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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 12 (c.2)-Tomb


Tweet of the Day: Uncomfortable Automata and the Business of Nightmares



Horse Head Nebula, Pax System, Noveria, Peak 21 Research Facility, October 20, 2196

The impact that created the ice rimmed crater outside ripped the facilities blast doors apart like paper. Teeth like icicles hung above our heads. Inside the loading dock mounds of snow covered stacks of crates and abandoned equipment. A human corpse, dressed in a white jumpsuit, rested with it’s back against a rover with a pile of tools at its feet. An icy veil covered dark eyes that stared into oblivion. I thanked the lowest bidder for the armor that kept Noveria’s deadly cold away from my skin.

“This place is a tomb,a frozen tomb. I call it a classic case of post-orbital strike syndrome,” I said.

“This facility intercepted and data mined Alliance and Salarian low priority comm traffic through the local relay and passed it along to other Cerberus facilities off world.  That is intel we can use, commander,” said Miranda.

“We will have to dig out. Should have brought Vega with us. I mean it would be unfair to ask Utah to do all the heavy lifting,” I said.

Utah turned his shiny cyclopean gaze toward me, “While the Creators designed the geth for heavy labor, the tonnage of existing debris exceeds this platform’s capabilities, Commander Thompson-Ramos.”

“That’s a no,” I said.

“Correct, Commander Thompson-Ramos,” said Utah.

Stacks of crates littered the loading bay. High on the back wall two sets of stairs, left and right, led to an office that overlooked the area. A rectangular shaft, some fifteen meters wide by ten across dominated the center. The elevator panel flickered to life followed by a dozen or more clusters of red lights around the dock.  A dozen Rampart class mechs came to life around us.

“Take cover,” I yelled as I dived behind a cluster of crates.

The mechs marched forward at a relentless pace. The heavy volume of fire from their sub-machine guns chewed up the scenery. Pasha, Utah, and I tried to hacked three of them. They simply seized up for a second, then pressed their attack.

“Electronic counter-measures ineffective,” said Utah.

No shit!

“Drop drones on target,” I said.

Pasha and Utah deployed a pair of drones that engaged the mechs at long range with rocket fire. Miranda alternated her attacks between overloading the mechs shields and hitting them with explosive rounds from her Scorpion modded with disruptor armor. The shiny charges stuck to the mech and exploded a second late with enough force w to strip the mechs kinetic barriers. I finished them off with short burst. Four more mechs came down the stairs. I cloaked and took position atop a large snow bound to my left. I switched to the Black Widow and took aim at the new wave of mechs. With each breath I slipped deeper into the zone: time slowed down, focus narrowed, targets prioritized.

Two targets, ten o’clock high. First target, engaged, headshot.

The mechs head shattered in a smoking ceramic cloud.

Second target, engaged, headshot. Two more mechs , two o’clock low. Enemy on crosshair, compensating for unstable surface. Shots fired, target down. Re-target and repeat.

Both mechs collapsed in fiery heaps.

Targets neutralized.

At that moment the cargo lift in the center of the dock came up. On it an Atlas heavy mechs with flanked by four more light mechs. The Atlas blew apart Pasha and Utah’s covered with a single shot from its cannon. I whirled around and fired the last shot from the clip into the mech’s right knee joint. It went down on one knee. The drones engaged the two light mechs on the far left, while Miranda engaged the ones on the right.

Utah leaned over Pasha, “Is Creator-Pasha still functional?”

Pasha waved him off. Utah switched to his carbine to shot gun mode and blasted apart the two remaining light mechs. The Atlas punched the lift with its claw and stood up.  I slid down the mound, braced the Widow against the snow, grabbed the left leg of the bipod and fired at the mech’s engine cowling. Five inferno rounds punched through the blew open the cowling. The explosion tore apart the mech.

“Sitrep,” I said.

“Unit two-three-seven fully functional. Creator Pasha is also fully functional with no damaged to his enviro-suit,” said Utah.

“I’m alright, sir,” said Pasha.

“Classic case of post-orbital stike syndrome, commander?” asked Miranda.

We rappelled down the shaft to a warehouse below. From there we explored the facility. Despite Miranda’s skepticism, the collection of burst pipes, collapsed hallways and frozen mummies reinforced death’s grip over the facility.Utah pried the door to the serve room open. Inside, among the damaged data modules and processing units stood a holo display. An image of a young woman in her late twenties hovered above.

The projection came to life.

A robotic voice emanated from the holo’s speakers, “Intruders in main server room. Countermeasures exhausted. Unit designation: Nemesis.”  The hologram gazed up at me and said in a deject near human voice, “But my name…my name is Eva Coré.”


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