls can be heard crunching snow behind her. With another bright flash of her biotics she kicks off of the knee of the heavy mechanized armor before her, using the movement to generate some momentum as she twists towards the assailant approaching from behind,

hoping to catch her off guard with a flying punch right to the dome.

PinkHair 's left arm sweeps up to block the strike, the drugs coursing through her body boosting her speed. Without enough time to reorient the knife, she drives spiked knuckles at Leah's abdomen instead.

HumanTalon struggles to keep up as Leah dodges and shoots off, letting out a frustrated noise at her slippery maneuvering. He raises his hand cannon and fires at her with little regard for the fact that she's engaged in close combat with the pink-haired woman.

Florrus staggers back onto his feet, taking a moment to get his bearings and shake the cobwebs from his vision.

Crux fumbles to undo RC's armor vest and then rips it off, uncovering bloodied clothing. Shaking hands search until she finds the source of the bleeding, and then she tears off her beanie, pressing it hard against the wound to try and stem the bleeding. The sound of gunfire makes her flinch but she doesn't move or look away from the batarian. "Fuckfuckfuck..."

Tara 's shoulders drop as the call fails to connect, her worry only growing with the sound of more gunfire. It's obvious from her expression that she doesn't know what to do, and she's looking to Francois for answers.

Leah switches gears when her attack is unsuccessful, hand dropping to the top of the pink haired woman's wrist in an attempt at trapping it and controlling the dangerous blade before the spikes can be plunged into her gut. The gun-toting Talons that are now behind her remain at the forefront of her mind, however. Not the position she wanted to be in, but it's not unsalvagable. With a bit of footwork and a tight grip on the trapped

wrist, she attempts to pivot in place and use the biotic's own momentum against her to switch places and keep the woman between herself and the Talons. Hopefully they won't fire on one of their own. But given how ruthlessly they put down the batarian? She's not countng on it. What she is counting on is that skin weave buying her a few more seconds to fight for positioning.

Francois swallows, eyes scanning back and forth at a random spot on the door before drawing in a deep breath. As his focus turns back to Tara, he reaches out, gently taking her hand in his free hand and placing the omni-tool back into her palm. "Keep trying to contact Redrock. I-..." he swallows, looking as if he has no idea what to do before offering a shake of his head, "...I have to do something." He's no fighter. His only

experience with firearms are the limited lessons Leah gave him. How to load it. General safety. Point the dangerous end at whatever you're trying to shoot and pull the trigger. But he is her father. She may be a grown woman. She may be a competent soldier and a powerful biotic. But she's also his daughter, and no matter how old she gets, protecting her will never stop being his job. Her curls Tara's fingers over the

omni-tool as he holds her gaze. "...Lock the door once I leave, okay?"

PinkHair doesn't have anything approaching her opponent's training, and she's caught entirely off-guard as they trade places, although the knuckle spikes on her trench knife graze Leah's side before control is gained of her wrist. The repositioning leaves her in a very unfortunate position as two gunshots from the human Talon strikes her back, body shuddering with the impact of each round. It's only the skinweave that keeps the hand

cannon from punching straight through her. She lets out an incoherent growl, face twisted in pain as a burst of biotic energy forcefully repels Leah.

HumanTalon looks more frustrated than anything by one of his hired guns ending up Leah's meatshield - clearly he doesn't care about their lives at all. He sidesteps to the right to try and get a clear shot with the Carnifex, an omni-tool activating around his empty left hand.

Florrus circles the other way, moving closer to the house and opening up with another burst from his autopistol as soon as he has line of sight on Leah, the shots flying right over the downed batarian and the human trying to save him.

Crux curls up a little as shots fly overhead, closing her eyes but remaining right where she is, hands pressed firmly against RC's injury. "Shitfuckshit!"

Tara nods at the initial instruction to keep trying Redrock, but the words that follow make her expression shift into uncertainty. She almost looks like she's going to say something, but then she nods again, the gesture a firm affirmation that she'll do as she's told.

