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Prologue: A Night to Remember


“What matters now, for you and me, is what we do when we arrive. Who we become, and how we carry ourselves in Andromeda. Thank you, and enjoy your last night under familiar stars.” Jien Garson concluded from the podium, her face spread across dozens of viewing screens across the convention center floor. Over 100,000 prospective colonists who had been approved for the Andromeda Initiative were gathered in one of the largest convention centers on Luna, Earth’s moon, where the Nexus and the 4 Arks that were set to depart sat proudly in orbit above the celestial body, a triumph of cooperation, tireless work, and an astonishing feat of engineering. It was the party of the century; no one wanted their last night in the Milky Way to be a boring one, and even normally reserved or bookish personalities who had no interests in crowds were in high spirits, mingling with strangers who shared one thing in common; they were about to take the most daring voyage in galactic history.

It was a hell of a moment in time, that much was certain.

A thunderous applause and some wild hooting from the more enthusiastic of the crowd rang out, both to show appreciation for Jien Garson and her speech, but more importantly to affirm that this was really happening; the very next day, each and every single person who had signed up for the Initiative would be set into one of 100,000 cryo pods to go to sleep for the next 600-so-odd years and wake up so far away from home they could never hope to return, it was a one way trip and it was impossible not to feel the weight of leaving all of your friends and family behind, as well as all the comfortable places and sensations that had come to define your life. In an age where someone could go from one corner of the galaxy to the next in a matter of weeks, no one had ever tried an extragalactic voyage to the neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy; pictures of it were displayed predominantly across screens, highlighting the Heleus Cluster to show where home would be come when everyone woke up in what would feel like two days from now. It was kind of daunting.

“That was a heap of pyjak shit. That’s the one who sold you on the stupidest idea in the history of dumbass ideas? It’s not too late to back out, you know.” The rumbling tones of a krogan eventually broke through the din at a crescent-shaped sofa arrangement, the familiar frame of Ravanor Tonka looking absolutely out of place wearing a suit instead of his customary set of armour that Tanya Carson had known him to wear nearly constantly since she met him years back. She grinned at her unlikely friend and former crew member, setting down a half-empty glass of champagne on the white marble table that was built as a companion piece; had the Initiative not covered the expenses of the hall, she was reasonably sure she wouldn’t have been able to ever afford coming here. Everything was far too fancy.

“And here I thought stupid ideas were your siren songs, Tonka. You could have had the adventure of a lifetime if you came along. Think of all the screw ups that await your amusement.” She replied, glancing over at Sabinus Tannyx, her turian paramour, fighting with a tie she’d bought him a couple weeks ago. The pair decided to have fun with the event and pick out each other’s outfits, a mixture of human and turian sensibilities to various degrees of success.

The krogan let out a bellowing laugh. “Ha! While that’s true, I always had a way out when shit started falling apart like the Borealis on a good day.” His frame rocked as an almost inaudible chuckle subsided and his disposition turned to one that was a bit more somber. “Look, I know we haven’t known each other long-“

“For a krogan.” Tanya interjected, reaching for the glass once more.

“For a krogan.” He agreed without missing a beat. “But I would have felt like a pretty crap friend if I didn’t see you and the others off. I figured showing my handsome mug around here would both drive all the crazy women like you mad because apparently you’re all desperate enough to fly to another fucking galaxy on a whim, but I also think I’ll probably miss you. To think I’ll still be around after you get there. I’ll still outlive you all.” He grinned, showing off broad, powerful teeth.

Sabinus broke his silence. “If you’re who’s going to inherit the galaxy in our absence, it’s a good thing we’re starting fresh.” He said mirthfully, winking at Tanya and eventually giving up on fastening his white tie, which now sat lazily around his neck like a comically undersized scarf. “In truth, I’m sorry this is only the second and last time we’ve met. The way Tanya went on about your antics, I’d almost think she fancied you.”
“I’d break her.” Tonka pointed out, matter-of-factly, prompting Tanya to choke as she was drinking.

“And I thank the Spirits every day you never put that observation to the test.” Sabinus replied, placing a reassuring hand on the sputtering and red-faced human. Tonka grinned wickedly, setting his cargo bag on the seat next to him.

“You’re not bad as far as turians go. I might have even come around to liking you if you stuck around, but I can tell Tanya’s found a keeper. She definitely seems happier than when we were chumming around on a piece of volus crap ship that probably was held together more by epoxy, tape, and prayers. Look after her, will you? It’ll just be you and the other idiots we used to call a team going out there with her.” Tonka asked with surprising sincerity.

Sabinus grinned as Tanya was still catching her breath. “Oh, don’t worry. Pretty sure she’s going to be the one looking after me.” Looking over, a group caught his eye; his parents had finally arrived. “Pardon me for a moment.” He said, standing and making his way over to the two distinguished turians wearing their typically pristine military uniforms. As he crossed the floor towards them, his father offered a single nod and an extended hand, a gesture of professional respect. “Sabinus. Please accept our apology for our tardy arrival; the shuttles and taxis from the hotel were all spoken for the past three hours.” His mandibles twitched irritably. “Three hours I could have spent with my son before he disappeared forever.” He added bitterly.

“Quinnus, we’re here. That’s enough.” Atia, his mother, spoke up. Quinnus adjusted his collar, nodding subtly. “Of course. It’s not that we don’t approve of your decision, Sabinus. It’s just, well…”

“This is the last time we’ll see each other.” Sabinus concluded. A silence hung for several moments, accompanied by awkward glances. It wasn’t exactly turning out to be the most heartwarming of moments, he decided.

One of the aforementioned idiots had decided to approach as Sabinus went to see to his family, after searching through the various crowds for a familiar face. A tall, well dressed female turian approached. She wore a dark purple dress with robe like design, long sleeves rolled up past her organic elbow and prosthetic one. Her dark green triple spiral tattoos unmistakable as was her call out, “Hey Strangers. Been a while huh?

She squinted happily, humming away at Tonka and Tanya. It was only a few years but it felt like a couple lifetimes. Dex spent time scouring through Initiative data looking for familiar faces, there had been a few rumours that some of her old crew had made it into the voyage. Now that she saw Tanya her doubts had evaporated. This was as real as it was going to get.

Looking sharp.” She commented, noting both of them had dressed up nicely. She spotted some turian flare on Tanya and it wasn’t horrible. She leaned over the back of the couch.

”Dex!” Tanya proclaimed, standing suddenly and heading over to give her friend a warm embrace. She was wearing a similar robe-like black and blue dress, tailored into a more human-centric style to sit on her frame. It was one Sabinus picked out and had sent to a seamstress to make work for the evening. ”Come, join us. Tonka’s the same grumpy fuck we know and love, he’s not coming along but was nice enough to say goodbye.” she replied, offering her seat for Dex. She looked over at Sabinus, who in comparison looked like he was meeting business clients rather than family. It was just their way, she knew. There was warmth in their expressions and a slightly more relaxed posture than their typical gaits, she recognized. She did live with them for two months before heading this way; in a lot of ways, they were her family now. It was bittersweet to say goodbye.

I wouldn’t expect any less.” Giving Tanya a one armed hug, subharmonics humming happily. “Hi Tonka.

The krogan grunted. “And here I thought I had faith in your, Dex. Where’s your plus one?” Tonka asked. Tanya sat down beside Dex, propping her feet up on the table with a pair of Alliance-issue combat boots. Some things never changed.

Her mandibles flattened giving her a rather sour expression. “Prick stood me up. He didn’t get into the Initiative and I told him to be here for a goodbye.” She replied plopping down beside Tanya eyeing Sabinus’ glass of dextro equivalent champagne. “At least my siblings were able to sneak off world to be here tonight, special permission in spite of the travel restrictions for Taetrus right now.

She whispered conspiratorially behind a hand, “They really need to upgrade their security protocols, may as well be the same shit they used 20 years ago...but you didn’t hear that from me.

She pointed with her chin at Sabinus, “And that’s yours huh?

Tanya nodded, a knowing smile on her face. Sabinus was currently going through Initiative documents on his omni-tool with his parents, the tension from earlier starting to fade. ”That’s mine. It’s been a couple years now, but he really feels like he’s a part of me I was missing. The stability, comfort… hell, he’s been right by my side when I relapsed and not once did he ever get frustrated with me. I owe him a lot. Hell, when I told him the Initiative was interested in me, he didn’t even hesitate to figure out how he could come with me. He’s got a lot more to lose than I do, but here he is.”

That’s… really nice. I’m happy for you Tanya, for the pair of you.” Dex replied, Tanya’s eyes were on him - warmth was rolling off her in waves. “Have you guys figured out which habitat you want to settle on? I was thinking somewhere green like Habitat 5 or 6 for me.

”Not yet, we were going to play it by ear and figure out what they’re like when we get there. There’s only so much you can tell from instrumentation, but we’re thinking somewhere that’s warm and dry, like home.” Tanya replied, glancing over. ”We might as well be neighbours, right? And who knows what kind of nasty bugs are on the tropical ones. We’ve got it all planned out.”

“Except for the part where you’re going to be travelling 600 years on the ultimate no refunds vacation. Can’t be worse than Tuchanka.” Tonka grunted, reaching into his bag, pulling out a handful of small boxes before finding a couple with the right names. “Here, I got you both something. For old time’s sake.”

Handing the boxes to each of the women, Tanya opened hers. A verdian green pendant on a metal chain was sitting in a box on top of some sort of packing paper with a cartoon character she didn’t recognize. She looked it over, curious. ”It’s pretty, and heavy… what is it?”

“Remember all those years ago on Virmire when I got shot up following the dumbass plan you all cooked up? Let’s just say my armour wasn’t supposed to be taken off in that fashion, I was still digging pieces of it out of my hide for weeks afterwards. I figured what better way to enshrine your memory of me than a monument to the shitshow known as the Jury Riggers?” he explained, chuckling at the memory. He had been very intoxicated for that plan to work, and it definitely didn’t.

Oh yeah, I remember that one.” She tapped a mechanical talon against the pendant. “You sentimental dried out piece of leather, you do care.” She flashed a grin.

Shaking the box he had given her, “Is my gift expensive? I know you can afford it.

“I wouldn’t be rich if I spent all my credits on people to give them meaningless junk. No, I made this myself. I think you’ll find it appropriate.” The krogan assured her.

She lifted the lid of the box inside was vacuum sealed packet of what looked like cooked meat, in bite sized pieces. She lifted it up to her nose and caught the faint smell of smoky spices. “You made this? For me?” Dex crinkled the plastic. She squinted at Tonka, her mandibles stretched open for a toothy turian smile.

She lifted it up, it was just small enough to fit in her secret snack compartment. “It’s the perfect size to carry. What’s the meat?

“Rhymes with ‘barren’, if you really want to know. At least that’s what the butcher tells me it tastes like, because I can’t eat dextro shit. There’s some spices and sauce that I assume are something like basil and honey, but hopefully your palate is as adventurous as the rest of you.” He grinned. “Should fit nicely in the compartment on your arm, there. I even trimmed them down to size.”

Yeah I see that. Thank you, Tonka. I’ll save it for a rainy day.” She said sincerely.

Dex minced words, knowing Tonka wouldn’t appreciate anything more complicated. “We’ll miss you. Don’t get too bored when we’re gone.

“I’m sure I’ll manage to find another crew as… interesting as you lot. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find the kid.” The krogan stood, grabbing his bag with a grunt. The crowd seemed like an easy way to get lost. “I’ll be sure to find you again before the night’s out. Now, where’s the pink mop…” he muttered, excusing himself from the section and heading off into the crowd, a large mass that was only matched by other krogan. As if sensing an opening Sabinus returned, his parents at his side. ”Mother, father, please have a seat.” his eyes drifted over to Dex, immediately noticing the synthetic arm. ”Ah! You must be Dexuret. Tanya’s been keeping in touch with you, I’m surprised you never made over to Elysium for a visit. This is my mother, Atia Tannyx, an officer of the hastatim, and my father Quinnis, historian of the 16th Legion.” he said as an introduction, his eyes staring into Dex’s to make sure she understood the implications of hastatim, given her history. He had never met Dex before, but Tanya told him enough to know that she would have been exactly the kind of person his mother would have been dragging out to the street to put a bullet in her head if she’d been in the neighbourhood that was being cleared of insurgents. It was, after all, a rather touchy subject in his family that Sabinus was none too proud of.

“It’s an honour.” Qunnis said, bowing his head respectfully. Atia regarded Dex with the eyes that a bird of prey might a mouse, which didn’t necessarily mean anything; her career made her suspect everyone of potential insurgent leanings. She was a severe woman, that much was for sure.

“Likewise. Are you a friend of Tanya’s? Sabinus has never spoken of you before.” Atia added, her sea-green eyes the same hue as Sabinus’. It was easy to see the resemblance.

Dex’s mandibles flicked curiously, she held eye contact with Sabinus picking up what he was putting down. She regarded Atia, meeting her gaze head on. Even the tiniest mention of Taetrus would quickly send this conversation into a freefall nosedive, considering this was Tanya’s in-laws on the eve of their voyage - tactfully sidestepping that particular landmine. Silver blooded Hierarchy officials in the extreme, polite as ever. Just sitting across from them rubbed her raw, but - thankfully for both Tanya and Sabinus’ sakes she could restrain herself. There was always a time and a place, Sabinus gave her some heads up. Smooth as the hull of a brand new cruiser she spoke, “Dex, please. Only my mother calls me Dexuret. I’m an old crewmember and friend of Tanya’s. Will be making the same voyage to Andromeda, boarding the Nexus. Really, the honour is mine. It’s interesting you study the 16th Legion, Qunnis. I’ve read about a playwright that wrote some of the 16th Legion’s exploits. I’m not a historian, but it is interesting.

Dex smoothly transferred the subject to something she considered generally safe, get a historian talking about history and you were sold on an easy conversation. “That was actually one of the first things Tanya and I bonded over, we went to see a Vorcha musical. Remember?

She elbowed Tanya, her mandibles flattened in a tight smile at her friend.

Tanya nodded, cradling her glass as if she didn’t trust her hands. ”Right, on Omega. Barely had more than a few credits between us and it was the cheapest show that was on. Should have spent it on liquor, I think. It would have been less nauseating.” Tanya confirmed, wondering exactly how she was keeping a straight face, or if cracks were showing.

Qunnis, either oblivious to the undertones of the discussion or so used to his wife’s impromptu interrogations continued on, a friendly disposition on his face. “I’m glad you are appreciative of our history. The Legions are the lifeblood of turian society, and I feel that the story of the 16th can be one of inspiration and courage. It’s why I’m sending Sabinus with a copy of my transcripts. A piece of home and an opportunity to draw strength from the Spirit of the Legion when times become trying. It’s the least I could do for him.”

”And I appreciate the gesture, father. It will be good to have something to remind me of home. It will be as if you are with me.” Sabinus replied warmly, hoping the earlier discussion was dissipating. Atia, however, was on the scent.

“I could not help but notice your colony markings are those of Taetrus. Curious, I have had some immensely productive years there the past decade, a lot of troublesome activities.” Atia continued, her eyes not leaving Dex for a moment. “Have you been off world for long? You must have left someone behind, poor thing. That is a troubled colony, but it will be set straight, this I promise you.” A terse smile crossed her slate-coloured lips. “Taetrus is in good hands now.”

The pause lasted a moment, rage boiled in Dex’s stomach. Her mandibles remained flat as she maintained the tight smile. She maintained eye contact with Atia. It was such a line, ‘Taetrus is in good hands now.’ As if they were a bunch of wild bumpkins who needed to be scolded and put back in line. When she spoke it was calm detachment. Atia’s game was clear, she was hoping to get a rise out of her. Dex had made peace with leaving her homeworld behind, even as war erupted across it. But that Hierarchy superiority still got a knee jerk reaction out of the likes of Dex.

Dex managed an equally terse, “Thank you, for the uh…- condolences. My family has some pretty deep roots, generations have been born and have died planetside. I’ve been working off planet for several years now but of course always make time to visit my family.” Dex lied, having not stepped foot on Taetrus for over twenty years.

You have a sharp eye, Atia. Nobody really pays much attention to the backwater colonies.” Dex commented lightly as she could manage. She wanted to chase after Tonka, run in the opposite direction of this interrogation.

“It is precisely that lack of attention that permitted organizations such as Facinus to take root, and I am resolved to not let complacency undermine what the Hierarchy stands for.” Atia replied evenly. “Since you are an acquaintance of my son and a close friend and confidant of Tanya, I will be sure to check up on your family to make sure that they have remained unperturbed by the conflict. All I ever needed was a name to begin my search, Miss Noratus.” she said, taking Quinnis by the arm. “But you all have so much to discuss, it is a big day ahead tomorrow. Please pardon me; I have had quite the lengthy travel to make it here in time and I should like a chance to stretch my legs and find where the bar is. I’m parched. Sabinus, we will find you shortly. Enjoy your evening.” Atia said, bowing to the group before setting off, Quinnis in tow.

Sabinus sank down into a now vacant seat, pulling a flask out from his blazer pocket. ”And people wonder why I left home and put some distance between my parents and I. Are you okay, Dex?” he asked, genuinely concerned.

Tanya had a hand on her friend’s shoulder. ”I lived with her for two months. I’ll be the first to say she’s a snake-hearted bitch. You might want to make a few calls tonight.” she paused, shifting uncomfortably. ”Sabinus never mentioned your last name before.”

Dex stiffened, a long disgruntled sigh came from the pit of her stomach. She glared daggers at Atia’s retreating back. “Fuck me.

Patting Tanya’s hand, then squeezing it with her organic hand. “This shit just keeps sneaking up on me and biting me right in the ass...” She leaned back into the couch, turning to Sabinus “Thanks for the heads up Sabinus, appreciate it. This bullshit is exactly why I want to leave.

”I’m sorry about her. I hate what she does, but she’s still my mother, you understand? I’ll try to talk sense into her, or at least buy you some time to do what you need to. Just to think, this time tomorrow and all of this will be centuries behind us.” he snorted, and eventually it grew into a snicker. ”Okay, I know this is a bad time for this, but isn’t this kind of like the penultimate version of telling someone, ‘see you next year!’ on New Years Eve?”

Tanya, I didn’t realize you hitched yourself to a comedian. Do you perform stand up?” Dex asked, then laughed lightly. Shoulders slumping, “I- yeah. I’ve got some calls to make before she starts to really dig. You know, under her pretense of ‘bettering the Hierarchy’ she… did her homework. Kudos to her. But also, fuck her.” Dex pushed herself up waking up her omnitool.

If you don’t see me again tonight, I’ll see you two in a couple days.” Dex promised, then winked good naturedly at the pair.

”Sure, I have a show lined up on Habitat 5. Better get your tickets soon, they’re going fast.” Sabinus replied, nodding along with the sentiment. ”You can imagine what dinner conversations were like at my house after my mother came back from her deployments. Pretty messed up shit to be telling a 13 year old, but hey, I made sure to really apply myself when my period of service came up so I wouldn’t have to listen to more of it. It’s hard to make and keep friends when they find out that your mom probably slotted theirs a few years ago.” he said, drinking from the flask. ”I didn’t think I could pick family until I met Tanya. Taking her to meet my parents when we signed up for the Initiative was way more stressful than the time I got part of my mandible shot off. You do what you have to do, Dex. We’ll be around if you need us. You’re welcome to join me in drinking everything on the menu. It is an open bar, after all.” he said with a wink.

”Don’t feel you need to spend the night alone, Dex. I’m here if you need me. Besides, I’d love to get the opportunity to annoy your folks if at all possible.” she offered with a grin.

Dex nodded, humming an unusual sound. She was glad Sabinus was proving to be pretty alright, in direct opposition to his hit-and-run mother. Tanya of course was there as if a day hadn’t gone by, it was nostalgic. By this time tomorrow they’d be far away.
Sure, keep my seat warm for me.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Dervish
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A Hope Built on Vengeance


Aboard the Nexus, Present Day...

”We believe it’s our duty to better our species.” The turian VI in the newly opened cultural center said definitively, its holographic eyes staring at Sabinus Tannyx without truly focusing on him. It was very likely that this VI, standing in line with others representing the other species of the Milky Way, would be the very first impression that new aliens visiting the Nexus would be receiving of their new neighbours. While nothing it said wasn’t necessarily dishonest, the turian felt it was far too sanitized, it all was. The Citadel VI told a bold-faced lie about conflict being rare, and that everyone was peaceful by nature, and the krogan one failed to mention they were responsible for Tuchanka becoming a barely habitable hellhole and subsequently trying to invade the rest of the galaxy. It wasn’t that Sabinus was concerned about the krogan, or anyone, coming to Andromeda as a group, but with one uprising in less than a year and the krogan subsequently abandoning the Initiative, he doubted any angara visiting the station would buy what the VI were saying.

”I see your krogan VI, but why are they not on the station?” one will inevitably ask.

”Oh, that’s because our leadership betrayed their trust after setting them loose on a bunch of disgruntled and starving mutineers who ended up experiencing what it must have been like to fight during the krogan rebellions. It was a bloodbath!” the Cultural Center attendant would cheerfully explain, undoing what little trust the angarans would have of anyone of the Milky Way ever again.
Personally, Sabinus would have had the VIs explain the bad and good, whatever the visitors could have wondered about, no nonsense or sanitized garbage. Just honesty. How else were they going to earn the trust of the only group of people who weren’t actively trying to murder everyone in the initiative? It would go a long way in explaining why there was now a military encampment on Eos and why the Milky Way colonists all seemed to have guns permanently attached to their persons.

And now Sabinus had to go meet an angaran who was putting his life into the turian’s hands. No pressure.

A now familiar salarian approached, taking in the Cultural Center in much the same way Sabinus did, only with salarians it was hard to read expressions most of the time. He’d learned the hard way to never gamble against one. “You know Tazen, I don’t see why we needed to leave the Milky Way after all. All of these friendly VIs assure me everyone here is a peaceful and thoughtful people who never once raised a voice in anger.” He greeted the salarian, smiling tersely at the turian VI, who was now droning on about Palaven as if he was still paying attention.

Tazen smiled at Sabinus, chuckling slightly at the Turian’s comment on the messages spouted by the VIs. “Indeed the Angara must think we are some madmen to have abandoned such a utopia, don't you think?” The Salarian commented, his eyes briefly darting towards the VI of his own species which was spouting the same sanitized message of his kind.

He let out a soft sigh, shaking his head slightly. Like Sabinius, Tazen didn't like the cultural center or, to be more precise, the sanitized message it spouted about the Galaxy. It all reminded him too much of the way Salarians, and indeed the Galaxy at large, conducted their politics, always behind a veneer of pleasantness, trying to hide the ugliness in the galaxy for one gain or another.

“Speaking honestly, I despise this… all of this, Sabinius.” Narok said, motioning to the wider cultural center with his hand “When I joined the Initiative it was for a chance to build something new, something different from what we were leaving.” He spoke honestly, feeling that the Turian understood him to some extent “But instead we get here and the same mistakes repeat themselves.” The Salarian finished, his thoughts briefly turned towards Jien Garson and the original promise of the Initiative before he shook his head to dispel such thoughts.

