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Akaya Sheol

Sneaky Stealthy Drell Infiltrator

0 · 508 views · located in Freedom's Blade Conference Room

a character in “Mass Effect: Independence”, as played by Aracrexus


Special Operations Directorate Official Profile

Core Profile

Species: Drell

Gender: Female

Height: 5'3"

Age: 27 ESY

Skin Hue/Racial Morph: Red/Gold

Hair Color: N/A

Eye Color: Black sclera; faintly blue irises

Class: Infiltrator

Known Equipment & Gear

L338 "Lance"
Intended for relatively close (by sniper standards) engagements, the L338 Lance marksman's rifle is a semi-automatic precision rifle firing 8.53x62mm precision-tooled projectiles from a 10-round detachable magazine. A favorite of special forces and infantry marksmen alike, the Lance's large projectiles exhibit excellent subsonic performance as well as supersonic, allowing the velocity of the weapon to be adjusted in the field to permit silent shooting. While it is not as powerful or as accurate at long range as other, larger sniper's weapons, its light weight and handy size when fitted with a folding stock, combined with silent shooting capability make it exceptionally popular in situations where extreme range and tack-driving accuracy are less of a concern.

L2311 "Stalwart"
A tough, powerful and reliable sidearm, the Stalwart pistol is the weapon of choice for Union Officers, machine-gunners, biotics and snipers who need a dependable backup weapon. Firing 10x35mm ferrous slugs from a 18-round magazine, the Stalwart may not have the most powerful shots, or the largest magazine, but it strikes a compromise between the extremes which has made it extremely popular. With an enlarged, single-finger trigger guard and its magazine stored in the grip, the Stalwart, while by no means a small pistol, is far more compact than the previous generation of weapons, while still maintaining the edge in both power and magazine capacity.

Stealth Generator
Akaya aquired this experimental stealth device in Omega's black market, through a lot of blood, sweat and credits. With a few minor adjustments, it's become a staple of her equipment repertoire. Using active camouflage, the generator can mask its user for up to one minute per activation, with only minor 'recharge' times between sessions.

Modified Terminus Assault Armor
Tweaked to allow extra flexibility in the joint areas and integrated with her stealth net. Since her recruitment into SOD, she's taken it upon herself to repaint it with a slick new coat of — what else? — black.

Physical Profile

Akaya’s diminutive size and slight frame are clearly telling of her agility and deftness, or perhaps of mild malnourishment during her formative years. Her complexion spans a vivid panoply of reds and golds, interspersed in stark contrast by the black markings that arch above her brows, and that trace the lateral lines of her chest and back in bold stripes.

Innumerable faint scars draw fissures between her iridescent scales, each flaw etched enduringly both in body and memory. Most of these lie hidden beneath her apparel. Others are plainly exposed on her features, wordlessly indicative of a past fraught with strife. One especially notable mark runs jagged across her throat, a memento left by the edge of a blade.

The dark fathoms of her eyes are usually possessed of a certain sly gleam that betrays her iniquitous nature; her expression is generally one of distant apathy, with one side of her mouth occasionally quirking upward into a hubristic smirk. The voice that issues from said lips carries mild sardonic cadences identifiable in the customary drell rasp. Her movements are catlike: quick, fluid, silent, and always self-assured.

Akaya favors simple attire whenever possible, preferably dark in color. She has a particular affinity for hooded sweaters, of which she owns several.

Psychological Profile

Akaya's mannerisms are anomalous among drell, whose cultural proclivities tend to coincide with their hanar benefactors'. Indeed, one of the most succinct adjectives to describe her would be unconventional. Iconoclastic, impenitent, and illusory, Akaya is unabashedly renegade. Her allegiances lie foremost with herself and secondly with the highest bidder; her motivations center largely around what maximally benefits her prosperity, even at the expense of her compatriots. This cutthroat attitude, cultivated by just over a decade spent in some of the galaxy's most virulent locales, makes her a precarious ally at best.

She is capricious; compulsive; inclined toward spur-of-the-moment spontaneity, and has been known to deviate wildly from established plans and protocols for inscrutable reasons — yet her endeavors have solid rate of success, all the same. Akaya is impressively intelligent, with a marked talent for extemporization under intense pressure. She maintains a collected façade even in the face of abject defeat, and is disarmingly optimistic when confronted with life-threatening danger. Hers is a self-assurance born of a near-suicidal fearlessness and a firm belief that any situation can be weaseled out of.

While not necessarily talkative, Akaya often injects herself into social functions. She normally takes the role of the silent observer, hovering at the fringes of the conversation and occasionally throwing a word in when addressed or otherwise especially engaged by the subject of discussion. Her motive for attending these gatherings could be referred to as 'sinister' or just 'eccentric,' depending on who you ask: she's information-gathering. Her eidetic memory lends itself nicely to her field of work; Akaya's memories are just as immaculate and reliable as any digital archive. Everyone she's met — and their mannerisms, weaknesses and other caveats —become firmly entrenched in her psyche, to be dredged up and pored over at will.

Akaya has a certain fondness for getting under people's skin (or scales, where applicable). Those subject to her nefarious breed of attention might find personal items deliberately misplaced by just a couple of centimeters, or their extranet services inexplicably hacked, or their bank accounts mysteriously missing a couple of credits... among other things. Above all else, Akaya adores the intricate art of provocation, and derives a substantial amount of delight from seeing other people become gradually more frustrated at her hijinks. The same rings true in combative situations: angry opponents make mistakes — mistakes that she revels in exploiting.

