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Shepard's Dream Catcher

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The Normandy spent a couple hours in FTL speed before it emerged from a Mass Relay and entered Terminus space.

"Stealth systems engaged, keeping an open scope for potential hostiles," Joker reported.

"Excellent," Saren praised, "keep us informed on our ETA to Korlus."

"Will do, Spectre," Joker nodded.

Amber and Saren gazed through the hull as the Normandy continued to meander through the system. They watched as the stars flew by as they drew closer to their destination. During the flight, they couldn't help but ponder on the various results from their upcoming first meeting of Dr. Okeer. Shortly after, they went down to the cargo hold to meet up with Mordin and Maelon just outside of the shuttle. Adjacent to the salarians stood, Jack, Wrex, Garrus, Javik, Liara and Tali. The group still muttered to each other regarding making contact with Okeer.

"That crazed bastard was exiled within good reason. I'd want a cure for the Genophage, but not through the lengths he's willing to go through," Wrex grumbled.

"Well," Garrus asked, "did you have any other suggestions?"

Wrex sighed as he scratched his head.

"I could easily ask my brother if you'd like," Wrex offered, "other than that, you keep a distance and prepare to off him with that rifle of yours if he gets any ideas."

Once Garrus, Wrex, Jack, Liara, Javik and Tali took notice of Amber's presence, they paused their conversation.

"I hope you really know what you're doing, commander," Liara groaned, "based on his record, I'm not all that enthusiastic about meeting this Warlord Okeer."

Amber sighed softly as her squadmates began boarding the shuttle.

"Same here," she replied.

{Coming up on Korlus. Make this quick, commander,} Joker proceeded to open the cargo hold doors.

Amber, Saren, Mordin and Maelon wasted no time as they boarded the shuttle and closed its door. Moments later, the shuttle flew out of the cargo hold. The lower atmosphere was just as Maelon had described. The distance was littered with fragments of old ships, barely leaving any patch of the desert planet surface to peek out. This made it difficult for the shuttle to find a place to land.

"We're getting close to those coordinates, but I'm not seeing where he'd be camped out," Saren muttered.

Amber peered out of the window to examine the surface below.

"I see the hull of a large ship down there," Amber suggested, "let's land on top and make our way down from there."

Saren peered out of the window and examined the ship's hull for a moment.

"Very well," he nodded.

Saren took a step back and turned his head towards the pilot.

"Take us in," he instructed.

Upon cue, the pilot hovered the shuttle over to the grounded ship's hull and slowly landed the small vessel. Saren opened the shuttle door before he led Amber, Mordin, Maelon, Wrex, Jack, Garrus, Javik, Liara and Tali outside. The ship resembled a capsized super freighter, with it's grey exterior degraded by years of solar exposure. Both Spectres led their squadmates along the hull in search of a way inside. To one side of the ship, a large portion had been torn off from what looked to be debris. They jumped inside and continued through to the ground, kicking up dust along the way. Upon realizing she couldn't see much, the Alliance commander turned on her omni-tool and activated its flashlight feature. A few critters scampered from corner to corner as they got close, disappearing down the long hallways. It didn't take long before they entered a larger chamber.

As luck would have it, krogans occupied this ship considering there were some wandering around with decent lighting illuminating the large chamber. Amber shut off her flashlight and began scanning her surroundings in search of Okeer. All of a sudden, she tilted her head towards Garrus after he tapped on her shoulder.

"Uh, Shepard?" Garrus interrupted as he flexed his mandibles.

Garrus gestured to the krogan occupants now staring at them.

"Identify yourselves," one grunted.

He brandished a shotgun rather casually before aiming it at Amber. Wrex growled as he pulled his gun from his stash.

"If it's any encouragement, we're not here to tear Okeer a new one," Wrex objected, "got it?"

One krogan narrowed his eyes at Wrex.

"This way. We'll be watching."

With a single hand gesture, the krogan led the Spectres, the salarians and the squadmates across the large chamber. At the bottom of the ship, they exited through a hatch out onto the ground level around another few heaps of scrap into another rusted civilian ship. The chamber in question somehow resembled a lab. A krogan from the far end of the room turned to face them.

"Welcome to the lab, Spectres," the krogan greeted, "it's not much, but it has served me well."

Amber took a moment to examine the krogan before she took a step forward.

"You're Dr. Okeer?" she clarified, "Mordin told me about you."

Okeer let out an enthusiastic hum while he made a brief glance at Mordin.

"You even brought along that pyjack who got nabbed by the Blood Pack," Okeer added, "I see you're taking this seriously."

Amber glanced over her shoulder and nodded at Mordin and Maelon, allowing them to step forward.

"Ah, pleasure to see you again, Maelon," Okeer greeted.

"Right, same to you, Okeer. I hope you're at least willing to play along with this effort," he grumbled back.

Amber couldn't help but scratch her head.

"Right," she muttered, "introductions aside, will you need any resources provided by us for this?"

Okeer returned his gaze at Amber.

"What do you have to offer?" Okeer asked.

"Whatever you'll need to get this treatment to work," Amber offered.

Okeer nodded before he turned his gaze towards Wrex and Jack.

"Tell me, Wrex," Okeer mentioned, "have you considered volunteering for testing?"

Wrex narrowed his eyes and clenched his fists.

"You cut me open and leave me for dead on an operating table," Wrex threatened, "I'm breaking my bonds and spending my last moments bashing your skull in."

Okeer gave an amused chuckle at Wrex's irritated expression.

"Relax," he reassured, "it won't end up like that. You might want a partner before we get started."

"What for?" Wrex raised a browplate.

Wrex and Jack exchanged glances for a moment.

"To ensure the treatment works for both parties," Okeer clarified.

