Ask Mass Effect: Seven Sentinels

Reyn

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Pyre, Terminus Systems
2183, Six Weeks after the Battle of the Citadel
Aspiration Colony

If Zol didn’t know better, he would have thought Pyre was already at war. Aspiration wasn’t a particularly large town, but it was just as busy as a Liveship. Colonists from all across the planet had swarmed the de facto capital to help build up defenses for the expected invasion from their bloodthirsty neighbors. The militia was a hodgepodge of all different groups. Some wore uniforms, others didn’t. Quality of firearms and munitions varied. Some looked to be professionally trained, others simple farmers with assault rifles. But none of them looked afraid. There was something inspiring about that. Every single one of these soldiers seemed ready to fight tooth and nail for their home, whether they had any chance of survival or not. The air in the capital was chaotic, but purposeful. They were certainly living up to their stubborn reputation.

They were living up to their reputation of being suspicious of outsiders as well. Being a Quarian Zol was used to the occasional dirty look, but here everyone seemed to be singling him out as some kind of foe. Well, he had just got off the boat. They might have seen him as some kind of infiltrator. He had seen non-human colonists here as well, but they seemed mainly to be Turian, more respectable perhaps. And then there were the most recent arrivals. The archeologists and scientists, all kinds of intellectuals from across the galaxy. Not colonists but tourists, they were interested solely in the ruins outside the city. The locals did not like them one bit, no matter what species they were. And they didn’t mind saying it. Some minor brawls had broken out at pubs and the places where they were staying, a few arrests. Bu things hadn’t gotten worse than that. Yet. Zol wondered why the Magistrate would allow them access at all, but then, perhaps the colony’s elected leader hoped the Council being so close at hand would dissuade the Terminus warlords from attacking.

For his part Zol tried not to think about the politics. Pyre had survived this long; he was sure they’d do just fine. His mission here was fairly simple. Gain access to the dig site, find some promising piece of technology and get out. The idea of stealing weighed on his conscience somewhat, but his first duty was to the welfare of the Migrant Fleet. Besides, this stuff didn’t really belong to the colonists either. The people who created it, the only people who really had a claim to it, were long dead.

The young Quarian had talked to the locals that were actually willing to speak with him. The dig site was about sixteen miles outside the city, cordoned off from the general population. Only certified officials were being allowed access. That gave him the hope that he might be able to sneak his way in. There was a rail station leading to the dig site where peoples’ digital IDs were being checked before being allowed onboard. It was simple enough for Zol to put together a fake ID, now all he had to do was sell the lie.

As he approached the militiaman guarding the checkpoint, he immediately received a curious look. “Can I help you?” The human asked with bemusement. The young Quarian stood up straight and tried to put on the most formal voice he could.

“Kasin’Kaasul vas Rayya. I’m here to study the alien ruins.” The human raised an eyebrow.

“A Quarian? Here to study the ruins?” He asked skeptically.

“The Magistrate wanted a tech specialist on hand.” Zol answered, still feigning confidence and candor. Luckily his mask made him difficult to read. He was sweating bullets. “And there are no tech specialists better than the Quarians. If you want to call him…”

“I think I will.” The militiaman replied. “One moment.” He turned to start making a call on a nearby console. Zol acted quickly, holding his hands behind his back as he accessed his omni-tool. A moment later the screen on the guard’s console went blue. “God dammit…” He muttered as he slapped the side of the machine. “Nothing on this planet works…”

“Is this going to take long?” Zol asked, pretending to be annoyed. He nodded to the line forming behind him. The militiaman looked between him, the console and the growing crowd. He still seemed reluctant to let him pass. The Quarian swallowed nervously. Please let this work…

@Catbert @Charndley @Minuteman75 @Topher Ridge @Die Shize @Lydeck
 

Catbert

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What a hellhole. Nelani walked towards the rail station, wearing her "Don't talk to me, or else..." expression. Which wouldn't have worked on Pyre, if the Asari Commando didn't wear all her gear. Even with that, a drunken local yokel had the nerve to tell Nelani that she belonged in a nightclub. That's putting it mildly, of course. The asari solved that problem without descending to the drunkard's level or even saying a word. A concentration of biotic energy—just enough to create an eerie purple glow around the asari and to make the man's hair tingle—made the drunkard back off. But Nelani's mood was ruined still.

The local humans were such two-faced azures: first they settle in the Terminus Systems, tell us to keep out, inevitably get into trouble, and then pester the Council for not helping them enough. And when we do help, we get this... vorcha treatment. But actually, the yokel had a point. Nelani would've preferred ripping up the dancefloor on Omega with her new Drell acquaintance. But apparently, the Council needed her on Pyre urgently and saw it as a trial for becoming a Spectre. So, instead of embracing eternity, Nelani had to embrace the opportunity... of going to the hellhole where everyone gave you sideways glances if you didn't have those wavy threads called hair.

