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Thread: Mass Effect: Association (PG-15, RPG Thread)

  1. #76
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    Lured by the sound of conversation from the kitchen as he passed it, Domitian entered. His red eyes swept the room, finding Brask and Lucianus within, Kalros just leaving through the other door with Roshiovis and Cogwedj in tow.

    "Well well, what have we here?" the turian announced. Lucianus glanced at him, taking in the dark-armored figure, then returned to bustling around the kitchen and retrieving ingredients and cutlery from various cupboards and drawers. The kitchen space was as spartan as anything else aboard, made to serve filling meals to soldiers as they were ferried between the stars. Given such an environment, Domitian wondered what the doctor might conjure for them to eat.

    "I was just preparing a meal for those present," Lucianus said. "Were you looking for a meal or are you here to prod me about my past again?"

    "I was simply searching for conversation," Domitian said, feigning affront. "Most of those aboard this vessel seem unfortunately mute and I have no interest in talking to walls, be they organic or synthetic. But if you are offering refreshment, I will gladly partake."

    "Should I prepare to feed the entire ship?" the doctor asked as he began to prepare his gathered ingredients. "If you were planning that, I may have to get some help."

    "Oh, no, it will just be the five of us dining at this present moment, though I cannot speak for any who may arrive late to the meal," the soldier sneered. "I find your variety of professions rather bemusing, I must confess."

    "You work on a frontier colony, you get used to picking up a lot of different tools," Lucianus replied. "I do what I can to help, be it sewing people back together or making sure they get a good meal inside them."

    "How the mighty have fallen," Domitian mused, leaning against the door frame.

    "You might see it that way, I do not." Both were silent for a moment, the only sound that of Lucianus' knife slicing ingredients. "Are you going to stand there and supervise everything I do, Domitian?" His tone was clipped, as though his saintly patience was wearing thin.

    "I am merely being cautious," the Havoc chuckled mockingly. "You will forgive me if my lifestyle has led me to be somewhat suspicious of what others feed me. Occupational hazards abound and poison has such a nasty habit of trying to slip into my meals."

    Lucianus bristled. Though he did not speak and there was no change in the rhythm of the knife's chopping, it was clear that he knew what was being insinuated and that the wound Domitian was jabbing was still sore.

    "Still, I suppose you have little reason to, say, accidentally feed me the wrong meal," Domitian mused. "And I have yet to associate with our companions in the next room, so I will take my leave and see what they might have to offer." With a curt nod to Brask, he swept from the room and into the mess hall. As he approached the three within, he saw Kalros unmasked and the other two at her side. She was talking to them, and as he approached, he overhead enough to realise that she was sharing with them what Melanie had informed him of. Askari's intriguing find. What a strange scene this was. A female krogan, her adoptive turian son and the eccentric salarian, bound in conversation about the dark dealings of the Elkoss Combine.

    "I see we have all been made aware," he declared to them. "The human girl saw fit to inform me of those curious morsels Askari found for us." He sat a table away, resting his claws on the surface and tracing lines into it. "What, then, do you make of it?" If nothing else, their responses to such information might give him the measure of them, and to know more of them was something he desired. If Askari and Elkoss were watching for daggers in the dark, so would he. Which of the group might be motivated to betray the rest at the promise of such a valuable prize? And who would be frightened away by the looming shadow of the Citadel and the Spectres?

    He awaited their answers in silent anticipation.

    ----

    Melanie lay on her bed once more, having returned to her room. She brought up a video on her omni-tool, playing it. It was a cheesy kind of drama, the sort manufactured in Citadel Space by people who earnestly believed in cooperation between humanity and alien races. The sort that Cerberus and her parents would despise. It was about a ship voyaging across the stars with a crew of many different races, turians side-by-side with quarians, asari, salarians, krogan and, of course, humans. A serialised show, it told of their expeditions, their encounters with alien species on the fringes of known space, recurring clashes with the geth (represented by rather unconvincing holograms) and more, filtered through the kind of cheery feel good spirit that made the show a guilty pleasure for her. She'd found it while on Omega, watching illegal streams from Citadel space and getting to know the characters. Space Odyssey resonated with her because it so refuted the beliefs of her parents and Cerberus. It spoke of cooperation, friendship, even love between different species.

    Silly and awkward as it could be at times, it spoke to her.

    "But you can't remove your suit," one of the characters, a human woman, said. "We couldn't touch, we couldn't kiss..."

    "No," her quarian love interest answered. "But that doesn't mean what we have isn't valid. Though I wish it could be otherwise, that I could hold you with my bare skin, we can still love one another like this." He reached out and pulled her into an embrace. "This is still love, even through my suit, no matter what others might say."

    Melanie rolled onto her side, adjusting her arm so she could still clearly watch the episode. The human planted a kiss on the quarian's visor and smiled, and uplifting music played. It was so corny and yet so heartwarming to watch. Understanding and love, not the hatred and cruelty she had grown up with. She remembered it. Being pulled away from aliens whenever her parents thought one might talk to her, told never to associate with 'the riff-raff' and 'the scum', told to look down on them and scorn them. And she could never do that. They weren't so different. They might eat different food and speak different languages and look different, but they were people just like her. People who smiled and cried and loved, and she couldn't understand why her parents hated them so.

    Why Cerberus tried to mold her into a weapon against them.

    "I love you, Sonn'Jimun."

    "I love you too, Rachel Joselyn."


    It was a distraction, she supposed. After everything, she still believed in goodness and morality and decency, but sometimes the cruelty of the galaxy wore her down. She'd had to hurt people, kill people, in order to survive. She could say that survival wasn't pretty and that she'd done what she had to, but that hadn't stopped the guilt making her want to drown in alcohol. And drowning her sorrows often ended in nightmares of Cerberus, of broken bones and fingers clawing inside her brain. She needed things like this sometimes, these cheesy, silly shows that were so saccharine, just to give her a smile on her face when the darkness was especially deep and the shadow of Cerberus stood tall.