Leah bares her teeth in a grimace as her t-shirt does little to stand up to the sharp spike. But the sharp sting as flesh is rended is instantly pushed to the back of her mind as another burst of gunfire sounds out. She brings her free hand to the biotics shoulder, bracing her so she's unable to squirm away while she absorbs the rounds. The impact reverberates through the pink-haired woman's body. Enough so that Leah can tell she

was was hit. There's a brief look of surprise on her face when she realizes that the woman is still upright. Right. Minagen. But as soon as she realizes no third round is coming, she wastes no time in bringing the hand that was on the biotic's shoulder down hard on her captured wrist as she twists with her other hand, wrenching the blade free. And not a moment too soon as she's quickly forced to brace herself against a

blast of biotic energy that lifts her off her feet and sends her backwards. With years of training to rely on, the perpetual swirl of blue that's enveloped her body throughout the battle flashes brighter as she counters her own momentum, allowing her to hit the ground with far less force than she would have otherwise. Snow kicks up behind her as she slides to a stop, maintaining enough of her balance to remain upright. But

she's afforded no rest as the Talons begin repositioning to get a shot on her. With no cover to rely on, she has little choice but to go right back on the offensive. Without any armor, it only takes one lucky round to put her out of the fight, so the turian's autopistol poses the biggest threat right now. With a flick of her wrist, the trench knife shoots out of her hand as if it was fired out of a cannon, on a trajectory

heading straight for the turian's head. Given the presence of a helmet, it's unlikely to do any sort of mortal damage. But it doesn't need to. It just needs to put him off balance and make sure he's unable to get a clear shot. Another spark erupts from her as she lifts off the ground and attempts to springboard off of the shoulder of the pink-haired woman to send a biotically charged knee straight into the head of the

exo-skeleton clad human.

Francois' expression shares Tara's uncertainty, but he's sure as hell not about to leave his daughter out there all alone. He swallows at the lump in his throat, nodding a few times in turn. Bringing one hand to the side of the young girl's head, he leans in to press a peck against the top of her head before collecting the old hunting shotgun against the wall and tapping the door's interface. Gripping the weapon tightly in both

hands he looks out into the hallway, flinching as another burst of gunfire sounds out. His shoulders rise and fall with his deep breathing as he tries to muster up the courage to get his legs to start moving. With one final breath, he steps out into the hallway.

Florrus ' shots go wide as the biotically-propelled knife strikes his helmet with enough force to crack the visor before bouncing off. He curses loudly and reaches up to tear the helmet off, tossing it aside. The injury from his last encounter with Leah is still visible, most of his headcrest missing after he was kicked headfirst into a metal wall.

PinkHair 's back is bleeding badly from the gunshots, and Leah using her as a springboard sends her down to one knee, the sound that she makes somewhere halfway between an agonized cry and a deranged laugh. The glow around her intensifies as biotic energy is gathered and, as she spins around, unleashed in an unfocused shockwave that doesn't discriminate between Leah and the human Talon.

HumanTalon once again brings up his gun-arm to block, the exoskeleton groaning in protest and armor plating bending to the force of the biotic field that envelop's Leah's knee. He's about to counter-attack when the biotic shockwave strikes, sending him stumbling backwards, struggling to keep the heavy exoskeleton from tipping over.

Crux remains glued to the spot she's in despite the mayhem around her, gaze locked on her own increasingly bloody hands.

Tara watches silently as Francois leaves the room, rooted in place until he's out of view. There's a moment of hesitation, but then she hurries to lock the door as instructed.

Leah's feet are barely back on the ground as spouts of snow erupt behind her, drawing a straight line across the ground right at her. With little time to react to both an attack from behind- unseen but heard- and a potential counter attack from the armored man in front of her, she blindly rolls to the human Talon's side, mindful of her positioning in an attempt at keeping the human between her and the turian as much as possible.

