• Attention All Comstar Customers, Due to unexpected interference by suspected Word of Blake operatives, the HPG systems update was *not* successful. No data was lost due to our careful and extensive backups; however, we will need to try again next weekend. Sincerely, Comstar Precentor Dune

Beyond the Horizon

Markwarrior

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if Arty was that good in the game giant stompy robots would not work out though. i want my futuristic knights in space none of this spawn camping bullshit.
that’s why it’s neutered in the TT. But I’ve tended to follow slightly more realistic measurements.

It might be compressed for gameplay like the the standard weapons. From the range aerospace brackets that are linear with zero I calculated 1 km per 3 hexes. I think I used low altitude map hexes so atmospheric drag and beam diffusion would still be in play, but it's possible I used high altitude. I also may have fudged slightly to get cleaner numbers. I ran the calcs years ago now. A mapsheet is 15x17 hexes. Taking the 15 hexes per mapsheet that comes to 5 km per mapsheet. That's 90 km for the Sniper, 105 km for the Thumper, and 150 km for the Long Tom. Arrow IV would clock in at 40-45 km depending on tech base. Other than Arrow these are probably on the long side with the Long Tom outranging the Paris Gun, but some ratio of increase is needed because otherwise adjusted LRMs outrange Arrow IVs.

Unless you're using ground ranges as is, which don't track with the much longer aerospace ranges and are directly said to be compressed for gameplay in the Total Warfare preface, you need to apply some multiplier to artillery ranges to make them reasonable. Probably a smaller multiplier than standard weapons to keep the shells in the atmosphere.

Another value I've heard that I think allegedly came out of an unofficial post by an official account around the time of AEWAB was 9x which I think was slightly shorter and made ranges much less clean numbers. It gives a 126 km range to the Long Tom, which is short of the Paris Gun, but not by much. You probably want to pull a number out of your hat based on some real guns.
I can use the 15km range as a “minimum recommended range
 

ATP

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Not going to disagree with you there. But any Arty is better than what ME has. Which is just frigates providing orbital support.
Frigate as artillery support seems good to me.To be honest,i like "Crest of the Stars" approach,where fight on land is not used,when you have orbit.

And,you could explain range of artillery,that they could fire at,let say,80km,but drones which coordinate fire could be send only 15km from gun.
Or enemy could take over them.
 
Chapter 15

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Chapter 15

"We should be ready to power this on in an hour or so," Sura told Dr. Kelley. "I'm going to triple check the mass calculations."

"Once this is installed and powered on, we're going to be running it through a barrage of tests," Kelley told the Quarian. "You might not want to be here if something goes wrong. We're even stripping the crew complement down to just the pilots and a couple of engineers for these tests."

"I'm confident in our work," Sura told the scientist. "I believe that this will be successful."

"It's your decision," Dr. Kelley shrugged. "If this works though, we'll have improved the capabilities of our ships exponentially."

"I just hope that the controls for the core are as effective as we hope they are," Sura replied. "It's going to need to be done manually until we can set up the proper automated systems for it."

"That's for the future," Dr. Kelley said as he continued checking the math. "This is just the first of many tests, and as we refine things we should be able to begin getting things set up for future implementation as a whole."

"I suppose that's fair," Sura said as she gave the eezo core a systems check.

"We'll start running the tests in an hour," Kelley said. "If you're going to back out Sura, then now would be the time."






"You appear less threatening this way," Jordak Bragus said as he looked the smaller female up and down. "You look like an Asari, I hope that you're harder than you look, I would hate to squish you."

Nadia Winson just looked at the Krogan as he stood across the Circle of Equals from her.

"Are you here to fight?" Nadia asked. "Or do you plan on boring me to death."

"I was taking your measure," Jordak replied as he peeled his armor off, revealing the undersuit that he wore underneath. "And I find you lacking."

"Talk is cheap," Nadia replied. "You requested this Circle of Equals. Now you may fight me, or you may leave."

"Should either of you leave the Circle of Equals at any time they will forfeit and be unable to challenge again," Duke Hull spoke up from his position. "We have clearly marked the boundaries for this Trial of Refusal, and we have warriors on standby to force compliance if need be."

"I am not one to typically succumb to the blood rage," Jordak replied as he handed his discarded armor off to one of the Krogan witnesses. "But I understand the precautions nonetheless."

Natasha then stepped forward and recited the ritual words that would begin this Trial.

After Natasha had walked to the outskirts of the several meter wide circle both Nadia and Jordak started circling the each other, looking for a sign of weakness.

Jordak moved forward first, throwing his body at Winson in a tackle reminiscent of a rugby or American Football move. But Nadia darted out of reach of it all except for his claws. Which carved deep gashes into Nadia's thigh as the clothing tore.

Meanwhile, Nadia moved away from the reach of the Krogan at first before darting within his reach, using her elbows and knees to great effect as she drove the hardened points of her body into the Krogan's own. Throwing him back a bit before he regained his focus from the shock of being on the defensive.

"Ragh!" Jordak roared as he bodily picked up Nadia and slammed her into the ground as hard as he could. But Jordak lost his grip on on her as she slipped from his grasp and dropped down, using the leverage from her body to kick the Krogan in the back of his knee, driving him forward with his own weight to the edge of the boundaries where she then drove an elbow into his crest as she jumped up onto Jordak’s back.

Reaching back and trying to tear Nadia off of his back Jordan tore more skin off of the Khan as he finally found purchase on her shoulder. Digging his hand in, he rolled his hips and tried to throw her off of him, but instead only gave her more purchase to move up and wrap her legs around the Krogan's neck and begin tightening down.