Lingering on such things would do no one any good, especially not now that he, along with Sabinius, were in charge of two APEX fireteams. “But I believe that we've gathered today to discuss other things than our displeasure at this so called cultural center, didn't we?” Spoke Narok, motioning towards the exit of the cultural center and waiting for Sabinius to follow him before exiting the place. After all, they had to review the dossiers of the teams that would be assigned to them and then after that they had to meet the liaison from the Angaran Resistance.

“Oh, I don’t know if it’s all bad.” Sabinus mused. “That krogan seems like the kind of guy I’d grab a drink with, although the human makes a strong case of why the Relay 314 Incident was necessary.” He said with a knowing wink. With a gesture, the two began to make their way to their liaison, who was probably wondering what he’d gotten himself into. “I know this place is designed by people who probably never stepped foot outside of a university, but I’d argue it’s necessary, even if we don’t agree with the execution. It’s kind of like how you generally let your child splash in the shallow end of the pool before tossing them in the deep end to see if they learned anything. It probably can’t hurt that a lot of angarans are going to hear nothing but sunny things about all of us, but we have to start somewhere. Case in point, we’re both about to meet an angaran for the first time and hopefully make a fine impression that we’re not just more of the same as the Kett.” Sabinus said, pulling up a datapad as the automatic doors slid open to let them back into the commons.

“Noratus put together our dossiers for Fireteam Echo, so have you seen any of these candidates before?” Sabinus asked, opening up the first portrait.

Tazen couldn't help but chuckle slightly at Sabinius first comment, nodding in agreement as the two walked towards their Angaran liaison. On his second comment, however, the Salarian couldn't help but sigh a bit “Yeah, I know, I can understand the need for such a place, first impressions are important and all and yours is a sound argument but that doesn't means that I have to like it.” Said the Salarian “Though I guess it was naive of me to think that there wouldn't be need of such a place, one would think that after years of working at STG that sort of thing would have been long gone, huh?” He quipped, his eyes turning at the data pad that Sabinius had pulled. He shook his head slightly at Sabinius’s question “Apart from that little farewell party held in Luna? No, I haven't seen them before.” He said, looking as the portrait of one Clyfford Ward sprung to view.

“I do have read their dossiers however. For example, Clyfford Ward, the subject of our first dossier, served in the Alliance for a number of years, the file even says he took part of the retaliation at Torfan. Apart from that there isn't much to say, his dossier didn't go into all his time serving the Alliance after all, but it seems that he has a daughter in cryo on the Hyperion still, I expect that he’ll be a solid member of Echo in the fight against the Kett, he has something for which to fight and he obviously went through Torfan which was a bloodbath from what I know so I doubt he'll crack under the stress.” Tazen commented before the data pad shifted to the next portrait shortly after he was done speaking.

“You were a spook. I’m surprised you have faith in anything.” Sabinus grinned. “Hopefully Ward doesn’t take issue with Sedgoroth. One of the few batarians on the Initiative, how’d that come to pass?”

Tazen laughed at Sabinius’s comment, shaking his head “Surprising, isn't it? My clan had, more or less, the same reaction when I told them I was signing up for the Initiative.” He commented, his brows furrowing slight at the next comment made by the Turian. “Well, nothing in Ward’s dossier indicates anti-alien views, but on account of his participation in the Torfan retaliation there's no way to know how he'd react.” Mused the Salarian, hoping there wouldn't be any incident between Ward and Sedgoroh “As for how Sedgoroh came to be in the Initiative according to the grapevine, and some digging I did once we got here, Sedgoroh traded some intel he had about the Hegemony’s military with some Alliance rep, who in turn secured him a position on the Nexus as part of the original security detail under Kelly.” Commented Tazen “Apart from that there isn't much on his dossier, except that he worked for the Blue Suns for a while then as a freelance merc, so at the very least we know that he has experience under his belt. That and that he can work with other species, but his presence here should have been a giveaway about that.”

“Solid choice, although he has to be lonely being of of the only batarians out here. We’ll keep him busy.” Sabinus observed, going to the next name. “Khoroushi, one of the more unorthodox choices. Noratus claims they worked together on a team a few years back… relatively speaking.” the turian corrected himself. It was hard to not think of 600 years ago being only last year. “Scientist, medical professional. Specializes in cybernetics, survived the Skyllian Blitz and got a few extra pieces of her design shoved in her body to replace the old. She was apparently adamant about serving APEX instead of being one of the medical personnel; she became a PMC and spent time hunting down pirates and other outlaws, apparently she’s good at it. We also have…”

He flipped to the next name on file. “Mathews. She looks like a college dropout. Even Tanya doesn’t have hair that outlandish. Ah well, no accounting for taste, right? We aren’t technically military.” he skimmed over the notes. “History of dealing with gangs, a specialist in robotics engineering and VIs, served in the Alliance as a tech specialist turned black ops goon, a lot of it off the books. She got forced to do some, ah, ‘deniable ops’ and got backstabbed by her crooked superior. Psyche profile suggests she’s carrying a lot of baggage from that and the loss of her partner, blames herself for things outside of her control. Probably best to keep her on the supportive end of things for the time being, see how she shakes out. A lot of talent in a fragile package. Next…” Sabinus carried on, clicking his tongue as he pulled up the next name. “Another one of Noratus’ old contacts. Voltinis, sounds like he’s a marksman?” he asked Tazen.

“Yes, from what I gather of his dossier he was a recon sniper back during his time as part of the Hierarchy’s military. Apparently the battalion he was part of, the 132nd a according to my memory, worked near the edges of Terminus Space, so Volintis has some experience against pirates and slavers. While the Kett are none of these things I'm sure he'll be a solid choice for the team, not to mention that he also had experience as a merc as well if his time working with Noratus is any indication. Seems he also has some cartography skills which could come in handy on account of the fact that most of Heleus remains mostly unexplored, hopefully the Pathfinder will help in that regard as well.” Mused the Salarian as he asked Sabinius for the data pad, flipping it to the next name on the file

“Next comes Yanagita, apparently he was in the Alliance Engineer Corps. Surprisingly, like Ward, he was also at Torfan, hopefully he won't have problems with Sedgoroh but I'm hopeful, his file says that he has never expressed anti-alien views, but we’ll see what happens when the team gathers. Overall, I'd say he is a solid choice as well, he has combat experience both on account of Torfan and also for taking part during the battle for the Citadel, seems he was part of C-sec as well and helped with escorting refugees to the safe zones, so I'd say it's a safe wager to say he fought there as well.” Muttered Tazen before flipping over to the next name.

“Then there’s Naryxa, who, like many other Asari in the Republics, trained as a Huntress and served as a commando for a while before eventually winding up as a mercenary, though that's barely scratching the surface of what she has done, she got quite the array of experiences under her belt. Interestingly enough she was thawed out due to the fact that she was considered for a leadership position. Overall, I'd say she’ll be a fine addition to the team” Continued the Salarian “Next on the list comes another Asari, Ryria T’vessi, she is assigned as our combat medic, isn't she?”

“Another case of rather being out in the field than serving on the station. In this case, she has years of survival experience that the rest of us do not on some impressively inhospitable environments. She was brought up in the system as an orphan and dedicated most of her life after a brief military service to serving a humanitarian slash colonization organization called Texon. She’s had ample experience protecting the vulnerable against wildlife and hostiles, and needless to say, I think that’s what we’re going to need across the Habitats. Between our own outposts and the angaran settlements, it’ll be good to have someone with an experienced hand dealing with the unknown here.”

Finally, the last name on the list came up. An all-too familiar crest and a face that took up most of the portrait dominated the pad. “Bragus Kargad, our krogan. He didn’t leave with the rest of them because he has two asari daughters on the Nexus, and the way his psych profile speaks of him, he’s mentally conditioned himself to identity more as an asari than a krogan. It’s one of the most bizzare dossiers I’ve come across.” Sabinus admitted, scrolling down with interest. “He’s biotic, and very religious. As far as I can tell, he throws himself into combat with the usual enthusiasm but he’s uniquely interested in the Initiative’s success thanks to fatherhood being what drives him. I’d think it’s safe to say he’s a stable asset, just one that might take some getting used to.”

“Yes, I had read Kargad’s dossier, not many individuals integrate a culture that strongly, then again I suppose that in light of the lifespan of your average Krogan, if he had been exposed to Asari culture long enough it makes a certain sense that he'd incorporate it into his mindset.” Commented Tazen, nodding in agreement at Sabinius’s assessment of Kargad as part of Fireteam Echo. With the talk of the recruits at an end Tazen took a minute to appraise where they were in regards to their meeting point with their Angaran liaison “Seems we’re near the meeting point, and I'd wager that our liaison with the Angaran resistance is about to arrive as well.” Commented the Salarian, slightly hurrying his pace to make sure they'd be there on time.

All in all it didn't take them too long to reach the place where they were supposed to meet the Angaran liaison, a small office tucked in an area of the Commons that, until the foundation of Prodromos and the sudden surge of personnel being taken out of cryo, had been kept mostly closed off except for those in the maintenance teams of the Nexus. As such, there weren't many people loitering around the area except for those who were doing maintenance and what few people had been assigned housing in the area near the office itself. However, signs of it turning into what it was meant to be, a central social hub and the first place visitors to the station would visit, was starting to come into fruition. It had a view that was reminiscent of the sprawling views of the Presidum along its docking platforms, and the clean lines and interiors were now being sown with the decorative plants from hydroponics that had been brought along to bring some life to the place, and much needed oxygen, each plant bed featuring species from different homeworlds of the various aliens that had travelled across the Milky Way. It was a taste of home in a far off and strange land.

The office was little more than a meeting room that would one day be used as something that could be scheduled for business meetings or even for employees of companies that operated across the colonies and the Nexus itself, but for now it mostly served as a lunch room for the maintenance staff that was working non-stop since coming out of cryo. Displayed all over the walls were the same Andromeda Initiative interactive displays that were displayed outside of the cryo bays to welcome the new colonists to their new homes. Inside with a pitcher of water and a tray of snacks that were likely vetted as safe for angaran consumption was one of the angarans, the last name on their dossiers; Anjor de Sufva. This was the first time Sabinus had seen an angaran up close, and for the first time in his life, even more so than when he’d first seen humans in the flesh, did he have the sense of seeing an alien. There was no history with the angara that he could draw on, no thousands of years of galactic civilization where one grew up seeing people of all sorts of different species come and go, but a bonafide enigma that he knew would be expected coming to Andromeda, but with absolutely no framework of what to expect.

A bulky framed alien with several rounded features, of which were accentuated with the armour, angarans were decidedly non-angular people. The headfolds were of particular interest, and it vaguely reminded the turian of a volus, if the volus were tall, powerful, and did not wear a pressure suit to survive outside of their limited methane environment. Anjor seemed as curious about the newcomers as he was to them, and Sabinus was not exactly sure how to make a positive first impression, so it was time to improvise.

”Anjor? I’m commander Sabinus Tannyx, and this is Narok Tazen. If you have five minutes to spare, be sure to ask him to tell you his full name.” the turian said, unsure of if a smile or grin would translate well. Did that mean something else entirely for angara? Would the pointed teeth and hard carapace look entirely predatory and terrifying to them?

Spirits, I should have brushed up on my notes… he thought, feeling promptly like a jackass.

Taking a seat across from Anjor, Sabinus sat with perfectly straight posture, as was customary of him. Good impressions were only something you could do once. ”We understand that you are a liaison for the angaran people, and as representatives of both APEX and the Nexus proper, we wish to thank you for extending a hand in trust and friendship towards us and the many people of the Milky Way who wish to call Andromeda home. We also understand that this cluster is also home to a group of interlopers who only wish your people harm, as well as our own. It is my hope that together, we will find a way for both of our people to prosper.”

For an agonizingly long moment of time silence stretched through the small office. The faint sounds of a foot tapping against the floor pulsating outwards. All the while the angara just seemed to stare at the two strangers, taking them in, analyzing them, sizing them up. After what seemed like a lifetime, Anjor seemed satisfied with whatever he was looking for as a small smile broke across his face. “They called me the representative of my entire people? Oh, well it seems I’m going to have to live up to such great expectations then yes?”

Anjor leaned forward in his chair, resting his two large forearms atop the edge of the table as he looked between the Turian and the Salarian. “Let me then be the first of my people, but hopefully not the last, to welcome you all to our galaxy. May we all find peace and understanding together.” Stopping abruptly, he leaned in closer, adding this time in a lower whisper. “I’m supposed to add more here, our diplomats wrote out an entire speech for me to recite, but you’re busy people just like us I assume and busy people prefer business rather than pleasantries.”

“So.”He pushed off the table back into a more neutral seated position, the smile never leaving his face.

“This APEX you speak of. What exactly do you all do?”

Tazen listened in silence as Anjor spoke, leaning in closer when the Angaran did the same. “Good, as soon as we can get to the important matters it'll be better for us all.” Thought the Salarian to himself, repositioning himself on his chair when Anjor pushed off the table back into a more neutral position. Placing his elbows on the table, Tazen crossed his fingers before he began speaking “The APEX teams are, for all intents and purpose, a militia that was formed in response to the unprovoked military actions of the Kett against teams dispatched from the Nexus and, more recently, Ark Hyperion.” Tazen spoke to Anjor.

“As such, the main objective of APEX consists of opposing the various interests of the Kett throughout the cluster.” The Salarian continued “In light of this, it seemed a wise decision to combine forces against the Kett, wouldn't you agree?” He spoke, shifting slightly in his seat “I understand this might come off as too sudden, but we have a common enemy poised against us.”

”Put simply, we did not come here as invaders or conquerors. However, if the Kett are looking for a fight, APEX is the instrument that will give them just that. I’m not going to pretend we’re a collection of perfect, enlightened species, Anjor, and I can appreciate how unsettling it might be after your people have gone for well over a lifetime of fighting for your survival against the Kett to suddenly have newcomers arrive with unknown intentions, but that is what this liaison program is for. You will have a chance to fight alongside us, and we will all learn about each others peoples as comrades in arms fighting against an enemy who cannot be reasoned with and threatens all of our lives. Each one of us in APEX has seen our share of combat, and we have a collection of species among us that have had long histories of animosity before finding common ground, but with that came experience. The Kett will regret the day, and pardon my language, they fucked with the wrong people.” Sabinus added, laying the intentions, and purpose, of the program bare.

Anjor listened in silence as the two begin to present their sales pitch. Idly, without his eyes ever dropping from them, his large hands took a small plastic cup that was already set out on the table and poured water into it. Casually he swished the liquid about in the cup’s base as his brow furrowed in thought. Finally he spoke. “You know, there are some amongst my kind that would like to see you all dead along with the Kett. They fear that you will be just like them, that your APEX teams aren’t just here for peace, but to support your own colonial endeavors and conquests.” The seat creaking in protest against the combined weight of Anjor’s mass and the heft of his armor as he went shifted in his seat before continuing.

“There are others still that see only your weakness. That you can’t even keep those that serve amongst you from turning away from your cause. That despite your recent successes on Eos, that you are running desperately low on supplies as evident by the fact that you keep many of your people still in deep sleep. That you are running on borrowed time; that if my people and the Resistance divert any of our resources towards yours it would be a waste.” Anjor explained bluntly as he carefully brought the cup up to his mouth and took a drink.
“You insist your peaceful and friendly intentions, but so did the Kett intitally. If you prove to be as the Kett were, as these parties insist that you are, they will gain more popular support which will only fragment my people more and leave you without any allies to help in your battle. And if such a thing happens, the Kett will surely kill both my people and yours.” Anjor continued as he placed the now empty cup upon the table.

“Personally, I don’t believe such things, a sentiment that my higher ups thankfully will at least tolerate for the moment. I prefer to think that any foe of the Kett, can be a friend of mine. That is why I’m here talking to you, putting the honor of not just my own name, but my entire family on the line because I believe that we can help each other. I sincerely hope that I don’t regret it.” Anjor commented with something that could of been a sigh as clasped his hands together in a pensive grip.

“So that being said, let me established some rules no? First: I cannot share any confidential resistance information with you. Second: I cannot in good faith perform any duties and/or actions that would go against the will of my people. Third: I will be able to provide you with information on the various planets in the surrounding cluster, and ensure you have cooridal relations with all of my people that you may happen to meet. Fourth: I will be able to provide you with any and all information concerning the Kett and any other hostile forces you may encounter here. Are these terms agreeable to you?” Anjor gestured towards the two of them with a nod of his head.

Tazen listened in silence as Anjor spoke, bluntly stating the way that the Initiative -and its present situation- was seen amongst the different groups of Angara. “First of all, let me say that I appreciate your honesty and candor in explaining the situation to us.” Spoke the Salarian as he shifted on his seat slightly, leaning forward and resting his elbows on the table once more “The rules that you propose seem, to me, entirely reasonable and I cannot fault you for them, and as such I agree with them.” Said Tazen, nodding in agreement “Along with this, let me propose something as well. Since you will be acting as liaison between the Angaran resistance and APEX I propose that, in the same way that you’ll be helping us in your capacity as liaison and part of our team, our APEX team, Fireteam Echo, will be ready to support the resistance if your superiors so desire.” He said, looking at Anjor as he continued to speaking “You said that the Kett tricked you with promises of friendly intentions and peace and I understand why this would leave such a mark on your people, especially if this was your first contact with another species, so let us prove our words with actions as well, what do you say?”

The Kett were once friendly before attacking? Interesting to know; bad for us. Sabinus thought, mulling over Anjor’s words. He was remarkably eloquent and seemingly sincere. The simple fact he was here despite having all the reason in the world to not trust the Initiative spoke volumes to his character. Sabinus was determined to earn that trust.
“Typically, establishing rules and conditions involves a few items that the other party wasn’t already decided on, so consider me adequately pleased.” Sabinus said after Tazen had concluded his own reply and affirmation of Anjor’s rules.

“Much like how we have classified intelligence on the Initiative, we would expect no less of your Resistance. The decisions to open up and share certain secrets or operational security will lie entirely among those who are higher up the chain of command. For instance, I would not expect you to disclose supply caches any more than I would tell you where the Nexus’ life support systems are.” he opened a pair of overturned hands to the angara, as if to communicate that there were no hidden intentions.
“Likewise, we were hoping that you would act as something of a guide, an expert on the conditions of the planets we will be visiting, the hazards, what’s safe to eat, what local customs we should observe when encountering angara. What information we can share about ourselves and our people, we will do so. I also wish to assure you that I will make the effort to facilitate you making contact with your superiors in the Resistance. I would like for you to have the ability to report in and relay both concerns and praise you might have, unfiltered honesty, as it were.” Sabinus concluded, his disposition softening to something a bit more amused.

Jutting a thumb behind him, towards the Cultural Center, he said, “I’m certain if there’s one thing that should help alleviate our presence being reminiscent of the Kett, it’s that I am entirely convinced the Kett did not spend a ridiculous amount of valuable credits, space, and resources on our charming cultural center, which I honestly feel gives us all entirely too much credit. Instead of try to conceal our intentions through secrecy and emotionless trading, we’ve made a spectacle of being so concerned about offending alien visitors such as yourself that it’s almost like talking down to them. I love it, truly. Give it a few years and it’ll probably have a gift shop where you can buy krogan plush toys and commemorative dishware featuring asari exotic dancers.”

Anjor nodded his head in approval as they spoke, a sense of palatable relief spreading across his face as they agreed to his terms. On the mention of gift shops though, a low chuckle began to vibrate from somewhere within the Angara’s chest, expanding outward as it got louder until it seemed to fill the entire room. Anjor’s hands came hard down hard on the table, open palms spread out against the cold metal, as he leaned in again, deeper this time so that his face was mere inches away from Tazen’s. The same smile from earlier rested against his face as he looked between the two.

”What do I say? I say that I like you both, definitely not vehshaanan. If all your people are like you; then Angara and Vesoan from Jarevaon Imasaf will have no trouble getting along.”

”And.” Anjor added with a low whisper and what could only be described as a wink. “While your govataan does seem a strange project for ones so early in their putting down of roots. If such a ‘gift shop’ does open up, be sure to tell me. My nieces and nephews would adore such krogan plush toys.

The Angara chuckled again as he pulled away and slowly stood up from his seat. Nodding his head as he looked between them before extended his own hand. ”Shall we shake then? On peace, cooperation, the death of many Kett, and plush toys.”
Also finding himself standing, Sabinus took Anjor’s hand with a firm, but not crushing, handshake. He was surprised that a handshake was a gesture that crossed galaxies. ”You’re going to have to write down what some of those terms mean at some
point. I’d hate to cause a diplomatic crisis in the event I mistook the term for peace offering for wanting to kiss your sister. Turns out the universal translators might need some updating.”
He smiled, breaking the handshake and putting both of his hands behind his back, posture military and proper. ”I think we’re all going to get along just fine, and I promise that I will look into seeing if I can’t pull a few strings for your nieces and nephews. We turians do love being public servants, after all.”

A chuckle escaped his throat, his eyes glancing up at the digital clock display that was rigged up above the door frame. ”Speaking of gifts, we should probably make our way to the armoury and see what we can dig up for equipment for you. As a turian, I’ve always felt you can learn a lot about a people by the weapons their culture produce. It will be a fun exchange, I think. I’m interested in how angaran arms compare to our own, and each of the Nexus species have different design philosophies that might resonate with you.”

Tazen inwardly breathed a sigh of relief at the positive conclusion of the negotiations, he had never been one too diplomatically gifted so he was glad for both Sabinius’s presence during the talks and for the positive note in which they had ended. After Sabinius was done, Tazen mimicked the actions of his Turian comrade and gave Anjor a handshake as well before adoption a more proper posture as well. He couldn't help but let out a chuckle at the Turian’s comment, shaking his head slightly as a smile formed on his lips.
Upon Sabinius’s comment of making their way towards the armory, Tazen made his way towards the door that led out of the office motioning for the Angaran and Turian to follow him “Right this way, let me show you the way to the armoury.” Said the Salarian, waiting for both Sabinius and Anjor to follow him before he made his way past through the crowds that were slowly but steadily growing in size and number as time went by and more people were thawed out of cryo. Eventually they were forced to take a tram that took them near one of the docking areas, where the armoury itself waited for them.



Prodromos, Eos, the next day…

It was hard to believe it was the same planet.

The Kodiak shuttle had descended into the planet’s atmosphere, once an irradiated hazy yellow and now a clear, vibrant blue, and Sabinus still didn’t understand how a machine could have terraformed the planet so quickl7y. While scientists still said there were heavy radiation pockets across the world, for the most part, one could survive on the surface of Eos without the requirement of specialized life support technology. One of the promised Golden Worlds actually delivered, and somehow the human Pathfinder, Sara Ryder, single-handedly saved the entire Initiative. As unwavering in hope and prosperity as Sabinus remained, he had to admit things were started to look bleak before Hyperion arrived and for the first time in over a year, things finally looked like there was a chance to give everyone the home they were promised six centuries ago.

Eos was a barren, desert world with some sparse, hardy vegetation, some nasty oversized insects that were unbelievably aggressive, and some rather incredible vistas that were like an oversized badlands. Skyscraper sized hoodoos dominated the landscape, and although dust storms whipped up from time to time, it was actually somewhere someone could settle down without much effort.