The pressing need in her practice to be neither seen nor heard has created unshakable compulsions even outside the line of duty. Akaya favors low-light, low-traffic, quiet environments, and quickly becomes uncomfortable when forced to be the center of attention. She is paranoid about her privacy to a fault, and thus takes great pains to leave no record of her presence behind. She keeps no records, written or digital; she has as many pseudonyms as most people have socks; she flatly refuses to expound on her history if asked, or else lies outright. Akaya knows more than anyone how tenuous the path she walks truly is: the infiltrator can very easily become the infiltrated. Though she often prods and picks at others to uncover their vagaries, she is very adamant about keeping herself tightly sealed off.

Historical Profile

Akaya was born to a zealously subservient couple who were almost as devoted to the hanar as they were to spawning offspring. As former assassins themselves, they were adamant that each of their seven progeny (of whom Akaya was the fifth) follow precisely in their footsteps. Several years and one rigorous training regimen later, Akaya was turned loose as a machine of destruction, her childhood taken from her by a decision not even of her own making.

She was far from complacent in this — she resented what she'd been made into; resented the hanar; resented her own parents. She broke free of her Compact as soon as she was able and promptly tore her way across the galaxy to its filthiest den of sin and entropy, craving something to fill the emptiness in her spirit.

Omega was savage and turbulent, especially for a female barely on the cusp of adulthood. Akaya quickly became caught in its undertow, and emerged, like many others before her, a derelict. Cut off from her family, friendless and alone, she sought fleeting bursts of refuge among transient mercenary packs, whose constant squabblings served only to jade Akaya even further. It was on one incidence, as she watched a group who had fed and housed her for several months in exchange for her expertise be executed, one by one, by a rival gang leader, that something in her head clicked: she realized how vicious the universe truly was — and that the only way to survive it was to bite back.

Akaya found comfort in her identity as a destroyer, then. Whether it was eliminating data or eliminating lives, she embraced it whole-heartedly; savored it. It was the only thing that truly made her feel of worth. Her renown in certain circles grew to the extent that she no longer had to seek out contracts; instead, they came to her.

A few of those contracts placed her solidly on the Council's hit list, after it was leaked that she had been the one assassinating their informants. Akaya, of course, had been altogether unaware of this, her policy being one of 'less questions, more action.' Though the Council's reach didn't technically extend to Omega, that didn't stop them from making multiple attempts on her life. One narrow escape after another compelled her to take to the skies, fleeing for Unionist space in a desperate push for survival.

Prior to this incident, Akaya had deliberately refrained from taking sides on the delicate matter of the Council versus Everyone Else Shitfit-Extravaganza. It had never directly concerned her. Now, with the wrath of Citadel justice crashing down upon her, something new had been kindled, something that had broken through her stoicism and ignited a curious new emotion. She was furious.

Out of the throes of that fury loomed the SOD, with an offer that she was hard-pressed to refuse. They desired her skillset; she desired vengeance; it was a match made in heaven. Aboard the Freedom's Blade, she could put her years of meticulously honed talent to use — and get back at those who'd tried to take her out.

Misc. Notes

Avatar credit: merely-A at dA

So begins...

Akaya Sheol's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr
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The Skyllian Queen soared gracefully through space. Nearly 7 miles from her stately prow to the mighty engines at her stern, the ship was a marvel of Quarian and Geth engineering, the largest ever constructed. She had returned to the place of her birth, the galaxy-famous Rannoch Orbital Shipyards, where a million souls toiled day and night, synthetic and organic alike, for the glory of Black Star Trans-Galactic, producing hundreds of new starships every year. Floating, her engines on low burn, the massive liner drifted past enormous dock cradles where her two sister ships, the Attican Queen and the Terminus Queen were undergoing final assembly. Pinpricks of light, like tiny stars, flashed across their skeletal hulls as Geth assemblers welded the titanium supports for their ceramic skins. Standing alone, hands clasped behind his back, the man responsible for it all gazed out at this little slice of his empire through a docking port on the Queen's flank.

Standing at 7'2", Xander O'Tarin was an enormous, tank-like human, broad-shouldered and barrel chested. Flawlessly pressed black slacks and vest stark against the brilliant white of his high-collared shirt, the tycoon was immaculate in appearance. His hands, however, told a different story. Scarred, battered and calloused, they were hands that had seen hard work, clutched a blade, held a pistol. Hands that had killed on more than one occasion. The hands of a soldier and a mercenary. The leader of Black Star had not always led the life of privilege and power he enjoyed now.

Beside him, cradled in her birth, was a ship far smaller, yet almost as valuable as the massive liner she inhabited. The Freedom's Blade, a Blade-class stealth attack frigate, built in the tradition of the Human Alliance's legendary Normandy line. Sleek, crisp and dagger-shaped, the frigate wore the white and black livery of Black Star, the seven-pointed starburst splashed in matte black paint across her flank. Built for speed, maneuverability and stealth, she was beautiful, as much a work of art as a warship. Designed to slip unnoticed through enemy fleets, creeping past their defenses and ripping them apart with Casaba Torpedos before vanishing, her delicate, organic appearance disguised a deadly killing machine. But this Blade would serve a different purpose. Xander O'Tarin had taken great care in selecting her crew, and her commander.

The door behind him hissed open, and 18 figures filtered in. O'Tarin did not turn. The twin glass ovals perched on his large, aquiline nose were not simple spectacles, but smart lenses mated to the Queen's systems, feeding data from her cameras and databanks. Confirming the presence of his newest batch of SOD recruits. A motley band, assembled from every race and every corner of the galaxy, each uniquely talented in their chosen field. With Major Tarchus to keep them in line, and Commander Marshall to set their course and keep their moral compass clear, the old tycoon was confident that they would perform their duty. When the last of them had entered and assembled, he turned, removing the lenses and tucking them into a vest pocket.

"Officer on deck!" Maj. Tarchus barked, snapping her heels together and saluting.

"At ease, Major" O'Tarin chuckled, waving his hand dismissively "I'm not a soldier. But you are" he said, clasping his hands behind his back again, and walking slowly down the line.