On the bright side, the Council had provided her with a new identification that allowed her to act on behalf of the Office of Special Tactics and Reconnaissance. The Pyre colonists could be stubborn and xenophobic, but even they knew better than to give a "Spectre" that sort of treatment. Going through checkpoints with the new ID was a breeze... until now.

"Is this going to take long?" Nelani heard a voice distorted by the helmet. Of course, even Quarians want a piece of this discovery. Though why "even"? They want a piece of everything. Nelani was so obsessed with her thoughts and the insult she had received, that she completely missed the Quarian's little trick with the omni-tool. Meanwhile, the guard continued his pointless struggle with the machine. It's taking way too long.

"Excuse me," the Commando stepped forward, almost shoving the Quarian aside if he wouldn't step aside himself. "Can you do that later? I'm in a hurry." With that, the asari flashed her new ID. The annoyed guard turned around; his facial expression clearly showed that he was about to tell the blue-skinned snob to shove it and wait her turn. Maybe he'd even reiterate the drunken yokel's comment. But then the man's expression changed, as he saw the Citadel insignia and the first few words. Nelani's lips curled up slightly, as she drove the point further: "Nelani T'Saris, Special Office of Tactics and Reconnaissance. You've been told to expect me."

The asari clearly savored each word, and all the man could do is give her the hateful gaze and reply through his teeth: "Proceed." No doubt he'd blow up at someone else afterwards; but it wasn't Nelani's problem. For now, she was giving Pyre what she was getting. "Thank you," the delivery was too slow, and the smile was too sweet to be genuine. With that, Nelani passed the Quarian without giving him any attention, and went on to board the monorail.

Alas, the asari's smug satisfaction was short-lived. Apparently, the monorail wouldn't head out until everyone would board it. That included the delayed Quarian. So in the end, Nelani had achieved nothing but stroking her bruised ego. That'll suffice. After all, I have more time than that human and quarian combined. The realization brightened up Nelani's mood even further, as she took her seat by the window and prepared to take in whatever boring views Pyre had in store for her.

@Charndley, @Minuteman75, @Topher Ridge, @Die Shize, @Lydeck, @Reyn
 
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Die Shize

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Music OOC





The Boom

There were a lot of meatbags with flies buzzing around them in the train station that day. Bugs of bloody reporters and tourists. Bags of bony scientists and...archogooglists? Architecturalists? Ark-geologists?

“Arctic cannabis?”

Sounded like that time his voice had drifted beyond his head. He looked left, looked right, caught a pencil-skirted woman’s scowl and a Militia guard’s stink eye. “Hm?” Blinked the latter.

“What?” Durok blinked back. Oops. “Huh? Oh. Sorry. I was trying to remember what the heck the profession is of fools like those.” The krogan nodded at the human Pencil Skirt in a Dress Shirt. Her eyes huffed and puffed back.

I am a representative of Kellwaz Corporation, you toad!

“Oh…” Durok thought about that. “Er, eh, I guess I meant fools like…” He spotted a quarian at a console, a group of salarians speed-speaking each other into a frenzy, an asari approaching the quarian— There. He pointed further at an oblivious pair of human and asari fashioned for travel and as pleased with the architecture of the city as what waited beyond it.

“Ah, I see.” The Militiaman nodded. “You must mean archaeologists.”

“That’s the ticket!” Durok thanked, suppressing his relief. That one word would eventually have made him cave his own head in.

“Happy to help. And now,” The guard tapped his console. This was either his first or last time seeing a krogan for all he knew. “In order to get your ticket, I’m gonna need to see some ID. Please."

Durok shrugged, produced ID from his chestplate and handed it over beneath a smile fit for photography. The guard fiddled with his console, looked up, blinked, looked up, fiddled, nodded, looked up. “Says here you’re a female vorcha.”

“What? Well that can’t be right.” Durok thought about that. What good’s a frikkin’ forger if he can’t tell a krogan from a fugly-whatsit?

“Let me run it again,” the guard assured. “Been having some system issues at this station and waiting for tech to fix it already. All right, let’s see...”

Durok swatted a fly while he waited.

“Yep, you’re all set, krogan, sir.” The guard handed back the ID. “Though I wouldn’t have taken you for a corporate lawyer, Mr. Vykin.”

“Really?” Durok scratched his chin. "It must be my charming mug. Makes me look like some kinda dirty mercenary! "

That made the guard blink, smile and wave for the next in line, and for a fly to find a fist before Durok flicked the lifeless insect against a window and boarded the train to sit by his own.
 
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Lydeck

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Pyre of the Terminus System. The Human Colony had certainly made a reputation within Citadel Space and many of the founding races had questioned the species process of establishing a settlement within the fringes of such a dangerous system. One could almost fault the Homosapiens were it not for their renowned attributes. They could be as resilient as a Krogan, and were second only to the Salarians when it came to their expansion speed. The Salarian of the Special Tasks Group had made Planet Fall a few standard hours ago, landing in the Aspiration Colony where an unknown ruin had been discovered only miles from its border. Unsurprisingly the discovery had sparked concern among it citizens and there was obvious unrest. Vaeco had spent an hour, or what seemed like the entire day to the bipedal amphibian, traversing the town and gathering information from locals who didn't hold obvious animosity towards him. Suffice to say that number ranged in the single digits.