Unfortunately, it's not as clean of an escape as she would have liked, and she comes out of her roll right at the edge of the shockwave's effective path, knocking her to the ground. She bites down on the pain that surges through her side, hand instinctively pressing against it. There's a light spattering of red drawn in the snow from the pink-haired biotic, to the human Talon, to Leah's current position, mapping out her

path. It's not a life threatening wound, but without her armor to flush the site with medigel, it's only a matter of time before it begins to slow her down. And she can't afford to slow down. She needs to end this. Quick. So she ignores the pain while she still can and rises to a knee. In an attempt at taking advantage of the work the pink haired woman has already done, she reaches out with a blood soaked hand, a swirl of

biotic energy flashing around her as she jerks her hand back to pull at the Talon in the exosuit, aiming to topple him over.

Francois hurries down the hallway, knuckles turning white from gripping the unfamiliar weapon so tightly. The sound of the door closing behind him emboldens him- no turning back now- but the loud cracking of biotic energy outside of the house still causes him to flinch. "Merde!" he exclaims as he ducks his head down instinctively.

HumanTalon 's eyes go wide as Leah biotically tips the scales in his struggle to retain control of the clunky industrial exoskeleton, gravity shifting around him as he crashes to the ground, steam rising in a sizzle as the generator's exhaust melts the snow underneath him. His arms flail as he twists and turns like a tortoise on its back, servos whirring loudly.

PinkHair is hunched forward, back coated in blood, her breathing labored, but as the Talon goes down her frenzied eyes settle on Leah and she stumbles into an unsteady run towards her, fist coated in an indigo shimmer.

Florrus watches the unfolding mess in disbelief, his back to the house. He tosses the pistol aside and grips his grenade launcher in both hands once more, taking a couple of steps back as he starts to take aim. Apparently he's past the point of caring about friendly fire.

Crux is speaking frantic, quiet words to the unconscious batarian, but they go unheard amid the sounds of battle.

Leah's hand remains outstretched, even after she's successfully toppled the man in the exoskeleton. With the human down, she now has a clear line of sight on the turian. And he on her. Her green eyes snap to his hands as the pistol is discarded into the snow. But before he can bring the grenade launcher to bear, she clenches her fist tightly, causing a small puff of snow near the turian's feet to erupt as the trench knife that was

embedded there bursts out of the white powder. The blade mimics the motions of her hand as she rises to her feet, launching upwards like a lightning bolt and heading straight for the turian's throat, her intention to rip straight through it. In through the front, out through the back. Regardless of whether or not her attempt at finally putting down the troublesome turian is successful, she pivots towards the pink haired

woman and, with a smooth mnemonic gesture, strikes out at the empty space in front of her with her palm. Once again, the blade follows her movements, like a snake moving to a flute, and cuts across the sky towards the chest of the charging biotic.

Francois once again ducks his head down as the unseen industrial suit topples over just outside. 'Move you useless old man!' he silently chastises himself as fear takes hold and overrides his body, refusing to allow his legs to move. 'Leah might be hurt! She might need you!' Breathing labored and bordering on a panic attack, he chokes in another breath and hurries across the living room towards the front

door.

Florrus doesn't even have time to realize what's happening before his throat erupts into a spray of blue blood. He blinks, a gurgle slipping out. His left hand reaches up to touch his neck, talons coming away slick with blood. He looks confused as he starts to tip to one side, his trigger finger squeezing down as he collapses into the snow. The grenade goes flying to the side, far from any of the combatants. The explosion is deafening,

kicking up a shower of snow, and fragments embed themselves in the porch and wall of the house, one striking the window nearest the Christmas tree and shattering the glass.

PinkHair staggers as the knife embeds itself in her chest, getting stuck in the skinweave. It's obvious that she's on her last leg, but as she stumbles to her knees she lets out a loud, agonized warcry and slams her fist into the ground to discharge the amassed biotic energy in Leah's direction, snow rippling in a cone in front of her.

HumanTalon is struggling to get out of the toppled exoskeleton as chaos rages around him.

Crux instinctively curls up over RC as the grenade goes off, showering them both with snow.

Francois is only about half way across the living room when a thundering sound rings out. The shock of the rumble that's felt through the house and the sudden shattering window combined with already-shaky legs sends him sprawling to the ground. He manages to keep a tight grip on the shotgun, but quickly relinquishes it to the floor, opting to cover his head instead. "You're okay. You're okay!" he quietly assures himself.