"You are all soldiers. You have chosen, or been chosen, to serve the people of this galaxy. You have a long, hard fight ahead of you. I won't lie to you. Some of you may not come back alive. And we’re facing a dangerous foe. When Independance Day comes, the Turians are going to hit us with everything they’ve got. They’re not an enemy to be sneezed at, either. The Turian Hierarchy commands the largest military force in the Galaxy, and they’ve got centuries of experience behind them. But we have something they don’t. Those Turian soldiers, they’re fighting for a paycheck. For their masters. Masters they’ll never meet or speak to. You, and every other soldier of the Union, is fighting for more than that. We’re fighting for our homes, and our families, and our freedom. They think we’re peasent rabble, to be smacked back into place with a little show of force. They’ve underestimated us. They’ve underestimated our resolve, our commitment to our people and our cause. And it’s that commitment that is going to make sure that no many how many times they knock us down, we get right back up and hit back, harder. That’s the best advice I can give you: never back down, never doubt your convictions, and never let anything compromise who you are. You’re going to need all of that. You are a vital resource, a uniquely capable and promising fighting force. And you’re more than that: you’re an experiment, to see if what Shepard had was a fluke. If this kind of fighting force, in this kind of ship, has a place in the modern theater of war. We’re counting on you. Not just me and High Command, but every man, woman and child in Union Space. Good luck, godspeed, and make us proud” He stopped as he reached the end of the line. “Mister Marshall, you have the deck”

John Marshall lifted his duffle bag from the ground, and stepped out of line, turning to face his crew.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m honored to be your commander. I hope to get to know each and every one of you better, but for now, we have pressing matters to attend to. Our current mission is time-sensitive. Once your personal effects are stowed on the ship, you will report to the conference room on the Command Deck, behind the CIC. I will answer any and all questions there. Dismissed” Marshall hefted his kit, and mounted the gantry leading into the ship.

“Alright scrubs, you heard the Captain! I want your shit in your quarters, your kit in the armory, and your asses in the briefing room in thirty minutes!” Tarchus snapped, stalking up the gantry after Marshall.

Kai’Saaya reached for her bag, but straightened up as she felt Xander’s hand on her shoulder.

“Daaad, not now” she whispered. The human smiled.

“I know, I know. But I’ll risk tarnishing your reputation in front of the others. There’s something I want you to have” He said, leading her over to a tool cart near the bay’s entrance. There was a small bundle of cloth on it, thick and black with intricate interlocking line patterns in the same golden-yellow as the stripes on her flightsuit’s plating. O’Tarin picked it up, and handed it to her. “If you don’t know what that is, well, than I’ve failed as a parent”

“It’s a hood. For an old enviro-suit” Kai said, puzzled. “Is this... mom’s?”

“No. This is older. From when the suits were still necessary. This belonged to your great-great-grandmother. It was my good luck charm when I was, well, you know. Now, I think you’ll need it more than I” Xander said. There was something wistful, and sad, in his eyes. Kai stared at the ancient fabric in her hands.

“Thanks, dad...” she whispered, unsure what to think.

“You should probably go. Be careful with that. You’re the last of the Saaya family. I want to see you give it to your daughter”

“Damn it, you old bastard, you’re being a stereotype”

“I’m just teasing you” he chuckled “now go! They’re really going to think you’re a princess if you hold up the whole ship”

Kai scowled, then ran for the gantry, scooping up her duffle as she went.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr
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She’d been awaiting the summons for a long time; counting those interminable hours, that monotonous stretch of vapid days. Her hands had itched, her muscles tensed, and all the while there had been a certain yearning in the back of her head, one that was hardly unfamiliar. She’d craved action. Akaya hadn’t realized her intense, pervasive need for a purpose until she didn’t have one; until she’d been set adrift, hopelessly bored, as she’d waited for the Freedom’s Blade to finally come out of dry dock. She’d occupied a good portion of that time paging through her trove of memories, reminding herself what she was here for, what all this waiting was culminating toward — rekindling the seething antipathy toward the Council that still dwelled deep in her subconscious. Apart from that, there’d been no shortage of exploring on her part; she’d fulfilled at least part of her compulsion through indulgence of her wanderlust, lurking the less-travelled corners of the shipyards and the Queen alike, scouring square feet out of unquenchable curiosity.

Akaya had found ways to keep herself busy, yes; even so, the novelty had quickly worn thin. Being called at last to the Freedom’s Blade — what was, more or less, her new home — had been a relief. She stood among seventeen others, now, swathed in black from head to toe, occasionally shifting the weight of her worldly possessions between hands as the lot of them trickled into the room. The assemblage halted inside, fanning out before a human male whose wide silhouette she promptly recognized from prior sessions of research. Xander O’Tarin, she mused inwardly, not particularly surprised at his presence. She’d figured the man might make an appearance in the flesh; after all, the leader of the Black Star would surely want to see off this particularly important undertaking — to proffer a parting pep talk to the S.O.D.’s fresh meat before they zipped off into the stars toward their dangerous imperative.

He turned, and peering from where she’d taken her place at the leftmost end of the queue, Akaya could see a turian female further down promptly snapping to attention, her voice crisply reiterating what Akaya already knew. She, herself, did not bother saluting. With her hands clasped behind her back and her bag settled neatly on the ground before her, Akaya merely stood impassively, her head canted a few scant degrees as she listened. One brow quirked slightly upward at O’Tarin’s first words. Wouldn’t call myself a soldier, necessarily. Unless a soldier of fortune counted. While she had an adequate understanding of military decorum, Akaya couldn’t quite find it in herself to care about it. And though she certainly was good at killing, following orders wasn’t quite her forté; prostrating herself in displays of subjection, even less so. A soldier, maybe, but a poor one at best.

