Mass Effect: On the Edge

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Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:03 pm

Exodus Cluster, Utopia System...

There was a moment of exhilaration that passed through Titus' body as the Vindicator's mass effect core disengaged from its FTL travel speeds, entering the Utopia system. Standing before the large, holographic galaxy map, Commander Johnathan Titus brought up an enhanced image of the nearest planet to the Vindicator's starboard side; Eden Prime. From the scans that his ship's A.I. had accumulated for his reading, the planet had mostly recovered from its scars. The population had recovered and even increased beyond what it was. New corporations were setting up shop, and colonists were slowly moving over from agriculture to more white-collar jobs. In hindsight, Eden Prime was a stable, peaceful planet once more, and a jewel in the Systems Alliance. But Commander Titus was not about to enter orbit above the planet on behalf of the Alliance, nor was he about to start trouble on the planet.

It had all started when he was given command of the Vindicator, a starship class military vessel designed and constructed by Cerberus specifically for stealth and infiltration operations. It was uncommon for a Cerberus craft to be operating in a tightly Alliance-controlled and monitored system; especially one like Utopia. If the Vindicator was detected by Alliance scans, Titus would already be facing a fight. But Cerberus' orders to investigate a disturbance on Eden Prime were concrete and unwavering. Upon receiving them, he was also given a small team to command; one that he could count on to pull his ass out of a fire if need be. Something strange was happening at a colonial advancement facility on Eden Prime; faulty readings, no communications, and, even more troublesome, no response from a Cerberus commando team sent in to investigate nearly twenty-four hours ago. His ship and team had been on standby while the commandos were sent it to scout out the facility. When they failed to report to command, Titus was given the order to move into the Utopia system and pick up the slack.

Titus was roused from his contemplation about what he may be getting himself into by the intercom overhead in the Combat Information Center. "Coordinates locked for Eden Prime, Commander," the Vindicator's helmsman, Darcy, said. "Arrival in thirty minutes."

The Commander stepped down from the small risen platform that overlooked the galaxy map and headed for the elevator behind him. He waited for less than a minute for the elevator to land on the first and uppermost deck of the Vindicator. Deck One had only two main areas; the briefing room where the ship's quantum entanglement communicator was housed, directly ahead from the elevator; and the captain's quarters, which was directly around and behind the elevator. When he stepped out, Titus headed for and entered the briefing room. "EDI," he spoke aloud to the ship's artificial intelligence, "patch me through to the Illusive Man."

The circumferential chrome table in the center of the double glass-walled room, shielded by powerful kinetic barriers for minor deflection and shielding (where, during combat, the window is shielded by heavy alloy plate blinds), lowered itself into the floor and lit up a bright orange. As Titus stepped onto the new platform, a large circular holographic grid rose around him and the room went dark when the alloy plating covered down across the windows. The quantum entanglement communicator was now completely online, and it was as if he was in a different room entirely. The floor was made up of polished black tiles, and all around him was blackness except for the view directly ahead, where a large star could be seen in the background. All that lay in the way between the burning gas giant and him was a man sitting in a chair, smoking a cigarette. A few holographic displays floated high above him on either side.

The man took a puff from his a cigarette and then dabbed the end of the cancer stick in a small ash tray on the arm of his chair. The cocky, but very intelligent, leader of the pro-human organization known as Cerberus was nicknamed the Illusive Man by other Cerberus operatives. The name eventually stuck. "Titus," he said, "I see you've arrived in the Utopia system and are about to land on Eden Prime. Let me warn you, all the evidence of this disappearance so far suggests that the Collectors are responsible for whatever is happening down there. Of course, I've been wrong before. But I wouldn't pass this onto you if I wasn't sure."

"We'll get down there and find out what the hell is going on," Titus replied with confidence and discipline. As a man loyal to Cerberus, and one of the few that saw eye-to-eye with the Illusive Man on many issues concerning the galaxy, he trusted him with his life and showed him a great deal of respect during their conversations. "Has there been any word from the recon team sent in previously while we were in light speed?"

"No, I'm afraid not," the Illusive Man replied. "Commander, if you find them and they're alive, bring them back safely. I'm willing to grant you command over what's left of their team if it will help you; but if they're.... not..."

"I'll be sure to recover their remains respectfully."

The Illusive Man inhaled slightly from his cigarette and then held it between two fingers. "Don't concern yourself with the dead too much, Commander," he said with caution. "Their may too be much of it to handle if you do."

"Understood, sir," Titus said, straightening his posture out and placing his hands behind his back as if to stand at parade rest. He watched as the Illusive Man pressed a button on a haptic adaptive interface that appeared on the other arm of his chair, cutting the transmission. The briefing room's lights flickered to life again, the circular holo-grid around Titus faded away and the alloy shielding retracted to reveal the eternal abyss of space. "EDI," he said aloud, "inform my team to finish their preparations."

"Will do, Titus," the synthetic female voice responded over the room's intercom.

Last edited by The Ghost Writer on Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Dax on Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:08 pm

In a massive flash of light, the Black Hornet, or the Hornet for short, arrived in the Exodus Cluster through the silence of space through the Mass Relay. Commander Joseph Poitvin stood on the bridge of his ship, a starship class stealth ship. It was copied off the Alliance’s schematics, but with added, slightly illegal, weapons and systems to make the Black Hornet on the pinnacle of technology and the best that the Illusive Man’s money could buy. However, the best ship in the galaxy is useless without a skilled Commander and crew, and that is just what Poitvin’s crew had. Couple that with experience in the Alliance fleet and a strong resolve to enforce humanity’s leading position and survival in the political scrum, and you get what the Black Hornet stood and lived for.

As the ship slowed from its catapult from its previous system, it was already calculating the trajectory to his next destination: Eden Prime. Commander Poitvin had received a message through his terminal about the job the Illusive Man wanted to issue to him. It was the usual routing: the crazy old man thought he had a lead, and he was sent to do his bidding. Poitvin was never too happy about getting sent of wild goose chases, but he was in no position to contest his boss and financer. All he could do was be playful at him.

“Commander, coordinates are set for Eden Prime. We are waiting on your word for commencement of FTL trajectory,” said his helmsman, Dave Johnston, one of his longtime friend with whom he had served in the Alliance Fleet. “Copy that,” responded the Commander, who had his arms crossed behind his back, standing right behind his helmsman seat. With those words, Poitvin turned on his heels and headed for the back floor, where his Comm. Room that he used to keep in contact with the Illusive Man was held. When the Commander arrived at the door, it slid open, and shut tightly the second he had passed the boundary.

The room the Commander had entered was covered in black tiles and was a perfect square. There was no source of light, save around the disc that Poitvin was now stepping on and was to beam the hologram all around him, enabling his communication with the Illusive Man.“Betty,” thundered Poitvin, as he stood motionless, arms once again crossed behind his back. Without another word, Betty responded: “Yes, Commander, right away.” As soon as the words came over the speakers of the ship, the room Poitvin was in hummed to life, enabling his intensely secure communication with his employer.

The room Poitvin was standing in now was seemingly devoid of furniture, save the chair the Illusive Man was sitting on. The only light that emanated from the room came from a super massive blue star, that of which his employer was staring at. There was a small chain of smoke emanating from the cigarette that lay on an ash tray that was situated on one of the Illusive Man’s arm rest. He finally spoke: “Commander Poitvin, I trust you read the missive I sent to your terminal?” He spoke with a disconcertingly cold tone. Poitvin gladly returned the unfriendly atmosphere. “I have, and my ship is on its way there now.”

The Illusive Man then turned his chair 180 degrees to face the Commander. As he did that, Poitvin folded his arms in front of him. “Then you know the details of the mission. You must go and explore a scientific laboratory in the southern hemisphere that went dark. Retrieve any clue that could lead us to the Collectors. Also, if you-“ Commander Poitvin brusquely interrupted him. “If I find anything of interest, I will report to you, you don’t need to hold my hand. This isn’t the first time I am going on a mission on your behalf. Although it will probably be one of the rare times it won’t be a wild goose chase.”

The Illusive Man expertly and coolly held back his anger. The Commander had no loyalty towards him, but he did have unwavering loyalty towards humanity. That, for him, was enough because he knew that the Commander would never betray him, because that would mean a betrayal of humanity. The Illusive Man spoke one last time. “There is another ship on the same mission as you, the Vindicator, and its Commander, Commander Johnathan Titus will be arriving on Eden Prime roughly the same time your ship will land. You are to work as equals on the mission. Good luck, Commander.” With that, the Illusive Man cut the transmission abruptly. Commander Poitvin snorted before walking out of the Comm. Room. He then made his way back to the bridge.

“Engage our trajectory to Eden Prime,” barked the Commander. “Aye aye, commander,” responded his helmsman, Dave.

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by quakernuts on Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:12 am

"Everything's being prepared as we speak sir. Combat teams are gearing up, and the Mako is being made for an atmospheric drop." Kelly Invaru stated to Commander Jason Horn as they walked down the hallway of the third floor of the SIC Titan. A competent second in command who preferred the safety of her team over the well fare of the mission a little too much. She projected an air of professionalism, with her long red hair tied up into a bun, and her Cerberus uniform completely void of any imperfections. Her green eyes surveyed the other side of the floor while Jason looked at one side. "We can't take on a Collector vessel in head on conflict sir, even with our additional armaments." She continued. "With your permission, I intend to keep Titan on the outside of their range, resorting to hit and run tactics. Stalling them hopefully, and buying your ground team some time to rescue those colonists."

"I appreciate the sentiment Ms. Invaru, but the Titan will stay out of weapons range at all times. Our weapons will do little to that vessel without concentrated fire, and in order for that to happen we would have to remain within their range. No, you will remain on the other side of the planet once we drop into New Thebes. You keep this ship safe as a top priority, retreat from the planet if you have to." Jason said as he personally inspected one of the torpedo tubes, noting a small problem with them and pointing it out to the technician that was nearby. He wasn't as professionally dressed as his XO was, his loose brown hair obviously not cut to regulation, his face constantly giving a five o'clock shadow, and his chosen attire. He did not wear his naval attire, but instead chose to constantly wear his marine uniform. This one had seen better days, with obvious patch jobs and tear on the fabric. He chose it to show all under his command that he had not only seen combat, but actually participated in it.

"Sir, with all due respect, how do we know that the ship won't simply open fire on the city once they have what they need? We will not be able to extract your team in time if they decide to, nor will we be able to stand up to their weapons fire should we try."

"It's a gamble, just like life. We roll the dice, we flip the coin, pull the lever. Every time we take a step Ms. Invaru, we are betting with our lives that we will succeed."

"Don't go philosophical on me sir." Jason laughed slightly as he made his way towards his Main Battery Officer.

"I have to try and sound like I'm smarter than I look sometimes, don't I?" Jason was this way with nearly his entire crew. Casual, but still retained enough professionalism for it not to get awkward. Due to regulations, he had to retain the discipline of calling him 'sir' and 'commander' in combat and recon situations, but in their off hours, he liked to have them simply call him 'Jason'.

Jessie was underneath the barrels of the experimental Thannix Cannon when Jason and Kelly approached. She had failed to notice them, and Kelly cleared her throat to get her attention. When that didn't work, she tried again to no avail. Kelly was about to say something, but Jason stopped her. Instead, he laid down, and slid himself underneath the cannon and ended up right beside Jessie. She paid no heed to him, other than a cold "Sir." as she continued to tinker with some of the inner workings of the cannon.

"How's she holding up McKrain?" Jason asked as he watched her hands attach some wires to some gears and was reminded he really don't know anything about the inner workings of these weapons.

"Like shit sir. I had a look at the element zero core earlier today, and something seems to be off with the field calibrations. We don't have any leaks as of yet, but I have the entire area cordoned off except for certified personnel, and I'm not allowing the firing of this weapon until I fix it."

"In other words...I don't get to see Big Bertha in action today?"

"Not a chance sir. I'm not willing to risk it unless absolutely necessary."

"Alright, keep me posted." Jason said as he slid his way out from underneath the workings of the cannon. He returned to his walking posture with Kelly as they made their way back to the lift.

"So?" Kelly asked, her eyes still watching over the prep teams as they readied every tube, turret, and cannon for battle.

"She say's it will be good to go when we get there."

"Didn't sound like that too me." Kelly replied, a slight smirk appearing on her lips.

"She likes to be overly dramatic. Come on, the stains of the place are ruining my military badass look."

After returning to the fourth floor, and Kelly split off to make sure the ground teams would be ready when they needed to be, Jason entered the briefing room. He still needed to concrete some things with the Illusive man. As the briefing table slid into the floor, Jason stepped onto it. Immediately a grid started forming around him, allowing open communication between him and the Illusive man. Even as he was thinking this, the image of his boss with the gas giant behind him immediately formed and he stood there, like all other commanders, with his hands behind his back. This was one man you simply didn't get casual with.

"You understand your role in this Commander?" Illusive man asked, snuffing out a cigarette on the side of his chair.

"Yes sir. We are to combat drop to the planet of Anhur, more specifically the capital city of New Thebes, and attempt to recover and retrieve as many colonists as possible." Jason said, his tone stiff and his body even stiffer. He may be casual around his crew, but he was once a private as well. He knew how to address his superiors.

"Yes, that is part of it. The other part is to strike a blow at the Collectors."

"I intend to do that sir." Jason replied, but the Illusive man simply shook his head.

"Commander, I don't think you understand what I'm getting at here. If you see an opportunity to strike a great amount of damage to the collectors, you take it. If this opportunity conflicts with saving the colonists, it takes priority."

"Sir? I thought the whole mission was to save the colonists."

"Secondary should that option come up. We will save a lot more if we can wound their ship, prevent them from attacking another world while they lick their wounds. If you don't destroy it, you at least buy us time. Millions of lives compared to a hundred Commander. Do the math."

"Yes sir..." Jason said hesitantly. He and the Illusive man did not have the best of relationships. In the Illusive man's opinion, Jason was too 'soft' for the hard decisions, yet his performance in the line of duty was enough to promote him to the head of his own ship.

"Are we going to have a problem Horn?" Jason looked up, straight into the Illusive man's eyes.

"No sir. Cripple the vessel first, save the colonists second. Understood."

"Good." The Illusive man brought up a screen on his right. "Also keep in mind there is a Batarian mercenary group fighting the collectors. They may prove an asset, or a liability. I'll leave it up to your discretion on how you deal with them." He pushed a button and he faded from view. Jason stood there a moment, still as stiff as if he was facing the Illusive man still. Their AI, Serah, spoke to him through the speakers.

"We will arrive at Anhur in fifteen minutes Commander." Jason gave a sigh and nodded, turning to walk out of the room.

"Good, time to kill some bugs and save some babies."

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Artorius on Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:10 am

The silent hum of the Spirit’s element zero core sooth commander Prado’s nerves. He’d come down to the engine room to be alone. He wasn’t a biotic, but for some reason element zero seemed to comfort Landon. The commander paced back and forth before he was interrupted by the Spirit’s built-in AI, EDI. Its cool feminine tone communicated with commander Prado.

“Commander, the crew is preparing to orbit Anhur. A batarian mercenary drop-ship is also in orbit.”

Landon stayed calm and spoke to his ship’s AI with a firm tone. He issued commands like a consummate professional.

“Patch me through to the Batarian drop-ship and get Chung, Mount, Lovo, and McIntyre on a drop-ship prepared for ground assault. We’re expecting heavy resistance from Collector ground units.”

“Of course, commander,” called EDI as she contacted the Batarian vessel.

As Landon contacted the Batarian vessel he ran over to the ship’s elevator which took him to the hangar. The Batarians would take care of the brunt of the assault, while the Cerberus operatives slipped in and nabbed what survivors they could. This was all in exchange for complete acquisition of any Collector technology present on Anhur- a necessary sacrifice for the well-being of fellow humans. The Spirit’s commander slipped into his heavy armor- it was coined “Heavy Freedom Armor” issued by Cerberus’ armor division. It took years to train in and use properly. Landon was given his own Cerberus frigate for a reason. Commander Prado was considered to be a battle tank.
For the longest time, Cerberus sent him out onto the front lines whenever they required anything that called for a firmer touch.

As the commander finished equipping his armor, he stepped on to the small drop shuttle. It slightly tipped towards the commander’s side as his armor weighed downed the ship. As the Spirit reached the drop zone, commander Prado didn’t break a sweat. With a WOOSH!, Commander Prado and his crew were to be dropped miles to Anhur’s surface.
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:19 pm

Eden Prime...

The UT-47 Kodiak Drop Shuttle - otherwise known as the "combat cockroach" to the Systems Alliance Marines - landed with steady ease in a grassy field of Eden Prime's southern hemisphere, naturally protected on all sides by tall hills and smooth rock formations. The small valley would ensure Titus' team natural protection and concealment for a few hundred meters as they make their way to the colonial advancement facility. When and where he would rendezvous with Commander Poitven of the Black Hornet was unknown to him; but that's the way Cerberus worked. They would tell you only what you need to know and then leave the rest up in the air. The Illusive Man trusted each of his operatives to control their tiny branches of his cells according to how their own specifications and protocols. The pro-human shadow organization wasn't bogged down with the bureaucratic structure of the Alliance. There were still ranks, sure, but only for projects of Cerberus that demanded militarized units, and even the structuring of that was up to the operative in charge.

When the side door of the shuttle opened upward with a swooping motion, Commander Titus and his team stepped out. With him were Serena Taylor, his second in command and the Cerberus operative that relayed mission reports directly to the Illusive Man, and Erik Keown, his armorer and - as Titus liked to call him - his "main man". Serena was a skilled biotic, with equaled small arms training. Erik stuck with the simple idea of muzzle velocity, knowing every weapon known to man in the Alliance military like the back of his hand. His weapon of choice was always some type of shotgun, but every now and then he would get his hands dirty with a heavy or two. If that was the case, it was always a grenade launcher - he loved to "bring down the rain" whenever he could. Despite both of them being formidable foes to any of their adversaries, they were extremely disciplined and only followed the orders of their commander; no matter what the Illusive Man had in mind.

Keown took another good look at Titus now that they're out in the sunshine atmosphere of Eden Prime's surface world. "Oh yeah," he said, "that new Kestrel Armor looks freaking sick on you."

The armor his comrade was referring was a recent gift to Titus' crew from the Illusive Man himself. The black paint and ominous blue glow of several bright LEDs embedded on the torso, legs, pauldrons and hemlet did make him look like a proverbial bad ass. But the looks weren't the only perk of the new armor. Unlike most combat helmets, for one, the protective glass shielding was replaced with a slate-black plate shield. Hundreds of embedded microcameras relayed a naturalistic vision to a heads-up-display beneath. The shoulder pauldrons housed back-up kenetic shield generators for reduced regeneration times if his barriers went down. A central processor in the spinal brace control several synthetic "muscle fibers" within the armor to give a boost to overall strength, as well as provide steady accuracy for weapon systems, and reduce the impact of high recoil.

"EDI," Titus said aloud, speaking to his trusty A.I. unit orbiting above them on the Vindicator, "what can you tell me now that we're on the surface?"

The synthesized female voice responded with a personalized inflection, one that widely separated her from other shackled A.I.s and even luxury V.I.s. "Preliminary scans indicate that there are, indeed, several sentient lifeforms within the compound ahead. Whether or not these are friendly are unknown. I recommend caution upon approach."

"Noted. How many are there?"

"So far, I am only able to detect four; however, there are many minute fluctuations in my scans for further lifeforms."

This time it was Serena that spoke. "What do you mean, EDI?"

"It appears," the AI went on to explain, "that something is disrupting my scans in several small locations. The disruptions appear to be masking attempts, covering signatures that may be more sentient beings. I cannot pinpoint an accurate count of the number of disruptions as they vary in size and seem to both morph together and separate at random. There is no pattern, which leads me to calculate that whatever is moving around under these 'umbrellas' is wondering... or scavenging."

"Doesn't sound like any cloaking technology I've ever heard of," commented Keown.

"If the collectors are advanced as rumors have it," Titus said, "then it shouldn't be a surprise that they're using some special cloak to throw off investigating scans. Let's move out."

Titus reached around and grabbed the Kassa Fabrication Breaker Assault Rifle from the weapon mount on his back and took point, leading his team through the only exit of the valley. It took several hundred meters, as planned, to reach the outer structures of the facility. According to EDI's pre-mission reports, colonial advancement facilities are used to recon new fertile lands on colonized planets. While New Eden had been a human colony for quite some time, it still took man-power to fully explore - as the way with any planet. Orbital scans only revealed topographical readings and valuable resources like palladium, iridium, platinum, or - in rare cases - eezo. Facilities such as the one that Titus was about to head blindly into were used as base camps, providing research teams a place to sleep, eat, and conduct any day-to-day tasks that didn't getting their hands dirty with field work. Such a remote location, far away from any dense population centers, would make easy targets for Collectors if they were willing to risk sneaking past Alliance military frigates.

It didn't take long for Serena to hack her way through the surprisingly locked door leading into a mess hall. The place was completely, and eerily, empty. The lights were off, and trays - many still with food on them - were just left on the tables. "Guess they didn't care for the chef surprise," Keown mused, instantly withdrawing his comment when Titus turned to look at him. Even though the man couldn't see his Commander's eyes through the slate-black shielding of his visor, he knew it was one of those "Really?!" expressions.

Typically, the sound of a tiny piece of metal grinding across the alloy plating of the walkway outside would go unnoticed in a manned and fully operating facility like this. But when the place was empty as all get out, it was as loud and intrusive as a car alarm in the middle of a vacant parking lot on Tuchanka. The team nearly jumped, in fact, at the surprising startle of the environment and instantly rushed to its source on the other side of the mess hall. Titus, on the gestured count of three, darted out of the open doorway and onto the walking platform outside, rolling to cover behind a large metal crate. Serena ducked low and leaned out the threshold of the door on one knee, while Keown leaned out over her.

"Jesus," Titus said to the source of the disturbance, holstering his assault rifle and gesturing for his team to do the same. He stood up from behind cover and said, "You realize we nearly shot you?"
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by quakernuts on Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:45 pm

"Commander, we're dropping into Anhur's air space in" Serah said over the speakers through the CIC deck. Jason stood at the galaxy map, his hands on the bar peering over the display and watching as the screen grew to show the planet itself, his blood red armour with black secondary colours and white LED lights reflecting off of the metallic surface. The Collector ship was not visible from where they were, but he knew it was there. A second later a blip in the form of a red square appeared on the projection, indicating the Collector ship. It was currently centered around New Thebes, as it was to be predicted. A second blip appeared with a grey diamond around it. That had to be the mercenary ship, and would most likely need to be contacted as soon as they could. What wasn't expected was the formation of another blip, this one a blue triangle, indicating friendly. He hadn't known another Cerberus vessel was to be in the area, even if it made sense.

"Who's ship is that Serah?" Horn asked the AI.

"Running recognition now...The Spirit, Frigate class. Currently under the command of Commander Landon Prado."

"Alright, can't say I recognize the name. We'll contact him once we're on the ground. We need to move fast." Jason switched channels, touching a small bead placed in his ear. "Kelly, are my teams in position?"

"Yes sir, Teams two and three are aboard the Mako, awaiting for atmospheric entry. The Demons are waiting for you in the Shuttle."

"Good to hear. I'm on my way down. You know the drill, you're in charge. Take care of her for me."

"Always sir." Jason cut the channel, and made his way to the elevator. Pressing the button down to the shuttle bay, he quickly disappeared from the CIC deck.

The Demons were Jason's personal assault team consisting of himself, Daniel Harrens, his tech specialist, and Linda Goran, his biotic. All of them were outfitted with medium class Cerberus assault armour. Standard for most ground troops, but their armour differed in a few places. For one, a jetpack for large jumps over terrain was attached to their back. A little extra space, but slimmed down to not become to much of a nuisance in enclosed spaces. Along with this, they all had off hand ammo packs for that little bit of extra firepower, Stimulator conduits in their legs to make them run faster, and strength boosting shoulder pads to give them a little extra punch with their punch. The final touch was the recon hood, allowing for air to be filtered and regulated to them where lack of oxygen may be a concern. They had been named The Demons by Jason himself, and the name had stuck. Their preferred method of entry was to get into atmosphere and drop from the Kodiak from a standard sky diving height of 10,000 feet, or two miles above ground. Controlled bursts of the jet pack followed by a continued burst near the 1000 foot mark allow the user to survive the fall, although at generally faster speeds that require specialized armour parts to enhance the strength of the wearer to avoid breakage of bones or muscle tear. Due to their jet packs, many people simply see fireballs coming from the sky, labelling them as angels or demons, depending on how they are looking at it. Jason liked Demons better, so he stuck with it.

As Jason strapped on his recon hood and stepped onto the Kodiak, his two team members looked up and nodded. They had been on many missions together, and trusted each other with their lives. Words were rarely necessary among a team this close. Each of them carried a M-15 Vindicator assault rifle and M-6 Carnifex hand cannon, but each team member also carried another weapon with them. Daniel carried the M-22 Eviscerator shotgun, Linda carried the M-92 Mantis Sniper Rifle, and Jason carried the ML-77 Missile Launcher. This team was one meant to take on any kind of mission, but even here they needed a little more punch.

Once everyone was settled in, the shuttle bay door was opened, and the Kodiak shuttled the entire crew to the surface below. Before the shuttle even got out the door, Invaru pinged Jason once more.

"Sir, I have the Batarian Mercenary Leader on the line."

"Put him through."

"It's been awhile since I've run into any Cerberus vessel, and today I run into two? What are the chances of that?" The voice on the other end was hard to mistake for anything other than a Batarian.

"The name is Jason Horn, Commander of the SIC Titan. Who am I talking too?" Jason stated, ignoring the question.

"The name is Yokan Borlic, Leader of the Yargi Mercenary group."

"Nice to meet ya Yokan. Tell me, has Commander Prado been in contact with you?"

"He has. He has offered me all salvaged collector technology in exchange for my help. Do you agree with this offer?" His tone indicated he was trying to goad Jason into some sort of argument with another Cerberus Commander, but the truth was, he agreed with the condition.

"Yes, I do. I'll do you one further. I have a Mako infantry support vehicle being hot dropped just outside the city. You want some tank support? You escort that son of a bitch throughout the city, and it will help you mop up any collectors your beady little eyes can find."

"The Mako won't arrive for another five minutes after your drop Commander." Kelly intervened.

"Thank you for the update Ms. Invaru." Jason knew this of course, the Titan had to get within minimum atmospheric entry in order to launch the Mako. Kelly said it to inform the Batarian.

"You're lucky I have a thing for big guns. Just tell your people not to get in our way, and not to go back on our deal, and we'll be fine. However, let me make myself clear Commander. I do not like being fucked with, and whoever fucks with me, ends up dead. We clear?"

"Clear as the shot trail of a Mako cannon." Jason said, showing he was not afraid to get down and dirty if Yokan forced his hand.

"I believe we can do business. See you groundside Commander." The channel went dead. Serah interjected a few seconds later.

"I have sent the coordinates for the Mako drop, and their ship, dubbed "Star of Terminus" translated from Batarian, is moving to rendezvous with them."

