Mass Effect: Repercussions

Going Hunting
It's pirate season

It’s been a week now. There was an incident near the Perseus Veil, and the team was called in to assist rescue operations after a Geth attack. Pretty standard evacuation, boring almost, save for the constant watching of sensor banks for new Geth arrivals.

That’s in the past now though. You’ve gotten the message from Hackett’s secretary. New mission, 08:00. Standard procedure.

What wasn’t standard was the NavInt crony who met you rather than the Admiral. He handed Harris a folder and said “Find the mole in Rosenkov’s organization. It’s a matter of Alliance security at this point.” Then he walked out.

Rosenkov, one of the major corporations keeping the Systems Alliance economy going, and producers of some of the finest armor technology in the Alliance. Pepper is testing one of their new models for the SA panel of military acquisitions. They also dabble in mineral exploitation and several other product lines to keep their portfolio diverse. The Presrop mining expedition was funded by them.

Time to get to work.

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John Harris Personal Report Log 6
Mission: Investigate Missing Systems Alliance Vessel and Marine Detachment

After the loss of Commander Shepard, our team had largely been grounded. I suppose that the intel community couldn’t be bothered with us for a while. Still, it was only a matter of time before we resumed the call to action. We were being dispatched to Cadmus, second planet of the Elysium system, in the Exodus Cluster. Cadmus was a mining colony and settlement hit by the Geth several weeks after the Eden Prime incident. There was a full evac order given, and the planet was largely abandoned, though documents show many were unwilling or unable to leave. In any case, a recon vessel was sent into the area has missed several check-in transmissions and presumed lost. Our mission was to first find out what happened, then search planet-side for evidence of the Marine team’s survival.

Once in system we found a pair of Geth dreadnoughts just outside orbit of Cadmus, the likely reason for our missing vessel. This turned out to be a pretty unhappy surprise, and we called for the heavy gun ships to rendezvous with us to eliminate them. That would take two standard days, and while the SSV Omaha Beach waited, our team was to take our UT-47 Kodiak and use inertia with the planet’s gravity to allow us to slip under the Geth’s radar. We had a 48-hour window to find evidence and determine if a rescue operation was necessary.

Everything worked out for our approach. We landed without incident, and quickly scanned the area for Marine transmissions. We found one signal, a distress call. After a bit of debate about it being a trap, we felt the only way to be sure was to get out and see for ourselves. It turned out that the place was crawling with Geth, as we evaded a few patrols and even a tank while making our way through the city’s ruins en route to the distress beacon. It turned out that the beacon was no trap. We found one dead Marine, and using his combat camera determined he was killed by Geth, but also that his teammate has escaped, along with an order to regroup at “the base.”

Master Chief Pepper was instrumental in determining which buildings left standing would be the most defensible and locating it. He also hefted the fallen Marine’s body in order to bring him home, even at McAllister’s slight reluctance to do so. We proceeded to the burned out furnace Pepper chose and located the missing Marines. However, there was a huge assault of Geth bearing down on the building. Amid some select fire from our team I was able to reach into the Geth’s conscious mind, and got what I can only describe as an infinite perception of one object through 100,000 lenses. As Geth fell these lenses blacked out of existence, but at the same time, there was no fear, no regret, only service to the right choice and confidence.

The Marines told us of the attack on their ship, and their emergency landing on Cadmus. That they quickly found refuge in this burned out furnace, and had repelled wave after wave of Geth. They had made a lucky choice in that the Geth could not fit there tanks into the area because of the tight building configuration. They had also determined that the Geth had a working factory on this planet to produce more of their kind, and was the very reason that their ship met such strong resistance.

It was then our task to destroy the factory though infiltration and planting of high explosive devices at key areas in order to stage a chain reaction. The Marines piled into their and our Kodiaks, and fled to a position in the mountains as we left a distraction at the blast furnace and proceeded to the Geth factory without much opposition.

Shortly after this, contact came from the SSV Omaha Beach to tell us the Geth ships had been destroyed. We relayed our findings and awaited extraction. Once clear, the planet was bombarded to eliminate any Geth left, and I suppose anyone else who had survived their occupation.

