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Layla Marie

Special Operative

0 · 423 views · located in Milky Way Galaxy

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


Established by a congress of 45 star systems, the USP, commonly referred to simply as "The Union" is an interstellar democratic federal republic dedicated to personal freedom and equality in the Galaxy.
Commander Marshall's comrades in arms aboard the USV Freedom's Blade
The Union's Elite Special Ops command, the S.O.D. is responsible for coordinating Union intelligence and black ops, effectively serving as a counter to the Council's SpecTRe Office



Special Operations Directorate Official Profile

Core Profile

Species: Human

Gender: Female

Height: 5'9"

Age: 34 ESY

Skin Hue/Racial Morph: Black (Earthborn turned spacer, raised in Jamaica)

Hair Color: Black

Eye Color: Glowing blue/silver, similar to the Illusive Man's.

Class: Sentinel

Known Equipment & Gear

L95 "Liberator"

A sturdy, reliable and lightweight assault rifle, the 7x40mm L95 is the weapon of choice for both Union forces, and others across the Milky Way, including the human Systems Alliance's military. Developed by Black Star to provide a flexible, reliable and easily mass-produced weapon for the Union's military forces, what the Liberator lacks in power and accuracy, it makes up for in dependability, magazine capacity, and sheer numbers.

Easily modified, the Liberator is composed of an upper and lower receiver assembly, which can be swapped out at will to adapt the weapon to any given mission. Common modifications include replacing the upper receiver with particle beam emitter and swapping the standard 100 round magazine for a particle cartridge/expanded battery pack for space combat, applying a shorter upper assembly to create a compact Personal Defense Weapon for pilots and vehicle crews, swapping magazine and barrel to allow for the firing of 18.5mm (12g) disintegrating shot-cups to create an automatic shotgun, and switching the lower receiver for one with an integrated 25mm semi-automatic smart grenade launcher.

Cerberus Retrofitted Phantom Armor

Image Below

Created by The Illusive Man's engineers during the Reaper War, the Phantom Armor was originally made for highly modified biotic humans to move around the battlefield very quickly and focus biotic attacks through the palm. Its wearers were nicknamed 'Phantoms' for their biotic and acrobatic prowess. Operative Marie admired the design and mobility of this armor and salvaged a set off of a dead Phantom. This design has been repurposed to also support tech attacks the same way it supports biotics. Layla also made the helmet removable, which it wasn't previously to hide the nightmarish husk faces of the Phantoms. It acts as a fully functioning spacesuit when the helmet is equipped.

Reaper Tech Enhancements

Operative Marie became obsessed with the Reapers as soon as she grew old enough to understand them. Even though their remains may be scarce or forbidden nowadays, she has gone to great length to track down even the tiniest bits of Reaper technology to understand it better. When she does figure out just what she has bought, she will sometimes try and integrate it into her own body. The most significant artifact she bought on the batarian black market was supposed to belong to Harbinger himself, although Layla's tests show it being considerably younger. It was a "brain" fragment of sorts, just a minuscule component of what made the Reaper tick, but even such a small amount of the Reaper's data was near incomprehensible to a human. Against every recommendation she heard, Operative Marie integrated the fragment, already a synthesis of organic and synthetic life, into her own brain. It heightened her combat ability, reflexes and boosted her intelligence to near genius levels. It also began to taint her body. Some of her veins on her torso and hands turned dark blue/black, her eyes began to glow, and she has nightmares virtually every night about the Reapers, and an ancient avian race that she suspects was harvested to make the particular Reaper whose data she integrated. She swears that she sometimes hear whispering in the back of her mind, too.

Physical Profile

Layla Marie is average height and build. She is very proud of her hair, which she tries to maintain despite the hard conditions she often finds herself in. Her eyes are obviously a concern to some, and she finds herself wearing sunglasses in public if just to avoid annoying questions. Otherwise, she is proud of her 'mark' of Reaper tech.

She agrees to wear whatever is protocol, out of combat, but she has stitched the Cerberus symbol into the chest of her clothing.

Psychological Profile

Operative Marie is, above all else, dedicated. She will kill or be killed before she admits defeat. She has a strong passion for understanding the universe around her. She has her masters in xenobiology and has studied hands-on on many different planets. She also is beyond obsessed with the Reapers, and has published many papers on them and their origins. She used to be a respected, if junior, scholar in the field, until she implanted the Reaper tech into her brain. After that, the scientific community blacklisted her as an unstable fanatic who was using the Reapers to farther her own self interests.