The Kodiak finally cleared the ridge and down in the valley below was Prodromos, the first Outpost the Initiative could consider a success. Several hardy prefabricated buildings had been erected by an impressive run of shuttles and cargo haulers, putting together a habitat that could be lived in and relatively comfortable in a bit over a day; by the end of the week it was a well-fortified military outpost with auto turrets, barracks, and extensive training infrastructure for the APEX teams that were now stationed there. It was a toss-up between making a military and science outpost, but Sabinus thought Ryder made the right call; it’s better to have an aggressive image to the angarans than it was to have the Kett wiped out this outpost, just like the previous two attempts that had ended in massacres. This time the Initiative was ready, and they were all too eager to get back at the Kett.

Touching down, Sabinus, Tazen, and Anjor stepped out with a number of other passengers that were arriving in the outpost. A navpoint blinked on the omnitool map Sabinus had pulled up where his team, Fireteam Echo, would be waiting. ”Let’s go meet the crew, shall we?” he asked his two companions, and the trio made their way over to one of the barracks, a re-purposed prefabricated shelter that featured a large sunroof and bay window in he common area. It housed 20 cotts and had a privacy curtain between the male and female ends as well as a sanitation node coming off of it at a perpendicular angle near the center. Each cott had a foot locker and a small desk with a terminal, as well as a larger vid screen and several pieces of furniture such as chairs, a large sectional couch, a games table and an extended weapons and armour rack, each would have the current occupants’ name displayed via holo display.

Sabinus cued up the names of Fireteam Echo on his omnitool, sending a message,

FORM UP OUTSIDE: 10 MINUTES

”I wonder how awake they are?” the turian pondered, wearing his green-black Mantis armour and his weaponry mounted to his frame like they were old friends. ”So, Anjor, tell me your thoughts. This must be somewhat exciting for you?” he asked, arms crossed as he studied the barracks from afar.

The only response that Sabinus received was a small hmm from Anjor as he looked up at the wide expanse of blue splayed out above him. For his part the Angara was dressed in the same battleworn ranger armor that he had worn yesterday that he had met Sabinus and Tazen in yesterday. Though the observant eye would’ve of noticed the distinctly human-influenced design and shape of the new weapon that was strapped to his back, the bulky and unassuming silhouette of an M-96 Mattock. Whatever he was looking for in the sky, he didn’t seem to find it as he turned back to Sabinus.

”Honestly? It feels the same. Same as whenever I met the new recruits by myself for the Resistance. Same dull but unavoidable sense of nervousness. Same voice in the back of my head telling me that it is going to be fine. Feels familiar that way. Don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing really... have to get back to you on it.” Anjor explained with a shrug and an easy grin.

He turned his attention towards Tazen. ’How about you Mister Tazen. Out of the two of you, you seem more like the ones I’m used to receiving orders from; the type that will tell it to you straight, no matter the odds. The Heleus Cluster isn’t forgiving when you make mistakes. You think your people are up to the task?”

“It will be difficult, I won't lie.” Said Tazen, letting his eyes wander briefly over what he could see of Prodromos “But we will raise to the task, I have absolute certainty of that. We didn't travel through dark space in a voyage of 600 years to fail now.” He said, turning to look at Anjor with a confident look “I, speaking for myself, know that I won't give up, not now or ever. It's the least I can do, that we can do, for those of us who still wait in cryo sleep, for those who died due to the scourge, and for your people as well Anjor.” He said, chuckling nervously after a second once he was done talking. “My apologies, not sure where that came from, but to reiterate what I said first, it will be difficult but we will raise up to the task.”

“If it puts your mind at ease,” Sabinus added, looking over to the angaran, “Everyone on APEX has been vetted and has experience in armed conflict and survival scenarios. Unlike in the situation your people have endured, we’re pulling our personnel from volunteers who happened to be veterans. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at their individual capabilities. The real question is how well a group pulled from different doctrines and specialties mesh. And here they come now.”
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Serena's silvery tube top and dress swirled around her as she moved through the crowd, heading towards the edge and the windows, simple golden (she doubted it was real gold, but the color was) cross and necklace shining in the lights. Sarah was floating over her shoulder, like some futuristic parrot. She had left Del in her foot locker to be taken on the Nexus. Unless something went horribly wrong, she wouldn’t need a combat drone following her around on this night of celebration. Not that she had anyone she knew to celebrate with here.

All of her companions in recent years were either too busy to come to send her off, thought her crazy and didn’t want to go, or were nothing more than work acquaintances. Still, she was in high spirits. It was hard not to be, with such an infectious mood in the air. Everyone was excited and nervous, standing on the cusp of the greatest voyage the Milky Way had ever seen, going into the great unknown for a dream of a better world and a better society. At least, that was the hope. Looking around her, at all the different people and their dreams, hopes, expectations, she thought that would be difficult, if not impossible. Too many old habits, too many cultural insistences, too many ingrained hostilities. There wasn’t any harm in trying, however, and that’s what she would do. She stopped and looked up at the Nexus and the Arks, smiling softly.

They were beautiful, masterful, pieces of engineering that seemed to embody everything that the Initiative hoped to achieve. Cooperation, unity, peace, and exploration. All for the singular purpose of going to an unknown galaxy to discover and explore. Those ships would get them there, sure as an Asari would embrace eternity. She sighed in satisfaction, staring at the way light of the sun shone on their hulls. They would serve as a new hub for the Initiative, a direction and command for all the colonists.

Serena felt a bit giddy, thinking about what the Andromeda galaxy might hold. She sincerely doubted that it would be completely uninhabited when they got there, and new species meant new technology. Technology she would love to get her hands on. Maybe they wouldn’t have the same restrictions against AI that the Milky way did, and she could delve into that without fear of repercussion.

Turning away from the Nexus and Arks, Serena looked at the crowd. She supposed she should get to know some of the people she was going to be heading into the great unknown with. It just seemed that everyone else had people they were with, people they were saying goodbye too, and it’d be rude to just interrupt them. Maybe sending Sarah to find a face that was at least vaguely familiar would help. She sent her drone high into the convention, scanning various faces for someone she might recognize. Serena scanned the crowd around her again, looking for someone to at least chat with a little bit, rather than spend the entire night wandering by herself and eventually retiring earlier than everyone else.

Eos, 600+ years later


Serena sat at the table in the barracks, tinkering with Del. As much as Eos had changed after Ryder’s intervention, much for the better, the blasted sand was still a problem. She made a mental note, cleaning out another of Del’s parts, to check anyone’s cybernetics for damage after missions in the desert. The sand and the heat tended to screw with them. She whistled quietly to herself, already in her initiative armor, feeling as if a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. For the first time since the Nexus had arrived in Andromeda, there were signs of hope. Signs that they could actually establish a home here, against all the odds. They were actually beginning to fight back against the Kett, against the Roekaar, against the Exiles that still raided.

The APEX was the beginning of all that. APEX was the first step in a long journey to establishing a home here. Something that the colonists still on ice could wake up to without any fear of being killed by an aggressive force. We are the shield. Not strong enough to be the invasion force the Angara fear that they will become, but more than strong enough to protect the Initiative against the threat of the Kett and the Roekaar. With a Pathfinder to lead the charge, untrained though she may be, they had a chance. And that was more than Serena needed.

She began putting Del back together, wondering if she could manage to combine him and Remnant technology. She’d be lying if she said the only reason she had joined APEX was to protect people That was the largest and most important reason, certainly, but the ability to go into Remnant ruins and interact with the technology was a large perk as well. If she was lucky, she’d be able to take some back to study and make use of. She grinned, imagining all the things she could do with Remtech. Who knows what the latest iteration of BARAT could become if she got a strong enough grasp on that technology.

As she finished putting Del together, the drone beeping as it came online, she got a message on her Omni-tool. Someone named Sabinus wanted them outside. Their fire team leaders. Tanya’s Sabinus? She wondered, getting up from the table. She was already in her armor and armed, not trusting the Kett to just leave this settlement alone, and stood up quickly. There wasn’t anything better to do for ten minutes, so she might as well leave now. Whistling happily, Serena exited the barracks, Del following behind her, making her way towards the trio. It was Tanya’s Sabinus. That was good. She hadn’t been able to get a hold of the other woman since the Scourge incident, not with how frantic things had been, and that was worrying.

”Sabinus! Long time no see. How’ve you been? Aside from the whole mess at large, that is. How’s Tanya been?” She called out cheerfully, moving her eyes to glance at the other two. A Salarian and an Anagara. She made herself not stare at him. It was the first of his kind she had met, and that was exciting, but she didn’t want to be rude. ”You must be Tazen. Nice to meet you.” She turned to the Angara. ”I’m afraid I don’t know your name. I’m Serena Mathews. VI and robotics specialist, at least back in the Milky Way. A pleasure to meet you and I am very glad you haven’t begun shooting at us. Everyone else we’ve met here has.” Serena grinned up at the tall Angaran. ”But you’re here to help us start shooting back.”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Sofaking Fancy
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Sofaking Fancy Three Owls in a Trench Coat

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THE NIGHT BEFORE


“Are you sure about this?” Ciara Brennan-Ward asked, her voice tense and flat. In the sea of all the comradery, there was Clyff’s mother, a beacon of sternness. It wasn’t that his mother couldn’t have fun—he’d just never seen her do it. He was assured she could. Maybe. But even now, she retained her matriarchal stance. For a woman that was nearly half the height of her son, she was terrifying. Her graying red hair braided behind her head, her tasteful suit crisped with tight angles on her body, and her hands clasped in a way that she could deploy them at a drop of a hat to grab her son’s collar and drag him down to her level. This woman could raise krogan. And honestly, she kind of had.

“Ciara,” Nelson Ward said, his voice soft. He was older than her, by about ten years. He wore his Alliance Naval Uniform. It was his go to for events like this. Also, any other form of celebration. Clyff swore that he wore it to a birthday party once. He was black, which caused people to pause whenever Clyff called him “dad.” They’d glance between the two and narrow their eyes. He had an odd family dynamic, but it was a solid one. “Clyff knows what he’s doing. And I think it’s brave.”

“It’s moronic,” she snapped. “Just like everything else he does.”

Clyff sighed. ”And here I thought I would regret leaving you guys behind.” He held up his hands “No regrets here.”

Ciara’s hand twitched, and Nelson laid his over it. “Alright, you two. I know you both love each other very much. Now stop being the prideful people, I know and love, and be civil to each other. I know you can be.” Nelson’s eyes narrowed. They both nodded their heads. At thirty-four, Clyff was still a child in his parents’ eyes. “Good,” Nelson said, patting Ciara’s hand. “Now I’m going to go find where they’re serving alcohol and grab you guys some glasses. We’re going to need some liquid politeness if we’re going to survive the night.”

It was at that moment that Clyff felt something lean against his leg, and arms slid around his waist—not all around, as that was a nigh impossible feat, but close enough. Sofia leaned into her dad, exhausted. She’d ran off into the sea of people earlier much to Clyff’s disdain. She’d probably seen one of her aunts or uncles. His five siblings milled about the crowd. Ana had probably found a diplomat to chat to. Rebecca was attempting to find something with a pulse to flirt with, considering this would definitely be a no-strings-attached deal. His brothers had never left Earth. So, they were probably gawking at all the aliens they could.

“I told you to take a nap earlier,” Clyff said, running a hand through the wild mane that was her hair. It was a lot like her mother’s, dark brown and kinky. It puffed around her head like a halo, and it was a bitch to help her brush. Honestly, Sofia was the spitting image of her mom with the exception of her green eyes, which currently stared up at her dad and narrowed.

“I’m about to sleep for six-hundred years. Sleeping now would just be a waste.” She stuck her tongue at him, and then let out a tired little giggle.

Ciara smirked. “At least there’ll be someone to keep you on your toes.” She looked at her son, eyes softening and shoulders lowering. “You’re not the child I thought that would give me grandchildren. Your sister maybe, Rebecca, she was always quite fond of sneaking boys in.” She sighed. “And here you are, taking her away from me.”

“Mom—” Clyff started. “We’ve discussed this.”

She held up her hand. “Yes, and I’ve made peace with it. It’ll just not be the same knowing that you’re out there, somewhere, and not at the dinner table at holidays.”

“From the way dad tells it, you thanked God when you learned you wouldn’t have to cook for me. I think there was so mention of ‘oh good, I don’t have to feed my bear of a son.’” Clyff laughed. She’d said worse to his face. Not out of spite or hatred. That was just the way his mother was. She didn’t have need for a filter and never would. Unfortunately, Clyff had inherited that was a few more splashes of vinegar. “Which is fine by me, because your cooking was bland but somehow too salty at the same time.”

Ciara looked him up and down. “Of course, you never ate any of it.” Her voice stung of sarcasm. “That’s how you ended up so fat.”

“I’m not—”

Sofia poked his stomach at that moment in time. “I don’t know, Dad.”

His brows knitted and brought a hand up to his nose, rubbing it. “How about everyone stop talking. Let’s just enjoy this moment for what it is. The last time we’ll ever see each other.” That sank in deeper than he realized. His mother’s hands unclasped, and Sofia pulled away. She ran over to her grandmother and gave her a long hug. Ciara held her close and ran a hand through her hair. She kissed the top of the girl’s head before whispering something, that Clyff failed to hear, into her ear. Sofia giggled and nodded.

Ciara then approached Clyff. Her hands came to his collar, but not in aggression—no she just buttoned it. “You’d look far more dashing if you tried a little bit.” He immediately felt like he was being choked, but he’d live. Maybe. “But for all the stupid things you’ve done in your life, and there’s been a lot—you’ve done a lot of good, too. You’re a good soldier, a good father, and an amazing son. Probably my favorite.”

“Did you just admit I’m your favorite child?” Clyff asked.

“No, my favorite son. Obviously, Ana’s my favorite child.”

He nodded. “That makes sense.” It was then that he hugged his mother. She pulled him in tight, and Clyff could have sworn he heard a light sniffle. Yet, when she pulled away, there was no gloss of possible tears in her eyes. “I love you, Mom, and I’m going to miss you. Miss all of you,” he said, catching his father approaching with a few drinks in hand—the stems cradled in-between his fingers. “Look’s like dad is coming back. Probably need to disengage and go back to barely liking each other.”

“Yes, he would be quite distraught to know I only show love through aggression.”

“Oh, so every time you swatted at me, those were love swats? No wonder my psych profile has a lot of red ink and question marks.” He narrowed his eyes. “I hug my daughter. Hug Say it with me.”

Ciara rolled her eyes. “I tried to hug you once. You head-butted me. Didn’t even feel a thing before you returned to be the little shit you were. Your noggins full of rocks.”

Nelson approached and sighed. “Really, you two?” Ciara snatched a drink, and Clyff took one as well. Nelson looked about. “Has Sofia not returned yet?”

Clyff raised a brow. “What, she was just right—” well, no she wasn’t. She was gone. He let out a noise that was somewhere between a bear growl and whine before downing his drink to go find his daughter.

Ciara chuckled.

“Stop finding enjoyment in my pain, Mom,” Clyff grunted before disappearing into the crowd. He didn’t hear what his mother said back, but he was assured that it was her same tactless response—not that he had any room to talk.

EOS 600 HUNDRED YEARS LATER

Clyff awoke to the sound of an alert. He attempted to slap a non-existent clock. His eyes cracked open to show that he was merely flapping wildly at the air. His omnitool showed that he was to be present and accounted for in ten minutes. It’d been a while since he’d been so rushed. Bootcamp came to mind, and he shivered.

He pulled himself from his bed and let out a growling yawn. He stretched and scratched his head. He looked at the others, realizing he was in the buff. He didn’t care though. They were all men of varying species. If they weren’t assured of their autonomy, then they probably shouldn’t be in a tight, shared space. Clyff was tall, broad-shouldered, red-haired, heavily muscular, but paunchy, and pale. He wasn’t hirsute by any stretch of the imagination, but he did have chest hair and a certain happy trail that led into a zone that no one should be staring at with much intent. Though, for those interested, it wasn’t something he would be shy about.

Fortunately, for everyone’s eyes, he slid on basic gear right after. He then moved towards his locker. His armor was bulky, and his guns were massive. ”So, apparently, I thought Kansas was the shithole of the galaxy, but Eos wins.” He started sliding on his armor, piece by piece. “Sure Tuchanka is bad, but it also has thresher maws and krogan. Kansas doesn’t have that. Though. Can you imagine krogan in Kansas? I can.” His armor was massive and made from extreme conditions, but that’s what he’d always dealt with. It was a deep red with heavy armoring that made his form bulkier than it was. It had Alliance officer markings and “Red Dog” written on it. Once he managed it on, he strapped his weapons on. “I wish this place had a pot of coffee. Two pots of coffee. Something.” He slid his helmet on.

Clyff exited the bunker slow, steady, but chock full of guns and grenades. He paused before his commanders. It was an interesting bunch. Still, that didn’t mean that they were any less important. Though the Angara was interesting.

He brought his hand up and snapped into salute. “Clyfford Ward, Gunnery Chief of the Alliance Military reporting for duty.” He knew to hold his salute until he was dismissed from it, so he kept it tight to his brow.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by DJAtomika
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DJAtomika Second to Most

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Pre-Launch Day, Six Centuries Ago
Luna
The Volintis Family


It was a rare sight. Something you didn't see every day.

Hazan Volintis in a suit and tie. And even rarer was that he was with his family.

The night was energetic. Jien Garson's speech had riled up the whole crowd. Now it was the post-speech "party" and that left Hazan with not a whole lot to do except drink a whole lot of alcohol and talk with his family. Which he'd already done a lot of over the last few years. Truth be told, he was rather bored about the whole thing. There was just so much people milling around in the convention area on Luna that he couldn't even get his bearings without getting bumped into and jostled enough to confuse him again. This was worse than any mapping mission he'd ever been on.

Well, not like he went on any more of those. Not since he took over as senior advisor for his dad's security company. Volintis Security Solutions was prospering on the Citadel, especially with the news of potential war on the horizon. The private security agency hadn't seen this many requests since they'd first opened up shop on the station all those years ago. But now that the family was packing up for Andromeda, Volintis Senior had entrusted the business to one of his closest associates, a former C-Sec security officer who took up the mantle as easily as he took a drink of water. After the Borealis and cleaning up his life on Omega, Hazan had been in the company for two years before he came across the Initiative. The news had been exciting: a whole new galaxy to explore and settle down in. His inner cartographer had been thrilled to no end. However the decision had been if he wanted to leave his family behind, and the inevitable answer was no. His family was coming along for the ride, like it or not.

Bah. Something just didn't feel right. Hazan excused himself from the small circle his folks had made and wandered off to the side of the convention hall, near one of the huge, thick windows that overlooked Earth. It wasn't his home planet, sure, but staring down at the big ball of blue and green, a thought crossed his mind: this planet represents one of many facets of our galaxy. And tomorrow we're leaving. Forever. Six centuries... Spirits.

He stood there for a while, admiring the planet, a glass of iced turian brandy in a hand. Hazan let his thoughts wander, idly swirling his glass and listening to how the ice cubes clicked gently against each other and the sides of the glass. He couldn't imagine what it was like to actually leave. The imagery would be the same if he were still on one of the 132nd's ships orbiting Palaven for a resupply. The thought of...nothing being familiar any more after the six century long cryosleep was daunting. Almost impossible to swallow. Yet here he was, with the countless other future colonists that were eager and excited to start a new life in the stars. That feeling of adventure was still there, but as his thoughts roiled in his head, he slowly felt more uneasy. What if the journey wasn't a smooth one? What difference would six centuries make to the images of the home planets they'd been spoon-fed ever since they joined the initiative? The thought worried him, among other feelings of unease.

His reverie was interrupted by a tug on his arm. Hazan jumped slightly as his sister, a slightly taller and younger turian, took a place next to him. Catrine Volintis, a more refined person than he'd ever be. Unlike him, she'd gone into the social and psychological side of war, deciding instead to serve aboard a medical frigate while she took further studies in headshrinking. Now she was a bonafide psychologist and mental analyst who was often called upon to help soldiers with PTSD or work stress. She gave him a quizzical look and gestured at the window with a talon.

"Admiring the view?"

Hazan shook his head.

"Nah. Just gonna...miss this place, when we're gone. I left so much behind, y'know. The crew of the Borealis. My friends in the 132nd. My... Girlfriend. I'm worried that I'm gonna regret going to Andromeda."

Catrine nodded and hummed in understanding, the intent in her sub-vocals clear. She leaned against his shoulder a little and chuckled.

"Just like you to worry so much, silly Haze. You'll be fine, and we'll be fine too. We're all in this together, remember? That's what dad told us."

Dad. Demetri Volintis. A legend in their family line. Once he'd been a fleet commander way back when he was younger, and he'd had the chance to become a trainer of budding young captains in the navy. Now he was the head of VSS on the Citadel, lending his experience in seeking military talent to those who needed bodyguards or escort details, from cargo ships to weddings and everything in between. The older turian stood with his wife a ways away from Hazan and his sister, no doubt talking and reminiscing of days gone by. His dad had been one of his idols growing up, but when he'd been shipped off and gotten even older and more mature, Hazan had realised his dad was someone he didn't want to be: a stuffy, old war veteran with too much to talk about and a boring desk job. His personality made him an explorer, an adventurer. Someone who loved the wide open spaces and seeing all the sights the galaxy had in store. Then again, after he'd left the Borealis, he'd appreciated settling down in the Citadel and doing desk work for a while as a bit of a reprieve from the non-stop action that was mercenary work.

Catrine nudged him on the arm and woke him from his brief reverie. A concerned look crossed her face as she stared at him.

"You...okay? You blanked out for a moment there. Something wrong, Haze?"

Hazan sighed and shook his head, trying his best to clear the stubborn sad thoughts from his head. After all, he was here to be happy that he was leaving.

"Sorry. I, uh, spaced out. Just lost in thought, I guess."

She chuckled and hummed softly.

"Y'know, you've been doing that a lot, especially since you came back from that horrible few years you disappeared to that nasty business in the Terminus systems. Something followed you back here, didn't it."

"Yeah...a lot of things followed me back from my time when I went dark. Horrible, terrible things that I've seen with my own eyes."

His memory went back to his very first job with the Borealis crew: taking down a gang of slavers working in the depths of Omega. Killing them was just business, but when he saw the slaves after they were done... It was one of many mental scars he'd gain over the course of his military and mercenary life. Slavers, pirates and smugglers dragging prisoners across space were the worst. Sometimes, during his patrols, they'd come across hastily abandoned freighters with pirate markings, some burned and others intact, but with cargo on board that was destroyed before the pirates jumped ship. And sometimes, that cargo was people. Live and dead, crammed into tiny spaces, smuggled across borders to be sold as slaves, or worse: parts. It was everywhere, especially in the Terminus systems. He was just glad that the crews he'd run with hadn't gone into those ventures. The thought brought a bad taste to his mouth, one that made him rumble displeasure in his sub-vocals as he tried to clear the thoughts from his head.

"I can tell. Y'know, you should see a shrink if you can. Bottling all that emotion up isn't healthy for you."

"Soon, Cat. Soon-"

His sister took him by the shoulders and held him firm.

