The Oneironaut returned to Citadel space through the Serpent mass relay with four days left to deliver a mysterious package. The box, a featureless rectangle about a half a meter long by one square foot, yielded no information to omnitool scans. The crew had determined that they couldn’t learn anything more about its contents without opening it – something they had promised the asari seller not to do. They opted not to break their word.
The crew passed one day traveling to an obscure corner of the Boltzmann nebula, adjacent to Serpent. While Yasin spent the day flying, the rest of the crew attended to other tasks. Kara spent the day treating her crewmates’ injuries from their fight with the unidentified turian pirates. While Sirius wasn’t cleaning his guns, he sat on the crate and meditated – also guarding it from potential interference from other members of the crew.
Lihol reached out to his government contacts to learn if any of his new traveling companions were hiding anything nefarious. Kara and Yasin escaped notice on official records, not from innocence but utilizing their underground contacts and technical skills to keep their records clean. Sirius, however, proved to have a more interesting military record than expected. The turian remains unaware that Lihol has learned one of his darkest secrets.
At the end of a day’s travel, the Oneironaut approached an asteroid at the target coordinates. A private comms signal hailed them from inside the rock.
“You have the package from Amira?”
“Yes,” Lihol answered. “You have the money?”
“The compensation will be routed to the account number provided. Approach.”
Lihol and Yasin exchanged a glance – neither had given an account number to the asari from the Apien Crest. Lihol switched from the private channel to broadcast: “There seems to be confusion, I didn’t provide an account number. Arrange alternate payment or I will find a buyer.”
After a pause, a new voice came over the comms channel. Its tenor fell in the range of an asari, feminine human, or medium-to-low pitched salarian speaker.
“Who is this, where’s the krogan?” the new voice asked.
“We’re an intermediate. There was some conflict with the krogan,” Lihol answered.
“I don’t have time for bullshit,” the speaker said. “Dock and we’ll make an exchange.”
The crew gripped their weapons as the Oneironaut pulled into a small dock built into the side of the asteroid. Yasin kept a close eye on the station’s heat signatures, scanning for weapon systems. Sirius took a position in the airlock hidden beneath a tarp, hoping it would allow him to catch their opponents by surprise.
Lihol and Kara stood with the package when the airlock opened. An armed retinue of turians met them on the other side. Their opponents outnumbered them easily.
“What the hell is that?” The asari leader pointed at the tarp concealing Sirius. Her no-nonsense tone wavered: “Are you hiding under a blanket?”
The asari’s mockery coaxed Sirius out from under his tarp. There weren’t many places to hide in an airlock.
The leader regained her composure. “Place the box on the ground and back away,” she commanded.
The team complied.
A tense moment passed, but the Oneironaut’s crew did not fire and neither did the turians. The asari wired two weeks’ worth of funds into an account that Lihol provided.
Yasin watched the confrontation from the cockpit. Despite his best efforts to stay prepared for trouble, he succumbed to narcolepsy and fell into a deep sleep.
The deal done, the other three returned to the ship ready to bolt. The Oneironaut did not undock. They yelled for Yasin to pull away from the station – their scans already showed turrets heating up on the asteroid. Kara ran to the cockpit and kicked Yasin in the head.
That roused him.
Yasin started a quick retreat, but not quick enough. The turrets fired on their rickety little ship. The Oneironaut trembled.
Lihol ran to the ship’s defense tower to fire back, but it was two turrets on the station against their one. Yasin struggled to outmaneuver their hail of missiles.
An idea came to Sirius – a way to even the odds. He strapped himself into an EVA suit, making sure to grab a lifeline and a rifle, and jumped out of the airlock. His first shot blasted an enemy turret to debris. Between Sirius’s sniper skills and Lihol’s efforts on the main guns, they took out the station’s defenses completely.
Finally clear, Yasin flew the Oneironaut far and fast. Their little ship had sustained some damage, but with no major breaches or systems failures, they were free to make their way back to the Citadel knowing they had completed a minor milestone in their journey.