The man droned on. His words registered with her as he strode down the line, but only marginally. Her own conviction to the Union’s ideology was tenuous, at best. Politics and social movements had never been of any particular concern to her; all that had mattered had been survival. She’d extricated herself from Omega’s complex tangle of squabbling cabals and their affairs by acting as a faceless, impartial sellsword, not questioning or caring about the motive behind the job — just doing it, and collecting her reward. That much hadn’t changed. In a sense, then, this was just another contract, albeit one with the extra satisfaction of striking back at the institution that had sought to erase her. And that was motivation enough.

O’Tarin made way for another human male, and Akaya squinted, taking in his features, his bearing. Though not as physically imposing, Marshall still carried himself in a manner befitting his rank. His speech was brief in comparison, a mere establishment of directives before he turned and departed, the turian from earlier trailing in his wake — but not before snapping at the rest of the collective, of course; aggressively restating what, again, had already been established. Akaya contemplated whether that was what she was here to do — the S.O.D.’s very own redundancy specialist — and wrinkled her nose near-imperceptibly. She was vividly getting the impression that she wasn’t going to be especially fond of this particular compatriot.

In their wake, there was silence, broken by the shuffling of feet as the rest of the Blade’s crew drifted off to get settled in. No shortage of quarians, she reflected, but that had been anticipated. From what she understood, Union space was practically swarming with them. That wasn’t anything objectionable, of course; her place of residence had put her into contact with virtually every spacefaring species out there, and she’d become accustomed to the distinct psychological and cultural divergences of each. Quarians, she could tolerate. Turians, with their heavy insistence on respect and integrity? Not so much. They’d always grated on her.

Akaya lingered for a moment out of interest. Her dark gaze fell on O’Tarin again, who had stepped forward to have a word with a young quarian girl, one heavy hand resting on her shoulder. Interesting, Akaya reflected, observing the exchange, the gift, and the fact that she was referring to the human as her father. Akaya did not comment, did not pass judgment, only ruminated on it for a fraction of a second — and then filed it away, hefting her bag and slinging it over her shoulder as she strode toward the gantry. Thirty minutes — long enough to get her things situated, and then maybe do a spot of exploring, before the party really got started.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Layla Marie Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus
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Kosak’s armor felt especially tight today. Nervous stirrings flitted through his stomach, and his muscles jittered. Nonetheless, he trotted on.

The crew of the Freedom’s Blade shuffled awkwardly towards their vessel, none particularly eager to advance ahead of the crowd or speak especially loudly. Kosak’s four eyes raked over his compatriots carefully, scrutinizing each one. He recalled the strategy he’d always used during his time in C-Sec—identify allies, investigate assets, and anticipate threats. With a crew he knew so little about, this was difficult, but Kosak could already make rudimentary predictions.

There were a cluster of quarians, three humans, two asari, two krogan, two turians, a drell, a geth, and a volus. The quarians likely didn’t pose any threat, and perhaps they could even sympathize with the inequity his people faced. Allies. The humans, turians, and asari might not be so favorable towards him—most rarely came into contact with batarians, even on the Citadel and other dense population centers. The krogan and geth Kosak classified as threats. He was wholly unfamiliar with geth, never having seen one up close, although he had encountered more than a few krogan on the Citadel. They were temperamental, to say the least, and Kosak’s often-sarcastic demeanor did little to help. The drell perturbed him; she had seemed bored during O’Tarin’s speech, as if she was simply waiting for her next chance to kill someone. Threat. The volus could be an asset, he figured. When ruptured, a volus’ tightly-sealed suit could quickly become an improvised explosive device, with results that were messy, to say the least; C-Sec didn’t post signs saying Warning, Volus’ suits are pressurized for no reason.

The batarian cringed. What was he doing? These were the people he needed to make himself trust, not use and dispose of, not like others had done to him. The entire reason he had joined the Union was for the sake of his people, whom, he knew, could not survive isolated from other races, as they had been.

The Hegemony was living on borrowed time, anyway, he mused. Even if Shepard hadn’t wiped out Aratoht, the Reapers would’ve done it anyway; and even if the Reapers hadn’t come, the Alliance would’ve blown the Hegemony to bits in the next war.

Kosak resolved to put aside his prejudices, his predispositions. If he couldn’t how could he expect any other batarian to do the same?

And yet, nervousness and suspicion lurked within him. The commander of their vessel had seemed as trepidatious as he was—though his brief, uninspired words hid these feelings considerably less well than Kosak did. Was there really anything in him, or had he simply been appointed meaninglessly, to be some lackey to the Union’s higher echelon?

The turian executive officer grated on him even more. The stiff, militaristic yell in her voice as she’d addressed the crew had made him grind his teeth in irritation. Who was he that he deserved to be treated with that kind of derision? Some rodent in the streets?

It was better than his commanding officers in C-Sec, he supposed. They had treated him with fake grins and simple tones, like they were speaking to child—a buffoon. He could only hope that he’d get some semblance of respect. And besides--he was in the military now. The real military, not C-Sec or the Blue Suns or Blood Pack. A real military organization demanded respect, the yes, sirs and no, sirs that Kosak had never learned. He didn't know if he could.

He pushed his doubts aside as the crowd neared the end of the passageway. The sleek, dark craft came into view, and despite himself, Kosak felt awed.

It was the Freedom’s Blade.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Layla Marie Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus
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"Officer on deck!"

The Geth platform classified as G-UT-IP-73 saluted. The programs of the platform had extrapolated the intent of the statement mid sentence then come to a general course of action before it had finished. There was one chief reason not to salute, the small energy cost of the movement. There were multiple reasons to salute. Most centered around group trust and giving cursory information that the platform’s design was applicable to general military forces within the Union.

The platform stopped saluting when the call to ease was made. The leader of Black Star went into a short speech that the programs of G-UT-IP-73 identified as intending on boosting the personal motivation of those before him. As he did so, the programs went back to gathering and processing general information about the mission, the crew they were to be a part of, and other non-related topics. Though they made sure to store the information Xander O'Tarin was communicating.