"Get up!" It's another few seconds before his body begins to listen to his brain and he reaches out to recollect the meager weapon. He presses one hand against the ground, wincing as a splinter of glass catches him on the palm, and peers up through the doorway. The narrow field of view afforded by the doorway, combined with his distance from the door, offers him little to see. So he grunts against the sting in his

hand and climbs to his feet, his movements slow and careful, and inches his way towards the door.

Leah stumbles against the eruption from the grenade, the sound of breaking glass jerking her attention towards the house. Still standing. That momentary distraction was all it took for the biotic to catch her off guard. As a mix of snow and dirt showers over them, the blast of energy released knocks the wind out of her and puts her on her back. A loud, pained grunt escapes her as she hits her head on the ground, the padding

the snow would have once provided all but trampled underfoot in the battle that has ensued. Leah blinks against the fuzziness at the edge of her vision as she sluggishly climbs back to one knee, hearing ringing from the explosion. She draws in a few heavy breaths as her green eyes lock on the woman in front of her. There's no doubt that the pink-haired woman doesn't have much left in the tank. How could she? She's dying. But

you don't need much in the tank to be a threat. Just enough to draw a gun. And there's too much on the line to risk that. If something were to happen to her, there's no telling what the man in the exosuit might do to Tara. To her father. Leah's breathing quickens as she lifts a hand, silently wishing- begging- for the other biotic to just keel over so she doesn't have to finish her off herself. But she doesn't. Leah balls

her hand into a fist, that spark of blue once again swirling around her as she gives a twist of her wrist and jerks her hand back, ripping the blade free from the woman's chest and, as a sharp, pained sound escapes her, a hard punch at the air in front of her plunges the trench knife right back into the woman's chest.

PinkHair lets out a gasp as the knife is pulled free, blood spurting from the now-open wound in her chest. She tries on shaky knees to get back on her feet, but when the knife once again pierces her armored skin she drops back down. She reaches for the handle with unclear intentions, grip weak and hand slippery with blood, but whatever she was intending to do she doesn't get the chance, letting out one more sputtered breath before

crumbling to the ground with a faint thud.

HumanTalon aggressively pushes the chestplate of his armor open after finally managing to free his upper body, but his leg remain attached to the exoskeleton. Sitting up, his eyes land on Leah just as she plunges the knife into her foe's chest. Shaking hands frantically start to release the connections for his leg armor, movements hurried and clumsy.

Crux lifts her head after realizing the explosion didn't kill her, throwing an overwhelmed glance in the direction of the last fighters standing, but her hands remain where they are.

Francois steps out onto the porch, shotgun shouldered in an uncomfortable stance. But the sight he's met with is a grisly one indeed. Bodies and blood-painted snow litter the yard. And his daughter, beaten and bloodied amidst all the chaos, plunging a blade into the chest of a woman he's never set eyes on before. "L-.... Leah?" he manages, but the words get caught in his throat, escaping in little more than a whisper.

Leah's eyes shut as the pink-haired woman's body goes limp. Judging by how carelessly the man in the exosuit opened fire on her, she probably wasn't even a Talon. Just some Alliance-washout-turned-addict looking to make some credits the only way she knows how. Doing the only thing that humanity has deemed her useful for. Being a weapon. A tool for someone else's gain. Died for a cause she probably couldn't give two shits about.

Not that it matters. This fight isn't over yet. With a hissed groan, she brings one hand to her thigh and forces herself onto her feet. Shirt stained with blood- not all her own at this point- she turns towards the struggling man in the exosuit, fire in her eyes. "Don't you fucking move!" she barks. Her own words sound muffled to her ears as the explosion continues to echo in her head, leaving her father's voice to be

completely blanketed by the ringing. "This is over! Understand?! Over!"

Crux 's gaze locks on the crumpled body of the pink-haired girl, eyes momentarily closing soon after as she lets out a heavy breath.