    It was going to be a while before they arrived. She could get through a few episodes before she prepared for Fafnir Station.

  2. #77
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    Although initially disgruntled - his hand still stung from being smacked away by the krogan in a manner that wasn't unlike a mother reprimanding a child - Cog was quick to turn back to his interest at hand, that being the plate of food that someone else was now making. It had barely registered to the salarian that more people had entered the room. He was definitely more preoccupied by the thought of finally supping and filling his stomach.

    He turned to Lucianus, an innocent smile on his face. “Take requests? Lovely! I will like a-“

    And just like that, the engineer was once more pulled away from his object of interest. First was his interest in the engine, dragged away by a determined asari who wanted to better herself in her craft. And now, he was pulled away by the back of his clothing from his love of food by an irate krogan for god knows what.

    “Let’s leave the doctor to his work.”
    “But my vittles!” Cogwedj cried, reaching out to the turian chef. “I am famished! Don’t just stand, assist me!” he called out to the others.

    Alas, his cries were all but ignored by the rest, letting him be taken by the biotic krogan to the far end of the mess hall, most likely to avoid further crossing the already annoyed-sounding female. In took but a moment for him to be forced into his seat, further joined by Kalros and Rosh. He blinked for but a moment.

    Cog had the sense - or perhaps he was still absorbing what had just happened - to let Kalros remove her helmet before he spoke.

    “And what reason did you drag me away roughly, hmmm?” he asked, folding his arms and frowning at her. He had half the mind to just stand and walk back to the kitchen, but it looked like the doctor-chef was already cooking regardless of what he was going to request. It definitely smelled like it too. “As salarian, I’ll have you know that I have not sated all day and require minimum amount of calories to function in the capacity that I-“

    Although his gaze met the krogan’s, his words were ignored. She merely waited for his jabbering to silence itself before she leaned forward and spoke in a low tone that Cog had to lean as well to hear. It had better be worth his trouble, being kept away from his food.

    “There's more going on then our 'employer' is telling us...”
    With a few short and succinct words - the biotic krogan seemed like she was used to speaking in such a concise way - she told them all about what had transpired in Melanie’s room.

    If Cog were honest, it didn’t intimidate him at all. In fact, he wasn’t one to hide his thoughts anyway. “This changes nothing,” he told them, leaning back and blinking. “More factors and troubles, possibly, but aim still the same. Find, retrieve, return. Hopefully one piece - both item and everyone included. Besides, already on the run,” he told them, shrugging.

    It wasn’t like he kept it a secret. He was still technically a wanted man.

    “Any case, most likely not all told. Many mysteries - will be hard work solving all, but good challenge,” he added, nodding to himself. “But to solve, I require sustenance.”

    He turned back to the kitchen, still smelling the food that was being cooked. “Chef, my vittles!”

    -

    Askari found himself walking around the ship as soon as they exited the jump. He was mentally reading the ship’s blueprint in his head, noting any differences and changes they might have made on the ship that was different from the original schematics. So far, he wasn’t finding anything that wasn’t planned, but he would have to spend more time in and around the ship to be sure. There could always be secret compartments that needed either specific knowledge or a stroke of luck to find.

    He found himself in the bridge in a matter of minutes.

    The infiltrator let himself look around, noting the various desks and computers, as well as the helm where Yulik stationed himself at. The salarian seemed like a curious sort - always on the go, much moreso than the usual salarian, at least. Both him and Cog seemed that way, and he wondered if the mission itself had that effect or if they just got really lucky in the salarian drawing.

    He walked over to him. “Hey, Yulik,” he called out, making sure the salarian could hear him walking over. It was unsettling to make himself be heard, but he didn’t want to surprise their pilot enough to jerk the ship and its occupants around.

    “Ah, hello!” the salarian replied, still staring at the expanse of space before them. “Enjoying the ride? Going off at fastest speed possible! No change inside, of course, but the thought is thrilling, isn’t it? Haha!”

    Ask let himself smile. Yulik was one of them, he supposed. An external recruit and not affiliated with Elkoss or any organization, and from his dossier, he was constantly chasing for that rush that only a blast of speed could give. It unfortunately didn’t give any record of what he used to be in his constant…’high’, Askari supposed he could call it, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t find out. But that could wait another time, for now, he wanted to know something else.

    “How long before we reach the Fafnir Station?” he asked, looking out.

    “Oh, soon, soon!” was the reply.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


  3. #78
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    Brask sat alone at a cafeteria table. He was positioned with his back to the wall, directly opposite to the one that Kalros has staked her claim to, on the other side of the room. It gave him a good view of Kalros, Roshiovus, Cogwedj, and Domitian. He assumed she was filling them in on what Ask had informed them of. He vaguely wondered if the mad, salarian scientist knew what they had been hired to pick up. He definitely seemed more like the science type than the mercenary type. Brask figured that Elkoss Combine must have hired him for his technological or scientific expertise; if so, then maybe they told him ahead of time what to expect.

    Brask shrugged and settled into his seat, his stubby tail bending a bit as he was forced to manoeuvre in the chair that was definitely not created for krogans. The seat itself was basic, hard, and utilitarian, which already made it difficult for him to get comfortable.

    The krogan's thoughts were interrupted by the long, deep symphony of his growling stomachs. Braks rubbed his firm belly and quietly awaited the nice smelling food that came from the kitchen. Brask tapped the metal edge of his holographic datapad that rested on top of the table before him. He decided that he wouldn't factor the inadequate seating into his review, since it wasn't exactly a restaurant environment.