The Geth of the prototype platform were close to finishing sorting through the operational briefing they had received three hours earlier when the platform had been activated. It had been speculated that they would be done before now, however the complication that had occurred during startup had been a setback.There had been 353 geth programs assigned to inhabit the G-UT-IP-73 platform. Now there were 356.

Upon startup there were two geth programs that were activated on hardware for the first time. These were programs that had been written specifically for implementation in this platform. Shortly after the installation into the prototype platform, due to the presence of these two first time activations there resulted in three new programs written. Creating a platform generation. Unfortunately this had created a situation where the platform’s “life-cycle” had been reduced from thirty down to seven years.

Despite this complication, it was decided by the Processing Power Heresy consensus that the prototype platform would still report to its live action testing environment. Considering that 7 years was still an adequate testing period. With the Council-Union war looming so close on the horizon, it was likely the project would either be implemented or canceled before G-UT-IP-73 was forced into decommission by the Hardware Limitation Revelation.

By the time Xander O’Tarin was finished with his speech and handed over the floor to Commander Marshal, the Geth of G-UT-IP-73 had finished processing the briefing data it had been provided with. They noted the orders to store personal and operational items after boarding the craft. The G-UT-IP-73 platorm did not have any personal items. The platform had also been shipped to the Freedoms Blade separately from its stock weapon, the staple of all union forces, which was likely already stored in the armory.

After the second order call came from the Turian Major, G-UT-IP-73 decided to report directly to the conference room and await the briefing there. The platform followed the rest of the crew into the Freedom’s Blade, pacing with the intention of not invading personal space while still reaching its destination as quickly as possible.

As the platform boarded the ship, it pinged the ships Geth Core. Simultaneously relaying relevant information about itself and its experiences, while also requesting specific and nonspecific information about the ship and the geth that inhabited it. To organics this was generally speculated to be similar to a greeting or salutation, though in actuality it was much more intimate than that.

At the end of the ping, G-UT-IP-73 attached a value associated with the total size of information processed in creating the message. Considering that the ships core was part of the General Collective and not the PPH Collective, this was observed by organics one of the very few Geth “Jokes”.

The first information sent in the reply from the core, “Rannoch is our home.”, was the “response” to the joke’s “call”.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr
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Doctor Heuran felt distinctly out of place. From the towering and powerful O’Tarin to the mighty Krogan, the slight drell to the battle scarred batarians. “You are all soldiers” - The young Lieutenant didn’t particularly feel like one, and that feeling was confounded as he nervously looked around at his companions. Doc Heuran had just been given access to the medical records of his new crew mates and had spent the last hour going through them on his sentry interface. There was an abundance of quarians – to be expected this deep in Union space – Zaan’Shiro, the sniper would be of particular concern, the quarian immune system had been improving but this one’s was still frail. He made a mental note to schedule a meeting with him to talk about antibiotic use. Looking down at the lone volus Heuran realised he’d have to revise his knowledge of the species, indeed any kind of treatment Uhlan would need would be problematic without a pressure chamber, again Heuran made a note of this. As O’Tarin continued his rousing speech, Heuran kept looking, the Krogan – battle scarred but all redundant organs accounted for, the drell – her lung function tests were promising, suggesting she had avoided the moisture of Kahje, the two turians – the rod would probably need a surgical removal from one of the pairs orifices, the asari – they would probably view his knowledge of their physiology as feeble, at 25 he was barely seen as anything more than an embryo, the batarians – they would find it hard to trust a human doctor and finally the Geth… well Doc Heuran was a doctor not an engineer.
What struck Heuran was that these people, these soldiers were far more battle scared than himself. True – he had been tested in battle, he had avoided fire while picking up civilian and ally alike- but he hadn’t been through the battles and campaigns the warriors and mercenaries around him had. Hueran was set up for an altogether different kind of warfare, the one that goes on in an injured body, of falling blood pressures and rising temperatures. He was adept at saving lives, but taking them was a skill that would need to be improved upon.
As Heuran built up a history of his patients, Commander Marshall stepped forward, and Heuran pulled up his file. His was the sparsest of all the files, his physical history was near complete and apart from a few broken bones and scars he was in prime condition. What truly interested Lieutenant Heuran was the psychological history; a wall of black tape was all that greeted his investigations. The Commander was clearly a complex individual – and for the S.O.D intelligence officers to completely scrub a man’s psych history it meant one thing, mental baggage. The doctor would have to keep an eye on him.
As the turian with an unfortunate intra-rectal implant barked them on to the ship Heuran gathered his equipment and moved forward, always gathering information, how a person carried themselves, how they walked, the scars they showed – the ones they didn’t. This assignment would be a tricky one, and as the embarked on their deadly imperative Heuran knew his skills would be tested to their extreme.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr
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After the brief speech by Xander O'Tarin himself, Caibus and the other members of the ground team of the USV Freedom's Blade wandered towards what would be their home for the forseeable future.

As they walked, Caibus couldn't help but examine his new team mates, he had worked with the majority of the spacefaring races since joining Black Star Trans-Galactic but that didnt mean he trusted them all from the get go. Being one of the tallest there allowed him to clearly see those who he would be working with over the months ahead, there were a multitude of Quarians, which, considering that they were one of the more common races that Black Star employed, didn't really surprise him, what did surprise him was the lone Batarian, Caibus had never really liked Batarians, but in a way had them to thank for his current position with Black Star (The pirates that attacked his shuttle just over a year ago had been mostly Batarians). He made a mental note to keep an eye on the Batarian before continuing his examination of the crew.

