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Mass Effect: Independence

Skyllian Queen Docking Slip 1/13

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a part of Mass Effect: Independence, by Screwface Romeo.

Slip 1/13: The docking port assigned to the USV Freedom's Blade aboard the USV Skyllian Queen.

Screwface Romeo holds sovereignty over Skyllian Queen Docking Slip 1/13, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

235 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

http://www.bioware.com/en/games/#mass-effect http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/mass_effect_wiki

Setting

Located on Bay Deck 1, Slip 1/13 is the Freedom's Blade's home away from home, a place for her to dock for maintenance, refueling and repairs when her crew have business aboard the Queen.
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Skyllian Queen Docking Slip 1/13

Slip 1/13: The docking port assigned to the USV Freedom's Blade aboard the USV Skyllian Queen.

Minimap

Skyllian Queen Docking Slip 1/13 is a part of Skyllian Queen Bay Deck 1.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Corporal Kosak Nor'amon Character Portrait: Seleria Rula Character Portrait: Alex T. Whitcomb Character Portrait: Char Galeko vas Grimoire Character Portrait: Zaan'Shiro nar Mareh Character Portrait: Hatjan'Reegar vas Gerrel Character Portrait: Lieutenant Samuel Heuran Character Portrait: Cormack Uhlan Character Portrait: Gy. Sgt. Rakanor "Gunny"  Karack Character Portrait: Caibus Ursilius Character Portrait: Trooper G-UT-IP-73
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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: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Corporal Kosak Nor'amon Character Portrait: Seleria Rula Character Portrait: Alex T. Whitcomb Character Portrait: Char Galeko vas Grimoire Character Portrait: Zaan'Shiro nar Mareh Character Portrait: Hatjan'Reegar vas Gerrel Character Portrait: Lieutenant Samuel Heuran Character Portrait: Cormack Uhlan Character Portrait: Gy. Sgt. Rakanor "Gunny"  Karack Character Portrait: Caibus Ursilius Character Portrait: Trooper G-UT-IP-73
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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: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Corporal Kosak Nor'amon Character Portrait: Layla Marie Character Portrait: Seleria Rula Character Portrait: Alex T. Whitcomb Character Portrait: Char Galeko vas Grimoire Character Portrait: Zaan'Shiro nar Mareh Character Portrait: Hatjan'Reegar vas Gerrel Character Portrait: Lieutenant Samuel Heuran Character Portrait: Cormack Uhlan Character Portrait: Gy. Sgt. Rakanor "Gunny"  Karack Character Portrait: Caibus Ursilius Character Portrait: Trooper G-UT-IP-73
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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: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Corporal Kosak Nor'amon Character Portrait: Layla Marie Character Portrait: Seleria Rula Character Portrait: Alex T. Whitcomb Character Portrait: Char Galeko vas Grimoire Character Portrait: Zaan'Shiro nar Mareh Character Portrait: Hatjan'Reegar vas Gerrel Character Portrait: Lieutenant Samuel Heuran Character Portrait: Cormack Uhlan Character Portrait: Caibus Ursilius Character Portrait: Trooper G-UT-IP-73
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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”.

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Char flexed his fingers in anticipation. He wasnt really paying attention to the human officer's speech.

"I know what I signed up for. I know what we're up against. Just give me orders and i will follow them" he thought to himself.

He started to make notes of the various crew members boarding the Freedom's Blade with him.

"A lot of fellow Quarians here. Though Im not suprised given this vessel's origins. Humans are tad unpredictable thanks to their large diversity in personality. I just hope the doctor di. his homework on Dextro biology. A Krogan too? I've never worked with a Krogan before. Their typical enthusiasm for combat and bravado should be fairly entertaining. That Batarian... I havent seen one of them for a long time. Im honestly suprised their species survived the Reaper War given what happened to their home system. I... should probably keep that to myself."