"I'm serious, Hazan. From a professional standpoint. I am a shrink, after all. If you want, I could totally help you-"

Hazan interrupted her with a talon against her mandibles.

"No need, Cat. I'll be fine. Once we're in Andromeda, I'll go see a shrink. I promise."

She harrumphed and crossed her arms.

"You're lying. I can tell too. You always make that face when you say something just to get someone off your back."

"Face? What face? This is my normal fa-"

He was promptly interrupted by a small alert ringing from his omni tool. Hazan tapped a few buttons to bring it up and found himself being the subject of an identity scan. Catrine looked on in curiosity as her elder brother brought up his own scanner software to counter whoever or whatever was examining him, and found a very familiar drone hovering in the air high above the crowd. With a bloom of warmth in his heart, he smirked and fired off a digital message into the drone and sent it on his way. His omni tool powered down as his sister stared at him, even more curious than before.

"What was that about?"

Hazan chuckled.

"A friend from the Borealis. One I didn't expect to see here. If that drone's around, she's here. I think she's trying to find if there's other crew members in the initiative."

Catrine smirked and thumped him on the shoulder.

"Well doesn't that mean you should go find her? Don't worry, I'll tell mom and dad. They'll understand."

He nodded and smiled in response, giving his little sister a hug too.

"Yeah. Yeah, I will. I'll meet up with you guys later then. I've got a crew to reunite with."

With that said, he waved a brief, temporary goodbye to his sister and began backtracking Sarah's remote piloting signal to the omni tool of a certain ex-Alliance VI technician and engineer named Serena Mathews.




Present Day
Prodromos, Eos
Barracks
Roll Call


The turian stared wistfully at the small, oval-shaped locket on his neck. Within the tiny locket were two pictures: one of his family, the other of him and his girlfriend. The metal still felt so pristine in his talons, even though he knew all of it was centuries old from the journey across space.

At least... At least I still have one of these pictures in real life. The other...

He sighed and closed the locket, slipping it back underneath his plain white shirt. The slender turian was relaxing on his upper bunk, waiting for...something, apparently. He didn't know what, but the thing about the military was that you were always rushing somewhere to wait, or waiting for someone to rush you somewhere else. Hazan had caught the first transport from the Nexus out to Prodromos the day he was accepted into APEX and posted to a fireteam, mainly because he couldn't wait and also due to the fact that his team leader had contacted him immediately after and requested for a rendezvous on the planet itself. He'd heard of what the human Pathfinder, Sara Ryder, had done. Fixed the planet somehow. Recalibrated its environment. An amazing piece of work. The outpost had come up shortly afterwards, and though it was still in the process of being fully built, he wanted to be on the crew that made Eos their temporary home away from home. What was even more amazing was the people he'd found while waiting for the fireteam to assemble itself. No less than half of the Borealis crew lay in their own bunks in the hastily modified barracks building. Over there to his right was Serena, sitting at a table while she fiddled with her drone, Del. In the bunk beneath him was Khosin, although the batarian wasn't there at the moment, and he'd memorised the bunk positions of Dexuret and Firuzeh as well. Familiar faces in an unfamiliar land that set him at ease the moment he knew that they were a part of the team, and he was pretty sure they were glad he was around too, if a lot older and wiser(?).

Hazan chuckled to himself and shrugged. What a small galaxy it was. He knew Serena was on the Nexus because he'd spotted her drone during the speech night as it scanned him. But the others...the others were unexpected. Khosin especially. He briefly wondered what gods he'd prayed to or bribed to get himself a spot on the Nexus, but he put those thoughts aside. Khosin was an all-round good man and good soldier, unlike many regular batarians. Plus, they'd been on so many missions together he was embarrassed to count how many. In a firefight, he trusted that man more than he trusted all the newer team members.

As he went back to reading his detective novel on his datapad, his omni-tool flashed red with a message from team leader Sabinus Tannyx. The man had- was still dating, he hastily corrected himself, one of the Borealis crew too: Tanya Carson, their other experienced ship and drone engineer. He knew she and Serena had a very good friendship, bonding over their drones in the junker's hangar bay while they talked shop and fixed electronics. The crew of the junker as a whole was a tight knit crew, almost a family even. Even now, he smiled at the memories of those left behind; the big, sullen krogan Tonka, whom he'd probably heard laughing on pre-launch day. Drono, their sickly but extremely capable drell. Vellios.

Vellios. Thinking about the more mature, yet somehow childish turian brought heaviness to his heart. He was the one that he felt closest to. Vel had been like a brother to him, even through his mistakes. He missed him dearly, as he did everyone else on the Borealis.

But, the message took precedence. Form up outside in ten minutes, it said. Without a word, Hazan powered down his datapad and put together his scouting armour, restored to its former glory by APEX armourers after the years of abuse it'd suffered through his life. He clamped each part to himself like he was putting on a tailored suit, each piece coming together on the main bodysuit until everything was in place. He grabbed his guns, mostly the same ones he'd used during his time in the Milky Way except for his sniper rifle (which was a shiny new M-23 Viper he'd picked up on the Nexus before leaving) and stowed them accordingly. He'd figured the current mission wasn't going to be that heavy, so he elected to bring his Mattock and Predator alongside the Viper; both rifles went onto his back rigging while his pistol clung to his hip. The visor he'd never stopped wearing went onto his right temple and the knife that had never failed him went onto his lower back, snug inside a hidden pouch that concealed the deadly sharp blade. Then, with all gear accounted for (and his snazzy desert camouflage shemagh tucked into a pouch), he strode outside and joined the rest as they formed up and stood at attention. All except one.

And it had to be Serena.

Hazan had to suppress a groan and a chuckle as Serena, ignoring all pretense of military discipline, strode right up to Sabinus and Tazen (and the new...alien? Anjor was his name, and his species on the docket had said Angara, so he assumed new species) and greeted them with a hearty hello and an introduction. Meanwhile the Irish-American soldier, Clyff was his name, stood at attention and snapped up to a crisp salute. According to the dossiers of the team he'd read, the man was ex-Alliance, just like Serena. He was a security chief and trained in negotiation, hostage rescue and crisis response. An admirable set of skills, something Hazan admitted to himself that he didn't have. He admired the human's discipline, something that Serena was lacking apparently, and joined the human in the salute and in stating his name and rank.

"Lieutenant Hazan Volintis. Turian navy, 132nd Light Patrol Squadron. Reporting as ordered, sir."
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Captain Jenno
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Captain Jenno Waltzing for Zizi

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Getting Drunk At An Office Party, 600 Years Ago


They had the same sky on Tuchanka. He supposed they must have. Perhaps the stars were a little different, the atmosphere a little dustier. But still, fundamentally, the same sky: the same slither of a view into the sprawling cauldrons of creation. The vast and shiftless dark, deeper and more mysterious than the stillest of waters, older than time. Worlds had come into being and turned to dust beneath it, Tuchanka amongst them. And yet, out in that endless ink-coloured stretch of shade… fire. Dust. Smouldering clouds of silver, and white, cast to the windless void like embers beaten from the cosmic steel, the stuff of galaxies. Swathes of star-spangled sky, shining unattainably bright, and far. Broken up only by stretches where the sky burns primordial red and blue, bruises on the face of reality. And one glares more so than any other. Calling. Beckoning. Daring.

”Andromeda.”

And this had always been true. The sky had always been infinite, an inviting chaos of explosive brilliance and depthless murk. But it had never seemed that way, so full of potential and portents, until he had seen it in Revixtia. She had changed him.

”They’re looking for volunteers.”

Kargad looked away from his drink when the applause struck up, but hadn’t heard a word. He’d been somewhere between here and a year prior, listening to Revixtia sell him on this adventure, instead – pitching him his own dream, but in words far more eloquent than his, and concise than hers. For an instant he panicked, looked for somewhere to put his drink, then hastily slung it back- weak enough to be water, anyhow- and pinched the glass between his teeth so that he could clap along.

This lapse in attention hadn’t escaped his company, either. His daughters- the two most wonderful Asari in this room, barring none- exchanged a concerned glance across his front. To his left, Kalayla rested a hand on his shoulder, and then gripped it firmly.
“You alright, dad?”
“Hrfmf?”, Kargad turned to face her. He opened his mouth to respond, but winced when the glass he’d been biting struck the floor, and shattered into glinting edges.
“Ah, uh. Geeze. That looked sort of expensive, do you think that was crystal?”, he fussed, scratching at the side of his face, “One of us really should’ve, uh. Caught that. Biotically, I mean.”
”Dad,” Kalayla pressed on, “Are you doing alright?”

Kalayla was almost the spitting image of her mother. A freckled, heart-shaped face the colour of heather, and a nose both small and slightly darker than the rest of her. The only compromise was in her eyes. He and Revixtia shared green eyes, but in Kalayla he knew for certain hers were his. Revixtia’s stare was intense, it betrayed her nature, but Kalayla’s were soft. Thoughtful, as, Kargad flattered himself to think, his were. In this instance, they were full of sympathy.
“What?”, Kargad snorted, defiantly, “I’m doing great. I just don’t like parties, is all.”
Kalayla tilted her head forwards, and looked up at him with an empathetic scepticism: “Are you sure?”
“What’s with the interrogation, all of a sudden?”, he shot back. He reached up, loosened the frankly ridiculous looking bowtie he was wearing, “Krogans don’t do black tie, that's all. I want my armour.”
“I think you look good in a tux, Dad,” she needled him with her elbow. He raised his brows at her, unimpressed. All three of them had to admit, he did look spectacularly foolish.
“It’s just one night.”
Kargad’s shoulders slumped, and he sighed irritably: “Our last night. Just put me on ice already.”
“Dad. It’s okay to-”

”Oh, by the Goddess’… c’mere,” his second daughter, Faoria, interjected. She was shorter than Kalayla, but built a little broader, too. She had a narrower face, and although she still had freckles, they gathered more about the bridge of her nose than anything else. Her eyes were blue, but definitely her mother’s all the same. Without fanfare, she had seized Kargad by the shoulders, and turned him to face her. Then, Faoria leapt up into the air- no small feat, in heels- and smashed her forehead against his crest as hard as she could manage.

He wished he could’ve said she got her quad from him.

The crowd of people drinking and chattering immediately around them stopped for an instant. It was quiet enough in that small sector of the room, Kargad was certain he’d heard his glass shattering again. Faoria landed with a band of dark purple across her forehead, a bruise she would probably still have once they docked in Andromeda.
The silence hung for a few seconds… and then Kargad was laughing. Nearly crying with laughter, in fact – doubling over himself, just as both of his daughters were, in a frenzy of belly-born cackling. He felt his shoulders heaving, his jaw stinging – his tuxedo popped a button, which just made them laugh more, and harder.
People opted to give the loud krogan surrounded by broken glass a little breathing room, dispersing as he recomposed himself.

After he’d caught his breath, Kargad flung his arms up and around his daughters. The pits of his tuxedo tore. Faoria hugged him with the one arm, whilst Kalayla simply put one of her hands over his.
“I love you girls.”
“You too, dad,” Kalayla replied, simply.
“But I am also going to get spectacularly drunk tonight.”
“We know,” Faoria assured him.
“And then very emotional.”
“Mhmm.”
“And then drunk again. There’s a pretty good chance I’m going to cry.”
“That’s okay.”
“A lot.”
“…”
“Like, so much.”
“Uh…”
“Hoo boy, it is going to be a mess.”

He cried his way up the ramp the next morning.

Eos, 15 or so Salarian Generations Later (hah!)


Eos was as golden a world as any Krogan can dream of. A sand-swept jewel in the heart of an alien galaxy, all russet sierras and cinnabar sand. Above, a stretch of clear, clean blue – and all beneath it, pure air and inviting sun. This was what Kargad had come for.

Or it was a good start, anyhow. He had never had the fortune of knowing a Tuchanka where the air was not a strange saccharine with the stagnant scent of death, where the sky was not bruise-yellow and the sand scorched to brown glass. But he liked to think this was what it must have been like, in the days before his most foolish ancestors. Perhaps they were twins, in a sense – formed in the same way, at the same time, by the same ever-expanding and all-inclusive thought. Products of the same celestial heartbeat.

He pondered that often, as he wandered the desert immediately adjacent to Prodromos. He would do it in the morning, when the sand was warm but not quite yet hot – and he would do it bootless, to feel the grain shift beneath his feet. The first Krogan, maybe, to ever leave barefoot tracks on a Golden World… here he was, making a small change to the universe, but a change nonetheless. Once he was done walking, he would usually find a rock- the biggest he could- and sit atop, cloud-watching. Certain, just as he was that he still drew breath, that Revixtia was some part of that great, endless blue. They'd had a sky like that on Tuchanka, once. He supposed they must have.

It was one of those mornings. A bootless walk through the wastes, with a hammer slung over his shoulder and a tuneless song on his lips. He’d spent the sunrise whomping spitbugs and kaerkyn into fine mush, as he would often do when he found himself a little homesick. They were hardly klixen, but it was cute that Eos was accommodating for his preference of wildlife, anyway. He was about to slug one of them back into the Oneness from which everything came, when suddenly:

FORM UP OUTSIDE: 10 MINUTES

Form up outside? Outside of wh-
Oh.

Kargad didn’t have his boots or his gun, what a professional embarrassment. He was easily five minutes out of Prodromos, too.
“I can make it,” he grunted to himself, puffing out his chest, “I’m only 480-young, and in the best shape of my life!”
He jabbed his hammer at a kaerkyn he’d had underfoot, his heel on its back. It scrambled desperately.
“You got lucky today, brother, the universe doesn’t want you back yet.”
Then he pulled his hammer back, yelled, and sent it sailing back out into the desert in a burst of mass effect fields and sand.

To the rest of Prodromos, going about their day, it was probably a bit of an odd sight when Kargad got back. 400 pounds of Krogan sprinting between the prefabs, panting, sweating and yelling to himself: ”Shit, shit, shit!”
He bolted right past Sabinus and his companions, cursing still, and erupted into the barracks. He kicked his locker open and pulled his M-96 up into his arms, before dropping it onto his bed. Then, immediately filled with guilt, he scooped it up, kissed it, and put it down on his pillow instead. Then he rescued his boots from beneath his bed, and wrestled with them for a few instants before finally getting them on.

”Ahh yes, now my boots are full of sand – everything is going according to plan.”

When he finally came stumbling out to greet the trio, it was bang-on ten minutes. He breathed heavily before them for a few moments- winded more by the panic than he was the effort- and then straightened up as much as any krogan could, and side-glanced his comrades. They were saluting. Should he salute?
He did, but he did it with the hand he’d been holding his hammer in, and so was visibly straining with the effort of maintaining the gesture.
“Bragus Kargad, uh. Krogan, of... Bragus. Dad of two. Nice to meet... you. Hello.”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Stormflyx
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Stormflyx Queen of Doggos

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21855 CE, Somewhere in Taiwan…

“I still can’t believe this is only your third visit to Earth, Nair…” came the husky voice of a human female. She was short and bookish looking - but had a pretty face hidden somewhere behind the spirals of her natural hair which seemed to spring out like the mane of a lion. “I guess I never got the time.” She offered her friend a warm smile as she embraced her tightly.

“Eleanor… Where are we? And why?” she chuckled, her soft amber eyes darting around the scene. A busy pedestrian street under the canopy of several market stalls protecting them from the lashing rain. A low growl of thunder overhead was followed by a flash of lightning which momentarily lit up the whole street.

“I’m trying one last ditch effort to get you to stay of course!” Eleanor took Naryxa by the hand and walked her into a tiny little shop, right in the centre of the street. It wasn’t anything particularly special. If anything, it was dingy and a bit old-fashioned looking. The Asari wasn’t quite convinced by it “- and you chose this place to do it?” She walked further into the store, noticing that it was some kind of restaurant, she watched as humans behind a counter shook up cups, and poured little tiny jelly-like balls into drinks “Elle, what is this..?” she asked with another chuckle as she turned to look at her friend “it’s a bloody delicacy! It's called bubble tea. If you try this stuff, you’ll never want to leave the Milky Way.”

Eleanor knew that nothing would make her friend stay, and quickly tears started to cloud up her sight, which Naryxa noticed - stepping to the human and once more wrapping her arms around her, running her hand over her hair comfortingly. “Alright then, I guess I’ll try it…”

-----

The two sat with their drinks in a window seat, watching the people outside dart through the rain - ducking under the cloth canopies with umbrellas clutched in their hands. It was hard to see through the windows. The bright and multicoloured lights outside seemed to fog it all up - and mixed with the rain which was cascading like a waterfall down the glass just made the people look like shapes. Naryxa sucked through the straw and several of the tapioca pearls came whooshing through the tube into her mouth - it caught her by surprise in a pleasant way. After she had finished chewing the seemingly pointless little balls, she remarked politely “alright, I guess it’s good. I guess I have to stay…" she emphasised on some words, letting them hang on her lips. "But it’s not like I’m going to see you now, is it?”

Eleanor beamed. “So you know then? I got accepted. The Turian’s were happy with my proposal. I leave for Palaven in 3 weeks… I’m going to live with them for 2 whole years writing my paper. Can you believe it?"

Naryxa sat pensively for a while, stirring the contents of the tea with her straw. [“You know, Elle. You’re going to live such a fantastic life." Her voice trailed off as she spoke, eyes looking up from the street to what she could make out of the stars "..In what will feel like a night to me, your life will play out, your children and their children will have their days in the sun - accomplish great things, and I’ll sleep through all of it. When I wake up, you’ll just be stardust…”

“Cripes Nair,” Eleanor interjected with a loud scoff “don’t get all poetic on me, it really doesn’t suit you. Stick to being serious.”

"Don’t get me wrong. It’s just a very hard pill to swallow... It’s, very strange to think that very soon I’m going to be in Andromeda, but for you it’s stretches away and centuries… we’ll be centuries apart.”

“I suppose that’s one way of looking at it…” Eleanor sighed as she too went back to her drink, before looking back and slapping Naryxa’s thigh excitedly. “Okay, okay… You’re done, now follow me!”

The human took her hand again, guiding her through the still busy streets of Taiwan. Naryxa could feel the bubbles jostling around in her stomach - sloshing around in the milk tea. A regretful decision it had been to not eat food before consuming such a beverage. She was led with haste to what looked like an underground bunker. “Are you sure this is us?” she asked her friend who was already prizing open the door, only to be greeted by one of the most glamourous looking human women that Naryxa had ever seen.

A massive coif of blonde hair, standing up inches above the forehead; and the make-up! It was complex artistry, such striking and bold colours all over her face - the same neon pink of the leotard that was pinching in the toned and taut body. Something was odd - Naryxa sensed that this ‘woman’, was a human man - and her senses were correct when she began to speak - it was only then that she recognised the voice of a human mercenary she had once fought alongside during a mission as a Huntress.

“Goddess... Burt Macklin, is that you?” she asked, with a gasp. “Not tonight darling, tonight I’m just Effy. Get yourself in.. We’ve got a right old surprise for you!”

She couldn’t resist, and she walked in - suddenly seeing the faces of people she’d met and known throughout her life. People she’d worked alongside, other Asari she had danced with, Huntresses she had fought with, and just… People. From all walks of life, from all races. They had all been stuffed into this basement on a sweaty, humid night in Taiwan waiting for her arrival.

The rest of the night was spent drinking, dancing, and laughing the night away with these people who had, for some reason, cared enough about her to see her off to Andromeda in a way that only they knew how… With a party crammed to the very brim with debauchery.

-----

Luna - The Evening after the Night Before

Well. This was it. The party on Luna to celebrate, and say goodbye, and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The Asari didn’t feel much like partying, and instead sat quietly by herself away from the ruckus. The ruckus that was making her head ache even more so. The evening previous had definitely been one of those ‘Last Night on Earth’ type of deals that she had heard so much about. The reality had proven to be so much better than the theoretical.

Flashbacks kept popping into her mind. She could remember jump splitting, slow splitting, backflipping, and cartwheeling across a bar while her guests took shots of alcohol. All manner of behaviour was thrown around the room in spades that night. Zero inhibitions, after all - it was her last night on Earth… In only hours she would be dead in the Milky Way. Why not go out with a bang?

She remembered screaming out the lyrics of a song she’d never heard before, but was famous on Earth - something about living on a prayer, something with an excessive use of “whoah.” Her throat still felt a little hoarse from it.

The memories that she could recall by vision, were the ones that she seemed to feel through her body. They caused butterflies to surge through her stomach, a smile to creep onto her face. She must have kissed every one of her guests, each a passionate and final exchange. Then of course there was the human couple that she had managed to tear the clothes off and get tangled up with through the early hours of the morning… Yes, that was exactly how a last night should be spent.

Unlike the rest of the recruits, she had nobody here to say goodbye too. She’d done it all already, and she just had to wait for them to start opening the Cryo Pods, just one evening of listening to everyone else's goodbyes, watching their farewells and observing a cacophony of fragile emotions. Anger from some, happiness, sadness, grief. For those hours between the party she had what seemed like all the time in the world to think about her life, her accomplishments in the Milky Way. Time seemed, at that moment, like such a fickle thing. Hours now felt like days, and yet centuries would soon pass in what would feel like hours. “Time to put the brandy down…” she muttered to herself.

Finally her wait was over. With one last long look out at the Milky Way, she climbed into her Pod - her nest for the next 600 years, and let the lights go out on her present life for the last time. She hoped she would dream and relive every detail of her last few nights in the galaxy for the six long centuries that she would be sleeping.

-----

Eos, Andromeda

Awake. Life, suns, stars, sky.

Ground - sand, water. Heat. Smells, sound.

Life.

There was already life here. Already the Andromeda Initiative had been through so much. Naryxa had slept through it - and as a matter of fact had only been woken from Cryo the day prior to this - the day prior to her being brought down to Prodromos.

All she could see was life and opportunity.

She had heard the rumours and stories about the Kett, the Remnant. It was just a case of ‘he said she said’ - with each new time she heard about it, a little more embellishment was added. She suspected that she would see and experience the truth for herself soon enough. But for now, there was Yoga to be done.

Over 6 centuries in cryo is enough to stiffen a body beyond belief. She could feel tightness throughout every inch of her being. So her first morning on Eos was spent stretching, breathing, and meditating under the blazing sun. It was exhilarating and peaceful. She felt each worry and thought drift away with every pose she contorted herself into. Each pose getting easier after the last. She began to wonder if she was the first person in the Andromeda galaxy to perform Yoga.

Soon it was time to form up and meet the rest of the APEX team she had been banded together with. So far, she hadn’t really had a chance to meet and form a connection with anyone since waking. This would be nice - new people, new friends, a new adventure. She walked out from the barracks, a trust M-5 Phalanx at her back, nestled alongside her Vindicator. She was excited, all of the relaxation had gone out of the window when she approached her new comrades.

Then there was the Angara.

She waited for the out-of-breath Krogan to get his words out, before she introduced herself to the group;

“My name is Naryxa Kesir. It is truly wonderful to be here with you…”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Fallenreaper
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Fallenreaper ღ~Lil' Emotional Cocktail~ღ

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Prologue

~|Ryria T’Vessi|~

Location: Luna Convention Center, Initiative Orientation
Time: Few days before Nexus


As the crowd’s deafening applause died down, Ryria stood quietly among them. Silently she absorbed the speech delivered earlier and its worth. The upcoming changes both excited her and frightened her common sense, but she stubbornly refused to yield to the fear. Unlike many, she had little to leave behind. No mate, no children or family.