Jordak continued to try and grab Nadia, but she refused to release her hold in spite of the blood loss from the relatively deep gashes that were sunk into her legs, arms, and her torso.

Jordak, realizing that he wasn't going to be able to break the Khan's hold began to stumble towards the boundary line, intending to throw her out of the ring and thus make her forfeit.

Nadia, realizing Jordak's plan, began to tense her body up in preparation to spring off of the Krogan, and once he was close enough she stopped choking the alien out and shoved her feet against his shoulders, forcing her compacted body to spring up by using Jordak's body as a springboard, the force of her weight driving him over the boundary line and allowing her to just barely land within.

"That was well fought," Jordak said once he had refilled his lungs. "You have a quad on you. It's not many that are willing to face off against one of my kind."

"I am not sure what a 'quad' is," Nadia replied. "But it sounds uncomfortable."

Jordak just roared with laughter as he considered the bloody form of the woman in front of him.

"I am willing to follow your ways," Jordak said as he met Nadia's eyes. "And I will assist in ensuring that the rest of the Krogan submit to your ways as well. We Krogan respect strength and a good fight, as long as we are provided with those things then we shall follow your ways."




"You're crazy," I shook my head at Nadia as Natasha and I began to treat some of her wounds. "But I think you've just secured the loyalty of this generation of Krogan."

"I have learned a great many things over my long life," Nadia smirked up at me and Natasha. "Jordak did not care if he won this fight, and he will not be the first challenger that I have to face in this Circle. But this is the birthplace of something new, and I will see it through."

"Just try not to overdo it," I said as I helped the Khan up onto her feat. "I need you in one piece, especially with Hazen out of commission for the next six months to a year."

"I do not believe I will conduct any more trials out of my armor," Nadia winced as she stood up to her full height. "This was my first challenge in years beyond the sparring mat, and I find myself lacking in my old skills."

"I'm certain that Mathis and many of us on the Ducal Guard will be willing to assist with that," Natasha said with a smile. "You only have to ask. But first I believe that you need to see Dr. Hale. While some scars may heal, you do not desire to have any that would impair your abilities."

"Aff," Nadia replied. "I believe will need assistance getting onboard the Argo for said attention though."






"Power flow seems stable," Dr. Kelley stated as he looked at the readings. "Engaging artificial gravity, now."

Entering the commands, there was a minor hum from the eezo core as a few unsecured tools fell to the floor and the hum stopped as a solid 1g of gravity manifested itself across the interior of the Sting they were using as a testbed.

"Gravity test is good," Sura said as she reviewed everything on her Omnitool. "Mass calculations were good and it looks like we should be ready to start with the rest of the tests."

"Next is the inertial dampeners," Dr. Kelley grinned underneath his helmet. "If this works then we'll be able to do things we only dreamed of in our fiction."

"Then let's get to it," Sura replied with a grin, Dr. Kelley's joy being infectious. "There's still work to be done after all."

"Yes indeed," the scientist replied. "If we can get this part done then we can move on to the truly exciting part. Testing whether we can perform the same level of FTL that your ships are capable of, or if we will need to modify or redesign our own ships in order to obtain that functionality."

"I'm not educated enough on your ships drives to assist with that yet," Sura replied. "But I'm willing to learn."

"I already have the approval," Dr. Kelley replied. "Now, onto further testing."
 
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ATP

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Future win with science and beating Krogan with your own fist - i like that humanity more then Mass Effect ones.
 

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Sparta kicked
Front Push Kick, or Meereo Chagi in Taekwondo. Or to be more precise a Front Flick Kick transition into a Front Push Kick.
drove an alone into his crest
Drove a what into his crest?

Jordan tore
Jordak

inertial dampners
Dampener

Future win with science and beating Krogan with your own fist - i like that humanity more then Mass Effect ones.
Clan Warriors are genetically engineered humans and are further enhanced by a strict Eugenics program controlling reproduction rights. They are a saner hard scifi version of Stirling's Homo Drakensis.
 

Markwarrior

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Front Push Kick, or Meereo Chagi in Taekwondo. Or to be more precise a Front Flick Kick transition into a Front Push Kick.

Drove a what into his crest?


Jordak


Dampener



Clan Warriors are genetically engineered humans and are further enhanced by a strict Eugenics program controlling reproduction rights. They are a saner hard scifi version of Stirling's Homo Drakensis.
I’m updating the threadmark in a bit. I’ve got a revised version to put up.
 
Council Interlude 1

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Council Interlude

“Hmm,” Sparatus hummed to himself in his private office on the Citadel as he went over various intelligence reports on the humans and the Terminus Systems. “Interesting, but not worth our full attention yet,” He muttered as he looked at the current “common knowledge” that they received in their intelligence briefings.


“Avina, can you connect me with Councilor’s Tevos, and Vedol?” The Turian Councilor asked as he drank his typical morning beverage.

“Affirmative,” the VI’s avatar responded. “Connecting you now.”

“Sparatus,” Tevos’ voice came over Sparatus’ terminal. “What is it?”

“Have you had the chance to go over the recent reports from the Terminus yet?” The Turian Councilor asked as he continued to read said reports.

“No, I have not had the chance to do so as of yet,” Tevos replied. “Is there something important in them?”

“Potential new species in the Terminus,” Spartacus summarized for her as Vedol connected to the group call. “They seem to have taken over the cesspool that is Korlus.”

“Yes, they seem to be establishing themselves fairly well according to all reports,” Vedol agreed as he caught up to the conversation. “All intelligence from STG agents in place nearby suggest that they are a species that requires their suits in order to live.”

