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They were through the door.

 

Wrex’s lips twitched as shots stitched up the wall, a little too close to his tech for his liking. The Turian made to duck behind cover, swearing, but the massive Krogan lifted her bodily and carried her through the doorway, not even reacting as he felt the tiny chunks of steel shred and spark against his depleting shields. He ducked to one side, setting her down, then assessed the situation, mostly to see if he was clear to go out and brutalize the people firing at them. The Turian- Marin? Something like that. Marin seemed a bit shaken, but had her feet under her quickly enough, and gave Wrex a thankful nod.

 

This team was working surprisingly well, considering that they’d only met on their way here.

 

Wrex glanced through the door they’d just come through, then pulled back as a hail of fire from a variety of sources came blazing past his head. Too far for him to reliably make it to them without leaving Marin exposed for too long. He grunted, displeased, then turned his head towards the teck.

 

“Seal it.”

 

Marin flexed her talons. “Might hold them for a little, but can’t expect much from a door like this.” He gave her a flat look, and she shrugged nervously. “Just saying. Sir.”

 

“Do it.”

 

She nodded, punched a series of commands into her omnitool. The door slammed shut and locked like that. Wrex barely spared them a glance before hefting his giant shotgun and starting down the hall he found himself in. Marin followed close behind, checking corners with her SMG, eyes alert and always moving. It wasn’t the first time Wrex had worked with other mercs on a job, but these had proved remarkably competent thus far. If they weren’t careful, he might decide that they were worth something.

 

A quick check of the map, and Wrex turned, shoving straight through a more normal door. The thing gave with a bare whine, ripped right out of its moorings by the Krogan. It was a good thing he’d not been hired for his ability to do things the stealthy way- he rather enjoyed tearing his way through whatever stood between where he was and where he was going. Security doors like the one they’d sealed notwithstanding, of course.

 

A security officer, a merc from an organization called Wrex-Didn’t-Care, fumbled for his pistol. For all the good that would’ve done him. Wrex picked him up and threw him through a desk, then added a blast from his shotgun for good measure.

 

“We’re getting closer to the vault, sir.” Marin said, then glanced at a warning from her omnitool and hissed. “They’ve got one of their techs on the door. Three minutes, maybe.”

 

She took something from the many-pocketed jacket she wore over her armour and slapped it against the frame of the door he’d just destroyed, pressing a button that caused a green light to flash, then turn a solid red.

 

“Hm. They gonna be a problem?”

 

“No. If the program works as intended, we’ll be in and on our way out in six. If it doesn’t…”

 

Wrex huffed. Plenty of missions going sideways could be fixed with a liberal use of ballistic weaponry and physical violence, that was a lesson that he’d taken to heart a long time ago. This time wouldn’t be any different.

 

She glanced back down the hall, then took her SMG and stood, following him as he smashed his way through another door. No one here, looked to be a secretary’s desk, with several more doors branching off of the space. Wrex kicked the first one down, put a blast into the cover of a couple of mercs, then charged forwards as they ducked and flipped the desk they were hiding behind on top of them. Marin put a burst into another that had been running through the door, causing them to dive for the safety of what looked like a server rack. They leaned around it, pointing a rifle in her direction, only for their head to explode into giblets. Wrex let out a gumble, even as Marin saluted out of the windows, one of which had a circular hole punched through the glass.

 

Rooms were cleared, one after the other, as they rapidly pushed through towards their goal. The mercs that served as security for this particular lab, given that it was at least borderline legal, were armed with a variety of weaponry, but none of it the heavy stuff that could do any real damage to Wrex. Marin performed admirably, for a non-Krogan, moving through the environment with an air of professionalism. He appreciated not having to make up for terrible backup, and mentally, he ticked up his opinion of his current employer a little. Perhaps he’d seriously consider the next job they offered him with these two.

 

“Final door!”