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Mission: Recon and Rendezvous
Find and assist the Systems Alliance expeditionary force on Cadmus

It’s been three weeks since the destruction of the Normandy. It’s been two weeks since the Omaha Beach has been running non-stop diplomatic transport, high speed courier, and deep space picket missions. It’s been once week since Commander Shephard has been declared Missing in Action.

You arrived in the breifing room at 08:00, Admiral Hackett arrived and gave you your first non-milk run in three weeks. You’ve been itching for some action, and it appears that here it is.

1191985825695.thumbnailA marine expeditionary force was investigating an Element Zero mine and refinery on Cadmus, second planet of the Elysium system, in the Exodus Cluster. Cadmus was hit by the Geth several weeks after the Eden Prime incident. The settlement was evacuated and those unable to escape are presumeed dead. No activity has registered in the system for several weeks now, so a marine unit was sent in on a reconnaissance mission. Contact was lost 10 hours ago. ERT-Alpha is to enter the system, assess the situation, rendezvous with any surviving marines, and render any assistance necessary to complete their reconnaissance mission.

24 hours after this briefing, ERT-Alpha has made contact with Lt. Thurston and what is left of his squads.

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John Harris Personal Report Log 5
Mission: Eliminate Mercenaries in Order to Retrieve Data

The battle with the Stone Knife Assassins was succinct, our team overcame the mercenaries with quick precision. There were a few tense moments at the end where both Pepper and Webb were tagged pretty hard, however we managed to avert the loss of any team member. We did eliminate all but one of the mercenaries, most likely the elite sniper we suspected of being in their group.

Before the actual firefight started, I was able to use my abilities to some degree, finding where our enemies were by detecting their emotions. I am unsure of how to relay this information to the team without letting on that I can do things that would land me on a vivisection table if SA Intel found out. Though I suspect that at some point I will have to reveal some of actual abilities, I dread the results.

In the end, we were taken to a school that was far away from Towered Ilium, out in the mountains. It was here that Bertrim & Haversley now had it’s headquarters, and where our search for Weringa’s sequestered package laid in wait. After brief interaction with a rather pleasant Volus, the package was retrieved. It contained information about payments made to pirate groups all over the galaxy, especially that pirates were paid to specifically keep out of one sector. This intel will be extremely valuable in combating the pirate menace. I hope that someday Weringa’s story of sacrifice can be told.

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Riding to the Rescue
Mass Effect 2: Spoiler Alert

After clearing out the Stone Knife Assassins for the Banker’s contact, the team is led up into the mountains, to a school estate where they were met by a Volus. After exchanging the data codes for the contents of a safe deposit box – an antiquated data wafer, the team returned to the SSV Omaha Beach, where the decryption specialists immediately got to work on the data wafer.

The data contained there-in was disturbing; Weringa was able, before his death, to discover that most major pirate organizations had been paid well over recent months to stay well clear of the Omega Nebula; where the SSV Normandy is currently hunting for pirates on reports of Alliance ships disappearing in transit.

Arcturus Station relayed the Normandy’s last known location – the Amada System of Omega Nebula – to Captain Slater and the Omaha Beach immediately began jumps to warn the Normandy of the potential trap it was in. Unfortunately, the Omaha Beach arrived too late to render assistance, and instead immediately began rescue operations of the many life boats from the now destroyed Normandy. Roughly 2/3 of the crew were recovered, including the Asari Dr. Liara T’soni and the Turian Garrus Vakkarian. Pilot Jeff Moreau informed the rescuers that Shephard was blown free of the ship while rescuing him. Most of the crew are adamant about immediately landing to conduct a rescue operation, but Captain Slater, mindful of the potential for a second ambush, is awaiting the arrival of Cruiser support, and regretfully initiates the jump for Fleet HQ.

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John Harris Personal Report Log 4
Mission: Pursue Data Trail

I was awoken briskly by an incoming message to report directly to engineering upon return to ship. Though before I rejoined the SSV Omaha Beach I wanted to get a good breakfast while I could. Waking up with almost 2 hours before I had to return to active duty I headed out for a meal, luckily I met Ruben McAllister in the hotel lobby and we dined together. He told me about the information in the data disc, apparently quite a lot of trash data, but one good piece turned out to be a bank account number that the squad had identified as belonging to Bertim and Haversly Inc. So the next goal was to go to Many Towered Ilium and find what information we could about this safe deposit service, aside from the fact it had lost its trading license some twenty years ago.