She is a very ambitious woman and always shows what she wants. She has spent so much time alone that she will have trouble readjusting to having a social life of any kind aboard a spaceship. She also has never been in such close quarters with others and feels anxious around too many people, especially aliens. She adopts a pragmatic stance when dealing with mission objectives that may seem cruel to some, but efficient to her.

Her dedication to Reapers and life on a spaceship has granted her an appreciation of technology, and she can claim to understand it and manipulate it better than the average person. She is also a biotic, but with more advanced technology she suffers relatively few drawbacks. Her parents wanted her to study biotics with the asari and become an adept, but Layla always preferred technology.

While she has a fascination with other planets and species, she does recognize that humanity needs someone looking out for its special interests. Layla's great grandfather, Simeon Marie, was one of the first members of Cerberus when it was a black ops group and he served very closely with the Illusive Man. Simeon was killed when he tried to oppose the Illusive Man's indoctrination, but ever since the Maries have been staunch supporters of the original idea of Cerberus: humanity's watch dog among the stars. Cerberus has always held a very special place in Layla's heart.

Historical Profile

Layla was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised there until she was 18, where she enrolled in a prestigious college on the Citadel. During her childhood Layla was relatively well off. Her mother raised her while her father was an operative for a Cerberus splinter group trying to gain power and restore the good name of Cerberus as indomitable allies of humanity and watchful friends of aliens. He was killed just days before Layla's high school graduation by the "remnants" of the Illusive Man's Cerberus. Layla's mother always had a fascination with the asari and wanted Layla to study among them. Up until her father's death, she was going to Thessia to learn under the apprenticeship of Matriarch Oridalya. That changed when her father was killed, and Layla took a year off to help her mother and then went to the Citadel to study xenibiology and intergalactic relations. She knew that she couldn't run away from her destiny. As a Marie, she was Cerberus through and through.

After graduating with her masters in xenobiology, Layla largely became an independent scholar. She bought her own ship and learned to pilot it herself, and she went to many remote and unexplored planets to study their flora and fauna. She believed that in order to support humanity's role in the galaxy, she needed first to understand what role it could play. She traveled to several capitol planets of other aliens, including Tuchanka, Thessia and Sur'Kesh, in an attempt to learn about the people there. During her travels she became knowledgeable of technology, capable of using skills such as incinerate, cryo blast and neural shock. She also practiced her biotics and was fond of defensive abilities such as barrier, stasis and lift.

Simultaneously, she became involved with Cerberus, or rather the traditionalist splinter group that called itself Cerberus. This group boasted around 2,000 members, mostly political activists and scientists pushing the boundaries of humanity's knowledge, like Layla. She eventually rose in the ranks and by age 30 became its leader. She knew the dangers brought on by the association to Cerberus by those ignorant of her cause and playfully referred to herself The Illusive Woman to hide her identity. She became an information broker for the Alliance, trading secrets and information about other species to give humanity an edge. She found that the Alliance was willing to pay more from a human source than the Shadow Broker, so Layla would buy from the Shadow Broker and other aliens and sometimes make a profit selling to the Alliance. Layla is a known Cerberus advocate but nobody knows of her position as the so-named Illusive Woman.

Always obsessed with the Reapers, coming into power of the Cerberus network didn't help her addiction. She began to use the resources of Cerberus to buy any Reaper artifact she could find, including the brain fragment. She was a known scholar on the Reapers and the way they operate, as previously noted, until she was ostracized from the community by implanting the brain fragment into her own brain. She felt betrayed by this, and it further drove her into the arms of Cerberus. She did what she did in the name of advancing the cause of humanity.

By the time she turned 34 she had realized the strength of the Union. Her network had grown into around a billion credit operation; only a fraction of what Cerberus was, but it was a start. Most of the credits went towards her information network, but a large subset was set aside for buying Reaper tech and experimenting with it. Layla decided to support the Union over the Council, and The Illusive Woman declared her support of the Union to show that Cerberus really had changed. She forwarded her identity, her actual identity as the head of this group, to Xander O'Tarin in a show of honesty and transparency. Hours later, she received a request to join the S.O.D. Layla's real goal here is strategic; much of her Cerberus's resources are spent buying information. She hopes to make connections in S.O.D. and actually get in the business of getting information from its source, freeing up credits to go to rebuilding Cerberus.

Misc. Notes

She actively opposes any other Cerberus branch, calling them heretics and defilers of Cerberus's name, although she would die before seeing her own branch of Cerberus destroyed or dismantled.

She doesn't neccesarily agree with all of the Union's ideals, but rather allied herself with them for political reasons. Her views on aliens are very similar to the "human sics his beloved dog on a bear to escape" metaphor of Ashley Williams.

So begins...

Layla Marie's Story

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: 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.