 

He turned, gun on the door they’d just come through, as the tech got to work on the security door- though calling it such was something of an understatement. Thick titanium and secure locks that were closer to solid bars of the same metal made the thing closer to a blast door than a security one, but if what their employer said was in the vault was actually in there, the level of security made sense. Rooms away, something exploded violently, and Marin grinned to herself for a moment before going back to work on the door.

 

“This one’s tougher. Better security, this close to the vault- I need some time.”

 

“Whatever. Don’t die.”

 

“Your concern is touching.” Marin replied absently, talons twitching across the surface of her omnitool.

 

“Don’t get used to it.”

 

Wrex stomped back through the most recently smashed door, then through the next, taking the lead merc by surprise. His shoulder made the merc’s shields sparkle and fail, blowing right past him and throwing him the length of the lab, into a couple of other mercs that went down under the sudden force of one of their comrade’s bodies. Wrex grabbed another of their number, and threw them at- and straight through- one of the walls, pounding another with the butt of his shotgun and putting a blast from it into a third. The armoured figures, who had been pouring through the door, now stumbled back, retreating in the face of the juggernaut they found themselves against. Wrex felt satisfaction on seeing them run, and gave the lab a once over, grinning as he found a heavy container of clearly-labeled nitrogen. He didn’t particularly care what the stuff was here for, or what the lab was doing, but he had another purpose for it in mind. The canister slammed into the wall of the next room, where all the mercs were now scrambling for cover, hard enough for it to burst.

 

A thick fog filled the room in seconds, but before the hoods of the lab could begin to get rid of the gas, Wrex had already used the stuff as cover. Like a freight train, he smashed through their ranks, unstoppable and indefatigable. They scattered like vermin, swearing and shrieking, firing wildly into the mist in a way that oh so conveniently let him know that they were absolutely panicking. Good. He was in the face of one of them so fast that the much shorter merc couldn’t even react. There had been something that he’d wanted to try, ever since seeing it done in that stupid action movie.

 

Before the little person had even cried out, he had them up and grabbed by the ankles. Their partner looked up in shock, still in the process of bringing their weapon around when Wrex brought the merc he’d grabbed down on them like a warhammer. One blow sent them stumbling, their shield dying, and the second knocked them flat. Wrex chuckled quietly to himself as he used the merc as a flail, knocking their fellows this way and that with ease. Really, it was almost too easy, which made him mentally sigh. This, of course, meant that there’d probably be something like a mech past the blast door, and they’d have to fight it out before they could access the vault. Enough time in the business gave you a feeling for these sorts of things.

 

He’d spent long enough here. Quickly, he stomped through the doorway he’d come in by. The pulverized merc in his huge hands went through the hole in the wall that the previous merc had made in the wall, and he noticed, to his amusement, that the one he’d thrown collided with the merc, who was shakily pushing themselves to their feet. Ah, none of them would be working for this firm by tomorrow, that he could be sure of.

 

“Got it!”

 

Marin called to him as he stepped heavily into the room, the blast door hissing and parting. He carried right through, the smaller tech right behind him, which meant that the first burst of heavy weaponry didn’t hit her at all, instead slamming into his shields hard enough to drive him back a step. He moved into cover, putting a pillar between him and his assailant, and Marin yelped and did the same as she saw what they were up against. He rolled his eyes, but hefted his shotgun, peeking around the edge.

 

The heavy mech, because of course there was one here, lumbered between the support pillars, turning its weapons towards his pillar. He ducked back, then around and to another as it opened up, the metal support quickly being smashed inwards, developing craters and punctures from the heavy weapons. As he darted through the pillars, as fast as a Krogan could ‘dart’, anyways, he heard the chattering of an SMG and the explosion of a grenade and quirked a little grin as the explosion and small rounds peppered the mech’s shield. It wasn’t doing significant damage, but the mech turned to address the active threat- VI driven, Wrex guessed, and a cheap one at that. A person, or a half-decent VI, wouldn’t have made the mistake of prioritizing a Turian with a light weapon and some explosives over a Krogan, regardless of whether they had weapons or not. He’d have to teach it why that was a mistake.