“Agreed,” Sparatus replied. “The reports from some Turian agents that we had embedded in a couple of pirate groups suggest that they are a species with primitive technology for the most part. I do not believe that they are a threat to the Council as of yet and that our priority should still be focusing on the Humans.”

“Give me a moment to read the reports,” Tevos said. “We can reconvene in person to discuss this in say, an hour?”

“That is acceptable,” Sparatus replied. “Shall we make use of that cafe?”

“Incognito again?” Vedol asked.

“It’s important that we are not always in the Council chambers,” Sparatus replied. “And this gives us the opportunity to shed the roles, if at least for a small period of time.”




“How do people not recognize us?” Vedol asked. “I do not understand how this seems to work every time we attempt it.”

“We are known for specific appearances in specific places,” Sparatus explained to the Salarian. “I know that your background was in science, but I was a part of the Turian Intelligence Corps before I was appointed to this position.”

“This is effective because we are not wearing our usual garments, and our face paint has been changed on the part of myself and Sparatus,” Tevos said as she sipped at her tea. “And no one would expect us to be out in the open like this, so it works because it is unexpected. Now, I believe we were discussing the possible new species in the Terminus.”

“Yes,” Sparatus said as he began to eat the breakfast that he had been served. “I believe that we should keep an eye on this species but not interfere. We have enough on our hands with the Humans at this point.”

“I wish to send a Spectre to keep an eye on them,” Tevos said after a moment. “They could become useful in balancing out the Terminus if used correctly.”

“Agreed,” Vedol said as he slurped at his own beverage. “We have seen evidence that they do not like pirates or slavery. They could be useful in drawing attention away from our species' borders.”

“But who to send?” Sparatus asked. “This would end up being a long-term assignment at worst, and could be a permanent one at best.”

“Most of our Salarian Spectres are training their replacements,” Tevos said as she consulted her omnitool. “That leaves us with a Turian or an Asari.”

“Most of which are busy in their own assigned sectors,” Sparatus pointed out, reminding the other two of the standard operating procedures of the Spectres. “There are only a handful of Spectres not in play currently.”

“Vasir is currently not assigned to any sectors,” Vedol spoke up. “There are also a couple of Turians that are not currently assigned to any one area.”

“They’re blunt instruments,” Sparatus shook his head. “Saren is good, but I don’t think he’ll perform well under this kind of operation. And the rest of our Turians are going to be busy running around trying to put out fires.”

“There are never enough Spectres to go around,” Tevos sighed. “While they are always our most capable agents, they are also limited by their numbers. I believe that Vasir will be best for this. She has the expertise in diplomacy and in infiltration after all, both of which may be needed.”

“Her record speaks for itself,” Sparatus agreed.

“I approve,” Vedol said bluntly. “We can give her the mission once we are back in the council chambers proper.”

“I will have some of our specialists give her a debrief on how to deal with potential primitive species,” Tevos said as the trio of Councilors rose to leave the cafe. “Matrons sometimes need to be reminded that just because they do not possess our technology does not mean that they are lesser.”

“I will ensure that the appropriate reports get filed in the right place,” Sparatus shifted the conversation slightly after they left the table and turned the jamming devices off. “Spirits knows that the boss would kill me if I filed something incorrectly.”

“Don’t forget that we need to get the project accomplished in a timely manner as well,” Vedol picked up on the speech pattern. “Sooner is preferable when it comes to this sort of work.”

“I’ll be contacting the specialists after our break is over,” Tevos smiled. “This should not take long to put together after all.”

“We are all agreed then?” Sparatus asked.

“Yes,/We are.” Vedol and Tevos replied.

“Then I’ll see you in the office,” Sparatus said as he walked off in a circular route to one of the hidden entrances to the Council tower.

“Yes, see you there,” Vedol said as he took another route.

“Back to work then,” Tevos sighed tiredly as she looked at the Citadel. “Looks like I’ve got some people to get into contact with.” She opened her omnitool and send a bunch of messages. “Who to use?” She muttered to herself as she considered a list of Matriarchs and older Matrons before her.

“Ahh,” She smile to herself as she selected one name in particular. “This is a perfect way to get you away from the truth and puts you away from causing any trouble that might get you killed. I would hate for people to investigate your death after all." Tevos hummed to herself as she began to plan.


Author's note: Took a break yesterday, sorry if y'all were expecting an update.
 

ATP

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Take your time,RL is always more important.
And - Councill act logically.What some small species in unimportant part of Galaxy could do? just send some second rate agent to check them.
 

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Oh I'm laughing my arse off. Primitive !? And they send a mind control agent in 😂! The Clanners will be immediately suspicious of all Asari past Maiden stage. She's the absolute worse choice for this mission
 

The Whispering Monk

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Oh I'm laughing my arse off. Primitive !? And they send a mind control agent in 😂! The Clanners will be immediately suspicious of all Asari past Maiden stage. She's the absolute worse choice for this mission
What you don't know will always bite you on the ass.
 
Chapter 16 (Natasha’s bad idea Part 1)

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Chapter 16 (Natasha’s bad idea Part 1)


“Everything seems to be going well,” I said to Dr. Rogers as we drove around the omniforges and the ships that were being broken apart and recycled at a much faster pace than before we arrived.


“It does seem that way,” Rogers agreed. “We have noticed some flaws that need to be corrected in forges one and two though. But we’d have to take them offline in order to fix them.”


