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With the Blue Suns in full retreat, Gideon left its cover, still not exactly sure how to approach this situation. It holstered its weapons and stayed slightly away from the others, still in sight and earshot. How would they react? It had modified its chassis to appear less threatening shortly after breaking away from the Eclipse, and it was helpful during the fight, but how would they treat it now that there wasn’t a common enemy to prioritize over it?

Gideon figured it would let the thing sit for a few seconds, and while it was still listening to the conversation, it took a walk around the hangar, salvaging thermal clips, medigel, grenades and anything else the mercenaries had that could be of use to it. As it did, it took one last good look at the individuals making up this odd group, sizing them up. It should be able to escape if things went bad, though the biotic turian with a grenade launcher caused considerable amount of concern.

One of the humans correctly noted the group, even the krogan, seemed to be intact. In fact, it appeared it was the only non-Blue Suns combatant that suffered damage. If it had emotions, it may have even been embarrassed. With the search routine on Saris Fen complete and no more noteworthy gear to scavange, Gideon decided to approach the group that was now joined by the volus and try to act friendly. The consensus was the Geth wished they’d spent more time observing organics to learn how to properly integrate into such groups instead of hunting the more morally bankrupt ones down. “We have only suffered minor damage. This platform is currently operating at 98.97 percent capacity. Low repair priority.” it stated in response to Flame and turned its head to Ashton, giving him a jerky thumb up. One of the few mannerisms it observed from organics over its short life. “Impressive work, for a human of your apparent age.” Then it finally turned to Saris. “The human raises a good question. Empirical evidence shows 87 percent hired mercenary work on Omega concerns murder, slavery, smuggling, shakedown and acquisition or distribution of narcotics or illicit goods. 96 percent of the stated pool includes a combination of two or more of the stated infractions”
That's what you get for buying cheap Lenovos I guess. On the other hand, we've learned HPs are seniorproof.
Before I switched to Linux, I was at the point where I had to actually reinstall Windows every one or two years. It was infuriating.

Granddad had the same problem a few years ago. Turns out Win wasn't at fault, the hard drive was busted from the factory. Somehow that man managed to go through three laptops before we got one that would endure.
The only times she interacted with Anderson outside of a greeting in a corridor or the mess hall was when she couldn’t find something in the cargo bay. Her approach of knowing as little as possible about the crew seemed to be mostly working, for now at least. Isolation wasn’t her first choice, but losing ten people she cared about in two minutes once was enough for one lifetime. It was for that reason she didn’t feel as struck by the loss as the others, but hearing about his daughter, and his deal with the Admiral to top it off, was hard to swallow. ”Don’t look at me.” she shook her head, pointing at Dev, ”Credit for the bomb goes to the madman. He works fast. Almost scary fast, given his profession.” Yes, she may have been a massive bitch, but taking credit for someone else’s work was garbage behavior at its lowest.

She accepted the meal with an honest thank you and joined the group at the card table. ”Deal me in. Math is the language of an engineer. Body language, not so much, you have me beat there.” Unless Dev was right about poker and luck, then this would not go well for her. She left most of the alcohol to others. There were still a few electrical systems that needed fixing and doing that after more than a few shots was a surefire way of getting your hands burned.
The second round of introductions allowed Gideon to assign proper names to the biometric profiles and Omni-tool contacts of the individual freelancers it did not know yet. “The monthly cost of cigarettes alone can exceed twenty percent of minimum Systems Alliance wage on Omega, not counting eventual lung and trachea surgery and the obvious danger presented by local medical care.” it warned Elijah.

Noting two of the female mercenaries claiming they had something that would take care of the Blue Suns air support, it turned its sights to the drones accompanying the gunships. Having gotten too close to use a high magnification scope effectively, Gideon rotated the rifle 45 degrees left and started picking the drones out of the sky using the edge of the scope casing as improvised backup sights. It continued firing until a gunship sprayed its position with a generous amount of autocannon fire. One round grazed the side of its chassis, sending sparks flying and the platform onto the ground. It rolled back to its feet and pulled itself into cover behind a support pillar, seemingly unperturbed by the gash in its armor plating. Once it verified all internal systems and its shields recharged with the help of an energy drain used on one of the drones, it took to taking potshots at the closest gunship, more to draw the pilot’s attention to itself rather than damage it.