 

The sheer force of a blast from his shotgun at point black made even the mech stumble a step backwards. Off-balance, it couldn’t immediately turn to respond to the new threat, giving him the perfect opportunity to ram into it at full speed. The shields of the thing flickered, but held, and Wrex was even bounced back a couple steps. That was somewhat impressive, he thought; stopping a charge from a full Krogan. He might have to actually try, for this one.

 

Breathe. Focus. The old path was easy to follow; even despite Wrex’s slight preference for his hands or his guns, a path worn a thousand times doesn’t easily fade. He raised a hand, felt the power shift, the familiar purple aura spiraling around his thick arm as he reached out and tweaked the universe’s nose. The mech groaned as incredible stress was put on its superstructure, one of its legs buckling as Warp shredded the systems that allowed it to stay upright. The shield fizzled and failed.

 

“Sir!”

 

Wrex’s other hand came up, easily catching the grenade Marin threw to him. He yanked the pin with his teeth, releasing the Warp as he stepped closer, shoving his hand under the armour plating of the mech before moving away from it faster than something of his size would typically be able to. The mech tried to turn, to track him, sparking and grinding as its damaged internals and motors attempted to move it- then its armoured shell blew out from within. It jerked, then collapsed limply to the floor. He waited a moment, then stepped up and kicked it, grunting in satisfaction when the only thing he got for his troubles was a sad sparking. Wrex glanced up as Marin moved up to the mech, giving it a look, then stepped past towards where the map said the vault was. He gave the mech one more look, then hefted his shotgun and followed.

 

The vault itself was an affair of two glass walls, thick and unyielding, one exterior and one interior, with space inbetween, meant as both an airlock and another measure to restrict access. Wrex didn’t even bother trying to shatter the glass: he’d read the specifications their employer had given him, and knew that it would take more than even an angry biotic Krogan with a very big gun. This made it one of those very rare special problems… or, it would be, if said employer had not also thoughtfully provided them with what they had called a ‘universal access key’. It would apparently unlock one thing, once, and then burn itself out, probably to keep them from using it around and having someone figure out how it’d been made through software records, or to keep them from taking it and using it somewhere their employer didn’t want. Wrex didn’t particularly care either way. Anything he could want, he bought or took, and some fancy-dance key didn’t mean all that much to him, in the grand scheme of things.

 

Marin had excitedly stated that the key could get them practically anywhere or into anything they wanted, if what their benefactor had said was true. Wrex had patiently sat her down and explained that, since she was new to the whole mercenary thing, he’d let it go, but their employer would probably remove her limbs if she tried to make a run for it with the key in tow. She had, understandably, not brought the idea up again. Smart girl.

 

Gingerly, and handling the little thing with more care and nervousness than she had handled even her own grenades with, Marin took out the little chip with the key program on it. She placed it on top of the console’s screen, which read it, the screen flashing white, then black with a blue progress bar, which filled in a couple of seconds. There was a quiet electronic tune, and then both doors on either side of the airlock slid open near-silently. Wrex felt just the tiniest flash of impressed surprise; the key hadn’t just unlocked the doors, it had disengaged the safety interlocks that were no doubt built into the system, preventing both doors from being open at once. Whatever Quarian company had come up with it was no doubt sitting on the thing, if only to keep all of their own security software from being made completely obsolete.

 

Wrex stepped through and into the inner vault. There, on a glass pedestal, was the thing that they’d come here to retrieve on their employer’s behest. A data storage device, sealed in a glass container, impossibly advanced. Something of Prothean make, if their employer’s data was correct, and something the corporation had gone to great lengths to keep secret. According to the employer, the corporation backing this particular lab had only been able to decrypt a fraction of a percent of its contents, for reasons they hadn’t thought necessary to disclose. What they had enclosed, however, was that they wanted it intact and unharmed, and would void payment if it was.

 

“This it?”

 

Marin stepped up, tapping something on her omnitool and waving what looked like a small cylinder at it, before turning to him and nodding.

 

“Everything says it’s the real deal. Let’s grab it and go, I don’t want to stay here any longer than necessary.”

