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"Once Bitten... Pt. VI"

//Collab. between LegacyCloud & AnnCarise//


Mischa clasped her hand over her mouth in shock briefly before chuckling with Gabe, "Sorry... I'm still very unfamiliar with the strength of this ability!" She sat back and shook herself loose, "I need to get the hang of this..." She said closing her eyes and controlling her breathing in maximum focus.


Once more her fists clenched and the barrier began to form...


The barrier fluctuated between various degrees of brightness but remained intact. After a few seconds of concentration, the variations began to get less and less dramatic, no longer like a dramatic light show but a soothing, colour-changing lamp. "That's it..." Gabe said. "Keep that feeling."


Mischa gave no response as she focused her efforts. While still obviously being very taxing on her to maintain the barrier, she was not struggling like before as the clear mind seemed to help her maintain it, for a time at least.


Gabe remained quiet as he sat, not wishing to distract Mischa as she concentrated. He watched patiently, waiting until her barrier dissipated almost three minutes later. "Well done," he remarked. "Need some rest, or do you want to keep practicing?"


Mischa looked back up to Gabe and opened her eyes, "I feel a little light headed after that, but give me a minute and I'll be good to go again" she smiled; unaware of the small trickle of blood slowly forming from her nostril. Seeing an unexpected look on Gabe's face her brow furrowed slightly in confusion, "Is something wrong?"


"Your nose," Gabe pointed out before adding, "Don't worry, it's a common side effect. I've seen worse ones in Brain Camp, but you should really get some rest."


She tentatively reached up and touched a finger to her upper lip; holding it back some to see the deep red blood on it. Clearly still a little fearful at this development her voice wavered slightly, "Common... right... well I guess I should go clean up and take a little break then." she said getting to her feet, "I won't be long though, there is much I still need to learn before we reach Cybele." With that she turned and headed out to the rest room. After cleaning up her nosebleed in the rest room, Mischa stood leaning hard with both hands bracing either side of the sink as she stared deep into the reflection of her troubled eyes; a countless number of thoughts racing through her mind. Standing up right she stepped back from the sink and turned her gaze down to a bar of soap sat on top of it; holding one hand out with it's palm facing up she concentrated and a blue glow quickly formed around the bar of soap. It began to float elegantly off the surface and towards her hand where she maintained it in a slight hover just a few inches above her palm, rotating gently through a full 360 degrees as she tilted her head slightly while continuing to focus on it. The bar of soap suddenly dropped into her waiting hand when there was a knock at the door which was quickly followed by Gabe's voice, "Mischa, is everything alright? You've been in there an awfully long tome." Mischa glanced at the clock on her omni-tool and realised she had been in the rest room going on an hour; eyes going wide with surprise at how much she had lost track of time, "Fine Gabe, I'll be right out. I think I could use one of those energy drinks, meet me in the mess hall?" she called back. Gabe acknowledged and she could hear his footsteps trail off back down the corridor outside. She set the bar of soap down again and braced either side of the sink as she stared back at her reflection once more to channel her thoughts before leaving. As Mischa stared, she witnessed the gentle pulse of biotic energy emit just once from across her whole body; shuddering slightly at the still unpleasant thought of what had been done to her, she quickly shook the feeling from her mind; reaching up to straighten her hair some before heading back out to. As Mischa walked the short length of corridors to the mess hall she passed by a number of crew who all seemed to give her small acknowledging nods in passing greeting which she instinctively returned - am I... one of them now... am I... Cerberus? - turning a corner she ran into the large built man she tried mirroring in the training room earlier with the punching bags. He stopped and grinned down at her, "Heard you made short work of that punching in the end Misch', damned biotics just gotta outshine the rest of us ain't ya!" he laughed, making her feel somewhat uncomfortable and annoyed. Still laughing he reached over and ruffled her hair playfully like a child would a younger sibling, "Don't worry I only tease! You should be proud of being able to kick ass so well now!". As he walked off Mischa stood with slightly slumped shoulders and a clearly unamused expression on her face, eyes rolling upwards at the loosely ruffled hair peeking into to view she blew upwards across her frowning face and flicked it back - apparently having her freshly straightened hair ruffled was a far bigger annoyance than being referred to as a biotic for her.

She turned another corner and walked into the mess hall, both hands reaching back and still straightening her hair again. Glancing across the room she quickly spotted Gabe sat at the same table as earlier with two cans of the energy drink on it. She made her way over and lowered herself into the seat opposite him, taking the can sat there waiting to greet her and enjoying a long sip from it, "So..." she began, setting the can on the table and wrapping both hands around it as she leaned back slightly and crossed her legs over, "...what's next for us?"


"We'll be coming up on Cybele soon," Gabe replied, taking a sip from his own can. "If there's anything you need to prepare before we fly the shuttle down, anything you want to know or talk about, now's the time."


"Hmm..." Mischa pondered as she rolled the canned drink back and forth across the table in front her with her fingertips, "What exactly is our plan when we reach the surface? I had always figured that I would go in through Alliance Command but I can't imagine Cerberus would be a welcome presence to them."

"I was hoping you would ask," Gabe took another sip before explaining. "We're on a ship classed as a freighter and we're carrying construction supplies to the colony. You're listed as one of the passengers. You don't have to lie about why you're here, as you said you're Alliance and you have a reason to come. I'll be going as your bodyguard, a mercenary you hired because you know it's dangerous on Cybele. I've introduced myself as a hired gun in many places, so it should match any records the Alliance get their hands on."