"Good to hear Serah." The rattling of atmospheric entry warned Jason as to how close they were to being mobile. He switched to a frequency that all of his ground forces could hear. Two combat squads consisting of four men and women each, plus their Mako, and his team. "Alright people. Our main objective is to save as many colonists as we can. Force your way to the Collector ship if you can, we might be able to force them off the planet sooner than they want if we can. Targets of Opportunity are sabotage to any and all Collector tech leading back to their ship. We want that vessel to be out of commission as long as we can make it. The more time they have to repair, the more time we have to prepare. Let's make it happen, and come out the other side with a mighty battle cry and one more story to add to the table!" He cut the comm. as the door to the Kodiak opened, revealing the ground another 10,000 feet below them. watched as a light to their side flashed red. He could slowly make out the city of New Thebes down below. Suddenly the light flashed green, and all three of them jumped out of the shuttle, and they started their free fall down to the city.

It took about a couple minutes from their initial point to their landing, which was in the middle of a street just inside the city walls covered in stasis pods both open and closed, along with people frozen in some sort of paralyzed state. They landed with a crash, being forced into a roll to absorb some of the impact and immediately sweeping their weapons around. There was no immediate contact, so they set about finding some over on the side of the street. With that done, he contacted Serah aboard the Titan once more.

"Alright Serah, patch me through to Commander Prado."

"Acknowledged...You're connected." Time to get this party started Jason thought to himself.

"Commander Prado? This is Commander Horn of the SIC Titan, please respond."

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Dax on Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:05 am

“Commander, we are in our final approach for Eden Prime.”

These words were all that Commander Poitvin needed to get his latest Cerberus mission rolling. With a nod of his head, Poitvin walked away from the bridge at a quick pace, yet still keeping his composure. As he walked down the bridge, with technicians and co-pilots at their own respective stations on both sides of the control bridge plugging away at their own devices, the Commander barked out his orders to Betty. He wanted his team ready for planet fall within the briefest delay. He was to go about this mission with another Cerberus commander, Commander Titus, and he wanted his team to be picture perfect… even though they always were.

“Betty, tell the team to get suited up and head to the hammerhead immediately,” barked Poitvin.

“Yes,” was all that was heard from the mechanical voice.

Commander Poitvin quickly stepped into the elevator. His armor and weapon weren’t down in the armory where most of them were stored, nor were they in the cargo bay, where his more private crew members liked to store their little kits. His was in the Captain’s Chambers. They were out of sight and completely secure and private: perfect for the captain’s equipment. Even if the Commander had full trust and confidence in his team, storing his gear separately from the rest of the ship was more of a personal thing than practical thing. He liked his privacy, and he liked to tend to his own armor. Poitvin wasn’t too fond of the idea of letting others get their paws on his gear.

Finally, the elevator stopped at the 5th floor and Poitvin walked out, through the iris-sensors, and into his private quarters, where his weapons and armor were perfectly polished and on a stand. The Commander’s weapon, an M-15 Vindicator battle rifle, was one of the deadliest weapons available in the galaxy. It was able to rip through flesh, kinetic and psionic barriers with terrifying ease thanks to a short burst of 5 bullets. IT was perfectly clean and ready to go, as was his armor which stood on an adjacent stand. It was a metallic grey, with plated leggings and chest-gear, along with layered and plated shoulder pads. His helmet was a dark metallic color with a triangular, light grey plate over it. It had a red horizontal line right where the eyes would be. To complement this rather intimidating armor, there were glowing LED lights on both his arms and right below each of his shoulders. His armor was arguable one of a kind, and Poitvin loved it. It was his signature equipment.

A couple minutes later, Poitvin saw himself stepping out of the Hammerhead bay elevator door in his personal armor and his M-15 holstered on his back. For good measure, the Commander also brought along some other weapons, most notably an M-6 Carnifex Hand Cannon and a M-300 Claymore heavy shotgun. If he needed some bigger heavy power, he always had the beauty of a vehicle, that stood right before him, as back up: the M-44 Hammerhead. It packed just as much of a bite as its name would suggest. It floated using two propellers on each side, just off the ground and was capable of speed up to 120 kilometers an hour. It held one single cannon which was only able to move vertically. That slight lack in aiming flexibility, however, was replaced with extreme mobility and speed. The hammerhead was quick, but there was a purpose to that: its armor was weak. It could only sustain so much before being destroyed. However, even considering this, the M-44 was an overall good vehicle and one that the Commander Poitvin was glad he was going to use it.

As the Commander walked to the ship, he spotted his two crew members who were patiently waiting: two humans, one male, one female; Wilkes Smith, the ships Armorer, and Kathleen Armstrong, or Katy, Poitvin's trusted second in command. Wilkes was a tech guy. He knew his way around demolitions, computer slicing and heavy weaponry. He wore a thick black suit made of a material that escaped Poitvin’s mind, but was very resistant to gun fire, as he was consistently reminded by Jason himself. On the other hand, Kathleen wore a light grey outfit. It was rather thin, giving her some more agility, yet, typically and expectably, less protection. Katy was good in one thing and one thing only: using her sniper and recon. That came in handy during nearly any combat situation.

Poitvin’s team was picture perfect. On paper, together they filled every gap and every need a combat situation could throw at them. Technically, they were the perfect match. That, however, was not the case. As Poitvin walked into the Hammerhead and strapped himself in the gunner’s seat, he didn’t want to think about any of the negatives about his team, and simply reminded himself about his mission objectives and how to achieve them. This wasn’t the time to wallow in pity and potentially endanger the mission.
Betty’s voice suddenly boomed in the Hammerhead’s cabin.

“Sir, we are entering Eden Prime’s atmosphere. Altitude 900k.”

Then, the nerve-wracking countdown began until the altitude where the Black Hornet’s Cargo Bay doors would fling open, leaving the Hammerhead to hover down to its surface.


Every time this happened, Poitvin clenched his teeth. He normally loved flying, but this wasn’t flying. This was free falling. There was a stark difference between the two.


Commander Poitvin cursed under his breath. He made sure that neither Katy or Wilkes heard it.

“Drop altitude reach. Good luck, Commander.”

With that, a small beeping sound could be heard, which was Betty signing off of the Hammerhead radio, which was followed by a thunderous roar. That huge fanfare was the Cargo Bay doors opening. And that was followed by the sensation of quasi-free falling, as the Hammerhead commenced its quick, yet controlled hover towards the surface of Eden Prime. Just as the Commander’s vehicle dropped out of the Black Hornet, it had already started its climb back into orbit to await instruction to come and retrieve them if need be.

After a few heart-stopping moments, the war vehicle shook violently as it finally touched down. As soon as that happened, the pilot, Wilkes, wasted no time in putting the thrusters in full gear towards the supposed rendezvous point with Commander Titus. In fact, it took only a few minutes, and they had arrived at the facility in question that had gone dark. Parking the Hammerhead a few hundred meters away from the entrance, Commander Poitvin walked out of the lowering back door of the vehicle, flanked by his two crew members. As he did that, he heard another small beeping sound. That was the sound of Betty signing in to the comm. inside his helm.

“What can you tell about this place, Betty? Where is Commander Titus?” Poitvin spoke as he unholstered his weapon and signaled his crew to follow him into the building with caution.

“Commander Titus seems to be in what appears a large room in the complex, probably a mess hall or a meeting room of some sort.”

With a muted answer of gratitude, Poitvin follows the corridors that led to a huge room in question. It was only a matter of time until they got what they were looking for.

“Commander Titus? Commander Poitvin here.”

Last edited by Dax on Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:54 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Guilty Carrion on Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:00 am

Unknown Location...

The blazing star light the room with an eerie blue glow, shadowing the man before her in a way that made him seem…more than just a regular human, his eyes glinting with cunning and charisma. Her eyes flicked from him to the numerous pictures and portraits, soldiers and warships each of them, memorizing key details from each before pressing to the next one. Omni Cell. It certainly lived up to its reputation of being the best of the best. Each of these men was capable beyond expectations, and armed with the most advanced warships money could buy, the Illusive Man was truly not taking any chances.

“What are my orders, Sir?” Her voice was smooth and even, tempered with a healthy respect for the man. She stood at attention, frigid topaz eyes finishing their examinations and returning to lock with his shining aqua.

“As you no doubt know, Commander Shepard has been recovered.” The Illusive Man took a slow drink from his cup, draining whatever its contents were in a single swig. “The Lazarus Project is underway, but we’re going to need time. Omni Cell will buy us as much as it can.”

“And you want me to help them buy more.” Something vaguely similar to a smile spread across the Illusive Man’s lips, and he released a breath of smoke before snuffing the cigarette out in the ashtray.

"The Collectors are a rapidly growing threat, and so are the Reapers. I need to make sure that my teams... and their commanders are able to handle the daunting task of stalling them until Shepard can be fully reconstructed." He pressed a button on the haptic interface that appeared above the arm of his chair. In the midst of the vacant room, a hologram of Eden Prime appeared. "Commander Titus will soon be en route to a colonial advancement facility on Eden Prime. What he doesn't know is that this place is a very important asset to Cerberus. The secrets within it may help us in putting a halt to the Collectors and Reapers. It's recently gone dark - but I don't suspect the Collectors are behind it. Of course, Titus and his associating commander, Poitvin, don't know this."

She nodded, stepping forward to examine the holographic image in more detail. The Illusive Man picked up his glass and took one sip of the sparkling liquid inside. When the cubes clacked against each other, he saw that he was dry and set it aside. The haptic interface above his arm rest appeared once more, and he let his finger hover over it for a while as he said his last words for their meeting. "You're one of my best operatives, Vala. My commanders are only mildly experienced at best when it comes to dealing with such large threats like this. I need you to be their guide - their counsellor. Get them to work together. You're the corner stone that will stabilize this mission." His finger gently pressed down on the interface, but he held it for a second. His head turned down, covering his features in shadow, but his eyes - glowing from the synthetic apparatus over the retinas - remained focused on Vala. "Don't fail me." Without another word, the Illusive Man lifted his finger from the interface, cutting the transmission of the quantum entanglement communicator.

Vala stood quietly in the darkness of the room for a brief moment longer, before ducking her head quickly. “I won’t, Sir.” The operative turned quickly on her heel, striding from the darkened chamber as she tapped the comms device on her ear. “Ready a shuttle.”


Exodus Cluster, Utopia System, Aboard the Vindicator…

Getting aboard had been easy enough. The Vindicator had stopped into a fuel depot just before commencing its operation, restocking on vital fuel and probes for the coming operations. She had predicted their arrival, infiltrating the depot in advance to slip aboard with minimum difficulties. Thanks to a recent gift from the Illusive Man, some recovered Geth Cloaking technology with a few minor modifications to allow it to work with human tech, and she simple attached herself to one of the probes and found herself onboard without so much as a peep from the crew.

Of course, getting onboard was the easy part. Staying hidden was a different matter entirely. The crew was a vigilant one, forcing her to into the dark crevices of the ship as she stalked about the shadows, cold eyes watching them curiously like a cat. Commander Titus was a trusted operative, but in an organization as vast and dark as Cerberus, one could never be sure of where the next traitor might strike. Vigilance was the first weapon in her arsenal against such threats.

The Commander left for the mission, taking along his second command, one Serena Taylor and the armourer, Erik Keown. Records and facts flicked across her Omni-tool as she examined their pasts and actions. They stood loyal to their Commander above all else. Dry lips settled into a frown, as she crept forward from the darkness and slipped into the lift with the practiced grace one would expect of an assassin. They might prove to be a problem. The lift rumbled to life, Vala’s eyes flickering to the holographic interface of E.D.I. when it sprung up beside her in the elevator, as if searching for the one who had activated it. “Identification Code Input: Delta Zero Seven Gamma Four Echo Nine Omni.” She spoke with a casual cool, as the machine rapidly processed the code before it spoke in the synthesized tone most E.D.I. possessed.

“Identification complete. Welcome aboard, Miss Buchan.”

“EDI, upload all ship schematics to my Omni-tool immediately. Who is currently in command of the Vindicator?” Her Omni-tool chirped once as the A.I. forwarded her the requested information, and she made a mental note to review it in detail when time permitted.

“Helmsman Mansfield, Miss Buchan.”

The lift came to a stop at the second deck, and Vala nodded briskly. “That will be all, EDI.” The interface vanished, and Vala straightened out to her full height (which arguably wasn’t that tall.). “Time to meet the crew proper.” Tapping a key on her Omni-tool, the four small cloaking generators on her back flickered briefly, before allowing the veil to fall. Vala’s jet black armour was easily classified as light, some parts of her body not even covered by the dark material. Twin red UED lights built into her breast plate offered minimal lighting, along with one on each of her legs, but it was clear she was meant to be the one in the shadows, not searching them. A breather mask rounded out her outfit, strapped securely to her face and allowing her to operate (or hide) in areas of zero oxygen without difficulty, a useful trick when infiltrating space stations or ships.

Taking a brief moment to ensure she was looking at her best, Vala adjusted her long blonde hair back into its neat, precise pony tail. First impressions were always important, and she needed to look the part of an elite agent, not some greasy stowaway. The door slide open, and the operative strode out into the CIC, quickly slipping past the agents focused on their consoles and flashing the insignia of Cerberus to the two guards that stepped forward to stop her approach on the helmsman. They looked at each other wearily, before one motioned her forward, following closely behind Vala as she took the few final strides up to the helm.

Darcy glanced back, freezing when Vala raised a slender eyebrow at his look of surprise. “Helmsman Mansfield. I am Operative Buchan, assigned to assist Omni Cell in its operations. How are things on the surface?” Her tone was cold and neutral, leaving little room for argument but it seemed Mansfield found a reason to protest anyway.

“How the hell did you get on this ship?! And are we just supposed to take your word on that?” Operative Buchan frowned darkly, narrowing her eyes on the pilot, whom seemed to wither slightly beneath the intensity.

“How I infiltrated the Vindicator is a matter I will discuss with your Commander and his Second in Command, Helmsman, not you. As for my identity…” EDI sprung up as if on cue.

“Operative Buchan is under direct orders from the Illusive Man to assist Omni Cell in its missions, using whatever means she deems necessary.”

“Now, unless you think I possess the skills to hack a highly advanced AI, I believe I asked you what the situation on the ground was, Helmsman.” That seemed to get to the pilot and he nodded quickly in response; the guard cautiously returning to his post, casting a weary look back at the infiltrator.

“They’ve successfully entered the facility, and are beginning their sweep.” She nodded slowly, reviewing in her mind’s eye what the Illusive Man had revealed to her in their meeting none too long ago. He had been characteristically vague, something she’d come to expect over the years in his service, but the presence of two commanders was more than enough to warn her that this was valuable to him.

“Excellent. EDI, patch me into the comms.” The helmsman fixed her with a look, although she silenced it simply by clenching her fist beside her and the agent got the message loud and clear.

“You are patched in, Miss Buchan.”

Her comms piece beeped once as it synced in, and she cleared her throat. First Impressions. “Commander Titus, this is Operative Buchan, aboard the Vindicator. What’s the current status of the colonial advancement facility?”

“I have no idea who she is, just for the record Commander. She just showed up out of the woodwork, but EDI says she’s here under orders from the Illusive Man.” The Helmsman quickly interjected and Vala raised her brow at the man’s sudden surge of courage. Well, hopefully the Commander was as reasonable as the reports seemed to suggest.

Last edited by Guilty Carrion on Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:25 pm

Titus approached Poitvin and exchanged a firm hand shake. "No need for formalities for my sake. Just call me Titus." The man looked his colleague up and down through the slate black visor shield and then added, "But I take it you're one to like 'Commander', more, so I'll just stick to calling you that."

There was a rustle nearby behind a low barrier wall, just at a downward angle from the walkway the two Cerberus teams were standing on. Titus drew his sidearm and upon its rapid extension he called out, "Who's there?! Show yourself!"

Steadily, two thin, trembling hands appeared above the barrier wall and a figure stepped out to the side - a woman with a curly brown hair and terrified eyes. "Are- are you here to help?" she asked with a stutter.

Titus put away his pistol and nodded. He realized that the visor was probably causing an unnecessary scare, so he reach up to the side of his helmet and pressed a tiny button, barely the size of a pin. The black visor flung up atop his helmet, revealing a sincere face and caring eyes. "Don't worry," he said, "we're not here to harm you. What happened here?"

The woman lowered her hands and twiddled her thumbs as she began to think of what to say. "I'm- I'm not sure. The children... they were fine at first but then- then they just..." her voice trailed off into a barely audible whisper, coupled with sobs and tears streaming down either cheek. Before Titus could offer her comfort, he needed to make sure the rest of the facility was secure. He looked over to Commander Poitvin.

"Would you mind taking your team and sweeping the nearby area?" he asked in a respectful manner. "I don't need you to go far; just enough to make sure I can render this woman some aid without setting ourselves up for an ambush." He then returned to the woman and placed a steady hand on her shoulder. "What children? Where are they?"

"Th- they... They started going crazy. They became incredibly dangerous, powerful. It was their biotics that did this - that knocked out the power supply, cut our communications to the Alliance."

"Biotics?" Keown asked. "What are biotic children doing here?"

The woman nodded her head. "My name," she said looking to each of them, "is Dr. Elizabeth Kieran. I'm the director of this facility. It's an branch of the Alliance's Ascension Project. This place is not what you think it is. A few days ago, we integrated a new L implant prototype into several out students to help them with controlling and manipulating their biotic energy. But the implants must have done something awful to them. They can't control themselves now! They've gone hysterical. Next thing we knew, they became mindless zombies and are just walking around on the far side of the facility, generating massive biotic fields around them that are interfering with any electronics. The dark energy is acting like an electromagnetic field. Many of us managed to get away, but there's no place close by that we can run to for help, so we're stuck here. An Alliance security detail is keeping a quarantine zone around the effected students. You should talk to them if you're here to help. The rest of us..." she gestured an open hand to the other side of the barrier wall. Titus stepped around to see a large group of children resting against it, huddled under large blankets and napping, as if nothing was going on.

When Titus stepped around to see the students, Dr. Kieran caught a glimpse of the Cerberus insignia on his shoulder. Even though the shadow organization was heavily secret, remaining mostly just a rumor among civilians, the director must have recognized it as her expression turned from grateful, to contemptuous

“What’s the Alliance’s Ascension Project doing on Eden Prime?” Titus asked her.

Dr. Kieran’s eyes shifted to the group of children bundled up against the barrier. “We wanted to give our most advanced students a chance to achieve results of experiments that are too dangerous to conduct on the Jon Grissom Academy station. We’ve temporarily transferred them to this planet for a similar feel to Earth. Being on the surface allows them more freedom; fresh air.”

Keown shook his head; his eyes were narrow, showing his disbelief in the doctor’s explanation. “I don’t buy it,” he said. “It sounds like another rogue experiment to me. Cerberus tried to conduct ‘projects’ on Biotic kids before. The facility was shut down after an incident and one of the most powerful biotic kids they had in captivity escaped. She killed any Cerberus operative that stood in between her and a way out. Eventually the project was relocated; moved to a new facility and given a new name… I’m sure you can guess, Commander, what the project is now called.”

Titus looked back to Dr. Kieran, whose eyes were now aflame with anger. “Is this true, doctor? Was the Ascension Project originally controlled by Cerberus?”

“No! The Ascension Project, yes, did receive a lot of its funding from an unknown source; as well as much of its starting research to provide enough of a boost to the get the project on its feet. But Cerberus, I can assure you, never had a hand in what went on after the academy was started. I can’t tell you what went on before, but I’m positive that Cerberus has no dealings in it now.”

“But why Eden Prime? Why not allow the kids to practice their abilities on Earth?”

Dr. Kieran shook her head and replied, “Earth is too overwhelmed nowadays with bustling metropolises and crime. There’s no peaceful location they can go to anymore on that planet – no privacy. This the facility was established and fronted for colonial advancement purposes in order to provide a safe haven for the children; a place for them to practice their abilities in peace – without the interruption of criminals, mercs, and nosey tourists.”

“I still don’t buy it,” Keown said.

The woman gestured a hand toward the children. “Then ask them yourself! We would never endanger their lives. I don’t know what kind of project Cerberus was running in the past for biotics, but it’s irrelevant to what the Ascension Project is doing now. We’re helping biotics explore their abilities while also assisting their merge into society; helping them to settle down and live peaceful, productive lives. We’re not treating them as tools and experiments for wars.”

“She’s right,” Titus eventually said, placing a hand on Keown’s shoulder. “The Ascension Project and Cerberus are completely separated. The Illusive Man may have funded the new program to get it started, and he may even be keeping his eye on it to see what kind of results they produce; but it’s evident he doesn’t have a hand in it now.”

When his commander’s logic broke through, Keown stood down and nodded his understanding. Titus wasn’t exactly sure what Keown knew of Cerberus’ experiments in the past with biotics, but it was obvious his armorer didn’t like it. Cerberus was known to be extremist, branded as a terrorist organization by both the Alliance and the Citadel Counsel. Even Titus didn’t always agree with the Illusive Man’s methods; but he still held a great deal of respect for the man that protected humanity. He knew that sometime in the Illusive Man’s past, something happened to him that made him become who he is today. Something happened that changed forever changed his opinion of the galaxy.

The commander strolled past Dr. Kieran and over to the kids, bundled up under heavy covers as they slumbered. A few were barely awake, their eyes drifting. Only one of them remained separated from the group, wide awake and standing on his own two feet. He was leaning against the barrier, staring down at the ground. He appeared older than the others. Mopped brown hair reached down to the base of his neck, and hazel eyes glistened in the late afternoon sun. “What’s your name?” Titus asked.

“Braden,” he said, pushing himself off the barrier and standing before the armor-clad Cerberus commander.

“What goes on here, Braden? What do you do?”

The look the boy’s face displayed was one of slight confusion, as if Titus should have already known the answer to his question. “They train me- or us,” he said, nodding his head toward the other students. “We adapt our abilities; learn to control them better. We also kind of live here… for now.”

“So this is temporary? How long are you here?”

“For about two years; then they’ll take us back to the Academy to continue our normal studies. Not everyone at the Academy gets to come here. Only the best of the biotics kids – like me.”

Commander Titus smiled and crossed his arms, as if to challenge to the kid. “So you think your biotics are pretty special then, huh?”

“I’m the best and the oldest here,” Braden responded, his chest slightly pushing out. He folded his own arms, mirroring Titus’ stance; accepting the challenge. “Want a demonstration?”

Dr. Kieran stepped in, positioning herself immediately next to Braden. “Braden,” she said, a scorning tone in her voice, “there won’t be any of that. Understood?”

“This kid’s the oldest of the group?” Titus asked, directing his question to Dr. Kieran.

“Yes,” she replied. “Braden’s fourteen. The others range from ten to thirteen.”

Serena approached the group and flanked Titus. “A bit extreme, don’t you think, doctor?” she asked, a hand on her hip. “I’m all for advancing biotic research in humans, but these kids are a little young, in my opinion, to be taken to such a faraway colony from the academy for two years. What about their parents?”

“All of the children selected for this particular study are orphans, actually. We are their family. We made it this way so that the students are always around familiar faces, and never taken away from them. It’s a very selective study.”

Titus turned to see Keown’s glare. It was obvious that what the doctor said about the study being selective only fueled his anger – giving him more reason to distrust this entire operation. The commander turned back to the doctor. “We’ve taken enough of your time. My team and I will be on our way. If I were you, however, this location still presents a viable target for the Collectors. You have no GARDIAN defense towers and few Alliance military personnel on hand to combat them if they were to ever come. Colonies are disappearing left and right, and with the amount of Academy personnel and students on this one location, it seems like a good harvesting ground to me.”

“What are you suggesting, commander?” Dr. Kieran asked.

“You may not trust Cerberus, but the Alliance can’t very well keep account of their own. Entire human colonies are being abducted right from under their noses. Allow us to have Cerberus monitoring drones stationed around the facility – no personnel, I promise. The drones can relay reports back to us so we can tabs on this place and make sure things check out in the future until this Collector threat passes.”

“Just like that?” she asked, she shot Titus a suspicious look. “You don’t want to protect us. You just want to monitor our research; study us.”

“So what if we do,” Titus responded. “We’re not harming anyone by doing that – and we’re still providing you with watchful security.”

Dr. Kieran thought for several moments. As the program’s director, it was her call and Titus knew this. In most circumstances, Titus would order the drones to be installed anyway, but with the facility being on Eden Prime and within Alliance controlled space, this wasn’t one of those circumstances. He needed permission first, or else, if caught, the drones would captured by the Alliance and tracked to their source. The biggest reason why Titus wanted the drones installed was not for the Illusive Man to study and steal their research, but to honestly monitor the location in case the Collectors really did target the place. Titus always had a soft spot for kids – and if he could tabs on Eden Prime and this particular facility, then he would feel better about leaving them here. It would also help Keown ease his own distrust about the Alliance’s Ascension Project, and convince him that what they’re doing here is completely legal, ethical, and isn’t harming the students in anyway.

“Fine,” Dr. Kieran said. “I’ll let you install the drones. Just… keep them out of sight of the kids, okay? I don’t want them anymore scared for their safety after this incident.”

“Can I go with them?!” Braden anxiously requested, glancing up at Dr. Kieran.

“Heck no!” she said with a slight smirk, though Titus could sense the serious tone beneath her joking expression. “You’re far too young to be running off and playing commando.”

“But I’m tired of this place already,” Braden complained, beginning to pace.

What Serena next actually took Titus by surprise and he had to double-take to make sure he understood her right. “We could always use another biotic on the team, commander.”

“What?!” Both Titus and Dr. Kieran exclaimed at the same time.

“My omni tool doesn’t lie,” she replied, raising her arm, which was braced by the haptic adaptive interface of her omni tool. “Braden, here, shows a unique biotic adaption – more so than the other students.”

Serena approached her commander and showed him, along with Dr. Kieran who had also stepped up to examine, her omni tool’s readings. According to the results of Serena’s scans, Braden’s biotic energy readings were exceptionally above that of any average biotic. Most biotics can go their entire lifetime with only having enough energy to move tip over a glass. Manipulating dark energy requires heavy amounts of stamina. In combat, Asari biotics may be able to lift and aggressively propel their opponents into a wall, but it leaves them physically drained for nearly hours at a time. Yet, Serena’s omni tool was showing that Braden had more than enough biotic energy to toss someone not into a wall, but through it.

“You asked if I wanted to see what you can do,” Commander Titus said to the boy. “Show me.”

Braden, excited to get to use his abilities, even without consulting his instructor and guardian, began charging up his biotic field. Short bursts of electromagnetic dark energy pulsed around him. His eyes were nearly consumed in with a blue-violet glow, and eventually a deep aura of the same hue replaced the outline of his body. Slightly grunting from the exertion of strength, Braden, with an open, raised his arm to alter the physical state around a large, heavy metal crate behind the team. A few of the kids woke up from the noise of the warping metal under the weight of the contents inside the crate. When they saw what was happening, they scurried away from under the safety of their blankets and sprinted to hide behind Dr. Kieran – who was standing with her mouth agape in surprise. Braden thrust his hand forward, sending the crate into and through the low barrier that the other students were resting against only seconds ago.