The Salarian made his way towards the heavily guarded dig site, approaching what seemed to be the Secuirity kiosk where incoming guests and employees were being processed. To his discerning eye he spotted the familiar cerulean skin tone of an Asari, the full body space suit worn by the Quarians and a.....Krogan? STG had informed him that numerous members within the Citadel were expected to represent their nations interest in the discovered ruins. But there was no mention of a Krogan "Must be a mercenary, or bodyguard. No cannot be. No visible affiliation with known groups. Must inquire intelligence about this variable. " Vaeco approached the guard after the Asari Commando pushed her way in. Typical he thought "Probably a Matriarch. All those years lived, wasted. Pity" he flashed his identity chip, awaiting the officer to process his information. Unsurprisingly he was granted entrance, STG did their job right. No fuss, no mistakes. He passed the Krogan, his frog like eyes scanning the large brute with innate disdain. The two species hardly got along since the Krogan Rebellion and their grudge spanned generations.

The Salarian boarded the train, taking a seat alongside the Asari "My my. The Humans seem to have a knack for discovering ancient ruins, wouldn't you agree?"

@Eccles
 
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Charndley

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I haven't had enough coffee to deal with this crap.

How many years had she been there now? Been through the raids of '78. The resource crisis a couple years later. All the mess when that bunch of slavers thought that Pyre looked like easy pickin's. And nothing had generated as much drama as this damn ruin. Dina didn't know what the big deal was. As far as she was concerned, the ruins looked like a complete bomb site and were about as useful as one but oh no. Oh no no no. The Magistrate had decided that it was the real deal, something they could use. So, against all better judgement, they'd contacted the Alliance and the goddamned COUNCIL of all people.

It would be considered a dereliction of duty to punch the Magistrate right in their smug face, but that didn't mean she wasn't tempted.

Radio contact with the site was proving tricky and Dina had been 'volunteered' to help oversee the militia's policing efforts. Alliance folk and aliens on Pyre was bound to cause some level of trouble. She approached the militia outpost beside the train, nodding with approval as she saw them checking IDs. One of them put down their flask to nod.

"Lieutenant," he said with a smirk. Dina rolled her eyes. "How's Phoebe and the kids?"

"They're fine. Kaveh's in second grade now," she shared, shaking her head. "And for God's sake, don't call me by rank."

"I know but, y'know, Magistrate loves his titles." The militiaman rolled his eyes and made a jerking off motion. Dina chuckled and waved him off.

"Okay okay, I share the sentiment but we've got jobs to do," she told him, eyes scanning over the dwindling queue. "What kinda tourists we got today then?"

"Oh, just a total cluster of the Galaxy's finest. Salarians, Quarians, Asari... there's supposedly a Krogan somewhere too," Jacobson shared, looking over the datapad as Dina frowned.

"A Krogan? Who in the hell brings a Krogan to a dig site? For the love of..." Dina groaned, shaking her head. "No, no, I better get on there before I decide to quit and become a hydroponics monkey." She nodded towards the line. "Ten minutes, this train is going. Anyone not on there is shit outta luck. If they make a scene, throw them in the brig."

"Yes ma'am, good luck ma'am, try not to cause a diplomatic incident ma'am," Jacobson laughed quietly, as Dina left him to his work. Nothing better than a wannabe cop acting a wannabe clown. She strode towards the line and cut in, getting waved through the scanner. There was no mistaking the scowl, the cropped hair and the scratched Hahne-Kedar armor.

Once inside, she moved her way towards the front of the train, looking over the murmuring mass of people coming with her. Like a damn diplomatic summit. Didn't seem to be a council race that wasn't represented. On her colony, of all places. She refused to sit, merely standing at the front of the carriage with her arms folded, judging everyone in front of her. Hm. Squishy. Clearly too much of a thinker to fight. Asari looks like trouble but all the biotics in the Galaxy can't stop a hail of bullets. Turian's a weakling. Shoulda brought up that crate of grenade launchers that's been lingering in the armory since the raids. Any of them start causing trouble, we could've peppered them with all that, dealt with it easy as pie.

I should've ate more breakfast.
 

Topher Ridge

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Of course he was running late, though it was his own damn fault if he was honest. He'd wanted to double check the fabricated I.D. that Command had given him to make sure they stood up to whatever check in was required. Though Erron had been assured by his commander that the fake papers were made by the best on Palaven, he still didn't want to take the chance and have his cover blown before he even got to the damn ruins.

Though as he walked through the settlement he wondered why he'd been so worried. Typical of humans, it all seemed so slap dashed. What little security there was, was clearly undertrained and under paid. No wonder they were hiring mercs left and right to help keep a handle on all the new visitors. Which would hopefully make his own job all the easier.

