“Reality is just a crutch for those who can’t deal with drugs,” – Robin Williams
“What happened to Anar?” Sync asked as the unmarked white van pulled away. It wasn’t exactly an ambulance, but it was an unmarked police van with a medical kit and basic supplies. He’d never been in a Turian squad car before, but this one seemed to be something like a drunk tank—kitted out both to restrain and to treat if necessary. It might have been worth having the doctors come with them, but Sync had acted without thinking, and taken the vehicle that was offered by the Sergeant as the medics fussed around Cicepia’s father in law, Lucidis. It was something of a bad habit really.
“I don’t know, boss, I didn’t really see it,” Drimi said. “He just…toppled backwards and hit the ground hard. Or his mech did, anyway. I was too busy trying to stop the conveyor belts from dumping everyone into vats of whatever it is they were coating those pills with and trying to stop you from falling to your death. You’re welcome by the way.”
Sync smiled. “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it, boss.”
“Let’s get this jellyfish to a hospital,” Sync said, changing the subject. “I need to get some scans done—and find a someone specialising in xenomedicine.”
“Are you sure we shouldn’t just go back to the ship?” Drimi suggested. “Cyrus knows hanar medicine specifically and has already treated him.”
“And the med bay is pretty much state of the art,” Sync agreed. “Or was when…I got it.”
Reaching into the his medical supplies, Sync pulled out a small syringe of epinephrine and stared down at Anar’s semi-translucent form. “Here goes nothing,” he muttered as he picked a spot on the hanar’s bell at random and stuck in the needle.
The effect was immediate, and Anar shot off the bed screaming, his levitation pack sending him rocketing to the ceiling where he collided and spread out like a tentacled ooze.
“Make it stop, make it stop!” he yelled, tentacles flailing wildly.
“Anar, calm down, it’s okay,” Sync said, reaching forward as he attempted to guide Anar back down towards the floor. “You’re okay.”
Two tentacles twined around his left hand and another two wrapped around his neck like a python. “Make it stop! Make it stop!”
“Is everything okay back there?” Drimi’s voice came from the front of the van, where a small grille allowed for limited vision and speech through to the back.
“No! Get me to Lennox! Get me to fucking Lennox!”
“Tides, okay, I’m on it,” the asari said, changing the direction of the skycar to head back to the skyport.
Sync grabbed at the tentacles that were threatening to cut off his airway. As he fumbled for a sedative, the van lurched throwing both him and Anar towards the left wall, where they hit with a clang of flesh and metal on more metal. The sedative syringe fell from his hand and landed somewhere in on the floor. As the tentacles tightened around his throat, Sync gave up on medicine and reached out towards Anar’s form, fingers outstretched. Electricity once again sparked between his fingers and he hoped the amount of voltage he was channelling would be enough to stun, but not kill. Anar’s body flashed swiftly through spirals of red and white before the hanar puddled on the floor of the van, his flesh an opaque white.
Sync gasped for breath as Anar’s tentacles loosened, and he scrabbled for the syringe and tugged the cap off, all but jamming it into Anar’s flesh. As the usual translucent pink of hanar skin started to slowly spread across Anar’s body, Anar raise tentacle and weakly grasped Sync’s wrist. “I’m…sorry…” Anar managed.
“It’s okay, I’ve been through worse,” Sync said. “Try to get some rest, we’ll get you back to Cyrus.”
“Sync, what’s going on back there?” Drimi asked.
“Bad reaction to adrenaline,” Sync said, collapsing onto one of the bench-like seats on the edge of the van. “We’re fine.”
“I’m…so…sorry,” Anar mumbled, and then lay still, although Sync’s scans showed his vitals remained strong. That was something at least.
“What happened to him?” Cyrus asked when Sync and Drimi deposit Anar on a bed in the medbay.
“He passed out in the last fight, I’m not sure why,” Sync said. “I gave him some epinephrine to wake him up, but we came out raging and tried to strangle me, so I sedated him.”