The three Humans present were, as predicted by Caibus, all much more attentive when Xander had been speaking. One of them, who was wearing the clothing of what was clearly a medical officer, matched his gaze, and looked away rapidly, obvioulsy intimidated by Caibus' sheer enormity. The other two, were simply walking with the group, neither of them paying significant attention to those around them beyond casual curiosity.

The Drell was also an odd sight, at least to him, one of the only races he had not had the opportunity to work with yet. He knew from the old stories of Thane Krios that Drell had a certain affinity for steal and infiltration, and her equipment certainly displayed that this was the role she had been chosen for.

Next were the two Asari, obviously they would be valuable assets to the team, with both their Biotics and centuries of experience with combat, at least he was assuming centuries, he also noticed that one of the Asari was walking with a much more purposeful stride, indicating to him at least, that this asari had more actual combat experience.

The Krogan that was present being the only one there that was taller that him, left Caibus a bit nervous, he didn't exactly trust Krogans as he felt that they were too short fused to be reliable on a battlefield. Of course that didn't mean that he wasn't glad they had a Krogan on their side, 'No team would be complete without a bullet sponge' he thought. However, Caibus decided that he would keep his interactions with that Krogan at a minimum, for now.

The Volus was... different, from the look of his envirosuit, he was clearly some sort of engineer, but one would think he would at least have made an effort to clean up before meeting his new commander, 'Then again' Caibus thought, 'The envirosuit surely would limit mobility, surely he just couldnt reach those spots on the suit'. Still, any engineer can look the part, just slather some oil and grime on their clothing and you couldnt tell one from the other, Caibus would have to see how the Volus performs in his role before passing further judgement.

Finally, the potentially strangest member of their group, was a single Geth platform, Caibus had heard old Pre-Reaper stories about the geth, about how they were more effective the more of them there were in a certain location, surely with just the one platform present, there would be little benefit to having it here, but, at the same time, he knew from various rumors and stories about Legion, the prototype Geth platform that had housed multiple Geth programs, that there were geth that were significantly more effective than numbers alone would indicate. Again, he would have to wait and see before making any further judgements on the Geths effectiveness.

Overall, some would say that the group was little more that a ragtag bunch of soldiers who had nothing in common, but they all knew that they had been selected for a very significant reason, they were some of the best at what they do, and Xander O'Tarin knew this very well, he wouldn't have chosen them otherwise.

As the group approached the docking bay where the Freedom's Blade was docked, Caibus felt anticipation growing inside him, he hadn't seen the Freedom's Blade at all, he had specifically avoided any information about the ships capabilities beyond that it was designed as a stealth frigate, and as the passed through the final bulkhead into the bay, Caibus heard a collective gasp as the group caught sight of their new home for the first time, black and white, sleek, shaped similarly to the Normandy, the legendary ship that spearheaded the final battle of the reaper war.

At that moment, Caibus knew for a fact that this was where he belonged, and couldn't help but have one single thought pass through his head, “This should be fun.”.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr
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#, as written by Gazelem
Dara’Shal stood as stiffly as a statute, hands clasped behind his back and eyes pointed straight forward—not that anyone could tell from behind his mask. His dress suit didn’t fit like it used to. Too loose around the arms, embarrassingly tight around the waist, and the itch at the small of his back reminded him that the water reclamation systems were acting up again. Not that he’d had to use it much, particularly in the last decade or so.

“You are all soldiers” the human O’Tarin began with a voice which was used to being heard and obeyed. “You have chosen, or been chosen, to serve the people of this galaxy . . .”

Dara’s posture remained immaculate, but he allowed himself a small scowl. He understood perfectly well why they couldn’t be given any details about their assignment before this point, but he was hoping for a little less pep talk about a bit more briefing before departure. From the personnel reports it was obvious that the Blade would be doing one-the-ground work behind enemy lines, hopefully more reconnaissance than sabotage and infiltration, but from what Britus had told him only Dara, the captain, and the XO had even been given that much. And apparently she had to go to considerable lengths to convince the Brass that Dara needed those reports to do his job.

“. . . shutup, shutup, shutup . . .”

Startled by the audio glitch, Dara surreptitiously started a diagnostic program on his suit’s systems, hoping that it wasn’t playing loudly enough for anyone else to hear. What would be causing that anyway? Maybe one of Telon’s pranks which he had missed, though this didn’t quite seem like him.

A moment later the audio loop stopped, but the report came back negative. But that couldn’t be right, unless someone had actually been talking. But who would be dumb enough to . . .

Stealing a glance to his right, Dara’s eyes grew wide and his mouth hung open. There were five Quarians in the lineup, which meant that the male in the ragged half-suit had to be Reegar. His report classified Hatjan’Reegar as “extremely unstable” and said he had been rejected after miserably failing a psychological test. So we’re going out with half the crew barely old enough to be back from pilgrimage and someone who should be in a care center, Dara thought, remembering to close his mouth and infinitely grateful that he had decided to wear the mask today.

Feeling the last bit of optimism he had about this post sink out of his chest and into the ground, he had his Geth schedule an audience with the captain at his next availability and began to wonder what the hell Britus had gotten him into.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr
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Alex had been waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive for five days. He always had a tendency to arrive early to his destination. Since he had no other assignments, he had decided to arrive on the Skyllian Queen a few days early. He hated those five days. There was nothing worse than being stuck on a bucket where you could be vaporized in the blink of an eye. He only ever relaxed once his boots were on the ground. Yeah, it had been a very grumpy five days. Now, his waiting was finally over. He filed into the docking slip among his new squadmates and took his place in the line. The man he identified as Xander O'Tarin began his speech. Alex just zoned him out. He had been in enough war zones to know the Commander's speech by heart. Something about them all being soldiers, followed by insults to their enemy to incite their anger, finished off by the usual "we've got something to prove, so let's go do it" business. He instead took his time to observe his new "friends".