HumanTalon 's hands leave the leg that he still hasn't freed as Leah shouts at him, lifting into the air in a surrendering gesture as his gaze snaps to her. He flashes his empty palms, expression an intense mix of fear and impotent rage. A strained breath. Two. "Fuck you, bitch." The words are spat, and his omni-tool rematerializes around his left hand as he thrusts the hand forward, fabricator whirring to life, clearly about to launch

some kind of attack.

Leah takes a few cautious steps towards the man, body tense. Already poised to strike, the words barely have a chance to leave his lip's before her biotics flare up. She never expected him to give up anyway. Not after he tracked her half way across the Terminus. She takes one heavy step forward, planting a boot into the trampled snow and thrusting her right hand forward with a heavy, pained growl as she attempts to slam the man

back down into a laying position with as much force as she can muster with no regard to what sharp, jagged bits may be jutting out of the armor he's trapped in.

Francois remains on the porch, the gun in his hands suddenly feeling a whole lot heavier. The barrel droops, pressing against the wooden flooring as he just stands there and... watches. Frozen in place. He's no idiot. He knows just how dangerous the life his daughter leads is. He's always known. But it's always been so compartmentalized. So... distant. Something they don't talk about. It's another life, parallel to her home life.

They were never supposed to intersect. It wasn't his choice. He's offered a shoulder for her to unload on more times than he can count. But this was how she wanted it. He was only ever afforded glimpses into that life. The cuts and bruises she so often returned home with. The hospital visits. The wheelchair. The surgery. The times he'd catch her sitting alone in the dining room in the middle of the night, when he knew

Redrock had lost someone. Just glimpses, sanitized and shared through the lens of his loving daughter's bright smile and perky attitude. She wanted to protect him from this. His lungs fill with cold air as he wills himself to do something. Say something as the man in the exosuit springs into action. Anything! A barely-spoken, "Leah...!" is all that manages to slip out, one hand reaching out to her, as if to warn her.

HumanTalon crumbles like the gravity just increased tenfold, a loud crack as his spine bends over the edge of the exoskeleton and his head hits the ground hard, no snow left to cushion the blow. The submission net fabricated by the omni-tool backfires, electrified strands sending sparks flying as it short-circuits the exoskeleton. Judging by the fact that he doesn't even react to the current, the blow to the head must have been lethal.

Crux flinches a little as she watches the man that hired her break against his own armor. The look in her tear-filled eyes is a mixture of utter dread and resigned determination. She doesn't look like she has any real hope of this situation ending well for her, but she can't abandon the bleeding batarian either. One hand leaves RC's wound to fumble for the pistol holstered on her hip. A beat up old thing that seems unable to compact.

Her hand is trembling, fingers slick with blood, and she struggles to free the weapon from the holster. She looks more like a scared kid than a hired gun. Much like the batarian she doesn't look much older than Tara. Nineteen? Twenty? "St-... stay the fuck back!" she warns, voice cracking as she tries to put bravado she doesn't possess into the words.

Leah's green eyes snap to her father, his words reaching her ears this time. Her expression is flooded with a mix of surprise and sheer anguish as she meets his gaze from across the bloody battlefield that was once their front yard. And beneath that there's something else. Shame. But she doesn't focus on him for long. She can't. Not until it's safe. Her shoulders rise and fall with each heavy breath, already moving towards the

downed man to follow up. It seems that killing him wasn't really her intent. It's not an undesirable outcome either, however. As the submission net sparks across his lifeless corpse, signalling that his fight is finally over, a little bit of the fight drains from her face as well. When the woman hunched over the batarian scrambles for her weapon and speaks up, Leah's focus turns to her, her whole body shifting to face the

woman.

Francois' lips part to say more, but nothing comes out and he quickly swallows to try and wet his drying throat. A million thoughts bombard him as he scans over the scene in front of him. "Are you-..." he stammers out part of a question to his daughter when the woman on the ground begins to issue threats, causing him to fumble with the weapon in his arms before he manages to lift it to his shoulder. It immediately rattles in his

arms.

