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Mass Effect: Foxtrot


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Tweet of the Day: Gaming Interlude: The Long Dark

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The water hummed with the soft whirl of a dozen propellers. A constellation of lights illuminated the crystal clear water. Some came from the divers helmets, others from their vehicles, two large underwater sleds and a slew of diver propulsion vehicles. A pair of drones orbited the group in search of explosives or other hazards. Anahida looked at the low ceiling. Escape, if any, was over three hundred meters behind them. A re-breather failure would kill any of them in a matter of minutes. Ahead of them a kinetic barrier blocked the way. All engines went idle. A cathedral like silence enveloped the commando team, punctuated only by the sound of breaths and heartbeats on each of their own ears. Anahida floated above an abandoned mine cart.

How many died on this mine? We talk about how the Hegemony instituted slavery but what about the millions of prisoners pressed into labor in places like this? Paying for one’s crimes through work seems noble but how many where falsely accused, how many where rounded up for minor offenses and what about those whose punishment did not fit the crime? We can not go back to this.

“Circuit bypassed. Barrier is down,” said the lead engineer.

The words snapped Anahida from her thoughts. The commandos dived deeper into the flooded corridors past rusty instruments of Khar’Shan’s industrial age. The group bypassed two more barriers and journeyed over a kilometer to reach their objective. Temperature readings on Anahida’s helmet spiked. They reached the a massive wall that separated the flooded mine from their target. There massive pumps recycled millions of gallons of water too cool the machinery on the other side of the wall.  Beyond was the largest planetary defense cannon built in this cycle. The Hegemony, with the technology extracted from the Leviathan of Dis, hoped it would protect them from any adversary. But the Reapers struck before its was finished. Now Reaper remnants used it to bombard resistance cells with explosive drop pods filled with husks. No force could land on the planet surface under the threat. Demolitions experts extracted three large cylinders from one of the sleds and put them in position around the pumps. One by one they check and double check the settings.

“All units dialed up, detonation in one hour, forty-five minutes,” said the lead of the demolition team.

The team turned to the surface as quickly as the motors of their dpvs allowed. Anahida kept track of to set of descending numbers, distance to the surface and time to detonation.

1.5 km

1:44

One of the dpvs faltered then died. A diver on one of the sleds grabbed the engineer by the belt and dragged him along. They reached the first decompression station where they had to wait several minutes for their bodies to shed built up nitrogen in their tissue. The group pressed on. Drones guided them through the maze of tunnels. One wrong turn could eat precious minutes or trap them in a dead end tunnel. After an hour and a half and two more decompression cycles the group breached the surface on the lake that fed the mines. A platoon of krogan waited on the shore near a parked shuttle.

“Glad to see you made it all back in one piece,” said Turtman, the leader of the krogan battlegroup.

Anahida removed her helmet, took several deep breaths and said, “Just in the nick of time.”

The ground shook beneath their feet. The explosive shock wave  rent the ground in two. Plumes of superheated mud mark the waves progress. A gigantic bubble broke the lake’s surface. The lake shore retreated as its contents drained into the wreckage of the cannon.

“Fifteen kilotons will ruin anyone’s day,” said Tutrman with a hearty laugh. He keyed his comm, “Security team to Redemption, phase one complete.”

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