“We’re only building prefabs and more dome structures with them right now,” I said as I watched the Industrialmechs feeding massive sections of the ships into the forges. “I’d rather have everything working at full efficiency than something go wrong due to a flaw. “


“I’ll have a team start working on it,” Dr. Rogers said as we neared the end of the drive. “I wish you weren’t making us rotate back to Veil every couple of weeks though. You’re killing our efficiency.”


“You and I both know that efficiency is only going to be down in the short term,” I argued with my lead scientist and engineer. “I’m not letting your teams burn themselves out on this, I don’t care if they were magically made younger with the rest of us.”


“You could at least let me keep the team leads over here for longer periods of time,” Rogers argued as I pulled the SUV up to the armored prefab that was being used as the main residence for the Marksman and Ducal Guard for now.


“No,” I told the scientist. “I understand that you’re all excited, but we can’t really afford to lose any of you due to a lack of rest,” I sighed. “I’m willing to keep Dr. Kelley and his team for somewhat longer lengths of time because they’re the ones who are the most experienced in working with the new tech right now. But that’s the only concession I’ll make.”


“I’ll take what I can get,” Dr. Rogers replied as we stepped out of the car, flanked by Mathis and one of Natasha’s Marauders.”


“Good, because this wasn’t a negotiation,” I said as we cycled through the airlocks and entered the prefab before taking off our helmets. “Adamina, we don’t have the manpower to do what you want to do yet, and we have no way of getting back home if our Hyperspace specialists are correct. While our colony on the Veil is starting to get things set up to be a hundred thousand strong in the next forty years, we’re not going to be anywhere near ready to have 24/7 research being done until we can get some of the aliens here vetted and trustworthy.” I held up my hand to stall her retort. “I know that you’re eager to push the boundaries of science and see what we can do with all of this new technology at our disposal, but we’ve got to prioritize for now. Give me three years of you doing the research that I ask for and I’ll cut your leash off after that.”


The engineer just furrowed her brow in thought as we continued walking towards my office.


“I can do that,” Dr. Rogers said after a minute or so. “But only if you promise to cut your own workload as well.”


“I’m fine,” I responded immediately as I went on the defensive. “I can handle the workload I’ve got just fine.”


“No, you can’t,” Mathis spoke up as he entered my office behind us. “You’re starting to fall back into bad habits and need to fix them before you end up causing yourself issues again. “


“I’ll take a break after the salvage negotiations with the Migrant Fleet are over and done with,” I said after looking at the amount of paperwork that I still had to finish before I could turn in and sleep.


“Mark,” Natasha appeared as if summoned by my workaholic tendencies starting to resurface. “You’re not allowed to work for the next three days. I’m taking you on an adventure!”


I felt my eyes widen involuntarily as I recalled what happened on our last “adventure”.


“Help me,” I mouthed at Mathis as my wife dragged me away to start prepping for whatever it was that she had planned.


“That’s a negative,” Mathis shook his head at me and smirked. “Go have fun testing out the new capabilities of the Sting. Melissa can cover for us while we’re gone.”






Omega


“This is a bad idea,” I told Natasha as she led me to the biggest club in the area.


“Of course it is!” She laughed. “That’s why we’re doing it. Besides, we need to start setting everything up if we want to get some reputable mercs hired.”


“Yeah, but we didn’t have to come here to do it,” I argued as we made our way to the Elcor Bouncer that was in front of the club known as Afterlife.


“Stern Greeting: Newcomers, you are expected.” The Elcor allowed us to bypass the queue.


“Why are you letting them in man!” A Batarian yelled at the Elcor bouncer as he pulled the Asari that he was with closer to his side.


“Strong Warning: Do not attempt to bypass the line again,” the Elcor turned towards the Batarian. “Aria has given them permission to enter.”


“No, fuck you, they probably just paid you extra to be let in early!” The Batarian drew a knife and tried to stab the Elcor with it before he was surrounded by a biotic field.


“Joyful remark: You have just made my day, I do not normally get to do this,” The Elcor flexed his biotics and threw the Batarian clear across the street and into a garbage bin. “Next!”







“Why did we come here again?” I asked as we were surrounded by flashing lights and something that could not really be called music.


“Because Aria is the one to talk to if we really want to get a Mercenary Review Board up and running,” Natasha chided me. “You know that.”


“This could have waited though,” I argued over the noise.


“Better to get it done now, and establish a good relationship with this woman,” Natasha replied as we approached the stairs leading to where Aria T’Loak was seated.


“No weapons,” A Batarian said as he stepped forward. “I’m going to have to take those from you,” He gestured towards the gear that we both had on us.


“Over my dead body,” I replied as I shifted and got in a position to draw my sidearm. “Weapons are a part of my religion.”


“That can be arranged,” The Batarian’s Turian partner said as he stepped forward and tried to take Natasha’s weapons from her only to end up with a broken arm and his face firmly planted in the ground of the club.


“Or, alternatively, you just step aside,” I said as I held the Batarian at gunpoint with his own gun that I had stolen while he was distracted. “By the way, I don’t recommend a subcompact like this for the kind of work you’re doing. Full size is better for the accuracy,” I threw his handgun to the ground and stomped it into little shards minus the ammo block. “I’d recommend something hardier too. If you can’t beat something to death with it and still have it function then it’s not worth having.”


“Just send them up,” a female voice said as I continued lecturing the Batarian and Turian on their weapon choices. “It’s clear that you would be dead if they wanted you to be.”


“You heard Aria,” the Turian mumbled from where he was still being ground into the dirt beneath Natasha. “You can let me up now.”


