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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 20(c.2)- Messages


Tweet of the Day: The Story of the Gravestone of Winkle the Cat



Captain’s Cabin, SSV Kursk SR-3, In High Orbit Over Chav, Landam System, Crescent  Nebula, January 4, 2197

On New Year’s allied forces hit multiple colonies across the Terminus system as part of Operation Hammerfall. The offensive neutralized several Cerberus bases before they knew what hit them. But for some reason the cruiser squadron assigned to Chav were a day late, plenty of time for Cerberus to launch a coup and call in ships of their own. Now, three older Alliance cruisers waited in orbit around Logos, the system’s only gas giant, while six advance Cerberus cruisers provided direct fire support for their forces on the colony’s surface. I suggested sending marine fire teams to link up with the the STG teams on the surface and retake the planetary defenses. Between the surface missile batteries and the Alliance cruisers there was a chance of turning the tide. But captain Winthrop shot me down and warned me in no uncertain terms that he would not move a ship until the Einstein battle group arrived.

So while the Kurk‘s crew watched and waited in our perch high above the planet people died.

People I trained to stop such things.

People I equipped to fight these kinds of fights.

The people I promised to help in their time of need.

There were only so many hours I could listen to the garbled transmissions that burned through Cerberus jamming. So I retreated to my cabin, picked up my guitar and reclined on the chair of the cubicle that served as my office.

And how many of those people had been indoctrinated or worked for Cerberus willingly?

There were three vid messages on the console marked personal. The Kurk‘s was on full emissions control, also known as “silent running,” so she received messages, but only transmitted through her QEC. The first vid mail, time stamped  1-1-2197 lit up the holo screen.

“Hey, just a quick message from Bruges. Got an invite from some old oceanographer friends to come up and visit. Naera is loving the snow and her grandmother, Nalasha, you met her at Liandra’s baby shower, is here as well,” the camera panned to show  Naera holding hands with an older asari as they window shopped in front of a candy store. The camera swung back onto Ricky’s face, “Nalasha keeps dropping hints about this daughter of a friend who just turned one hundred and ninety-three and well, you get the gist of it. I don’t think am ready to jump into the interspecies dating scene just yet. Anyway, gotta go back to the hotel and change, we got dinner reservations for tonight. Don’t forget la familia, primo, okay?” The message ended with a series of slides of Naera playing in the snow, snuggling a big fluffy cat, and dragging her grandmother across the shopping district.

The next message came from Galeena. Her stern gold flecked visage looked straight into the camera, “We confirmed the presence of Reaper remnants in our sector of operations.”

“Straight to the point, as always,” I said to no one in particular.

She continued, “Our tempo of operations has increased, has had our casualties. But recruitment remains strong and morale high. Wish you were here to kick ass and take names, sir. Galeena out.”

The last message was from Miranda, stamped 1-3-2197, “Heard about the screw up in Chav. Wished I was there to help you out but I found some evidence that he was right.”

And by he she meant the Cerberus hologram back at Avernus station.

Damn! It made sense that Cerberus would have infiltrated Horizon. They have a knack for placing sleeper agents. Not to mention the ability to indoctrinate people to their cause.

“Jacob and I are working over time to overhaul our security protocols. I’ll join you as soon as we deal with the situation. Until then, stay safe,” she said with a small, sad smile.

Miss you too babe.

Johnson voice came over the intercom, “Commander, we just received an urgent call on the QEC.”

“Patch it through,” I said.

The face  of a dark grey salarian with deep blue eyes came on screen, “This is major Rentola, STG, we have the President with us…” the image faded,  but the audio was still clear, “We are in the New Coventry’s communication center surrounded by Cerberus forces and taking heavy casualties. We require immediate extraction.”

I bolted from the chair, “Johnson, do we have a lock on their location?”

“We do, sir,” said Johnson.

“Then tell Vega and the marines to saddle up. We are going in,” I said.

And Winthrop be damned.


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