The Turian still couldn't help but wonder why the Hierarchs were so concerned with these ruins anyway. He supposed it was just his own government wanting to make up for that whole incident with Saren a few weeks ago. His briefing hadn't shed much light on the topic, all he knew was that he just needed to get eyes on the place and see what it was the Humans had found to begin with. From there he just needed to evaluate if the ruins presented any kind of threat to Citadel Space, but more importantly if it presented any kind of threat to Palaven itself. Nobody ever said being in Blackwatch would always be filled with exciting locals and firefights.

He cursed himself again as he finally caught site of the train. It was already filling up and he was lucky he hadn't missed it, the price of being overly cautious he supposed. He adjusted his armor a bit as he approached the human that guarded the entrance to the train. He felt practically naked in this ridiculous merc armor and longed for the comfort of his own custom Blackwatch set. Erron just mentally shrugged and knew he'd just have to make the best of it.

Erron presented his I.D. and papers to the guard who looked them over then back to Erron. "'Nother merc huh? Don't see why we got so many of you heading out to the ruins but," the guard handed back the documents, "it ain't my place to question orders. Enjoy the ruins." Erron simply nodded as he made his way passed and onto the train, "Oh I'll do my best to enjoy the sight and sounds of a bunch of dead rocks." Since he was a bit tardy, their weren't many seats left, but he managed to find one, unfortunately it was next to a particularly large Krogan. He sat and took a look around the train, seeing at least on being from each council race, a few humans and even a Quarian.

He couldn't help a chuckle as he looked around, "Well I gotta say this train reminds me of one of those 'blank and blank, walk into a bar jokes' you humans like so much."
 

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A shadowy figure crept amongst a labyrinth of crates near the train. Slowly a Quarian visor underneath a ragged hood glanced up. The train is already filling up best to get onboard as soon as possible. Karel’Nelvaan quietly concluded.

It hadn’t been easy to infiltrate the station to say the least. Nevertheless he had bypassed security via an air vent and erasing his presence on the few cameras installed here. Thank the ancestors that this is not Noveria. For a brief moment Karel activated his omni-tool once more, revealing a digital map of the station and the dig site.

After examination he nodded. Good, I just need to be extra careful. Don’t want to get caught by these xenophobic bosh’tets before seeing what’s all the fuss is about. Turning off the omni-tool Karel let out a soft sigh and squeezed his right hand into a shaking fist. There was no turning back for him.

After making sure no one was watching he climbed up the set of crates closest to the train. Subsequently the train began to move. Alarmed at the new development he muttered. “Keelah!” Without hesitation he sprang forth and jumped. Seconds later Karel landed on the roof of the back car with both feet.

Heart pounding from the adrenaline the Quarian self-exile lowered himself flat on his stomach. The train increased speed, forcing Karel to hold on for dear life. He felt the strong wind flying across the air, though not really affecting his vision. “Another advantage of being a suit rat.” He sarcastically told himself.

@Reyn @Catbert @Die Shize @Lydeck @Charndley @Topher Ridge
 
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Reyn

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"Hey!" Zol shouted indignantly as he was unceremoniously shoved to the side by the Asari. He was about to make a protest when the blue-skinned alien stated her name and status, then he froze. A Spectre!? Here!? The Quarian was still as a statue as the two had their brief exchange, then watched as she made her way onto the train. Just let it go. He thought to himself. Don't draw attention to yourself... His thoughts were interrupted by yet another presumptuous alien brushing past him to flash his ID, this one a Salarian. The Quarian just clenched his fists and growled in frustration to himself. Seriously? After the second line-cutter had been let through Zol quickly took his spot once again, pushing his fake ID in the militiaman's face. This time his annoyance wasn't an act at all.

"Look I'm cleared, just scan my ID and let me pass or I'll... I'll file a complaint!" A bit of a lackluster threat but the thought of having to deal with more bureaucracy seemed to speed the process along. The guard took Zol's ID with an indignant snort and scanned it, then returned it to him.

"Fine, go ahead." He relented with a hand wave. Zol nodded and passed through the checkpoint, quickly letting out a relieved sigh once he was out of earshot. Well that was way more stress than he needed just to get on a train, but so far so good. And not a moment to soon. Just as he stepped onto the train it lurched forward, beginning it's journey. Zol looked left and right as he walked down the aisle, searching for an open seat. It was crowded, and he just got even more of the expected dirty looks, people moving over to take up more space. One human woman even put her bag down on the seat next to her. Bosh'tet's. Finally he decided just to stand by the doorway to the back car. People seemed content to leave him alone there, and he was a comfortable distance away from that Spectre.

Things for the time being seemed quiet and uneventful, other than the idle chatter going on in the car. It was a fifteen minute journey to the dig site by train, so they'd have some time to kill. As usual once people had gotten their fill of staring at him the stuff-shirts left Zol alone, and now he could look at each of them individually. He spotted representatives from the Systems Alliance, the Turian Hierarchy, the Salarian Union, the Asari Republics... Of course there was that Spectre, what looked like some mercs. And then scientists from half a dozen different independent companies as well. It looked like everyone wanted a slice of this place.