“More than sedated. Scrambled his brains with a neural shock, didn’t you? Good move. It probably saved your life.”
“He kept asking for you, so we brought him in.”
“What exactly was he saying?” Cyrus asked.
“I couldn’t really make it out other than your name,” Sync said. “It was mostly loud and hysterical.”
“Sounds like him even when he is awake. Typical.”
“Has he done this before? Can I help with anything?”
“Yes. No. I have this under control.” Moving quickly, the salarian walked over to a nearby drawer, taking out a clean syringe which he filled with medicine from an brown bottle with nothing more than a date written on it, before injecting Anar with the clear liquid. “Let him sleep off the sedative,” Cyrus advised. “We’ll all be better for it.”
Sync was pacing around the conference room when Cicepia, Elias and Arkara returned.
“Welcome back, any leads?”
“You could say that,” Arkara said as Elias walked straight over to the nearby terminal and created a link to a road camera feed that immediately covered one wall of monitors with traffic feeds.
“Elias is working on a lead to see who kidnapped my daughter,” Cicepia said. “How’s Anar?”
“Kidnapped? Cicepia I’m so sorry.”
Cicepia smiled grimly. “We can be sorry after we get her back, Captain. How’s Anar?”
“In the med bay. Cyrus was able to calm him down.”
“Calm him down?” Elias asked from where he was staring at the wall of video. “He was out cold, isn’t that calm enough?”
“I gave him a shot of epinephrine as I wasn’t sure what was wrong,” Sync said, rubbing at the bruises on his neck. “He went from comatose to raging and tried to strangle me.”
“You’re lucky you weren’t poisoned,” Cicepia said evenly. “We had a few cases of hanar poisoning on the Citadel a while back. Took a while to trace it because no one thought to look at sentient races as possible sources at first. He’ll be up and about later though?”
“He should be,” Sync said. “If we need him up we can probably give him something to counteract the sedative.”
“Good,” Cicepia said. “We might need him if Elias manages to track down the killer we’re looking for.”
“Killer? I thought your daughter was kidnapped?”
“She was. By someone C-Sec are referring to as ‘the Sorro Killer’. I think it’s a play on ‘sorrow’ and the human story of ‘Zorro’. He kidnaps biotic teens and kills whatever family gets in his way.”
“I thought your daughter was six or seven?”
“Six. So we’ve either got a copycat or he’s evolving.”
“Or devolving. It’s hard to say without access to the case files.”
“I feel like I understand the words you’re saying, but not the meaning. Maybe my translator software is acting up.”
“It’s cop talk about serial killer behaviour,” Cicepia said. “Mainly the question is whether our killer—if he’s the same one—is changing his tactics because he’s more confident and making more effective choices, or is losing his mind and starting to rely more on instinct than higher level thought.”
“Which one’s better?”
“Neither, necessarily,” Cicepia said. “It would just tell me how to deal with him if I knew which way he was going.”
“We have to find him first,” Arkara said. “I’ll go check on Anar.”
“I’ll come with you,” Cicepia said. “We should wake him up and fill him in.”
“Don’t let him grapple you,” Sync warned. “I know hanar toxin is worse for dextro species like you.”
Cicepia nodded curtly and walked out of the room, followed by Arkara.
“She’s really taking this hard, ain’t she?” Sync asked Elias.
“Her kid’s been taken from her,” Elias said with a shrug. “She’ll hold it together long enough to get Talia back or die trying.”
“You ever thought about having kids?”
“I can’t,” Sync said with a shrug. “This…cybernetics. It’s made me infertile.”
“Talk to Arkara’s friends in her universe,” Elias said with a chuckle. “They’ll have little cloned Syncs running around quicker than you can blink.”
“Now that’s a scary thought.”
“Sure, but—wait, found it.”
“You did? Where?”
“Run down blue skyvan, no plates. Last camera has it heading west into the canyons past…Ulubra, whatever’s in that suburb.”
Sync nodded. “I’ll start the engines, send me the coordinates, and tell Cicepia.”