When Titus and the others looked back at Braden, they expected to see him on the ground, completely unconscious from the energy it would have taken to perform such a feat. Instead, and to their surprise, he was perfectly fine; not even sweating or breathing heavily.

“I’ll take him,” Titus said with confidence and a smile.

Before anyone could react to his bold statement, his comm went off and an unrecognizable female voice came over the channel. “Commander Titus, this is Operative Buchan, aboard the Vindicator. What’s the current status of the colonial advancement facility?”

The woman's voice was immediately followed by Darcy, the Vindicator's helmsman. “I have no idea who she is, just for the record, Commander. She just showed up out of the woodwork, but EDI says she’s here under orders from the Illusive Man.”

Titus shook his head and brought a few fingers to his brow, rubbing his forehead as if to get rid of a headache. "I don't know who you are, Miss Buchan, but we'll talk about this later. I don't like answering under-cutting questions, got it? Commander Poitvin: talking to you now. What's your status?"
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Guilty Carrion on Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:40 pm

Helmsman Mansfield chuckled to himself at the Captain’s swift dismissal of the bossy woman, finding some satisfaction in the way she had stiffened ever so slightly at his tone, or the way her hands coiled into fists. Vala nodded quietly, flicking her gaze down at the pilot with an venom dripping from her topaz eyes. “Of course, Commander. We’ll discuss your mission at length later. Operative Buchan, out.” Tapping a slender finger against her ear piece, she loosed a low sigh, only for Darcy to snicker once more. “Something amusing, Helmsman?”

“Not at all, but I have to ask. Does it chafe?”

“My armour doesn’t chafe, Helmsman, it was custom built to my exact specific-”

“I meant the stick up your ass.” A deathly still settled over the two as her eyes flickered with barely controlled rage; slight arcs of dark energy raced along her frame, the small choker round her neck lighting up with a feint red glow as her biotics flared to life. Darcy’s chuckled faltered off, swallowing the lump in his throat as the operative leaned in close to his face. “It was just a…joke…”

“A very bad one, Helmsman.” She hissed, the blue glow of her eyes fading away as she straightened herself back out. “I want updates on the situation every five minutes. Understood?” Her voice was neutral once again, as if the very real threat of being turned into a smear by her biotics had never happened.

“Y-yes, ma’am!”

“Good. I’m glad we understand each other, Helmsman.” She turned slowly, catching sight of the opening lift doors as she did. Armoured legs came into view, and she hissed in annoyance, cloaking generators on her back flickering to life and shielding her from view. A lone figure raced out from the elevator, assault rifle at the ready as he swept up into the helm, only to find nothing out of the ordinary.

“Darcy…where’s the intruder?” The helmsman’s chair spun around, fixing the armoured figure with a look, before the request processed and he glanced about the helm.

“She was here just a minute ago…”

Vala remained frozen in place, pressed up against the bulkhead, eyes darting between the two men quickly. How had the Helmsman signalled? A small personal device, no doubt, likely on his Omni-tool whilst she was distracted. Clever bastard. Points for being cunning, but she still didn’t like the man. The two seemed focused on debating the reality of the ‘intruder’, giving her some time to quickly process the situation and devise a plan forward.

As for this newcomer…he would need to be disarmed. She stepped forward like a wraith, flexing her fingers experimentally as the distance between them closed. The inches slipped away, as she quietly retrieved her Phalanx pistol from her hip, relishing the familiar feel of the weapon in her grip as the barrel levelled next to the man’s head. The two men’s eyes practically leapt from their skulls as she rematerialized in their midst, the soldier quickly trying to turn only to find the weapon level against his head. “You can stand down now, Agent.”

“There she is, Lance. Happy?” The sarcasm was difficult to miss, but they both seemed to pay it little mind, so the pilot shrugged and returned to his duties.

A tense moment ticked past, as the man examined his assailant. Vala felt his eyes roaming, and got the impression that he wasn’t simply examining for potential threats. Situation assessed, a smile spread on his lips as he slowly straightened himself out. "I'd do as ordered, ma'am; but it's a natural thing we're talking about here. I won't be standing down for you anytime soon."

Vala was still for a moment, processing what had been said, before a dark look settled across her already cold features. Furious laughter echoed throughout the bridge as Helmsman Mansfield tried to control himself, failing horribly at even suppressing it to more manageable levels. “Your name is Lance, correct?”

He nodded once, cocky grin spread across his face at his perceived triumph. In the next moment, the butt of the Phalanx crashed into his face, successfully wiping the grin off his stupid mug, as Vala swept his legs out from under him and sent him crashing to the metal floor without batting an eyelash. “I am Operative Buchan. Next time I give you an order, I expect you to follow it, or I’ll break a more vital bone. Like your neck.” She looked to the two guards from earlier, who had mixtures of shock and anger spread across their faces. "Stop standing around and take this man to the medical bay."

The two shared a look, before helping Lance to his feet and helping him towards the lift. Darcy glanced up at the woman, shaking his head at the vicious smile splayed out on her lips. "I think you've got some aggression issues, ma'am."

Last edited by Guilty Carrion on Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Eye colour fixed.)
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Artorius on Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:10 pm

The drop ship sped towards Anhur’s surface. Flames licked the ship’s blast shield as it entered the atmosphere. The drop ship just about touched Anhur’s surface before its landing jets kicked in. However, it would seem Cerberus spent so much money on the Spirit, it neglected to buy the best drop ship. The jets were strong for about five minutes as the ship hovered a couple dozen feet from Anhur’s. However, as they got a couple feet closer to the planet the jets fizzled and died. The drop ship hit the ground hard, sending its passengers’ heads snapping back. Commander Prado’s helmet absorbed the impact, but he was the only crew member suited up. He simply laughed as his crew groaned from the impact.

However, time was short, and humor was fleeting. Commander Prado immediately un-buckled and opened the drop-ship’s butterfly style door. Just then, Commander Horn's voice blared over the comm channel; Commander Prado placed his right hand on his helmet, pushing a button which optimized the comm channel.

"This is Commander Prado of the Spirit, pleased to meet you, Commander. I've got some boots on the ground, we're preparing to move into New Thebes. Got a plan?"

"Not so much a plan as it is a punch to the gut Prado. I have two teams along with the Batarian Mercenaries accompanying our Mako through the center of the city using the main streets as their route of advance. They will draw most of the fire, allowing our two teams, if you're in position to do so, to flank on either side of the city. From there, all three teams will push forward to the city center where the ship is currently hovering over. That's our main objective, while targets of opportunity are sabotage towards any and all collector targets. Once we reach the center, while it would be optimal to coordinate all three teams at the same time, if you get there before we do, you push on. I will be doing the same thing, so don't wait for us if we aren't there. This alright for you, Commander?"

"Aye. Call me Landon, Commander. We'll rendezvous at the city's center. Do you have a tactical map for download? Our intel wasn't very comprehensive as we were first response."

As Commander Prado finished his statement, he sent his second-in-command, Derek Chung to scout ahead. Derek readied his sniper rifle and went to scout ahead for any enemy resistance. Jason Horn’s voice interrupted Landon’s next order.

"One moment," uttered Commander Jason Horn. Silence was audible for a few moments before bursts of gunfire were made apparent. The PAT PAT PAT of a three round burst assault rifle was heard as Horn resumed speech. "Serah should be uploading to you now, it should also include all three teams positions in real time."

Landon would see a small bar reading "downloading" on his HUD before a tactical map conquered his eye sight. It incorporated a "dot" system. Red dots represented hostiles, green friendlies, and blue was Landon's position. Commander Horn's squad's were labeled as well. In the corner of his vision, Landon would spot Derek sprinting back from over a hill, sniper rifle in hand. Something was wrong.

"Got it! I'll see you s-HOLY SHIT! Down, down down!"

A group of Collector’s pursued Commander Prado’s second-in-command he led them back to the rest of the group. With little warning, the other four soldiers a part of Derek’s squad dove behind the drop ship before drawing their firearms. Landon listened to Commander Horn as gunfire whirred past him.

"Affiirmative, keep us posted. Horn out."

A volley of gunfire, as well as tiny explosions could be heard in the background, Landon's unit could be heard fighting for their lives. "Good luck, Commander! Prado out!"

With that last affirmative goodbye, Landon emerged from behind the drop ship and laid siege on the Collectors. His assault rifle tore through their kinetic barriers like a hot knife through butter. The Collectors retreated as the rest of Commander Prado’s unit followed suit.

“Let’s go! We must push into the city!” yelled Landon.

His unit at his back, the Spirit’s commander did what he could to save Anhur’s colonists as he neared the edge of the city, he’d see a small group of soldiers fall from the sky; it seemed their jets saved them from a harsh landing.
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by quakernuts on Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:30 pm

Horn cut the connection to Prado, focusing his attention on the few collector drones centered a about twenty feet in front of them. Taking them out quickly, he could hear the rattle of automatic gunfire and occasional heavy weaponry in the distance as all three teams made their way through the city. A tiny map in the corner of his HUD indicated where all the teams were, along with their objective, which was still a fair distance away. Jason waved a finger forward, and his team quickly fell into formation and started their approach on the eastern side of the city.

It was only a couple of blocks before they ran into serious opposition. About ten collectors saw them round the bend, and immediately opened fire with their pulse rifles, along with one of them toting what seemed to be a laser beam. As Jason and his team dived to cover, the beam chipped away at the concrete, and started to melt it as if it were plastic. "Target of Importance!" Jason said, marking the collector on their HUD. immediately Linda used her jets to launch herself on top of the building she was taking cover on. It was a perfect strategy, the narrow street not allowing for much movement from the ground. She ran across the rooftops, firing as she did so until she got close enough to jump off.

Instead of using her jets to soften the two story landing, her biotics shone through as she created a shockwave upon landing, scattering the collectors as she ran for the nearest cover. Daniel set up a combat drone to draw attention from Linda while Jason broke from cover and rushed forward towards the closest Collector. The collector was just getting back up, but a close range three round burst to its face prevented any further movement. Suddenly the beam that had so easily sliced through concrete hit his chest and shields like a hammer, forcing him to a ground with a slight beeping noise to indicate he had lost shields. Instead of trying to regain his footing, he punched his jets and forced himself to ride the ground as the beam fired again and missed him by mere inches as his jets carried him safely...into a wall.

The slam against the building disoriented Jason for that split second, but Daniel and Linda were already moving. Linda had created a singularity, capturing four of the collectors in a stasis field as they spun around the black ball. Daniel immediately stepped forward, switching to his shotgun and quickly forcing two of the collectors out of commission before they got their wits about them. The moment they turned to fire on Daniel, Jason was on his feet and firing his assault rifle at the closest. A half a clip later, and another one was down for the count. Four out, another six to go.

Linda had hopped back up on the building, favouring her sniper rifle over her Vindicator, and was slowly picking away at their kinetic barriers. The collector with the beam weapon reared his head once more, having taken a position slightly behind the other drones, but Jason was watching for him this time. He fired as he ran through the group, his rounds flashing as they impacted on the collector's enhanced kinetic barrier. Jason's adrenaline kicked in, modified through several implants in his body to create a sense of slow motion throughout the world. A collector attempted to step in front of him to block the way, and instead ended up with a rifle butt to the face. As it spun around, Jason caught it's body just in time for the beam weapon to start firing. The force was amazing as Jason had to prop up the body with two hands in order to maintain it. It wasn't long before he heard the crack of the sniper rifle, and he stumbled forwards as the pressure ceased to exist. Jason didn't have any time to see the result of Linda's handiwork as more pulse rifle rounds peppered his shields from the back as he dove behind the concrete barrier the beam user had just been occupying. A couple shots from a shotgun later, and it was all quiet. "Kill count fourteen." Linda kept track over the com. as she floated down quietly, using her biotics to slow her descent. Jason nodded, and was about to motion them forward when another voice broke through.

"Commander Horn? Lieutenant Nicola here. Encountering heavy resistance, but are still proceeding as planned. Be warned, husks have been seen in the area along with several larger variants that have some sort of biotic cannon attached to their sides." Nicola had been the marine Jason had placed in charge of the main assault force.

"Affirmative, and thanks for the heads up." Jason switched frequencies to give the same information to Commander Prado. "Be advised Commander. We have confirmed husk and variants in the city. Repeat, Husks and variants are in the city." Jason then looked to his team.

"Alright, let's take to the rooftops. Engage any and all collector forces on the way. The more we kill, the less that have the chance to abduct more colonists." Linda and Daniel nodded as they all boosted to the top of the buildings and started running along them with their enhancing armour and short bursts of their jetpacks. Off in the distance, Jason saw a couple of explosions too far away to have been from the Mako. No doubt Commander Prado was doing damage of his own from where he was.

"Contact." Daniel stated over the comm., his voice as neutral as ever. Sure enough, from their spot two stories up they saw the collectors moving the stasis pods towards the city center. Before Jason could give the order to attack, gunfire erupted from inside one of the buildings, taking out one of the collectors before the rest turned and opened fire. Jason enhanced the image on the building, but all he could make out was a pistol sticking out of the window and firing sporadically, if somewhat accurately.

"Crash and burn! take them out!" They all launched into air, and landed a few feet away from the collectors, some of which turned to engage the new attackers. All three of them opened fire, and took cover behind some cargo crates that were littering the street. Jason shot a couple rounds over the crate, peppering a collector but not putting him down. He quickly ejected the thermal clip and slid in another one. He couldn't help but throw a taunt in somewhere.

"You guys are the worst kind of door to door salesmen!" Jason leaned over the crate and fired several more rounds.

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Dax on Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:03 am

Just as Commander Poitvin had Commander Titus in his sight, Betty ringed in his helm. “Commander, I am reading signatures of multiple signatures within the room you and Titus are in. They seem to be human: most probably survivors... and, unless my sensors are mistaken Commander, there are children there as well. Though I do not detect weapons of any kind, I would still advise caution.” Poitvin took a second to reflect on what his AI told him. If they were human, they were most probably survivors because alliance members wouldn’t be hiding in the recesses of a dark room weaponless and defenseless. “Thanks, Betty,” was all that Poitvin said in an answer. HE would not heed her advice, but the information was nonetheless valuable.

Titus was the first to speak when Poitvin had finally reached him and exchanging handshakes. Commander Poitvin chuckled silently under his helmet at his first remarks. ‘Judge me already, do you,’ Poitvin thought calmly. ‘All’s well, then. The quicker you judge, the less you know, and the less you know about me and my team, the better.’ Poitvin didn’t want nor seek the appreciation of one of the Illusive Man’s lapdogs. Men who were so loyal to such an untrustworthy man were, to his eyes, weak. Poitvin would die for humanity, not for the Illusive Man, nor Cerberus. That is where his fundamental difference laid between him and most members of this rogue organization. He had no doubt that the Illusive Man was rather… swaying, in his motives, but if you held to your principles as strongly as you should, as strongly as Poitvin did, then Cerberus’ head man’s advances would flow over you like a soft stream.

“As you wish… Titus,” responded Poitvin in his strong, deep voice. Poitvin was about to open his mouth once more to inform his comrade about the survivors who were hiding just over yonder, but just as his jaw muscles stretched, a small rustling in the far side of the room was heard. They were, without a doubt, the humans that Betty had informed him earlier. ‘Harmless children,’ Poitvin reminded himself. However, although not to his surprise, Titus and his crew immediately moved into action, weapons drawn while the Black Hornet’s Commander watched on casually. Poitvin would not be surprised in the least if he would shoot them, due to his nerves and reaction time, which, even he had to admit, was decently quick. Unfortunately, or fortunately, it depends on who was looking at it; the survivors crept out of their hole, inciting a surprised reaction from Titus, who scolded them on something that would have been his own fault if it had happened. This time, Poitvin did not suppress the sound of his chuckle; ‘Hot blooded pup,’ though Poitvin. “Yes, Titus, children and a woman, terribly dangerous people,” he dropped sarcastically towards the Commander.

As Titus started his little friendly discussion with the poor surviving humans, Poitvin took the liberty to take a little walk around this room, which used to be their Mess Hall. It seemed in good enough shape. Everything was still rather clean, and if the food would have been warm, it would had seemed as if those who were eating eat had been here but a few minutes ago. It was an off putting enough sight, Poitvin had to admit. His colleague then pulled him from his thoughts. Poitvin turned his head to face Titus, who was now a good couple meters away from him. Apparently, he took the decision that he could tell Poitvin what to do. Although the Commander would not contest Titus’ ‘suggestion’, since it was a sound one, he took a mental note. He would try to make a mental portrait of Titus’ personality and traits. It would come in handy later.

With a stiff nod, Poitvin signaled Kathleen and Wilkes with the wave of his hand. They then proceeded to fall into formation behind their Commander. They all drew their weapons, this time not too sure what to expect. Thankfully, Betty once again came to their informational rescue. “Commander, New scanners reveal a large group of humans not too far from your position. I am reading a lot of signatures that could be interpreted as children… and some armed adults. Probably the security agents for the facility,” explained the AI.

“This hole doesn’t have a standing security staff. Too costly. If there are armed people in this building that isn’t Cerberus, it’s either hostiles or Alliance.” Betty promptly signed off after those words, leaving Poitvin, Kathleen and Wilkes to see for themselves what exactly it was that was going on. Poitvin, personally, hoped it was Alliance. Even if the organization he was working for and, by extent, he, was branded as a terrorist by his former brothers in arms, he knew he would be able to sway them into pacification just enough to either send them off… or kill them if they proved too much of a trouble. Then again, Poitvin wouldn’t be terribly angry at the thought of just mowing down a couple of hooligans or bandits…

Fortunately, yet, once again, unfortunately, what Poitvin found were alliance soldiers.

A group of five alliance soldiers were guarding what it seems to be a bunch of children. That was an odd thing to do. However, upon closer inspection, Poitvin realized that there was something fundamentally odd with these children. They seemed… distant. They seemed as if they were not in total control of their functions. Poitvin wasn’t too sure about this, nor could he put his finger on it, but he knew something was fishy. Right before he stepped into the alliance’s soldier’s sights, the Commander abruptly stopped, pulling Kathleen close to him.

“Kathy, when we get close enough to those children, try to scan one of them with your Omni tool for any cerebral poisoning or outside interference with their cognitive functions. BE sure to also scan their genetic code to see if the problem isn’t there.” His second in command shot him a questioning look. Normally Commander Poitvin was rarely, if ever, second guessed. Kathleen, his second in command and the one he had been working with since his early days in the Alliance Fleet, was the only one who could do so without getting a powerful backlash.

“John, they’re just children. They are probably just traumatized. I highly doubt there is something wrong with them at that level…” Commander Poitvin just shot back a sharp glare towards her as a response. Kathy rolled her eyes. “Fine,” was all she said, half amused, half annoyed by her friend’s obnoxious insistence. Wilkes, on the other hand, was insisting, with only his looks, that we engage. He was probably hoping he would be able to shoot one of the alliance soldiers. He was another hot-blooded young crewmember, but one with incredibly talent, knowledge and skill.

With that set, Poitvin and his crew members dropped their weapons, ready to go if needed, but not menacing anyone. They then made their way towards the group of alliance soldiers. Poitvin in his armor did not worry about being seen as a Cerberus agent, but that was not the same for his two crew members. They had to stand awhile behind their Commander and at a slightly angle so as to hide their insignia. The plan was that Poitvin was to use his old rank and number to pose as an alliance soldier and get the information that he needed. The fate of the soldiers, on the other hand, depended entirely on the way they acted during this little encounter.

“You there,” yelled out one of the soldiers who happened to female, and also appeared as their leader. “Identify yourselves immediately or you will be branded as hostiles.”

Commander Poitvin turned his charming mode on. He raised both of his arms in their air in sign of surrender. “Hey there, no need to point that at me. I am Colonel John Poitvin, Commander of the SS Deceiver, ship number F-119408. I was sent here to provide some back up.” Poitvin feigned looking over their shoulders and onto the group of children. “And I think you desperately need some.” With that, the alliance soldiers looked at each other, and slowly lowered their weapons. Poitvin smiled under his masked. ‘SS Deceiver,’ Poitvin mused, how ironic. His true allegiance hid in plain sight, the best hiding spot possible.

“Finally, I thought we’d never get help for these children,” responded the fiery woman soldier. “Also, did you happen to see what was the cause of all the ruckus in the Mess Halls? I would have sent some of my men to go check it out… but as you can see here, we have our hands full,” she pointed to the children with the muzzle of her gun. “By the way, let me introduce myself: I am Captain Eliza Yossarian. I head the security task force sent by the alliance.”

Commander Poitvin nodded. “Tell me, Captain Yossarian, how do you explain this facility going dark? You all seem somewhat fine…” Poitvin’s hesitation obviously referred to the children.

“Yes, well, it’s a long story, Colonel Poitvin. There are some very odd things going on here… Rather, there were very odd things going on here,” answered the woman hesitantly.

“That much is clear. A facility on well known Alliance planet doesn’t just go dark without a damn good reason.” Poitvin peered over to the children. “As for them, what the hell is wrong with them? I was told they looked traumatized, but I personally don’t buy it.” The Commander worked hard to suppress a laugh as he felt Kathy want to throw something at his face. However, even with that remark, Kathy was discreetly making her way close to a child to try and perform a scan.

“No, trauma isn’t the cause, Colonel. It is something deeper…” It was obvious that the captain wasn’t at ease talking about this. Either it was sensitive information or she just didn’t like having the information she possessed. “It’s in their brains,” she finally said. “They have implants. These implants are supposed to enhance the biotic capabilities of the children, thus making them more powerful than your average biotic user. This act was ordered by the co-director of the facility. He wanted to make his students the most powerful in existence and take all the credit.”

Suddenly, a lot made sense to Poitvin. First of all, the Commander was surprised this was a biotics training facility. He tried to appear unphased, because as an ‘Alliance Colonel’, he should have known about it. Secondly, everything fell into place. The co-director had gone rogue, put the security of the facility in jeopardy for self gain. That was typical. The only question that was left was the whereabouts of the implants in question. It must be very powerful technology to increase the biotic powers of its surrogate. Poitvin grilled the captain for more information.

“Implants you say? This seems like pretty powerful technology. This co-director couldn’t have gotten this off any illegal merchant. It had to be someone or something with way more resources and power. This also doesn’t explain why this whole place went dark. Captain, I don’t think you are being thorough with your captain.” As he spoke those words, he saw on the corner of his vision Kathy scanning some children under the watchful eye of two male guards… although Poitvin could easily guess they were staring at her not just because of what she was doing…

The Alliance captain scoffed, turned her head away in shame, and then turned back quickly. “Alright, alright. The co-director bought the chip off Collectors. Well, he didn’t actually buy them. He traded them. He traded them for the codes to the GARDIAN defense towers around Anhur in the Thebes system. Although once the implants were used… they changed the students. They made them slightly crazy; mindless, if you want. The-“ The captain was then interrupted by Kathy.

“Commander, you’re not going to believe this. The implants… they’re Reaper technology. It’s nothing like I or Betty have ever seen before. If our cross references are any indicators, the effects that children are experiencing are parallel to that of…” Kathy paused a moment, giving a terribly sad look towards the dozens of children before her. “Husks.”

The revelation hit Poitvin like a brick; however, before he could say anything, hell broke loose. The alliance captain looked at him very cautiously. “What does she mean ‘Commander’? I thought you were a Colonel of of the Alliance Fleet…” Just at that moment, at a terribly unfavorable moment, one of the male soldiers who were checking Kathy out saw the Cerberus insignia on her suit, because she had turned to speak to her Commander.

“Cerberus!” yelled one out, starting to draw his weapon.

Before he could do anything, Kathy dropped to the floor, swung in a circular motion with one legged stretched out to trip the soldier and rose back to her feet while taking out her M-3 Predator Pistol. She aimed carefully and shot him in the head. Immediately after, the other guards sprung into action, they all started yelling, Yossarian included. She ran back for cover, but before she could go anywhere, Poitvin jumped on her, grabbing her by the arm and giving her a chomp on her right soldier, forcing her to drop her weapon. He then held her as a hostage.

Wilkes, towards the back of the room, was happy that he could finally kick some butt. The armorer took his shotgun and charged two of the soldiers with his heavy suit. Two bullets skimmed his armor, barely doing any damage before he smashed into them, unbalancing them. As they fell, Wilkes trained his shotgun on them and fired, killing them both in one wide spread of bullets. One last soldier was left and he was just about to take aim at Wilkes inclined head, a shot that would kill him instantly. Before he could pull the trigger, Poitvin, in one lightning quick move, pulled the captain behind him, swung his weapon up, expertly trained it on the soldier’s chest and let loose a burst of five bullets, killing him instantly.

When the dust settled, only Eliza Yossarian was left alive, soundly held by Poitvin. She eyed him furiously. “Cerberus scum! How could you, how could you…” The captain was trying to piece together what had just happened. ‘Poor kid,’ thought Poitvin. He knew he would be able to bring this captain to his side. It was just a matter of distorting facts slightly… She would soon be part of his crew. He needed someone with such recent inside knowledge of the Alliance and the fact that she had some sort of experience with the Collector’s was a plus.

“Look here, Eliza,” boomed Poitvin, using her first name to try and calm her. “You were lied to by the Alliance. You and four other men to guard an entire facility full of crazy biotic children with an unstable co-director? How could you have not seen this? Ever since you survived the initial onslaught of Eden Prime, they have been trying to marginalize you, put you out of sight… I can attest to that. They did the same thing to me. They did terrible things to me, things that continue to haunt me to this day. I decided to leave the corrupt Alliance behind me for good, but decided to keep fighting: fighting for the cause I love. The survival of the human race. Ever since I left the Alliance, I have spent my years hunting down every and all menace to our species, be it Geth, Reapers… or Collectors.”

At the mention of Geth, he saw her eyes light up. He knew he had hit a cord within her. She seemed visibly calmer. Poitvin let go of her and stepped back a bit, giving her some space. She rubbed her eyes intensely. “Join me, Eliza. Join me and leave the ungrateful Alliance behind you and join me. Together we will do what the Alliance never wanted or let you do: save the human race and make sure that there is no repeat of an Eden Prime Crisis. What do you say?”

Eliza stared at Poitvin’s mask incredulously. After a couple minutes of thinking, it sunk in. She realized, oddly enough, that this man wasn’t crazy. He loved humanity as much as she did. She didn’t like working for Cerberus, but she would put her loyalty in the hands of this man who seemed strong enough to know what he was doing it, why he was doing it and how to do it. She would join. “You’re right… Commander Poitvin. I will join you.” That was exactly what Poitvin wanted to hear.

Wilkes finally interrupted the moment with a reality check. “What are we going to do with the children?” he asked. That was a very good question. However, it only took a second to process it. They were in a semi controlled state by the Reapers. It was obvious what they had to do. “Wilkes, keep one alive. The rest… kill them. This entire operation is an abomination. Bring the one child to the Hammerhead and we will send him to the Illusive Man for testing… We better get a bonus for this…” With that, Commander Poitvin walked out of the room with Kathy and Eliza, leaving Wilkes to do the dirty work. He hoped the children wouldn’t scream too much.

