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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 16 (c.2)-Avernus


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Tweet of the Day: Winter Solstice

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Cargo Hold of the Element Zero Tanker Vanbeer, Avernus Station, Orbiting Sagittarius A,  Galactic Core, November 21, 2196

The gigantic airlock slid open. For a second a company of elite Cerberus troops backed by several heavy mechs stared at a full battalion of Blood Pack mercenaries.

Cerberus blinked.

The Blood Pack did not.

The vorcha unleashed a tsunami of fire on the Cerberus troops. Grenades tore apart neat rows of soldiers. Volleys of rockets toppled heavy mechs.  Klaxons blared. A tide of vorcha carried the attack forward. Cerberus troops regrouped around a platoon of heavy mechs. Rocket fire from the mechs exploded among the rush of vorcha troops exiting the Vanbeer behind me.

We need to regain the initiative, now.

<<MAIN LOADING DOCK BREACHED BY ENEMY FORCE-BRAVO AND DELTA COMPANIES TO MAIN LOADING DOCK>>

When it rains it pours.

“Miranda, Pasha target the mech at two o’clock. Aria, Vega I need an opening straight ahead,” I said.

“With pleasure,” replied Aria.

Pasha dropped a rocket drone behind a mech, while Miranda overloaded its kinetic barriers with her omni-tool. A long blue tendril of biotic power whipped out of Aria’s arm. It crashed on top of a squad of Cerberus troopers. The impact sent them flying. Vega laid down a heavy curtain of fire. I cloaked and jumped on the nearest Atlas. The cockpit opened with a pull from a quick release hatch underneath. The pilot moved forward on the seat to close the door. I pulled him out of the cockpit then took his seat. I trampled him on my way to engage the other mechs. A combination of rocket and mass accelerator shots dispatched another one. A gigantic metal claw crashed into the cockpit. It stopped a millimeter from my nose. Sparks flew as the claw wriggled free from the broken cockpit. I jammed the accelerator cannon into the groin of the attacking mech. Four pulls of the trigger later and both mechs fell backwards. I jumped clear out of the mech before it exploded.

“Well, I won’t be doing that again anytime soon,” I said to no one in particular.

Vega ran up to me, “Are you alright, jefe?”

“Fine, let’s roll,” I said.

Resistance stiffened the deeper we pushed into the station. At every turn Cerberus deployed a combination of mechs, turrets, snipers and kinetic barriers to slow the advance. The vorcha dead outnumbered Cerberus two to one. The attack came to a halt at a main gallery heart of the base. There were four exits beyond the Cerberus barricade.

“Bottleneck,” said Miranda.

“Okay, on my order we-” the head of a dead vorcha, eyes still twitching wildly, rolled past me.

“Lookout!” cried Miranda.

A phantom raised her sword above my head. I deflected the blow by hitting its wrist with my left omni-blade. The electric shot sent the phantom into convulsions. I jabbed at its expose belly with my other omni-blade. Blood smolder off the hot blade as I pulled it out of the enemy. It collapsed at my feet.

I took a moment to catch my breath, “Like I was saying, when I give the signal I want concentrated heavy weapons fire on those barriers. Pasha and I will take care of the turrets.”

The occasional sniper round flew over out heads followed by short burst from a pair of automated turrets.

Aria ordered a Blood Pack heavy weapons boom-squad into position,” We are ready.”

“Time on target,” I said.

Multiple rockets blasted the barrier apart. Pasha and I hacked the turrets. They turned on the enemy with deadly accuracy.

“Move, move, move,” I said.

Again, the sheer ferocity of the vorcha assault overwhelmed the defenders.

“Colonel Thompson-Ramos, I have downloaded a schematic of the base,” said Utah over the radio.

“Show me,” I said.

The image came up on my eyepiece. The leftmost exit laid down to the power generator. The one directly in front of us lead to the labs and computer core, while the one on the right opened to the administrative offices.

“Aria, take your people and secure the generator. We might need to pull the plug on this place. Vega, cover Pasha’s back as he hacks the server. Miranda and I will sweep the offices for stranglers,” I said.

Miranda and I checked the empty offices for any sign of resistance.   A long desolate corridor ended in large double doors. It took me a full minute to disable the holographic lock.  The light from several wall size monitors illuminated. An spectacular image Sagittarius A accretion disk dominated the view. A man stood in a fine tailored suit stood facing the monitors.  I pulled the trigger the moment it faced us. The rounds passed right through the hologram. The sardonic smile on his lips never reached the holograms dead cybernetic irises.

“I must congratulate you on making it this far Commander. But even now,” the image on the screens shifted to show several shuttles en route from the ships around Avernus, “reinforcements are on their way.”

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