We returned to SSV Omaha Beach and on to Engineering, where we were outfitted with new BDU’s and omnitools. During the fitting Engineer Ulla Ketterer spotted me, and I’m not if she was looking for the right time or what, but she walked up and smacked me hard across the face. I know what that was for, but strange that she picked that time and place to react to me on board.

Without much else occurring, we were released to ship until arrival on Ilium. Though once we arrived on planet, it looked odd that Ruben McAllister and I were dressed sleek and with authority while Ulysses Webb and J. Pepper were muscled out in battle armor. Nogha Ziv just ambled along, like a stray animal that hasn’t quite realized where it is or that it belongs to the pack now.

Some brief research turned up the last known contact for the safe deposit company, Iris P’lomial, and that she was currently employed with another company. However, by the time we arrived at its location, she had left work for the night, though a few soft words brought her location out of the secretary. A little mind prying helped reveal Iris’s image as well. We headed to the club she was believed to be at, Yanick’s Place, and once again digging in the door man’s brain held the password to allow us entry. We found an open table and surveyed the place. Though I was able to spot Iris due to my mental picture, Ruben McAllister bribed the bartender to reveal her identity as well. I passed by her table to see what I might be able to pick-up on, and luckily a pair of turians were arguing with Iris. I was able to play to her defense to get them to leave and earn an invitation to her table. She revealed not only that her old job was handed off to another asari named Sebastiene D’Sir, but further details of Bertim and Haversly. She also was looking to seduce me, which I was happy to oblige.

Ruben McAllister was able to find contact info for Sebastiene and set a meeting within a few hours. Though I was resistant to break off the conversation with Iris, we exchanged com codes to meet later. Our meeting with Sebastiene proved fruitful, finally granting us the asari currently in control of Bertim and Haversly. Little did I know it would turn out to be Eliana T’san, my former teacher at Gagarin Station, who helmed Bertim and Haversly.

Once again, we were forced to make a deal with Eliana and help rid her of the harassment from Stone Knife Assassins. They seemed to have set up a base in an uncompleted arcology, and were striking down any known couriers for Bertim and Haversly. Eliana believes that this is part of a power play by a rival organization who has hired the Stone Knife Assassins and would like us to find out who is behind the contract.

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Many Towered Ilium

The coded information was a bank account, traced to Betim and Haversley, a former interstellar bank that has dropped off the radar 20 years ago on Illium.

A solid night of information gathering led from Iris P’Lomiel, the last registered contact for the official bank to Bastienne, the matron she handed duties off to to the current point of contact for the organization, Eliana T’san.

Eliana met with the team and agreed to take them to the bank in exchange for their help in dealing with the Stone Knife Assassins, an organization hired by somebody to take out the organization keeping Betim and Haversley underground.

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John Harris Personal Report Log 3
Mission: Investigate Intel Lead to Citadel Station

Upon returning to the SSV Omaha Beach following the assault on the Terminus pirate vessel my squad was summoned to a classified intel meeting. The information that was retrieved about Operative Wirenga was pointing to Citadel Station and it was up to my squad to further the investigation. Our clue of “Citadel.Wards.Walkers./Through The Mirror” gave us our next objective, though it was still shrouded in mystery. The mission was highly classified and would appear as a short shore leave, rather than reveal our actual purpose.

Travel to Citadel was a few days, and since we were to be engaging upper crust civilians I felt it important to find a skilled tailor to prepare appropriate attire. I even focused on a particular accent to further enhance my social calling card. I also found that due to the recent Geth attack, Citadel had very stringent firearms policies, even for military personnel.

The transition to shore leave was easy, even finding quality lodging was simple do to a little friendly talk with security. Lucky for us Ruben McAllister has an uncle on with a Council Seat, and our dinner reservation at Walker’s moved from days to hours. However, Walker’s turned out not to be the destination we needed to look in, instead it was a club near to Walker’s called The Looking Glass. I saw the image of Darin Wirenga again, this time in the club, reaching back to stick something inside the mirror, which was actually a hologram. This vision netted us a data disc, which Ruben McAllister quickly grabbed and headed back to our lodgings. J. Pepper and I stayed in the club, where his request for three women I quickly fulfilled. Though it seemed to be a misunderstanding, he happily made the follow though with one woman, while I found the other two amorous to my advances. Like a strange narcotic episode, I could ride their consciousnesses and see their first sexual encounter with each other, as we all explored one another’s bodies.