But Zol noticed something else as well. Several people, mainly mercs but also a few of the officials, all shared something in common. They all wore a small black ring on their left hand. There were quiet glances exchanged between them. These people knew each other. But they weren't doing anything for the moment. In fact some of them seemed to be socializing among the others like nothing was wrong at all. Maybe he was just being paranoid... but then, security was high for a reason.

Unable to shake the feeling something was wrong Zol waited until they were a few minutes out of the gate and then turned to go into the back car. It wasn't locked and no one tried to stop him, so he assumed it was okay. There were no seats here, just space for storing luggage and equipment. The dig site required all sorts of supplies constantly it seemed. The Quarian looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was around, then activated his omni-tool, summoning a teal colored VI.

"K'Deni, run a search on those rings, what organization do they belong to?" He asked quietly in Khelish.

"Yes sir." The VI replied before humming to itself. Zol sighed and started tapping his foot waiting for a reply. He really needed to update this thing...

@Catbert @Charndley @Minuteman75 @Topher Ridge @Die Shize @Lydeck
 

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Nelani didn't pay much attention to the people who were on the train with her. It might have been wise to do so; but there were just too many to keep track of. It was the job of local security anyway. Besides, if anything happened, the Commando was confident in her reflexes. Anyone on the planet who wanted to mess with her would have to be quick on the draw; otherwise, they'd soon be faced with a nigh-impenetrable biotic barrier. In short, the asari didn't think that anything in this backwater system could pose a threat.

So, the Asari continued looking through the window, until a Salarian took a seat next to her. Judging by the armor he was wearing, he didn't look like a civilian. As he mentioned the humans and their knack for finding ancient relics, the blue-skinned alien just chuckled in response: "I suppose. Though I don't find it surprising or unnatural. We have already colonized plenty of worlds, and discovered much of their mysteries. The humans, however, are all too eager to expand, even if it brings them into the Terminus systems. It's only makes sense they discover something on the worlds the Council couldn't be bothered with."

A smug wide grin spread across the Asari's lips. She was clearly content with the conclusion she had arrived to; it seemed pretty reasonable. Surely the Salarian would agree with her. Though this brief exchange must've been like an entire lecture for his kind. "And now we've got the front row seat for a new season of 'Why Terminus is always a bad idea'."

@Lydeck
 

Die Shize

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There was a zoo of non-krogans sitting in the seats and some of them smelled worse than that Pencil Skirt with all her rosy perfume. I wonder what her squishy insides smell like when my blade accidentally spills them open. There were half a dozen or a dime a dozen more of squishies that had boarded the train. Durok glanced their way above a rumbling belly. Humans. Asari. Salarians. Turians. The latter waltzed in from out of nowhere and sat down beside Durok, to which he promptly eyed the length of the train. That packed already? No open seat but this one?
"Well I gotta say this train reminds me of one of those 'blank and blank, walk into a bar jokes' you humans like so much."
“...Ha! Yeah.” Durok blinked. “I think? Sorry. Ain’t much of a joker.”

The floor shifted beneath his feet just then. Ignoring the turian, the krogan turned to look out the window, watching the world grind by as the train entered its journey to the dig site. Dig site. A site where stuff is dug up. And there’s dirt. A whole lot of dirt. That was one thought that Durok could not pass up sharing with someone else. “All right, all right I got one!”

He turned back to the turian guy. “A quarian, a turian, a salarian, a batarian, a human, a jellyfish and a volus riding an elcor walk into a krogan bar. Bartender looks at 'em and says…”

He trailed off as he leaned in, his head in headbutting distance with the turian’s. “ 'What is this, some kinda joke?' ”

With that, Durok near rocked the train loose as he burst out laughing, clutching the seat in front of him for support. His torso was an amalgamation of krogan steel and muscle, and apparently the yokels had not decided to accommodate their train for a gentleman of his proportions, but he made do as he fought to breathe between guffaw.

“Ha ha ha! Oh man! Good thing I held back on the beer! I’d’ve needed new pants just now!” After a moment, he surrendered his last chuckle and reached into his armor, feeling his pistol. His hand came out and a flask came with it. The top unscrewed with a gentle scrape and Durok granted himself a hearty swig and an aah then held the flask out toward the turian.

“Wet your whistle with a splash o' krogan liquor, pardner?”



@Topher Ridge
 

Topher Ridge

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Erron took a more critical eye of those gathered as they got underway. Though it was a bit hard to see passed the bulk of the Krogan seated next to him. He noticed the Quarian make his way to the back of the train. Interesting, but not important at the moment. The car, expectedly was filled with mostly humans, which made obvious sense as this was human colony after all.

Though before a more thorough look could be hand the Krogan decide to retort to Erron's little quip earlier. Of course, maybe one day he'd learn to just keep his mouth shut around Krogans, today it was already to late. He didn't lean back as the Krogan leaned in, if he'd ever learned anything, you never backed down from a Krogan. As the punchline came Erron couldn't help himself and chuckled along with the Krogan. A good joke was a good joke, didn't matter where it came from.