As the Commander walked back to the Mess Hall, he heard a voice beam through his helm. This time it wasn’t Betty, it was... he actually had no idea. There was some bickering, then the familiar voice of Titus boomed in. It was odd, apparently his comm. device had now opened to Titus’. He guessed that was a good thing. He knew that both his ship, the Black Hornet and Titus’ would be listening. His colleague asked him about his status. Poitvin forgot how much he disliked his comrade.

Poitvin explained everything in the comm. link, from the initial meeting with the soldiers, to Eliza’s explanation, to her joining his crew, to the slaughter of the mindless children of all save one; that of which you could hear some distinct explosions and gunshots in the background. As he spoke, Poitvin reached the Mess Hall, seeing Titus standing next to a young boy. He was possibly a biotic without the emplants, since he didn’t seem too zombie like.

“So, Titus,” said Poitvin, “what have you got here? I know I got myself an alliance captain.” Then, in a secure channel between only his suit and Titus’, he added: “An exceptionally good looking red headed alliance captain, may I add.” He said that on impulse, and, after thought, was not too sure why he had done it in the first place.

“Got any information that would be otherwise be useful to the mission, then?”

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:50 am

Titus, Serena, and Keown could only stand and stare in utter astonishment as Commander Poitvin came around the corner. The Vindicator's commander was boiling with rage, though his discipline kept his composure from leaking any indicators of complete disgust toward the man that he found himself working with. Mercilessly killing children was not the Cerberus he worked for. "Commander...," he said, flicking the switch on his helmet to lower the slate-black visor over his face, "you and I may share different values - different reasons for working with this organization. But I don't work for murderers and zealots. I suggest you keep that in mind the next time we work together."

Commander Titus began walking away, waving for his team, and his new crew member, to follow suit. Braden stuck close to his new friend, and only glanced back at a somewhat astonished Dr. Kieran for a second. He knew that she couldn't do anything to stop him. Who was a doctor to oppose a team of armed soldiers? And he knew there was nothing more that she could do for the boy personally. Braden had his own history, one that was riddled with mystery and pain. Dr. Kieran could only do so much to help him come to terms with his past - and it was time that he moved on.

As they rounded the barrier and made their way back onto the walkway, Braden glanced at the woman that had taken care of him for the last year for one final time. He saw her mouth the words "be careful" with that same cautious, motherly face that always seemed to annoy him. But surprisingly, he realized that he would actually miss it.

"Commander?" Serena asked aloud they made their way out of the facility and back to the drop shuttle.

Titus' reply was short, and slightly irritated, though she knew it was not because of her. "Yeah?"

"Something tells me you have a problem."

Titus helped Braden up into the drop shuttle and patiently showed him how to buckle the harness around him. When he was secure, he gestured for Keown to hoist himself in next, and then turned to Serena outside. "I don't know this Poitvin guy. But anyone that gives the order to just execute kids because they're seemingly beyond help, probably deserves a bullet to their own head. People underestimate my motives for working with the Illusive Man. I may be looked at like his 'pet', but in all honesty, I only look like I'm kissing his ass because I share the same vision for humanity as he does. That doesn't mean, however, that I agree with everything Cerberus does."

As Titus and Serena climbed into the drop shuttle and strapped in, and the door close as the jets fired up, Titus leaned over her and said, "And I don't think the Illusive Man even likes half of what his organization is doing..."

There was nothing more comforting than being back on his own ship - though Titus wished it was during better circumstances than now. He was stuck between two primary tasks: he knew that he had a stowaway aboard that he would have to handle (some pesky agent for the Illusive Man), and that he would have to speak to their employer personally for a debrief on the mission. What was to come first would depend on whether or not anything was going to happen from the point he set foot on the drop shuttle bay floor, to the point his foot set foot in the briefing room on deck one.

EDI's voiced instantly chimed in as he entered the elevator, already providing him with his first definite task. "Titus, Miss Buchan would like to speak with you in the CIC, immediately."

"EDI, kindly inform Miss Buchan that I'll greet her personally when I'm finished talking to her boss."

A slight smirk formed across Titus' face when he heard Keown muse, "I guess anyone that demands anything of you can only wait longer, huh?"

The elevator stopped at deck two and the doors opened to reveal the CIC from his daunting perspective. He saw the galaxy map directly in front of him, with his yeoman standing there and attempting to clam down the ship's newest "member". The woman was taller than he expected. He definitely foresaw good looking features by her voice when it came over his comm on Eden Prime; but he sort of thought he would see short-and-bitchy; not tall-and-damn. The armor was a nice touch, though. Unfortunately for her, she would not be graced with Titus' charm just yet. Their eyes met very briefly, but before the stranger could process his taunting face and gesturing ta-ta-for-now fingers, the doors to the elevator closed.

Now it was just him. Keown, Serena, and Braden stepped off on deck two. Keown would be leading him to the research lab first for a quick detox scan. Normally, that would be done in the medical bay, but giving his biotic implants, Braden would need more complex equipment. Titus pushed himself forward from leaning on the handrail of the elevator car as it stopped on deck one. He stepped out and, just as before the mission, he made his way into the briefing room. EDI didn't even have to wait for his command this time, as she already gave her cybernetic order to lower the shielding around the half-dome windows that provided a view over the great, star-dazzled abyss. As Titus stepped into the center of the lowered conference table, the orange holo-grid rose around him and the Illusive Man's office appeared around him.

The mysterious gentlemen of a war long-past, now with all the swagger of any multi-billion credit tycoon, surprised Titus by the simple fact that he was not sitting in his chair this time. Instead, he was standing in front of it; his cigarette in hand and the trail of his latest puff lingering away in the atmosphere before him. "Commander Titus," he greeted with the same, cool voice as always. "I see that your mission on Eden Prime went well, according to EDI's reports."

"And which EDI told you that?" Titus said with a challenging tone. "Was it mine, or Commander Poitvin's?"

The Illusive Man turned away and moved over to his chair, sitting himself down and crossing one leg over the other. "Titus, if we are to keep the Collector's at bay, I'm going to need the commanders I have on this mission to work together. Understand? Normally, I would never allow such a thing to happen. It's practically a breech in our umbrella protocol. But there's no other way. What Commander Poitvin chooses to do in the field is up to him. I know that the both of you have completely different personalities, different moral values, but I still expect you two to cooperate nonetheless."

"So I'm supposed to just stand by while he executes innocent children?"

The Illusive Man inhaled another puff from his cigarette and it let go with gentle ease. He then dabbed the end of it in the ash tray on his chair's armrest and folded his hands. "If the children were being controlled by the Reapers, then I'm afraid there was no other option. It was either provide them with peace, or let them be controlled like their husk counterparts. And if I'm correct... It was Poitvin's team that analyzed them, not your's. You have no idea how exceedingly damaged they were from the Collector implants. It would have been too high of a risk to let them live... if the term 'live' is even applicable in such a situation as that."

"I don't care what they were. It was still cold and heartless. And this all leads me to my next question. Does Cerberus have anything to do with the Ascension Project?"

The Illusive Man was quiet for a moment as he carefully considered his answer. Finally, he said, "If you're wanting to know whether or not Cerberus was conducting harsh experiments on biotic children in the past; the answer is yes, but also no. I had commissioned for a program similar to the Ascension Project, yes. But the facility eventually went rogue. They had stopped reporting in and began conducting their own experiments - experiments that crossed the line between humane and inhumane. Look, Titus, I - you and I - stand for the advancement of the human race. I don't see how torturing innocent human children advances us. The facility was shut down when I was made aware of their rogue actions. I can assure you."

"That doesn't answer my question." Titus crossed his arms, appearing defiant in front of his employer. He was going to get an answer nonetheless.

"And I'm getting to it," the Illusive Man replied, surprisingly without the slightest hint of annoyance. Titus had to give him credit for his patience and composure. He amusing wondered how long he would last in a staring contest. "Yes, I may have provided some valuable funding and research for the Alliance's Ascension Project. And, contrary to what you may want to believe, I still have a few resources that are leaking in. But only I am involved with the Ascension Project directly. I learned my lesson... there is no other Cerberus initiative that is messing around in that program. Oh and... thank you for giving the order to install those watch drones on Eden Prime. With those, I can safely monitor that facility's progress."

Titus looked the man up and down for a moment. When he was convinced that the man had honestly answered his questions, he let his arms unfold and said, "You're welcome. Is that all you need from me?"

"For now. Oh, if you haven't had a chance yet, introduce yourself to Vala. She's one of my best. I know you may not like her sneaking aboard your ship - but in time, you'll come to understand and appreciate her value." The Illusive Man tapped a button on his personal haptic adaptive interface and the transmission was cut.

When Titus stepped out on deck two, back into the CIC, he saw his yeoman, Lisa Brown, storm past him and into the armory. "Where are you going?" he called after her.

Lisa stopped at the entrance to her destination and called back, "To get my gun! That bitch is driving me up the fucking wall!"

"Great..." He turned to the woman that he presumed to be Vala and extended a hand. "Sorry for the wait," he said with a genuine smile - though it was a forced genuine smile. "I'm Commander Titus of the Vindicator. It's a pleasure to welcome you aboard, ma'am."
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Guilty Carrion on Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:39 pm

Leaning elegantly over the railing for the Galaxy map, Vala’s eyes quietly scanned over the ship schematics and crew logs on her Omni-tool, taking note of prime locations for possible bugs, scanners or infiltrating hostiles. Credit where credit is due, the ship’s design minimized those zones far better than any alliance ship she’d ever seen. Of course, that was a common thing when you weren’t bound by foolish politics and the inane need to make your fleet look uniform.

Her comm beeped, and she pressed a finger to her earpiece. “Operative Buchan.”

“The Commander is back, Ma’am.”

“Thank you, Helmsman.”

“He seems a little…testy, so you might want t-” She cut the channel, stretching out before turning towards the elevator. A half muffled sigh echoed up from the helm, as she tapped into EDI’s holographic interface. The glowing orb sprung up on command, seemingly watching the operative as it awaited instructions.

“Tell Commander Titus I’d like to speak with him immediately.” The AI blinked away, only to return a few seconds later.

“Commander Titus will greet you personally once he has finished speaking to the Illusive Man, Miss Buchan.” More run around?! She started down the walkway, gaze zeroed in on the rapidly approaching lift. He would NOT brush her off again. Steps away from the lift, however, the calm face of the Yeoman stepped in front of the seething operative, holding her hands up in a pacifying gesture that kept the Operative from simply striking her across the head and out of the way.

“Miss Buchan…”


The yeoman looked less than thrilled over the insistence on her formal title, but complied, although if it was out of understanding or fear of being hit by the aggressive woman was a mystery. “…Operative Buchan, please take a moment to calm down. The Commander will be with you shortly, he just needs to report first. Surely you can understand that?” Vala’s short rapid breaths calmed slowly, her fists uncoiling as she regained a fraction of her composure.

“Yes…I suppose you’re right.” The lift dinged and opened, revealing Titus and his team. She glanced over from the Yeoman, watching the armourer and SIC disembark, along with a small boy who was promptly taken over towards the Tech Lab. Then she met eyes with the Commander for the first time, and whatever effect the Yeoman had had was quickly dispelled by his mocking wave. The lift slid shut and was gone before she could cross to drag the man out by his throat, and she slammed her fist roughly against the metal, leaving the smallest dent from a brief flare of her biotics.

The SIC and Yeoman watched her quietly compose herself, sharing a glance over the stability of the woman before them. Darcy’s voice sounded over the intercom. “Ma’am, I know its fun and all, but if you could refrain from tearing holes in the ship, I’m sure we’d all appreciate not being blasted into space and flailing like rag dolls into the atmosphere.”

“Save it, Helmsman.” She hissed under her breath, earning a small “Yes, Ma’am.” as she turned towards the SIC. Their eyes met, and for a stiff moment they examined each other. Vala frowned darkly, catching the all too familiar distaste and disapproval on the officer’s face. She reminded her of Operative Lawson, the stuck up bitch. The mere mention of her name sent fire burning through her veins and it became painfully clear that she would not get along with this woman in the slightest.

No words were shared, Serena simply moving off towards the helm of the ship, likely to get a report on the happenings whilst she and the Commander were away. Yeoman Brown kept her air of composure, and spoke calmly, as if Vala were a five year old throwing a tantrum. “The Commander has…a sense of humour, that’s all. No need to react so negatively.”

“Your Commander…” She began, voice frigid and dancing with barely contained anger. “…had best make his report damn quickly, Yeoman.” She crossed her arms across her chest, eyes narrowing on the confused look on Yeoman Brown’s face. “I don’t frankly enjoy someone trying to give me a psych evaluation simply because her superior decided to be a cheeky and immature ass.”

“Operative Buchan, that wasn’t my inte-”

Save it. I’ve dealt with shrinks in the past, and I have no interest in having a nice pretty report filed into your personal records and forwarded to your precious commander.” A tense moment passed, before Vala’s finger jabbed towards the smaller woman. “And when you say my name, say it with some respect, Yeoman Brown. I didn’t come to this ship to have myself seconded guessed by you, I came here to ensure your commander is up to task, and will accomplish his objectives.”

That seemed to strike a nerve, as the Yeoman stormed past the blonde, bee lining for the armoury. If Brown wanted to try her luck, she’d be more than happy to beat the Yeoman into line and shut her damned mouth for good.

Vala would be lying if she said it hadn’t felt good to send the shrink storming off. The rehearsed calm such types always rubbed her wrong, and forcing their actual emotion to the surface was a challenge she rarely failed. What did that say about her, though? The helmsman’s comment earlier flashed to mind, but she tossed the thought back into the dark as quickly as it had come. Heaven forbid that man be right about something.

Commander Titus approached her moments later, extending his hand and flashing a genuine smile that somehow still managed to feel insincere. “Sorry for the wait. I’m Commander Titus of the Vindicator. It’s a pleasure to welcome you aboard, Ma’am.” His childish antics from before had vanished. Hadn’t the Helmsman mentioned him being a little testy before? Perhaps it had been a simple misunderstanding…

First Impressions. The familiar mantra repeated itself in her head, and she quickly took his hand and gave it a firm shake. “Operative Buchan. The pleasure is all mine, Commander.” Her own smile was noticeably more subdued than his, but the small upturn was the best she could manage. Anger had always been easier to express than happiness. “She’s a magnificent ship if the schematics are anything to go by.” Now was the difficult part. “I’ll apologize for my earlier rudeness, Commander. It’s been sometime since I’ve served with a crew, or even a team. I’ll need to re-familiarize myself with the proper protocol.”

The Yeoman had returned, although the distinct absence of a weapon told Vala she had smartened up to her actions before making a potentially fatal error. At least she realized when she was out-matched. In hindsight, she’d made a fairly poor impression on most of the crew. No doubt that’d bite her in the ass before too long. “If you have the time, perhaps we could go over the mission on Eden Prime?” She glanced towards the Tech Lab, curiosity spreading across her features. “I’m quite curious as to why you’ve brought back a child from the facility, as well.”

Last edited by Guilty Carrion on Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:05 pm

"Of course!" Titus responded without a moment's hesitation. He was actually quite excited to be working with another favorite of the Illusive Man, especially a woman with enough guts to not only challenge but actually upset Lisa Brown. As they walked, however, Titus let his enthusiasm settle for a brief moment and lowered his voice to just above a whisper. "Ma'am, if I may... as long as you're aboard my ship I expect that we have an understanding of who can talk to whom with reprimanding tones. Let me handle my crew. I'm not sure what that was about between you and Miss Brown, but I'd appreciate it if we avoided any further confrontations."

The blast door to the tech lab hissed and opened with the same blinding speed as any other door on the Vindicator. One new to the ship might practically expect a red carpet to roll out for them. Vala Buchan was right in the fact that the ship was magnificent: not only was it well above par for any Alliance vessel, it was also designed for comfort and convenience, treating each and every crew member like they were in a resort. Commander Titus felt no such lapse of criminality for sleeping in the captain's quarters on deck one while the rest of his crew was subject to the finely furnished, equipped, and even decorated crews quarters. In some sense, he actually envied the accommodations of his operatives. Not only were they comfortable beyond measure, but they had the opportunity to indulge themselves in light, everyday conversations and games while they sat back in their own lounge, behind the main quarters, sipping on dry martinis and mojitos.

Professor Terrance Sinclair, an esteemed graduate of Earth's proud Harvard University, and four-year associate to the board at the Jon Grissam academy, stepped forward with a wide grin from cheek to cheek. "Commander, I'm so used to you bringing me specimens of non-sentient lifeforms or strange glowing rocks from the Terminus systems, but this-" he gestured towards Braden, who was sitting atop an exam table with what appeared to be a small x-ray machine suspending from the ceiling, wrapping around his head, "-just takes the cake! Is this because of my former position at the academy?" He nudged Titus in the shoulder and paced quickly back over to Braden and began to tap away at a haptic adaptive interface on the examination table.

Titus smiled as he stepped over to them, standing next to Keown, who was leaning against a counter behind the professor. "I wish I could say that, Terrance," the commander replied sincerely, "but he's actually a new recruit. I just need you to make sure there's nothing potentially... wrong with him. There were some other children like him back on Eden Prime that... well..."

"Nothing wrong at all, actually," the professor responded quite joyfully.

"You're sure?" Professional Sinclair shot him the kind of cheeky smile that said come on!, and Titus raised his hands in a surrendering manner. "Thanks, Terrance. That's all I needed to know."

Titus then turned back to his ship's newest member. "Operative Buchan, this is Braden... uhm..." Titus' face suddenly turned a slight shade of red when he realized he never bothered to ask the boy's last name and quickly turned his head to the boy for assistance.

"Reynolds," Braden responded on queue.

"Right. He's a biotic with a load of potential. I know it seems unorthodox to bring a child aboard a military operation, but the Illusive Man has given me the graces of casting a large net for my recruiting and I intend to only recruit the best." He shot an eye back to the boy, who was busy having his eyes examined by one of Professor Sinclair's many probing lights. "He stands out," he finished.

While the strange, albeit attractive woman and Commander Titus were talking about him, Braden couldn't help but let his eyes wonder up and down the woman's armor. It was common for teenage boys to find themselves aroused by such seductive figures, and Braden was now finding himself at the wrong end of that natural feeling as he attempted to shift his legs uncomfortably on the examination table.

"My goodness, kid," the ecstatic professor in front of him said. "You need to use the latrine, or what?"

Braden quickly nodded, seeing a way out of this situation, and jumped down from the examination table with such careless speed that he pinged his forehead on the x-ray machine that was intended to be lifted first. He placed a hand to the sore spot on his skull where the painful contact had been made and warily walked towards the nearest exit out of the laboratory. Keown walked him out and down a corridor, stopping halfway down to point to him where the latrine was located.

"You might want to see Dr. Veronica Porter when you're finished to have that bump checked out." He grinned and said, "We can let a head injury subdue you already," before walking off in another direction, but not back to the laboratory.

"Yeah..." Braden mused after Keown disappeared, "or hormones."

Back in the tech lab, Titus and Vala were finishing up their conversation when EDI appeared at one of her many projection terminals throughout the ship. "Titus," she announced in her synthesized voice, "Doctor Porter would like to inform you that Battery Officer Williams will make a full recovery. His broken nose is well underway to completed reconstruction with a mild application of medi gel, but he won't be in any condition to talk until he recovers consciousness from a full dose."

As soon as EDI disappeared, Titus' eyes shot immediately to Vala. "Broken nose, huh?" he rhetorically asked with a grin. "I take you've already met Lance, then?"
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Guilty Carrion on Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:27 am

Vala moved swiftly at his side, watching him out of the corner of her eye as he spoke. He certainly seemed far more agreeable in person, and the gentle charm the man seemed to exude was a welcome reprieve from the hard asses she had dealt with in years past. She inclined her head slightly at his request, knowing she had likely crossed a line in her…less than diplomatic interactions with his crew. “Of course, Commander. I’ll be sure to forward any problems I find from now on to you.” She’d just omit her greeting with Lance for the time being. The man was going to be fine, after all. A broken nose wouldn’t keep a good soldier down, and she’d taken the extra care to not send the bone into his brain.

They travelled in comfortable silence to the Tech Lab, which slid open just in time for them to pass through without pausing before sliding shut once more. A small convenience she’d no doubt forget in the days to come, but it was plenty convenient while she was aware of it. She stopped opposite the armourer, letting Titus speak to his Science Officer as she quietly examined the immaculate status of the chamber. There had been no shortage of funds for crafting the Vindicator it seemed, her eyes noting the state of art systems dispersed throughout the small room. There was enough machinery in here to satisfy the needs of a dozen labs, and yet it was all at the beck and call of a single man, to do with as he, or his Commander saw fit.

The room sent unpleasant shivers racing down her spine, memories of her own stints in the sterile white labs of countless facilities racing up from the black of her mind. Hands coiling tightly, Vala willed the thoughts back down, banishing the chilling memory of gleaming knives slicing through skin from her mind’s eye with a surge of will power. She needed a distraction. Perhaps..?

She flicked her gaze over to Keown, flicking over the man once in a vain attempt to gage his thoughts, but his quiet form revealed nothing. The armourer glanced over, catching the woman’s eyes with his own, only to offer a light smile and a short nod of the head in greeting. Vala nodded back quickly, a little too quickly she’d later regret, and refocused her gaze on the Commander, who turned to face her proper. Perfect. The information would distract her excellently.

The infiltrator listened quietly, sparing a glance towards the young biotic every now and again. A mere child with so much potential in biotics..? It stung like a scab torn off a healing wound, and she forced an air of indifference across her features as Titus continued his explanation. There was a time and a place to deal with this, but now was the time for business. “I have no doubt he’s to be an exceptional biotic if you’re taking him in so young, Commander.” She offered a quick, humourless smile. “Besides, if the Illusive Man has already given you such a wide net, then I am in no position to criticize your decisions. Although perhaps a demonstra-”

The boy’s rapid departure cut her short, topaz eyes watching the young biotics retreating back curiously. He was a quick little one, of that there was no doubt. “Perhaps later…” She half-muttered to herself, brow raised in unsatisfied curiosity. “Might we go over the mission now, Commander? I‘m curious to know what happened in the facility.” Vala half turned to Titus, hand resting casually on her hip as the two operatives settled into the familiar back and forth of a debriefing.

It was obvious the actions of Commander Poitvin had disturbed Titus, and in most situations, she’d be inclined to agree. However, it really hadn’t been a normal situation, had it? “I see…unfortunate that it had to come to that, but perhaps that was for the best. I know I’d rather die than serve as a slave for my enemies…” The air seemed to hang thickly for a moment, before EDI broke the still with the Medical Officers report.

Idly fingering the choker round her neck, the wall suddenly became far more interesting than the man before her. Well, she had hoped to avoid this for a little while longer, but there was really no avoiding it now, was there? “Shortly after meeting the Helmsman, yes.” She coughed, regaining her composure and ignoring the curious looks both of the room’s occupants were giving her. A light blush coloured her cheeks, knowing he was likely expecting a good explanation. This was exactly why she preferred working alone! No explanations for her actions, just straight forward and simple results! Diplomacy and crew politics was just a headache waiting to happen at this rate…

She quickly drew on the simmering anger, setting her jaw and fixing Titus with a serious look. “I’ve worked hard to get where I am, Commander Titus. I didn’t appreciate your crewman trivializing me with comments about my biological effect on his body.” Still, Operative Buchan bowed her head briefly, her long pony tail rolling over the back of her shoulder to dangle beside her face. “However, I apologize for injuring one of your crew. I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Assuming the worthless idiot knew how to keep his damned mouth shut. Her blood boiled at the memory alone, and that was from three seconds of talking! Imagine what the buffoon would do if she was actually forced to converse with him? She made a mental note to stay clear of the Main Batteries for the duration of her stay aboard the Vindicator. Speaking of which…

“I shouldn’t keep you from your duties any longer, Commander. I’m sure you have much to do and discuss with your crew. If I could acquire an officer’s quarters, it would be most appreciated.” The thought of rooming with the crew was an unpleasant one at best, and at worst…well, it was best not to go there.

Last edited by Guilty Carrion on Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:16 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Eye colour fixed.)
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:49 am

Titus raised a hand after her apology and grinned. "No worries, Operative Buchan. Lance probably deserved it, I have no doubt." After listening to her request for an officers quarters, Titus nodded and explained to her that EDI would allow her private access to her own room and office space on deck three, as well as give her clearance to access any of the Vindicator's operation reports should she wish to review them in further detail at any time. As Titus left to depart from the tech lab, he called back with a waving hand and said, "Again, ma'am; welcome aboard the Vindicator."

As Titus rode down in the elevator to deck three, he couldn't help but ponder what Vala had said to him earlier after his debriefing to her. "I know I’d rather die than serve as a slave for my enemies…" The words echoed in the back of his mind and he wondered if their really wasn't any other way that Poitvin could have handled that situation. Titus wanted to think of a dozen other alternatives; calling for Alliance medical support, researching some reversing alternative, or even relocating the children to a more hospitable quarantine.

The elevator doors shot open at the same lightning speed as every other blast door on the ship and the thoughts instantly vanished from Titus' head. He pushed himself off from leaning against the railing and stepped out onto the crew deck. He made his way around a few bends, past two of the main crew quarters and Serena's office until he came upon the blast door to the medical bay. Once inside he found himself standing in a white, well-lit room with several examination tables and recovery beds in the back, and state-of-the-art equipment and various gadgets in the front. Computers and haptic interfaces could be found in just about every corner.

The commander nodded to Dr. Veronica Porter, his chief medical officer on board the Vindicator. She smiled back at him, the kind of smile that one love interest gives to another. True, Titus and Veronica were seeing other, but they didn’t let personal feelings get involved with the mission. The Illusive Man’s orders came first, and they both knew this, being loyal Cerberus agents. Veronica was the kind of woman that looked out and cared for everyone on the vessel, practically as much as Yeoman Brown but more on a medical level, of course. Where Lisa would ask a crew member how their day was going, Veronica would ask if they had taken their daily supplements. If Lisa asked if they were feeling down, Veronica would stick them with a thermometer and check their temperature. She never let anyone on the ship pass below her “health radar”, as Titus jokingly said.

The blond-haired woman, clad in the tight Cerberus medical staff coat with an orange patch on either each upper arm, was sitting on a stool beside one of the recovery beds. It took Titus several seconds to realize what he was seeing, and he almost felt sorry for barging in on her work. Veronica was sticking a slim needle in the back of Braden’s neck. According to the haptic holographic screen in front of her, Veronica’s long needle was penetrating in between Braden’s vertebrae. A small mechanical device of some kind was meeting the end of the needle.

“It’s a subcutaneous transmitter,” she said to Titus without removing her eyes.

“What’s this for?” Titus asked.

