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Citadel: Through the Fires and Flames

Chapter Text

“...you’re cleared for docking, transferring you to an Alliance operator..”

A loud groan fills the dark room. The flickering orange of the array of holographic displays illuminates a lone console. It’s hazy electronic light wraps around a lithe figure, shining faintly where it touches her silky skin. She arches her back beyond her seat, lifting her outstretched legs off the floor. Her delicate frame almost vibrates with the sudden tension. Suddenly, a loud thud rings out as her boots hit the metal floor as her body melts back into her chair and a satisfied purr escapes her soft lips. Silence seems to take over as our maiden begins to slip into a slumber, only to be interrupted by an alarming beeping.

“Control, come in” the deep voice booms over the mic. “This is the SSV Kyoto, requesting docking clearance. Over.”

The militant voice, evoking vivid memories of her time at C-Sec Academy, passed through her like a bolt of lightning. Her body tensed up in an instant as her torso shot forward over the console.

“Copy!“ she declared loudly while still in motion. “I hear you loud and cle-“

The mic feed is filled by a loud crash, the maidens eager voice is cut off suddenly as her speeding forehead meets the hanging monitor overhead. The walls creak from the force of the impact, as it settles, slight static from the open comm channel permeates the dark space. After what seemed like an eternity, the same voice resonates in the room again, albeit laced with a more concerning tone:

“Uhh..control? Is everything ok up there?”

Despite being a climate controlled cubicle on a space station thrust in the cold vacuum of the Serpent Nebula, one could swear the temperature of the room had risen a few degrees as the petite officer rose from her crumpled position, radiating the heat of embarrassment. A bead of sweat rolled down her forehead as she realized her predicament. Her lips tightened, her face so flush with her purple blood that her cerulean cheeks almost appeared pink.

“R-r-r-roger! Everyon-uhh-thing is under control! Clearing your docking clearance now.” uttered the young asari, frantically worked the console with one hand while cradling her bruised forehead in the other, “you’re cleared for docking, transferring you to an Alliance operator now.”

“Understood, control. Thank you.” replied the man on the other side, accompanied by stifled chuckles in the background.

The asari remained still in her seat, almost frozen, as the channel closed and the static dissolved. In one snap movement, her entire body lifted into the air and spun as she dropped down kneeling in her seat, her face squished into the ergonomic backrest.

“GODDESS! You’re a useless mess! No wonder they stuck you on dock duty! Ahhhhhhh…..” rang the petite asari muffled voices of discontent from the bowels of her seat.

The bulkhead behind her chimed and slid open with a whoosh of hydraulics, yet the cacophony of the overengineered door did little to alert the asari of her unexpected visitor. Neither did the audible thuds of his boots on the floor. Nor did his the sound of his grinding molars. The towering shadow by the door gazed upon the quivering asari officer in her post, let out a loud sigh and made his presence known:

“Ahem.” he clears his throat loudly, “Officer Yasusada Yamatonokami, you should be guiding ships to dock, not your face into your post.” finally catching the attention of his charge who freezes briefly then proceeds to swivel herself away from his gaze, taking cover behind the back of her chair.

The figure lets out a sigh and steps into the field of orange light. A human, one of the denizens of Earth, and an impressive specimen at that. He stood tall, towering over the petite asari, his broad chest almost impressed itself upon his blue and gray uniform and his thick biceps were stretching his rolled up sleeves. The asari peeked out from behind her bastion of plush fabric at her superior, finally regaining some composure but still visibly panicking.

“Captain Nagasone, sir!” she blurted out while fumbling a salute “I apologize for the racket, sir. There was an...uhh... equipment malfunction?”

Yasusada let out a nervous chuckle, sidestepping slowly over her console to hide the broken monitor. Unimpressed with his subordinates display of stealth, the captain took a few strides forward which was enough to cast his imposing shadow over the still saluting asari. He peeks over her shoulder to find the monitor hanging from its stripped wires, sparks and all. Yasusada braces herself.

“Was this part of the “malfunction”?” Nagasone asks, taking a quick poke at the purplish-blue bruise on Yasusada’s forehead.

“Yessir, it took me completely by surprise!” proclaims Yasusada, grimacing in pain.

Captain Nagasone released a burst of laughter.

“I don’t even know how I’m gonna call this in,” he says mockingly into his radio. “Err..officer down...suspect is 23 inches and shockingly fast.”

Yasusada pouts, quite embarrassed, “Sir, I’d prefer you not make fun of me.”

“I’m sorry, Officer. But I was going to tell you HQ wants you back on patrol, how can I in good conscience send you to the frontlines if you can’t even evade a swivel screen.” chortles Nagasone.