Leah is quick to lift a hand towards her father, bloody palm outwards in a silent order for him to stop. She has enough blood on her hands today. She doesn't need that weighing on her, too. "This fight... is over..." she repeats her previous sentiment, her tone cautious. The batarian helped her. And she's pretty confident the last words he spoke were an attempt at getting Leah to spare the woman currently seated in the

blood-stained snow beside him. He put his ass on the line to help her, she owes him that much. But there's that small voice in the back of her head calling out. The one reminding her that this is how she ended up in this mess in the first place. How her family ended up in danger. She let him live. It was a mistake. Whose to say this woman won't just come back? And maybe next time Leah won't be so lucky. The smart

thing would be to end this now. To tie up any loose ends. It's the safe thing to do. For her and her family. Her gaze peers past the woman, to the terrified old man on the porch. No, that's just not the woman he raised her to be. Her green eyes briefly dip to the batarian laid out before the woman before seeking out her gaze. "Your friend is gonna bleed out if you don't keep pressure on that wound." she warns, her tone

seeming to imply that she doesn't view the woman as a threat. An attempt at calming her down before she does anything reckless. If you're not a threat to me, then I'm not a threat to you. "I'm gonna help you, okay? I'm sure your friend over there-..." her gaze flicks to the armored turian, "...has medigel in his hardsuit. But I'm gonna need you to take your sidearm out and toss out to the side. Far

enough that you can't reach it. You do this, and you have my word that I'll do whatever I can to keep your friend-... RC, was it? I'll do what I can to keep RC breathing."

Francois lowers the trembling weapon, the fear on his face plain as day as he watches the two women and the tense standoff, quietly hoping he even has what it takes to pull that trigger should it come to that.

((take your sidearm out and toss it to the side*))

Crux 's fumbling for the gun stops, and she just stares at Leah for a moment, overwhelmed uncertainty all over her face. Fast breaths. Then a series of uneven nods as she realizes she has no chance of getting either of them out of this alive if she tries to fight. She unholsters the pistol after a bit more struggling, eyeing it one last time before tossing it aside. It lands in puffy snow, almost disappearing amid the white. Her

right hand doesn't rejoin the left in keeping pressure on the wound just yet, attention still frozen on Leah as if waiting to see if she's going to kill her now.

Leah's shoulders seem to untense as the weapon is discarded in the snow, and steam fills the air as she lets out a deep breath. She's nearly immediately hit by that post-battle clarity. When her body finally catches up to her mind and just a little more of that pain finds its way past the adrenaline receptors. When she starts to realize just how cold she actually is. But she still has work to do. With a nod to herself, she

hurries off towards the turian, dropping to her knees beside him as she begins to search for any sign of medigel. As she does, she shoots a glance Francois' way. When she finds his gaze, her features soften. "Dad, I'm gonna need my omni-tool!" she shouts. She can field dress a wound, but she's no doctor and that batarian took several rounds. If he's gonna have any chance at surviving, they need to get a real doctor out her.

Luckily, she has the best doctor in town on speed dial. "It's in the pocket of my jacket in my room, okay? I left it-..." she stammers, realizing she's wasting time, "...Tara will know where to find it!"

Francois looks between the young woman hunched over the batarian and Leah, having absolutely no idea what in the hell just happened. It seemed as if she was preparing to shoot his daughter mere moments ago. But the words shouted his way snap him from his thoughts and he finds himself nodding a bunch of times. He can process later. Right now, Leah needs him to keep it together. "I-...." he nods again. Then once more. "I'll be right

back!" he calls back, darting back into the house and heading straight for the hallway. "Tara!"

((real doctor out here*))

Next Logs

#Leah'sHouse
Crux
Tara
Leah Mercier
Francois Mercier
#Leah'sHouse
Crux
Leah Mercier
Francois Mercier
#Leah'sHouse
Tara
Leah Mercier
Francois Mercier

Previous Logs

#Leah'sHouse
Zoe
Crux
Florrus
Tara
Leah Mercier
Francois Mercier
#Leah'sHouse
Zoe
Tara
Leah Mercier
#Leah'sHouse
Zoe
Tara
Leah Mercier
Francois Mercier
#Leah'sHouse
Tara
Leah Mercier
Francois Mercier
#Leah'sHouse
Tara
Francois Mercier
Florrus
Tara
Leah Mercier