 

With a surprising amount of care, Wrex removed the container from its holder. With his other hand, he unsealed a hard carrying case, with a gap in the foam specifically molded to hold the container, and pushed it in before sealing the clasps. The employer had said that the case was bulletproof, EMP resistant and even blast resistant, but had suggested not testing those capabilities. Not that Wrex was ever intending to, but he’d seen hired help that was most definitely stupid enough to try.

 

He handed the case to Marin, who clipped a strap to it and put it over her shoulder. They’d discussed this beforehand: if they ran into a situation they hadn’t predicted, something they couldn’t handle, Marin would be the one who would more likely be able to escape with the object intact.

 

The both of them were quick to leave the way they came, looking to make the stairwell before the security forces could regroup and close off their exits. Marin looked somewhat shocked at the mulch Wrex had made of the various mercs that had been chasing them, but Wrex simply nodded in satisfaction when he noted that none of them had even tried to get up since he’d been here. A job well done.

 

The stairwell door wasn’t much tougher than the ones guarding the various offices, and shattered upon application of a determined Krogan. The pieces of rent metal rattled down the stairwell, bouncing off of the concrete flights and all the way to the bottom, but neither of them stuck around to listen. Instead, Wrex shifted to the forefront and started up the flight, Marin right behind, keeping her SMG on the stairs behind them and occasionally checking for pursuit farther down.

 

The door of the roof exit was just as flimsy as the ones before, if more weather proofed with actual seals around the edges, but Wrex didn’t bother smashing his way through it. A tap to a panel to the right, and the thing opened easily, unlocked from the inside- no one expected anybody to try to get out this way, not without something really hard to hide like an aircar. He stomped out onto the roof, Marin right behind, tapping out things on her omnitool. He prepared his shotgun while she jogged off to the side, reading the little numerical labels that adorned various pieces of roof ventilation.

 

“Eleven, twelve… here! Thirteen!” She took the vent grating in her hands, grunting as she yanked the thing off its moorings, Wrex noting with a glance that the screws meant to hold the thing in place were missing entirely. She reached into the opening, then pulled out two sets of rappelling gear, one extremely heavy duty to account for Wrex’s mass. While he continued covering the roof door, listening carefully for signs that the mercs had caught on to where they were and what they were doing, the Turian stuck five anchors into the steel of the roof, two mains, one backup for her, and two backups for him, all quite a bit heavier. With four BANG’s, little charges inside of them drove spikes into the surface they’d been stuck to, anchoring them securely to the surface. Marin tugged the cables of one set of gear, then the other.

“All secure, sir! Let’s go!”

 

“‘Bout time.” Wrex grunted.

 

With practiced ease, he slapped his shotgun to the magnetic holster on the back of his armour, walking over and taking the thick cables of his own rappelling gear, giving them a good, hard yank. The anchor didn’t shift, the cables didn’t give, and Wrex nodded to himself, quickly mounting the gear to points on his armour that he’d added specifically for this. It was an audacious exfil plan, he had to admit, and it reminded him fondly of some of his crazier escapes over the centuries. He pushed the recollections away, then joined Marin at the edge of the roof, both of them stepping off backwards almost in unison.

 

The cable played through the brake as fast as marin dared- Wrex, had he been on his own, would’ve let himself down far faster. The Turian was, understandably, a lot more fragile than he was. Still, they’d chosen the South face of the building for very good reasons: while the other three faces were mostly glass windows, this side had a long strip of steel down the side, a decorative architectural piece. On the other sides, Marin would have made it through just fine, but the first time Wrex would’ve launched himself away from the building face and come swinging back, he would’ve just gone straight through the window. As it was, he was leaving pretty serious dents and some torn metal in his wake, but the surface was holding up under the strikes and he wasn’t accidentally ending up inside the building again. He’d call that a win for planning.