"Alright that one was pretty good." Just about everyone in the car had eyes on the Krogan now, though he doubted the hulking being really cared. He eyed the flask warily and then shrugged. He normally wouldn't but he was supposed to be a merc, and he'd never a merc who turned down free booze. "Sure why not, might make these ruins a bit more entertaining." He took a tentative swig and with great effort chocked down the liquid. At least he thought it was liquid, no telling with Krogans. After a moment he finally managed choke out a thank you and handed the flask back.

"Oh that's good alright, I've been meaning to lose a few feet of intestines anyhow."

@Die Shize
 

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The Salarian noticed the others who entered the train despite the fact his gaze was fixed on the Asari. A Turian, a skittish Quarian and a loudly obnoxious Krogan caught his attention among the rank and file who joined. His previous line of inquiry was soon answered by the Matron who seemingly pointed out the Humans inevitability in discovering another ruin. She was correct on one thing. Council races weren't so stupid as to establish settlements within the Termanis System. The sector had gained infamy through the various raiders and slavers which frequented its trading lanes and habitable Planets. "How astute of you, though I suppose you don't live as long as you do without learning a thing or two-" an outbreak of laughter coming from the other side of the train erupted, the Krogans bellows reverberating off the enclosed transport. The Salarian sighed, seemingly troubled with the large creatures presence "Although, there are exceptions. Brutes" his eyes quickly flicked from the Krogan back to the Asari, the membrane which acted as a lens sliding across his eye as would an eyelid.

"Even though they are a rather ambitious species, prone to aggression that'd rival a Krogan, I do commend the Humans in reaching out and allowing delegates to inspect the ruins. Although its easy to see why they did." the Salarians speech and timing were accelerated, making it seem like he was experiencing a rush of sugar or partaking in some hefty narcotics. It was one of the defining traits of having a hyper metabolism and a lifespan that rarely exceeded 40.

@Catbert
 

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Music OOC [Recurring]

Durok watched in expectation as the turian accepted the drink. This’ll be good… The liquid, however, had apparently not been so alien to the alien, who only coughed. “Ha,” Durok congratulated. “You took that well, turian. Either you got a stronger gut than most or I’m gonna find the guy who sold me watered down ryncol and beat ‘im to a pulp!”

He laughed further at that, congratulated himself with a gulp and tucked the flask away. “So..." he rapped a knuckle on the window. He had been rather ready to stare out the glass the entire ride and keep his mouth shut and any fool's that dared to open. Yet perhaps it was on account of being on the train itself with a bunch of rejects that he hoped idle conversation might help blow the train up. “What company kicked you to the boonies? Or you a freelancer?” He asked pointedly before interrupting his own question.

“Me, I’m…” Durok cleared his throat. “...Well, uh, I’m actually a corporate liar—ahem!—corporate lawyer for a corporation. Check it out.” He showed the turian merc his ID.


Few could see a face so fierce and not marvel at its having accomplished years of law school to become a professional douche canoe for a corporation’s backside. Daddy did always tell me I had the wits of a salarian. This krogan may not be donning a dress suit but his ID had at least been convincing enough for the idiot gate guard to fall for it. The turian, on the other hand, sure looked his part. Of which, after tucking his proud accomplishment away, Durok waited to hear about his counterpart's mercenary prowess. If he has any.



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Catbert

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The Salarian's comment made Nelani raise an "eyebrow"... Or rather, the place where a human would have it. Was the amphibian trying to quip her? It was always hard to tell with their kind. In the end, the asari decided to treat it like a compliment. That was confirmed when the Salarian brought up the loud Krogan whose deep and loud voice Nelani had been trying to ignore so far. Yes, thanks for reminding me about it. Shutting out all distractions again would take a while.

And then the Salarian picked up the pace. Humans might rival Krogan in aggression and Turians in resolve; but even in a hurry, they can't chatter as fast as Salarians. On the outside, however, Nelani only smiled and nodded in reply. That reminded her about something from around 50 years ago; another lifetime for the short-lived amphibian species. Goddess, melding with them is so funny and confusing.

The stranger had a point though; humans would've loved to show everyone else the door. But... "Like it or not, they need us," Nelani put it rather bluntly. Their Ambassador's demands to send Council fleet after the Eden Prime massacre was a -prime- example of that. With that thought, she took a glance through the window again. So much for a scenery.

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Minuteman75

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Karel continued to hold on, not wanting to fall off. That would be a stupid way to die after everything. The very possibility annoyed him and strengthened his determination. Of course a new question subsequently occurred to the infiltrator.

Assuming the find is something important then what?

Indeed, unlike many onboard the train Karel was not hired nor ordered by anyone to go to the dig site. No, his mission was more personal in nature. While the train pressed on to the destination the Quarian briefly closed his eyes inside the helmet’s visor.