“Actually, I didn’t hear anything involving you two,” Natasha said with a smirk underneath her Mithril. “I want you to beg me to let you up.”


“Please, let me get up,” the Turian winced as his face plates were dug into the ground even harder. “I have a family.”


“Fine,” Natasha said as she finally let the Turian up. “Mathis, I want you to continue their education. They are severely lacking in capabilities.”


“Yes ma’am,” the giant of a man replied as he faced the two aliens. “Where to begin though.” He mused out loud as he stood at the bottom of the stairs while Natasha and I began to walk up.







“You really know how to put on a show,” One of the trio of Asari in the VIP area laughed. “Aria, you should get better help around here, Aria.”


“You both know that good help is hard to find, Aethyta,” Aria retorted. “Stop laughing at me Sederis, you know that the guards down there are for show.”


“So, introductions,” one of the Asari said as she swirled a dangerous-looking drink in her glass. “I’m Aethyta, that’s Aria T’Loak, and the young one over there is Jona Sederis,” She drained the last of her glass before slamming it down on the table in front of her. “We’re the ones that didn't quite fit the mold of the normal Asari society.”


“I’m Duke Mark Hull,” I replied. “And this is my wife Natasha. We’re the ones that just took over the Imir system and are looking to get the salvage negotiations back on track.”


“That, and some other things,” Natasha spoke up. “Where we come from Mercenaries are a common facet of life. But they’re regulated by what is called the Mercenary review board. The review board has things like lawyers and helps make sure that neither the client nor the merc unit gets fucked over by the wrong kind of contract.”


“That’s something we can discuss in further detail later,” Aria spoke up, interrupting Natasha. “I had contracts with Korlus, and I believe that Sederis did as well.”


“Given the new efficiency standards I think it’s best that we look at renegotiating those contracts,” I replied. “Especially seeing as you don’t have to pick and choose which baron to negotiate with anymore.”


“I’m not willing to negotiate with someone who keeps their face covered,” Jona replied. “Take those off and let us see what you really are.”


“I don’t recommend you do that sir, ma’am,” Mathis told us both on our internal comms. “We haven’t been able to test the disruptor against Matriarchs yet.”


“Copy that Mathis, I'm not planning on it. But if something seems off Mathis, I expect you to shoot first and ask questions later,” I told my bodyguard and friend. “And I think that these three might just cancel each other out.”


“Stay safe,” Mathis replied. “I’ve got the Sting on standby now if we need a quick evac.”
 
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Chapter 17 (Natasha's Bad Idea Part 2)

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Chapter 17 (Natasha’s Bad Idea Part 2)


“This work enough for you?” I asked as I depolarized a section of my visor, revealing part of my eyes and cheekbones before immediately concealing them behind the shield again. “Because this is the most you’re getting.”


“Ha!” Aethyta laughed as she poured herself another drink. “I like these guys!”


“Stick around a while,” I snarked back. “I’ve got party tricks too.”


“Can we focus on the matter at hand,” Aria said bluntly as she took control of the conversation. “Some of my operations rely on the salvage that I purchase from Korlus, and I would like to ensure that I have a trade contract written up and signed before the day is out.”



“What parts specifically are you looking for?” I asked. “Because we’re currently moving at a much more rapid pace than the barons did.”


“Let me look over the data,” Aria said as she flipped open her omnitool. “Can you send the file over?”


“Neg,” I shook my head as I pulled a slate out from a pouch. “You’ll have to use this. I had some translators go through everything the old contract had, and had them write up a new one.”


“Hmm,” Aria accepted the small tablet-looking device cautiously before noting that it was indeed translated and had an easy-to-use interface. “I see you changed the wording on parts of the contract in subsections two and five.”


“Let’s not play games,” I stated. “The baron who agreed to this contract was an idiot. Subsections two and five would have basically made him turn over everything he owned to you if he forfeited or screwed up in those areas. I don’t play those games. We’ll be on time with our deliveries, even if pirates try to do something.”


“How can I trust you on this?” Aria asked. “You are newcomers here and have yet to prove yourselves.”


“Pirates will never be a problem in our territory,” Natasha spoke up bluntly. “And neither will slavers. They are both Hostis Humanis Generis and will be dealt with accordingly. If you had your hands in the slaving business then we would not be having this discussion. You would simply be dead at my feet.”


“Are you threatening me? Aria asked as she finally stood up from her reclined position.


“I only have one rule,” Natasha said. “Don’t fuck with me, or you’ll find out exactly what I mean.”


I just stood there and let Natasha handle it. Despite her hotheadedness, she had a genuine feel for how to deal with these kinds of situations and so I just stood to the side with Aethyta and Jona and watched the two women clash.


“That one’s got fire in her,” Aethyta laughed as she elbowed the side of my Mithril. “You looking to teach an old woman a thing or two about the universe that she didn’t know before?”


“Sure,” I smiled as Natasha continued to verbally spar with Aria. “We’ve got the room on the Serenity for you.”


“Do you always stir up such trouble?” Jona asked. “Or is this something that is new?”


“I don’t go looking for trouble,” I started and then cut myself off. “Most of the time. Sometimes trouble is exactly what is needed to stir things up and make the galaxy a better place.”







“You are welcome back here,” Aria told Natasha and I after we had finally finished the meeting. “But if you come back bring something strong to drink. I’ll need it for the headache that she brings with her,” Aria indicated to both Aethyta and Natasha with one hand while speaking to me.


“No promises,” I replied. “I haven’t had time to get a proper distillery set up yet.”


“I’m an Asari,” Aria replied. “I can afford to wait.”