    His face momentarily lit up when he saw Lucianus emerge from the kitchen with a plate of food in his clawed hands. Brask didn't let it show, but he was starving. He wouldn't let his hunger play a factor in his opinion of the food, however.

    "It's done," Lucianus explained, smiling a bit uncertainly as he approached the table. He glanced over at the other table "Yours are all prepared, as well."

    "Not too shabby in terms of speed," Brask conceded, not looking up as he grabbed his datapad and began methodically typing on the holographic keyboard.

    Lucianus raised one of his plated eyebrows and placed the large plate down in front of Brask. "I hope it doesn't disappoint," he offered, also placing a pair of eating utensils on either side of the plate.

    Brask turned his head and stared down at the plate. His emerald eyes narrowed and he scrutinized the dish, also taking an audible whiff of its scent.

    The dish consisted of a large cut of meat - by the looks of it, vacuum-sealed so that it could be preserved for lengthy space flights. It had a rough, dark brown exterior. Earth meat, Brask guessed. It certainly wasn't Tuchankan or Thessian, and most Palaven meat was dextro-amino based. Given the amount of humans on board, Brask guessed that Lucianus went with a cut of beef. It was covered in a simple brown sauce, delicately drizzled over the top of the seasoned meat and around the plate.

    Brask took his knife and sliced seamlessly into the earthy meat, cutting it open to reveal of a soft, pink, medium-rare center. Beside it was a generous helping of a variety of cooked vegetables. They ranged from green to yellow to white in colour. There were probably more vegetables than meat on the plate. "...Sure are a lot of plants on this plate," Brask noted, glancing up at Domitian as he cut a piece of meat off and pierced it with his fork.

    "These vegetables are an excellent source of the vitamins and minerals you will need for the upcoming mission," Lucianus explained, very much in the doctor-like way that Brask expected. He supposed that he should have guessed that Lucianus would emphasize the nutritional aspect of the food.

    Brask blandly stared at him and popped the piece of meat into his mouth. He closed his eyes and chewed the soft meat, which broke apart under his strong jaws and sharp teeth. He felt the juices and the salty, tangy sauce coat his tongue. "Hm..." he hummed, thinking hard about the taste, texture, and composition of the food in his mouth.

    Lucianus turned around and began to walk away to serve the others.

    Brask's eyes snapped open. "Hold it. I'm not done with you yet," he abruptly said to Lucianus, stopping the turian in his tracks.

    "Pardon?" Lucianus asked, turning around with surprise. "Is there a problem?"

    "I haven't told you what I think yet," Brask explained between smacking his lips. He swallowed the bite of meat and shoveled some of the vegetables in his mouth.

    "Er... I really should feed the others, Brask," Lucianus explained, gesturing over his shoulder.

    "One minute..." Brask said, swallowing hard. He nodded and began typing on his datapad while staring at Lucianus. "...It doesn't taste like complete crap. When I'm eating beef, I prefer it rarer and bloodier than this, but it's not terrible. It's soft, but sometime's it's good when meat has a bit of toughness and bite to it. The meat itself isn't that fresh, but it's vacuum-sealed stuff, so I won't hold that against you," he explained.

    "...I appreciate that," Lucianus politely replied, although his voice just dry enough at the absurdity of the situation. He glanced at Brask's fingers typing away on his datapad. "Are you reviewing my cooking...?"

    "Yeah. I am. That's why I told you to make your best," Brask responded. He leered at Lucianus. "And this... This isn't your best. The vegetables need more seasoning. I'd might as well be eating the plants out of the ship's hydroponics. The sauce is a bit bland. It's underseasoned."

    "Er... I apologise?" Lucianus said, not without a bit of exasperation. "I didn't expect you to have such discerning tastes..."

    "Just because I'm a krogan?" Brask responded with a playful smirk before putting another piece of meat in his mouth. "Mm... I've got a popular food blog on the extranet," he informed him. "It's called 'Korbal! A krogan's take on FOOD!' I've had it for about six years now. I got an average of about five thousand daily visitors. Double that when I post a new review."

    Lucianus couldn't help but blink at this revelation. "That's... impressive, Brask."

    Brask smirked and licked his reptilian lips. "Not bad for a krogan with a shotgun and a datapad, huh? People like that I don't hold back in my reviews. I use colourful krogan language and I'm not afraid to tear some assholes a new one, but when it comes down to it, the site's so popular because I know my stuff. I don't just review Citadel restaurants, but food from all over the galaxy. I love trying new food. It's like sex for the mouth."

    "It's... nice that you have a passion," Lucianus uncertainly said, managing a smile.

    Brask grunted and his grin broke slightly. He placed his fork down. "...I don't know about a passion. It's just something that I do because I like it. Eating good food feels good. Just like having amazing sex feels good. I'm not passionate towards either. I just enjoy the acts. Simple as that," he bluntly explained, staring up at Lucianus with a guarded, emphatic gaze.

    "...I see..." Although frowning a bit at his words, Lucianus nodded and turned around. "I should get the others their meals now."

    "Yeah, okay," Brask replied, going back to eating his meal. "At the very least, it's not bad for a doctor. I'll give it three dead salarians out of five."

    "I see..." the dark turian murmured as he disappeared into the kitchen.

    Despite his words, Brask finished the meal entirely, the fatty edges of the steak included. It was a decent enough meal and he was hungry enough to eat it all. Satisfied at having his stomachs filled enough to sate them, he pushed the plate away and continued writing his review. As he wrote his literary masterpiece, he spoke his words aloud to himself.

    "The sauce tasted okay... looked like a sick pyjak had the runs on my plate..."
    Last edited by Griff4815; 12th May 2017 at 3:25 AM.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Completed.