“The Ascension Project inserts these tiny devices on the vertebrae of each of their students. As the student progresses in their biotic adaptation, this transmitter records valuable date for study. Believe it or not, the procedure for implanting it is relatively safe. I can do it with my eyes closed.”

“When you do,” Titus responded, “make sure I’m not around to see it. I’d like to keep my lunch where it belongs.”

Veronica smiled. “Oh, John, don’t me laugh. If I move the needle around too much, it hurts him.”

“He’s awake? You didn’t sedate him?”

He saw Braden’s fingers gently close into a fist and heard him mumble into the pillow his face was buried in. “Are we done yet?”

“We are now,” Veronica said gently, almost with a motherly coo. She carefully removed the needle after a tiny green LED light began to flash on the end of the handle, signifying that the data has been successfully collected and uploaded. She used a small alcohol wipe to dab up the tiny drop of blood on the boy’s neck and then patted him on the back before standing up. She turned to Titus and said, “His instructors are responsible for extrapolating this data at least once every week. It’s extremely valuable and their main, safest way of monitoring the student’s stability. They have to ensure that the implants aren’t causing mental or physical degradation. I might as well keep up the process if we’re to have a biotic as young as him on the team. Besides, Braden was surprisingly implanted with the new L5x implants.”

Titus suspected that Veronica was about to tell him something astonishing, so he asked anyway to get the question out of the way. “Okay, I’ll bit,” he said. “What’s the deal with the L5x implants? I thought implant versions stopped at L3.”

“They do for most biotics,” she replied, moving over to her desk to upload the data captured in the needle’s handle where a microchip was embedded. “L4 implants were developed in secret by the Alliance nearly a year ago and eventually implanted into the children at the Ascension Project. Cerberus got their hands on the technology and later upgraded to L5x and L5n. That’s why it’s surprising to see Braden with them.”

“So you’re telling me that Cerberus is involved with the Ascension Project after all…”

“It seems that way, yes.”

Titus shook his head and brought a hand down his face. “Let’s just keep this information between the three of us.” He shot a warning glancing to Braden who had sat up from the bed to fix his shirt collar before hopping down. “Keown’s not going to take this lightly if he finds out.”

Braden nodded his understanding before leaving the medical station. When the blast door closed behind him, Veronica stood up from her desk and leaned in to whisper in Titus’ ear. “You know…,” she said, “it’s been a while since we last talked.”

Titus took a moment to entrance himself in her perfume. The aroma was tantalizing, drawing him in closer. He could feel himself eventually pressing up against her. But the thought of the mission was once again brought to the forefront of his mind. “I know,” he said, bringing himself out of the trance. He placed a hand around her hip and smiled as he looked into her eyes with promise. “Once we defeat the Collectors; we’ll have all the time in the world.”

“I’ll hold you to that, commander,” Veronica said with a teasing smile. She reached up with a single finger, using its tip to draw Titus’ chin close to her. Her lips briefly touched his and then she let go, stepping back with batting eyes. “I better get back to work.”
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Guilty Carrion on Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:28 pm

She followed on the Commander’s heels without a sound, watching him depart in the lift before shifting her focus to retrieving her belongings and getting the new lodgings set up. A mental check list sprung up in her mind’s eye, rapidly detailing everything she could First things first, her weapons would need maintenance. Vala strode quickly across the CIC, exchanging an icy glare with the Yeoman before passing through the hissing blast door of the Armoury. The Operative was beginning to notice a trend with Vindicator’s facilities; between the advanced technology and general tidiness of the ship’s many corridors. The crew was doing an immaculate job of keeping her in tip top shape, but unless she was mistaken, the vessel had yet to see combat. Their eagerness might fade after a few close calls, she mused, retrieving the Phalanx heavy pistol from her hip.

Stroking the length of the barrel affectionately, she did a quick once over of her trusty weapon, noting every scratch, scrape and scar that littered the worn heavy pistol. It had been without repair for far too long for her tastes, but necessity had forced the operative’s hand. The curious gaze of the Armourer drew Vala from her reverie, and she looked to Erik with a stiff nod. “Operative Keown. I’m Operative Buchan.”

“Ma’am. If I had to take a guess, you’re looking for some weapon maintenance, right?” The man smiled, walking to her side and whistling low at the gun in her grip. “A Phalanx Heavy Pistol. Don’t see one of those everyday. Beaten to shit, too.”

She gave a light chuckle. “It’s certainly seen better days, but I’d bet my life on this in a heart beat. Fast, strong, and in a pinch, it’s got a mean pistol whip.”

“Lance found that out first hand I heard. Broke his nose in two places.” She spared the Armourer a quick glance, relaxing slightly at the small smile of amusement on his face. “Hopefully Doctor Porter doesn’t give you an earful if you ever end up in the Med-bay, Ma’am.”

“I’ll make sure to avoid it. Think you can have my Phalanx ready before the next mission, Operative Keown?”

“Do Elcor talk too slowly?” She blinked once, before he laughed. “That’s an affirmative ma’am. You can leave your Tempest too. Both will be tip-top in no time.” Handing Keown the Phalanx, she flipped up her Tempest next, and set it on the small table before her. As she turned to leave, she heard the man muse under his breath. “Coulda sworn she’d use a Locust…” Any further thoughts were cut off by the closing blast door.

With her weapons taken care of, Vala promptly boarded the lift, and descended down to deck 4. She stepped out quietly, doing a quick survey of her surroundings, thankfully finding none of the crew in her immediate vicinity. Perfect. Tapping a single key on the holographic interface of her Omni-tool, the infiltrator vanished behind the comfortable shield of her cloak, stalking soundlessly into the lower decks. It seemed a mite excessive, drifting like a wraith past her own allies, but the separation was familiar and welcome. The Commander was trust-worthy, there was little doubt in her mind. His crew still needed to be examined, and she’d thank herself for the foresight to preserve some of her hiding places from her hosts in the worst case scenario. Several moments of soundless rummaging later, and she hoisted a black and white duffle bag from a small compartment, slinging the pack over her back inelegantly and closing the hidden hatch with a swift flick of her foot.

Her cloak flickered for a moment, processing the new addition to it’s field, before swallowing the bag up into nothing. The Geth truly had remarkable technology, she mused as she slipped back upstairs and into the lift once more. The cloak was rarely disturbed in average day to day tasks, easily adapting to the slight movements of the human body and any small or medium sized items that came into her possession, much like the duffle bag she now carried. In the event of combat however, it’s usefulness diminished. Rapid movements, like sprinting or hand to hand combat disrupt the veil, as well as firing any of her weapons. Prolonged fire fights were the antithesis of the cloak, but if she was getting into fire fights in the first place she deserved it.

As the lift slide open on the third floor, she tapped her Omni-tool and started down the hallway, ignoring the few blinks of surprise as she appeared amongst the scant few crew moving about the hallway. A small map popped up on the holographic display, Vala examining the layout of the ship for a few curious moments, shifting the bag from hip to hip as she pondered her choice. The offices were labelled clearly, and it struck a small nerve that the SIC had already laid claim to her ideal selection. No matter, her secondary would more than suffice for her time aboard the Vindicator. The door hissed open quietly, Vala entering the room quickly and tossing her duffle bag onto the pristine bed in the small room adjacent to the office. Now came the fun part.

Reaching up, expert fingers disengaged the locks and safeties of her breather mask, tugging the piece free and placing it gently on the corner of her desk. Stretching out, the operative groaned appreciatively as her sore muscles started to relax, the casual dwellings offering her a chance to lower her guard and give her tired frame a brief moment of respite. “Now isn’t the time to relax, Vala.”

A visual sweep of the room revealed little, a large desk dominating the main room, wrapping along the wall and forming a sort of barrier into the small, yet well furnished sleeping area, punctuated by a large king size bed with simple black sheets. The desk sat devoid of any personal touches, with two separate terminals, the first with it’s back towards the blast door whilst the latter was pressed to the bulkhead. She quickly deduced that one was for work, whilst the other was to serve as her ‘personal’ computer. A well cushioned chair sat undisturbed, neatly tucked under the firm surface.

Tapping a number of keys on her Omni-tool, Vala sighed in quiet frustration. “Time to de-bug the room.” As she settled into her work, the operative spared a glance at the local ship time on her holographic display. Almost 24 hours without sleep…she’d gone longer, but the more she saw the bed out of the corner of her weary eyes, the more the damned thing called to her. “Work first. Relaxation later.” It was a slow, and tiresome chore, but necessity had proven it to be a vital one time and time again. Who was to say every bug belonged to Cerberus? The Illusive Man had some of the best minds in the galaxy under his command, and if he really wanted to monitor the crew, they’d be hidden so well Vala wouldn’t even begin to know where to look. As for all the ones she found, they were promptly destroyed with the heel of her palm, crushed into bits against her desk.

An hour later, she half collapsed into the chair behind her desk, syncing both terminals to her Omni-tool as she sat quietly in the soft orange glow of the holographic keyboard. Flicking her eyes to a small black device near the corner of her desk, the operative tentatively reached out with her hand, only for a small haptic interface to leap up from the little black box. Blinking once, Vala tapped one of the small keys, and the room immediately filled with the throbbing bass of the latest club monstrosity. Twitching at the blaring music, Vala quickly held out her Omni-tool, the two devices simultaneously syncing with each other in split second communication. The music stopped mid-song, quiet for a few moments before the gentle strings of a violin began to fill the void left by the previous track. “Much better…”

A gentle ping alerted her to the completion of the terminal synchronization, and she quickly straightened out in her seat. Cracking her knuckles in preparation, she set to organizing her records, sending her personal email(which was typically empty) to the other computer, along with several links to contacts and personal accounts. She reached over, rapidly typing out the command for the machine to encrypt the data, ensuring it used one of the new ciphers that she had developed for her own personal info. It wouldn’t stop an expert hacker, but it would keep any nosy crew out of her personal information.

The thought triggered her memory, and she glanced up from the screen. “EDI, secure and encrypt my office please. Restrict it to top level clearance.” A few more key strokes and she continued. “Please upload any attempts to enter or hack into the room into my personal terminal, and page me on my Omni-tool as well.” Another moment of silent work passed, before Vala sighed loudly. “If Commander Titus or Officer Taylor stop in while I’m not in, upload it to my high priority feed, I check it every 15 minutes. Any other visiting personal to my non-essential feed, and I’ll get to them when I can.”

The panel on the door blinked to red for a moment as the AI quickly set about to doing as commanded, before settling back to a simple orange that indicated the restricted status. Nodding in contentment, Vala dove immediately into her next task, calling up a crew manifest on the work terminal, before rising and crossing into the bedroom portion of the room. Her duffle bag was unpacked quickly and unceremoniously, starting first with the Raikou IV that sat first in the bag. It was an older, and weaker model than her Phalanx, but served as an excellent emergency weapon when the Phalanx was out of commission or otherwise unusable for the current combat situation. The compacted pistol was set gently on the bedside table, and her attention turned back to the few meagre clothes she owned. Setting aside her spare Cerberus marine uniform for later, Vala hung up her dress uniform and then retrieved the few odds and ends lurking at the bottom of her bag. As for the duffle bag, it was folded and tossed into the meagre closet without a second thought, focus instead on getting out of her armour as quickly as possible.

Beneath the armour, she wore the a slight variation of the standard form-fitting Cerberus uniform, a solid black variant which worked ideally with her minimal armour and helped with stealth operations. A quick change later, and she was in the clean set, the previous tossed into a hamper for cleaning when she got the chance. Slouching back into the chair(which was so comfortable it felt slightly criminal to use it when working), Vala quietly opened the crew manifest, raising a quiet brow at the minimal information. A few moments of quiet perusing, and she at least knew the crews names, but this surely couldn’t be the entirety of their records. This was sloppy at best. “EDI, do a dedicated sweep of the database and bring up anything you can pertaining to the crew.” Grabbing the small tin she had placed by her personal terminal earlier, Vala rose and silently left the room, noting that her music dropped to appropriately low levels when she left, and was nigh impossible to hear next to the constant hum of the engines. The mess hall was thankfully quiet, only a few agents going about their business when she arrived. She felt them look at her none the less, but they thankfully didn’t linger, going back to their meals and conversations quietly.

Grabbing a mug from the cupboards, it took her a moment to rig up a small tea bag, which she had pulled from the small tin, and poured some hot water into the mug before stirring the contents into the relaxing drink. Warm peppermint flooded her nostrils, and she sighed in content, body visibly relaxing from the scent alone. The walk back to her office was noticeably brighter than the way to the Mess, but she supposed the tea always did have a miraculous effect on her mood. Especially peppermint. Back inside, with a glass of warm tea, and the gentle harmony of an orchestra whispering in the background, she settled down for some reading on the crew.

Only to find minimal information once again. Topaz orbs narrowing into a glare, she addressed the AI again. “EDI…where’s the crew information?”

“It is restricted, Miss Buchan.”

Was that all? “Override it, if you will.”

“I’m sorry, but you do not have clearance, Miss Buchan.”

“What?” She blinked at seemingly nothing, before scowling darkly. The way this was going, she really shouldn’t be surprised. There was probably some reason her clearance didn’t extend to crew history, she just hoped it was a good one. “That will be all, EDI.” The AI’s ‘departure’ left her alone with the gentle lullaby of her tea and music, eyes softening as they drooped slowly towards blissful sleep. A quick glance at the holographic display told her she’d managed to stay up beyond 24 hours, and Vala could do nothing to stop a long yawn from escaping her. With any luck, she’d be able to catch a few hours of sleep before anyone needed her.

Spinning the chair about, the infiltrator half walked, half stumbled towards her new bed, pulling her blonde locks free of their ponytail as she went. Vala crawled quickly into the welcoming sheets, eyes fluttering shut the moment her head hit the pillow.
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:52 pm

Braden woke up to the visceral shine of a blue light coming through the window of his quarters. His mind instantly raced back to waking up on Eden Prime, and he would have been easily fooled into thinking that the events over the past day had all transpired in a dream, but reality struck him when he recognized the private officer’s quarters that Titus had given him to stay in. Like the rest of the ship’s architecture, everything had a utilitarian feel to it; white and chrome walls and smooth, cold flooring made up of some kind of alloy. The only difference at the moment was that the lights were turned out so he could easily sleep; no blinding bright lights to scare away any hints of shadows. Though the room was much like a hospital room if left bare, there was still an ultra-modern eye for décor. A thin wall of double-layered, with trickles of crystal clear water falling down in between, acted as a separator between the living area and the office at the front half of the quarters. There was a small assortment of living plants in a few of the room’s corners, but Braden didn’t recognize them from any of Eden Prime’s known fauna.

His attention was drawn back to the light coming in through the long window on the living side of the quarters. Wearily, Braden pushed aside the covers of his bed and stood up on the cold surface; his bare feet carrying him from the comfort of his mattress to the window. When his eyes adjusted to the light, he made out the source was an old star on the Vindicator’s starboard side. What was probably at one time a massive sphere of raging fire and solar arcs, had been reduced to a small, weary, but beautiful blue orb of captivating wonder. Braden found himself lost as his eyes gazed into the star outside his window. For a moment, time had seemed to come to a near halt, and memories of a past life surfaced from their repressed corners deep within his subconscious.

The boy would never forget the terrified expression on his father’s face, when the thirty-two year old Daniel Reynolds tried to save his wife and son from a Geth attack on his home colony. Braden’s mother managed to hide him, but the Geth found him after she was cut down, trying to defend her son by brandishing a pistol, invoking the aggressive response of force that took her life. Upon seeing that Braden posed them no threat, the machines pressed on through the rest of the colony. In between the time that the Geth left, and the Alliance finally managed to respond to the far-out system on the outer rim, Braden was already gone – abducted by slavers from Omega. He was sold, bargained for more like it, and subjected to indentured servitude on the filthy, crime-infested space station. It was nearly a year before he was found by a humanitarian aid group, rescued by a daring gang of his own kind, and introduced to Dr. Kieran at the Jon Grissam Academy. Several months later, the Ascension Project began their Eden Prime experiment, and Braden was selected as one of their subjects.

He never knew why he was gifted with such powerful biotic potential. His young age made it hardly believable among the board of directors at the academy… until they saw him perform during an examination of his abilities. According to what Dr. Kieran had once told him, Braden had become a biotic in uredo; meaning, he was born as one. She never explained how, unfortunately, and he was left always wondering if it was the result of some sort of sick experiment, accident, or just fate. His parents weren’t biotics, and they would never subject their unborn child to any experiments. But Braden was left with little information to go off of. Dr. Kieran had said that it was best he didn’t pursue the answer, as he might not like the result.

A knock on the other side of his room’s blast door shook the boy from his thoughts, and he found himself having to rub his eyes of the dazzling spots from staring at the star for so long. Braden moved around the water wall and past the long, L-shaped desk in the office space of the quarters. With the tap of his finger against the dull green haptic interface against the doors, they hissed open, revealing Titus standing on the other side in the corridor. The commander, dressed in a handsome Cerberus officer’s uniform that resembled the high-end fashion of an Earth-native businessman, looked down with a smirk and laugh, and said, “Teal boxer-briefs. Nice.”

Braden’s eyes darted down and his face filled with red hot embarrassment at his half-naked form. He instantly snatched up the shirt he had thrown against the recliner in the office space earlier and wrestled with it to provide him with a little decency. “Sorry!”

“Don’t worry about it,” Titus said, checking down both sides of the corridor to make sure that no one else saw Braden in his condition. “Just wait till you see Lance prance around in nothing but his tights. He actually did that once… Serena almost had to catch Miss Brown from fully collapsing in shock.”

Braden laughed as he searched the dark room for his pants. “So, what’s up?”

“Did I wake you?” Titus asked with his genuine sincere voice he seemed to speaking in quite often around Braden. It made the teen feel somewhat childish, but he wasn’t sure if he should object or just accept the fact that he was still awfully young. “I didn’t mean to-”

“-No, it’s fine,” the boy quickly said as he pulled his legs into the pair of black Cerberus pants that Serena had delivered to his room earlier. He would have to change his shirt next, as he didn’t want to walk around the ship with only half of a uniform. As he grabbed the jacket and black t-shirt off of their hangars in the wardrobe, he said, “I was already awake anyway. Don’t worry about it.”

“Well once you get dressed,” Titus said, “meet us up in the briefing room on deck one. I want to take you on your first assignment as a crew member. You think you can handle it?”

Braden zipped up the jacket and flattened the thin lapel against his chest, covering the seam of the zipper, and tugged on the straight collar to adjust it around his neck. When he approved of his new dashing look in the wardrobe’s mirror, he turned to the commander, his commander, and eagerly nodded. “You bet.”

Though still half asleep, the teen anxiously passed through the threshold into the briefing room. Inside, he spotted Commander Titus, Serena, Keown, and Vala standing around the conference table. At first, Braden was taken aback by the enormous glass half-dome that surrounded the bow of the Vindicator’s tower, encasing the briefing room with a view of the galaxy.

“Glad you made it, kid,” Titus said, nodding. The commander then addressed everyone present in the room. “As you know, the Illusive Man finds the notorious Shadow Broker as a threatening rival. His own privately funded organization is nearly as vast and as secretive as Cerberus. One of the Broker’s spies has managed to infiltrate Cerberus and make off with valuable intelligence that can help us defend against the Reapers. We’ve been asked to retrieve that data at all costs.”

A holographic image of a garden planet, dotted and masked with bright lighting grids and massive metropolises viewable from space, appeared in the center of the conference table. Serena spoke next, explaining that an exchange between the spy and another agent of the Shadow Broker was to take place on the planet in only a few hours, and that an asari information broker named Liara T’Soni would be able to help.

“Vala, Braden,” Titus said after the briefing was conducted, rousing Braden from his delirious confusion at how fast military briefings took place, “I want you two with me on this mission. I’m curious to see the both of you in action.” He turned to Vala next. “The Illusive Man spoke highly of you when we last talked. He said you were one of his best. So let’s see what you can do, shall we?”

"Of course, Commander. I won't disappoint you," she said. *

"Just one question," Braden said after building up enough courage to even speak in front of them. "What about weapons and armor? Or am I going as I am now?"

Keown had a slight smirk on his face, finding the young biotic's question amusingly cute. He folded his arms and leaned his weight back on one leg, and asked, "You think you can handle a gun?"

Braden had to admit that he was young and smaller than the rest of the crew, and had never fired a gun in his life; but he wasn't about to let that intimidate or belittle him. Keown's challenging question sparked a fire of confidence inside of the boy and his next words reverberated around the room with energy that fire created. "I can handle it."

Titus looked to Keown, looking for some kind of approval from his armorer. After a minute, his right-hand man let his approval be known with a short, firm nod and smile. "Keown will set you up with a weapon in the armory. But I'm afraid we don't have a hard suit that will fit you. I'll have Cerberus Command send on in for future missions. Will you be able to use your biotics to create a barrier in case we engage in combat?"

"No problem," Braden replied with a confidence.

"Good. Once everyone's ready I'll talk to the Illusive Man personally and then give Darcy the order to pass through the mass relay and place a heading for Illium."

* Dialogue contributed by Guilty Carrion.
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by quakernuts on Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:13 pm

An explosion off to his right got Jason's attention as he rolled over the cargo crate and forced himself through intense rifle fire as he half rolled into the next cover. His back hit against the building, and he blind fired a few rounds around the corner. His shields flickered for a moment before they fully recharged and Jason prepared for another rush. "Flashbang out!" Daniel yelled before Horn saw a small grenade fly past his vision. The sound of the grenade going off was all the notification that Jason needed as once again his adrenaline boosters went off and he threw himself directly into the middle of them. Four collectors were struggling to shake off the effects, but Jason didn't give them a chance. He hit one of the collectors with the butt of his rifle, sending the drone to the ground a good couple feet away and fired a quick couple of bursts into the next one, his body dropping in slow motion. The other two tried to raise their weapons, but Jason rushed forward and charged his shoulder into the closest and rolling on his body to a crouching position as he went down with him, bullets peppering the ground directly behind him as the collector tried to follow. Horn and the collector both turned towards each other at the end of his roll and traded fire from less than four feet away.

As both of their shields flickered, the collector's gave out first as fire poured into it's body and blood spilled into the street. Horn's didn't last much longer, a couple rounds getting lucky and pinging off his armour, leaving minor wounds along his torso. His armour automatically adjusted, and applied painkillers to keep the pain from clouding his awareness and battle condition. Jason slowly stood up, glancing over at Daniel and Linda who were also on their feet amidst a slew of dead collectors, at least another six. Jason put another burst into the head of the collector he rolled on, and yelled back to his team. "Killcount?" Before he could get a reply, he heard the sound of a weapon powering up, and saw out of the corner of his eye the collector aiming at him. Before he could even raise his rifle, it's head exploded and it fell to the ground. Immediately Horn looked to Linda, but she was holding her Vindicator and not her Mantis.

Movement from inside the building reminded them they had seen someone firing from one of the windows. Their weapons were held in front of them as Linda and Daniel joined Jason, but not quite up yet. This person just saved Jason, but they were also an unknown. As a woman stepped out of the building, her clothes torn in several places and wearing body armour that was obviously a size too big. Must have been stolen from a dead Merc. Jason thought to himself as the dirt and grime covered individual stepped up to him. She tried to shake her short brown hair out of her green eyes to no avail. Eventually she just let it sit there.

"Ok, I'm going to say this and get it out of the way." Jason started out. "You are probably the least likely person I would have guessed would be holding out against a couple collector squads."

"Yeah, and with your gung ho attitude, I'm surprised you're still alive." She retorted, obviously not threatened or intimidated by the team in front of her in any way.

"I happen to like gung ho, but thanks for the save."

"No problem. The name is Carly Laren."

"Commander Jason Horn. These here are Daniel and Linda." Jason said, pointing to each in turn, where the only discernable difference between any of them was Linda's armour more attuned to her womanly figure. Carly raised an eyebrow.

"Commander? You don't look alliance."

"Because I'm not." There was a slight silence between them before anything else was spoken.

"Well, are you going to tell me who you work for?"

"Are you going to care if I do?" Jason asked back. Most people were smiles and handshakes right up to the point they found he was Cerberus, then they were bullets and grenades. He was being careful.

"Depends on whether you're here to stop the collectors, or to simply grab something and get out."

"Don't worry your beautiful little head about it Carly, we're here to stop the collectors...we work for Cerberus." Instantly Carly's guard went up, but luckily her weapon remained down.

"Why would Cerberus be here? They're terrorists!"

"Let me ask you something...Do you see the Alliance here right now Carly? Do you see any sort of aid other than the men in front of you? We are all you got right now, and I would prefer the term 'Hero' to 'Terrorist' if you don't mind."

"You haven't done anything to be classified as either yet Commander." Carly said, her guard lowering slightly.

"Fair enough. Now let me ask a question. Why is there no anti-ship defence anywhere to seen around here?" Jason asked, Daniel and Linda wandering off slowly to keep the area secure.

"There is, a GARDIAN system, but it's built underground on a series of raising platforms. Meant to be for the element of surprise. They were supposed to go off at the sight of a hostile warship, but for some reason, nothing happened."

"Usually not a good sign. Where are the generators and controls for the system?"

"From what I remember, they were built near the administration building on the eastern side of the city, hidden in a bunker underneath the complex itself. But that's the building they hit first. It could have survived, but it might either be covered in rubble or out in the open by now."

"That's alright, I have someone over there right now." Jason turned away for a second, leaving Carly cautiously looking in every direction. It was good to know she was focused.

"Commander Prado, you read?" There was a slight amount of explosions and gunfire before a voice replied.

"Go ahead."

"We have reports of a GARDIAN system in the city, but the controls and generator might have been destroyed with the administration building. Could you check it out, and if it's still operational, hold it? That might just be our ticket for kicking these fuckers off planet." There was more gunfire, followed by a scream of pain, but Prado came on once again.

"We're encountering heavy resistance Commander, but we'll make a detour. Are you planning on taking the Collector's on yourself then?" Jason stole a quick glance at his map to check the progress of the assault team, and found out they had barely moved, but were still operational. There was no way they would make it to the rendezvous in time.

"A child could do it Commander!" Although that child would have to be a biotic wonder kid Jason thought to himself as he cut the channel. He made a double click on his local comm. channel, and both Daniel and Linda fell back to his position. Horn turned back to address Carly, who was still standing where he left her.

"Do you have someplace to hole up until we mop up these flying freaks?"

"Yeah, by your side kicking some ass." Jason was a little taken back by her attitude but she quickly continued.

"I'm not wearing this armour for the looks, or so I can cower in a corner Commander. I'm coming with you." There was no room for argument in her voice, but Jason was not one to easily back down either.

"Ok, not to burst your bubble of badass motherfucker-ness, but have you noticed that you lack something we have? Or, to put it bluntly...several things that we have?" Carly simply stared at him, an unwavering sort of eye contact that reminded him of several other hardcore Cerberus Operatives who had commanded him over the years.

"We have armour, military training, superior weapons, tactical intel, and jetpacks!"

