Friday, February 11, 2011

Hide and Seek, Part 5

Illium, Market District

Assassination attempts, bombs going off in buildings, a high-speed skycar chase between two Spectres, it was just another average day on Illium.

The two skycars weaved through the tall buildings that made up Illium's skyline. In the pursuer, the driver and front-seat passenger argued like an old married couple. In the lead vehicle, the lone Asari made call.

"This is Vasir. I've got the data, but Shepard and her pureblood whore are on my tail. I need backup."

"Sending in agents," a male human's voice said over her Omni-tool. "I'm plotting an escape route now, feeding it into your nav-computer."

"Thanks. If I make it out of this one, the first drink's on me." The other voice chuckled lightly.

Vasir checked the escape route. It would be tight, but she could make it work. She made a hard left, cutting her way through a construction site in the middle of a building. A hard right led her into a tunnel.

"Vasir, leave the tunnel, make a left, then punch it. I've hacked a pair of freight trucks to collide. It should slow her down at least."

She did as she was told. Sure enough, the proximity alert showed that the cab chasing her was falling out of range.

Vasir's escape route had been updated with a new course. She swerved around a few more buildings and crisscrossed a traffic lane. The proximity alert went off. Shepard was catching up.

"Damn, how the hell can this Bitch keep up with me?"

"I've been tracking her," the voice on the line said. "She's going full-throttle, even on the turns. Her recklessness is… surprising, to say the least."

Vasir's lip curled. "Well I've got a few surprises of my own."

As she emerged from another construction zone, she pressed a blue button on her steering console. Outside the skycar, the first of several proximity mines dropped. The cab was hit, but not slowed.

"That should've taken out their kinetic barriers at least!"

"It seems that the Quarian is amplifying the taxi's shields. Even so, looks like three impacts out to take it out."

Vasir jammed the button two more times. The second missed wide, the third impacted, though not as direct as the first.

She made a wide turn before dropping two more mines. Both missed. She hit the button again. She was out.

"Now would be a good time for that backup!"

"Head for the tunnel."

As she entered, she saw explosions go off above her. "What the hell was that?"

"Your backup."

She looked back to see a small troop transport behind her. Two of the gunners were firing on the cab.

"Vasir, what the hell are you doing!"

She looked out her front window. She was about to crash into a rather large truck. She bit her lip as she made a tight turn, swerving close enough to the front of the truck that she could see the Salarian who was driving.

The troop transport wasn't so lucky though. It impacted the side of it, igniting the fuel it was carrying. The resulting explosion dampened her proximity sensors, to the point where she didn't even realize the cab had caught up until it was beside her.

She slammed into the cab. It swerved into oncoming traffic, but managed to weave through the cars and ram back into her. She tried to ram back but was impacted again. The two skycars were scraping together.

"Damn bitch! What the hell do you think you're…?"


The cab swerved away. Vasir looked up and saw why. She tried to swerve, to stop, anything to get out of the way of the oncoming car, but to no avail. The other car impacted her windshield.

"Vasir, you're not gonna make it to the rendezvous point. Find someplace to land and we'll come to you."

She looked around frantically for a place to set down. She spotted a terrace on top of a hotel. That would have to do. She did her best to slow her decent, but she knew this was going to hurt.

Leanna set the cab down in the closest place to Vasir's skycar that she could. She had no intention of letting her get away.

Another of the Shadow Broker's troop transports came at them, landing in their path. Tali used her Omni-tool to hack their shields. Liara glowed blue and launched a singularity at them which pulled them all together. Leanna deployed a warp field, causing every last one of them to fly off in every direction.

Leanna smirked. "Just like old times, isn't it?"

"Hurry; there will be more on the way. We must continue to pursue Vasir," Liara responded plainly.

She headed in the direction of Vasir's skycar with Leana and Tali following her. They arrived to find a smoldering hulk. The care was totaled, but empty.

"Shepard look," Tali pointed to the ground a few feet from the wreck. "Blood"

Liara looked at it. "It's Vasir's. There's more up ahead."

"Follow the trail of blood. Sounds like a fun party game." Shepard quipped. The two just looked blankly at her. "Never mind, just keep moving."

They followed the trail through a hotel room. A man and an Asari were huddled in the corner, apparently too scared to speak. They looked unharmed though. It seemed likely Vasir hadn't even noticed them.

Sudden movement out of the corner of her eye made Leanna jerk around, then all at once lower her guard. The entire wall of the main bedroom was a giant vid-screen. It appeared to show previous hotel patrons with other Asari. She recognized one of the Asari in the vid as the one huddled in the corner.