 

They hit the building fast and hard, Marin grunting at the impact against the concrete pad that surrounded the structure. Immediately, they were away and across the parking lot, dashing towards the gate that barred ground-based entry. As they approached it, dual explosions rang out: one of them blew the gates in front of them wide open, and the other was fainter, sounding to them from across the campus of the lab. There went any pursuit vehicles the mercs might have used. In moments, they were out, sprinting down the street, people throwing themselves out of their way as they charged through. There were few that were brave enough to stay in the way of a charging Krogan. Two blocks down, one and a half across, Marin swiped a card across a reader outside of a dingy building, the door opening for the both of them. Down the hall, into the elevator, and Marin punched the button for the roof level before bending over, talons on her knees and breathing hard. Wrex simply let out a huff of amusement.

 

“Not used to extended exercise, are you, tech?”

 

“N… hah. No, sir. Hah…” she sat there for a moment, taking deep breaths of air, before straightening again. “Most of my jobs are, eh, pretty under the radar? This is the first one that’s been a combat op practically from the beginning. Mostly, I just get spouses wanting me to break into their significant other’s work machine to see whether they’re scheduling dinner dates with their secretaries, or industrial espionage, those sorts of things. Rare that it turns violent.”

 

“I didn’t have to pull your ass out of any fires.” Wrex shifted his shoulders, popping his joints. “More than I can say for a lotta techs I’ve worked with.”

 

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

 

The elevator dinged, the doors opening, and they found themselves on the business end of a sidearm.

 

After a bare moment, the Salarian holding it lowered the weapon, then put it to the magnetic holster on his hip, going back to packing up the long rifle and various supplies that he’d placed meticulously around his sniper’s nest.

 

“Late. Five minutes.”

 

“Well, excuse us, there were a lot of guards and- a mech! There was a mech! You got, what, one of them? Yeah, I’m plenty thankful, but-”

 

“Fifteen.” The Salarian replied absently, slinging the rifle over his shoulder. “Shattered merc response.”

 

“... You did not.”

The Salarian shrugged. “Believe whatever.”

 

Wrex ignored the both of them, approaching a large tarp-covered object that took up most of the roof. He took the tarp with both hands, then yanked, ripping it right out of the clamps that kept it in place, and revealing a very small shuttle. Marin and the Salarian moved their gear into the rear compartment storage and they argued about their respective killcounts and how much each of them had contributed to the overall mission. Wrex, for his part, took the case from Marin and opened it, nodding in satisfaction and sealing it again, before settling in one of the seats in the shuttle and taking out a personal holographic comms device. The press of a few buttons called its owner, their employer.

 

The holographic display fritzed, then displayed the blank humanoid figure that they- whoever they were- used to represent themselves. Their voice wasn’t quite male, wasn’t quite female, and spoke Krogan- most likely through a translator of some kind. Wrex couldn’t imagine someone like this bothering to learn the language of his people, and squashed the dull heat that the thought sparked.

 

“Status?”

“Got the thing. Fought a lot of mercs for it. You sure we’re not going to be wanted for this one?”

 

“Please. Evidence has already been collected against their company, and will begin dissemination within the next few hours. As far as anyone will know, your time there was merely to collect proof of wrongdoing on their part, and I’ve ensured that the loss of the object will be lost in the shuffle.”

 

Wrex considered, then nodded. It wouldn’t have been the first time he would’ve had to lay low, but he never liked doing it. Boring.

 

“Still, however, it would be best to get you and your team out of the public eye, at least for the moment.”

 

He knew what that meant. He wasn’t opposed.

 

“Got something in mind?”

The holographic figure nodded. As the shuttle’s rear door sealed and it lifted from the roof of the building, the display changed the image it was showing.

 

“Another object retrieval. This one will have different challenges, but I’m sure that won’t be a problem for you. I’m already feeding coordinates to your ship in orbit, and transferring briefing files as we speak.”

 

Wrex leaned closer, examining the almost organic looking derelict ship the holographic display showed, as the shuttle broke atmosphere.

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About the author

Cammy Deer

  • Man in the Van with a Plan

Bio: Writer of many fics, reader of many more.

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https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5883947/
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