When one of the gunships started dropping infantry, Gideon prepared to launch its grenades. A few calculations of time and trajectory later, it launched the payload, landing it straight in the troop bay of the gunship, annihilating most of the troops and giving the pilot something to think about before changing position under cloak to escape retaliatory fire.
“We appreciate the compliment, Creator Mercenary.” the Geth addressed the Alya’s comment. The name White Glint sent the electrons running. The Eclipse was known for fighting smart and keeping tabs on everyone and everything they came into contact with, and they’ve been kind enough to load its drives with information on potential threats it could encounter while doing their wetwork. And based on this information, the Geth had a hard time reaching consensus whether White Glint should be observed carefully or shot as soon as the platform had a clear line at her.

But seeing an opportunity to score some good karma with the group, it racked its memory for everything it knew about this White Glint and sent it to everyone it was in contact with, excluding White Glint herself of course! ”Identification: White Glint. Name: Unknown. Age: Unknown, estimated mid-twenties. Background: unknown. Suspected ties to Cerberus - confirmed severed as of 2192. Confirmation follows: “>I'm White Glint, the ex-Cerberus master sniper.” Eclipse summary: White Glint is to be eliminated on sight. Dangerous at both long and short range. Engage at medium range. Helmet contains advanced sensors and targeting aids. Full capabilities of armor unknown. Recover armor for in-depth examination if possible. Elimination is a priority over equipment recovery. Additional data available. Log playback, date 21-09-2191: ”>Who’s this White Glint, anyway? >Another Archangel wannabe arsebastard dressin’ up as her childhood hero. Kids these days… Can’t they just sell red sand or somethin’? >Rumor has it she was behind Novikov’s death. >That fat fuck? Any idiot with a targetin’ VI can shoot a target the size of a small moon at 1800 meters. If she was a proper threat, we’d be sendin’ this here bucket after her. ‘Sides, she’s on Omega. The fuck do I care if some fat Russian weasel halfway across Terminus from here dies? Salvaged military tech suppliers are ten a credit these days.” Log ends.”

Upon hearing Lokea’s suggestion, the Geth tasked a dozen of its programs to search the extranet for references to the name, coming to the same conclusion as Lokea. “We acknowledge this as an appropriate metaphor. You may call us ‘Gideon’.” At the same time, anyone in contact with it would see the contact ID change from ‘Platform BT-7274’ to ‘Gideon’. It used the brief pause in Blue Suns attacks to relocate, intentionally walking over to its new position at a casual pace to see how the group would react to it outside of combat. Having reverted the platform’s external lights to the friendlier blue color, it took Lokea up on her offer and set up just outside the offices, giving the kids a casual wave as it entered. “Greetings, Lokea Zhu. Weapons and platform systems are functioning properly. Thermal clip capacity is within acceptable tolerances.”

It paid no mind to the hole in the wall, the merc on the ground or the one responsible for it all. Violence didn’t faze a synthetic, and it itself entered combat in a similar manner earlier. It did, however, note the name ‘Saris Fen’ and executed another extranet search subroutine, but didn’t say anything. The mention of the name be several people gave it some information, as now it knew for certain these people were not here by accident. It loaded a fresh thermal clip into its Black Widow and braced the rifle against an overturned office desk. “Standing by to provide support fire. Recommend spreading out to complicate hostile air support targeting.” The last thing it needed now was to have several people get killed by one missile or autocannon burst.
The only fire the platform was taking was coming from the Blue Suns, that was a good sign. The unknowns seemed to take its presence quite well, and even the quarian just glanced in its direction without a word. The only words of doubt came from the asari. Green asari? Now there was something the Geth had no data available about. “We will assist you against the Blue Suns.” the Geth briefly turned to Lokea before shifting their attention back to the Blue Suns. They didn’t directly say they were friendly, they still didn’t know what these people were doing here. For all they knew, they could end up hunting the group down when this situation was resolved. But until they knew more, these people were under attack by Blue Suns, and there was no doubt about them.

“Affirmative, and much appreciated.” the Geth replied to Ashton. Once Ashton’s payload made its way into the compromised mechs, the second half of the plan could begin. “Withdrawing programs. Next targets: FENRIS, chassis number FS-1041. LOKI, chassis number MOB-1316.” Since it didn’t need to seize full control over the mechs, less programs sufficed. Not only did the hacking dumb it down less, but for a shorter period of time. It would continue calling out targets to Ashton, allowing him to turn the two squadworths of mechs the Blue Suns brought in against their original masters two at a time.

“Suggestion: existing access to Blue Suns network can be further exploited to disrupt enemy communications or disorganise their attacks with false or contradictory instructions as opposed to simple communications interception.” the Geth offered, unwilling to act without consensus for fear of disrupting some plan the group agreed on prior to establishing communications with them. “Breaking enemy morale may also be possible.”
Finally, the sounds of orders, footsteps and weapons fire started to echo around the crate. Contacts approaching. Identification: Blue Suns. Status: Hostile. Consensus: scans inconclusive. Additional data required for direct targeting. Alert! Entering active combat zone. “Engaging hostiles.” the platform messaged all local Omni-tools that had its address as its shields kicked in and it rose to its full height, revealing itself to both the Blue Suns and the mercenary party.