  4. #79
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    Veska ‘Kalros’ Jahara
    Ship Dining Hall


    Jahara leaned back in her seat, the chair creaking ominously under her weight. She waited quietly for the crazy salarian and her son to respond. Her eyes cast about the room for unwanted guests. Fortunately, only the whelp appeared from the kitchen to sit at the far end of the dining hall and Domitian from the hallway, though she didn’t like how he was looking in their direction.

    “This changes nothing,” Cog told them, leaning back and blinking. “More factors and troubles, possibly, but aim still the same. Find, retrieve, return. Hopefully one piece - both item and everyone included. Besides, already on the run,” Cog told them, shrugging.

    The female krogan listen to the salarian’s prattle, though she resisted the urge to raise her eyebrows at the salarian very causual admission to being on the run.

    “Any case, most likely not all told. Many mysteries - will be hard work solving all, but good challenge,” he added, nodding to himself. “But to solve, I require sustenance.”

    “Good, so long as you understand our position and don’t blab it to our generous ‘employer’,” Kalros muttered. She too was wondering what was holding up the good doctor with the food, but saw the whelp blathering on about the quality of the food to the dark turian. Her son, Rosh, remained quiet on the matter still, but before she could speak further more company joined them. Her blue eyes narrowed ever so briefly when Domitian finished crossing across the room to join the group, but seating himself at the next table over.

    "I see we have all been made aware," he declared to them. "The human girl saw fit to inform me of those curious morsels Askari found for us." He sat a table away, resting his claws on the surface and tracing lines into it. "What, then, do you make of it?"

    “More trouble than it’s worth,” Kalros said clipply, the salarian yelling in the background ‘Chef, my vittles!’ The biotic krogan leaned forward on her arm, “but nothing else we can do other than finish the mission.” And past the point of backing out without alerting Bran. “I’ve been in worse scrapes.”

    Realizing the turian was fishing for personal details and reactions, Kalros grabbed her helmet and secured it. She rose from her seat and left for the kitchen. On route, she discretely typed a message with instructions on her omnitool to be sent to Rosh, trusting him to properly erase the message so it couldn’t be traced back to her.


    ::In the event I get drugged...Shoot me. A direct hit, none of that grazing crap it needs to be painful. I know exactly how much of a dosage it takes to disable my biotics...and how to quickly burn it out from my systems. A little known secret of the krogan blood rage.::


    The female krogan deactivated the omnitool with a slight gesture. She stepped into the kitchen and grabbed a heaping plate of food to eat back at her quarters. As an afterthought, she assembled a second plate with a slight smaller portion and departed for the living quarters.

    *********************

    Kalros paused by Melanie’s quarters, knocking to forewarn the female human. The door opened with swish, the krogan presented the smaller plateful to her, “Eat,” the synthesised voice echoed, “Food prepared with biotics in mind.”

    Without further explanation, the armored krogan left for her own quarters silently.
    Anything is possible...apart from skiing through a revolving door.

    Image Credit goes to Kamotz

    I am the bone of my sword, and the seed of my Horde. Steel is my body and Fire is my blood, chaos flee before the cleansing flood! I pray! Exalted Knight Evolution! Jesmon!

  5. #80
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    The knock at the door snapped Melanie from her focus on the episode of Space Odyssey she was engrossed in. Pausing it with a tap of her finger, she looked up as Kalros entered and offered her a plate of meat and vegetables.

    "Eat. Food prepared with biotics in mind."

    "Uh, thank you," she replied, a little thrown by the suddenness of it. She wasn't especially hungry or she would have gone searching for the kitchen, but the food was welcome. Before she could say more, Kalros was gone. She had had a second plate, Melanie noted, presuming she was leaving to eat. Again Kalros puzzled her with such a warm gesture. First the dropping of the voice synthesizer for her and now this.

    "What's going on there?" she murmured to herself as she took the cutlery Kalros had handed her with the plate and took a forkful of vegetables. As she ate, wondering who had cooked the food for a moment, she dismissed her omni-tool and considered. Not just Kalros, but what lay ahead. What was waiting for them at Fafnir Station? She remembered the cold killers she had seen in the security footage. Ruthless. Their every movement precise and clean. They weren't to be underestimated, she could tell that much. Had that been approval she had seen in Domitian's eyes as he regarded it? Probably.

    Soon they would see.

    ----

    Domitian accepted a plate and cutlery from Lucianus with a sneer, dissecting the food as though he were vivisecting an unfortunate enemy. He devoured the meal in precise chunks, savouring it as he went. It was cooked for nutritional value over aesthetic and taste, he could tell. While it did not taste terrible, Lucianus had spared spices and anything to improve the taste in favour of simplicity. How very turian, he chuckled.

    He overheard Brask critiquing the food with amusement in his eyes. There was a quirk he had not anticipated in the slightest. So perhaps the krogan was more than just a slab of muscle. Some would say to learn from that subversion of assumptions, but a krogan who was more than dumb muscle was rare indeed. In their case, his expectations were almost always met to perfection.

    “More trouble than it’s worth,” Kalros said clipply, the salarian yelling in the background ‘Chef, my vittles!’ The biotic krogan leaned forward on her arm, “but nothing else we can do other than finish the mission.” And past the point of backing out without alerting Bran. "I’ve been in worse scrapes.”
    Domitian nodded. "Business-like, I see, Kalros. I concur. Although I very much wish to know what precisely is being kept from us." He laughed, and she got up and walked away. Reactions from the rest of this gathering seemed unlikely, so he returned to the meal. He would indeed need the nutrition if a fight were to break out at Fafnir Station, and he very much anticipated it. A group as ruthless and brutal as the one which had raided the Elkoss facility would not relinquish their prize easily.

    ---

    Fafnir Station Vicinity
    Several hours later....


    Fafnir Station hung before the cockpit screen, a hunk of ugly metal dumped into the beautiful starfield. Docking arms reached from it into the void, some clutching ships to this precious shell of life in the deathly cold of the stars. Other ships were departing, their vessels repaired and their cargo either acquired or sold. It was like Omega, Domitian noted. Cleaner. Less savage. Far smaller. But akin to it.