“Now that is an interesting ship,” Aethyta remarked as she looked at the Serenity, the Sting class gunship that was being used as a testbed for how effective the mating of our technology would be with the technology-based off on Element Zero.


“I like it,” I smiled underneath my armor. “This one has been in service for over three hundred years,” I patted the side of it. “I bought her and hired her crew of ex-smugglers around fifty years ago. The crew has since retired, but we kept some of the internal modifications that they made before doing a complete refit of the ship.”


“She looks like she’s done a lot in her years,” Aethyta said as she touched the side of the gunship before walking around and looking at the weapons emplacements that were plainly visible. “How much to buy one of these?” She asked as her eyes widened at the sheer amount of guns that were on the Serenity.


“There are some things to work out before we start production on new versions,” I told the Matriarch. “But once those kinks are worked out we can discuss things further.”


“Don’t trust me enough to give anything away huh?” Aethyta asked. “That’s alright, I wouldn’t trust another Matriarch either.” She spat on the ground. “As far as I’m concerned, most of the other girls my age are too set in their own ways, expecting the galaxy to bend to our will because we are the ‘elder’ species.”


“Such is life,” I shrugged. “Age does not have a monopoly on wisdom or experience,” I walked onto the ship and called out for the crew. “Hey, Mal! We’re ready to leave when you are.”


“Roger that,” the other man said as he tuned into the comms system that we used. “Wash, get clearance to leave, we’re heading back to Imir.”


“Sir, are we sure we should be trusting these aliens?” the leader of the Marines assigned to the Serenity asked.


“Just keep your eyes peeled Jayne,” I replied. “Innocent until proven guilty remember?”


“Unless they’re pirate scum,” Senior Chief Kaylee cheerfully said over the comms. “Then we just space ‘em.”



“Easy on the bloodlust Senior Chief,” I told the mechanic. “We’ll work on the pirate problem as we get to them, gotta secure the home system first.”


“You gonna let me in on your little private chats?” Aethyta asked as I showed her where to stash her gear.


“Neg,” I shook my head. “Once you earn your own set of Mithril maybe, but we don’t trust you enough for that yet.”


“There are ways,” Natasha said as she showed me a Bondcord. “But it is not an easy process.”


“Natasha, no, you don’t need more Marauders,” I told my wife.


“Hazen is on leave for another year though,” Natasha laughed at me. “I have need of a replacement. And this one shall suffice.”


“This isn’t like you adopting a Clanner into our home Natasha, this is a potential enemy agent that we have no information about.”


“Trust me,” Natasha said seriously. “I have a good feeling about this one.”


“You try to get her to sleep with me and you’re on the couch for a month,” I threatened. “I’m not going through that again.”


“Bargained well, and done,” Natasha said as she pulled the Matriarch to the side and began to explain the Bondcord and the history associated with it as well as what each of the three cords meant.”



“Why does this kind of shit always happen to me?” I asked as I buried my face in my hands.
 
Aria T’Loak interlude (written by YuffieK on Spacebattles.)

Markwarrior

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Aria frowned as she watched the feed of the Serenity leaving. The ship was almost Krogan in its aesthetics, but the last data burst from Aethyta had been even more confusing. The ship was supposedly hundreds of years old. Even the Quarians didn't maintain ships for that long unless they had no other choice. The Serenity was not some ramshackle hunk of junk held together with wire, adhesive polymer strips and prayers to the Goddess. It was a functional gunship that had seen recent battle.

More interesting was that Duke Hull had claimed to own it for fifty of those years.

She'd sensed no overt deception during their negotiations. Covert, yes, but only an idiot would be that open when speaking with a Matriarch like her.

The eyes she had glimpsed through the visor of Hull's armor were young and vital. If they were Asari, that would have been understandable. But that skin tone, and the fact that he was MALE...

There was another new species that looked similar. The Turians had had a brief conflict with them six years prior. Those "Humans" were expanding through the Attican Traverse though, on the other side of Council Space from Imir. Parallel evolution perhaps? Some long lost offshoot that the Protheans had chosen to relocate? That wouldn't account for Hull's apparent age though, humans only lived for about a century.

If the historical data on them was correct, Humans hadn't even developed powered flightthree hundred years ago.

Too many incongruities. Aria could only hope Aethyta didn't take after her father and do something that would get herself killed.
 

ATP

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Natasha only want friendship with Aethyta.Why it is bad idea? Matriarch Asari are so trustworthy! :)
But - Aria could now sell info about humanity to Duke.
 
Chapter 18

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Chapter 18


“This is suspicious,” I said as we looked at the derelict civilian freighter that had a distress call emanating from it.


“It’s likely a trap set up by pirates,” Aethyta agreed.


“Ignoring a distress call sets a bad precedent though,” I replied. “We’ll scope the place out cautiously and with our kinetic barriers up the entire time.”


“I hope all of that armor isn’t for show,” Aethyta looked at all the crew and Ducal Guard outfitted in their Mithril. “Because I might need some cover to duck behind in a fight.”


“Trust me,” Mathis chuckled as he looked down at the shorter woman. “None of this is for show,” He patted his chest plate.


“We’re around six hours out from the distress call,” Wash informed us via the intercom. “I’ll stop us about thirty minutes out so that we can properly analyze the situation.”


“You heard the man,” Mathis told the Ducal Guard members. “Start getting your gear set up now. Grab extra medical gear though, this may be a relief mission as much as it is combat oriented.”







“Fuck you!” Tela Vasir yelled at the slaver who slung her naked body up against the cage with the rest of the slaves who had been taken, bodily fluids dripping from her body as she shakily got back up to her feet.