The bitter truth slapped Ryria. Her fingers tightened about the white zinfandel wine she nursed close to her body as she stiffened, the sharp pain sliced deeply into the icy layer. She exhaled through her nose, dispelling its effect.
Here wasn’t the place to become emotional, she chided herself.

Casually her right hand drifted to her headscarf. It covered the top of her crest where it flowed down the back, the sides gently wrapped around her shoulders and neck. All of it was fastening neatly into place thanks to a decorative, blue rhinestone pin. The gems swirled about in its pattern before it ended. Casually she tugged it up, mentally ensuring all her flesh underneath was well covered. She didn’t want anyone to stare.

This was the first formal occasion she had attended in… decades. For not having the best fashion sense, Ryria felt confident in her attire choice. Following her curves was a simple party swing dress. The neck was a solid V and her sleeves were long, the skirt bottom rose just above her ankles. High heels laced up her calves until they tied just behind her knees. Naturally, they remain mostly unseen because the slits ended midcalf giving her plenty of movability. The color was medium purple so not to overwhelm her skin. She was grateful most her leg scars were hidden or broken by the crisscross pattern of her heels, or she doubted this dress would’ve suited her.

Once she was satisfied with the scarf’s position, she returned her hand to her drink. Her hard, grey eyes then cut through the crowds. It was time to go and she needed the easiest route to the exit. It slightly amused her to see the same pattern of socialization in this setting as in the wilds. At the heart of everything, she knew familiarity often brought comfort to all things.

She saw her opportunity at the small appetizer table. Impulsively she turned on heel and strolled in a brisk fashion toward it. Her hips swayed with purpose while old habits reared up, part of her attention on her surroundings.

Upon reaching the table, a recognizable turian purposely slipped into her peripheral vision. Ryria’s movements stopped dead in her tracks. Her heart thumped loudly in her chest, the adrenaline poured into her veins then spread. Was that…? She shifted her priorities from escape to tracking, daring to seek out her answers. Ryria knew the odds of him being here, apart of this program, were slim.

Cautiously, Ryria’s head swayed to her right. She didn’t expect him to be there, the turian’s behavior and manners slightly akin to a predator. Her eyes widened at catching the turian, carapace black as night and looking smug, wave back at her. His hand missing the last talon. Then he abruptly melted back into the crowd without a trace.

Struggling to control the trembling in her hand, the asari set down her flute and quickly exited the center. She was certain it wasn’t the last time she would see him.

A haunting question edged into her mind.

Why did she save him?

Prodromos, Eos- over 600 years later

with @Mortarion


FORM UP OUTSIDE: 10 MINUTES

Ryria frowned at her Omni-tool’s display message. Her fingers paused in their tapping across the 3D pop-up keyboard then pressed into the message, sliding it into her spam mail fold. She will deal with this when her patient was attended to. Causally her icy eyes turned to the human woman holding her injured arm close to her body.

Already Ryria suspected it had gained some dangerous and infectious bacteria as she gestured gently for the human to turn its underside upright, exposing the wound to her. Her eyes scrunched tightly to examine the jagged scarring. Experience quickly told her the bite was done by a medium-sized creature with reptilian features, hints of the scales had imprinted on the skin.

Before the message, she had originally been searching for the possible culprits.

Her main one was a wild Adhis. It was common and ferocious enough to tear into the nearest stray limp, but they were easy to spot. She held her own theories over how this injury occurred to herself. Instead, she took scissors and snipped away the frayed fabric, exposing the bloodied wound. She applied sterilization liquid to cleanse it then followed up with medi-gel to suture it up.

“Well, what’s the verdict? Will she ever be able to play the violin again?” Said an annoyingly speedy and cheerful voice behind her.

Instinctively Ryria turned on heel and came about to face her colleague, a Salarian named Leova Telasurn. He was similarly dressed in the common orange and white uniform associated with the medical staff. Though she noted it was much better kept than even hers, something that secretly impressed and drew her disdain. Lips sealed, her eyes narrowed upon the salamander looking alien without a hint of amusement in them.

He nervously blinked then spoke in his rapid tone, “Heehee, just a joke, Ryria. Why such the icy look?”

His eyes fixed not to hers, but the headscarf wrapped around her head. Morbid curiosity laced his expression and spelled danger in her mind, a hint most individuals would easily miss. The unfortunate part she had been working with him for weeks. She often knew where his shenanigans led, a fact she was getting personally sick of.

Deciding to ignore him, she flipped her back to him. She began to peel off the elastic gloves before she smacked them hard upon the metal table.

“Could you please finish cleaning up, I have to leave.”

The Salarian’s large eyes squinted, his mouth opened to feed his mind. Ryria never gave him the chance to utter the question before she disappeared out of the medical tent. Her boots kicked the dark yellow dust across the white surface, marring it, as she pulled up the message again on her Omni-tool. She converted it to memory quickly before she popped it back down, then turned it off. No coordinates… Now, what the hell was she supposed to do?

“This day is off to a lovely start,” Ryria grumbled under her breath.

Her figured leaned against the nearest post, bitter at the lack of destination, as she inwardly debated over what to do.

Tazen scanned the horizon for any signs of the missing members of Fireteam Echo. Four of them had managed to present themselves, but of the rest there was no sight in the nearby vicinity. He wasn't too concerned, having read their dossiers he knew that the vast majority of them had been in either military groups or the standing armies of their respective species and, as such, he was unconcerned of them potentially skipping the muster in front of the barracks. The only worry that he had was that concerning Dr. T’vessi, part of him worrying that her inexperience might mean that she could miss the muster due to bei unaccustomed to military life.

As soon as he had that first thought, a second one hit him a millisecond after: the message that Sabinius had sent never specified where the muster would take place. Anyone with military experience would interpret the message’s meaning easily enough, but he feared that Dr. T’Vessi might only be confused by it particularly if she had been busy beforehand. Excusing himself, Tazen walked away from both Anjor and Sabinius and the rest of the present members of Fireteam Echo and went in search of Ryria.

Luckily for him Prodromos’s, relatively, small size played in his favor and he was easily able to identify the Asari in question, thanks in no small part to the scarf that she draped over her head and that he easily recognized thanks to the portraits that he had been reviewing with Sabinius. “Dr T’Vessi, excuse me for bothering you but we are expecting you in front of the APEX barracks. Did you receive the message?” Asked the Salarian once he had approached Ryria, slightly unsure of what'd be the best way to broach the topic.

Ryria’s thoughts detached from her issues as her eyes spotted the Salarian draw near. Her figure pushed off the makeshift tent, straightening her posture and seized up the individual. Her arms crossed over her chest while she listened to his question, considering her answer.

“I got the message, the whereabouts put aside. Why I got them is something I’m in the dark about. Mind enlightening me?” Her tone held a reserved, firm hint to her knowledge about the situation.

She wasn’t about to beat around the bush as humans would call it.

Tazen stayed silent for a few seconds when Ryria revealed to him that she was in the dark as to why she had received Sabinius’s message. Once more he was unsure on how to breach the topic but, if Ryria was as much in the dark as she seemed to be and as Tazen feared, it'd be best to be blunt and get to the heart of the topic as quickly as possibly. “Because you've been chosen as the field medic for Fireteam Echo, Dr. T’Vessi.” Said the Salarian after taking a second to compose himself “Your predecessor in our Fireteam perished in her cryo pod as a result of the damages sustained by the Nexus on account of the Scourge and you were the best candidate on account of your background.” He said, hesitating for a second to add the next bit before deciding to go through with it “We, that is to say me and the man who sent you the message, believed you had been already informed, my apologies for the confusion Dr. T’Vessi.”

Ryria’s silent stare stretched for an unsettling length of time. Her eyes narrowed on the Salarian, inwardly unsure if he was a jokester like Leova or something worse. After turning his words over and over, she finally accepted he was speaking the truth. She exhaled her held breath before she addressed him.

“Yes, I remember the report well because I filed it. The woman’s head was crushed in and her pod was ruptured, making resuscitation impossible. I’m also the one that did the autopsy to ensure the cause of death fit then placed her into the morgue.” She clipped giving more detail then she knew was necessary, but she felt frustrated at the situation she was placed in.

Her hand reached for her nose bridge causing her to press it tightly. After a few moments, she then dropped her arm and turned her attention back to Tazen.

“I was likely not informed until last moment due to my duties and fact I would have fought against it. Since it appears I haven’t much of a choice, could I get an update on my role in this team? I’m not in the mood for hazing by my senior officer.”

Tazen gritted his teeth at Ryria’s words, particularly at her comment about pushing back against the APEX posting if she had been informed about it beforehand “I'm sorry that you feel that way Dr T’Vessi.” He said after a second, keeping his temper in check “As I said beforehand your role within the team is to act as our field medic. Most of the perils lying in wait in the cluster are unknown to us, not to mention the Kett themselves, so injuries will be most certainly a common occurrence in the team, hence the need for an individual such as you.” Commented the Salarian.

“If it's any sort of consolation, everyone in Fireteam Echo has ample experience in military matters, be it either due to time spent as a mercenary or as part of the respective military organizations of the various species from which the different individuals of the team hail from.” Spoke Tazen “Now, it'd be best if we hurry back to the barracks. We are coordinating with a liaison from the Angaran resistance and are currently mustering the rest of the fireteam so that he can meet the team.”

‘You wouldn’t exactly be happy if you were drafted into something you viewed to be less beneficial to this project, now would you?’ Ryria thought, but not a word slipped through her lips.

She wasn’t a fool. It was easy to notice the tick of irritation at her opinion, but she held to her ground. No one liked being trapped, their opinion soured by the fact, so why should she be content with it? The asari found it hard to believe it was only her medical skills needed for this team because she could list about six individuals that be suitable for field medic. This included her Salarian pain in the ass.

When Tazen mentioned perils, it snapped into place. Not many had the hostile environment experience she had or knew how to treat unexpected wounds by unknown species. Mentally she cursed herself for not considering an ark instead of the Nexus. At his mention to leave, she nodded her agreement then began to step toward the barracks.

“Barely. It will likely bring back unpleasant memories.” Ryria stated sharply.

Tazen nodded at Ryria’s words, his only acknowledgment of her words being a brief “Understood” before he began walking towards the barracks. Once they had reached there, he motioned discreetly towards the group of gathered individuals in front of Anjor and Sabinius to indicate that was the spot where Ryria was supposed to be before he rejoined the latter two in their spots in front of the gathered fireteam.

Ryria needed no second bidding. She crisply moved into the indicated spot, her hands snapped to the small of her back and straightened her figure into an upright posture. Her eyes stared forward as she fell into the familiar motions from her huntress training. Ignoring the shenanigans erupting around her from the Engineer and Krogan, she knew the best way to survive a military operation was to shut up and follow orders to the letter. Since the message said nothing about introducing herself, she merely quietly waited until she was ordered to.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Monochromatic Rainbow
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Monochromatic Rainbow Insert extremely witty statement - I'm tapped out

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Prologue

Firuzeh, Clyff, Sofia


Sofia had broken away. She didn’t like it when her dad got sentimental, and she didn’t want to think about what was about to happen. She would never see grandmother, grandfather, or any of her aunts and uncles again. Her friends from school would be long gone. It was all very—sad. Yet, at the same time, it’d been the first thing her father had been excited about since before Mom died. And she had to admit, she was excited too. And she was a little scared—but she’d… is that a cybernetic arm? Just as quickly as her ponderances got deep and dark, they flitted straight out.

The little girl, small for her age and swallowed by her green dress with more than enough tulle and sequins to supply a ballet company, ran up to the woman. Her dark black hair a halo of kinks and curls around her face, her skin a deep brown, and her eyes a pale green. She had a wide smile, but her gaze was solely on the metal limb.

Sofia didn’t touch it, but she hovered near it. “You have a robot arm. That’s. So. Cool. How’d you get it? Why’d you get it? Did it hurt? Can you arm wrestle a krogan? I met a krogan once, his name was Steven. Maybe. He let me have a piggy back ride. Do you know any aliens? I know lots of aliens. Dad says that not all aliens are great—like the vorcha. He says they have too many teeth. But teeth are helpful. Otherwise we’d all just be worms. I don’t want to be a worm.” She fixed back on the arm. “Can you lift heavy things with it? Does it make a whir-whir sound? Does it shoot fire? Ice? Bullets? Can you paint it a different color? Blue would look good. Do you have any other robot parts? Can I look at it?”

Firuzeh whirled around, caught off guard by the sudden and abrupt interruption. She hadn't been paying close attention to the speech given by Garson, nor to the applause, or anything. She knew full well what they were here for, and didn't need to be told a thousand more times how this was their last night consciously in the milky way - that was the whole reason she'd signed on to the Initiative.

That said, this definitely was her last chance to sample some of the milky way's finer foods and drinks for some time, and she had no intentions of letting the opportunity pass by. In each hand she held a glass, one small and dark, filled with spiced rum, and the other brimming full of Iranian wine. It'd be years in Andromeda before she'd even be able to dream of drinks like these again.

As such, it was with some exasperation that she hurriedly set down the two glasses, lest they spill, with Sofia's arrival.

"What, sorry?" She spluttered, confused, before looking down, registering the child. She didn't answer for a moment, and instead looked up, "Where's your... ah... mother? Father?" She had never been good with children, and Sofia's arrival threw her off - she couldn't well get drunk without at least finding the girl's parents. Continuing from where she had left off, she added, "And... ah, you probably shouldn't be talking to strangers."

Sofia glanced over the woman. “Are we really strangers, though?” It was in that moment that she became rather intense. Her brows lowered and eyes narrowed. “We’re about to be taking a 600 year long nap together. We’re basically nap buddies. Schoolmates. Other people who nap together.” She shrugged afterwards. “I don’t know where my dad is. I’m sure when he finds me he’ll tell me about how easily distractible I am, and how I’ll be the death of him. And really. I’ll be the death of him. Even if he’s been shot at a million times. And that he has shrapnel embedded in his chest that’s less problematic than me.” She paused. “What is shrapnel?”

She shook her head. “No. That’s not why I’m here. Can I see your arm?” Suddenly remembering her manners. Pllleeeaaasseeee?

Firuzeh raised an eyebrow at Sofia, a smile breaking out in spite of herself. "Yes, I suppose you're right. A very astute observation. Still, I don't know if your father would want you talking to someone you don't know, would he?" She grinned nonetheless, "And, well, I'm sure even if you were you'd find some way to talk him back." She looked around, looking out for anyone who might be the girl's father. "Why don't I tell you a little bit about it while we look for your father, how's that sound?"

Sofia twisted her lips. “I guess you’re right. He doesn’t like me talking to strangers, but I think—how are you supposed to make new friends? He used to be more open about it before Mom died.” She exhaled. “Yeah, he’s really tall and has red hair. Grandma says that I don’t favor him at all, which is good. I don’t think that at all. I think red hair would be pretty.”

The young girl also looked forward. Maybe if she presented this entire thing as a happy accident, he’d be less angry. “Oh. Yes. Tell me about it. What does it doooooooo?”

Firuzeh shook her head in amusement, letting out a small laugh. "Nothing super special, I'm afraid. It doesn't have a grappling hook hidden somewhere, if that's what you're hoping." She grinned, looking around some more, "I helped design it, so I could tell you in detail about every bit, but for the most part it does what a normal arm does - just much, much stronger. You can ask me more once we find your dad, deal?" She raised an eyebrow, then looked up, brushing a lock of hair out of her eye, exposing the off white retinal prosthetic, and the molded composite replacing part of her eye socket. "Red haired, and tall? Shouldn't be too hard to find. What's his name?"

At the mentioned of no grappling hook, Sofia looked a little distraught. Still the idea that it was much stronger than a human arm brought her interest back. Cooooool…she said. She watched the woman part a piece of hair from her eye, it also looked like that was cybernetic too. Could she see through walls? Yet, the woman mentioned not answering any more questions until she found his father.

“My mother would always call him estúpido on more than one occasion. I know some Spanish, and I know that is not his name. But he might respond to it.” She squirmed. “I just always call him Dad, but some of the guys he works with have called him Gunny. Or Officer Ward.

That was... not the most helpful information, unfortunately. Firuzeh sighed internally - guess she'd be going in this without the man's first name. At least he sounded fairly distinct. "No, no, I would imagine his name isn't estúpido, that wouldn't be a very nice thing to name your kid, would it?" She raised an eyebrow at Sofia, "Imagine introducing the baby estúpido, I imagine that might be pretty embarassing. What's your name? Maybe it'll help us find him, yeah?"

“There was another one she called him, but apparently I’m not allowed to say it out loud.” She smirked. Those names would always crop up when her father snuck up on her mother, or he’d move something around, or tickled her. It was never angry. “I’m Sofia.” It was then she remember her manners. “Oh. Right. I didn’t even introduce myself. Sofia Ward-Espinoza. It’s nice to meet you, arm lady.”

Firuzeh said nothing, but smiled wider in amusement. This little interruption was going far more pleasantly than she had expected. "Nice to meet you, Sofia. My name's Firuzeh. Now..." She craned her neck, looking around for anyone who fit the decidedly lacking description she had been given. The throng of the crowd was thick, and she couldn't make out many defining features beyond the immediate vicinity. Still, she thought she saw a patch of red hair among the crowd, and moved in that direction. "To find your father, he's probably worried by now, yeah?"

Peruse-eh? No. Fur-cruz-eh? No. Man, your name is tough. Are sure that’s your real name. I made up a name for myself one time. Dad refused to call me by it.” She gave a noncommitted shrug to the notion that her father was worried. He probably was, but at the same time, she didn’t want anyone making a bigger deal out of what was already happening.

"No, no, not quite like that. Fi-rue-zeh, it's not too hard if you don't try and rush it. Everyone seems to have some trouble with it, come to think of it. Old friend of mine thought it was Firushah for a while. I didn't make it up though, if I did it'd be a much more impressive name." She grinned, "No point in making up a fake name if it's not gonna be cool, right?"

About that time Clyff Ward turned to see Sofia. She flashed him a smile, but he only had the most unamused scowl on his face. ”Where the fucddddgee have you been? Seriously. I have told you about this. I swear you will kill me before bullets do, and definitely before the shrapnel in my chest.” Sofia looked up to Firuzeh at that time and gave her a ‘I told you so’ look. It was that moment that Clyff registered the other woman. He straightened up and ran a hand through his hair. His suit was utilitarian and a smidge bit boring. Then again suits weren’t really his thing. Looking her over, more of in an observing manner than lecherous one, he easily figured out why Sofia had bugged the poor woman—no doubt about her cybernetic parts. She was also pretty. But like most pretty, obviously complicated women, things would end poorly. And more in a nuclear shit-show manner than a butter-side down one.

“Dad,” Sofia said. “This is Fur-Tushy. Fur-Tushy, this is dad.” There was so much confidence in her voice that that was the right name.

”I’m assuming that’s not your name.” He glared daggers down at his daughter. ”I’m Clyfford Ward, Clyff for short. Thank you for returning my daughter to me. Or as I like to call her: the amazing escape ferret.” Sofia giggled. ”I hope she wasn’t too much of a pain in the asshh?”

Firuzeh shook her head, in turn evaluating the man. He was a soldier, obviously - everything about him, from head to toe, screamed at her that this was a man who had grown up with many difficulties, and who knew his way around a weapon. She noticed him looking her up and down, and gave a small nod - whether or not he would see it or understand her intent she didn't know.

"Hardly, she did catch me by surprise, but then, I was preoccupied. She's certainly inquisitive - though seems rather intent on mispronouncing my name." She raised an eyebrow at Sofia, "Firuzeh, Fi-rue-zeh." She raised the other eyebrow, before turning back to Clyff. "Then again, I have been informed that, among other things, she made up a name you wouldn't call her by?" She grinned, "Maybe she's just trying to get some revenge, you never know. But really, it wasn't a problem, Mr. Ward. Though I was wrangled into answering questions about my arm."

Sofia hesitated at Firuzeh phonetically sounding out her name. The child said a few times under her breath, assuring herself she’d get it right. ”I thought you were tired, mija?” Sofia rattled off something in Spanish before approaching her father and burying her face into his side. She did this whenever she was overwhelmed. He hadn’t figured out if this was a diversion tactic or not.

”Yes she was adamant about being called Sofiarlessa, Queen of… dragons maybe. And only by that. The entire title. But as someone who has been to the Citadel and met other people, she shouldn’t have been so rude.” He glanced at his daughter. ”More so, she shouldn’t have invaded your personal space. But she is curious about cybernetics. Practically draws out diagrams of things. Sofia looked up. “Important constructions.” Clyff stared at her. ”No. You’re in trouble. No talking. She’s always trying to one up me. She is pretty much ninety-percent her mother. Ten-percent my sheer hard-headedness. I love her. Sometimes. So, you here for someone or you about to board a ship?” Honestly, any question would make things less awkward.

Despite her best attempts to restrain it, Firuzeh broke down laughing at the mention of the name Sofia had tried to take on. "Oh, okay, I like that one." She laughed, wiping a tear from her non prosthetic eye. "She certainly chose the right person if she's interested in them though - I designed a large part of this arm, so if there was anyone to tell her about it, that'd be me."

She raised an eyebrow at his abrupt change of topic, but said nothing on the subject, merely following his lead. "I'll be boarding the Ark, yes. I assume something similar for yourself?" She gestured to Sofia, "Someone already gave part of that game away."

Sofia grinned wildly at Firuzeh’s appreciation of her name. Clyff shot her a look, and her lips fell into a blank, almost zombie-like, stare. Yet, that stare was quickly interrupted upon learning that the woman was an expert in cybernetics. She wanted to say something. Her lips parted, but Clyff’s glare intensified.

”Ah. That shouldn’t be surprising. I’m sure you know more about me than most people.” He rubbed his nose. But yes. I’ll be on Ark Nexus, and she’ll be on Ark Hyperion. And if she’s lucky, she’ll run into you again, and she can show her designs for an arm that is also a grappling hook.

Sofia leaned in, attempting to whisper. “I want to be the twenty-fifth Batman. Clyff nudged her, and she stared at the ground. He extended his hand. ”Nice to meet you, Firuzeh. Sorry for my shiiiieeep storm of a daughter.”

Firuzeh raised an eyebrow, grinning. "She definitely seemed inordinately put out when I mentioned that my own arm lacked any grappling hooks. Space is at a premium, after all." She looked down at Sofia, winking, before looking back up, "And, well, we'll both be on the Hyperion. I'll keep any space pirates out for her. She can have second in command of the cybernetic empire once we get to Andromeda, we'll let her decide the name of the position." She looked back down at Sofia, a mischevious tone creeping into her words, "Though it can't have dragons or batman in it. Find a new theme, alright?"

She looked back up, nodding to Clyff. "Well, make sure to keep the Nexus in good order for us, yeah? Don't let anyone get out the nice wine before I arrive, at least."