    "Any sign of their ship?" Melanie asked. The group was assembled here to see the station which they might soon be turning into a battlefield.

    "No visuals," Reor said, stood at Hec Brann's side as ever. "But it could be docked on the other side of the station or only just have left." He thumbed behind him, where Yir'Naemis clung to the shadows of the cockpit. "The buckethead back there's going to hack the station logs to check if they've got records of it."

    "And I will do as soon as I can gain access to their network, which needs me to be physically on the station," Yir'Naemis replied coldly.

    Melanie frowned. "Why do we need to do that? Why not just ask around about it?"

    "We're more likely to find what we need by checking records of recent arrivals," the quarian answered. "We can also find out which berth they're docked at and get information on the layout to plan a raid on the ship."

    "Asking the locals may also result in the enemy becoming aware of us," Domitian added. "Therefore Yir'Naemis acquiring the information we need covertly avoids the risk of them fleeing before we can board their vessel."

    "To gain access to the network, Yir'Naemis will need to physically access a terminal," Hec Brann said. "Therefore our first priority is to secure one and bring him to it while causing as little disturbance as possible. We do not have a map of the station at this moment, so you will need to find a convenient terminal and work from there."

    "Surely the entire group isn't needed for such a small task," Domitian replied. "Indeed, all of us accompanying Yir'Naemis may pose a larger risk of alerting either the station authorities or our quarry. Perhaps it would be wise to separate. A small number will help to locate and secure a terminal, while the rest of us may fan out and see if we can uncover our enemy or their ship in the meantime."

    The volus considered it. "Perhaps that would be wise. Though I would recommend you do not stray far, so that you may assist the hacking group if they are discovered."

    "Oh, of course," the turian chuckled. "I had no intention of leaving them entirely without my help. Who knows what might happen to them?"

    Melanie rolled her eyes. "I'll go with Yir'Naemis. I've got some tech expertise myself, so I might be able to help him."

    "And as I suggested that we separate, I am sure you can imagine that I intend to scout the station myself," Domitian sneered. "I will try not to invalidate your entire task, girl."

    "Try not to get yourself killed before we know if they're even still here or not," she sniped back.

    "What will the rest of you do?" Hec Brann asked. "Remember, a small group accompanying Yir'Naemis is more beneficial to his chance of success."

  6. #81
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    Veska ‘Kalros’ Jahara (Krogan)
    Fafnir Station Vicinity


    Jahara leaned against the gray bulkhead as she studied the approaching station through the cockpit window. She maintained her engmatic loofness from the group as though unconcerned with the details of the briefing. Rather, the female krogan intently to every word and observing the group’s body language with barely a visible shift of her helmet.

    The krogan biotic deliberately avoided meeting her adoptive son’s gaze that she felt looking her way. She growled silently, forcing her body to remain stoic so as not to betray her mood. She didn’t want to Hec and Reor any reason to suspect a previous relationship between her and Rosh. For both their sakes.

    The ongoing briefing led to needing to secure a terminal for the Quarian crew member to access. Melanie volunteered to go with Yir’Naemis, while Domitian opted to scout out the station.

    "What will the rest of you do?" Hec Brann asked. "Remember, a small group accompanying Yir'Naemis is more beneficial to his chance of success."

    Kalros stepped forward from her place in the back gaining Hec’s attention. “I’ll scout the station with him,” her concealed face jerked in Domitian’s direction. Jahara knew she’d only draw attention to Yir’Naemis if she went with them. Splitting off to scout the station would be more sensible.

    Rosh spoke up from his position on the other side of the cockpit, his deep duel voice carried quietly, “I’ll go with the hacking group as a lookout while they work, though I do have a knack for machines as well.” Vague answer in typical Rosh fashion, Jahara chuckled to herself as the memory of Rosh trying to get himself out of trouble in a similar matter as a young boy.
    Anything is possible...apart from skiing through a revolving door.

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  7. #82
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    (OOC: Sorry for the huge delay. I was busy early on and then I kept forgetting to post. I promise to post more regularly from now on, though.)

    -

    "What will the rest of you do?" Hec Brann asked. "Remember, a small group accompanying Yir'Naemis is more beneficial to his chance of success."
    "I will join Yir'Naemis as well," Keelo spoke up. "It might be less conspicuous if there were two quarians together, rather than the pair of us skulking around the station separately. Unless, of course, four is too large of a group..."

    This was the group that Keelo felt more comfortable with. He wasn't a computer expert like Yir'Naemis seemed to be, but he knew his way around a terminal if he needed to. He also felt like a small, unassuming quarian hanging around a handful of krogan and some other rough-looking individuals would have raised a few eyebrows. This seemed like the best situation for him, and he also wanted to look around the station.

    "Okay, so what do you want the rest of us to do while they're off hacking stuff?" Brask asked, lugging up his shotgun to his armoured shoulder. "Guess we should just look around the station and try to sniff out these thieves?"

    “I’ll scout the station with him,” Kalros offered, gesturing to Domitian.

    Brask smirked and cocked his head towards the female krogan. "Want some company?" he offered, already knowing what Kalros' approximate answer would probably be. He grinned provocatively from Kalros over to Reor. "I'd rather hang around a clanless krogan than a Gatatog. They're probably better fighters," he said with a deep chuckle.

    Reor grunted and pointed his finger at Brask. "I don't care who you're with, Hailot. Just do your damn job like you're getting paid to," he warned him.

    Brask let out a laugh. "Relax. I'm just kidding..." he responded, plopping his shotgun back down in his hands. He proceeded to holster the shotgun on his humped back, using the magnets that allowed the weapon to loosely stick to his armour.