The Turian Major stood at the head of the line, incredbly erect. Next to her was the ship's Commander, John Marshall. Alex had heard about the man's accomplishments. They were impressive, to say the least. The ship and her crew were in good hands. As he looked down the rest of the line, he noticed the abundance of Quarians. It was to be expected, being this deep in Union space, but it troubled Alex. Even with their immune systems recovering, they could become a liability if their suit was punctured during battle. He realized that one of them was quivering as he stood. Alex noticed the pieces of Turian and Asari strapped to the Quarian's belt. He made a mental note to stay as far away as possible from that one. As he continued down the line, there were two turians, another human, a krogan, a batarian, a drell, two asari, a geth and a volus. The last two were strange additions, but Alex did not mind too much. As long as they were capable soldiers, he would accept them on his team. He could tell everybody was surveying each other, but something was off. It took him a moment, and he realized that nobody was paying any attention to him.

He found this strange. Being one of the largest humans in existence, people usually gawked and stared as he walked by. His teammates paid him no attention. He chalked it up to the fact that he wore such normal clothing compared to the rest of the crew's flashy apparel. He had chosen a form-fitting dark grey shirt, and a pair of olive green cargo pants. He had even decided to dress up and left the sleeves on. His battered pair of aviator sunglasses sat comfortably on his nose, and his dog tags rested on the middle of his chest. He saw one of the asari glance at him, and gave her a small smile. It would do him no favors to make enemies with his teammates. He noticed that the majority of the people in line were looking at the Krogan. Alex had fought with and against many of these warriors, but he could tell that most of the crew had never seen one so close. The Krogan was large, and physically impressive. But Alex had fought bigger... and won. Regardless, it would do him good to become acquainted with the krogan. As stupid as they could be, if you managed to drill an idea through their thick crest, they would destroy worlds to defend it.

O'Tarin finished his speech, and the crew was dismissed. As the people around him filed into the ship, Alex rummaged through his bag and found the package of Batarian cigars his father had given to him back on Bekenstein. He lit the end of it, and drew in a deep breath of smoke. The cigars always reminded him of home, and never failed to cheer him up. He grabbed his bag, a cigar and smile on his lips, and sought out to find the most solitary area of the ship.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Layla Marie Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus
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Standing in the line of the new S.O.D. unit, Zaan's mind was wandering. He had arrived second and was so mixed up in his own thoughts that the other's gathered near him had not registered with him yet. He was replaying his last conversation with his foster father Hawthorne from two hours previous, the usual affair when Zaan set off on a new mission. Be dutiful, be efficient, andabove all, survive. That was always the bottom line with his chats with Hawthorne, and what he had learned to do since the pirate attack that ended a whole stage of his life. Survive. That was the word that defined his existence to this point. Every mission, every exercise, he always made sure that he came home. He never showed it outright, but through the years the connection between him and his foster father had deepened, and under the gruff military ways in which they interacted, there was a love there that only happen between a father and son. Zaan remembered his family clearly. His father, mother and sister, but that was a different life. he did not regret any of it, and the memories were dear to him. On the day they were taken from him though, that Zaan had perished along with them as he should have. The Zaan that lived and breathed today was a new Quarian, a expert marksman and when the need arises, a silent assassin in the distance. That was who he was, and in the end he would do as he had learned to live by and survive. If not for his own sake, then for the peace of mind of the father who took him in and raised him as his own.

It was not til the din died down and single powerful voice cut through the silence did Zaan snap back to reality. His senses awoke, and he took in his surroundings in a glance, his senses immediately registering every nook and cranny of the room. A mixed array of races stood shoulder to shoulder next to him. Human, Drell, Krogan, Turian, Asari, Geth, Volus, Batarian and a handful of his Quarians. Zaan didn't find it strange how when he referred to his own kind by name instead of 'His People'. By this time, he had lived the majority of his life with a human. Granted, the military life made you interact with all sorts of races, but he had ceased to identify himself a just a Quarian. He was nar Mareth, a Quarian with no ship to his name. Since the retaking of their home world the stigma of being a shipless had seeped away. Some still saw it as dishonorable to not affiliated oneself to a ship to call home when among the stars, but that fact had never bothered Zaan before. It was another reminder of a life gone by, but it made him remember who he was and where he came from, a fact he made sure he never forgot.

Zaan shifted on his feet uncomfortably as the speech wore on. He never liked being this close to people he didn't know. He was lethal from a distance, not up close. The sight of the massive Krogan and what he took as his human look-alike made him nervous. Sure, he knew he could outrun these behemoths, but Zaan never forgot how thin he was. He was lean with hard packed muscle from his marathons and training, but he held no doubt that if some of these people got a good hold on him, they could rip him in half. The other Quarians are what really took his interest though. Even though he couldn't really identify himself with them anymore, he always felt a soft comfort from being around them. They felt like his original home, of memory. He studied them more then the others. One instantly set him off. He twitched and mumbled incoherently from Zaan's position, but something about him rubbed him wrong. The next was an older Quarian at full attention. A quick glance over told him he was an older man, and from the way his suit fit around his person, past his prime. It seemed like they had pulled some old solider out of retirement or something for this mission, which struck Zaan as odd. The next was a young female who seemed to quiver in excitement. Funny, Zaan thought, since he was probably slightly trembling with apprehension of all the people so close to him. The last gave no telling signs, and seemed lost in his own thoughts. Zaan was reminded that the nice thing about the environment suits helmets was that it concealed facial expression, something he was constantly thankful for.

Other then the larger people and his fellow Quarians, he only spared the briefest of glances. He would get to know this people slowly over the mission, but for now they were just nameless people, and in his head were just referred to by race. He felt someone's gaze on him though, and in his peripheral vision he noticed the average human taking a long glance at him. His garb and the pre-documentation of the group make Zaan realize he was probably the ships medic. The stare made him uncomfortable though, and he tapped his thumb and middle finger together, a nervous habit he had not seemed to break.