Sofia beamed wildly as Firuzeh spoke. The sheer jittery jubilation in her seemed to grow exponentially. ”No Drago-Batman, I can promise. It'll be infinitly cooler. Like Space Unicorn.” She immediately became quiet when Clyff ceared his throat

He smiled at the woman. ”We’ll take very good care. Sorry about my daughter again. And here's to hoping that I see you on the other side.” He slipped his hands around his daughter’s back and faced her the opposite way in an attempt to herd this mischevious cat. He excused both of them with a curt nod.

Firuzeh nodded in turn, giving a slight bow, and turned away, making her way back to the table.
__________________________
Prodromos, Eos - 634 years later

__________________________

The landscape of Eos was beautiful. It reminded Firuzeh of the Dasht-e Lut, on one of the trips she had taken in her childhood, admiring the natural beauty both of Iran, and earth at large. They had seen the grand canyon, the Himalayas, the perfect greenery of Aquitaine, but perhaps it was merely a byproduct of her upbringing, Firuzeh most loved the rugged beauty of desert vistas. The imposing mesas and scorching lower lying areas, sparse plant life, even more sparse water, it tugged at her heart, filling her with a sensation of homesickness wholly unknown to her before now. To think, empires had risen and fallen in less time than she had been in cryo, millions of light years back home. Was earth still habitable? Did the nations still exist in any recognizable form? Had some galactic civil war torn civilization in the milky way asunder? Had they achieved a golden age and researched technologies the likes of which she could only dream of?

She sighed, letting her thoughts fade away as she lay down, smiling as she basked in the relative quiet. Nearby lay two dead adhi, the beasts having crept up on her while she sat gazing, just as now, attempting to ambush her. The fight had been short, one cacophonous shot of the Carnifex silencing the first of the reptiles before it could narrow the gap, and a knife to the throat of the second spilling its blood over the baking sands of the desert. She only regretted they hadn’t allowed her access to the mess area - she was aching to see what some of the fauna of Andromeda could do for a dish, with the appropriate seasonings. Military food was bad enough when chasing familiar enemies in the Attican Traverse, but facing a whole new unknown foe, with unknown ends, but decidedly known hostility… the Initiative needed any morale boost it could get. Establishing a successful, habitable outpost on Eos was a step, a big one. But in her opinion, getting some proper home cooked meals in the team would be another one. Perhaps she could steal a hot plate or two and some cookware from the mess area when nobody was looking, set up a hidden kitchen somewhere and begin experimenting? She didn’t have to tell anyone where the food came from if they enjoyed it eno-

FORM UP OUTSIDE: 10 MINUTES

Well, there went that train of thought.

She stood, stretching widely as she worked out the kinks from sitting still for so long. She wasn’t far out of Prodromos, a couple minutes’ jog at most, but the problem was the adhi blood on her armor. It wasn’t… too severe, but there was a clear and significant difference between not too much blood, and no blood at all. For a couple minutes she agonized over whether she could make it to the showers and rinse the blood off, or if that would leave her too little time to acquire her remaining weapon. Feeling the seconds slip by, she cursed under her breath and took off running back to the barracks, sprinting into the station and into the barracks and, triumphantly seizing her Revenant from its place on the rack, jogged back out, nodding to the assembled… officers and alien, before taking her place wordlessly.
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Luna; Convention Center, 600 years ago

The mood in the convention center after Garson’s speech was certainly a festive one, full of hope and wonderment, yet it seemed that one man seemed unmoved by the speech, more interested in his omni-tool than by the speech given by the founder of the Initiative. The reason for the Batarian’s, for that was the race of this man in particular, interest in his omni-tool laid on the fact that he was composing a message to his absent family. Again and again he tried to compose the message, but the Batarian quickly grew frustrated, seemingly dissatisfied with what hat he had written, and erased what he had previously written.

Khosin let out a sigh as he erased what seemed like the thousandth attempt at writing to his family. Ever since what had happened in Hegemony space, after his confrontation with colonel Sed’mevan, he hadn't spoken to his family, not that his family had made an attempt to keep contact. He had been disowned after all, a fact that still pained him to admit even if he had, to some extent, come to terms with it. “Still, I owe them an explanation of what will happen to me….of where I’ll go, even if they don't want anything to do with me.” He thought sadly, shaking his head and closing down the omni-tool. He had been stuck for too long in writing that message, it'd do him no good to stay stuck through the whole party trying to write that message.

In the end, even without his constant attempt to try and write a letter to his family, Khosin’s mood remained rather sour and melancholic, being one of the few individuals stuck in such a mindset. The fact that he was alone and that as a Batarian there weren't many attempts to approach him to socialize did nothing to help him, he missed his family and wished they'd be there, even if they wouldn't join him in Andromeda, and what few acquaintances he had managed to keep over the years were either unable to come, for one reason or another, or he had no idea where they were in the wider galaxy, and the cynical side of him told him that, with his luck, there'd be no way they would be in the wider party.

That of course changed when he saw a drone conspicuously scanning him, his four eyes easily catching the drone despite its attempt to hide itself among other drones. It took him a second or two to recognize the drone as one that he had seen during his time on the Borealis. Shaking his head slightly a smile formed in Khosin’s face as he stood up and began following it towards its owner.



Eos; Prodromos, 600 years later

Khosin stared at his own reflection in the restroom of the barracks on Prodromos. The months stuck on the Nexus, and the stress that had permeated those same months, had done him no favors the Batarian thought as he stared at the image on the mirror, now noticeably thinner and more haggard than what he had looked even at his worst all those centuries ago back in the Milky Way. “Then again, back in the Milky Way I never had to deal with the Scourge or with an armed revolt inside a space station stranded in an unknown Galaxy with little to no resources.” He thought grimly to himself as he splashed his face with water. Yes, the Initative's first months, or more accurately all the months before the arrival of the Hyperion, had been one trial after another. First it was the encounter with the Starscourge and the toll of life it had taken on the station, hundreds of people dying in their cryo pods before even waking up, including the founder of the Initiative and her inner circle. Then it has been the issue of the mutiny, which promptly spiraled out of control into a rebellion proper. The thought of the exiles always soured Khosin's mood; he could understand their grievances, he had been in their position long ago and had felt the same bitterness. And yet by their actions they might have doomed the Initiative in its entirety, dooming themselves and everyone on the different arks that had been scattered around the cluster at that point.

Shaking his head, Khosin took a deep breath "Best not to focus on them, we'll deal with the Exiles when we run into them again." He thought, anger and bitterness swelling in equal measure in his heart. He was about to head out of the outpost’s perimeter to go for a walk, and maybe to nail a few of the critters that encroached the outpost’s perimeter sporadically, so as to clear his head and calm himself down when he received a message to his omni-tool.

FORM UP OUTSIDE: 10 MINUTES

With a sigh, and one last splash of water to his face to clear his thoughts, Khosin made his way back to the barracks. Everyone, with the exception of their sole Krogan who was putting on his boots as best as he could tell, where already outside and at the muster point. Opening his locker Khosin pulled out his trusty Kishock rifle and placed it on the back of his armor, letting the mag holsters do their work, before before proceeding to do the same with his Mattock and AT-12 Raider shotgun.

With his weapons secured to their respective mag holsters, and deciding to forego his helmet, Khosin made his way to the front if the barracks where he stood in line alongside the rest of Fireteam Echo. “Khosin Grathe Sedgoroh. Ex-Hegemony military, former security officer under Security Director Sloane Kelly. Reporting for duty as ordered, sir.”
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Dex - Prodromos - APEX Barracks



Dex skulked about the barracks the first two days she was on Eos. Try as she might to remain casual and would never admit to skulking. It was in her nature to observe out of her peripheral, watch and wait. There was only so much official Initiative records really told. The very same records she’d been granted permission to view and compile dossiers as per Lieutenant Sajax’s orders. She ordered Dex to report them to Commanders Tannyx and Tazen, leaders of Fireteam Echo of APEX. As part of her accepting her position in APEX, Dex was assigned to Fireteam Echo as their cyber warfare specialist. Possibly the nicest title she had been given for digging around in other people’s shit.

It was a decent change in pace.

Dex had proven to be a hard counter to the exile’s attempts to worm their way back into the Nexus Network, they were relentless. Pushing hard against technicians and engineers that had built the system she was trying to defend. When Nexus personnel had pulled her from cryo she could have sworn she was dreaming when she stood on the opposite side of insurgency. The irony was not lost on her.

Now she was boots on the ground on Eos. Having seen the results of their other golden worlds she was convinced she would never see green plantside again. The dust bowl represented their foundation for a future. Bleak as it was.

The first two days spent plantside was getting acquainted, prefab buildings a plenty. Repurposed, bits and pieces were taken from Site 1 and 2. Equipment they were able to recover, furniture, basic essentials it all went into the cobbled together building that was APEX’s barracks. The military base of operations was built on the bones of what they could salvage to feed and house the soldiers defending the outpost. It was all very rustic, but it worked then continued to improve everyday.

Fuck.” She muttered into her omnitool, the message calling the team to form up. Everyone in and out of the barracks jumped into action. It was like second nature, she donned her blue and white recon armour. Clasps, sleeves and belts all adjusted without a second glance. She pulled her M-97 Viper in it’s compacted mode placing it on her lower back magplate. Her predator pistol attached to her hip. Briefly she tested her tactical cloak, it shimmered reflecting light. Long had it’s spotty bugs been repaired. Dex felt strange, to be in this environment again and so easily shifting back into the mindset that went with it. She never thought she’d see the day genuinely rejoining a military outfit.

With a minute to spare she formed up outside in front of Tannyx and Tazen, with their angaran liaison. She had the briefest of looks, curiosity had her eyes on him as soon as she exited the building. She hadn’t expected to be meeting him so soon, let alone-

She suppressed a groan for Serena. What the hell was she thinking? Dex felt second hand embarrassment knowing well what waited her former crew member. Others introduced themselves, she remained quiet standing at attention. It was a mix of military backgrounds and professionals of their own respective fields. If Tazen and Tannyx wanted to make a statement, now would be perfect.
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To Sabinus’ relief, the entirety of the fireteam assembled as ordered and were able to figure out where the rendezvous point was with limited information. It was a good start. Even Kargad managed to arrive on time, and the turian had watched him charge in from outside of the outpost and storm into the barracks to get prepared. He was suitably impressed.

What wasn’t impressive, however, was Serena Mathews immediately undermining his authority by approaching him as if he were a friend rather than a superior officer. His mandibles twitched with minor annoyance; so much for making a positive first impression on Anjor.

”Mathews, have the years of being out of the Alliance left you without military bearing?” He asked sharply, not responding to any of her social gabbing. ”Look to your squadmates. Formed up, at attention, and ready for instruction. Seeing as it has been some time since you’ve worn a uniform, I shall give you time to reflect on what it means to serve in APEX. Adopt the pushup position, count them off until I am convinced that you have reacquired the mental state of being required to serve in this outfit.”

Leaving the pink-haired human to her PT, Sabinus approached the assembled team. ”For those of you who do not know me, I am Lieutenant Sabinus Tannyx, overall commanding officer of Fireteam Echo. While APEX is a de facto military outfit instead of a properly structured one, I expect that each of you will respect that we are at war with the Kett, and whatever civilian and private experience you have will be checked when putting on the armour. Some of you have met me out of uniform, when each of us were simply prospective colonists coming for a new home. I was a security officer under Security Director Kelly, and now I am one of the officers who have been given command of a specialized strike force aimed at disrupting Kett activity and ensuring that our presence in Andromeda is not reduced to a dark and empty memorial to the hundred thousand lives that we are entrusted to protect. Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, the lives of every single colonist depend on what we do as a unit. While Mathews undoubtedly has enthusiasm for the task at hand, it is loose behaviour like that that can end up with soldiers getting killed in the field.” He paused, looking to Serena in the sand. He gave the order, ”As you were. Fall in.” he waited for Serena to get up and back into ranks before continuing.

Seeing Sabinius take a pause as he waited for Serena to fall back in line with the rest of the team, Tazen decided this was the best moment to introduce himself to the rest of the fireteam. “Greetings everyone, I'm Lieutenant Tazen. My job here is to provide support for Lieutenant Tannyx in his capacity as the leader of Fireteam Echo. What this entails, in brief, is that Fireteam Echo shall be divided in two sub-fireteams during missions so as to give us greater tactical flexibility in whatever assignment is given to us with me being in charge of one of said teams. This system will be operated in a rotating fashion between assignments, in other words the fireteams composition will be changed between missions.” Explained the Salarian briefly before falling silent once more and standing at attention next to Sabinius.

Walking along the assembled soldiers, he studied them as if this were a parade, looking them up and down and making lingering eye contact. ”Each of you were selected based on your service records, expertise and psyche profiles, and I will be frank, I am not a strict authoritarian. Since this is a loose military order, I expect each and every one of you to be self-sufficient and capable of performing your duties in the absence of direct command. Your gear is non-standardized, and each of you come from a very wide variety of backgrounds and experience; this is a strength I aim to exploit for our missions. Operational flexibility is paramount, and we will often be operating without support; it will often just be us out there, with whatever limited resources the Initiative or our angaran allies are able to spare.”

Finding it a good chance to address the Harvester in the room, Sabinus pivoted over to stand by Anjor. ”Allow me the honour of introducing you to Anjor de Sufva, our liaison from the angaran Resistance who has volunteered to serve alongside APEX and was subsequently assigned to Fireteam Echo. He is both here to show us how to survive in Heleus and how to counter Kett combat doctrine, as well as to provide cultural and political insight towards his people. It is our aim to return the courtesy by helping introduce him into each of our customs and cultures as well as the weapons and tactics we employ. We stand to learn a lot from one another, and what better way to build goodwill between our people than showing one another the most efficient way to ventilate the head of some Kett bastard from three kilometers away?” Sabinus asked, offering Hazan a toothy grin.

”That said, at ease, everyone. When I said this was going to be a non-standard outfit, I meant it. No ranks, just follow orders when given and observe discipline in combat is all I ask, as well as the most important order of them all; the team comes first. Check your egos and the man or woman standing next to you is the other thing standing between victory and death, and let me assure you, there won’t be any alternatives. We are fighting for our lives out here, and many of you remember how for 14 months, we spent most of that time on the Nexus wondering if a major systems malfunction was going to be the end of us all. You are standing in Prodromos, the first concrete indication that we have a future here in Andromeda. I never stopped believing in that future, but this is the first time I’ve ever been able to put my boots on the ground and actually fight for it. I am sure you are all itching for that opportunity yourselves; am I wrong?” Sabinus asked, his tone warmer and less strict and proper than before. It was as if he were inviting them to reflect on why they were already here, not what the official paperwork said.

Tazen let the team reflect on Sabinius’s words for a few moments before he broke the silence. “Now that everyone is up to speed more or less, it's time to begin training.” Spoke Tazen “We have set up a training exercise has been prepared for us to tackle. Specifically speaking, this exercise is a killhouse scenario.” Continued the Salarian, pausing for a second to let the rest of the team process what he had said. “The scenario will be set in such a way that the team is divided in two, as per the standard procedure discussed previously, with one team defending one of the staff members from Prodromos who has volunteered for the role of hostage. The second team will be the one on the offensive, it's main objective being the rescue of the hostage from the defending team.” He said “To this end repurposed prefabricated buildings have been put together to form a 2 story building with several rooms and entry points.” He said, continuing his previous explanation “Furthermore, to avoid any potential injuries, everyone will be issued a standard, non-lethal, firearm of their preference.” Finished speaking the Salarian “Lieutenant Tannyx will now reveal to which fireteam everyone’s been assigned to. After this is done you might have any questions that you might have. Otherwise we’ll proceed to the exercise immediately.”

Sabinus picked up almost immediately. “Fireteam one, on assault, will be comprised of Kargad, Kesir, Mathews, Volintis, and Noratus. On defense, Ward, Sedgoroh, T’Vessi, Khoroushi, Shunji and De Sufva. Both teams will have five minutes to plan a strategy, and the attackers will stage out of sight of the killhouse as to maintain the element of surprise. Alright, Echo; on me, move out!”

Sabinus lead the team on a brisk jog across the sands to the outskirts of Prodromos where there were two distinct sets of structures; a guarded single-room armoury where racks of the non-lethal weaponry was stored and looked after by a quartermaster, and about 200 meters away in an open field was a two-story pre-fabricated structure made up of several modules and connectors; the ground floor was made up of 5 separate rooms, with an entrance on the North, South and West sides, and the top floor was connected by an interior staircase to the East as well as an exterior one heading up to what was essentially a balcony with waist-high covering around the perimeter. The top floor was made up of 3 modules, one opened up to the balcony itself, and the one parallel to the exterior staircase was overlooked by large bay windows. The bottom floor had similar bay windows on the North and South sides, giving plenty of visibility. The structures were pretty run down, and a number of training exercises had gone through there, evidently.

Inside the armoury, one of the racks had 10 Avenger assault rifles, another 10 Predator heavy pistols, another 5 Mantis sniper rifles, and another 5 Katana shotguns. The armourer, an asari, explained; “The weapons are loaded with special riot control munitions that will deliver a rather nasty shock that will render the region that is impacted by the shot unable to move for a length of time depending on point of impact and the physicality of the target; some people have it wear off in about half a minute, others might be down for up to five. You shielding will absorb the impacts like a regular projectile, but once the projectiles hit unshielded armour, the armour will amply the shots across the entire piece, although your body glove may reduce the felt impact. Since this is a live fire exercise, if you do not have a helmet, we have spares, I am not having anyone lose a goddess damned eye on my range. Am I understood?

“This is Specialist Noori; she’s going to be your hostage for today.” the armourer introduced a small Southeast Asian woman with doe-like brown eyes, freckles, and an impressive braid of dark hair down her back who nevertheless looked like she took physical fitness more personally than her regular duties; she looked powerful. Noori looked Echo over. “So, who has the distinction of guarding me today?” she asked, helmet cradled under her arm.

When both teams were geared up, Sabinus pointed towards a rocky outcropping over a large dune. “Alright attackers, you’re heading over there, and out of sight. As soon as I can’t see you any longer, your five minutes begins. Defenders, take up position inside the killhouse. Good luck and show us why you’re APEX material. Move out!”
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Rtron
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Serena heard various others behind her announcing their names and position, and felt her heart sink a little. Right. Professional military. Shit. Looking back over at Sabinus, and the look in his eye, she was struck by a memory of her first day in Alliance boot camp, almost 20 conscious years ago (God, had it really been that long?). She had approached her Alliance drill sergeant in much the same manner, and had an inkling about what was going to happen. So history does repeat itself. She thought to herself, sighing quietly. this wasn't going to be fun. If she was lucky she wouldn't get to much sand in her armor. As the turian spoke to her, she snapped to attention, eyes ahead as he reprimanded her. She gave a quick ‘yessir’ and dropping to the push ups. She had earned this, and wasn’t going to complain. A brief urge to count every second push up in spanish and every third in latin struck her, as he had never said that she had to do it in a language he understood, quickly suppressed. That would only make things worse on herself and perhaps the entire crew. She counted quietly but distinctly, not loud enough to be a distraction to Sabinus’ speech but clear enough that he couldn’t question whether she was doing as he asked.

She had just lowered herself for another push up when he claimed she was going to get people killed. Anger shot through her, hot and harsh. She wouldn’t do that. She’d die before she did that again. It was fortunate that her face was faced firmly away from him and towards the ground, so he couldn’t see her expression. She gritted her teeth, hands slowly clenching into fists in the sand. That she hadn’t earned. It was one thing to punish her for forgetting what they were. It was quite another to kick her while she was down, just to prove a point that didn’t need to be proven.

They weren’t raw recruits, volunteering because of posters or the need to get out of slums. She had read all their dossiers. They were all soldiers, all veterans. They didn’t need a reminder of what was at stake, of how they could get people killed. Judging from your face, avoiding your definition of ‘loose’ behaviour might actually be detrimental. It was right there, on the tip of her tongue. Slowly, she exhaled as she pushed herself up, following his order to fall in without a word. Letting her anger control her would only make him right.

As she met his eyes, Sabinus towering above her, she wondered if she was hiding her anger well enough. Doubtful. Translation: I am not a strict authoritarian except when it suits me so be prepared for that to show up at any point in time. Also, if you don’t show precise discipline in this, self-admittedly, loose military I’ll accuse you of being a reason why we lose people. Have fun. She knew it wasn’t fair, but she didn’t care at the moment. She’d get over it later. Right now, she wanted to stew in her anger.

As Sabinius gave the order to move out, Serena called behind her for Del to bring her helmet. The drone beeped in acknowledgement, flying behind her with an omni-lash around the helmet and dropping it in her hands. As they reached the destination, she grabbed a predator and an avenger, appreciatively eyeing Noori. She wasn’t so angry she couldn’t see a beautiful woman when she saw one. She waited patiently for everyone to grab their preferred weaponry, examining the area they had to work with.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Fallenreaper
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~|Ryria T’Vessi|~


As Sabinus’ speech echoed across the open air of Eos, Ryria twitched subtly at the mention of civilian and private experience being left at the door. Isn't her personal experience with hostile environments what got her assigned to APEX in the first place? What put her over the top of any other qualifying medic within the compound? Through these questions rattled within her brain, her lips never once asked them. It was pointless in a military operation to disagree with a superior officer without consequences. Her eyes drifted down to Matthews, the name oddly familiar, who was currently eating dirt with her push-up.

‘Yeah, it won't end well at all…’ Ryria thought sarcastically, her eyes snapped upright before Sabinius came waltzing by then left.

When he introduced the angaran liaison officer, her head tilted to observe the individual. It was officially her first time seeing one that wasn't from a distance. She will admit, secretly, to admiring the bone structure and unique anatomy. It was slightly refreshing to have someone different in the group when it came to species. The only regret came when she knew a physical was out of the question.

For medical purposes of course.

She pushed away any distractions when Sabinius ordered them to move out and head toward the dubbed ‘training grounds’. Through she hasn't been in the military for ages, she remained in good shape as she easily kept up the pace. Her thoughts dwelled on the fact they would be split up and doing a killhouse scenario. Those were a nightmare and a half.

Out of all of the defense team, Ryria felt and looked the least prepared. Through the threat of attack from Kett always hovered over their heads, it was difficult to do fine surgery when completely suited up and survival rate of her patients rated higher than her personal safety. It didn't help she was only recently informed and this prevented her from taking military measures. Thankfully, the armory had spare suits as well.

When Sabinus dismissed them long enough to grab weapons and proper gear, Ryria’s discomfort grew. There was little privacy or creature comforts within the compound, but she at least had some way to hide her scars from strangers. Here she couldn't. It wasn't that she was ashamed, but the looks bothered her subconsciously. Pity, horror, and disgust were very common. Most would stare until she was left cringing on the inside, pleading they stop over and over silently. Ryria learned a long time ago pleading rarely worked.

Not able to avoid it, she pushed herself to take the plunge then hoped for minimal reactions. Especially since they were going to be working together for the current future.

