"Understood," replied Indira, considering Eden's orders. She looked back into the open space of the facility, with all the drones and weapons fire and fleeing scientists, and tried to come up with some kind of plan. In with the enemy armors. Intel. Firepower. Viable armors.
She nodded. Some distant part of her mind, chemically toned out, was ringing the alarm bells as hard as it could. Fear wasn't an emotion that she was ready to deal with in the current situation. It could wait until later. Fear was also a very useful emotion in situations such as these.
"This may take a few minutes," she said in her cold, deadpan way. She stood and sprinted - as best as a 5'2 unpowered non-neko could - towards one of the fallen scientists. She keyed up her adrenaline a few notches and felt the surge of strength kick in as she dragged the body behind one of the inert armors. Searching the body, she hoped to find some kind of key or activation device. There wasn't one.
'The scientists have a way to activate the armors,' she thought, ignoring a stray plasma bolt that streaked by. 'They wouldn't leave them unsecured.'
She frowned, thumbing the back of the scientist's neck. There was a small data port, like so many races use. 'Maybe it isn't a physical key, but something else? Time to get creative.'
A knife came out of her bag and began to hum with energy when she turned it on. The data port and its associated wetware, gory bits and all, came loose easily enough. Indira slipped a glove off and began to dispense prajna gel directly onto the flesh - she needed it 'alive'. A small chemically-activated electric shock did the rest. 'This won't last for long,' she thought, holding the wet mess in one hand. Still, there was work to be done.
She connected the device into her datapad, then linked through that into her own neural net.
The experience of digging through a dead person's data was not a pleasant one. Too much of the scientist's last moments had been recorded among the data like some kind of black-box. Video was handy for the process - you either got a reasonable image or you didn't, so you could work your decryption on it until it looked right. She kept reliving parts of the scientist's death in a strange, grainy haze as her systems worked to turn the data into a format she could work with.
Things finally clicked. She stored her findings - the decryption results, manuals, file formats, etc - away for later use. With the file system laid bare before her, and all the appropriate biosignatures still ... active, finding the file that acted as the security key was not hard. After all, who would be pulling the data from here posthumously?
Indira stood and attached the bit of spine and metal fall to her belt. The distant bells still rung and an uncomfortable chill had settled along her spine, but they weren't that important. 'Problems for future Indira.'
Getting up to the open power armor was challenging. The Kuvexians all seemed to be much taller than her and the space between steps on the access ladders were clearly not meant for her. Another shot streaked by, close enough for her to smell the ozone from its passing. If she had any advantage in that perilous moment, it was that the Kuvexians wanted scientists to be climbing into the armors and that her allies knew which side she was on.
The interior was unfamiliar, but she had the manual handy. She ran it through its start-up procedures and connected the 'key' she'd been toting along with her into the system. Through her link to it, she saw the armor make an identity request and ran it through the motions. 'This is the scientist you're looking for.'
The armor came to life, weapon systems and electronics humming to life all around her. She smiled triumphantly and painted the suit as an ally in the tracking system she'd been updating for the retrieval team.
'And now for the firepower,' she said, allowing herself a faint grin. She slipped into the armor and found that her arms and legs were too short to fit correctly. They were also too short to extract herself, now that she was stuck inside.
She opened her comms with some regret.
"Chusa," she began, still somehow monotone despite all that had happened, "I've succeeded in capturing one of the armors. I will need some assistance in removing myself from it, due to ... height ... challenges. Someone taller may find it useful."