He was lost in thought, but quickly snapped to when the crew was at least 10 feet in front of him heading towards the ship. He grabbed his first duffel bag and slung it across his back and grabbed the second with his left hand. "And so it begins!" He said aloud, though he only gets puzzled looks in response. He pulled up his right omni tool and looked over schematics for the weapons to be issued to the crew aboard the ship, making plans on ways he can customize these weapons.

"What i have planned for these weapons... will probably be illegal."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Corporal Kosak Nor'amon Character Portrait: Seleria Rula Character Portrait: Alex T. Whitcomb Character Portrait: Char Galeko vas Grimoire Character Portrait: Zaan'Shiro nar Mareh Character Portrait: Hatjan'Reegar vas Gerrel Character Portrait: Lieutenant Samuel Heuran Character Portrait: Cormack Uhlan Character Portrait: Gy. Sgt. Rakanor "Gunny"  Karack Character Portrait: Caibus Ursilius Character Portrait: Trooper G-UT-IP-73
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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.

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‘There he is,’ thought Cormack, ‘the head honcho. The big cheese himself. King of the Earth-clan... He seems younger in the vids.’

“Officer on deck!”

‘We don’t have to salute do we? Oh look the robot’s saluting. Typical artificial behaviour. I never understood saluting. I’ll show you my hand and that means I respect you? Waste of time if you ask me.’ Cormack looked around examining the Skyllian Queen. He had never been one for interior design and decoration, but the shape of the ship was art to him; the soft humming of the engines was music in his ears. O’Tarin babbled on, ‘You’re going to save the galaxy. Only through the power of friendship will you prevail’, or some such rubbish. Cormack didn’t care. He just wanted to be in the hull of his ship, not up here listening to some old man grumble on.

Cormack looked left and right, examining his new crewmates. ‘A lot of Rannoch-clan here. A lot of Rannoch-clan everywhere these days. Amazing feat, considering their history. Earth-clan, Palaven-clan… Tuchunka-clan? Oh dear.’ Cormack had been told stories of the Tuchunka-clan as a boy, how they would sneak into the rooms of naughty boys at night and rip their arms off. Or how they killed an entire alien species thousands of years ago. Cormack has always thought the genophage had been a good thing, because he was terrified of Tuchunka-clan. He continued to inspect his new friends. ‘Thessia-clan. Wonderful. Although I may have to try to keep them off me, we have important missions to do here. I should tell them at the first opportunity I get. No Thessia-clan, you may not have a piece of this whenever you please.’ He had a history with members of the Thessia-clan, or so he believed. One when on a date with him after he had just joined Black Star. It was nothing serious, she did it out of pity mostly, but Cormack has had somewhat of an obsession with those blue beauties ever since.

“Alright scrubs, you heard the Captain! I want you shit in your quarters…”

‘What a charming Palaven-clan,’ he thought, ‘I think I’ll stay out of your way.’ Cormack followed the others out. He found himself walking right behind the Tuchunka-clan, his leathery ass wobbling in Cormack’s face as he walked. Behind him walked the Kar’shan-clan. Cormack felt a shiver go down his spine. ‘Why do I get the feeling he’s looking at my suit?’

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Character Portrait: Arintha Artese
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Arintha looked around the enormous Skyllian Queen. Truly impressive, she thought, its eezo core alone must be bigger than half the ships here. It was a beautiful vessel, and sitting there in front of her just as prettily was the petite stealth recon frigate, the Freedom's Blade. Her new home, for however long she'd be needed. Arintha wasn't completely familiar with the engineering of it, but she knew enough to be impressed. She hadn't worked on a ship such as this for a long time, having been used to smaller passenger shuttles and planetary vessels. She was excited, to be truthful. She didn't yet know what exactly her work here would entail, she could only hope that her actions in S.O.D would help to benefit the people of the galaxy, that this varied team standing beside her would become a formidable force.