She picked a Predator heavy pistol and Mantis sniper rifle, both she knew decent enough to shoot with. Then she popped open one of the lockers where she selected a fitting helmet with matching suit. Setting her weapons aside, she began tapped the boots against the ground to ensure there was nothing crawling in them. Sealed lockers meant nothing to clever wildlife itching to find a cozy place to snuggle in. When that was done, she set the weapons to the side. After she pulled the suit overtop of her clothes, Ryria reached for her scarf as she carefully unwrapped it. Even she knew a headscarf and helmet spelled disaster.

Those that actually bothered to look or were at a close angle could see two deep, slightly discolored puncture wounds just behind her eye and on the lower jaw. Jagged lines angled from those points through the side of her mouth. The flesh seemed to have been splashed with acid leaving only essential tissues to prevent infection. It also allowed her to speak properly. Her crest back was jagged and broken, the area no longer symbolized a proper one.

Ryria finally dipped her head into the helmet before fastening into place. She finished her routine by checking each gun, calibrating it to her comfort zone. When satisfied, she fell back into formation.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Mortarion
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I couldn’t Think of a Title vol. 1


Yanagita Shunji knew that defending the hostage was going to difficult since the room didn’t often them much protection from the attacking team. He looked at the hostage and spoke in a strict tone, “We need to move our ‘hostage’ to the room that’s closest to the stairs. If things get too heated, then we can drag her up to the second floor and hold out. Until then, we need to find things to barricade the room and possibly the hallway.”

“Any questions or suggestions of their own?” he asked while checking on his omni-tool, making sure that the thing was working. Shunji’s helmet was on a box that was next to him.

“I think it'd be best to move the ‘hostage’ to the second floor from the get go.” Spoke Khosin in response to Yanagita’s suggestion “That way we’d have more time of reaction when the assault teams enters. Furthermore, if we base ourselves on the second floor from the get go we can use the stairs as a place where we could easily dispatch quite a few of them if we are smart about what we are doing.” Spoke the Batarian.

“Hmmmm, it'd also be beneficial to put someone as a sentry. Is there anyone in this group that has a tactical cloak?” He asked to the team in general, turning to look at the rest of the defense group “If there is someone with a cloak, we could place them in the first floor to watch for the advance of the assault team.” He added, thinking of the best way to monitor the assault teams entrance.

Ryria silently had moved toward the collection of others, but held herself slight apart and in the background. She was still adjusting to the fact she had to literally shake off her rusty teamwork skills once again. Her eyes darted through the tinted visor to each speaker, absorbing their tactics. Without a full idea of their defensive position, things would go from bad worst predictably fast as their attackers could easily find gaps fitting their strengths. Like animals on the hunt.

“Not me. My skills are field medic, hostile environment survival and protection, fine biotics practice and sniper sharp shooting. The medic part useless for this exercise,” Ryria shared as she crossed her arms over her middle. She took a moment to casually glance over the terrain to see if she could spot some nearby rock formation within the training grounds, something ideal for a sniper control outside the would be hot zone.

“The first thing should've been a quick rundown of skills. The more we know of each other’s abilities and the layout of the defense position, better chance we have to limit easy access points and use our strengths to cover each other's weaknesses. Especially since they will be optimizing theirs to the fullest.”

"Defense isn't something we Angara particularly specialize in." Anjor answered Ryria with something of a shrug, "We do more of what you call "Hit-and-Run" yes? Only way to keep Kett on defensive and away from our homes. So my skills follow those ideals: mid to close-quarter combat, explosives, and taking down targets quick before reinforcements come."

"Though.... we often set up explosives around the perimeter of our camps. An extra blanket of security when we rest." Anjor explained as he brought out the non-lethal charges which he had pulled from the armory. "I and those with experience in explosives could set these up at major entrances and choke points. So we know where they are coming in from, even if some are using tactical cloaks." He offered with a smile.

Clyff placed his hands behind his back when he was told to be dismissed. Really, they weren’t going by rank? Well, why the hell did he earn it? He didn’t say anything, but his brows lowered. After that they joggedto a testing ground. He hated it as he was out of breath. He quickly regained it as they were divided into teams.

“In all honestly, most of my experience is breaching into these situations. So, I can give you pointers for shit I fucked up on. We need to ruin as many doors as we can to present a chokehold. We need to place proximity mines on the ceiling, because no one ever checks those. Someone needs to be with the hostage at all time, using them as a meat shield. If we were given proper supplies I would say would should collapse certain areas. Otherwise just trash them up and make them look non-breach-able.” He sighed. “I’m Clyff Ward from Alliance Military and my specialty is breaching and riot suppression. Also, a lot of my abilities,” he shook his basically plastic gun, “are taken away because we’re playing with goddamn Play-Doh.”

”Another good idea is creating an obvious choke hold, but giving our enemies a way out, and having someone there to pick them off on that way out.” He sighed. ”And not given an obvious extraction point, I’m sure we need to move our hostage up. Make sure that all windows are blacked out or are too dark to see.”

Firuzeh nodded, “Same here. Almost all of my experience is on the offensive, and I don’t have fond memories of the few defensive ones. I’m not certain how we want me deployed here.” She carried both a shotgun and an assault rifle, having forgone a pistol in favor of more firepower - she was limited in the application of her own abilities, and thus she needed to compensate in some way. Seizing onto Clyff’s suggestion, “If we want someone on ambush duty, I volunteer myself. That, or we draw them in, create a ‘safe’ corridor with fewer explosives, and have myself and you, Clyff, waiting in the wings to hit them from behind.” She surveyed the group again, “Not many of us are really suited to defense, so I say the best way to go about it is take the fight back to them, instead of attempting to perform a role in which we would underperform.”

Ryria fell silent as the team followed her suggestion, each member began to list their skills and unfortunately bitter complaints. Her frown was hidden under her helmet when she heard the suggestion of taking the fight to the assault team. She had a sharp reply to it but bit her tongue over it. Instead, she moved to relay her observations.

“From what I could tell, there are three likely entrances to the ‘killhouse’ grounds. The north, the south, and the west side. This isn't counting the entrances to the upper level which is only two, I assume. Likely an interior and the seen exterior set of stairs I noted while we were grouping up.”

Her words were crisp and precise, likely holding back her dislike over Firu’s earlier suggestion. Only pieces of a plan had been put out and not a whole one. With everyone seeming to feel outside of their element, she had a choice. She could step in or let things go as they will. In a training exercise, winning didn't matter to her but improvisation all the way wouldn't be considered teamwork… would it?

Resigned to what she was about to do, the asari braced herself to begin what might be a lengthy monologue. She had drawn closer by now when her words showed slight strain in the effort.

“The obvious answer is set the defenses to suit the strengths. Traps and controlling where they go is ideal, but also don't forget they will be trying to neutralize our efforts. We have the home area advantage to set up as we chose.”

She inhaled then continued.

“The main issue is ensuring they use the route or routes we set up for them rather than having them find other, safer paths. We can also use the hostage as bait, with two ways to move her up and down between the two levels. A constantly moving hostage is more difficult to rescue than a stationary one. It might force them to split into more manageable teams.”

She then moved toward each role, feeling slightly more in her element for the moment. The asari’s eyes snapped toward Clyff and Anjor.

“Eliminating it down to one or two entrances works, but will it be secure enough to keep them out and without taking up too much time? Explosives in the perimeter and ceiling are good, it also would help us track their progress when they go off. It will delay them if they try to disarm any.”

Ryria then adjusted from one leg to the other to prevent numbness, her eyes passed between the two, Is there any way either of you can monitor your bombs’ status, indicating if they have been tampered with, set off silently, or even remotely set off any single one at any time?

The Angara chuckled, "It's always the little ones that are the most like the eirochs."

He ran his omni-tool over the charges. A solitary beep sounding off as it brought up their schematics. Anjor clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth as he looked them over. Brow furrowed before he finally nodded his head. Another gesture and the schematics vanished, "We can rig the transceivers to our omni-tools. They'll read out constant information back to our helmet feeds. Only problem is if somebody gets access to them, they have control over the entire grid."

“Is there any way to prevent that? Something you two can work out quickly before the assault team gets here?” Ryria asked, not really liking the idea of the grid being compromised.

”...Don’t let them hack your omni-tool?” Anjor replied bluntly.

"How long we can delay them," Anjor pondered. "I do not know the standard breaching procedures of your peoples." He gestured towards Clyff, "He'll be able to give you a better estimate."

“That’s why I suggested you two work together. He can cover what information you don’t have as you set things up.”

After she received the answers she wanted, she moved onto the next statement.

“You two could also place new explosives to both slow and put the assault team on edge as we go along, wherever possible.”

She focused on Anjor more directly with her next statement, “Since you prefer the hit and run tactics, I suggest split focus between the explosion setup and providing some complications for their attempts. If you feel it’s doable.”

"It's doable." Anjor answered with a nod. "I'll have to provide fire from a distance though. If I get too close, I could get pinned, and if that happens we will start to have holes in our net."

Ryria then turned to Firu, looking the woman over briefly with a firm look.

“Since you’re confident in your offense, I suggest you're our wall between them and the hostage. Every time they get too close or we need to move her, your task is to either take out a threat or buy time respectively. Then retreat when or if you can in order to repeat the process.”

Finished with the woman, she turned to Khosin and Yanagita with a side note.

“Someone will need to keep the hostage in control, determine when to move her and help coordinate our efforts in the heat of the moment. The other should be supporting the ‘wall’ to prevent her from being overwhelmed and ensure if they cut off the exit, there's a new one ready to use.”

Now all that was left was her own position in all this as she began to wrap up the proposed plan. She still wasn’t sure they would accept it for a sound one but it at least it highlighted what they each did best and better than half-assing it.

“I’m the last one left and I do have some necessary sniper skills. I’ll set up on the roof in the start and try to direct them to where we want them to go. When they make it inside, I’ll pull back to help with those in charge with the hostage or drawing fire.”

In a closing statement, she stepped back then added, “It’s at least one plan option. I’m certain there are additional things to cover or adjust accordingly, but I do know no plan ever runs smoothly. Adaptation is an essential thing to keep in mind throughout this all.”

Clyff nodded. The asari knew her business. Then again, those warrior ladies had been alive longer than most of his ancestors. He looked over to the angaran. It was an odd feeling working alongside someone so different and yet with traces of familiarity etched in their eyes and mouths. They’d also known war unwinnable. It was good that he was on their team.

“That is a worry,” he said, realizing that he needed to clarify, “ “that they could get into our network. If all else fails, a solid disconnect could work. We could track by sound. Above and below are easy, and I’ve heard enough explosions in my lifetime to gauge a good distance. Torfan taught me that. As long as we don’t cluster ‘em, we should be good.” He realized belatedly that the batarian was amongst him. He didn’t harbor any grudges. Sure, he might try to fight the guy if he got drunk, but right now was business. “Also, I wonder if we have time to tamper with the proximity. Make it a bit overlong. Have it explode behind them. Make them shit their britches. The stink of ass is a sure give away.” He chuckled at his own joke, realizing that others might find it so amusing. “I can work on getting at least one of those rigged. Delicate process, and as my mother used to say ‘you make squids flopping around a piano look like Mozart.’ I’m not fast—is what I’m trying to say.”

He turned his attention to Anjor. “I’m good in a close pinch. We could have each other’s backs there, Blue.” He winked. “All in all sounds like a solid plan. Collapse an entrance, bottle them in, and set explosions to rattle them and let us know where they are. Keep the hostage moving. Just got to worry about picking ‘em off.”

Khosin stayed silent as Ryria explained her plan, nodding his agreement alongside Clyfford. He let the human speak his mind, electing to not make a comment about the fact that he had been part of the Torfan massacre to avoid making the situation awkward, before he spoke his mind. “I'll support Firu if that's ok, I have tech armor which should help me soaks more bullets before my shields go down than the rest of you.” He said, thinking for a second “I also have a drone which should help us a bit. It's no game changer, that's for sure, but it can serve as a small force multiplier, even if only slightly.” Said the Batarian, bringing up his omni-tool interface and setting the drone to non-lethal mode “There, all done, the drone is set to its non-lethal mode, so I'm good to go.” Finished speaking Khosin.

“Anyone else got anything to add? Firu? Yanagita?” He asked after a few moments of silence “Otherwise I'd say we are pretty much good to go, like Clyff said the plan seems solid and I'd say it plays up to our strengths so it's the best choice for us.”

Shunji grabbed his helmet and put it on. After a bit of adjustment, he responded to Clyff’s question. “I am all good. I could also use my flamethrower to cause the enemy to hide in terror. And before you say anything, I am not going to burn them.”

“On purpose.” he snickered the last sentence.

Firuzeh’s stomach rumbled, and she sighed, “I confess, nothing else comes to mind. Though I do have some objections to the idea of intentionally destroying parts of the building. That seems a little excessive, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not spend two weeks peeling potatoes and clearing the rubble just because someone got overzealous with the explosives.” She frowned, “Otherwise, it sounds solid enough. Try and pin them in and turn our disadvantage back into an advantage.”

Khosin nodded at Firu and Yanagita’s words “Alright, then it's settled.” Said the Batarian, turns to look at the rest of the team “Firu made a good point with what she said about destroying the building, so let's try to see if we can block off parts of it without resorting to demolition work unless it's our last recourse. Otherwise, let's get to work gents.” Spoke Khosin, grabbing his helmet and putting it on before he headed inside of the prefab building to start with the preparations they had agreed to.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by DearTrickster
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I Couldn’t Think of a Title Vol. 2

Ass-ault





Move out!

Lieutenant Tannyx pointed their team to a natural outcrop of cover for the assaulting team to start. Once everyone had their preferred weapon swapping out what they had already been carrying, the five new team members were on their way. Dexuret took the lead having swapped out her Viper for a Mantis and her pistol for a nonlethal one. Heeding the armourer’s advice she grabbed a helmet, never a fan of using them but imagined a headshot would have her knocked on her ass and down for the count. She brought up her omnitool, everyone’s communication access points appearing, she connected them tuning to a channel isolated behind a firewall of her own creation. Securing their conversations for their ears and their ears only.

I have a good idea of what everyone is capable of but De Sufva is our mystery man. I haven’t a clue to what he can do.” She began, her helmet under one arm matching the blue and white of the Initiative. “But if we play this right, we can steal the hostage right out from under their noses.” She laughed, her mandibles spreading for a toothy turian grin.

Name’s Dex by the way,” She turned to look at both Kargad and Naryxa. “Cyber warfare specialist assigned to Fireteam Echo. I know between the five of us we have a bag of surprises for them as well.

Serena put on her helmet, weapons already holstered. Her anger fading as she turned her mind to the task at hand. She had gone to the remaining weapons after everyone had chosen their gear, quickly stripping them of their ammo and was currently putting it in Del. She talked to her group as she did so, distractedly, mind focused on the task. ”Serena Mathews, VI and Robotics Specialist. Anjor is probably an experienced guerilla warfare specialist, given that his is both one of the few chosen by the Angaran resistance to represent them and the fact that the Angarans have no professional military to speak of. Expect things designed to stun, disrupt, immobilize, and otherwise make you incapable of fighting back. Firu is aggressive. She’ll prefer ‘offense is the best defense’ and will likely challenge what she perceives as the biggest threat. That’ll be Kargad. She’s a strong biotic but not very good at controlling it. Expect in your face bursts like Charge and Nova, and for her to get up close and personal.” She finished loading Del, sending the drone to float by her.

"Khosin is more reserved. He’ll play true defense, maybe counter-sniping. A decent biotic, but he’ll use his to keep us away from Noori. Expect things to weaken your defense to allow him or the others to get in the eliminating blow. Don’t know much about the others, aside from what was on their dossiers. Clyfford strikes me as the more aggressive type as well, but he has experience with this type of scenario. Albeit on our side. If I had to guess, I’d say he’ll be somewhere between Firu and Khosin. In your face, but only if you come to him. Ryria is their weakest combatant. I’d say she’ll hang back and use her biotics to support. Yaganita will probably be more along Khosin’s lines. Hard defensive and support.” She glanced over at Dex and Hazan, smiling. ”You two still have those Tact cloaks don’t you?”

Kargad snorted at the mention of Firu, with all the inflections of a defiant bull, and grinned hungrily as he slung the Katana shotgun he’d pilfered from the armoury over one shoulder.

”Hah, ‘up close and personal’? I’m starting to think this might be some fun after all!”
He’d been momentarily perplexed by the exercise back at the armoury, ”Not much of a practice without live rounds, then, is it?”, but was visibly warming to the idea now they were talking shop.

”Let her come and get me, then! I was dealing with biotics when her grandparents were still itches in their ancestor’s sacks. Nobody who ever won a fight with me did it by letting me get close.”

He let loose a burst of laughter, that low croaking rumble of stony chortling that seemed common to every krogan. He held his stomach, savoured the joy of the pre-combat banter for a few moments, and then composed himself. Wiped away the ghost of a tear, not because he’d been crying, but because he’d observed humans do it and assumed it to be some form of formality. He exhaled, with mirth in his tone, before he continued on.
”Hell, I raised two biotics. This is gonna be literal childsplay.”

Naryxa switched out her own weapons for the pistol and assault rifle. She wasn’t a fan of rifles, but when fast fire was required - it would do her better than a heavy pistol. She stayed back from the fireteam just slightly. Paying attention to the relationships that already existed. It seemed that some of her comrades already knew each other - and she did begin to wonder if their pre-existing friendships would affect them when the real danger crept in. She then began to think about how that might affect her too.

Seeing people with… their people caused her heart to ache a little. She’d performed in similar activities with her own huntresses. “I just wonder how soon this will all get out of hand… My experience with new teams such as these are that at least one person each side will get carried away. It’s all well and good to discuss tactic and who is likely to do what - but perhaps we focus on what we are going to do.” The Asari pushed down her helmet, closing her eyes to take a deep breath - hoping she had the attention of her team. “It doesn’t matter how many shots they take, how much biotic power they have… What matters is how they gel, if they trust one another… It only takes one big shot to derail a whole operation. We have to act in complete symmetry.”

She stretched out her arms, pulling back her shoulders and lifting her chin. She took another deep breath, feeling the flow of oxygen travel from her lips, down her throat, and into her stomach. She imagined the very same breath spreading out down her legs, flowing through them. With the image clear in her mind, she came up on the tips of her toes - “we can win this challenge without firing a single shot if we can be smart enough about it” she stood gracefully, her voice soft - and carefully she raised her left leg, resting her foot against her right knee. A simple pose, but it allowed her to take full and deep breaths. She expected her team to think she was a lunatic.

Sometimes she wondered herself, if that were the case.

”Huh! Sounds boring,” Kargad replied plainly, his voice decidedly less soft, “What’s the point of bein’ part of this beautiful cosmic chaos if we don’t get real wild with it? I mean, look at The Initiative: planned to the last detail and- let’s be fun and frank about it- a shit show until, well, now. Embrace it!”

I agree with Naryxa, even if she said it while imitating a tree.” She snorted. “We’ll prep a plan B based on how the other team may react to our offense. To start I think a good ole fashioned distraction, dividing the defenders up, and then scooping up the hostage when their backs are turned. We’re fucked if they stick together, considering the uneven team counts.” Dex said with a gesture at the building. “Typically, we’d have a recon team to scope out the surroundings before blazing in but that’s in a scenario where the enemy isn’t expecting you, specifically.

Kargad creased his brow, and thought with mute effort. The phrasing of that sentence - expecting you specifically - gave him cause for pause.
“Well they’re absolutely goin’ to be expecting me to come barreling down at them, krogans are sort of hard to disguise and we only have the one trick. Maybe we can use that expectation? Get the drop on them. But the drop is me. Drop me on them.”
He paused again, and if a Krogan had the capacity to blush for his awkwardness, he would have. His inexperience betrayed itself, tactics were a new and daunting reality.
”I don’t know all the military terms and techniques, or anythin’, but I do know my handsome mug comin’ at them from behind might give some of ‘em cause to face the other way. Does that plan work? Usually I just sorta… krogan my way through stuff, otherwise.”

Naryxa relaxed, her brow furrowed at the mention of her being… a tree in such a way. What was wrong with trees anyway? They provided oxygen and were habitats for many creatures, and they bore fruit. At least the Turian agreed with her. She knew that the Krogan wouldn’t. Krogan were loud and very one-note when it came to battle.

Kargad was so far looking like the possible ego of the group, but all bets were currently off on Serena... “Actually, what is scarier? A krogan dropping from the sky - because then you are then aware and you see the krogan… You can also shoot the krogan… But what if you never see the krogan at all?” She turned to face Kargad, a smirk forming on her lips. “What if you can only hear him?”

"Hazan Volintis. Reconnaissance, cartography, marksmanship and CQC specialist. Served my time with the navy back home, now I'm here."

Hazan had replaced his gear with an Avenger and a Katana and was trudging up the embankment with the squad. However, he kept an eye on the compound, his mind working in tandem with his expertise as he drew a mental floor plan of the building, keeping in mind the details he'd seen and hadn't seen. If all were to spec, the building was going to be hell for CQC. Narrow hallways, tight corners and multiple angles to cover, not to mention that it had two floors and a balcony overlooking the area.

As the group approached their starting point, Hazan dropped to a knee and flattened the sand in front of him with his talons. He quickly began drawing the mental map he'd made earlier, separating both floors and marking where the doors, windows and staircases were with simple symbols. Once done, he stood and admired his rough work.

"Alright fellas, that's what I got from inspecting the building as we walked by. The balcony's going to be the least safe entry. Too exposed, no cover, but offers a good advantage if we take over the second floor early, if they aren't set up there. The doors on the north and south aren't good either; choke points that lead into bigger rooms that don't offer much protection for us. West door sounds good for a by-the-book breach and clear, although we're APEX. We're not that typical either."

Dex bent down to examine his drawings. “If we send in Kargad with some backup support through here,” She pointed at the balcony. “We could do well to divide their defenses immediately, scatter them - while the rest of us ambush where they run, possibly running with the hostage right into our hands.” Dex considered the idea, “Terribly risky but could end it as fast as it starts.

Serena was thinking about what Dex had said. ‘Specifically prepared for us.’ That meant they would be expecting them to do something like that. Something that was safe and slightly cautious. That played to all of their maximum strengths. She thought back to Kargard’s idea of just attacking straight ahead in a charge. ”That’s not a bad idea…” She said softly, an idea forming in her head.

”I have a plan. Its crazy, but hear me out.” She knelt next to Dex, pointing at the drawing scratched in the sand. ”Firu and Khosin have no doubt been telling their team about our styles as much as we’ve been telling our team. Someone has doubtlessly read all our dossiers and has a rough idea of Kargard and Naryxa’s styles. So they’ll expect us to do what our strengths and usual styles are. Dex and I in the back lines supporting or sneaking around. Haze in mid-range or close if he needs too. Kargard rushing in hard and personal. Naryxa darting around, a mobile damage dealer. They’re going to prepare for that.”

”They’ll keep a sharp eye out for people trying to sneak over the open field around them. Footprints where nothing should be, sounds where nothing is, scanning if they can, etc etc. They’ll expect Kargard to be a diversion for an ambush or us to sneak and get the hostage. So. I suggest we do something they don’t expect at all. We do a frontal assault on the western door.” She tapped that side in the sand. ”All of us.” She gestured to Sarah, the small little drone behind her. ”I’m sending Sarah to go watch them and find out where they’re going to put the hostage. She’ll link to our helmet sets so we can always keep a location on the hostage.” The drone beeped, flying high into the sky and away as it cloaked itself. ”A minute or so before we head out, Del will fly to their roof and get in position to support us when we attack.”

