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If Not Us, Who?

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Girl woke with a start, for a moment she couldn't figure out why she hurt. Why her whole body ached, covered in bruises and her lip stinging from a cut reopening. Why her usually comfy blanket nest was cold and hard. Then it came back. Her owner Anew had died, old age but you could never be sure in a home where only the owner and slave lived. Anew’s nephew decided it was easier to sell her to a third party and not have to deal with a human who was a little too good with tech and too scarred to expected to behave.

Years ago Girl had been acquired as part of payment for Anew's work on a ship's engines. The old batarian female saw how bright Girl was and decided the slave would be better helping her than working in the kitchen or being abused by the crew. If anyone got a look at her skin they'd see she'd been put through terrible times. Worst were some nasty circuit burns from engineers who caught her nosing around the engines, and some long careful cuts from one medical assistant who liked to practice sutures on the slaves, at least until he accidently let one bleed to death. Then he was only allowed to bandage real damage which he didn't like near as much.

Anew was a much better master but she insisted on proper etiquette from a slave. Eyes downcast, kneeling on the floor when waiting, and only speaking when spoken to or if working then speaking up if there was a danger. Anew was a well-known engineer and traveled from ship to ship and colony to colony picking up work. She even taught Girl what she knew, and the slave had to learn the first time every time. Else Girl would have to stand with her nose to the wall like a child or repeat the task until her fingers would bleed. It was hard work but more rewarding than a ship slave or the mines. Anew never gave her to any visitors to entertain in bed, and she had been spayed when processed so Anew didn't care if she occasional found comfort with another slave when traveling. In the end not worrying about having children was a blessing, this was a world of pain not meant for anyone let alone children.

Now Girl was even more grateful she never had a child. She looked around her cell, it was only a dingy metal box with a dull light. Last night the captain, Kron Harga visited to sample his wares. He was not a gentle batarian, he was one who took pleasure in breaking things. She was covered in cuts and bruises and hissed as she shifted, there must have been a cracked rib or two. And she refused to think of what her abused sex looked like. She would have cried, but the tears had run out a long time ago. Now she was only mad.

Girl was angry at Harga for his treatment, at Anew's nephew for selling her, at Anew for dying. At the raiders who captured her and killed her father, mother, and brother. Hell, she was even mad at her parents for thinking a far away colony like Mindoir was a safe place to raise a family.

Well she couldn't continue living as a slave anymore, she was done with the abuse and having her head shaved. Either she'd leave this ship alive and free, or dead and free. But first, she needed a plan.

Last night one of the guards mentioned they would be arriving at Omega soon, that the auction was to be there. Omega was probably the best place to disappear, there was no law so none of the batarian officers were likely to hunt Girl down if she managed to get away from the handlers and if anyone were to die only their friends would care. To get off the ship, she would need a weapon and a way to stop the control chip. If anyone needed to incapacitate her they could send her to the floor in crippling pain with the press of a button before she actually did anything.

Looking around Girl spotted a loose panel. Pulling it up she lost part of a nail and sucked on the bleeding nail bed while she examined what had been revealed. Girl smiled, she had found the jackpot. Inside were plenty of functioning and nonfunctioning circuits and wires. It would be plenty to work with and showed that the engineers and techs wouldn't notice anymore going down, it was obvious they didn't care about the state of the ship's systems, so a couple more failing wouldn’t raise an alarm. With the parts Girl could build a short range EMP to overload the chip, hopefully, it wouldn't kill her but it would be painful. After that, she could easily open the door with a little hacking and perhaps wrestle a weapon away from someone.

No one bothered to check on her after bringing flavorless nutritional bar and water, she had all day to work on the EMP. Of course, she couldn't test it but she was certain it would work one way or another. She could feel the engine rev up, they had gone through a mass relay and soon they would be at Omega, and hopefully they wouldn't be unloading right away. Taking a deep breath she made the last connection and screamed as her world went white with pain.

-

Garrus hummed to his music as he looked through the scope again. If sources were right the ship coming in was a batarian slaver who felt bold enough to bring his goods out of batarian space. Too bad his goods were people who would hopefully be seeing freedom soon. Though first, they had to capture Harga for questioning and subdue the crew before getting the slaves off the ship.

With Garrus were his two colleagues Sensat, an asari tired of Eclipse methods, and Butcher a human male retiree of the Alliance who also hated red tape and weak command. They were down below blending into the crowd waiting for Garrus' command. As soon as he spotted the target, he would eliminate those on guard. The others would cuff the target, then all three would move into the ship clearing it as they went. Butcher would then take the freed slaves to Mordin for safe keeping and check-ups, contact the Alliance with the news. Meanwhile, Garrus and Sensat would work on Harga and gather more information about the organization or who was behind the auction.

His thoughts were interrupted by Butcher's deep voice “Archangel, I think there is some movement from the airlock.

Looking up, Garrus focused on the door just as a dark batarian with yellow coloration walked out and started barking orders to those around him. “Right, targeting the one in the back first, start moving before the second hits the ground.” Taking a breath he lined up his shot. “Three... Two...” There was a flash of movement from behind the guard, and Garrus watched as a human came running off the ship, leaped at the guard and buried a knife in the back of his target's neck.

Garrus tried hard not to flinch at the sight.

Uhh, was this part of your plan?” Sensat’s clear voice was laced with confusion.

“No,” Garrus snapped at the Asari, “Get down there and get Harga before they kill each other.” He cursed to himself, everything that was planned was going to hell. He quickly started climbing off the rooftop to the street below.