More than two years ago
Quarian Migrant Fleet, Vessel Tonbay

Karel stood at attention within a line of fellow quarian marines inside a cramped docking bay. Subsequently a woman in a blue suit, a lieutenant strolled in front of the assembly. “At ease.” She commanded and they all complied.

Without missing a beat the lieutenant next said. “Corporal Karel‘Nelvaan come forward.” Nervous yet he did as ordered and stood out of the line. His superior nodded and continued.

“In light of your actions at Tosche Station the Admiralty board has seen fit to bestow upon you the rank of sergeant.”

There was a stunned and brief pause from Karel before he saluted the lieutenant who returned it. With pride in her voice the latter concluded the cemorny.

“You have made the Fleet and your ancestors proud. Keelah Salai.”

“Keelah Sai.” All the marines including Karel repeated in unison

Present Day

The memory that once filled him with pride instead teared into his soul. Karel squeezed his hands even tighter in silent grief. Through the wind’s howl he muttered. “I failed them all.” He looked up at the still distant dig site and added in a bitter tone.

“If there are pirates or other scum coming here there will be hell to pay.”
 

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Zol continued tapping his foot nervously, getting a bit jumpy as he repeatedly looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was coming to investigate him being back here. In the worst case scenario he could probably play it off like he was looking for the bathroom. Still, he'd prefer not to give the other races an excuse to assume he had the worst intentions.

"Search complete." K'Deni finally piped up, drawing the Quarian's attention. "No results."

"What?" Zol exclaimed with disbelief. K'Deni might not have been the most advanced VI but his databanks left little to be desired. If there was any public information out there that could give a hint as to what the black rings meant he should have been able to find it. If they were some kind of military unit they would have had to be more secretive than the Spectres. They could have been something even worse, like terrorists. "Not good..." Zol murmured, and switched off the VI. He paced a bit, thinking of what to do. Should he just report them to the militia? No, what was there to report? They'd do nothing and then the black rings would just be that much more careful about covering what they were doing. There had to be some kind of evidence back here.

Although he knew it was very likely to get him in a heap of trouble Zol started inspecting the luggage and boxes of equipment. Specifically he was looking to see who it belonged to, and if any of it might be the property of the black rings. Most of the equipment was either Alliance or Citadel tech. And the luggage was difficult to differentiate. It was mostly just clothes anyway. As he made his way to the very end of the car he noticed something else of interest. A very large crate made of thick steel, with no markers on it. None save for a tiny black ring on the upper corner.

"Here we go..." Zol whispered, and tried to pry it open. It was sealed tight. Bringing out his omni-tool he tried to scan it, but whatever material the crate was made of prevented him from doing so. That's when the door opened. Zol jumped to his feet, omni-tool hidden behind his back as he turned to face a nasty looking Turian merc in the doorway. He was covered in scars and missing his left eye, the dark void where it would normally be looking awfully ominous. Zol's eyes glanced down at his hand. A black ring.

"What are you doing back here suit rat?" The merc asked suspiciously, hand moving to his holster. Zol swallowed nervously. Behind his back he was preparing to sabotage the Turian's weapon if need be. When he tried to respond his voice was halting and choked.

"I... uh..." Luckily they were interrupted by the train coming to a halt. They had reached the dig site. The Turian turned his head to look out the window, and Zol took the opportunity to push past him back into the safety of the more crowded car. The Turian growled and tried to grab him, but he slipped through his grasp and continued on to the exit, glancing over his shoulder. The Turian cursed but took his hand off his weapon. He clearly didn't want to start a scene. Zol heaved a sigh of relief as he got off the train.

The dig site was on what would have been any other barren plateau across Pyre, save for the telltale signs of some small alien ruins popping up above the rock and sand. Diggers had already made decent progress, revealing some kind of strange alien structure. To the eyes of experts the architecture wasn't even clearly Prothean. It could actually be from another ancient civilization as yet unheard of. But whatever it was, there wasn't much to go off of. Almost the entirety of the structure was still buried, and there were only a few illuminated passages going deeper underground. The entire plateau was surrounded by a hastily assembled wall, patrolled by both militia guards and armed security mechs. The only way in was through the train station or the small airpad some distance from the dig site. There were a few prefab buildings set up around the site. Research centers, barracks, a mess hall, and living quarters for the researchers. The place was just as busy as Aspiration, though with considerably less gritty people milling about. Archeologists and other scientists, all wrapped up in the strange ruins and their work. Upon getting off the train certain groups were already fanning out to go where they were assigned. It seemed all these people already knew what they were supposed to be doing. For the time being Zol was just focused on putting some distance between himself and that Turian merc.

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Catbert

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Finally! The trip was proving to be longer than expected. Still, as the train came to a halt, Nelani took her time and didn't stand up from her seat. After all, it wasn't worth spending the effort pushing through the crowd when she had an extra moment to spare. So the asari would be among the last to leave the train. Before doing that, she paid a visit to the cargo compartment to grab a bag with her belongings; clothes and other necessities mainly.

