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Mass Effect: On the Edge - Redux

Sephoroy

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a part of Mass Effect: On the Edge - Redux, by Aion's Anima.

A garden world in the Ptolemy System, Kepler Verge.

Aion's Anima holds sovereignty over Sephoroy, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

294 readers have been here.

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

http://masseffect.bioware.com/ http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/mass_effect_wiki

Setting

ImageAttican Traverse > Kepler Verge > Ptolemy System

Garden world. Planetary specs and data pending.
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Sephoroy

A garden world in the Ptolemy System, Kepler Verge.

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Setting

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vala Katarina Buchan Character Portrait: Malina Topor Character Portrait: Martin Grien
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"Attention all hands. Mission is a go. We are now Code: Blue. I say again... Mission is a go. We are now Code: Blue." The primary hangar, home of their impressive fleet of Kodiak transports, immediately dropped into the blue hue overtaking the majority of the vessel, silhouetting the the figures quickly approaching the lone Kodiak hovering just off the hangar floor.

Four of the figures were nearly identical in their armour, sleek, light-less black that nearly disappeared into the dim, leaving only the faintest trace of the orange designs carved into their equipment. While the actual designs on the armour differed, each of the helmets possessed the same snarling, fang-filled grin and sharp 'eyes' wrapped around the small sockets on the helms for their users to see through. Each belonged to the Nightmares, the Eye of Infinity's commando unit that handled tac-operations as well as the...more clandestine operations that even Cerberus needed some distance from.

Following close behind came the chosen 'squad' for the Commander herself, although neither particularly looked liked they belonged among the commandos that boarded before them. The woman lead the two, not wearing her helmet just yet as her pierced lip moved soundlessly in what was likely annoyance, pushing a hand through her dark, blue streaked hair as the larger figure followed in her wake.

There was little to discern about the man encased within the thick combat armour covering his frame, although the armour itself looked as if it had been sent through hell and patched up a dozen times over. His helmeted head bobbed in time with seemingly silent cues from his companion, hands tapping idly on the heavy pistol at his hip. The two stopped just short of the ship, the woman glancing back at the Commander who approached with fluid strides. "Why exactly am I here again?" She asked dryly once the officer was within ear shot.

"Because you're rather familiar with ships and the like, Malina." Came her even reply, the face-plate of her helmet retracted back up along the top of the helm to keep her face visible prior to the mission. "And while I can drag any number of technicians down to the surface with me, in the worst case scenario, you're at least a reliable shot with that handgun." She gestured lightly to the predator pistol on her hip. "Besides, I pay you, remember?"

"You pay me to fly, not to walk into ghost colonies." Mal grumbled in annoyance, but the mercenary dutifully climbed aboard the Kodiak with a grunt. The commander looked to the armoured figure, before his companion barked from inside. "Martin, get in! We're not getting any younger." He complied with a light shrug, hauling himself up and situating himself inside as Vala gave the hangar a quick once over.

Another Kodiak was boarding a few troops, likely Commander Horn's standby teams. One of them, clad fully in the curious armour the small team was uniformly wearing, noticed her attention, and while no time could be spared for pleasantries, she gave the trooper an affirmative nod which was quickly returned before she climbed into the transport and the door sealed itself shut. With nearly perfect timing, the Captain came over the mission comm channel.

"Commander," Titus said, his voice firm and resolute in her ear, "you're clear to execute. I'm counting on you to bring us back some answers. Good luck." She gave a quick glance down to the pilot, who wasted no further time pulling the ship out of the hangar and into the void of space.

"Executing now, Captain." She replied evenly, tapping a small indent on her helmet to close the visor. As it sealed shut, the HUD initialized and quickly brought the world back to her senses, as she continued into the comm link. "Stand-by teams, how copy?" A second later, several 'Good copy' came back from the marine teams. "Excellent. We'll keep you posted. Buchan out."