The female Turian then barked out the next command, Zaan barely realizing he had really listened to anything the human before him had said. In fact, he was so absorbed in taking in his new squad-mates he only just caught the back of him. Just the man's profile mad him realize it was O'Tarin himself. Feeling ashamed at his carelessness, he listened more closely to the Turian as she explained what to do next. "Alright, drop my stuff off and meet in the briefing room. Zaan thought as he reached down and picked up his two dufflebags. One he threw over his shoulder, its contents shifting only slightly. The other he clenched in his right hand, making a slight rattle. He fell in line and moved at an easy pace, hoping his slight tremble from the almost claustrophobic closeness he felt being around these people made him feel.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr
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Caibus followed the others down to the armory to stash his gear. After finding an unused locker, he placed his armour inside, and walked over to the nearby weapons bench to inspect his weapons. He removed his Black Widow from it's case and gave it a once over to check if it had been damaged during transit, and, much to his relief, it had no damage beyond what was there already from prior usage.

His Boltru however, refused to extend from its stowing mode, but after a brief scan with his Omni-Tool found that it was only a minor software glitch that was easily fixed. He then placed both his weapons in his locker and headed towards the conference room for the briefing, as he was walking, the voice of their pilot, one of the quarians he saw earlier if the voice was anything to go by, came over the ships intercom announcing that they were departing from dock. As Caibus felt the ship come to life around him, and the thud as the docking clamps disengaged, he continued towards the conference room and the briefing that awaited.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr
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Arintha followed the others through the ship, belongings held closely at her side. She found a locker and started to put her things away, mostly clothes and the like. Looking around most of her other crew mates were storing away armor and weaponry galore, and she reached for where her gun was stored. It felt heavy in her hand. She hardly ever used it, she didn't get into many firefights (on the ground anyway), and yet she kept it anyway. For emergencies, was her logic, but even still it was mostly wasted on her, as she didn't have much skill with it. She sighed, no... guns were definitely not her forte. She set the shrike at the back of her locker and shut the door. She grabbed the rest of her things - her tools mostly - and went to find the shuttle bay.

She stepped into the room and saw the two ships, looking pretty dressed in black. She dropped her tools, and walked over to one of them, running her hand across the side. The US/VIP... so much better than the shuttles she was used to. She climbed in, going over the controls and basically getting a feel for the ship. She hadn't yet had a chance to fly one of these, but she'd gone over the schematics and from what she saw it would be child's play for her.

Just then she heard the pilot's, or who she assumed was the pilot's, voice come over the intercom, which brought her back into the moment. She had nearly forgotten the task at hand, she quickly exited the shuttle, stowed her tools by a work bench in the Shuttle bay, and made her way to Conference room. As she entered, she took one of the many empty seats, nodding or smiling at the people already seated. She sat back and waited, hands folded in her lap, for the conference to begin.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr
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'Achatus... It had to be Achatus' Caibus thought. Thinking back on why caused him to shudder slightly.

It had been during one of his training missions that had occurred in his time in the Turian military, part of the mission involved being left alone for 24 hours and subsisting purely on what could be scrounged up, of course provided with a pistol, a few magazines in the event that some form of defence is necessary, and a half dozen dextro ration packs. What no-one had known was that the location that Caibus would be left in was right in the path of a once a century migration route of an indigenous species, the Branuk. Averaging ten feet tall, nocturnal, and built like a bipedal Elcor, the last thing one would want to do is be caught off guard by one of these extremely territorial herd creatures, let alone an entire migration of them, and yet much to Caibus' disdain, and to the horror of his superiors when he reported his experience, this is exactly what happened.

The first few hours were fairly standard, he gathered materials to build a crude shelter, and started a fire to keep warm through the night and repel most things that may be curious of the lone Turian.
However, after the sun had set and Caibus had managed to get a few hours of very light sleep, a crashing through the nearby brush woke him, immediately he had his pistol drawn and trained on the direction the sound had come from, and could only look on in horror as not one but three large Branuk crashed through the edge of the trees and started sniffing around.

Fortunately for Caibus, he was downwind of the group, meaning that for the time being, they did not know he was there. As he slowly backed away, the three Branuk approached the area he had gathered the wood for the now extinguished fire from, and obviously finding his scent,let out a bellowing roar. It was all Caibus could do to not break his discipline and run off right then, instead continuing to back away slowly and hopefully without alerting the group of his present location.

Although his hopes were dashed when, much to his chagrin, he stepped on and snapped a small branch that had fallen from one of the trees in the canopy above him, “Oh come on” he thought “I thought that only happened in the vids” as he saw the Branuk all turn towards where the sound had come from, before letting out another roar and charging. Caibus immediately started firing at the three, dropping one with a well placed head shot before he had to turn and run, fleeing as fast as he could before the Branuk had a chance to catch him.

Luckily for him he was able to create a large enough gap between him and the raging beasts that he was able to climb up a particularly large tree, beyond the reach of even the largest Branuk. Since they are not the best climbers, instead preferring to use their immense strength, the larger of the two remaining Branuk started to charge and slam into the tree, trying to dislodge Caibus from his perch.

While this was happening Caibus had tried taking more shots at the two ravenous beasts below but with the shaking of the tree, he couldn't line up a shot and was just wasting ammunition, so the only thing that he could do was wait and hope that the two hulking behemoths either got bored or distracted by an easier target.

Much to Caibus' relief he heard another roar off in the distance and, evidently, the the Branuk did too, so they both roared at him before storming off into the brush. Waiting half and hour to be sure they weren't coming back before climbing down from his perch. He returned to his camp-site and set up for the rest of his field op, which was much less intense and stressful.

Snapping out of the flashback with a shake of his head, Caibus could only wait to see what this mission would hold, hopefully it would not be as bad as that training mission long ago.