The comment bit harder than Yasusada expected. It wasn’t always like this, not that long ago, she was making an impressive headway in the asari Commandos and was set to rise quickly . But the first 400 years of an asari’s life was meant for exploration and adventure, so that’s what young Yasusada did: she hitchhiked across the galaxy on an epic journey to find her place in this world. However, upon arriving on the Citadel during the very first leg of her journey, the wide eyed asari was duped out of most of her credits by a disenfranchised volus “prince” (despite the volus having no nobility) and the rest of her belongings relieved by pickpockets in Zakera Ward while distracted at the sights and sounds. This unfortunate series of events was, however, how captain Nagasone first met a distraught asari, lost without the structure and stability of Ilium and the commandos. Three years had passed since then, and the minor detour had turned to a C-Sec job, a small but charming room in Shin Akiba where she kept a handsome collection of houseplants. Yasusada feels somewhat content, the monotony was comforting, yet part of her still wanted more. This was meant to be a journey after all.

“Are you sure you’re not part human? Because this looks like human senility.” remarks Nagasone, bending down with mocking concern.

“Sir, I’ll have you know I’m not even four hundred yet, and that’s not how asari genetics work.” snaps Yasusada, returning from her brief recollection of the past.

“Of course, of course. But that doesn’t change the fact you destroyed C-Sec equipment, that’s coming out of your paycheck, officer.”

“Aw sir, but it wasn’t my fault.” Yasusada protests “If anything I’ve revealed a significant point of failure in our equipment, you really should be commending me for..”

Thud. Thud.

Both officers froze briefly, their hands reaching for the sidearms on their thighs as the sound of two shots reverberated down the hallway. It was getting noisier outside. Heavy footsteps, more shots, a scream. Yasusada inched towards the closed door. Nagasone crouched down in front of her, his pistol drawn.

“I’m overreacting.” Yasusada tries to reassure herself, “This is Citadel Control. The Fleet is here, no one can attack us, not with that still out there.” she peeks at the Destiny Ascension through the small window by her console. The dreadnought, pride of the Asari fleet, still remains intact and passive. There wasn’t an attack, there can’t be.

Screams rang down the corridor, the sound of pulse rounds whizzing past can be heard through the locked bulkhead.

“Look alive, officer.” whispered Nagasone, tapping Yasusada on the head lightly, “We’re going to open this door and run for secure cover. We hit them as hard as we can and we run. You got that?” he flips the safety off his gun and loads a concussive shot.

Focussed once again, Yasusada cocks her pistol, her body tightens as wisps of blue biotic energy wraps around her. “Aye, sir. Ready when you are.”

Nagasone activates his shield, the clear rippling barrier seemed to add bulk to his powerful form. He signals Yasusada to open the door. Her hand creeps towards the holographic lock.

Click. Swoosh.

Nagasone peeks out the doorway. His eyes widened. In one deft movement, he flew out of the room and took his shot down the hall.

Boom.

The concussive shot found its mark. Yasusada’s ears reeled from the sudden shock but she recovered immediately, she was a commando after all, a professional. The asaris form rippled with power as she stepped into the hall, ready to pulverize the unknown aggressor. The figures down the hall were reeling from the captains shot. She stood her ground, ready to find a clear shot as soon as the smoke cleared.

Then she saw them. Piercing lights, teal. A mechanical grinding. Synthesized digital groans. Bipedal forms, shiny gray, stains of blood upon their plating.

It was the geth.

“How?” Yasusada murmured to herself.

The geth trooper on the floor looked up. Its monocular camera stared into Yasusada’s own azure eyes. She almost felt as if the AI within was screaming out in anger and anguish from within its mechanical shell.

“GO!” yelled Nagasone, laying down covering shots.

Yasusada snapped out of her disbelief. The ephemeral wisps wrapping her body surged. She let out a shout and threw her arm forward. Her aura pulsed as a powerful warp bolt shot from palm and sped towards the geth. The air rippled violently. A loud bang emanated as a shockwave cleared the smoke. The bolt had hit the closest geth trooper in the chest, throwing it off its feet.

“They’re down, move out. I’ll give you cover, get the doors!” shouted Nagasone behind her, stepping back while firing steadily into the shrieking mass of metal.

Fingers tightening around the grip of her pistol, Yasusada spins around and dashes for the door. She brandishes her omnitool mid-sprint, setting it to lock the doors behind them. Nagasone empties his gun, ejecting the steaming thermal clip as he passes the doorway. With a wave of her omnitool, Yasusada shuts the thick metal door and shocks it with an overloading arc. The holo locks fizzled shut, wisps of acrid smoke rose from the burnt console.

“Well done, are you alright, officer?” Nagasone exclaimed under his breath, his pistol still pointed at the locked door. The silence is his answer.

Nagasone takes a peek over his shoulder to find a trembling asari. “It’ll be ok, Yamatonokami, we’re ok now.” he says reassuringly, lightly grasping Yasusada on the shoulder.

Yasusada looks up, her eyes filled with fear, as she just realized the implications of what had just happened.

The door was C-Sec property. The door that she just fried shut.

She’s never going to recover financially from this.