Her HUD brought up the status of her armour, and she gave it a cursory glance even though she'd already double checked prior to even putting the suit on. Her own personal set, the 'Nyx' as the armorers had once called it, was built and designed with her specifically in mind. Light-weight, it used traditional ceramic armour only in areas of low flexibility, such as the chest or shins. Beneath the plating, the suit's 'skin' was comprised of a reinforced synthetic weave, which offered the full range of motion heavy plating would restrict, while being far more resistant to weaponry than any squish skin could be.

The helmet's outer face was sleek and unadorned, with a slight indented ridge where it sealed when shut for the thin visor of orange running curved towards the helm's chin. The only real embellishment to the armour were thin, dim LED light stripes of orange that traced along the lines of the armour, barely noticeable but providing the smallest hint of colour along the frame of the gear. Satisfied everything was in perfect shape, she looked towards the forward view port as they drew closer to the colony world.

It didn't take long for Vala to notice the thick clouds rolling across the planet's sky. "What's the weather like down there?" She inquired, leaning partially over the pilot's shoulder as his helmet turned partially to her.

"Seems like a storm system is rolling in on the colony, Commander. The Kodiak won't have any troubles with any old storm, but judging by those clouds it's going to be a rather nasty one. Lots of rain and thunder, I'd bet." Visibility would likely be poor in a storm of that size, which would be beneficial to most of her normal operations, but not one that had her hunting for clues.

"I hope you like the rain then, Chekan."

"Love it." He grinned through his external speakers, before returning his full attention to the task at hand.

She looked back to her troops, giving them a once over out of habit. Operative Tachi looked practically unconscious, head leaning dully on the shoulder of Operative Arcsberg, who worked soundlessly on his omni-tool even as he leaned partially down to accommodate the shorter commando as a head rest. She gave the lightest of smiles beneath her helmet, before looking at the pair across from them, who were having a rather rapid conversation about the nature of colony systems.

Gravette and Marczak were technology experts, each more akin to a walking encyclopedia and always eager to discuss the deeper mechanics of their craft. She was content to let them continue their discussion, seeing as they'd likely just lose her if she tried to follow it any closer. She caught the ice blue of Malina's eyes staring at her from the rear of the transport, and the Commander moved closer as the shuttle began re-entry into the atmosphere with only a minor bump of turbulence. "I didn't let you fly..." She began knowingly.

"Don't act like you know what I'm thinking." The merc pilot shot back, even if her slightly raised voice betrayed that she'd hit the nail on the head.

"...because it's best to keep someone on board the transport on the off chance something is still down there." Mal's frown dulled slightly, knowing the logic behind the decision but still less than thrilled about having to ride in the back. "You can drive next time, I promise."

"You spoil her, Vala." Martin intoned softly, bringing the women's attention to him. Seated just beside his fellow mercenary, the soft-spoken man mechanically looked over the M-55 Argus in his grip, which looked just a beat to hell as his armour did. "It's good for her to ride every now and again. Makes her remember what it's like to be a passenger to someone else's whims." Despite the apparent edge to his words, there was no malice in his voice, and the pilot only gave him a warning look before pulling on her helmet and attaching it to the harness of her flight 'armor'.

"Maybe you're right." Buchan replied, unperturbed by the use of her first name by the man. Both Martin and Malina has long grown past that point with her, even if the officer was still technically paying them for their service to Cerberus. There was a soft chime in the cabin as they cleared through re-entry, indicating they'd be landing shortly. "You two stick with me once we land." She instructed, before looking over her shoulder and boomed to the commandos. "Nightmares, we'll have boots on shortly. We'll be dividing our efforts to recover as much information as we can, as quick as we can. Marczak, Gravette;"

"Commander." They acknowledged immediately, undivided attention upon their superior.

"Get into the colony administrative building and strip their mainframe. I want everything, unusual activity, security and maintenance logs, freighter shipments, mechanical failures; nothing slips the net. The colony systems are online, use their communication array to get the information up the the Eye ASAP so the analysts can get to work. Understood?"

"Perfectly, Commander."