Mischa nodded slowly as she listened to Gabe's explanations, "Well it seems Mr. Illusive has all the bases covered like always!" She pauses to sip more of her drink, setting the empty can to one side as she leans back and crosses her leg over, "I guess all that's left is to wait until we arrive then... unless there is any further preparation you feel may be useful?"


"There's much I have to teach you about biotics, but we won't have enough time before we get to Cybele," Gabe answered her. "We do still need to grab our equipment, though." Finishing his drink, Gabe rose to his feet, disposing the container for recycling into omni-gel. "Meet me in the armoury when you're ready."


Mischa smiled up at Gabe as he stood, "Alright; I will be along shortly." As he departed, she turned her attention to the window and stared out at the stars; lost in her thoughts and trepidation about what was awaiting them on Cybele while idly supping at her drink.


Climbing down the ladder into the armoury, Gabe checked the M-5 Phalanx, which had been left on the weapon bench from the training session with Mischa earlier. Satisfied with the gun, he set it aside and reached underneath the table, retrieving a sleek, black-painted M-11 Suppressor. He set the weapon beside the contrasting white pistol and headed over to one of the lockers. After typing in a passcode on the side panel, the locker opened to reveal a humanoid form- not a living being but a neatly organized suit of red armour. Gabe slid off his jacket, hanging it on the door of the locker before reaching in with both hands, gently lifting the chest plate off the rack on which it sat. He looked at the piece for a moment then turned it around to hold it in place. With the press of a button, the rest of the armour extended around his waist and across his back, locking the piece. He continued with the rest of the armour as he awaited Mischa's arrival.


As Mischa descended the ladder and turned around at the bottom, she was momentarily surprised to see the extent of Gabe's armour. Taking in the bold red chestpiece she glanced down briefly at her own simple Alliance Navy jacket, "So you're sure this ballistic weave they apparently put in here will suffice?" she joked as she made her way over to the weapons bench to retrieve her pistol.


"Let's not test it out just yet," Gabe smirked as he finished putting on his final armoured gauntlet, reaching over to pick up his own pistol. "It'll have to do, anything more will be too suspicious."


Holstering the pistol on her hip, she chuckled; seemingly with eased tensions by Gabe's ability to joke at this time also. "That makes sense" she nodded with a smile, "So... just to be clear;I'm here openly to find out what happened to Len, and you are here as my hired protection?"


Gabe nodded, "Exactly. No need to lie about why we're here." Holstering his weapon as well, he moved back to the locker, retrieving the last piece of armour- a rather stocky helmet, fully sealed but with the entire front side being a transparent plate. Gabe slid the helmet on, locking it with a soft hiss. As the HUD lit up, he looked through the suit systems, and once all the diagnostics showed as green, he removed the helmet and carried it under his arm. "Ready to go?"


Mischa nodded a confirmation as she turned back to the ladder and climbed up from the armory. Standing up out of the top she turned to see Gabe ascend behind her, "We must be close to attaining orbit now, right?"

"We're already there," Gabe affirmed. "We'll be landing soon. I think we're still going through procedure right now, with all the Alliance forces here security is tighter than most colonies. I'll be in the cockpit for the landing process if you want to come along, or you can wait by the airlock. It shouldn't take too long."


Mischa ponders for a moment before looking back to Gabe, "Lead on then; it's been too long since I've seen a world beyond Sol so will be nice to take in the sight of somewhere new as we approach!" With that she followed him to the cockpit to watch as the ship made it's final approach.


"This is Cybele Control, your clearance is granted. You may begin your approach. Please proceed to designated landing zone A-31." The pilot nodded even though the voice from control could not see her. She leaned forwards, typing on the console in front of her as she set the freighter on a course for the planet's surface. "Give us video, Aditi," Gabe said as he stepped up to the cockpit, leaning casually in the doorway.

A holographic display lit up at the front of the room, broadcasting a live feed of their descent. Framed around the display were various data readouts, some displayed as graphs, some as text and some simply as numbers. The same data could be seen on the consoles being used by the pilot and co-pilot.


"Thirty years ago, this would've been quite the light show," Aditi, the pilot, spoke idly while she concentrated the rest of her attention on flying. "A lot bumpier too, so thank goodness for mass effect physics." As the freighter began to near the planet, the feed suddenly shifted a shade of blue as protective mass effect fields shimmered into existence around the craft, shielding it from the pressure of atmospheric re-entry. Without the video, no one inside the ship would have felt the difference, with the fields protecting the crew from not only heat, but forces acting on the vessel as well.


Mischa leaned in over Gabe's shoulder as she watched the video feed, "Beautiful, isn't it..." she mused out loud, warranting a slight sideways glance from Gabe. As black gave way to blue and they broke through the layer of clouds; the landing zone quickly grew from a dot on the horizon as they approached. "Gabe..." she looked to him tentatively, "Thank you; for all your help" Mischa smiled, resting a hand on his shoulder before turning and heading out of the cockpit and back to the airlock.


Gabe nodded and smiled back in response, lingering for a few moments to watch as they passed through the clouds and deep blue water came into view. Soon, the channel connecting the sea to the larger ocean beyond grew to be more than a thin line. The islands became visible, increasing steadily in size as the freighter headed towards one of them. Upon seeing the human colony, Gabe turned and headed after Mischa.


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