She took in the collection of individuals that were to be her new crew mates. An interesting assemblage, she thought. There was another Asari, such as herself, which provided a comfort in her that she wouldn't be alone in sharing her culture. A krogan and a drell, both of which looking like they've seen their fair share of conflict, if the scars were anything to go by. Geth, volus, turians, a whole conglomerate of Quarians, and two humans also stood among them. One human, the Commander, was a formidable looking man, who Arintha thought suited his role as their leader. The other a young medical professional, who seemed to fidget about, nervous. Lastly she spotted the lone Batarian, and twinge of sadness came over her. She remembers, so clearly, when the news came of the Batarian worlds being near annihilated at the hands of the reapers those centuries ago. How their population was on the brink and their refugees flooded into anywhere they could. After the war, no one, especially not the Council, had even cared abut their fate, or really the fate of any non-Council race. Which was why Arintha had trekked out to the outer systems of the galaxy, helping those that she could. She has spent most of her many years post-Reaper War in the outskirts of the galaxy, doing whatever work she could find. She had felt the neglect the Council had had towards the worlds outside Council Space, and their actions (or lack thereof) were what had pushed her into the arms of the Union, and of BSTG.

The turian woman stepped forward and snapped a shrill command, and a large imposing human stepped forward. Arintha recognizes him as Xander O'Tarin, leader of the Black Star Trans Galactic. He gave a stirring speech, which only reaffirmed why Arintha had agreed to join SOD, to unite all species and systems. As O'Tarin finished, Commander Marshall stepped up, giving his straightforward commands to put your things away and report for duty, and once again the Turian Major barked a harsh order. Arintha picked up her bag. She didn't have an overabundance of personal items, a few keepsakes, clothing, her tools. Her most important items were probably the small collection of holos she had in her bag. Many of them featured her with another asari, with striking violet skin and a regal pose. Arezza T'Peara... Arintha's first bondmate. Also pictured was a small asari child, their daughter Kasra. The two had died trying to escape Thessia during the invasion by the reapers, and Arintha's memory of watching their shuttle being shot down was as vivid as that of any drell. Other of the holos held pictures of a batarian man, laughing or smiling, usually covered in engine grease of some sort. Uratokk, who came after Arezza by more than half a century, and lived with Arintha for over half a century more. Arintha had met him during her time in Batarian refugee camps, and they had been happy together, even with all the conflict in the galaxy.

Arintha smiled, walking with the rest of the crew onto the Freedom's Blade, bag in hand, reminiscing about her past loved ones. She knew that whatever she would be doing as a SOD agent would be important, and would effect not only her but many many people in the galaxy. And she was ready for it, to take on whatever responsibilities befell her. She looked around once again at her new crew mates. These people were soldiers and mercenaries and even killers. She didn't know them yet, only had her own vague assessments of them to go off of, and she certainly didn't yet trust them. But she was hopeful that, in time, she would be able to.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arintha Artese Character Portrait: Akaya Sheol Character Portrait: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Corporal Kosak Nor'amon Character Portrait: Seleria Rula Character Portrait: Alex T. Whitcomb Character Portrait: Char Galeko vas Grimoire Character Portrait: Zaan'Shiro nar Mareh Character Portrait: Hatjan'Reegar vas Gerrel Character Portrait: Lieutenant Samuel Heuran Character Portrait: Cormack Uhlan Character Portrait: Gy. Sgt. Rakanor "Gunny"  Karack Character Portrait: Caibus Ursilius Character Portrait: Trooper G-UT-IP-73
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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: Flight Lieutenant Kai'Saaya nar Fairstarr Character Portrait: Commander John Marshall Character Portrait: Major Kyrinne Tarchus Character Portrait: Dara'Shal nar Kaddi Character Portrait: Corporal Kosak Nor'amon Character Portrait: Seleria Rula Character Portrait: Alex T. Whitcomb Character Portrait: Char Galeko vas Grimoire Character Portrait: Zaan'Shiro nar Mareh Character Portrait: Hatjan'Reegar vas Gerrel Character Portrait: Lieutenant Samuel Heuran Character Portrait: Cormack Uhlan Character Portrait: Gy. Sgt. Rakanor "Gunny"  Karack Character Portrait: Caibus Ursilius Character Portrait: Trooper G-UT-IP-73
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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.