"Tachi, Arcsberg; recon the colony, top to bottom. Scans aren't picking anything up, but sometimes machines miss what the eyes might catch. We're looking for anything that might tell us what happened here, so if something seems suspicious, check it out. If you find anything, make sure to sweep the whole scene; we're not going to miss something just because someone didn't check all the angles. If it needs analysis, secure it and we'll take it up with us." The two nodded an affirmative, and Vala continued. "We're not expecting resistance, but this colony went dark for a reason. Whatever did it could still be down there, so I expect you to proceed with due caution and prove why it is we call you Nightmares. Am I clear?"

"Crystal."

There was a slight lurch as the transport made planet-fall, opening it's side hatch to reveal the black storm front sweeping across the dark colony. Heavy rain pelted against the side of the hull, echoing in the small space as Vala motioned out into the downpour. "Let's get to it then."

------------------------------

In the downpour, she could almost believe that the colony wasn't abandoned, it's residents instead tucked away into the prefab buildings to escape the chilling rain. Lights still shone from inside the various buildings, and the main boulevard she walked still had it's few streetlamps glowing like beacons in the storm. The commander slowed her stride for a brief moment, taking in her surroundings as the rain beat a steady rhythm on her helmet.

"Vala?" Malina whispered through her helmet, quiet and unsettled even though nothing outside could actually hear her words. "Why'd you stop? You find something..?" The mercenary strayed closer to the taller woman, although her gaze stayed focused on their surroundings.

After a moment, she replied softly, "No. Just taking it in." She looked up to the light illuminating her from above, before glancing to the mercenaries. "Hard to believe no one's here." She motioned forward with a flick of her head, resuming her stride. They quickly matched her pace, even as Mal wearily eyed the buildings they passed for any hidden surprises.

"You should relax." Martin remarked, earning a sharp look but continuing. "It's unlikely that there's anything here if the scans didn't pick anything up." She gave him the finger in response, earning a light chuckle from both him and the Commander. "I won't let the boogieman get you, alright?"

"I will beat that smile off your face, Martin." The threat was dulled by the way she jumped as a particular powerful boom of thunder rolled across the sky, but he made no further attempts to tease her as the trio approached the northern wall. It wasn't a massive structure, but provided a basic defense that the colonists could utilize. Approaching the gate, Vala entered the small empty gatehouse to flick the switch. "...the fuck is that?" She heard Malina exclaim incredulously.

Exiting quickly, the Commander was about to ask what was up when she noticed the unearthly glow coming from the coastline. Even with the great storm booming and blacking out the sky above them, it was impossible to miss the murky blue light rolling in on the turbulent waves whipped up by the downpour. It gave the entire coast an almost ghostly look, shrouded in darkness with only pale blue light stretched across the beach. "...I can't say I've seen that before. Some kind of...bio-luminescence?"

"Correct, Commander. Thanks to Sephoroy's nitrate and phosphorus rich environment and frequent storms blocking out sunlight, much of the oceans have giant algal blooms covering their surface. The bio-luminescence is unique to a rather durable species, and the colony even started exporting it recently. Quite popular for an algae among aquarium enthusiasts." CIP offered flawlessly, although she wasn't sure why it felt the need to answer her mostly meaningless statement. "It's largely harmless, so you don't need to worry about approaching it."

"The waves from the storm are much more of a concern, thank you, CIP." She acknowledged with a roll of her eyes. "Let's get this sample, Mal." Moving along the outer slope of the wall, it wasn't long before they came across the ignition burns. While the initial display had shown it's size, it took physically being near it to understand the actual scale of the area effect. "It's almost like a Dreadnought took off here."

"That'd almost be as impressive as managing to land the thing engine down." Malina retorted, moving further into the circle as she raised her omni-tool to do some scans. Martin followed a few steps behind her as Vala looked on. Some of the sand had even been glassed in the intense heat it seemed; little wet, shining patches amid the blackened ground. "The water is gonna make this that much more difficult..."

"We've got time, do what you need to." Shifting her weight onto one foot, the Commander shifted channels to the Nightmares. "Status update."