    Brask turned his gaze to Hec. "So, 'boss', when we find these thieves, exactly how much force is Elkoss Combine okay with us using to get your items back?

    Keelo frowned gently as he considered Brask's question. The fight with the gang members in Omega was one thing, but he did wonder what the rules of engagement would be for this mission. He didn't like the thought of having to kill anybody, but he was keenly aware that he was one of the snipers of the team, and with that role usually meant having to eliminate their enemies.

    "And once Yir'Naemis finishes, should we meet up with the other team?" Keelo questioned.
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  8. #83
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    (OOC: Griff usually summons me, so if he starts posting, I'll probably be somewhere stalking close by.)

    -

    "And once Yir'Naemis finishes, should we meet up with the other team?"

    "Probably not a good idea," Ask spoke up, finally. He gave the quarian a small grin. "Grouping up in any occasion is a big signal that something's up. It would be better if the two group's goes out of and comes back to the ship at different times to reduce the amount of attention each group gets," he explained, looking back at the station.

    It was a different sight than he was used to, and he couldn't help but be curious as to what secrets it held. Finding them out alone would be much easier than in a group...

    "I'd like permission to...survey the facility alone," he then said, looking over at Hec. He gestured to the hacker group. "Having too many technical minds in one group might cause a few heads to butt. Plus, I like moving on own pace," he added with a lackadaisical grin.

    Besides, if he was able to find his own terminal to hack into, he might be able to drag out a little more information that they weren't looking for. Every little bit helped.

    "Oh, oh, oh!" Cog spoke up, raising a hand. "'If he's going alone, I'd like to-"

    "And don't let the salarian go anywhere alone," Ask added, shaking his head.

    "And why not!?" the scientist proclaimed, looking back at him incredulously.

    "For one, you're not as inconspicuous as I am, and I have a lot of experience in 'not being noticed'. And two, you carry bombs - that's the exact opposite of being discrete, which means even though you're a good fit for the tech team, you need to stay far away from them," he said logically and shrugging.

    "And you expect me to chaperon a bloodthirsty turian and two mule-headed krogans?" the salarian asked, pointing at said group.

    "Hm...would look weird having two krogans with you, but they could just say you're emergency rations." Ask looked at Kalros and Brask with a grin and a wink. He also suspected Kalros had a lot of experience keeping grabby children in line. "On the other hand, they could reasonably be hired muscle. I'm sure that's commonplace in Fafnir."

    Worst case scenario, the four would make quite a distraction.

    "Preposterous! I am not a-" And any further words and complaints from the salarian were subsequently ignored.

    Ask turned back to Hec again. "I am assuming we'll all be using comms? It would be easier that way if we could contact each other no matter where we were in the station, although...hmm...if it's any place like Omega, we'll run the risk of being hacked and listened on to," he noted, tilting his head as he placed a finger on his cheek.

    He tried to look uninterested in Brask's sudden question, hoping that his own talking would cause the Volus to lose track and say something he shouldn't. It was unlikely, but sometimes the unlikeliest of things can serendipitously happen.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


  9. #84
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    Kalros, Brask and Askari offered their help with scouting the station, while Cog got volunteered by the latter. Meanwhile, Keelo and Rosh joined her and Yir'Naemis. More or less what she'd expected, Melanie mused.

    "So, 'boss', when we find these thieves, exactly how much force is Elkoss Combine okay with us using to get your items back?
    "We do not care how much damage you inflict to the thieves," Brann replied. "Should it become necessary, of course. But I must stress restraint regarding their vessel until we can ascertain whether our property is still aboard and ensure its safe removal if so."

    "Excellent," Domitian chuckled. "I had little interest in damaging a hunk of metal in any case. Organics are far more entertaining."

    "You don't want us to take any of them prisoner?" Melanie asked. "I thought you'd want to find out how they found out about the thing they stole."

    "That's none of your concern," Reor answered gruffly. "Do your part and we'll make sure you get your money. Leave the rest up to us and there won't be any problems."

    "As Reor says, we will deal with the how and why," Brann said. "All that you need to concern yourselves with is incapacitating the culprits and ensuring that our property is safely returned."

    She frowned. They seemed so cavalier about the thieves, and given the lineup they'd assembled, did they just want the culprits killed to silence them? With how secretive Brann was being about exactly what had been stolen, she couldn't help but wonder if that was his aim. To let Domitian and Brask loose in the knowledge that anyone they went up against would either have to kill them or be killed.

    "And once Yir'Naemis finishes, should we meet up with the other team?"

    "Probably not a good idea," Ask spoke up, finally. He gave the quarian a small grin. "Grouping up in any occasion is a big signal that something's up. It would be better if the two group's goes out of and comes back to the ship at different times to reduce the amount of attention each group gets," he explained, looking back at the station.
    "As Askari says, maintain some distance," Brann said. "We will provide comm-links to ensure contact between all of you is maintained and once Yir'Naemis has the information required and we can determine what has become of our quarry, I will advise you further. Until then, maintain the mission parameters and keep a low profile."

    "I will endeavour to do as you wish," Domitian sneered. "But as I'm sure you know, subtlety is not my forte, volus."

    "Oh, we're well aware, Palaven-clan," the volus replied. "But I must ask you to try your best."

    Domitian chuckled. "I make no promises of that. I can try, but the population of the galaxy is so deficient of common sense that I find myself doing the universe the favor of raising the average intellect on a startlingly common basis."

    Melanie rolled her eyes. "You mean you kill people because they look at you the wrong way."

    "Oh, come now, I am not that bloodthirsty."

    "If we've decided where everyone is going," Yir'Naemis interrupted, his voice as cold as ever, "perhaps we ought to begin. If our targets are still here, they cannot have long before their ship is repaired, and if they are not, the longer we spent bickering, the more their lead on us will grow."

