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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 24 (c.2)- Torfan


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Tweet of the Day: Futuristic Romance Retrospective, Part I: The Pioneers

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Alliance Military Veteran Health Services, 10th Floor Active Service Counseling, Vancouver Metroplex, United North American States, Earth, Sol System, Local Group, October 3, 2178

A few air cars flew past the window. Vancouver residents preferred ground transports over shuttles. It gave the city an air of quaintness.

“Are we ready to begin?” asked Dr. Cohen. Two steaming cups of what passed for coffee around this parts laid on the coffee table. Dr. Cohen chair was on one end of the table.  I sat down on the chair empty chair on the opposite side. “Good. Now what can you tell me about Torfan.”

I knew the drill. Alliance regs dictated that all personnel engaged in prolonged combat ops had to undergo a psych evaluation. Either the good doc checked the box marked “Fit for duty” or my military career was over. I threw up a wall of jargon in the hope he saw a professional ready to get back to work. The first crack on the wall appeared on the third session.

“They weaponized them,” I said.

Dr. Cohen put down the stylus, “They gave their captives weapons?”

“No doc, they weaponized them, their slaves. Sometimes they booby trapped dead bodies, but mostly they would cut open their slaves, jam as many explosives as they could and them left them for us to find. That was how Hayase and Clark bought it.”

Clark steped closer to the abandoned slave.  The kid must have been thirteen, fourteen at the most. He scanned the him with his omni-tool. The explosions ripped the pour soul apart and blasted through Clarks and Hayase kinetic barriers. There wasn’t much of them left after that.

Things went down hill from there. Two weeks later we talked about the maidens.

“The place was massive. Hundreds of kilometers of tunnels carved out by some ancient civilization. We found traces of eezo, so I’m guessing that it might have been the Protheans. Nobody bothered to do a proper geological survey. The thing was that it was an entire underground city. It had markets, residential areas, you name it. It was run by batarians but they were not the only ones there,” I finished my second cup of coffee. “There was this krogan who…he specialized in asari maidens. And I mean maiden in the human sense. They were not just young, they were… unspoiled.” My stomach churned, “The bastard, well, he thought he could take us on. A dozen incendiary rounds proved him wrong.”

Week eleven was our last session before the Christmas break. A light dusting of snow covered the city. People packed the streets. No holiday carols pierced the gloomy atmosphere of Cohen’s office.

“Then the word came down. I don’t know who gave the order and I doubt you’ll find any record of it, it was word of mouth, but we heard it none the less,” I said through clenched teeth.

Cohen leaned back on his chair,”What was the order?”

“Kill’em all, every last one of them. And we did just that. We forgot about liberating slaves or taking prisoners. First the demo teams set off neutron charges to wipe the place clean. Then came the nukes to collapse the tunnels in case somebody survived the radiation pulse. And the fleet sealed the deal with a massive bombardment from orbit. They even brought in a dreadnought. Nobody was left alive, nobody.” I stood up and made my way to the window, “I’m sure some would say the bastards deserved it. I certainly didn’t give a damn. But I should have, I should have said…something.”

“I doubt the word of a junior officer would have carried a lot of weight, lieutenant,” said Cohen.

“Doesn’t matter, doc. It was wrong. When the word came down it stopped being about them.. We were wrong doc, we were dead wrong.”


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