Gravette replied first. "We're uploading the database to the Eye right now, although the storm isn't helping matters any. It won't take long, then we'll see about tracking down any personal records that might have had some hints. Someone might have recorded something before...whatever happened to this place. We'll keep you updated if we stumble across anything." There was a light murmur of consensus from Marzcak, although he was obviously distracted by something so she gave it little mind.

Surprisingly, Tachi spoke next, instead of Arcsberg, sounding almost half asleep. "Spotted something in the southern quarter. Ran is checking it out now, but it looked like a couple of rifles just laying in the middle of the street." There was a light yawn from the sniper, but if Vala was bothered by it, she gave no sign. "Oh, he's sending me an update...a few discharges on the guns, judging by the heatsinks, and some big bugs laying nearby."

The last bit caught her attention. "Big bugs?" A moment later, an image popped up of a four legged bug that looked to be as large or perhaps larger than her fist. She stared at it for a long moment. "Collect those bugs, Arcsberg, I want the research teams on the Eye to have a look at them. I somehow doubt they're local."

"Of course, Commander." The operative replied, before the channel went quiet and Vala turned her attention back to the task at hand. Moving onto the burned area, she looked it over as she passed before noticing a surprisingly sleek looking patch of ground closer to the center of the pattern.

"Is that a rock?" She muttered, as the pilot stepped closer with her omni-tool. There was a flash of lightning, but in the brief moment of illumination, she saw thin ripples of electric-like energy ebb along the 'rocks' surface. "Malina!"

The mercenary jerked back as the 'rock' suddenly rose, pulsing with purple light that seemed almost biotic in nature. After a moment, twin lights shone on the floating constructs face, as long bladed limbs stabbed down into the charred ground. Malina fumbled back several steps, and it's front snapped to her immediately. The metallic skin of the construct shone lightly in the dull glow from the algae along the beach behind it, but in another flash of lightning, they saw the mound of skulls, human skulls, buried within it's 'maw'.

Thunder shattered the silence that had swallowed the team, as the construct screeched in a shrill, screaming choir; the noise a twisted blend of the maddening chitter of bugs and the grinding scrape of metal on metal. It drowned out even the constant pounding of the rain for a long moment, before the constructs eyes pulsed with thick purple light.

In the split second it took for the energy to collect, Vala lunged, throwing her arm forward as dark energy rippled up her frame and melded to her will. Martin, closer than her, was already moving himself in front of the startled pilot like a living shield as he swept his arm outward around her. The hexagonal shield of pale blue energy blinked into existence a second before the construct's eyes shot forth twin beams of light that slammed against the protective field. Pushing more energy into the shield, Vala grit her teeth as the machine pressed it's attack. "Martin!" She bellowed to the man, barely taking her attention from the construct to address him. "Get her back to the Kodiak, now!"

He nodded sharply, keeping himself between the strange construct and the pilot as he half picked her up half dragged her across the ground towards the colony. The construct stopped it's attack to turn it's gaze after them, but before it could fire it's blast again, twin lashes of pulsing blue energy slammed against it's side, making it wobble momentarily on it's feet before looking sharply to the source. The lashes grew out from Commander Buchan's wrists, powered by small amps hidden in the actual flesh of her arm, the dark energy coalescing into physical constructs that she gripped firmly in each hand.

"Nightmares, we have a confirmed hostile outside the Northern perimeter! Secure your current data and make sure Malina Topor reaches the Kodiak safely. She has the data." Whatever protests they might have had, she wasn't listening as the construct shrouded itself in the purple-blue glow of a biotic barrier. As if the armour on it's hide alone hadn't been bad enough.

It chittered almost curiously at her, ignoring the retreating mercs as it's new opponent squared her feet and calmly opened the line back to the Eye of Infinity. "Captain, I'm not sure if you're seeing this, but the scans were wrong." The construct drove it's long legs deep into the ground as it approached, the skulls inside it's mouth staring blankly at the woman before them. "There's definitely still something down here."