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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 27 (c.2)- Stryker


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Tweet of the Day: Examine Your Priorities

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Inside the Ebon Mountain Range, Chav, Landam System, Crescent  Nebula, May 1, 2197

The thick stone walls shook with the thunder of explosions and the clatter of automatic fire. Grenadiers pumped shots into entrenched enemies. Often the the fighting dissolved into vicious hand to hand combat as  Phantoms decloaked in the middle of the a squad of marines. Mono-filament swords clashed with omni-blades. It took several soldiers to overcome every single assassin that struck from the shadows.

“Move forward!” I yelled over the din of battle.

Cerberus attempted to raise another barrier under the cover of sniper fire, but Vega mowed them down with his Vindicator before they could set it up. The narrow corridor opened up into a large room, fifty meters square. Rows of cloning tanks lined the walls.  Blasted opened by explosives they spilled their contents to the floor below. Piles of bodies, scarred with cybernetics, littered the floor in pools of dark blood mixed with thick nutrient fluid. On top of them were dead Cerberus soldiers, each one compelled to fight to the last by Reaper indoctrination. I dove behind one of those piles as sniper fire rained down from the rafters. Wet thuds marked the impact of the enemy rounds on the corpses.

Miranda dropped down beside me, “Transmitters are in place.”

“Good to know that our rear is secure. Remind me to kiss you for bringing those indoctrination jammers along, Miranda.” She shook her head. Pasha, Utah, you’re up,” I said.

“Acknowledged commander Thompson-Ramos,” said Utah over the radio.

A pair of orange globes fired rockets as they climbed toward their targets. I tracked them through the scope of my rifle. One by one the blasted the enemy sharpshooters from the cubbyholes.

“Let’s go,” I said.

Past the room we entered a labyrinth of passage ways that connected to the heart of the complex. Labs, offices, simulators, kitchens, storage areas, all that was needed to support a modern army. Each became a battlefield of upturned tables, shattered glass, and bullet riddle walls, decorated liberally by liters of blood spatter. The battle turned into a rolling wave of death as both sides fed more soldiers into the fighting.

At the end of a long hallway a squad of Ceberus troopers entrenched behind a shield projector. The moment they spotted us they hurled grenades at us. Miranda raised a faint blue biotic bubble around us. Fragments pinged the barrier. She took it down and fired a long burst down the hall. Another grenade landed at her feet.

I pushed her aside, “Look out.”

The explosion blasted my kinetic barrier apart. Hot fragments ripped into my right leg. Pasha, Vega and Utah walked passed me and unleashed barrage of fire that silenced the enemy position.

“Stay still dammit,” said Miranda as she applied medigel to the wound. The anesthetic eased the pain, but the shrapnel stung when I moved. “We need a medevac,” she said.

“No.”

“Take it easy jefe, will mop up, don’t worry about it,” said Vega.

“I said, no. Utah, help me up,” I ordered. The geth pulled me back up to my feet.  “Let’s go.”

Utah and Vega pried open the door at the end of the hallway. Inside stood Alton Olsen, code name Stryker, in a crisp Ceberus uniform, with long gold braids that looped down from the shoulder boards. He ran a hand through his thin blond hair. Tiny blue irises peered through the dark bags under his eyes.

He managed a timid smile, “So, you finally made it, and you brought the raven haired turncoat with you.” I handed my rifle to Vega and activated my electro-blade. “Now, I know the last time we saw each other it was a bit tense, but surely we can let bygones be bygones.” I walked toward him each.  “What happened to Anderson was, I mean is, regrettable, but it was beyond my control.” I took another step. “The Illusive Man needed a bargaining chip, something to convince the Reapers that he was on their side.” Electricity arched along the edge of the omni-blade. “They told me it was the best way,… the only way to end the war.”

“Jefe,” said Vega somewhere behind me.

Pain shot up my leg with every step. I smashed the flat of the blade on his face.  Olsen grabbed his cheek as he fell down. The smell of burned flesh filled my nostrils.

I grabbed him by the collar, “You are going to live, Olsen. You are going to face trial for treason. Treason against humanity, treason against every sentient being in the galaxy. Then they are going to throw you in the darkest cell they can find, but I’ll make sure they keep you alive for the next century or so as a reminder to the galaxy that nobody fucks with me. Take him away.”

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