"If I needed that shit, I'd be dead now." She stated bluntly, and Jason stopped mid thought as he looked at her. Did she just insult me? He half wondered to himself, but decided he liked her spunk more than he hated her half insulting him.

"Point taken Carly. Alright, let's move people. We got shit to kill and people to save. Time to be Heroes, cause if we aren't, then we're Terrorists!"

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Dax on Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:19 pm

Poitvin held Titus’ stare when the pup got all angry about his actions he had just done concerning the children. The complete fool had no idea why he did it, what was going on and to what point the children had been lost. There was no other solution. There was no saving them. No fixing them. Only the sweet caress of death would be able to free them from the Reaper’s death, and that is precisely what Poitvin had decided to do. Although the Commander had no idea how Wilkes had carried out their putting to peace, he knew he did it systemically and individually. The continuing sounds of gun shots ringing in the air were the proof of that. Thing is, Titus did not know this and, if Poitvin’ assessment of this man’s character were to be counted upon, it would not be something he would forgive easily. He would have to take this up with him at a later date. Although Poitvin couldn’t care less what he thought about him, he couldn’t afford feelings getting in the way of missions. There was at least one person he could count on to bring sense to Titus if he was ever too busy acting like teenage girl who had her prom night was ruined: Eliza, his new crew member.

Eliza Yossarian, with her appearance as an in control woman would be perfect in being his instrument of communication relaying between himself and Titus. He and his colleague were so diametrically opposed that it was easily foreseeable to think that a spat might erupt between the two if a mission called for close collaboration, or if anything at all needed intensive communication. Poitvin could probably handle part of it, but asking him to take the brunt of it was too much. He would end up killing the idealistic Titus. And that, whatever Poitvin’s intentions or reasons, was unacceptable and deep down, way deep down, Poitvin knew it. With that train of thought, the Commander of the Black Hornet faced Eliza; he took the time to explain to her what he expected her to do while Wilkes was busy doing his job.

She didn’t really fancy it.

“Well,” started Eliza, “I can understand that, Commander, but I can’t babysit you like this. This is childish acting. I don’t know how you do run your ship, but is not how one would expect someone like you to run things. The Alliance Fleet does not accept cowardice, and I highly you doubt you do, Commander.” She said this with such assertiveness and strength that Poitvin was slightly sent off balance. Not only was he rarely, if ever talked to this way, except by Kathy, but the fact that she had been straight to the point and not shy about it, even though she was new, marked a strong personality. Although Poitvin admired this trait, somewhat, he would have to keep an eye on her, to make sure that she never crosses the line from being constructive to mutinous.

In any case, Poitvin had to whip her back in line. “Miss Yossarian, you decided to join me and my crew for a mutual goal: helping human kind. You will not put in question my judgment nor take that tone with me in public, is that understood?” Poitvin knew she understood: the stiff nod he received from here was all that ne needed to see. He knew this wouldn’t be the end of it, but it hardly mattered. He had a feeling that he had gotten a potentially ferociously loyal crew member out of this Eliza Yossarian. It is not every day that Alliance Fleet soldiers decide to join Cerberus rather than die. It either takes a special breed of soldier to see the light or a special breed of Commander to be able to show them the light. In this case, the situation brought together both of those elements.

Just as Poitvin was going to radio in for a status on Wilkes progress, the shots stopped. Mere moments later, Wilkes reappeared with two children, both of which were spared because they seemed to most affected by the Reaper technology, making them easier to scan and the technology more abundant. “Here’s your kid right ‘ere,” said Wilkes, obviously proud of the job he had done. It was, he had to admit, a rather clean and efficient way to do things. Wilkes never disappointed. Poitvin simply nodded and turned his heels, making his way towards the Hammerhead which was waiting just outside of the facility. Once there, he would take the vehicle and fly onto the cargo bay of a low flying Black Hornet.

An hour later, Poitvin found himself out of his suit back into his civilian clothes, walking quickly towards the comm. Room back on the Black Hornet. It was time for him to give the Illusive Man the rundown of the mission. He knew that the mission could be either deemed a success or failure, depending on how you deem doing absolutely nothing except making sure that Reaper technology didn’t develop in the deceased children too much. Poitvin knew the Illusive Man would have already been debriefed by Titus, so the first thing he would explain was his actions concerning the shooting.

The Commander of the Black Hornet made his way into the pitch black room, to then be illuminated by the familiar glow of the blue star and a standing Illusive Man. This was a first. Normally Cerberus’ boss was sitting down, facing away from the Commander. Now he was doing the complete opposite. Well, than, and he wasn’t smoking. He must have just gotten off the comm. with Titus. Poitvin was the first to speak. “Whatever Titus told you was bull shit. The weakness of that man outstands me. Making a judgment on something he knew nothing about. I didn’t know you had such weak minded Commanders.”

Poitvin was being as annoying and pinching as possible, yet, as usual, the Illusive Man did not flinch or let the slightest hint of annoyance flicker over his shrouded face. “Poitvin, I know what you did there was the only thing you could do. Commander Titus might not be in agreement with you over that decision right now, but he will come to it eventually. Steps had to be taken, and you took them, Commander. That is all I ask and have ever asked from you and you did just that. That is all I can demand.” With those words, Poitvin nodded slightly. The times when he and his boss agreed were very, very rare, but they happened. This was one of them.

“So, you agree with my actions , yes?” shot back Poitvin, trying to get a straight answer out of this guy, just this once.

“I don’t disagree nor agree, Commander. I explained to you what I think of the whole thing. Stay alert, because I will be forwarding your next mission soon. This conversation is over.” With that, the Illusive Man disappeared from view, leaving Poitvin alone in the room. After a few seconds of reflection, the Commander walked out of the room and back towards the bridge, where he simply ignored the questions and inquiries of his crew. He was that mad.

Damn Illusive Man, Poitvin mumbled under his breath.

Join date : 2009-10-19

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by quakernuts on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:07 pm


Jason managed to yell as his team booked it and rolled through a window as three particle beams sliced through the air behind them. Linda had already switched to her rifle, and was systematically picking off any collectors that happened to poke their heads out while the rest gave her covering fire. "Daniel, send your drone and place it behind that wall over there! Wait for my signal before sending it forward!"

"Got it!" He yelled as an orange orb appeared behind them and quickly made it's way to the position. They were just a street away from the city center now, and they were seeing less and less pods and more and more collectors. that was obvious, they were getting close to ground zero. The enemies were so thick that the trace left by the rounds of their rifles filled the air with dazzling sparks of death with such intensity you couldn't even see where they were coming from. There were at least fifteen collectors in front of them, with another twenty behind them that appeared to be continuing whatever it was they were doing. Jason couldn't allow that, and he had yet to see a decent opportunity for sabotage. The Illusive man could suck it, those people had to be saved first.

"Drone in position." Daniel said, reloading his assault rifle as he did so.

"Good. Linda, on my mark, you hit the adjacent wall with the biggest biotic push you can force out. I will fire a missile on it, but I want it to fall on those fuckers. Daniel, as soon as that wall collapses, I want your drone to mop up anything that happens. Linda will be covering with the sniper rifle and us two will be charging those left. Push past if you can manage it, and force them to stop loading pods up onto their ship in the back. Alright?" Jason stated, listing out his plan as he consulted his HUD map.

"What about me?" Carly asked, to which Jason gave a little chuckle.

"Well, you're not technically military, so you can do whatever you want."

"Well that's ki-"

"So long as it's right beside Linda, and giving covering fire, alright?" Jason interrupted. She frowned as she was cut off, obviously not wanting to get left behind, but Horn continued before she could speak up.

"Alright...Mark!" Jason pulled out his missile launcher, and fired a rocket at the wall, watching as the structure weakened. Both him and Daniel then launched themselves over the wall as the rounds leaving the collector's rifles thinned slightly. Before they could resume concentrated fire, Linda let loose with her biotics, hitting the weakened wall just hard enough to have it collapse on those collectors closest to the building, burying them in the debris. The rest scattered, disoriented by the sudden collapse and were instantly set upon by Daniel's drone and the combined fire of Jason and Daniel charging down the street. Before the two of them even got there, the collectors were either dead or dying, and they pushed on to the intersection where the main gate led to the town center.

It was as if all of them shared the same mind, for they all turned and started firing at the exact same time. Rifle rounds littered the air around them as they were forced to hit the deck, and take some cover behind some of the debris they had created from the building. Even as they traded fire back and forth, the creaking and groaning of the weakened structure was too loud to ignore, and as it started to collapse, Jason patted Daniel on the back and pointed up. With a nod they both waited for the perfect moment.

It was another gamble, as was Jason's way of life, that the building wouldn't collapse on them as well. His luck seemed to hold as the building swayed away from them, but away from the collectors as well. The resulting dust and smoke from the two story building collapsing left enough of a window for Daniel and Jason to hit their jetpacks and launch into the air. The collectors continued to fire, unaware that their adversaries had propelled themselves behind them. The loud thud of their landing was the only indication that they had moved at all, and the collectors turned to fire, but Jason and Daniel were already firing back. Another two went down quickly, and Jason quickly applied his incendiary ammo and ducked beneath one of the pods that was being used to collect the humans. Even then, Linda and Carly were expertly picking off any drones too stupid to get out of the lane of fire. By the time they did manage to find cover, there were only ten left.

The two sides traded fire, often with a collector going down in the middle due to being flanked on both sides. It took a total of five minutes for the mop up to finish, the ground littered with collector bodies. There was an unnerving silence on the battleground. Shots could be heard in the distance, but they could have been pellet guns for the amount of danger they threatened them with.

"Commander Horn, you there?" Jason walked up to the main gate, and was quickly followed by the rest of his team.

"I'm here, what's up?" Prado's frequency showed up on Horn's HUD.

"We found the GARDIAN control systems. They appear to be intact for the most part, but it seems like they weren't even turned on when the collectors arrived."


"We're looking it over now, and there have been no power fluctuations since this system was brought online when it was first built. They never fired the defence towers."

"Alright, so a mystery, great. Do they still work?"

"They're all functional, but it's been encrypted by a third party. It will take time to break it."

"Alright, well I'm at the main gate and..." Jason consulted his map. "The assault team is only half way here. Do you think you can hold the system long enough to get them firing?"

"Yes, but I'm not sure you will. They must have heard that you're at the town center, because we saw at least a few squads heading towards your location." Shit Jason thought to himself as he looked back over the city, fires spreading like a disease over the wealthiest part of Anhur.

"We'll make do, we're Demons. Just do that for us, and we'll make sure these bastards don't get anymore colonists."

"Acknowledged Commander. Good luck." Jason cut the channel to Prado, and quickly opened one back up to Lieutenant Nicola.

"Lieutenant! What's your status?"

There was a flash from a part of a city, and what looked like an apartment complex crashed into the ground.

"We're taking heavy fire sir from some sort of flying hulk thing and several hunchbacks, and are being pushed back by husks sir! We haven't seen any collectors in a while, but these things just keep throwing themselves at us. We have multiple wounded Commander, we can't hold out for much longer."

"Noted, you won't have to. Try not to die Lieutenant." Jason cut the channel, and swore under his breath once again. He had collectors coming after him, one team holding the GARDIAN defence tower controls which they didn't know if they could get firing in time, and another team that was likely to go under if he took too long. No pressure, of course there was no pressure.

"Sir?" Linda asked after Jason spent several seconds in thought.

"Carly, do you have access to these gates?" She shook her head.

"Not when they've entered lockdown. Those are only available to the administrative staff and their personal guard."

"Alright then, are you confident you want to go in there with us?"

"I'm not backing down now Commander." The defiance in her voice only surpassed by that of her eyes. Jason smiled behind his mask.

"Good, I always wanted to see if this would work."

"Wha-" Jason grabbed Carly and swept her up before she could finish, and they all flew over the wall. She screamed for the first couple of seconds before she realized what was going on. Jason landed, but stumbled a few steps as the extra weight threw off his balance. He let go of her, and she turned around and looked like she was going to slap him. "You're an asshole!"

"Yeah, I get told that a lot. Now focus." The ship was damn near right on top of them, and in front of them was a horde of collectors working the pods and husks wandering around in circles. Several hunchbacks staggered around, and a flying hulk thing that Nicola mentioned was floating around the entire area.

It took a total of one point three seconds for everything to get fucked up.

Jason's team fired first, pouring as much fire into the horde as they possibly could. They brought down a few husks and collectors, but the moment the collectors fired back, they were forced to break and run for cover. Jason's HUD blinked as he lost his shields, and grunted as a few rounds hit home on his side as he dived behind a small metallic hut. He gritted his teeth until the painkillers kicked in, and noticed that he was not the only one that had managed to get hit. Both Linda and Daniel's signs on his HUD were displaying damage, and just by looking over at Carly a few feet away could tell she didn't get away scott free either. Her clothing around her shoulder was already red, and she looked to be focusing on more not trying to scream than fighting back. He couldn't blame her, she didn't have the added benefit of armour with enhanced field medical capabilities.

Even as he tried to assess the team, the moans of the husks running to greet them was constantly on his mind. As he looked over, his eyes widened at the sheer number of them. A horde was making their way upon them, with the hunchbacks, collectors, and a hulk firing from behind them. Jason gritted his teeth, and prepared. As the first husk came round a corner, he grabbed a grenade off his belt, primed it, and punched it into the things mouth. With a swift kick, he sent the creature back into it's kin, where it detonated and took a good few with it. A singularity deployed near Linda, and Daniel kept deploying his drone to attempt to by himself time. Carly was attempting to fire back, but she managed to only get a few rounds out before pain overcame her and she had to sit back. Some husks tried to run after her, but a quick few headshots from Jason stopped that idea.

Horn's HUD blinked as Linda put a status update. She was tiring from her use of biotics, especially pushing them to the limit as she was right now. She had two singularities on the field right now, and he was surprised she wasn't out cold right now. A quick glance caught her with her using her sniper rifle as a prop to keep herself kneeling. She was focusing on keeping those singularities going, and he couldn't tell how long she would be able to keep it up. He was at a loss as to what to do. He kept firing at the husks and anything that happened to cross his fire, but the numbers were simply against them. They could attempt to jet back out, but if they tried to get in again, they would have already lost the element of surprise. That, and the collector squads might be waiting for them on the outside, or the ones on the inside would simply follow them out. Jason didn't come this far to fail.

Suddenly a giant explosion hit the middle of the ship, and another, and another. Jason looked back to see beautiful towers of death rising from sections around the city, and all were targeting the Collector ship. He would have screamed in joy if he wasn't currently getting shot at. A piece of the collector ship broke off after one of the explosions, and managed to land right on the hulk, taking it out of the picture entirely. This renewed Jason's hope almost to the point of insanity as he broke cover, and charged through the husk horde.

He holstered his Vindicator in favour of his Carnifex and combat knife. He fired a few rounds and stabbed a few husks as he attempted to make his way towards the middle to stop the loading of the pods. One husk hit him, made him stumble. Another hit him, made him fall to the ground. Before he could even right himself, the husks were upon him, attempting to rip him apart with their bare hands. As they swarmed around him, one of them exploded from his view. Then another, and another. Suddenly, a blue wave came over all of them as they were swept from his view back into the collectors, knocking several of them down. Daniel and Carly came running up behind him, Daniel limping because of a shot to his leg. Linda was propping herself up on one of the empty pods near the gate, firing her Mantis with such speed he wondered if she was even aiming.

Suddenly he heard loud thuds behind him, and heard as they got closer. "Move!" He yelled as he pushed with his one hand and simply rolled to his side as a shockwave missed him by mere inches. Upon standing to his feet, he saw that the GARDIAN system was taking it's toll. Pieces were falling off of the ship, and several had crushed collectors and their zombie slaves. The odds were evening, and Jason was about to rush back in when his comm. came back to life.

"Well, you can probably tell we got it back up and running Commander." Prado said with a calmness that irritated Jason in his current situation.

"Yep, thanks, can't talk now, bye!" Jason cut the channel as he slid to another pod below the ship and simply blind fired over it. He caught one of the collectors in the chest, and it went down without a sound. The hunchbacks, the two of them that were still standing, were attempting to lock down their position. Jason prepped one of his concussive shots, and painted a target over one of them. "Hit it with everything!" He yelled, and he got results.

Daniel hit the hunchback with an incinerate, Linda shot off a portion of it's body as a round clipped right beside it's head, and Jason hit it with a concussive shot. The beast went down to one knee, and Daniel ran up to it, put his shotgun up to his head, and pulled the trigger. The skull exploded, and the body fell down limp as it no longer had anything controlling it. The other one turned on Daniel, but before it could fire, Horn fired his entire clip of his Carnifex into the beast, followed by several follow up rounds by Linda and Carly. The amount of fire forced it to stumble back underneath the unwavering assault, and eventually collapse as the entire body simply crumbled from the amount of bullets entering it.

The only sound in the entire center was the hum of the Collector ship and the explosions of the GARDIAN system dealing out some pain. Jason started to walk out, and was nearly crushed by another piece of the ship. Another piece came down, then another. He looked at the pods, still filled with people but no longer being moved onto the ship. They would just have to hope now that nothing fell on them. "Back it up! We didn't do this to be crushed by a ship!" Horn's team fell back as the ship started humming louder, and eventually starting taking off back into the stars. Even as the pieces fell off, it was obvious the damage to the actual ship was still minimal as it easily managed to escape the town, and get to FTL speeds.

It felt a little anti-climatic, the way the Collector ship got away. Horn knew though, that fights were rarely ever satisfactory at the end, and settled that at least they had stopped the process of stealing the colonists. Horn got up from his cover and walked around the battlefield while Daniel worked on getting the gate open from the inside and Linda rested herself against one of the pods. Jason could swear he could hear her laboured breathing through her mask.

The entire place was destroyed with bodies, blood, and craters. There was so much death in this tiny spot that Jason couldn't help but feel proud of it. Had this been an alliance op, they would have arrived too late, and been too scared to take something on like that. A sting in his side as the painkillers wore off reminded him just how close they had come to being nothing more than another body on the field today. Instantly his eyes went wide as he remembered the amount of blood Carly had been losing, and looked back to find her sitting against a wall. As he closed the distance, he noticed that she was incredibly pale and blood soaked her shirt and parts of her pants. It didn't look good, but he had seen people survive worse.

"So you can actually shoot, huh Commander?" She said as he got closer, her words slurred and her eyes glazed over. She was in shock, which was a blessing at this point as the pain might be unbearable to someone not used to it.

"I know! I'm surprised too! I mean, I only survived my other missions by simply spouting random one liners to the enemy." Jason said, his voice thick with sarcasm. He pulled a tube of medi-gel out from one of his hip packs, and applied the solvent to the bullet wound. She would need further medical care in order to survive, but at least now she wouldn't go critical on them for the time being. Her form still moved around lazily, but Jason managed to pull her to her feet, and help her cross the center to reach the main gate. Linda had managed to get herself going, but she was moving incredibly sluggishly, and was often leaning on Daniel.

Daniel managed to get the door open, and the massive construct lowered to reveal an area akin to the one they were just in. Bodies of collectors and husks littered the area directly in front of the gate, and on the other side of the killing ground Commander Prado stepped up and gave a small wave. Jason gave him a two finger salute as the four of them made their way out of the Town Center. As they exited the center, Horn saw his Mako on the other side, along with his troopers and the Batarian Mercenaries. While they had just been fighting along side each other, both of the sides gave each other a wide birth. Scorch marks and scratches marred the otherwise pristine nature of the tank, but it was still functional. He saw members of his crew, about half of them without injuries, and another third wondering around with obvious wounds. The rest had to be inside the Mako, or left dead on the streets. He would have to wait for a debrief in a second. Horn handed Carly off to Daniel.

"Get her onto the Kodiak and get her to the med bay. Sooner the better."

"We taking her with us sir?" Daniel added, a hint of hope in his voice. He had obviously been impressed of a civilian to fight alongside the Demons.

"Up to her, but I don't want you shagging her in the meantime."

"Shagging...Hey, that means fu-" Carly said in a nearly drunken manner.

"No sir, understood sir." Daniel quickly interrupted, a light bit of embarrassment being shown through his posture. Jason gave a small laugh and patted him on the back. He then made his over to Commander Prado, who was talking to his team for the time being. As he got closer, it was obvious it was not just him that had a hard battle. Injuries were evident among their crew as well, but Prado seemed to have gotten away with just glancing blows if the scores on the sides of his armour were anything to go by.

"Commander Horn. That was an incredibly brave or stupid thing you did today."

"I prefer the term brave if I survive." Jason gave with a small laugh. "But I do owe my life to your work. If those GARDIAN defence towers hadn't come online we'd be just another few bodies to add to the pile. Thanks."

"Think nothing of it Commander. We shoved the collectors off this planets, and that's nothing short of a victory." Jason gave a nod, although he didn't necessarily want to call it a win.

"That is was." Jason lied. "Now if you don't mind, I've been shot and it's starting to hurt. I need to see to my men." Prado gave a nod.

"I as well Commander. It's been a pleasure."

"Funny how pain and pleasure go hand in hand." Horn said pointing to his wounds, to which Prado gave a small smile. He broke off, and took his team to where ever they decided to launch a pickup. Horn meanwhile walked towards his Mako and the assault team.

"Commander." Nicola said, helmet off and revealing cropped black hair and a scar from the top of his scalp to the bottom of his jaw on the right side of his face. The rest of the soldiers milled around, tending to the wounded, and talking about what had just occurred.

"Lieutenant. What's the word?"

"Two dead, another three wounded. Green got hit pretty bad in the chest. We patched him up with medi-gel, and he's stable for the moment, but we need to get him to the infirmary as soon as possible."

"Don't worry Lieutenant, I have Daniel calling for a pickup. Care for your men. We'll be back on the Titan soon and enjoying beers for a job well done, and remembering those men who so faithfully followed us." Nicola gave a nod, and moved off to tend to his men.

"And here I thought all humans were simple weaklings." The deep voice could only belong to the Batarian Mercenary Leader.

"Yokan. You satisfied with your payment, or are you here asking for more?"

"On the contrary Commander Horn. I'm here to say that I was actually impressed with your performance and that of your team." Horn turned to face the man, a few scratches and cuts pouring blood onto his face. He didn't even seem to register the fact that he was wounded.

"Well thank you very much for your condescending compliment Mr. Borlic, and thank you for your assistance, but I have a crew to run and people that need treatment including myself. If that's all..." Jason let it drift off. That last little statement had hit a nerve. He didn't need this man's approval, and the fact that Yokan thought he needed to give it was an insult and nothing less. Yokan gave a smile, and a slight tip of the head.

"Of course Commander. I'm sure we'll see each other again." The Merc leader turned and walked off, the remaining members of his band.

"I really hope we don't." Jason muttered as the fiery trails of the Kodiak shuttles appeared off in the distance.

"So it seems that our commanding officer is incapable of preventing injuries to his own self, hmm?" Lincoln Grass stated as he peered over the injuries of the other marines that had gone down to Anhur on the assault team. Jason had already been patched up, minor injuries compared to what he had done to himself before.

"This coming from a bookworm? I'm sorry doc, but don't bitch about something unless you actually participate in it and know what it's like." Jason said, already having been patched up and leaning against a wall adjacent to the med bay door.

"Oh, but I do know what it's like Commander." Grass stated as he pulled a round out of the arm of the marine, who was too doped up on painkillers to even notice. "I see wounds like this damn near every time you take a mission. It's as if you wear a sign that says 'please shoot me, my medical officer has nothing else to do!'."

"Aw damn, you found my sign?" Jason said. Grass sighed, patched up the hole with medi-gel and looked up at Horn. He was an average looking man, with short brown hair and square glasses that didn't quite scream nerd but were close enough to be classified as one. His white medical coat was dotted with bits of blood from having to operate on the wounded, but Brash had been the last one. Grass took off his glasses, and set them on his desk.

"I'm simply saying Commander. I would like one mission where I'm not having to pull a bullet from somebody's stomach, or perform life or death surgery." Jason had had this argument with Grass before. The only reason he put up with the guy was because he was a miracle worker when it came to patching people up.

"Are you saying you don't want to do your job Doctor?" Before Grass could say anything, Jason stepped forward from his leaning position near the door. "Because it sounds to me like you really don't want to do your job. We've had this same conversation so many times it feels like it's been rehearsed. We are an assault force doc. Fighting comes with the job, and with fighting comes injuries, and with injuries comes death. You have no idea because all you do is heal the wounds, not inflict them. Do not come to me, asking me to cut back on the wounds when you know damn well that if I could stop them, I would."

"I did not mean it as an insult Com-"

"Damn right you didn't, you meant it as a condescending remark where you believe you are higher than me due to your degree with the human physiology. When you get a basic training certificate, than we can turkey. Otherwise, do your job and stop complaining about mine."

"Of course Commander." Horn nodded. He hated putting Lincoln into his place, mainly for the fact that the man had indeed saved his life numerous times. They actually got along rather well between missions, but he understood where the man came from. He hated seeing people he knew die while he was trying to save them, but Jason had to take a strong hand approach. If he fed into the emotion Grass was feeling, it would only get worse. Show a strong front, and the rest would follow. Horn nodded towards Carly who was lying on the table just a few spots away.

"How's Carly doing?"

"I'm doing just fine Commander." Carly answered before Grass could say anything.

"Nothing too major Commander." Grass stated. "A fair amount of blood loss, but nothing a transfusion couldn't fix." Lincoln stated before sitting down at his desk and typing some reports. Horn wandered over to Carly, who propped herself up in order to see him. The dirt and grime had been washed away to reveal a younger looking woman than he would have anticipated. She couldn't have been over twenty two.

"I know what the doc said, but how you feeling?" Jason asked, a small smirk appearing on his face. She gave a shrug, but instantly flinched.

"Well, it hurts when I do that, but I could be worse off I suppose."

"Yeah, I heard death is often quite worse. Well that, and an Elcor singing." She gave a small smile, and sighed. Jason continued. "So you ready to head home then?" She sobered up right there.

"What home? My home is gone now Commander. Destroyed by those things. My family and friends are gone, and those that remain will be too scarred and scared to continue. There is no 'home' anymore."

"Actually, I was referring to one of the cabins on deck two." This caught Carly by surprise as her eyes widened.

"Are you offering me a spot on your crew?" Jason gave a shrug.

"Well, you know, you did help us take on a small army and nearly died doing it. I like balls, especially on women." She gave a sly smile.

"Are you always this vulgar and sarcastic?"

"Only when I'm not being a smartass." Jason gave a smile, and sat on the table next to her. "Although, let me make myself clear." His tone immediately went serious. "Should you choose to accept, you will be under my command. You will follow the chain of command, and you will train and train hard to become the best that you can possibly be. You will stop short of nothing but excellence and strive for perfection." She gave a slow nod, fully grasping the fact that he was placing a lot of trust in her performance on Anhur. "Good to know you understand, except you forgot something." It took a moment, but she finally understood what he was asking.

"Yes sir, I understand sir." Jason gave a nod and gave a slap to the side of her table as he stood up.

"Good, you'll report to Ms. Invaru once you're able to and she'll assign you quarters and training." Jason turned to walk out of the med lab before Carly spoke up once again.

