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Mass Effect/AEC Chapter 3 (c.2): Kursk


Tweet of the Day: When did we stop believing in Martians? Why did we stop?

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Alliance HQ, Vancouver, British Columbia, North American Union, Earth, Sol System, Local Group, October 1, 2196

“No word yet,” said Miranda through the vid link.

“Nope. I’m still sitting here… waiting,” I said.

“My offer stands, Theo.”

“I appreciate it. And who knows, I may take you up on it. Truth be told I wish you were here with me.”

“Need me to hold your hand?” she said with that devilish Lawson grin.

“Nah, I just got used to having my girlfriend around.”

“Girlfriend? I could get use to the sound of that.”

“You could?”

“Sure.”

“The last month ranks as one the top two vacations I have ever had?”

“Top two?”

“Sure, right there with my first trip to Disney World.”

“You are comparing our time together with a trip to an amusement park?” she said. By the tone of her voice I had better drop the shovel before I dug myself any deeper.

Too bad I was born a rebel, “Sure! I mean, one hand you have my first visit, as a seven year old to the happiest place on Earth,” her scowl looked like it would break the datapad screen, “and in the other I have the experience of  spending an entire month with the most stunning woman in the galaxy. I’m not saying they are exactly the same, but each is  memorable, in their own way… you know, good times.”

“You arse!”she said with a laugh.

A young officer came up to me, “Lieutenant Commander, the committee is ready for you.”

“Thank you lieutenant. Well that’s my cue Miri.”

“Good luck,” she said and her face faded from the screen. I tucked the datapad under my arm.

“Right this way, sir.”

The committee waited behind a large desk raised on a dais. The committee chairwoman, Admiral DeVynter, sat in the middle chair. She looked straight down at me.

“It is the finding of the committee that Lieutenant Commander Theodore Thompson-Ramos fulfilled his mission parameters to his best of his abilities and of those under his command. We find no fault in his action in or outside Citadel space nor did he exceed the lawful orders given to him. In view of two decades of faithful service to the Systems Alliance we here by restore Theodore Thompson-Ramos to the rank of Commander, Alliance Navy, with the designation of N7, with all the rights, privileges and,” her eyebrow peaked,”responsibilities that come with the rank.  Commander, do you accept the findings of this committee?”

I stood there, stunned. This was nowhere near what I expected. Yet there it was.

“Yes, ma’am, I accept the findings of the committee,” I said.

She slammed a gavel down, “Then this meeting is adjourn.”

The same lieutenant handed me a datapad, “Your new posting, sir.”

I looked at it and said, “You got to be kidding me?”

“No, sir. The shuttle is waiting on the roof pad. Good luck, sir,” said the lieutenant.

“And my bags?” I asked.

“They are already on their way up, Commander,” said the lieutenant.

The Alliance wanted me on my way, ASAP, which let me to believe this was nothing more than a swift kick upstairs. My bags were by the door of the shuttle.

The pilot gave me a crisp salute, “Ready when you are, sir.”

I nodded, “Let’s go.”

On the way I re-read several messages from the old command group at T-R Security. Pasha returned to Rannoch to visit family and be part of the upcoming celebration of the end of the Reaper Invasion. Rodan got a change to talk to his ex after the battle of Imir. I read between the lines, and it seemed to me that they were patching things up. And Galeena took a position with the Batarian Assembly as a “Strategic Adviser.”

The pilot voice came over the intercom, “We about to dock, sir.” A small holo window appeared on the door.  The pilot maneuvered close to ship, the SSV Kursk, a brand new SR-3 class frigate. Her curved hull looked like it could out fly any ship, anywhere, at any time. Sunlight glinted off classic Alliance white and blue paint job.  And it was my job to get her through shakedown and hand her over to her first of many captains. The pilot guided the understated finesse into the cargo hold.  It took a minute for the life support system to refill the area with breathable atmosphere. The ship’s company, led by Navigator Randall Johnson,stood in attention while I debarked.

The ship’s VI chimed the moment my shoe touch the deck, “The commanding officer is aboard. Navigator Johnson is relieved.”

“Permission to come aboard, Navigator Johnson,” I said

“Permission granted, sir,” said the ships navigator with a sharp salute. He sported a blonde paintbrush mustache that would not out of place in a mid-twentieth century war movie and  matched the golden hairline under under uniform cap.

I returned it, “At ease. Status?”

“We have our orders and we are ready to depart on your command, sir,” he handed me a datapad. It had the ships destination.

“Let’s go to the CIC,” I said.

Johnson pointed at the elevator door, “Right this way, sir.” Crew members saluted as we walked into the CIC. A large galactic map floated in the center of the room. “You can select the destination here, sir.”

“I prefer to command from the front,” I said.

He nodded and led the way to the bridge. There a young flight lieutenant stood in attention. She was a head shorter than I and wore her dark hair in a ponytail that poked out of the back of her cap.

She smiled an impish grin, “Helmsman Andrea Auld, reporting for duty, sir.” Johnson growled something that resembled the word ace under his mustache. Her smile grew wider.

“At ease, flight lieutenant,” I said.

She hopped into her seat, “Were to, sir.”

“The Citadel,” I said.

“Aye, aye, sir. Course laid in for the Charon Relay, ETA fifteen minutes,” she said.

“Take us out.”

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