The attacking human had gotten a hold of the dead guard's gun, shot him in the back before turning on the other batarians, many of whom were still staring in shock at the one bleeding out. She managed to shoot another guard in the gut while Harga dived behind a crate. On the ground, Garrus spotted someone coming up behind her and without thinking lifted his rifle aiming over her shoulder and took out the would-be attacker. Shepard would have been livid at him taking such a risk, like when they dealt with Dr. Michel all those years ago, but Garrus' aim had only gotten better over time and he didn’t exactly have time.

The woman had tracked Harga's movement and with a yell started firing toward him. Sensat and Butcher were not able to reach her in time, and all had to throw up an arm as the crate Harga was hiding behind exploded.

When the smoke cleared Garrus saw the main target on fire but still squirming and the woman was crumpled on the floor, a body size dent in the wall behind her. “Sensat, put him out. Butcher keep a gun on that airlock.”

Garrus ran to the human, worried for the worst but still confused as to what happened. She was naked except for the blood covering her and from the smell of it, most of the fresh stuff was not her own. He did feel some relief that she was breathing and gently laid her out more comfortable position. The turian did not know much about human anatomy but they didn't have heavy plating to protect themselves from a throw like that.

“Harga passed out Archangel, he is alive but these burns are bad,” Sensat reported calmly.

“Keep an eye on these two. Let me know if he goes into shock.” Garrus got up and pulled out an assault rifle, “Butcher and I will clear the ship.”

But there wasn't much to clear, the few that were still onboard had throats cut and eyes gouged out. It was a good thing Grundan Krul hadn't insisted on being part of a team after telling Garrus about the ship, to see some of this horror would have made the batarian sick. Not to mention the battle beast of a woman outside would have tried to kill him as well.

Butcher wasn’t quite able to hide the sick feeling in his voice, “That little thing of a girl did all this?”

Garrus shook his head at the only open cell, it was filthy with blood and other bodily fluids, “Apparently so.”

Going farther they found fifteen other slaves still locked in their cells. All were terrified, they had heard the escapees inhuman screams and the silence after. They were relieved to see another human face that was clearly there to get them out, it was part of the reason Garrus brought Butcher along.

Garrus made the call to get Melenis and Erash out to do a data scrub of the ship, to find all the information they could. He gave Sensat the order to move Harga to the prepared interrogation room and told her to wait for him. After seeing the spitfire come flying off the ship with flames in her green eyes Garrus couldn't leave her on her own. Besides Butcher needed to hold a weapon and all the other ex-slaves were in no shape to carry her, not that many wanted to after seeing the wake of her destruction.

Carefully, Garrus lifted her, surprised at how light she was. He could easily see bones he normally did not on other humans, and many parts of her skin that were visible were covered in scars. And under the blood, she didn't stink of fear, not like the others. Garrus felt respect for her, she had fought with a ferocity he had rarely seen. Not a smart fighter for sure, but not many who would have survived those scars would have done the damage she had.

Soon the group arrived at Solus' clinic and were greeted by mechs and swarms of medical staff including the doctor himself. Quickly he and another took the small human from him and started rattling off possible theories.

“Cover in blood. Not all of it hers, batarian too. Scarring for control chip, slave. Should have been able to immobilize her, must have stopped working. Intentional? Must have a scan.”

“Doctor, she was thrown pretty hard by a blast. I'm not sure what all is injured.” Garrus watched nervously as her gurney was rolled away.

“Scan will show possible concussion or broken vertebrae,” the salarian blinked looking at Garrus. “You must be Archangel. Too dangerous for my clinic for you to stay. Your presence will draw too much attention from gangs, you must leave. I will keep your rescues safe, call Alliance.”

Garrus nodded, that's all he needed. It really was a stupid idea to come himself in his work armor. “Sure thing,” and he stopped before exiting. “Doc, if she needs anything, just send me the bill.” He wasn't sure why he'd offered, but he couldn't stand to think that she wouldn't make it, that he hadn't been in time to save everyone. Especially since she saved them so much trouble.

The vigilante turned away from the clinic and it’s guard mechs, now he had a slaver to deal with.

Sensat had the male in question tied up and awake when Garrus arrived. His nose plates shifted, the ass had actually peed himself and the smell of burnt flesh did not help any. There was one smell Garrus recognized, a male musk, one he just realized had been under the smell of blood on the woman. No wonder she was doing her best to kill him. The realization of it made Garrus sick and without saying a word he slammed his rifle into the slime's face, feeling the bones crack satisfyingly under it.

Sensat gave him a strange look while she waited for Harga to stop shouting in pain. Garrus shrugged and motioned her to start the integration, swapping his rifle for a pistol. “Alright Harga, we need some information from you, but I need facts and my friend needs target practice. If you tell me the truth, he won't shoot you.”

Harga looked up, eyes still swimming in pain, “Fuck you.”

Garrus couldn't hold back a smile as he aimed, he was going to look forward to this.

Bam.

Sensat made a tsking noise as he now had a bullet in his upper arm, “Humans play a game called hangman and we like to do something similar. Once we run out of targets you'll die, but we like to include creative targets in this version, so we have more five chances. So Harga, who set up the auction?”

He coughed and gurgled out, “Blood Pack.”

“Really, and why would they be getting into slave trading?”

“Hell if I know.”

Bam.

“I bet you do” Sensat corrected. This was going to take a while and Garrus wasn't sure if he minded thinking back to the woman on the operating table. And so the questioning continued.