"Thanks sir." Jason looked back and gave a smile.

"Don't thank me. According to the doc there, you're going to end up on that table a lot." Jason turned and walked out of the room.

A few minutes later, Horn was in the briefing room and watching as the grid came online to show the Illusive man standing and looking out his window towards the gas giant in the background.

"I hear you were successful Commander." The IM started, and Horn placed his hands behind his back.

"As successful as we could have been without either destroying that ship or saving every single person trapped aboard that flying monstrosity, yes sir." IM turned back towards Jason, walking slowly towards his chair.

"Yes, Commander Prado mentioned that he didn't feel like you felt the mission was a success." He walked back to his chair, and took a seat. "You can't let yourself cling to what you couldn't accomplish, and focus instead on what you did. You stopped the collectors mid-raid, and were able to force them off the planet through no small feat if everything Prado said was accurate."

"He's a good man sir. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him."

"And those colonists that you saved wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for the both of you. He may have saved your life by activating the GARDIAN defence towers, but you stalled them long enough to save a few more lives. Be proud for what you were able to do Jason." IM tapped a few buttons on his holographic display before continuing. "How's the cleanup going?"

"The teams on the ground are finishing up now, retrieving people from the pods and helping them after they come out of their paralyzed state. Should be no more than an hour at best."

"Good to hear." The IM said, and Horn expected him to cut the transmission, but was surprised to hear him continue.

"Now I realize that the mission you just underwent was straining on you and your crew, but I'm afraid you're needed elsewhere."

"Sir?" Was all Jason said, not really wanting another mission so early but not daring to speak out against it.

"You are to head to Illium, there you will meet with a Commander Titus of the Vindicator. He will fill you in on the details upon your arrival."

"Yes sir." Was all Jason was able to say, despite his want to be able to explain that they couldn't send their forces into another fight just yet. They would be at a disadvantage since a few marines and their Mako needed time to recover. As if reading his mind, the IM's finger hovered over the holographic interface.

"Oh, and don't worry about straining yourself on this one Commander. A more diplomatic approach may be necessary." The screen faded, and Jason was standing in the briefing room once more. He sighed, even though that statement was supposed to ease his tensions, he really didn't feel it.

"Serah." Jason called their AI.

"Yes Commander?"

"Set a course for Illium. Tell the team to rest up as much as they can, although I don't know if they'll be needed yet."

"Yes Commander." Jason started walking out of the briefing room, but paused.

"Oh, and if anyone wants to find me, tell them that I'm having a powernap and that I get really grumpy when I get dragged out of my zzz's." Jason stated as he left the briefing room.

"Yes Commander."

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Guilty Carrion on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:46 pm

She awoke precisely six hours later, topaz eyes snapping open in the dark of the room and staring at the ceiling for a short minute. Her internal clock never let her sleep too long, but she was the one who had conditioned it to so. The Operative climbed to her feet slowly, working the sleep from her body through a quick series of stretches before fetching a tank top and shorts for her morning work out.

Her toned body was a point of pride, and the strict routine she had built allowed it to flourish and she enjoyed the benefit’s her good health provided. Tapping the haptic interface on the small sound system, she smiled inwardly as it put more sweeping instrumentals on, her Omni-tool’s schedule obviously controlling the device’s musical out-put. Technology never ceased to amaze her. Stretching out her limbs, Vala took a moment to stare at the shining blue orb outside the small window of her office, the soft blue glow silhouetting her against the bulkhead. It seemed like something out of those old romance vids her mother used to watch, just before the lover’s reunited. She chuckled, and turned her attention back to the ‘morning’ schedule. The workout was brief but demanding, a solid 45 minutes draining her body in a pleasant way, and she grabbed a towel before stepping out into the hall.

A short walk later, and she slipped into one of the shower stalls inside the crew bathroom’s, sighing as the water (even if it was a little cold) started. For all the unpleasantness a crew brought with it, Vala almost thought it worth it if she got to have one of these on a regular basis. Long infiltrations meant days, sometimes weeks without one, and when the chance to have one had sprung up; she had leapt all over it. And there wasn’t even a time limit to it. She half-way considered lingering and enjoying the sensation for a few extra minutes, but the knowledge of work waiting to be done forced her to step out, wrapping the towel around herself with a low grumble.

Darting down the hallway, which was blessedly empty, Vala slipped back into her office without incident. Pulling on her Cerberus uniform, the operative settled into the chair behind her desk. The holographic keyboard flickered to life, and she sunk into a comfortable position as she examined the ship operational reports. The ship was state of the art, simple as that. A swift keystroke later and her Omni-tool was uploading the data she had on the other commander’s and their warships to the system. All four of them were exceptional. Omni Cell had only been activated recently, but for how long had the Illusive Man been predicting the need for such potent assets? Not just one, but four?

How long had they been in construction? She had long ago learned to trust her superior’s motives, but couldn’t help but wonder how he always knew exactly what needed to be done. The man was either blessed with incredible foresight, or knew a few reliable psychics. She was inclined to believe the former over the latter. A loud knock pulled her from her thoughts, and she reflexively sprung to her feet, reaching for a pistol at her hip to only find thin air. Silently muttering about her nerves, the Operative quickly pulled her hair up into its ponytail, and rounded the desk to open the door. She frowned heavily at what she found on the other side.

Battery Officer Williams offered her a sheepish smile, nose slightly crooked after their brief introduction. Evidentially he had not learned from the experience in the slightest. She moved to strike the man, only to catch sight of the tray in his thick hands, and her brow arched in confusion. He seemed to get the hint, coughing slightly to recover his suddenly missing voice. “The Mess Officer didn’t see you come down for your breakfast, Ma’am, so I thought I’d bring it by your office. I’m glad I got the right one. I figured the restricted access likely meant it was yours…Ma’am.” The quick addition of the ma’am caused her lips to twitch with humour, but she gave no other outward signs.

It was thoughtful of him, and likely meant to be an olive branch. Well, if he was willing to make amends for his previous…comments, then she would give him a chance. “I see. Thank you, Officer Williams.” She took the tray from him gratefully, and Lance seemed to brighten considerably as she did. Contributing to crew morale seemed easier than she had made it out to be.

“You’re welcome, Ma’am.” The dark skinned man hesitated for a brief moment, before taking a deep breath. At least he was getting it out of the way now. “I’d also like to apologize for my earlier comments, Ma’am. I meant no disrespect. It w-”

“Just a joke?” Lance blinked in surprise and Vala couldn’t suppress a smirk at his reaction. “You’re friends with the Helmsman I take it, Williams?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“He learnt a similar lesson, albeit in a less physical way.” She stepped back inside her room, and set the tray down beside the terminal. Glancing back, she noticed Williams standing stock still outside the room, and sighed in exasperation. “You may come in for a moment, Officer Williams.” He nodded, crossing the threshold and standing at ease in front of her desk.

When the hell had he decided to be a proper soldier? She sat down in her chair, ignoring the food for a moment as she examined the larger man. He had an inch or two on her, and his hair was shaved short and to code without a stray in sight. He had the look of a soldier about him, but she couldn’t ignore her first hand experience with his sense of…‘humour’. “I won’t reprimand you, Officer Williams, as the Commander seems to have deemed your previous punishment more than enough to teach you a lesson.”

“Thank you, Ma’am.”

“If it happens again, however, I will pass it along to Commander Titus to deal with himself. Understood?” She kept her tone formal, Titus having made his stance clear on who was to discipline the crew. When he nodded, she smiled. “Good. Thank you for bringing me breakfast, Williams. You may show yourself out.” She gestured towards the door, picking up a utensil as she prepared to eat. Lance hesitated, and spoke quickly when he caught her annoyed gaze again.

“Ma’am.” He quickly turned and left, the blast door sliding shut behind him with an automated hiss. Well, that had gone better than expected. The man still had some way to go, but at least he had taken the initiative. Focusing back on her terminal screen, Vala took a small spoonful of the small bowl, delighted to discover it was oatmeal, and not some horrendous form of MRE destroyed beyond recognition. Ships weren’t so bad, she promptly decided. Showers and warm food were a plus to any day.

She got another half hour of reading in before the door opened again, Titus entering the room with a casual wave. It wasn’t returned, as she looked up from her computer to examine the man. He certainly had fancy taste in casual clothes, looking more like he belonged in the board room of some corporation than at the command of a warship. “Good morning, Vala. Sorry to disturb you, I meant to knock. Did you sleep well?”

She ignored his use of her first name, nodding in affirmation to his statement. “Yes, thank you, Commander. I’ve given instructions to EDI to allow you and Officer Taylor to access my office at all times.” She noted the curious look on his face, and explained further. “My orders are to assist and council you, Commander. Please do not hesitate to call me at anytime if you need me. I am perfectly capable of functioning on little sleep.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” He seemed easy going, almost too much so in her eyes. The man was on one of the riskiest assignments in the known galaxy at the moment, and yet he gave off an aura of calm. It was reassuring and yet unnerving at the same time. “We’re going to brief on the next mission soon, if you’d like to meet me in the Briefing room.”

“Of course, Commander. I’ll be there immediately.”


She wasted no time as the lift opened, crossing the short distance to the briefing room, finding only Selena and Erik to be currently present. Excellent. She had managed to get there before Titus. Offering them both a quick nod in greeting, she moved to the side opposite of the two, resting a splayed hand on the table to support herself as she watched the door for the Commander’s arrival. What was he up to, anyway? Someone else in mind for the meeting?

Something clattered across the table, and she flicked her gaze down when said something bumped into her hand. The compacted form of her Phalanx sat quietly before her, and she raised surprised eyes to look at Erik’s smirking face. “I told you I’d have it done before the next mission, Ma’am. Even got those dings and scratches out for you.”

Sure enough, the armourer had managed to patch the weapon up expertly, to the point where it was difficult to say the weapon had ever been used at all. The familiar weight brought a genuine smile to her face, as she said, “Thank you, Operative Keown. This is some truly exceptional work.”

“All in a days work, Ma’am.”

Titus entered soon after, mentioning they were only waiting on Braden to begin the briefing. He was bringing the boy along already? The young biotic entered minutes later, and the briefing was under way. She grit her teeth at the mention of a rival infiltrator, her own paranoia flaring at the mention of a traitor working for the Shadow Broker. It was situations like these that always made her suspicious of her allies, but there was little she could do without evidence, and agents of the Shadow Broker were infamous for covering their tracks.

She nodded in affirmative when the Commander called her and Braden’s names, smiling as Titus told her of the Illusive Man’s praise. “Of course, Commander. I won’t disappoint you.” She wouldn’t dare disappoint the Illusive Man either, not after he had given her such a high billing.

Vala smiled at Braden’s resolve, catching a familiar spark in his voice that reminded her of herself in years past. If he kept that mentality, he would become a valuable asset to Cerberus, especially after being recruited so young. She boarded the lift with Erik and Braden, glancing to the boy when the lift rumbled into motion.

No words passed between the three, although she could see the excitement in Braden’s eyes. He was confident. Hopefully that would last if they found themselves in combat on the operation. As the lift opened on the second floor, she glanced at Keown as he prepared to disembark. “Give him my Tempest as well. I’ll pick it up from him when we land.”

“Of course, Ma’am.”

The lift slide shut, and she was left in peace with her thoughts. Recovering data vital to their defence against the Reapers…what could they have stolen that was so important? Battle plans? Schematics? Perhaps information on the Lazarus Project? The revival of Shepard was a likely candidate, but that information was too closely guarded for any spy to just steal. The only other vital data would be…the Illusive Man himself. But that was impossible. The number of people who truly knew his location could be counted on a single hand, and she wasn’t even one of them!

The door to her office slid open, and she automatically reached for the small armour rack just inside the door. The familiar feel of her armour was a welcome sensation, and she fisted her hand experimentally inside to ensure it was on properly. A short systems check found everything to be nominal, and she spun her Phalanx about in her grip before attaching the weapon to its magnetic clips on her hip.

“Stealth generators running well within the green…kinetic barriers stable and output at 99.8%.” She murmured to herself, flicking her eyes over the informational read out on her Omni-tool. A few clicks, and the soft lights of the armour blinked on, its systems flickering into full operation without delay. A small holographic display popped up in the corner of her eye, the small HUD displaying from a small holographic projector tucked inside her breather. It wasn’t as sturdy as more dedicated soldier’s helmets, but she had a vicious habit of not getting shot in the head to fall back on.

She climbed aboard the lift once more, playing over the briefing again and again in her head as she waited for it to finish its climb to the top floor. Disembarking at full speed, she entered the briefing room without delay and quickly saluted to the armoured figure of Titus. “Preparations are complete, Commander. Shall we?”
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:18 pm

Titus nodded when she entered and returned a stiff salute. He normally didn't care for such a formal tradition. The customs and courtesies due military officers were, in his opinion, reserved for the Alliance. Alas, Vala Buchan was a highly disciplined soldier and Titus got the hints several times that she expected the same from other Cerberus members. If it kept her happy, Titus would do his best to adhere to military standards before her, but he would never let tradition compromise who he was.

When the two were standing in the center of the lowered conference table, EDI, once again, lowered the ablative armor shutters around the half dome of the conference room. The lights were cut, save for the glowing orange hue of the rising hologrid. Finally, the light of a dying sun illuminated the darkness. Titus took note that it was no longer the blue star he had seen in his previous meetings with his employer. It had changed from blue to a fiery ball of orange and red, carefully fading into a semi-cool hue on the circumference - an optical illusion created by the star's own thermal output. This wasn't too much of a surprise to Titus, though. He knew that the Illusive Man's office was not inside of a stationary facility. It was a mobile space station that he moved every so often in order to preserve his location. He had no idea how many of his most trusted operatives manned the station, but that wasn't for him to know anyway.

"Titus," his boss said, greeting him in the same eager, but professional tone he always addressed him in as he sat in his chair, "there have been some new developments since you received my brief about this Illium affair. New intelligence from my spies in the field have reported that the Shadow Broker's agent and the contact he's meeting with won't be alone. The contact is an Eclipse Sister. They're a branch of the arcing Eclipse mercenary group that mostly operates in the Terminus. Each member of this particular Eclipse sect is asari, and has killed someone in order to gain entry to the gang. Expect aggressive opposition on this one if things go awry. I recommend taking out the contact in the dark."

Titus didn't seem too taken aback by the information. He knew that even though the Illusive Man had nearly a thousand eyes on every planet that earned Cerberus' attention, he still couldn't see everything. That meant that missions often never went as planned. "How many Eclipse Sisters can we expect?"

"Probably no more than a baker's dozen, but I'd bring enough ammunition for a few more. But you won't have to worry about the contact and watch your back at the same time. I've arranged for some help to be brought in, should you require the calvary. Commander Jason Horn recently had a successful mission on Anhur. The information that Poitvin retrieved about the GARDIAN towers proved true. We had some difficulty getting those towers back online, and, unfortunately, it was both too late and just in time. Horn's team survived the battle, and I'm sure he's wanting a few punching bags to take his anger out on. The Eclipse Sisters might prove to be good targets.

"Poitvin will also be joining you-"

"What?!" Titus' shock and awe in the question brought a raised brow from Vala, who had been standing next to him and remaining disciplined and quiet during the briefing.

The Illusive Man took a small sip from the glass of expensive liquor on the arm of his chair before picking back up from where he was interrupted. "I trust you and Commander Poitvin can set aside your differences for this mission. You must understand, I'm not assigning you two to work together again to ensure the operation's success: I'm doing this so you and him can learn to work together." He gave a acknowledging nod to Vala who, in turn, looked at Titus. "That's why I've assigned Vala to this entire mission. She's the cornerstone that will support you and the other commanders."

Titus didn't hesitate to let loose his next question. "Will there be any children involved?"

The Illusive Man reached into his jacket pocket, taking out a small, silver cigarette holder, popping the lid. He removed one of the several sticks and placed it between his lips, revealing an expensive lighter from the opposite inside pocket next. The design appeared to be a classic gas lighter, where the flame ignited upon flicking open the hood. Titus knew that his employer had a past, that he was, at one time, a normal human being like everyone else. He often wondered what the Illusive Man did in his past life; who he was. Seeing the age-old lighter brought a tiny glimpse into his former life. He may be someone that plans for the future, but he lived in the past - he cherished it.

The always-patient Cerberus leader let out a long exhale of smoke from his cigarette before answering. "You still question Poitvin's decision to execute the children that couldn't be saved. But I'm beginning to question your decision to bring along a child that can be saved."

Titus suddenly felt the regret of asking such a stupid question. His boss had a point. He focused so much energy on Poitvin's decision that he was blinding himself to the fact that he was putting Braden in harm's way. Which was worse?

"I told you before, Commander... Don't concern yourself with death too much. There may be too much of it to handle. Are we clear?"

Titus straightened himself out and placed his hands behind his back, recalling the discipline that he had let slack on board his ship. He saw, out of the corner of his eye, a slight glare of disappointment from Vala. He knew that she was, no doubt, relishing in the fact that Titus was caught in the blow back of his own hypocrisy. "Crystal, sir."

"One more thing," the Illusive Man said, bringing up his haptic interface and letting a finger hover for a moment. "This intelligence that I need you to recover: It is of the utmost importance to Cerberus; vital in our preparation against the Reapers. The Shadow Broker has tried to outdo me once already in regards to what this intelligence is connected to. Liara T'Soni, the asari you will be meeting up with on Illium, has already helped us out with this once before. But her resources are spread thin and I can't risk a valuable ally such as herself. Retrieve that data at all costs, Commander."

The Kodiak gently, or as gently as it could, set down on one of the many landing pads of the most popular trading floor on Illium. Titus, Vala, and Braden stepped out and onto the pad and were instantly greeted by an asari with a deep violet hue. At first, she seemed hesitant when she saw that her customers were so heavily armed, but a professional smile quickly covered any concern she had. With welcoming arms she exclaimed, "Welcome! Don't worry about any docking fees today. They have been generously paid for by miss T'Soni."

"Liara T'Soni?" Titus asked, unsurprised, but still wanting to verify that it was the Liara T'Soni that Cerberus trusted.

The woman returned a quizzical expression, as if Titus was asking a terribly ignorant question. "Of course, sir. Liara is expecting you in her private office overlooking this level's trading floor."

"Thank you," Vala said, waving her hand in casual dismissal. "We'll make our way there now."

As the three quickly made their way to the trade floor, Titus noticed that Braden looked slightly uneasy. The boy was awkwardly walking with on one arm swinging in sync with his legs. The other was oddly positioned around the Harpy pistol clipped to his hip. Vala's tempest was similarly clipped by magnetics on his back; the stock of the collapsible weapon easily reachable over his shoulder. Titus only imagined what the kid was feeling, walking around in a formal Cerberus officer's uniform packing heavy firepower in such a public place. Lucky for them, only Cerberus' name was widely known, not their insignia. Titus and Vala knew to never discuss their employers around others, but the commander only hoped that the teen knew how to keep his mouth shut.

"You okay?" he asked, slowing down to match Braden's pace.

The teen instantly erased any concerning look on his face, straightening himself out as he walked, suddenly picking up speed to equal Vala's. "I'm fine."

Titus gave him a friendly slap on the back, the force slightly jolting the kid with surprise. "Relax," he said, "you're doing fine. Just keep your cool. If anything goes wrong, don't worry: Operative Buchan will catch you."

Vala looked back at him with an ominous glare. She obviously didn't like the joking assignment, but she shrugged it off as they approached a long staircase that was built into the bulk of a larger structure atop the trading floor. Up ahead, a sign in glowing letters read Administration, with a desk attended to by a single asari. The name plague on the surface read Nyxeris. The alien looked up at the trio of armed humans, a surprisingly courteous smile forming from cheek to cheek. Titus started to wonder if every asari on Illium had rehearsed such fake smiles in the mirror before going to work every day.

"We're looking for Lia-"

"I know who you're here to see, commander," she spoke. "Liara is expecting you inside. Commanders Horn and Poitvin are also waiting for you."
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Guilty Carrion on Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:24 am

Vala stood stiff as the hologram rose around her, the familiar feeling of butterflies filling her stomach as she mentally prepared to speak with her employer. Perhaps she gave it too much thought, but every word she intended to speak needed to be planned and necessary. Unlike some others, she refused to waste any of the Illusive Man’s no doubt precious time with needless questions.

She took no insult from what might be mistaken as dismissal of her presence, not even addressing her as he spoke to the two of them. She found it to be the opposite. In years passed, he seemed to have moved past the need to address her name before speaking to her, and it forever remained a point of pride, far more than any worthless medal pinned to her breast could ever be.

She didn’t flinch at the mention of the Eclipse Sisters, although their presence would certainly make things more complicated. “I recommend taking out the contact in the dark.” A slight smile spread on her lips, although it was hidden from the two men behind her breather mask. Perfect. This mission was right up her alley.

The mission on Anhur was a success? The Commander had certainly pulled that colony out of the fire, only to be thrown right back into another. Perhaps this was the proverbial frying pan. This mission was liable to be a cakewalk compared to a battle for an entire colony, but she’d reserve that judgement for after the operation was a success.

Titus’s outburst jarred her from her thoughts, and she raised a brow at his sudden protest. Did he truly despise Commander Poitvin so much for his actions? The Illusive Man nodded to her, and she turned her full attention to Titus, biting her tongue to prevent herself from lecturing the man on his actions. And then Titus opened his mouth again. Her eyes narrowed in anger, hands balling into fists that only the calm gaze of the Illusive Man kept at bay. He dared to question the decisions of the very man who had given him this entire ship? A crew? A command?

Perhaps Titus wasn’t as loyal as she had thought him to be, if he thought he was fit to question their employer. The barbed words from the same man seemed to strike home with the Commander, who quickly took a stance similar to her own. Vala let the disappoint she felt drip into her eyes, knowing full well he could see it. He was lucky that she hadn’t put him back in his place. It would have involved the Med-bay. Perhaps a Morgue, if it was appropriate.

"This intelligence that I need you to recover: It is of the utmost importance to Cerberus; vital in our preparation against the Reapers. The Shadow Broker has tried to outdo me once already in regards to what this intelligence is connected to. Liara T'Soni, the asari you will be meeting up with on Illium, has already helped us out with this once before. But her resources are spread thin and I can't risk a valuable ally such as herself. Retrieve that data at all costs, Commander."

Not willing to let the man potentially sabotage himself any further, Vala spoke for him. “We will retrieve it, Sir. You have my word.” Titus said nothing, but she was certain he didn’t take kindly to her interruption.

The Illusive Man nodded, pressing his finger down on the haptic interface, ending the communication. As the grid fell around them, Vala turned her burning gaze on Titus, her expression a mixture of disbelief and anger at his audacity. “If you’re so worried about children being involved, I suggest you stop acting like one, Commander.” She pushed past him, not even bothering to look back to see if he was coming along.

“Helmsman. Take us through the Relay and chart a course for Illium.” She practically hissed the order through her comm unit, stepping into the lift and tapping the command for the shuttle bay.

“Ma’am? Shouldn’t the Commander be the one giving the order?” She opened her mouth to chew the man out, only for another voice to come in over the comms.

“Do it, Darcy.”

“Yes sir.” Vala turned darkly, eyes locking with Titus’s for a few moments before the lift doors hissed shut. She bit her tongue harshly to bring herself to her own senses, ignoring the metallic tang that filled her taste buds moments later. The mission took priority now. This could be dealt with later.


Vala disembarked fluidly from the Kodiak, eyes casually sweeping the entire landing area for threats as the greeter approached. She’d been to Illium a few times in the past, mostly for the odd assassination or surveillance mission, but the sheer size of the buildings still managed to surprise her sometimes. The smooth designs appealed to her in many ways, their orderly spires dominating the skyline and making up most of the buildings on the asari world.

She glanced to Titus when he asked for clarification, and suppressed a light chuckle at the look the Asari promptly gave him. “Thank you, we’ll make our way there now.” She sent the greeter away with a swift flick of the wrist, and the trio pressed on towards the trade floor. The many coloured booths flashed and fought for her attention, advertising the latest and greatest in defence technology, or the newest and most advanced skin care in the galaxy and everything else in-between. Of course, they weren’t here for pleasure, and Vala barely gave the booths a second glance as they strode through the crowded trading floor.

Braden popped up suddenly in her peripherals, and she flicked her eyes over to him for a moment before refocusing on the path ahead, shoving a noisy Volus from their path without a second thought. Titus’s comment drew a sharp look, but the boy’s presence and the rapidly approaching stairs forced her to brush it off without remark. Another Asari greeted them, smiling that same fake smile that fooled so many with false sincerity. It was a little disconcerting how good they all seemed to be at it, like some sort of twisted hive mind.

"I know who you're here to see, commander," she spoke. "Liara is expecting you inside. Commanders Horn and Poitvin are also waiting for you."

Vala nodded stiffly, addressing the woman before Titus could get a word in. “Then let’s not keep them waiting any longer.” She flicked her gaze to Braden, and quickly reached over behind the boy, retrieving her Tempest with a gentle tug to disengage the locks. The young biotic glanced up at her, and she smiled. “Thank you.”

Nyxeris quickly rose, opening the door for them and showing them inside the surprisingly spacious office, and Vala got her first real glimpse of the other commanders of Omni Cell. Poitvin stood before Liara’s desk, arms crossed behind his back and still as a statue, his grey armour rounding out the stone image quite well. Horn, on the other hand, sat in one of the few chairs, leaning back causally with one of his legs resting on the other. They were different, and yet incredibly similar at the same time. They each had their own various crew scattered throughout the room, but she gave them little more than a sweeping glance before looking back to the Commanders.

“Sorry to keep you waiting.” She gave the two a short salute, moving quickly to stand beside Poitvin. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Commander Poitvin, and you as well, Commander Horn.” She looked to Liara, and bowed her head slightly in gratitude. “And it is an honour to meet you, Miss T’Soni. Thank you once again for all your assistance. I hope we didn’t keep you waiting long.” Well, that had been painless. She was certainly getting better at introductions. “I’m Operative Buchan.”
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:20 am

The new colors of the red-orange star outside the seemingly infinite view from his office reflected in the Illusive Man's eyes. A trail of smoke from his latest cigarette rose in the air before him and he let his focus adjust to the thin, gray trickle. There was once a time that medical experts on earth said that smoking was healthy, and all of that turned around to saying that it caused cancer. Finally, cigarettes no longer carried many of the harmful chemicals that resorted to degrading someone's lungs, or putting a hole in their throat. Yet, the disgusting habit of simply puffing smoke into the air still remained. Nothing could replace the calm it brought to an addict. Even alien species were smoking; batarians being just as bad as many humans.

A faint hum brought the Illusive Man to swivel his chair around to face the projection platform of his quantum entanglement communicator. Unlike the other versions of the device that he had installed on his commanders' ships, his communicator projected his entire office in nearly perfect detail, surrounding those he was speaking to. And to thing that humans once thought Bell's and Edison's telephone was the epitome communication technology. Several seconds later, the hologram of one of his best researchers, operatives, and even killers, Miranda Lawson, stood before him. Her intelligence matched her beauty, and the two undeniable traits were part of why he had selected Miranda as a trustworthy operative. She was wearing the same uniform that she always wore, a skin-tight white and black jumpsuit. The white areas of her torso and legs were hive-woven, but offered adequate firepower protection. Her black sleeves and boots were mostly leather, but the knees were protected by a light ablative alloy.