She gestured around the drawn buildings. ”The area we have to go through to get to the buildings is all wide open. They can shoot at us as soon as they see us. Fortunately, they only have small arms and any explosives they have will have to be non-lethal. Nothing with considerable impact. If we stick together, and only go as slow as our slowest member,” She smiled as she looked up at all the people towering over her. “Which is likely me, given how all of you are giants. If we stick together like that I can keep a barrier up from when they start firing on us until we get to the main entrance. Though,” she motioned to Kargard and Naryxa, “it’d be appreciated if either of you can use barrier and reinforce mine when that happens. When they all reveal their firing positions, Del will split into three and start using their small mini-guns to suppress three of them and give us an even easier time. When we get to the entrance, Kargard, Naryxa, and I push hard to get to the hostage through the normal route, drawing their attention to us. The three Del’s will be helping us, making the numbers in our favour. While we’re doing that, Haze and Dex will activate their tactical cloaks as soon as we breach and go for the hostage in a sneaky way. If they have any more than two guards on her, the three of us and the three dels will be able to overwhelm those opposing us and support you two. If not, you should have the element of surprise to get the drop on them and secure the hostage. And Sarah will be able to aid you with her omni-lash.”

She sat back on her heels, looking around. ”To summarize, we do a direct assault against the western door, with me and maybe one of our other biotics keeping a barrier to stop them from gunning us down as we rush the door. Del will drop down and start suppressing them if they start firing on us as we run towards them. Sarah is already keeping an eye on the Hostage, so we should always be linked and have an idea of where she is. Kargard will breach first, and Naryxa and I will assault with him to keep them busy and push hard for the hostage. As soon as we breach, Haze and Dex get their tactical cloaks on and go for the hostage in a sneaky way. How is up to them. The three Dels will be with the assaulting team, giving us six total guns on that side. Any questions?”

”I could always flank them. While you guys draw their fire, I could wheel around to the external staircase while cloaked. Once you guys get their attention, they’ll be focused on what’s happening, hopefully enough to mask a cloaked approach on the balcony. Unless that’s too risky.”

The Asari listened to Serena’s plan. Keeping her thoughts to herself. Reminding herself that this was all an exercise to see how they worked together - and an ice breaker. She would treat it as such. This was all educational - and the most educational of all was seeing how her group pitched their ideas, spoke of themselves, and where they placed themselves in the battle - and how important their own role was in the success and outcome. All of this discussion gave her an excellent insight into the inner workings of her team mates. The picture was becoming clear but she was withholding her judgement for the mean time…

“That’s a very interesting idea, Serena, but what if this is precisely what they’re expecting? What then?” she spoke in a deliberately challenging tone - awaiting response - she wanted to see if Serena could think on the fly.

”That’d work really well Haze. Just keep an eye out for trapped doors and hallways. They have a demolition expert and a guerilla expert afterall. I’d be surprised if they didn’t trap it all to kingdom come.”

Serena blinked in surprise at Naryxa’s tone. She had expected questions and counters to her plan, not someone to challenge her like she was the leader. Maybe Naryxa wanted to be the one seen as in charge giving the plans? Whatever the case, she had put the idea out. She would defend it too. “Even if they do expect it, it's still arguably the best option.

”The only way they could really counter it is if they all pull back around the hostage and hole up in one room, and/or try to counter flank us. If they do the former, it’ll be a matter of how fast can we get in there and break apart their defenses, that’s where Kargard can Krogan it up again with us focusing our barriers on him, and getting all our guns in there to purely outshoot them. With Dex and Haze being able to flank if they do it a room with windows. If they do the latter, well, we’ll have to either quickly get engaged with the main group and rush for the hostage while the odds are in our favour, or we wait until we see the counter-flankers and then just take them down ourselves.”

She tapped on the drawing of the buildings. ”If they don’t do those things, we take away their advantages. They won’t be able to predict where our two tactical cloakers will be coming from or going to, or have the luxury of looking for physical signs of a tact cloak and doing a thorough scan. They won’t have the advantage of numbers, especially if they want to protect the hostage. They’ll have to split up. We limit how long they can take potshots at us as we cross the open field to the building. We force them to open up weaknesses that Dex and Haze or us three can exploit.” Serena shrugged. ”That’s the best plan I’ve got at least. If someone has other ideas, I’m more than willing to hear them.”

Now that sounds all fine and thought out except for in the very likely case those drones are disabled.” She held up a talon, then held up two, “Fried or sabotaged. This plan relies way too heavily on your DEL units not being removed. I say we go ahead with the barrier but strictly keep the drones as a surprise and last resort. If anyone of us is shot, we can get back up to move or shoot back but once those drones are hit they’re a liability.” Dex hummed. “Alternatively, they’d make for some good bait.

“Had me at ‘Krogan it up.’”

”They already are bait. Put yourself in the opposite end of that situation. You have six guns shooting at you. Which is gonna be your first target? The armored, shielded,mobile, and ability using three organics or the unshielded and mobile small drones that can fire rapidly and can be taken down with one shot from your rifle? They’ll focus on the easier targets in an attempt to be able to bring their numbers to bear. Giving us more chances to focus them down. Besides, in general the three of us are supposed to be bait, and if they aren’t expecting Del after seeing me load him with ammon in front of them, we should be very concerned about APEX standards.”

Kargad felt a throbbing in his temples, and massaged the craggy canvas of his forehead as he listened to them bicker on. He was reminded of his infant daughters, shaking him awake - which one of our identical dolls is better, dad?

He had to admit, though, it was tough to choose who he wanted to invest his trust in. He admired Serena because she was human - and humans were much like krogans. Dreamers, scrappers, killers. They wanted war, and blood, and glory. If they weren’t so squishy, they’d be perfect warriors. But, being the hulking beast he was, he couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by her faith in her tiny machines - Dex had made a very prudent point. Machines were fickle and prone to breaks, even guns jammed at times. The only thing you could trust in a fight was a clenched fist or something heavy and blunt.

Dex’s plan seemed funner, and Kargad, relatively free of the traditional Krogan biases (he thought of every race as his people, even Salarians, the smug half-lived bastards), had to respect that nobody knew how to plan a good firefight like a Turian. But then, was the plan too obvious? Does that matter, if you have a good team?

”Does them expecting us really make this that much harder?”, he asked, earnestly. He was no soldier, yet, after all - just a father with wanderlust.
“I feel like we’d be puttin’ on a better show if we rolled with the punches. I’ve got fire in my belly, and shit, I know some of you kids’re damned good shots. Why would the original plan fall through just ‘cause they see us comin’? If we hit them hard and well enough, does that matter?”

Dex nodded glancing down at her omnitool, “It looks like we’ve run out of time anyway. Point made, we’ll stick together in a barrier on approach. Then Haze and I will sneak away to ambush the hostage guards, while having the DEL drones as backup. Do what we can to hit them hard, keep them unbalanced, divide them up if we can.

She placed her helmet on tapping the side of it, her voice coming through on their ear pieces. “Keep in contact on our private comms or else I’ll be more than happy to spill the beans on your most embarrassing intranet search engine histories.” She paused then added, “I’m partially joking.

With that said, as a group they all did a final prep on their equipment and set out toward the killhouse.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Fallenreaper
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~|Ryria T’Vessi|~


When plans were finalized, Ryria made her up to the roof. Her legs snapped out with purpose and determination to climb each step fluidly. Her hand reached for her rifle, pulling it free and checking its specs. Her hands flew to make minor adjustments until it felt comfortable in her hand. Upon reaching the roof, her eyes took in the setting she had to work with. It held little cover save for the sightly risen walls where she could crouch then carefully take aim at her targets.

She set herself up comfortable on a point where the walls merged, her barrel pointed in to the directions most likely the team would come from. However on a moment’s notice she could easily shift to any of the other four walls should things change. It risked her safety, but it would take a keen sharp-shooter to manage it.

Patiently, the asari laid upon her stomach before staring into the distance for the first signs of movement.

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Hazan rechecked his weapons for the last time. He’d calibrated his Avenger’s sights to work off of his visor, automatically marking “enemy” signatures once he first laid eyes on them. With a tap, he synchronised his visor with the feeds from his team’s omnitools and Serena’s drones, one of which was high above the structure, cloaked and moving to get a bird’s eye view of the site. Immediately he saw one of the asari, Ryria, perched up above, watching the dunes where they’d first hid behind for the planning phase. He tapped his omnitool and marked Ryria’s presence on the roof with a red triangle, using Del’s viewpoint to make sure her position was accurate.

”Slight hitch guys: Ryria’s up on the roof staring at the dune we’re hiding behind. She’ll see us the second we walk out. Someone’s gotta suppress her so we can move up without her seeing where we are.”
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”That’s enough time, don’t you think?” Sabinus said to Tazen, pulling up his omnitool, composing a quick message for the assault team’s eyes only. It simply read,

PROCEED

The turian closed the omnitool, moving to reposition himself so there was a better vantage point of the objective without giving away the attacking team’s advancement with the turn of a head. Instead, as he had mastered as a cadet in training years ago, he learned to look around during parades with only the most minute shifts in his eye, nothing one would notice at a distance. It was time to see how his team handled themselves after being on ice for six centuries, and at the very least, it should prove to be interesting.

Anjor and Cliff had got to work right away planting what Sabinus assumed were explosive devices, creating at the very least a zone of deniability that had to be cleared cautiously. It would force the enemy to divert to other approaches and give the defenders a window to react to the attacking force, or even score a few lucky kills if they managed to catch them out of cover. It was a very rudimentary, but effective, tactic in most defensive strategies. Mines were often placed in areas to create chokepoints or to shore up weaker defensive positions. Given that they were trapped in a small building with no fire support or heavy defensive weaponry, the entire perimeter could be considered a weak point that relied on the vigilance and talent of each individual rather than force multipliers. It was pleasing for Sabinus to note that some doctrines seemed innate to training, no matter what species did the said training.

A shot rang out in the relative quiet, and from concealment on the ridge must have been Hazan with the assault rifle, which managed to break through Anjor’s shields and impact his arm, the shot wasn’t fully debilitating as it would be if the shields had already been depleted, but it forced the Angara into cover while Cliff laid down a field of suppressive fire towards Hazan’s location; even with the range advantage, an assault rifle could still largely keep an accurate cone of fire at long distances, forcing Hazan to take cover lest he get an unlucky shot to the face or the weapon. The problem with fighting in a desert was there weren’t a lot of effective bits of cover, and although Eos had a number of rocky outcroppings and hoodoos, it wouldn’t be hard for anyone with experience to know where the logical shooting positions would be. Cliff, having secured Anjor’s retreat, himself fell back into cover, making his way into the building. Sabinus’ mandibles clicked out of curiosity; what was the strategy? Ideally, you’d want to keep the enemy from breaching your last line of defense and delay them in open cover for as long as possible, but he was hesitant to write it off as a mistake or error in judgement. The turian could read their dossiers until his face markings melted off but still not have an appreciation for their individual talents until he had a chance to observe them in action.

And so, the attacking team advanced. Hazan began firing at the disturbed ground, disabling the explosive charges methodically to clear an access point for his team to approach, and approach they did. Knowing his position was compromised, the turian got up to reposition, heading down the rise to regroup with the team when another heavy shot rang out, striking Hazan in the lower abdomen, causing him to stumble and slide down the hill, whether from the pain of the impact or to get into cover further down was unclear, but a trio of drones quickly converged on Ryria’s position, and over the gunfire Sabinus could hear her shouting out intel to her team while taking cover from the drones, using a biotic backlash barrier to protect herself, although Serena’s drones had made it impossible to cover all of her angles and the asari was taking hits from behind, although fortunately no one from the ground could get a shot at her. Releasing the backlash, and deflecting the shots back at one of the drones, Ryria managed to disable the first of the drones and her sidearm managed to take down another before Serena called her drone off, keeping it moving higher above and harder to hit. This effectively kept the asari from being able to shoot down into the attacking team below, and freed up their advance.

Kargad bellowed out a half warcry, half laugh as he charged through the somewhat cleared out minefield, explosions detonating beside and behind him as his mass and biotic barriers absorbed the bulk of the charges. Had they been full strength devices and not dialed back for the exercise, it might not have worked, but the krogan managed to barrel through with typical recklessness that was undeniably effective at laying waste to the most carefully laid defenses, and it was all Anjor could to to keep firing at Kargad to try and take down the charging krogan.

Concussive rounds hit Kargad, staggering his charge somewhat. Suddenly, a blur of purple-blue energy cracked out of the door frame like a railgun; Firu had hit the krogan with a biotic charge and had brought him into melee range. Given his formidable resistance and reaction time, he had managed to bring his hammer up to block most of the impact, but now the two heavy hitters were locked in a biotic melee struggle, the impacts making even Sabinus flinch in their intensity, shotgun blasts and punches being met with hammer blows and headbutts. Kargad managed to grab Firu by the chest armour, driving her hard into the ground, knocking the wind out of her, but she still managed to grab her shotgun by the barrel and drive the grip into the krogan’s jaw, forcing him to stumble back, dazed, before finally collapsing backwards, having absorbed a tank’s worth of abuse before succumbing to the accumulated abuse. A triumphant Firu tried to get back to her feet when a biotic envelope surrounded her, yanking her off her feet towards Naryxa, who used her rifle to put a tidy burst center mass into Firu, disabling her as well.

The two heavies had been so eager to test their mettle against each other they weren’t working effectively with their team; it would be something that would need to be ironed out. It could be argued that Firu sacrificed herself to stop the krogan, which would have been hellish to deal with had he gotten inside, and Kargad put himself at risk to clear a path for the others to advance, something that only really had a place in war vids; while a hostage had their life on the line, so to speak, speed was of the essence. It would be essential to keep his impulses in check and to not overestimate his capabilities; a krogan in the right circumstances was unstoppable, but not when the battle heavily favoured the enemy’s position.

Sabinus was pulled out of the exercise when his omnitool pulled up a call from Kandros; it was flashing red, so it definitely wasn’t a social call.

“Tannyx, we have a situation.” The APEX commander said immediately, cutting right to the point when he saw his subordinate's face appear. “We have an issue on Eos that requires immediate response at Site 1. A research team has been sent on site to see if any equipment could be salvaged and what data might still be recovered and have come under attack from a Kett patrol. The security detachment is overwhelmed and there are casualties. I need your team to head there immediately; I know you haven’t officially cleared the team for operations, but you’re closest and the Kett don’t wait for paperwork.”

“Understood. Get a shuttle ready, we’re on our way. Echo One out.” Tannyx said, cutting the comms. He send an alarm to each of the omnitools for the team to cut the exercise short. Running down to the site, he managed to get the exercise stopped. “I hate to cut training short before our 5 click march, but we have a situation at Site 1, Promise. I need you all to gear up for combat operations; a bunch of researchers who don’t know how to hold a gun need to be shown why APEX is what’s going to keep the Kett from preventing Eos from being home. Gather your kit, we’re having a shuttle sent our way. Move out, Echo!”

~~~

Fireteam Echo gathered quickly, its members trading their training loadout for their original firearms and in a few minutes everyone was inside the shuttle making its way towards Site 1. Inside of the shuttle Tazen stood next to Sabinius, the Salarian rapidly checking the information that had been sent both to him and his Turian colleague. “Alright Echo, as Lieutenant Tannyx mentioned briefly, there is a situation in Site 1 involving some researchers that is top priority.” Spoke the Salarian while tapping his omnitool, a holographic map of Site 1 appearing on the Salarian’s omnitool and on each of the omnitool’s carried by each member of Echo. “In light of the success on Eos, and the establishment of Prodromos.” Continued Tazen “The leadership of the Initiative thought it’d be wise to salvage as much equipment and data as possible from both Site 1 and 2, unfortunately the research team that had been sent to do this task was caught by a Kett patrol while they were combing Site 1.”

“The appearance of the Kett caught the team by surprise and before they could retreat to their shuttle and escape a few members of the team were killed.” He said “Current state of the team is unknown, the last information that we have on them is that they were locking themselves in one of the buildings on Site 1, the primary objective is to locate the scientists and extract them from the area.” Spoke the Salarian “To do this we’ll set down the shuttle near the outskirts of Site 1.” Said Tazen, pointing at the area he had in mind on the holographic map before he continued, “Once we do that Noratus, Volintis and myself will split off from the main group and try and locate the scientists. Our tactical cloaks should give us the advantage and let us slip by the Kett, allowing us to locate the scientists more easily and, if everything goes well, to extract them without risk.”

“To minimize any potential risks, T’vessi and Mathews will also come with us to act as support while the rest of you will engage with the Kett forces present on Site 1. That way, with their attention turned away from the trapped scientists, we’ll be able to safely extract the salvage team.” Said Tazen “If the plan goes off without a hitch your omnitools will flash once with an alarm, should we be compromised in our efforts to rescue the researchers the alarm on your omnitools will flash twice to signal that we’ve been encountered by the Kett.”

”Rest of you are with me. We are going to get as close as we can while the infiltration team does its job without being spotted and to hit the Kett hard when the package is secure. I don’t think any of you are under an illusion that the Kett can be reasoned with or will show compassion or mercy; they’re monsters that need to be stamped out hard and ladies and gentlemen, we are the Nexus’ giant boot of retribution. Ready up, people; it’s time to show Anjor how we’re going to help the Angara free the Helius Cluster from the invaders. Spirits guide your aim and steady your resolve. Remember to keep your spacing.” Sabinus added.

The shuttle came in fast and low, keeping low to the ground so they wouldn’t be spotted coming. The Kodiak set down somewhat South of Resilience, or Site 2. It wouldn’t be a far route to Site 1. Sabinus’ boots hit dirt first, his L-89 Halberd expanding into shooting configuration as he began to lead the way for his team, his thumb putting the fire-selector onto burst fire as he moved, keeping minimal profile as the team fell in, keeping 3 meters between each trooper as they approached Site 1, the posts of the energy shield acting as landmarks in the not so far distance.

Arriving on site, Sabinus’ team took up positions near the driving path on the Northeast Corner where they had the best sightlines and some respectable cover to see into the camp; hovering above were two dropships. From the intelligence briefings each of the team would have received about the Kett, they could make out about 20 troopers with assault rifles and shotguns, 5 heavy Anointed with heavy repeater cannons that were bigger than any of the team’s armaments, and 6 Wraiths, the massie varren-like beasts that had a baffling ability to mimic a tactical cloak… that they could see. More alarming was the singular Fiend that was stomping around a building impatiently, its bulk easily that of three krogan. While a few were guarding the perimeter, most of the forces seemed more concerned about the survivors locked up in one of the structures, and a pair of Wraiths were fighting over the remains of one of the victims, tearing at a turian body with shark-like teeth.

”Alright, team, here’s the play. The Fiend and Anointed are public enemy number one; they’re heavily armoured so hit them with explosives, warp, AP rounds, fire… anything that’ll help break up their defenses so small arm fire can penetrate their defenses. The Wraiths will cloak and try to flank us, so watch the dust if you lose sight of them; something that heavy’s not going to hide the dirt kicking up behind them. The soldiers are nothing special, put them down in order of threat. Hold your fire until we get word from Team 2 or you hear gunshots, clear? Call your targets. Sabinus asked over comms.

~~~

Tazen looked as Sabinius and the rest of Fireteam Echo began making their way towards Promise to engage the Kett forces currently present in the failed outpost. Turning to look at the other four members of his team Tazen spoke “Alright, we’ll give Sabinius’ team a few more seconds before we go in, we’ll circle around the posts of the energy shield to avoid any potential confrontations with the Kett.” He finished before turning to look at Ryria and Serena “T’vessi, Mathews, you’ll stay further behind since you two don’t have tactical cloaks like the rest of us, your job will be to provide support for me, Volintis, and Noratus. Where the Kett to locate you remember to give the signal to the rest of the team.” He added “Alright, let us find this scientists and bring them back home safely.” Finished speaking the Salarian before beginning to make his way towards Site 1, giving the rest of his team a brief nod and activating his tactical cloak once they were close enough to the failed outpost.


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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Stormflyx
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All Naryxa needed to hear was that there were researchers under heavy fire and needed assistance. She wasn't going to let them down. The Asari had spent decades of her life working with scientists and researchers - heck, if any of those in trouble were human then she could bet that she had more experience in the labs than them. She always felt at home in a lab. This attack felt personal to her, but still she tried to let that anger roll off her back like water. Pretty hard to do considering the foul mood the exercise had put her in.

She was a calm person under pressure and in intense situations. She practiced mindfulness, patience, and meditation. She was cool, calm, and collected - but to see those who were to be her teammates doing exactly what she thought they would - it was both validation that she was right, and something that angered her. She had taught even the most reckless Asari to behave better, not to mention that they were younger too, than both Kargard and Firuzeh.

People don't take things seriously until they've gotten themselves caught in the crosshairs of the enemy... And by then it's too late... she thought to herself, turning away from the party on the ride out to base. She could only hope that the Turian and Salarian were more tolerable. This kind of shit was exactly how she had lost one of her huntresses. It all felt so long ago now. Like a dream that starts to fade upon waking.

What am I doing here?

She tried to breathe, to calm the inner turmoil - the heat that was flushing to her cheeks - giving her a headache. She really didn't know why she was here. She did, but that reasoning was lost in the sudden fear, anger, and sadness - the confusion that follows cryosleep. Confusion, yes. They already knew each other and had spent time together and worked together and knew what made each other tick. She wondered if they knew anything about her. Probably only surface things, a handful of her achievements that she had chosen to share on her application. They didn't know what made her tick. They were too busy sizing each other up to find out something fucking real about each other.

Insecurity. Of course.

Naryxa closed her eyes and took long breaths.

She knew they were getting closer to the scene, she just felt it - like a chill across her skin, a feeling of foreboding washing over her. Any anger and confusion that she was feeling mere seconds ago rinsed and was replaced with the early signs of adrenalin. It was time to focus. If she couldn't communicate it in words to the team - she was damn well going to show them what a seasoned Asari Huntress could do on the field. Maybe they would learn a thing or two about their hubris, and learn to act with a level of finesse and respect.

As her feet touched the sand - she was switched on. Assessing the surroundings, listening intently to Sabinus, continuing with her breathing exercise, the Phalanx sitting comfortably in her right hand, the fingers of her left wiggling as she prepared in her mind the rotation of biotics she was about to unleash. She made a plan to watch for the wraiths and take them out with her pistol - she knew she would be able to sense their movements with less difficulty than her party. She'd be damned if she didn't get to blast a few of those soldiers with her biotics too. She was all about paving a way for her teammates to push forward with - those with the heavy weapons would need extra cover while they took care of the big bad threats.

"I can spot the wraiths moving, and I'll keep those of you who are calling on the armoured heavies under barrier until we can push forward enough to start laying down the law" her determined voice sounded out over the comms to her team. She could only hope they would take the chain of command a lot more seriously than they had in the exercise. And by that, she pictured only the Krogan and the Human in her mind. If she had been in range of the Krogan's sights he might have seen her side eye of judgement.

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