So, yeah, life in the lap of luxury wasn’t fated to last long. Turns out, shortly after Artemisia returned from all those meetings with Grothan Pazness, Cynthia Hawkins returned with more news. It would seem the strike on the Normandy crash site would have to wait.
It seems that the powers that be aboard one of the refueling stations in orbit around Imorkan were putting out feelers for a military raid they were sponsoring against a high-profile Black Star facility on the planet of Vatar. They had already poured a lot of money into Lorek to get some commandos and an armed transport frigate. Hawkins wanted to know if we might want in on the job which appeared to have as its goal the liberation or appropriation of a number of extremely high-profile and high-value slaves.
So Black Star would separate out the really valuable ones and keep them in this maximum security facility on that frozen rock of a planet, send brokers to Omega to organize the sale, then effect the handoff in some remote corner of space when the payment clears. The owner of Talaria Station apparently wanted one or more of these high value slaves and rather than simply buying them, poured the money into Lorek’s economy also.
So… since freeing slaves is kinda our thing, Artemisia signed us up. At least we won’t be lacking in fresh fruit for a while.
We arrived at Talaria station. Apparently Artemisia knew the owners, Siala Jonis and Nova Noir. Apparently their goal was to liberate a drell doctor named Iris Krayt, and they’d bought a ton of information on the Black Star facility and defenses from Ish. This raised our concerns, but the information was more or less corroborated by Daro Tas and a batarian on Talaria named Jarek Bal’iban. The facility itself was dug into an icy mountainside, with a space station in geosynchronous orbit above it. That station was defended by a batarian cruiser-carrier named The Pride of Kar’Shan which wasn’t Black Star, but rather a loaner from Logasiri overseeing the consolidation of the diverse pirate and slaver strongholds on Vatar under the single umbrella of Black Star. Within the facility itself, the seven high-value slaves were kept in separate cells on separate levels of the facility. They were:
- Iris Krayt – The person of interest to Talaria Station’s management.
- Korovomburan – An elcor member of the Board of Directors of the Thunawanuro Development Corporation
- Dr. Roger Ackerman – A Cerberus biologist and cyberneticist.
- Dr. Aela Siri – An asari chemist working for the Star Herons on new formulations of Red Sand
- Dr. Anneliese “Ann” Bryson – a paleo-xeno archaeologist.
- Gillian vas Idenna – A human with a quarian name, listed as a powerful biotic
- Saelan Viris – A salarian SPecTRe
In addition to our cell of Cyeria Station, and the trusted staff of Siala and Nova, we put together the following additional resources:
- The Crimson Orb, the aforementioned troop frigate from Lorek, along with a squad of commandos.
- The Blue Shift, a pirate ship, until recently part of Black Star, now apparently working for Siala under the command of Kallista. I was very hesitant about this, but Nova seemed confident that this turncoat could be trusted.
- The Nebula under Captain Aleena
- The Dominant, under Captain Aepheus Virdros
- A hanar named Zaphuel, now head of Siala’s security, who was once a prisoner at that very facility, provided floor plans and other intel.
After a great deal of discussion among the various parties, we settled on this plan:
- The batarian Jarek along with a very unusual vorcha named Kragg would put together convincing forged official orders from Logasiri, which would be transmitted by an uninvolved batarian ship arranged by Jarek, to draw off the Pride of Kar’Shan from the area.
- The Persephone, flying low under cover of the icy weather, would drop off a drell named Drala, apparently an infiltrator working for Siala. Our own Daro Tas would provide her with a VI “skeleton key” to access the Black Star base, while Kragg would provide a VI virus designed to invade their systems and de-activate the transmitters wired to the slaves’ cranial explosives.
- The Blue Shift would approach the orbital space station. Kallista would use her connections with Black Star to convince them that they had another high-value slave to drop off, namely Jarek himself, who is apparently wanted a great deal by the leaders of Logasiri. They would infiltrate the station, Nova Noir and Atma T’Kala would use their charms to placate the enemy while Daro Tas would sabotage their communications to prevent them from calling the Pride of Kar’Shan back, or communicating with the planet below.
- The Persephone, alongside the Crimson Orb, would drop off everyone else for a full-on assault on the base.
- The Dominant would stay in reserve to harry the Pride of Kar’Shan should it return prematuresly. The Nebula would stay in reserve for reinforcements and support for the ground team.
This plan ended up working pretty well. There was some confusion on the space station involving turning off the internal mass effect generators therefore negating artificial gravity, and Siala and the troops on the Crimson Orb, who she took personal charge of, took an inordinate amount of defensive fire on the main assault, which resulted in a badly injured leader of Talaria station. That said, they got all seven prisoners free. The strange biotic human didn’t appear to need a great deal of help, but others were escorted to the various extraction ships, and we blasted out of there.
Needless to say, the former Cerberus scientist wasn’t a popular guy. Turns out, he was one of the dicks who built and experimented on our own Silana. He was pumped for information by Artemisia, Nova Noir, and Daro Tas before our justicar summarily executed him.
Nova seemed to know who the odd human in the quarian environment suit was. She didn’t cause any problems on the trip back.
Drala spoke to Iris, who was apparently her sister. Turns out, Iris, the odd human Gillian, and Dr. Bryson were all captured together. Drala learned of some sort of odd alien artifact that can subvert or control minds, and indicated that perhaps some of the Black Star pirates on that base had been so subverted. Apparently Dr. Bryson is compromised by the artifact, but still desires to find it and destroy it.
The SPecTRe chatted up Siala a bit, but has otherwise kept to himself.
As for our new asari and elcor, they seemed the worst off of the lot, and are resting and recovering from their ordeal.
I anticipate a lot of discussion on what to do with some of them. Obviously we’ll want to return Kurovomburan to his people. I suspect the Star Herons will be very happy to get their scientist back. As to the rest of them… well, Artemisia is collecting badasses…