"What about Jack?" she suddenly asked, appearing casual and curious.

The Illusive Man's eyes, for the first time in a long time, widened in surprising shock and he actually shot up out of his chair, leaving the cigarette resting in its tray on the arm. His body lunged forward with a clinched first. "What about him?!" he demanded; a fire in his already glowing eyes.

Miranda seemed just as shocked, but not nearly as hot tempered. She held one foot back, even though she was perfectly safe, being thousands, possibly millions of light years across the galaxy. "Sir? No, I mean the woman. Not a man. Jack was the biotic that had escape that the Pragia facility all those years ago... the one you put out a bounty on for someone to capture?"

Whatever temper there had been had instantly vanished and the Illusive Man straightened himself out; slowly retaking his seat and placing the cigarette between his lips. Before answering his operative, he inhaled a long enough to let the nicotine intoxicated smoke to relax him. He released the smoke through both his nose and mouth, and calmly said, "The last time I checked, Jack was the run from the Blue Suns. If she's been captured, she's being held at the prison ship Purgatory. She's an immensely powerful biotic, but dangerously unstable - both physically and mentally. Will you trust her to be on Shepard's team if we can extract her?"

It was evident that Miranda was still somewhat shaken by her employer's unprecedented outbreak, but she quickly regained her composure when she thought of a response to his cautioning question. "I'll be sure to keep Jack in her place if we put her on the Normandy team. I'll admit that it is a risk, but we'll need all the help we can get."

The Illusive Man nodded and dabbed out his cigarette in the tray. He decided he had enough of the thing for now. "I'll have one of my operatives speak with Warden Kuril and see if he's managed to finally get his hands on his 'prize' criminal. If he has, I'll have Cerberus set up a pending transaction to release Jack into Shepard's custody. By the way, how is Project Lazarus coming along?"

"Well at first," Miranda eagerly responded, jumping at the opportunity to talk about her work, "it was hard to tell if Shepard was even a man or a woman, but we've managed to reconstruct and stabilize all vital organs and most of the body's exterior. It will take some time before we can initiate a wake-up process though. The subject's alive, but has been put into a comatose state for the time being. Scars have only just begun their healing process. Wilson keeps countering me at every turn; though. He assured me before that Shepard could be saved, and we accomplished that - thanks Liara - but now his opinions are almost the opposite of mine. He's becoming a nuisance to work with."

"Wilson just needs a little more faith in Project Lazarus."

Miranda smiled at her boss' amusing reference to the resemblance of everything they were doing. Even in the twenty second century, the stories of the Christian Bible still held their weight. Though the Illusive Man paid no attention to religion, he still saw it as a valuable tool of encouragement and motivation of those working in Cerberus... for humans. Keep the concept of a greater ideal alive, whatever that ideal may be, and you provide a cohesive goal for all of humanity to work toward.

"There's one thing I've been thinking about, though," Miranda started. "Shepard has destroyed a few of our bases in the past, and will most likely harbor judgment against us as terrorists after coming out of his coma. Perhaps a control chip in the brain would help us control the subject in case-"

Her voice trailed off into silence when she saw her employer shaking his head no. "Miranda," he said, "I don't want Shepard's personality altered in any way. Though I see the validity of your concern about the steps Shepard has taken in the past against us, a control chip would only hinder his ability to combat the Collectors and Reapers. Humanity needs a hero that can lead them, not be controlled by them."

Miranda acknowledge the response with a nod, and she forced a smile to her lips in order to convince the man that she completely understood; though the Illusive Man knew better. Her smile slowly faded however as she asked, "Now, what was that about earlier? About another Jack?"

The Illusive Man suddenly regretted putting out his cigarette, but he hid his emotions behind the same, cold mask that he always wore. Patiently, he replied, "Nothing. It was someone from long ago. Not your concern."

"Very well, sir." The transmission ended as the hologram of Miranda over the receiver platform of the powerful communicator disappeared, leaving nothing but the thick darkness of the room behind it. The Illusive Man swiveled his chair around again to face his new star and allowed himself to reflect on the conversation that almost occurred. He was never one to talk aloud to himself, preferring his thoughts to remain in his head as if the very utterance of the most inaudible whisper might be heard across the stars. But the words escaped his lips regardless this time. "Jack Harper died long ago..."
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by quakernuts on Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:02 pm


Jason shot up from his bed, reaching for his Carnifex hand cannon on the stand next to him. He stopped halfway, rubbed his eyes, and sighed. "Yes Serah, what is it?"

"We will be arriving at Illium in five minutes."

"And you couldn't let me nap for another five minutes?"

"I'm sorry Commander, but the order was given from Operative Invaru." Jason shook his head. Kelly felt like the overbearing parent some days.

"Ok, got it. I'm up!" Jason got up, had himself a quick shower to prep himself for everything, and took the elevator down as if he had been up for hours. A little trick he had taught himself over the years. Don't look like a man who just got out of bed, chances are if you did, it would be the last time you got a bed. As he stepped off the elevator onto the CIC deck, Kelly was sitting there waiting for him.

"You managed to get dressed and ready in six minutes sir. That's almost a record for you."

"Yeah, well the other girls under the blankets didn't want to let me go. You know how it is."

"Actually no, and I highly doubt you know what it's like either sir." Jason glared at her.

"You're lucky I like you."

"I know sir, now shall we?" Jason stretched his hand out, indicating for her to lead the way. They walked up to the cockpit, where Helmsman Jack Nathan was guiding the ship into an orbit around Illium. He nodded backwards to them as they took a spot directly behind his chair. Jason liked the man for the fact that he could take a joke, but often didn't dish out his own. His long brown hair was tied into a low pony tail, and his sleek shaded glasses were covering his constantly moving eyes. A ring on his finger indicated he was married, and he had told Horn so, although he had yet seen him take a leave to see his wife. Horn didn't know what that was about, nor did he ask.

"I register the ship Black Hornet and Vindicator in the system Commander. The Vindicator is still a ways out, so you'll be down on the ground before they will." Jack stated, his hands flying over the holographic display as he pulled up necessary information. "As ordered by Kelly upon our arrival, I pinged the Vindicator for a mission statement, and received one from their pilot, Darcy Mansfield. Here you are Commander." Jack handed back a tablet, which Jason took and read over quickly. There was no movement from him as he read it, which meant he neither liked the assignment, nor hated it.

"What's the mission sir?" Kelly asked, doing her best to keep her curiosity in check and not peer over his shoulder.

"It appears to be a stake out mission. Or better put, an assassination classified as a stake out. Looks like we're supposed to be taking out an agent for the Shadow Broker that's about to get some intel stolen from the Illusive man." Jason kept reading down, and after a couple minutes, gave the tablet back to Jack. "Also looks like we'll be meeting with Liara T'soni."

"Wasn't she part of Sheperd's team?" Kelly asked, unable to hide the excitement in her voice. She revered Sheperd's team just as much as the Commander. Any mention of them instantly sent shivers of excitement through her body.

"Yeah. I know of her." Jason said, unconsciously scratching a scar on his right thigh. "It doesn't look like I'll need the team on this one, or even my armour. Good thing too, TJ's still getting the kinks out of it." Kelly walked over, and read the mission statement herself as Jason started to walk off.

"Are you sure that's wise Commander? The agent is supposed to be protected by Eclipse sisters."

"It also says that there are two other Commanders on this mission. Titus and Poitvin. Those two alone will draw enough attention. If we have any hope of being able to complete this on the down low, than one of us will have to be the eyes and ears of the group. I can't exactly be doing that dressed in full combat armour and toting an assault rifle, now can I?" Jason stopped to look at the Galaxy Map for a split second, analyzing the details of Illium as she slowly rotated in the view. He had been on the planet before, but he never liked the feel of it. Your enemies were too often concealed by political plots.

"I can understand that sir. However, this is not a guarantee that it will be done this way. What if you end up in a firefight without your armour or shields?" Horn gave a small laugh and smiled back at Kelly.

"Are you saying you're scared for me Ms. Invaru? This isn't the first time I've gone without armour, and it won't be the last. Relax, if anything goes wrong, I know how to handle myself." Kelly was about to interject once more, but Jason put up a hand and stopped her.

"Besides, just because I'm out there alone and without armour doesn't mean I don't have a contingency plan. Have Daniel and Linda suit up and take a Kodiak down to the city. Park it, and have them wait there for a possible emergency signal. If everything goes to shit, I can rely on those two to bring me back out, happy?" Kelly nodded, and looked down at the mission statement.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make myself look spiffy."

A few minutes later, and Horn was down on the ground. The Kodiak docked off to his left as he stepped out and surveyed the scene. If it weren't for the fact that he just came out of a military grade dropship, one would have taken him for some civilian. He had on a grey T-shirt with no logo and a pair of cargo pants that were bulky enough to hold the extra ammo he was carrying without drawing too much attention. His Carnifex pistol was hanging on it's holster tucked quietly underneath his shirt, and his combat blade was placed into one of the pockets at just a little less than arm's length on his left side. It too, was not visible at first glance, the colour of the hilt matching that of his pants. As he looked off towards the docking administration, an Asari came walking out to greet him. He liked Asari, for more than just obvious reasons. It was safe to assume all of them had some level of biotics, so you were never really caught off guard when one of them pulled that card out.

"Welcome to Illium Commander. Your docking fees have been paid by Liara T'soni, and she requests your presence at her office in the market district as soon as you are able." Her smile looked so practiced that he wondered if they held Olympics for such a thing.

"Goody, I get to be a cheap bastard today." The Asari smiled even harder, if that was even possible, but it was obvious she had been taken off guard by his uncouth manner as a Commander of a vessel. Horn caught these sort of things. He gave a laugh. "Don't look so shocked! Just cause I'm a Commander doesn't mean I'm a rigid old man who drinks century old whiskey and grows a burly moustache." She only smiled, and he had to guess that some of the human references were lost on her. He slid right by that. "Anyway, thank you for notifying me."

"Do you require directions to Liara's office?" She asked, her tone as practiced as her smile.

"Nah, I'm pretty sure the stores will point out which area is the market. Thanks anyways." Horn made his way past her, past the docking administration, and into the markets. As he walked by several of the kiosks, he noticed several things that would make nice additions to his armour, but he forced himself to keep moving. Not a leisure trip Jason, business as usual. As he walked on, he came to the outside of Liara's office, where an attendant was sitting at a desk to the door.

"Hey Babe, any way I can get in to see Liara?" The Asari just looked at him, almost with a disgusted look. He read her title as that being Nyxeris.

"I'm sorry, but Ms. T'soni is completely booked up today. If you would like to make an appointment, I would be happy to help you." She managed to get away from the half disgusted look, but it was obvious that he had also caught her off guard. Horn was one of those guys.

"Can you tell her a Commander Horn is here to see her. She paid for my docking fees, so I guess I'm sort of expected." Nyxeris's eyes widened a slight bit, but she quickly regained herself.

"I'm sorry Commander, I didn't realize it was you. Of course you can enter. A Commander Poitvin is already inside." I really need to wear casuals more if people only recognize me from my armour Jason thought to himself as he nodded and walked inside. There, standing a slight bit behind Liara's desk was Commander Poitvin, his crew scattered around the room. Liara was sitting at her desk as well, although completely ignoring both Poitvin and Horn alike. She was a busy woman, and judging by the fact that she wasn't human, probably meant that Cerberus wasn't high on her 'to like' list. Horn instead, looked to Poitvin.

"Hey there Commander. Expecting an inspection or just trying to show off for the Asari?" Poitvin looked at him rather stiffly, and that's when he knew exactly what kind of person this man was going to be.

"No, I'm just being professional Commander, you know, the thing you aren't." Half of Horn wanted to tell him to shove it, another quarter wanted him to say that he had just saved a whole damn colony, and another part still wanted to laugh at the fact that this man immediately assumed he was better than him. Instead, what came out was a combination of all those.

"Professionalism is simply for those with a stick so far shoved up their ass that they bark orders instead of understanding them. Besides, if the first thing you're going to say to me is an insult, then I guess I'm not just up to your level of professionalism." Horn made his way to one of the chairs, and took a very casual sitting stance towards Liara and Poitvin. He leaned back, and placed one leg over the other.

Poitvin gave a small chuckle. "Insult? I was simply attempting to be friendly and make a joke, much like you were. Don't be so heartbroken, Commander Horn. And please, don't question the way I issue my crew around." He then seemed to ignore Horn and focused his attention on the Asari. Jason couldn't help but smile at that comment.

"Huh, so you're the kind of guy who laughs when someone gets shot in the face, huh?" Horn smiled even larger. "And I was never questioning the way you issue orders. Don't be so heartbroken Commander Poitvin." There was a slight silence between them, and Liara took her eyes off of her computer long enough to look at Horn.

"Commander Horn." She said in acknowledgment. Horn simply nodded.

"Ms. T'soni." Horn replied back. He knew who to call 'Babe' or not, and those that didn't get called that were the ones that could break his back with their biotics in a snap. He knew how she came to rescue Sheperd's body, and he really didn't want to get on her bad side. Jason gave one last look to Poitvin, than to Liara, then to Poitvin's crew. Everyone was completely silent, until Jason clapped his hands together, and rubbed them.

"Well...we're just one happy group of badass motherfuckers aren't we?"

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by The Ghost Writer on Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:52 pm

Before Titus could open his mouth to speak, Vala was all over getting the introductions out first. Instead, of piggy-backing he decided that it was probably best that she did most of the talking this time anyway, considering the fact that his mouth was apparently getting him into so much trouble recently.

Titus led Braden over to a chair and allowed the teenager to take it for himself while he stepped up to the window and peered out over Nos Astra's never-ending skyline. While the architecture was brilliant, a pinnacle of asari culture and design, the city seemed to have no symmetry whatsoever. It was a sprawling mass of towers and sky scrapers, placed not for show and elegance, but simply to dominate whatever competition surrounded them. This is where humans and asari differed in their cities. No other races could construct such metropolises as brilliant and as vast as the two. Humans constructed their cities as tells, paid more attention to the art of the skyline, and put more focus toward building up a single, dominating commercial center. Whereas, the asari had no interest in compiling all of their super structures into one mass. They spread their structures out all across their cities, but not necessarily at random, adhering to the convenience of their citizens.

Titus removed his attention from the city and turned back to the group in the room. He looked first to the commander that he knew, Poitvin, and felt a burning hatred already boiling inside of him. He quickly suppressed all thoughts of smashing the man's head into Liara's desk for the sake of the mission. He then noticed the new man in the room. He was without a squad and, surprisingly, without armor. This had to be Commander Jason Horn, but the way he sat defied his rank - or perhaps it was the stark contrast of black and white: being Poitvin and the man in the chair. Titus was quick to assess the reason why Horn decided to arrive in civilian clothes, however. He was, after all, a tactician. Someone would need to be on the ground, moving among the crowd, while the exchange was taking place. Not everyone would be able to arrive looking like they were about to start a war. Besides, if what the Illusive Man said was true - and Titus trusted his employer's information - then Horn had just been through hell with the Collectors and probably deserved an easy job this round.

So far, Titus already began to like the man sitting so casually before him. He sensed a tension between Horn and Poitvin, and if it was Horn's doing then he wanted to give the man a high five. Of course, Titus was sure that Vala would strongly object to such a taunting display and would, no doubt, bitch to him about it later. He was still hot headed about her earlier outburst, though he probably deserved it.

"I'm glad you were all able to make it," Liara T'Soni began, placing her hands on her knees and sitting up in her executive chair with such perfect posture that Titus wondered if she was a robot or just wearing a back brace. "You'll have to forgive me for making this short and to the point, but I'm a very busy information broker nowadays. I have appointments lined up immediately following this meeting, so we'll need to make this quick."

The asari stood up from her seat and paced around to the long window behind her that wrapped around the entire office. As she gazed out across Nos Astra she continued speaking. "Often times I wonder if I'm crazy to help Cerberus. But I understand what it is that your organization is trying to do... to prevent." She turned away from the window to face the group in front of her desk. Her features were nearly as deceptive as the Illusive Man's. It was hard for Titus to discern whether or not Liara actually liked Cerberus was just in this for the convenience of business and her personal goal of dealing damage to the Shadow Broker. "My sources tell me," she continued, "that the exchange will take place within the hour at the Nos Astra commercial spaceport. This area is under the control of the Eclipse Sisters, and the asari that will be receiving the information is one of the Shadow Broker's top lieutenants."

"This information is good?" Titus asked, finally speaking up and pushing himself away from leaning against the window.

Liara gave him a genuine smile, one that wasn't the same, practiced grin that all Nos Astra asari concierges had been giving them. "My information is very good, Commander Titus. That is why the your Illusive Man sent you to me."

Titus nodded, accepting what she had said as forthcoming and trustworthy. "How many Eclipse Sisters can we expect at the meeting?"

"Mirian, the asari contact that will be receiving the stolen data, should be bringing anywhere from twenty to thirty Sisters with her. Many of them will be counter snipers, taking positions along the rooftops as spotters. The rest will be hidden in the shadows. Two always accompany her side."

"And the spy that's supposed to be delivering the data?"

"He's a human. One Carlos Santiago. He'll be leaving the Eternity bar shortly and making his way to the taxi terminal. Once there, he'll take a shuttle to the spaceport and arrive to make the exchange with Mirian."

Titus was impressed that Liara was able to recall all of that from memory. It was little to go off of for a military operation, but the fact that she didn't have to pause to recall anything, or even glance down at her computer, told him that she was an exceptional information broker. He then looked to the others to formulate a plan. "Alright, once we get to the taxi terminal, we'll split up. We can't risk following too close to the spy's shuttle, so we'll take different routes to the spaceport in our own shuttles. We know where's he going anyway, so it won't be a big deal if we break contact for a short time. Once there, Horn can continue to tail Santiago to the meeting place and the rest of us can pick off the counter snipers silently, one at a time.

"We'll wait for the exchange to take place. Our EDI units can intercept the transmissions between the Eclipse sniper teams and the ground units, keeping them in the dark. Eventually, they'll become suspicious, so we'll need to work fast. As soon as the swap happens, Poitvin, you and your team can take out the traitor. I'll take my team and tail Mirian to the shadows where Vala can work her magic and take her out without a sound, recovering the data when its finished.

"Any questions?"

"I have one," Liara surprisingly asked. Titus looked to her with a little bewilderment, but his Kestrel visor hid any expression from her. "What do you plan to do if Mirian uses her biotics?"

Titus looked to Vala and then back to Liara. "Vala's an infiltrator and an assassin. She's one of Cerberus' best. I'm sure she can take out Mirian in the blink of an eye."

Liara shook her head, but held her gracious smile. "As soon as Mirian suspects that someone is following her - and she will - she'll become more biotically dangerous than an asari matriarch. You see... she's not your normal asari. What earned her position as one of the Shadow Broker's lieutenants is the simple fact that she's... an Ardat-Yakshi."

The whole room fell so silent that the sound of the trading floor below Liara's office suddenly became inaudible. Nobody moved or twitched a single muscle, and out of the corner of his eye, Titus saw that Braden's expression revealed that even he knew what an Ardat-Yakshi was.

"Okay," the commander said after a while, "this just got a lot more difficult."
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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

Post by Dax on Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:27 pm

Commander Poitvin stood at his bridge, behind the Pilot’s seat, motionless, for a little over an hour. He had been trying to cool his anger since his little conversation with the Illusive Man concerning his ever so pivotal decision to execute the mindless Reaper slaves that happened to be children. Poitvin knew his methods could offend people, and he really did not give a fuck, but to the point of whining to the boss really put him off. Poitvin knew what to do with Commanders like that: keep doing the same things. Perhaps someday Titus, the Illusive Man and others who questioned him will see the logic behind actions that Poitvin did, in addition to the Eden Prime children.

Finally, Betty brought the Commander out of his trance-like state. “Commander, the Illusive Man requests your presence at once in the comm. room.” Poitvin’s anger which was until then nearly completely dissipated, sprung back to life. He did not say a word. He simply turned on his heels and walked intently towards the comm. room once more. He knew it had to do with his next mission, so he didn’t need to speak too long with him. He also didn’t want to speak too long with his misguided boss. He would have to remind himself to keep his anger in check and not go into a tirade and end the conversation terribly like last time. Poitvin walked into the dark room calmly and with a clear head. Once the image of the sitting Illusive Man, his back to the Commander, Poitvin’s anger spiked again, but he controlled it. Somewhat.

“Commander…” the Illusive Man dragged on, the memory of their recent spat probably still fresh in mind. However, it was not typical of his boss to hold grudges, and he stayed true to his reputation and did not say anything against Poitvin. “There have been new developments. I have located vital information needed to help us in our fight against the Reapers. The catch is that the information is held by an agent of the Shadow Broker. I need you to go and retrieve that information.” Poitvin thought about what his boss had just said, and simply nodded. “There is one last thing…” Of course there was one last thing. Nothing was ever easy. “There will be Eclipse soldiers. I trust you will be able to handle yourself, Commander.” Poitvin smiled a slick smile. “Of course, sir. They don’t stand a chance.” The Illsuive man stopped for a second, then spoke again. “Also, Commander Titus and Commander Horn will be accompanying you on your mission. Try not to kill each other, Poitvin.” With that, the comm. link was cut short and Poitvin walked out of the room and headed towards Kathy’s office, mumbling incomprehensible words under his breath. There, he would not only find her, but Eliza, the newbie. They were both to accompany him on this mission. Before he did that, however, he called out to Betty. “Betty, set the coordinates for Nos Astra.” His AI responded immediately after. “Aye aye, Commander. ETA 0200 hours.”

A few minutes later, and he was standing at the entrance of Kathy’s office. There, he could see Kathy and Eliza in a deep, seemingly fun conversation. That was good. He needed his crew to have some sort of bonds of camaraderie. Things weren’t easy and weren’t to get easier, so they all needed as much support in friends as they could. As Poitvin stepped inside the room, they both stopped talking and turned their heads towards them at the same time. Kathy was the first to speak with a broad smile on her face. “Commander, it’s good of you to join us. I was just getting to know our newest crew member. It looks like she is going to fit right in.”

Poitvin cringed. He knew he wanted camaraderie, not some sort of girly sisterhood thing going on. He didn’t want any slumber parties or spas being held in his ship. Poitvin simply smiled at what his second in command said. “I have no doubt about that. In fact, that’s just why I was here. I want the both of you to suit up and be ready within the hour. We have a mission that needs a-doing. I need you two up and ready within the hour.” At those words, Kathy rolled her eyes. The Commander never loosened up. In fact, she had only rarely seen him have some fun, and Poitvin made her swear to keep that a secret so it wouldn’t hurt his image. It was sad, really, because he could be a very nice guy if he wanted to. The problem is he never did. It seemed as if he liked being a fun-less prick. That was the image he liked to keep, anyway. Kathy simply nodded, and Poitvin walked out of her office as quickly as he had walked in. Eliza shot her a puzzled look. “That’s our Commander for you, lizzie. Don’t let his image fool you, he’s a teddy bear.” After a short moment of silence, they both burst into laughter.

A few hours later, Commander Poitvin, along with Kathy and Eliza, stepped onto the docks of Nos Astra. They were greeted by an asari concierge, most probably an employee of Liara’s. “Commander, welcome to Nos Astra. You will be pleased to hear that Liara has taken care of the docking costs and that he is waiting for you within her office. ” The asari spoke with a calm politeness that slightly irritated Poitvin. He always felt like they were fake or hiding something when it wasn’t genuine politeness. Then again, everything pissed Poitvin off. “Would you like directions to her offices, Commander?” asked the asari when she noticed he didn’t answer immediately.

“No, ma’am, I can find my own way, thanks. I’ll find my own way.” With that, the Commander and his crew went on their way.

It didn’t take long for Poitvin to find his way to Liara’s office. After all, real men didn’t need directions or maps. The Commander proceeded towards the door, walking past the secretary, who gave him surprised look, then a panicked one, and finally an understanding one. She must have realized who this man was and let him pass without a word. Finally, Poitvin was in Liara’s desk… and she promptly ignored him. She was busy typing away at her screen, doing god knows what and reading probably some of the most sensitive information in the galaxy. “Miss T’soni? I’m Commander Poitvin, I-“ She then cut him off. “I know who you are, Commander, and I will spare the speech until everyone is here. Until then, I suggest you make yourself comfortable.” Poitvin snickered. She was a strong woman, and he oddly didn’t feel any anger towards her, since he knew she deserved all the respect she could get. She was a very dangerous individual. So, in light of what she said, Kathy and Eliza took a seat in chairs on each corner of the room, while their Commander simply stood near Liara’s deask, arms crossed, waiting impatiently for the others to arrive.

Then, like magic, the doors opened. One of Commanders he was going to work with walked in, most probably Commander Horn, since he didn’t look anything like Titus. "Hey there Commander. Expecting an inspection or just trying to show off for the Asari?" Poitvin looked at him rather stiffly, and immediately he knew that he and Horn weren’t going to get along very well. This man was far too insolent to be taken seriously.

"No, I'm just being professional Commander, you know, the thing you aren't." Poitvin knew this was going to degenerate, but this man needed to know that Poitvin was not a person that you could joke around with. He didn’t like jokes. He liked successful and efficient missions.

"Professionalism is simply for those with a stick so far shoved up their ass that they bark orders instead of understanding them. Besides, if the first thing you're going to say to me is an insult, then I guess I'm not just up to your level of professionalism." Horn made his way to one of the chairs, and took a very casual sitting stance towards Liara and Poitvin. He leaned back, and placed one leg over the other.

Poitvin gave a small chuckle. "Insult? I was simply attempting to be friendly and make a joke, much like you were. Don't be so heartbroken, Commander Horn. And please, don't question the way I issue my crew around." The Commander then tried to ignore the Commander and looked towards Liara, however it seemed that the fool needed to absolutely have the last word. Pathetic.

With a smug smile, the Commander spoke."Huh, so you're the kind of guy who laughs when someone gets shot in the face, huh?" Horn’s smile grew even larger. "And I was never questioning the way you issue orders. Don't be so heartbroken Commander Poitvin." After those words, everything fell silent. It was slightly awkward.

Soon afterwards, Titus barged in with someone he had never set eyes upon, a certain Miss Buchan, launching a flurry of activity. Liara explained the mission, Titus ordered Poitvin around. It was the usual. Nothing new. Poitvin simply went along with it, nodding his head, not saying a word. Then something unexpected happened. They revealed they were going against an Ardat-Yakshi. This was a problem. Personally, he had never faced one of them, but he knew they were a goddamn pain in the ass to kill.

Poitvin looked at Liara, then to Horn and finally to Titus. “How the fuck do we kill something like that?!”

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Re: Mass Effect: On the Edge

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