Good Times, Good Times (Part 1)
Both teams were quickly learning the downsides to inviting someone like Zenobia to a party like this one. It wasn't that she tended to live up to her nickname, though that was certainly an issue to some people. No, it was more that she tended to get...creative with her song choices when the karaoke mics came out, and with enough booze in her...
"You don't have to beeeee rich
To be maaaaaaah girl!
You don't GAHT TA be cool
To rule maaaaah world!
Ain't no particular shign
'more compatible with!
I just wantshur extra time and your-"
Zenobia ended her bout of screeching karaoke with a powerful spin on her heel that she was too drunk at this point to control, toppling right off the stage and crashing onto a table. Her vision swimming, she looked up and saw a shape that looked vaguely like a green asari and made a smooching sound before giving her finger guns.
As she felt herself graciously slipping into unconsciousness, she felt someone prodding her, trying to wake her.
"Zen, come on...come on.......come on.........."
"Come on, get your ass moving. Don't have all day."
Zenobia yelped as the cold metal was shoved against the small of her back, stumbling on her bad leg. The infirmary doctor managed a brief, sympathetic glance before he turned away, leaving Zenobia alone as she hobbled towards the door, bumping against the frame with her bad arm. The drugs weren't working. She could barely breath without feeling a stabbing pain in her chest, she shivered as a trickle of blood inched down her jaw from the deep gouge soaking the patch over her eye. No one said a word of course. This thing was the Cabal's problem now.
The short trip through the barracks turned agonizingly long as the biotic turian limped down the corridors, dead silent save for her ragged gasps and the sharp footsteps of the guard escorting her. Faces peered out from doors before vanishing as she passed them by. Fellow trainees Comrades. One lingered too long, and she recognized it as a friend, one she bonded with after they did well on an exercise together. A friendship he repaid by breaking her ribs. Her weak fingers clenched for a moment before she hung her head and pressed forward, trying not to look up again.
The cold stinging breeze was a small mercy, one quickly lost as she stumbled onto the tall grass, the transport shuttle looming ahead of her. With a start, she recognized it as the same vessel she had to load up just a few scant weeks earlier on disciplinary action. It was an ammunition hauler.
And just like that, it hit her like an avalanche. Just a few days ago, she was a promising young soldier, ready to come into her own, ready to finally prove herself and do great things for her people. For once in her life, she felt proud of herself, confident, maybe even a little happy for the first time since she left for the service.
And now, she was cargo. Property. No more valuable then a mediocre stockpile of heat clips. Tears mixed into the blood trickling down her face, as she bent over in a desperate, pained sob.
And then...a sharp pain. The blow of a rifle against her cheek, sending her reeling.
"Stop crying and get moving!" the guard barked at her as she smacked against a wall, leaning against it for support, her battered arms quivering. Her sobbing abruptly stopped, her heart suddenly beating against her chest like a distant artillery barrage, the pain amplifying her sudden burst of clarity.
"I said...!" he declared, raising his gun again. "Get-"
The shuttle pilot awoke with a start as an unearthly shriek came from outside the shuttle. Hopping up to investigate, he came down the ramp and saw the prisoner he was supposed to be taking straddling the guard and punching him repeatedly in the face, wailing with each brutal hit. Stumbling in shock, he reached for his sidearm and bumped against the side of the ship. Zenobia swung around like a whip, her face splattered with blood as her biotics pushed her to her feet again. With another resounding shriek, she leveled a crude blast of biotic energy that sent the pilot head over heels, giving her time to clamber on board the shuttle and hobble into the pilot's seat, dropping into it with a pained grunt as an alarm started blaring behind her.
"Shut the fuck up!" she snapped at the shrill noise as she struggled to get the ship started up with one bad arm and most of the fingers in her hand broken. "Lucky this isn't a fighter or I'd strafe you fuckers. Least you deserve, you and this whole fucking system." Continuing to mutter, she finally just slammed her fist into the controls, flinging blood across the viewscreen as the ship finally spooled up its engines. "Hell I'll come back with a proton bomb strapped to my ass and blow you fuckers to aaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAH!"
The shuttle had substantially more kick then she thought and it sped off like a lightning bolt, cleaving through a wall and clipping the comm tower alerting the mass relay to the escapee. Thrown back against her chair, she managed to pull up the control stick to avoid slamming into a nearby mountain and pitched up, up, up until the inky blackness of space overtook the dour blue sky. Flicking on the autopilot to take her to the relay, she leaned back in her chair, her heart still pounding ferociously in her chest. She caught a glance of her reflection in the window, looking like she had a disagreement with a meat grinder, the patch now soaked through and oozing onto her uniform. She tilted her head and scowled.
"Outstanding move," she murmured. "Made a bad situation worse. Dumbass."
Her reflection seemed to grin back. "You weren't going to go back home anyway. You know what happens to Cabal recruits."
Zenobia scoffed. "Yeah, and I know what happens to idiots who cold clock two people and bail with a stolen shuttle."
"Yeah, they get to live."
Turning to glare at her reflection, she spat out blood on the console. "And that's just going SO FUCKING WELL, isn't it?" Her breathing haggard and rough, Zenobia sat there for a good minute before she relaxed and slumped in the seat. "I didn't want this..."
"Don't kid yourself. You know why you spent your whole life hiding. You know what the Hierarchy does to people like you."
Snarling, Zenobia started to tear off the collar in chunks with her unbroken hand. "Didn't need to happen like this," she remarked coolly.
"But this is more fun."
Zenobia glared in shock at her reflection. Fun?! It was the most traumatic experience of her life! She'd never see her home again, forever branded an outlaw! She'd have to be some sort of lunatic to find this fun...
"Relay to shuttle, please state your destination."
The irritated voice of the mass relay station attendant shook her out of her head, and she grabbed for the controls. "Uhhh....Omega Relay?"
"Right, stand by."
Zenobia glanced down at her hands as the shuttle approached the relay, slowly dripping blood onto the console. And she couldn't help but smile, just a little bit...