Jack thought over the question as she scratched her head.

"You all right?" Wrex asked softly.

Jack nodded. Okeer took notice of the gesture.

"Interesting choice," Okeer commented.

Jack and Wrex shifted their gaze towards Okeer.

"You said you're looking for some volunteers," Jack brought up, "so how do we get this treatment going?"

Meanwhile, Liara examined the equipment in the lab and inspected the chamber, trying to determine whether it was in stable condition.

"Not exactly up to par with proper labs, but most certainly the bare minimum," Liara said, "sanitation might be another issue altogether."

"Your point?" Tali pondered while rubbing her chin with her fingers.

Liara tilted her head towards Tali.

"We might have more success if we could find a more sanitary lab," Liara offered, "or at least sanitize this one."

"We'll need a new lab, then," Maelon proposed.

Okeer nodded in agreement as he folded his arms.

"That'd be great. Got anywhere particular?"

"I do. Alliance scouts have reported a genetics lab at the border between Attican and Terminus space," Amber answered.

To further emphasize her point, Amber turned on her omni-tool and pulled up a map of the galaxy.

"We clear it out," Amber suggested, "we'll have more than we'll need to get this done."

With a plan in mind, Amber invited Okeer and some of his crewmembers aboard the Normandy while they spent the next two days making a strategy in their next mission. The Alliance commander invited Saren, Okeer, Wrex, Jack, Liara and Javik into the briefing room.

"This is the facility layout," Amber began to explain, "it's heavily defended, with AA gun towers surrounding the area."

Saren nodded as he examined the layout in the holographic projection.

"What would you recommend in taking out the gun towers?" Okeer asked.

"Only a few," Amber suggested, "we still need this facility functional. We'll only take down the necessary number to let the Normandy get close enough, then try to retake the rest of the facility by foot."

Saren traced his talon along the layout.

"So, you looking for an entryway?" Garrus asked Saren.

Saren made a brief glance at Garrus and nodded.

"We can enter through the waterways surrounding the facility," Saren explained, "behind this group of spires, there's a blindspot. We can drop there without too much worry from the AA guns. We'll advance from here."

Having listened to Saren's reason, Amber nodded in agreement.

"There are still a few gates along the path," she noted.

"Then we'll head in," Saren added, "rush them before they get an alarm off, drop the gate, then continue to the next checkpoint until we reach the center campus."

Amber nodded again as she placed a few markers on the holographic projection.

"We'll drop in the Mako, then," Amber concluded, "that should at least make it easier to traverse the terrain at high tide."

Garrus hummed as his mandibles flexed into a smile.

"I've made a few changes to the Mako since our last drive," he replied, "I haven't seen the modifications in action yet."

Amber turned off the holographic projector and stood to her feet.

"Alright," Amber announced, "grab your gear and let's go."

Amber led Saren, Garrus, Wrex, Jack, Liara, Javik and Okeer out of the briefing room before they made their way to the locker room. Jack, Javik, Liara, Wrex and Garrus gathered their weapons and suited up before they met up with the Spectres in the cargo hold. By now, the Normandy reached Virmire's orbit. Joker dipped the Normandy sharply into the atmosphere and flew low into the canyons in preparation to drop the Mako. As the cargo hold's hatch opened, Amber took the driver's seat in the Mako. With little to no hesitation, she drove the vehicle down the ramp and onto the planet's surface. They landed in the frothy shores, leaving a wake upon impact.

"We're all set, Joker," Amber informed, "wait till we clear the guns before landing."

{Copy that, commander,} Joker replied over the com-link.

She took the wheel and drove along the beach. All the while, Saren read the radar in the front seat. Liara and Garrus gazed through the windows to scope for any soldiers on patrol. They came to a halt as they stopped in front of the first gate.

"Commander," Javik whispered, "orders?"

"Let's go," Amber reminded, "we're not getting through until we drop that gate."

Amber didn't hesitate as she disembarked the Mako. They found a flight of stairs up to the level above, coming into contact with the local Cerberus guards.

"What the—?" one of the guards exclaimed, "intruders!"

Saren knocked the group down with a biotic toss and headed to cover. Amber took this chance to sprint forward, compelling the other squadmates to follow her lead. The instant they stepped into the room, the Cerberus personnel inside paused in their tracks and turned their heads towards their intruders. Garrus charged on through, hurrying to the control room to hack the controls. At the same time, the other squadmates leapt into cover before continuing to fire their rounds. They mopped up the rest just as Garrus returned from the control room.

"Gate is open," Garrus informed, "no alarm was set off, so I don't think they know we're coming yet."

"Good work, Garrus," Amber nodded, "back to the Mako. Let's keep going to that first AA gun."

Amber led her squadmates back down the stairs until they reached the ground, where they hopped back into the Mako. Around another set of turns was the next gate with a large turret affixed to the top.

"Oh, boy," Wrex muttered.

Amber put her foot on the gas.

"Get inside and cripple it," she ordered, "we don't want to blow anything up just yet."

"Will do, Shepard," Liara nodded.

They repeated the operation with the next encampment of guards, swarming them as they approached. Garrus fought through the Cerberus soldiers to reach the control panel. Liara, Javik, Wrex and Jack provided the turian cover fire as he got to work hacking the controls. He cut off power access to the heavy cannon and opened the door for their path onward.

"And that should do it," he said.

Saren gave the younger turian a positive gesture.

"Good," Saren praised, "a few more along the way should do it."

Saren and Amber led their squadmates back to the Mako and continued driving forward. They continued the same pattern with the next couple gates.

"Joker, there should be a clear path to the base," Amber informed, "we'll scout ahead and meet you at a clearing."

{Ten-four, good work down there. I'll see you ahead.}