"What kind of Hotel is this?" She asked Liara.

"Azure. It's a luxury resort with an… exotic edge. "Azure" is slang for a part of the Asari body in some areas of Illium."

Shepard gave Liara a sideways glance. "And where's that?"

"Mainly the lower reaches, near the bottom."

Leanna smirked. "I meant, where on the Asari body."

"So did I." Liara gave a smirk right back.

"In case you can't tell," Tali interjected, "I'm rolling my eyes."

Liara straightened her face. "We need to keep moving."

Vasir was limping along through the hotel. Her injuries were slowing her down. She was leaking too much blood. What little medi-gel she'd had was already used up. She hadn't heard a thing on her comms since she crashed. Did they even know where she was?

She stumbled her way into a rooftop party. A number of humans, turrians and salarians, all rather well off, were surrounded by asari "comfort women". They were too lost in their world of sin and vice to notice the bleeding commando.

"It's over Vasir!"

Vasir spun around. Shepard and the pureblood had caught up to her. Her suit's systems were damaged. If there was a fight, she'd have to rely solely on her biotics.

She drew up a biotic barrier around her then grabbed the nearest body she could, a human female, mid twenties if her estimates on human age were correct. The other patrons and staff ran off screaming. She pointed her pistol to the woman's head.

Shepard shouted at her, "Drop the hostage Vasir! This has gone too far. Put down the gun and we can get you medical attention."

Vasir only tightened her grip. She knew what would happen if she betrayed the Shadow Broker. Dying was preferable.

"What's your name?" she asked her hostage.

"M-Mariana," she stuttered.

"Mariana, you want to live don't you? Tell the nice people how much you want to live."

"Please, help me."

"Don't worry Mariana," Shepard stated calmly, "We'll get you out of this."

"Such a nice sentiment, but are you sure about that? You could've just walked away, but now it's going to get ugly." She dug the gun into the woman's temple.

"Please. I have a son."

Vasir could tell she was lying but it didn't matter. She knew Shepard would believe it. "I hope he gets to see you again. I hear losing a parent is horrible. Scars the kid for life, doesn't it Liara?"

That struck a nerve with the pureblood. "I am going to end you Vasir."

Shepard turned to her. "It's ok Liara. We're going to handle this. She's not getting away."

"You want Mariana's little boy to grow up all alone? Throw your guns on the ground. All of them."

"That's it?"

Vasir was shocked by this response. She was sure Shepard would surrender rather than risk a hostage.

"I sacrificed hundreds of human lives to save the Destiny Ascension. I unleashed the Rachni on the galaxy. Hell, I even sacrificed my best friend to blow up Saren's cloning facility. If you think I'm going to let you go for a single hostage, you're sorely mistaken."

Vasir turned her pistol on Shepard. "You're bluffing."

"Yes, I am. Garrus, now!"

A shot impacted her pistol and it flew out of her hand. A biotic field enveloped Mariana and she was thrown to safety. Three more shots and she couldn't hold her barriers anymore. The four shots that followed pierced her armor. She could feel blood pooling in her lungs.

The pureblood came up to her and pulled the disk she'd stolen out of her armor. It didn't matter. She was dead anyway.

As she slumped against the wall, she chuckled. "You think you can stop him? The Shadow Broker has been around since before any of you were born. He'll kill you before you get a chance to see him."

Shepard faced her. "Is that why you sold out the Council? You're afraid of him?"

"You think I sold out the Council? You think I'm like Saren? Screw you!" She gasped for breath. "The broker's intel has helped me save countless lives over the years. If the broker needs a few people to 'disappear', it's a price I'm willing to pay."

Shepard advanced on her, pointing an accusatory finger. "Trying to kill Liara is one thing, she knew what she'd gotten into, but Spectres don't blow up buildings filled with innocent people!"

"What do you think Spectres are for? We get our hands dirty so the council doesn't have to. The councilors might complain about our methods, but it's all just a show." Vasir's vision was getting blurry. It wouldn't be long now. "Besides, you're working with Cerberus now. Do you have any idea what your terrorist buddies have done?"

"Yes, I worked with Cerberus, but I didn't work for them. I never forgot who they are and what they've done. And I never betrayed who I am for them."

It was getting harder to breathe. "Enjoying the view from your high horse? You want to judge me? Look in the mirror. Kidnapping kids for biotic death camps? Your own unit on Akuze? And you work with them. You don't have room to judge me. You can't…"

Vasir closed her eyes as she felt herself slipping away. Her last thoughts were of the man she'd talked to as she tried to escape, how she'd never see him again. With everything she'd done in her life, this was her only regret.

End of Episode #2

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