“Are you okay?” a Batarian woman asked as she helped the Asari Matron stand back up to her feet. “They had you in there for hours.”


“I’ll be fine once these bastards are dead,” Tela snarled, baring her teeth.


“Here,” the woman said as she handed the Spectre a blanket to wrap around herself. “We managed to save this when we were put into the cages. You look like you might need it more than we do.”


“Thank you,” Tela said to the Batarian as she did her best to wipe some of the fluids off before wrapping her naked body in the blanket as she shivered from the cold of the air surrounding their cage. “They fitted me with some sort of explosive or electric collar, I can’t tell which at the moment.”


“I’m not surprised,” the lone Turian in the group spoke up. “I’m surprised they didn’t just space you after the amount of damage you caused to their ship and crew.”


“I probably net a more valuable price for someone to break me in,” Tela said with a sigh. “Our only hope is that someone picked up our distress beacon and actually responds.”


“Out here in the Terminus systems?” The Turian scoffed. “Never going to happen. You might as well give up now because you’re going to be spending the rest of your long life as some teenager’s slave.”


“You must have been some sort of high-tier operator before you became a merc,” the young Salarian mercenary who had been captured early on stammered out. “Were you a Huntress or something before becoming a merc?”


“Or something,” Tela replied as she eased herself to the ground with a small groan of pain. “I’m going to pass out now. Wake me up if something interesting happens.”







“How are we supposed to crew our second frigate?!” The captain of the slavers roared as he looked at the derelict ship that had once been a part of his three-ship fleet. “As it is, we barely have enough of us to keep our barge running.”


“That Bitch killed over half of us,” The XO agreed as he stroked the fresh cut on the side of his face that he had received from the Asari Mercenary. “Why isn’t she dead yet? Our men and women have already had their fun after all.”


“Someone that dangerous is trained by one of those important Matriarchs,” The captain explained. “And we all know what kind of price someone that’s even slightly important will fetch.”


“She killed my brother,” the Krogan continued to stroke the cut that was even now scarring over. “You better pray that the money is good, because if it isn’t,” the Krogan trailed off as he began to sharpen a knife.






“Did they see us?” I asked as we shifted ever closer to the civilian ship and the pirates surrounding it.


“Negative boss,” Wash said as he and his copilot Zoey continued to edge in. “Looks like they bit off more than they expected.”


“That Frigate is drifting,” I agreed as I did some quick math in my head. “They must have had to abandon it for some reason.”


“These pirates are more daring than most,” Aethyta said as she looked out the cockpit’s viewport. “Aria doesn’t like people to mess with her trade routes and normally keeps them clear so that she can maximize her profits.”


“Hey Mathis,” I said as I zoomed in on the symbol painted onto the side of the second frigate and the barge. “That symbol looks familiar.


“It’s identical to the one that we found on the first frigate,” Mathis said. “Odds are that this group belongs to the same band.”


“Then we might as well finish the job,” I said before turning and leaving the cockpit. “Warrant Officer Wash, get us close enough that we can use the bomb bays. We’ve got some pirates to kill.”







“We surrender!” Two Batarians yelled as they watched even more of the armored figures continue killing their shipmates. “We surrender!”


Throwing down their weapons and holding out their hands to show that they weren’t holding any, the Batarians stepped out of cover, expecting these people to act like one of the council species or associates before being headcapped by a handheld gauss rifle round.


“Scum,” Natasha snarled as she walked past the two bodies of the surrendering pirates that she had killed.


“Why not capture them for their intelligence value?” Aethyta asked as she trailed behind Natasha and the fireteam that she was with.


“We’ll rip what we need from their computers,” Natasha stated. “Pirates have no rights, and slavers have even less.”


“Hostis Humani Generis,” Mackenzie agreed as she moved forward through the corridor.


“You keep using that term, but my translator isn’t telling me what it means,” Aethyta said. “Would someone care to fill me in?”


“It loosely translates to ‘enemy of everyone,’” Natasha said while being slightly evasive. “It originated from when we were a one-planet species and had to deal with pirates who did not belong to any specific nation. No one person or nation had jurisdiction, and so it was declared that they were the enemies of everyone, against civilization almost, and to allow ship captains to do what was necessary insofar as the punishment of piracy.”


“Or, as Duke Hull likes to put it,” Jane Thastus spoke up. “Rapists, raiders, and slavers die.”







“Mathis, you might want to get some medics to my location,” I said into my comms channel. “I’m gonna need some EOD techs too, we’ve got wounded civvies with some collars on their necks.”
 
R&D Sidestory Part 1

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R&D Sidestory Part 1

“Wanna tell me why I’m getting picked as a team lead?” Dr. Kelley asked Dr. Rogers as she took apart the omnitool on the workbench in front of her.

“Because you’ve proven yourself reliable over the years, and you’ve already established a relationship with the Quarian,” Dr. Rogers replied as she took apart the micro fabricator and looked at it underneath a microscope. “This should scale up with a good power source,” She muttered to herself as she looked at the components.

“I’m just not sure that I’m the best choice for this,” Dr. Kelley looked at his mentor. “There’s still so much that I don’t know.”

“That’s life,” the woman replied. “You’re a scientist and an engineer, get out of your own head and start using it. Especially since I’m putting you in charge of figuring out how to hybridize our tech with this new stuff.”

“Alright,” Kelley stood up straight and squared his shoulders. “Where do you want me to start?”

“With picking out your team,” Rogers replied as she continued to document her findings. “Then you’re going to need to start talking to the experts we have on hand.”