    "Yir'Naemis is correct," Brann said. "Ariana has your comm-links and will distribute them as you depart."

    "Then let us be on our way," Domitian said with a glint of anticipation in his eyes.

    She hoped this wasn't going to end badly.

    ----

    Fafnir Station

    After the short while it took for the Shanxi to dock, clear with the station authorities and disembark its passengers, the hacking group made their way through the crowds of the station. It wasn't as busy as Omega, but its interior was still packed full of people and vendors. A hanar offered its wares from one side of the street, while a batarian loudly announced its own from the other while casting vicious glares at any humans passing by. Many of those in the crowds had weapons on display, mostly sheathed at their hip or across their back, but some wandered with them openly equipped. Melanie kept an eye out for any accessible terminals, while admiring the plethora of species gathered. A group of elcor wandered past, followed by a human and asari who she assumed were a couple by how they held hands. The station was all metal covered by market stalls and cloth, like its residents didn't have the resources to dress it up like the Citadel but tried their best with what little they had. It was beautiful in its own way through. It felt real.

    "Have you been anywhere like this before?" she asked Yir'Naemis.

    He shrugged. "I've been to a lot of places. Travelled on a lot of ships. I've probably seen plenty of places like this before, but they're just that: places." His icy voice was alluring in a dark kind of way, like space. Like the darkness between stars.

    "What do you think of it, though?"

    "I'm here for the mission," the quarian answered. "Beyond that, I'm not interested." He turned his head, scanning the area. "There. In that corner." He gestured discreetly and she followed his gaze down a side-street. A terminal glowed in the shadows, a turian guard posted by it and looking at the passing crowds as though he wished he could go somewhere else.

    "Can you do what you need to with him there?" she asked, unsure exactly how the quarian planned to hack the terminal.

    Yir'Naemis shook his head, or at least shook his helmet. "I'm going to need time to find and download the station plans and berthing records. He'd catch on to what I'm up to."

    She turned to Rosh and Keelo. "Do you guys have any ideas?"

    ----

    Domitian stood on a balcony, gazing out across the crowds. His weapons are sheathed and his eyes scanned the throngs of aliens, searching for even the merest glimpse of those he had seen in the security footage. He didn't expect to find anything. In their circumstances, he would have remained with the ship at all times to ensure the cargo's safety. Not that he took on recovery missions like that very often. But this one had interested him.

    He left the balcony, sweeping back downstairs and batting away the station's irritating VI as it pestered him with inane babble about what he was looking for. Joining the crowds, he glanced to where he had last seen Melanie and Yir'Naemis, seeing their small group dithering at the entrance to a side street. He considered asking them what they were doing for a moment, before continuing. No. Let them ask for his assistance if they so required it. For now, he was in his element. The hunt was on and he hoped sincerely that he would find their quarry before the quarian could find them in the data.

    It would be far more entertaining and skillful that way.

    He keyed his comm-link to Askari. "Human. Have you 'surveyed' anything of note yet? Our fellow group seem unproductive at present."

  10. #85
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    Keelo wandered down the busy street of Fafnir Station. There were many different aliens walking about, minding their own business. It reminded him of some of the commercial districts of Tayseri Ward back on the Citadel, although far less crowded.

    The quarian was on edge about their current mission. He didn't know what to expect. Would things go smoothly? Or would another firefight break out like it did on Omega? The uncertainty was getting to him. He tried to repress his nerves by taking in his new surroundings. He had never been to Fafnir Station, so he was curious about its workings and inhabitants. He looked around carefully, also trying to detect a terminal.

    Behind his green-tinted mask, he considered his companions. He felt comfortable around Melanie, and Roshiovus seemed nice enough, even if he was on the quiet side. Yir'Naemis on the other hand... When he first met Yir'Naemis, Keelo was initially pleased to be with another quarian. However, as he got to know Yir-Naemis - or not know, as it happened - Keelo began to feel uneasy by the enigmatic quarian.

    The black-suited quarian spoke with such coldness and emptiness. It was almost as if there was nothing behind his mask. Keelo hated himself for thinking that, since it was a stereotype often projected onto quarians - the enigmatic, other-worldliness that they inadvertently gave off by their ever-present suits. However, in Yir'Naemis' case... He just wasn't able to get a read on what his fellow quarian was thinking or what he wanted. Even his body language, a must for communication between quarians, was distant and guarded.

    He listened to Yir'Naemis' terse conversation with Melanie. His responses were matter-of-fact and completely unsentimental.

    It was then that he gestured to a terminal down one of the street's alleys. Keelo turned and looked. Standing nearby the terminal was station guard.

    "I'm going to need time to find and download the station plans and berthing records. He'd catch on to what I'm up to."

    She turned to Rosh and Keelo. "Do you guys have any ideas?"
    "Perhaps we could distract him somehow or try to draw him away?" Keelo suggested. "Maybe one of us could pretend to be lost."

    Keelo frowned. "Although, that might not be enough to get him away from the terminal..." he admitted. "If only there was a reason for him to step away from it for several minutes."

    He looked at Rosh uncertainly. "Maybe you could strike up a conversation with him or something?" he offered, although he wasn't sure himself.

    -

    Brask marched confidently down one of the busy streets of Fafnir Station. His shotgun rested on his humped back, and his pistol was never far from his hand. He didn't have to duck and swerve around the other aliens to get past him. They got out of his way. The bustle of aliens seemed to part around Brask as he walked a straight line down the street.

    He was used to this reaction. The perks of being a krogan. He was large, intimidating, and armed to the teeth. Nobody dared to risk the chance of pissing him off. Krogan had a reputation of having a short temper, so none of the station inhabitants wanted to put it to the test. They stayed away from him - it was safer that way. Brask was an island to himself.