It wouldn't be long before the asari would be standing on the platform, looking around the compound. Unlike most people on the train, Nelani wasn't quite sure what she was supposed to be doing. The Council didn't go too far into details, apart from "Keep an eye on things and stop them from escalating until a real Spectre shows up." Normally, Nelani would've just rented a room, but that meant she'd be spending half the time away from the compound. Even worse, there'd be checkpoints and train rides twice a day. Not an option.

So, with a bag on her shoulder, the asari approached a nearby security guard. "Nelani T'Saris, Special Office of Tactics and Reconnaissance," she used another opportunity to flash the new ID, enjoying how the look in the eyes of the guard changed as he realized that it wasn't a joke. "I'm supposed to be assigned lodging here. A room, I think." Sure, the Council hadn't mentioned things in such detail. After all, Nelani was the one who was supposed to handle herself. And acting like you're entitled to something quite often resulted in being entitled to something... especially if you had the rank to go with it.

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Topher Ridge

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Erron coughed once as the Krogan complimented him. A smile crept onto his face after a moment and he nodded. "Well I wouldn't put too hard of a crushing on the poor sap, it went down like lead but I can see the benefits."

Of course the inevitable question of his past was raised. A myriad of options had been brought forward for Erron's cover, that ranged from life time merc, to colony brat turned soldier of fortune. Though Erron in the end thought that something that involved a modicum of truth would be the best fit. So his past up to a few weeks ago was still on record, with only one difference; he had been disavowed by the Palaven government. It was actually official as well, at least until the mission was complete.

"Well it's a long story, but let's just say Blackwatch doesn't appreciate when you smuggle several crates of military grade weapons off world and pocket the profits. So I'm relatively new to the whole merc thing. Guess could say I'm popping my cherry on this gig."

The Turian took a look at the ID and stifled a laugh....it was clearly fake, but for what reason he had no idea. Why anybody would send a Krogan on a clandestine assignment was also beyond him. Most Krogans, hell this Krogan, were about as subtle as an angry thresher maw. "Well, how much do you know about Palaven military tribunals? Could've used you a few weeks ago."

The train slowed and came to a stop and Erron guessed that they had arrived at the site. Everybody started to mill out of the train car and Erron stood to join them. He gave the Krogan a pat on the shoulder. "Well guess I'll see ya around the ruins pal, gotta say you're not too bad for huge frog man hehe." With that he filed out with the others.

Once his feet hit the ground he took a look around...yep it was ruins alright. Erron sighed and decided to take a walk around. He was supposed to report to what ever field marshal was present up here. He figured he was a merc now, might as well take it easy for a bit and get a lay of the land.

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Die Shize

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Music OOC

“Blackwatch”. The name echoed in Durok’s head like a vorcha’s scream inside a krogan’s skull—whatever that meant. New or not, guy’s gotta be hardcore, that’s for sure. After all, working for a group called “Blackwatch” meant that you had to be hard-hitting or else you’d get hit hard. Like squishies when my fist finds their stomach. A chuckle threatened to boom into a laugh before a question shut Durok up and he thought about how to answer. Questions were not his strongest suit. Clubs were, though.

"Well, how much do you know about Palaven military tribunals? Could've used you a few weeks ago."

“Palaven military tribunals?” He pinched his chin. “That where the turians gather round in a circle and go smash-smash, punch-kick on each other till the stars are singing in their heads?” He emoted by shoving a fist into his opposing palm. “If so, I dig it like an asari in a dig site.” With no clothes on. Bet.

His smile had hardly faded when the train glided to a stop, an announcement coming over the speakers for all passengers to please exit from the nearest entrance. His turian neighbor stood up for just that as he patted a krogan on the shoulder of all creatures and places. It seemed a tad awkward but, then again, being in a train full of freaks was already a tad awkward.

Well guess I'll see ya around the ruins pal, gotta say you're not too bad for huge frog man hehe."

“Heheh! You should meet my daddy.”

Durok’s daddy was even bigger and badder but he didn’t quite have time to explain all that before the turian turned away and exited. Not one to sit on ceremony, the krogan followed suit—tried to, at least. Turned out that the space between the seats was even tighter getting out than getting in, so his bulky frame shifted to and fro, back and forth, the krogan grunting as he fought his way into the aisle with his foot finding some dumb human’s foot. The man yelped.

“Sorry, heheh!” Durok shrugged. “Shouldn’t have been there.”

All it took was a frog-man’s blink to silence any opposition on the scrawny scientist’s part. With that, Durok exited the train, looked around at all the idiot scientists and the giant rubble in the ground that reminded him of Tuchanka, and found what he was looking for with a lick of his lips. Some dumb salarian tried to stop his walk, holding up a hand with a tongue of: “Excuse me-krogan-but-I-have-to-wonder-what-exactly-brings-you-to-such-a-fascinating-discovery-knowing-full-well-that-krogans-can-hardly—”

Well suffice to say that Talks Too Fast got shoved aside and Shoves Aside found his way into the mess hall where he just might fill his belly full of beer. Heheh!
 
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