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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 25 (c.2)- Capitol


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Seventh Floor Our Lady of Hope Hospital, New Bristol, Chav, Landam System, Crescent  Nebula, February 15, 2197

I rounded the corner of the stairwell and collided with a Cerberus trooper. I parried his rifle barrel with my own then stabbed him deep in the belly with my omini-blade. The trooper crumbled. The one behind the first fired two shots into my shoulder. I slammed back into the wall. It felt like someone had driven a hot nail through my shoulder blade. Sargent Torque poked his rifle around the corner and fired two long burst. The second trooper slid down the stairs with a grunt. A pool of blood spread beneath the pile of dead troopers on the stairwell landing.

Torque knelt beside me, “Let me have a look.”

I waved him off, “Go, get to the roof.”

“It will only take a second, sir,” said Torque. The pain resided as the omini-gel took hold. “Better now?”

“I’m fine,” I said. It still ached but there was no crack in the armor or an entry wound.  I dusted my self up and bounded up the stairs to the roof.  More marines came behind us. Fire teams split off at every floor. Sounds of explosions and gunfire reverberated throughout the building accompanied by shouts for, “Grenade.”

On the roof I unpacked my Black Widow sniper rifle and took a firing position orientated to the capitol building in the center of the city. Torque did the same with his spotter scope and comm equipment. A large cupola divided the roof in the flat roof in to large sections. A flock of friendly drones exchanged fire with enemy automated turrets on the building’s windows.

I activated my comm, “Saber One is in position.”

“What took you so long, Saber One?” asked Colonel Puller the commander of the 65th regiment.

“Ran into a few puppies on the way up. Delta company is cleaning the kennels as we speak,” I said.

“Understood Saber One. What’s the target status?” asked the Colonel.

I examined the scene through the rifle’s scope. Aside from the turrets there were no other enemy activity, not even the shimmer of cloaked units, “Roof access clear.”

“Then light ’em up commander,” said the Colonel.

“Saber One to Saber units, verify targets,” I said over the comm net.

“Saber Two, targets verified and locked.”

“Saber Three, targets verified and locked.

Torque, eyes on the ranger finder, nodded.

“Saber One, targets verified and locked,” I said.

“All targets verified. Raptor Force you are green to engage,” said the Air Coordinator.

Five kilometers back, three Mantis gunship popped from cover and fired missile volleys at the capitol building. Each volley, guided by their respective forward observers, entered through the targeted windows and exploded in the rooms within. Clouds of debris erupted across the building.

“That’s a hit,” I said.

“Manatee One and Two, move in,” said the Air Coordinator.

Two shuttles flew below us and hovered a meter of the roof. Two dozen marines jumped from the shuttles to the roof below. They rappelled down the building. Thunder erupted in the streets as a platoon of Elcor, with heavy guns on their backs, opened fired on the capitol. Several APCs raced forward. One backed into the main entrance. More marines climbed through the ground floor windows. An occasional flash illuminated the interior. Two more shuttles dropped a second wave of marines. Within minutes the fight was over.  A pair marines raised the planetary flag, a red dragon and lion rampant holding a white star against a yellow background.

I stood up and looked around. New Bristol was secure but a month of fighting transformed the one vibrant colonial capital into a smoking hollowed out carcass.

Old Wellington was right. Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.

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