    He grunted and continued walking. His light green eyes shot back and forth alertly. He didn't expect to see the perpetrators walking around, bragging about their exploits, but he knew the importance of being aware of his surroundings. Escape routes, cover, dangerous positions, dangerous-looking people... All of these things entered his mind as he walked up the street.

    Speaking of dangerous people...

    Brask spotted Kalros a ways in front of him. The bulky, male krogan picked up his pace to a swifter gait, though not so fast that he looked conspicuous. After a minute, he caught up to Kalros and stopped beside her.

    "Hey, Kalros," he said to her, folding her arms. "Find anything suspicious? Apart from a female krogan disguised as a male, that is." He smirked brazenly.

    "Seriously, there's a few shifty pyjaks around here, but I don't think any of them are the ones we're looking for," Brask mused. He glanced over to see the busybody salarian nearby. He looked at Cogwedj with a leer of exasperation and suspicion. "Speaking of shifty pyjaks... I don't trust him alone. He'll probably blow our cover... literally, in his case."
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
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  11. #86
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    Askari couldn't help but smile as he was thrust back into his usual kind of job.

    Surrounded by people, completely unknown, walking around with his armor that hid his face completely. To further enhance his obscurity, he kept his sniper rifle cloaked, simply letting his benign pistol be seen. Few others barely gave him a glance, and the ones that did more would soon find that they could no longer see the armored human in their line of sight. It was in the way Ask walked - it wasn't quite straight, a staggered and unusual pattern that made him difficult to follow unless one was particularly invested in watching him.

    Interesting enough, the usual guards tended not to pay him heed - either because 'nothing ever happens' and they let their guard down, or they're so paranoid that they try to notice everything and end up missing him. More interesting was that the ones that usually noticed him were shop and stall owners, often calling out to him to look at their wares. That said, he steered clear of the main part of the hustle and bustle.

    He instead made his way to back passage between what looked to be a deadbeat bar and a junk shop with a busy human clerk, making sure that no one was watching before slipping in.

    Any other time, he might have been in the bar to see what rumors and gossip were buzzing about, but he doubted he had the luxury of just sitting tight listening and waiting for news to just land itself on his lap, so he chose the next best thing: hacking into the terminal from an external panel. Such panels usually served as a connection for future terminals, and sometimes were already connected to nearby existing ones. He simply had to look for a place that looked...older than everything else.

    There were many dangers in doing so. For one, he had much more firewalls and defense systems to fool and get through, especially in a heavily protected network - which he hoped Fafnir didn't have. Another was that he would be much more visible and conspicuous, especially to someone who knew where the panels were located. And three, his access wouldn't nearly be as informative as being on a real terminal - which meant he would have to be smart about what he needed to find out.

    It didn't take him long to find the access panel, shoddily hidden behind a cloth. He made a quick look from where he came from, as well as made a miniature plan in his head for an escape should he need to, before working on removing the panel, as quickly and as quietly as he could.

    Some time after, Askari found himself pressed against the wall, looking at his omni-tool, which he connected to the panel. So far, it looked like no one had spotted him, but he didn't know how much time he had, so he started to work on getting the most relevant information he could with the limited access he had - he focused on getting access from a security terminal.

    So far, he found little information he could use. The first thing he looked for - which was his usual - was finding out any local news and reports that security found relevant. A few brawls here and there, a report of a man dressed in black having stolen from one of the store merchants, and even a murder. None of which he could use in finding their targets - it looked like they held their heads low while they were there as well.

    However, he was able to pull an e-mail mentioning the new times and shifts for guard patrols. That was definitely something he took care to copy. And more importantly, he was able to get a portion of the station layout - at least enough that he would know where to go if he needed to make a run for it. And if he played his cards right, along with the patrol information, he might be able to get access to a terminal before the hacking group did...

    "Human. Have you 'surveyed' anything of note yet? Our fellow group seem unproductive at present," a familiar voice suddenly spoke into his comm.

    "Oh, hello, turian," he replied cheerily, careful not to speak Domitian's name. "Why, yes, I have, actually. Did you know that there's currently an unsolved murder? A female of your race was recently killed - her neck broken, seems like. What a shame - she could have been your type!" he said as he continued his work.

    He wondered what kind of face Domitian was making. Probably rolling his eyes and scoffing at the thought.

    "Of course, I do have a little tidbit that could be helpful to everyone. Just give me a moment~" he said in singsong as he sent a message to everyone in their group whose omnitool had messaging function, Domitian included.

    It was the portion of the station's map as well as the patrol schedule. He assumed the hacking group would understand - they weren't the dense sort. So long as they did their work, he would be free to continue digging up more information.

    And then he heard a boom.

    And he hoped to any higher being above it didn't involve their resident explosive salarian.

    -

    "Perfect! Materials found!" Cog called out as he looked at the wares of an asari with a chesire grin.

    For one reason or another, he found himself walking about with Kalros, of all aliens. Not he minded or cared one way or another - the prospect of being able to replenish his supply of materials with which to create more of his modifications and bombs, not to mention his gadgets, overridden any indignity he felt. That, of course, made him more energetic than a pyjak on a stealing frenzy.

    The salarian had only purchased his materials for a few seconds before running off to the next stall to take a look at their goods, giving Kalros quite a bit of work just to try and catch up to him.

    He paid no mind to the multiples of people that he bumped into or bumped into him back - he was a man on the mission. Which was why he didn't notice that his pocket was a little lighter than before.

    Perhaps it was for the best. He was already at least ten meters away when the poor and curious pickpocket decided to see what he had acquired - only to accidentally press the trigger and cause a small range bomb to explode. What ensued was a number of loud screams and surprised yells, along with a stream of gray, vision-impairing smog that came from his home-made smoke bomb, spreading out a few meters away.

    Cog merely turned his head to look at the source of the sound, curious. "Hm? What happened here?"
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


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