When I finally made my way back to our accommodations, it was very late. I slipped into bed still feeling very strange about my ability to draw out emotions into visual ephemera. However, I’m realizing just how important these powers are becoming to our intelligence gathering.

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Intel Follow-up/shore leave

By the time the Omaha Beach returned to Fleet HQ, new orders awaited ERT-Alpha: Follow up on the intel left by the former deep cover agent with all speed. Leave on Citadel has been granted to pursue this course of action.

The Citadel

Looking GlassPursuing the clues found in the original Data Packet, the members of team Alpha procured entrance to Walker’s, a prestigious dining establishment just re-opened since the Geth Attack on the Citadel. There, they discovered a nearby club called Looking Glass by the locals, and after a short investigation there discovered a data pad with encrypted information.

654897684861-AELAKA
762192-WTJ
URGENT

In addition, while ERT-Alpha was ashore, Abigail Laurence and Ashlee Hibler have worked their connections at the Citadel and acquired upgrades to the Standard Issue equipment. All team members currently ashore are advised to take steps to make sure they are outfitted with the latest upgrades before the SSV Omaha Beach is aweigh.

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John Harris Personal Report Log 2
Mission: Infiltrate and Assault Pirate Menace

As determined by our pirate hostage, the mothership was coming to claim her drones. Command gave us orders to board the drop ship and pilot it to the awaiting dreadnaut. The hostage gave me all the help he seemed able to, including the number of awaiting pirates, details on the ship’s defenses, standard offloading procedures, and a basic schematic. We determined it would be best to maintain surprise for as long as we could and quickly make our way to the bridge. We also had the help of a Marine assault unit to cover our rear.

Disembarking from the drop ship was quick, and we dispatched five pirates before they could react. However, cameras in the docking bay made a quick alert to the rest of the pirate crew, but attempts to lock up the air-lock and keep us contained met with failure. We encountered more resistance in the cargo bay, but soundly defeated it and made our way to the bridge. There was one pirate there, who we surprised. It was apparent he did not hear us coming due to his own attempt at coming, which we also foiled. The surprise here was a holopic recorder showing an execution of someone Master Chief Pepper identified as Alliance military. Not knowing anything more and finding that this “bridge” clearly didn’t control the ship systems, we proceeded aft-wards to the CIC and what we believed was the true “bridge” of the vessel.

After another short skirmish in the cargo bay, we reunited with our Marine counterparts. They moved on to guard the other docking bays, and our point of egress, from any further enemy resistance.

Our confrontation in the CIC was relatively easy. Twenty-something pirate members had only small arms and were unprepared for our assault. We cleared the room of enemy combatants and used their computer to further lock down all aft chambers, all the ship’s weapons, and plotted a course to crash the vessel onto the planet’s surface. As I inspected the dead bodies, I was hit with another psychic impression. This time I could see the pirate crew executing fleeing settlers and rounding up women and children. When I came to, I was on my back with blood running from my nose. As I got to my feet, I could feel the same scene from each of the other pirates, though from each individuals point-of-view, giving me a layered three-dimensional scene of slaughter and pain. With fury, I found the two captive pirates we had secured and executed them for their crime.

We finished up what we could in the CIC and moved back to the cargo hold where we inspected the cargo. Finding crate after crate of high grade materials we quickly decided to reclaim the goods for the Systems Alliance. The odd crates were the ones filled with clothing, rations, and other supplies from settlements. Feeling that these must tie into something larger, I ordered that these crates not be left behind.

As the Marines loaded our stolen drop ships, I saw another psychic vision, this time of the executed man walking through the cargo hold in the direction of the bridge. I followed his path feeling his anxiety that he needed to get something done quick. What I found was a file he had hidden in the bridge computer with encoded instructions. He was apparently found out as a spy and tried to send off one final message before he was killed. After a check with Lt. Tobar to make sure the women and children captives were not present on ship, we disembarked to return to the SSV Omaha Beach.

Though my repeated encounters with psychic emanations are becoming difficult to explain to my squad, I do not think they have any clue the powers I possess. Even I don’t truly understand where these messages are coming from and how, and I can only hope that with time I will be able to master control of these powers.

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