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

  1. #76
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    May 2008
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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.
    I walk the shadowed path.

  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!


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