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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 21 (c.2)-Extraction


 

 

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Tweet of the Day: Literary Architecture

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Roof of the Interfax Communications Nexus, Chav, Landam System, Crescent  Nebula, January 4, 2197

I slip into the zone as the shuttle doors opened.

“Vega, lay down some covering fire,” I yelled over the comm.

The Marine squad fanned out around the shuttle. Time slowed down around me. The air thrummed with the sound of gunfire and ejected thermal clips. Cerberus troopers rocketed up to the ledge on thruster boots. The first shot ignited one in flames. The second shot hurled another back over the edge.

President Riley ran toward us, flanked by a squad of salarians.

“We are in commander,” said major Rentola.

“Everybody in, go, go go,” I said.

Everybody piled inside as the shuttle, with the colonial president sandwiched between two very tall salarian bodyguards.

“Buckle up ladies and gents, we have Cerberus fighters on an intercept course,” said Lieutenant Khan.

“Then you better shake them,” I said.

“This is a brick with booster sir, but I’ll try my best. Music on!” replied Khan.

I jumped into the co-pilot seat. Holo showed a pair of enemy fighters behind us. Smoke trails flew past us.

“Well, at least the jammers work,” said Khan.

The shuttle shook violently. The shuttle’s VI chimed in, “Kinetic Barriers at fifty percent.”

Then one of the fighters exploded, its wingman caught fire and rolled to the ground. The site of the Kurk‘s open shuttle bay filled the screen.

“Sorry we are late. Had to dodge a Cerberus cruiser on our way in,” radioed Ace.

“Brace yourselves,” said Khan.

The shuttle screeched to a halt. The door slid open and we exited as gracefully as our shaken joints allowed.

I turned to the President Riley “Are you alright sir?”

The President’s scrawny, long limb frame shook like a leaf in a hurricane, “I’m…I am alive commander. Whether I am alright or not will take some time.”

“Commander to the War Room, Commander to the War Room,” said the ship’s VI.

I walked into the War Room with the Major Rentola, Jame Vega and President Riley in tow. The main holo projected a gigantic image of captain Winthrop. I stood in perfect parade ground position. Everyone else in the war room matched my stand.

“Commander Thompson-Ramos I just saw a live news feed that showed one of my frigates attacking Cerberus forces in Chav. Do you care to explain how that happened?” asked Winthrop.

“We were assisting the extraction of allied troops from a combat zone,” I said.

Winthrop eyes squinted so hard, his eyes turned to horizontal slits, “And?”

“And we successfully extricated said force, sir,” I said.

“And did you forget to inform me about this operation, an operation that went directly against my standing orders not to engage the enemy?” he asked.

“No sir, I did not forget. The situation was too fluid to do a proper consultation. I took the  initiative before the window of opportunity closed, sir.”

“Is that your final answer, commander?” he asked. I nodded. “Then I’ll make sure to quote you in my report to the disciplinary board, commander.”

President Riley stepped up, “You will do no such thing, captain! This man saved my life and the life of the STG team sent to protect me. While you seat on your ass, four hundred and eighty million lives are under attack by Cerberus. My people, captain. I’ll make sure to quote you when I speak to the press.”

Winthrop’s stony visage crumbled, “Well…Mr. President, sir…we simply don’t have the resources to deal with Cerberus…at this time. But the Alliance is committed in liberating your world from their control.”

“And how many people will I have to bury before you get off your ass, captain? I think we are through here, captain,” Riley slammed a finger down on the off button.

“Thank you Mr. President, but to be honest, the captain was right. I took a risk and it payed off, but we don’t have the force to take Chav back, at least not yet. But we will,” I said.

“I suspected as much commander Thompson-Ramos. Now if you will excuse me I think I’ll find some place to lie down for awhile,” he said.

“No problem, sir,” I said. Major Rentola tossed me a a quick salute which I returned. I looked over at Navigator Johnson, “Talking of taking risks….”

Johnson blond brush mustache bristled, “We don’t leave anyone behind, sir, let alone our ship’s captain.”

I smiled, “Good to know.”

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