The box came apart like a house of cards and the Unit found itself staring down a Blue Suns merc taking cover behind an adjacent crate. All external lights on the platform turned from blue to red and the flaps around its face flared up, mimicking an aggressive expression. The Unit grabbed the mercenary by the throat, raised him in the air and smashed him into the ground, transitioning into a crouch as it did to shield it from any incoming fire. Where there was one Blue Suns mercenary, a whole squad was never far behind. The impact shattered the merc’s skull, leaving the Unit in a somewhat protected position and free to properly digest the situation. It would appear the mercenary it just killed was hiding from a krogan rampaging through their ranks. The Blue Suns were engaging the individuals it saw earlier, even the two children. There still wasn’t any indication of who they were, what they were doing there, who they were working for or if they were a group or an assortment of individuals. Since this was Omega, it was safe to assume they were criminals as well, but that could be resolved later. Tactical disadvantage: enemy numerical superiority. Consensus: seek an advantageous position, aid the unidentified forces. Alert! Automated defenses detected, IFF setting unknown.

Unsure whether it was safe from the turrets, or the krogan for that matter, the platform disappeared from the visible spectrum, leaving a slight shimmer behind and hustled to find a better position, drawing its Black Widow as it moved. It crouched behind a support beam near one of the walls, with a good view of the area, though flanked by several of the unknown operatives. With the last second of its cloak, the Unit fired, removing another Blue Suns combatant from the equation. Thanks to its synthetic body, the platform was completely motionless with the exception of changing targets and absorbing recoil, allowing it to acquire targets and fire much faster than most organic soldiers. It kept firing with machine precision, prioritising Blue Suns units trying to break through around the sides of the cargo bay, leaving the main body of the assault force as well as any heavy units to others.

Its cooperation with the organics was already paying off, as messages from the Blue Suns, their authenticity confirmed by examining the metadata of the original messages, started to flood into its Omni-tool. The Geth had the advantage of not needing to actually read or listen to the messages and being able to process several messages at once, granting it lightning fast response time.

To make its job even easier, it focused its electronic warfare equipment on two of the LOKI mechs the Blue Suns brought with them. The mechs froze on the spot, looking almost confused, before turning 90 degrees and opening fire on their masters. The Unit dedicated two hundred of its runtimes to actively control each mech, using them as attack dogs to flush the Suns out of cover, right into either its, the group’s or the turrets’ sights. It didn’t bother making sure the mechs remained active for too long, as controlling the two meant the Unit was down to two thirds of its normal capacity. If they were destroyed, so be it.
The Geth were actually confused for a short while. The children were combatants? “We have intercepted several of your outgoing packets, determined their recipient and then sent you a message under the recipient's address.” There was a pause before the Geth replied to the Human child’s second question. ”We will oppose the Blue Suns to the best of our abilities. We are currently in a concealed position. We will remain hidden and ambush the attackers upon their arrival for maximum effect.”

Unfortunately, there was already a schism among the organics, and the fighting hasn’t even started yet. The Batarian wasn’t doing much to disprove the Batarian stereotypes. Unfortunately, the security feed was mute, so it didn’t know what the issue was or even what the individual organics called themselves. The unit enabled additional countermeasures to secure its omni-tool and sent its proper contact to the human so they wouldn’t have to communicate by means of masked transmissions. It was unbearably slow given the security features of the human’s computer and only allowed communication between the Geth and the Human, leaving the other organics out of it, maybe even oblivious to its presence. “You may contact us properly through this channel. For reasons we do not wish to get into, we request maintaining text-based communication until hostilities commence. We recommend this contact be passed to the others as well.” No need for them to know they were talking to Geth. Their reactions were an unknown variable, especially from the recently arrived Quarian. It possessed knowledge of Admiral Xen, and there was no way of knowing if this Quarian was different or not. It’s omni-tool was recovered from a deceased N7 Sentinel, so it shouldn’t give the unit away.

The unit began combat checks, giving its shields, sensors, targeting systems, omni-tool and ammunition stores a once over. All was in order, now it was just a question of when the Blue Suns will arrive, where from and how long will the organics last before falling apart?
Hundreds, how did you survive that? I have over 500 on the Dark Souls series compared to 150 hours on XCOM 2. Never raged so much at DS as in XCOM.
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