“Understood,” Kelley sighed. “I’ll leave you to it.”




“I’m telling you, I have a fairly solid theory on what is causing the effect that the Asari seem to have,” Dr. Hale said as she took a sip of her whiskey while sitting in the Argo’s bar next to Dr. Rogers. “It’s something different. And it’s not related to these ‘biotics’ in any way.”

“Let’s go take a look at it,” Rogers said as she tossed back the last of her glass and then drunkenly staggered to her feet.

“For science!” Dr. Hale hiccuped as she drunkenly stood up as well.

“To the lab!” Rogers said as she use the gravity generated by the pods rotating around to assist her in moving to her specific lab. “Pull the lever Hale!” she cackled as she indicated the entry door to her lab. “Wrong Lever!” she shouted as the pod stopped spinning and they lost gravity.

“Why do you even have that one?” Janet Hale asked as she reset the spinning of the pod.

“I don’t actually remember,” Adamina replied. “I might be too drunk to remember that! But I’m not too drunk to do some mad science!” The two women giggled as they entered the lab and got to work.




“Dr. Rogers, open up!” the intercom speaker spoke.

“Go away!” Dr. Hale threw a screwdriver at the intercom, accidentally pushing the “talk” button. “I’m not awake yet!”

“Dr. Hale, we need to get into the lab in order to get our work done for the day,” the male voice said. “We’ve been trying to get in for the last couple of hours, but Dr. Rogers somehow blocked us from doing so.”

Dr. Hale finally opened her eyes all the way and immediately cringed as she looked at the sheer mess that she and Adamina had made of the lab.

“Come back in an hour,” She said as she finally stood up. “I don’t think that anyone should be in here right now.”

“Alright,” the voice replied. “We’ll be back in an hour.”

“Hey, Adamina, get up,” Janet nudged her friend with her foot until she woke up. “Do you have any idea what we did last night?”

“Something about mad science,” Adamina muttered before rolling over, her head resting on the short desk she was using as a pillow.

“Well, we might want to figure it out, because we completely wrecked your lab in the process of doing whatever it is we did last night,” Janet replied

“I guess we should get to cleaning,” Adamina said as she yawned, stretched, and finally stood up. “We can always go over the camera footage if we’re still foggy on the details.”

“I’m gonna go grab some coffee real quick,” Janet said. “Want anything specific to go with it?”

“A cream-cheese bagel,” Adamina replied. “I’m gonna need something in my stomach to help me process all of this.”
 

ATP

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i remember some old sci-fi book series /american,i think/ with MC drunk sientist,who was making inventions when he was drunk and later forget why and for what.
And yes,he could do nothing valuable when sober.
He had narcist robot,too.

P.S For science,to the lab - nice,but where is "it is alive,BWAHAHAHA"?
 
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Chapter 19

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Chapter 19


“Calm down, we’re here to help,” I told the people that had been herded into cages as I let my rifle fall down on my sling and behind my back. “We got your distress call and came as soon as we could.”


“How do we know that you’re telling the truth, huh?” A Turian stepped forward and in front of the rest of the captives. “You could be a different set of pirates for all that we know.”


“Armor’s too good,” an Asari slurred as she shakily stood up with a blanket wrapped around her. “Only the wealthiest of pirates would be able to afford something like that.”


“I’ve got medical supplies here,” I said as a couple of fireteams met me in the cargo bay where I was located. “And we should be able to get those collars off of you.”


“You some sort of hotshot merc unit?” The Turian challenged as he refused to move away and let us help the rest of the captives. “Because you don’t look like any respectable unit I’ve ever seen.”


“You can move and let us render aid, or you can be moved by us and we’ll still render aid,” I stated. “Choice is yours.”


“What do you think you are? A Krogan?” the Turian scoffed while looking at me clad in my specific armor.


“Mathis, move him before I shoot him,” I sighed. “I’m not here to argue with idiots today.”


“There’s always one,” Mathis replied as he yanked the door off of the cage with a sharp tug and then manhandled the Turian over to where the medics were setting up a triage station.


“What are you doing? Put me down!” The Turian yelled while Mathis picked him up.


“Should have moved when you had the chance,” I shook my head before turning to the rest of the captives. “We still have more sections of the ship to clear out, but I need to know if there are more catpvies before we start moving out.”


“This is only a third of us,” the Asari spoke up as she moved herself over to the triage area. “We were the ones that put up a fight and so they stuck us here in this area where we could be easily spaced if they had any more issues.”


“Any thoughts on the locations of the others?” I asked as an EOD tech worked on the explosive collar on the Asari’s neck while a medic went over her physical body.


“Not a clue,” the alien shook her head. “Likely over to the barge though, it’s typical pirate behavior after all.”


“Thanks for your help,” I told the Asari before turning to Mathis and collecting my fireteam. “We’ve still got sixty or so civilians to free. Grab a couple of the EOD techs and medics and let’s get moving.”








“Pirates,” Natasha scoffed as she led her fireteams through the corridor and to the entrance of the bridge. “They never put up the kind of fight that is appreciated.”


“You think they’d invest their loot into better gear,” Aethyta agreed. “But for some reason they never do.”


“Too much work,” Jane Thastus spoke up. “Pirates are rarely professionals, and the few that act like it can be a legitimate threat to a military. It is actually safer for them to look and act like a bunch of idiots because it means that there is no real action that seems necessary. And when a pirate group does decide to get professional it means that they typically stop acting like pirates and realize they can form the beginnings of a nation-state.”


Regina Levi just stopped and stared at her fellow Galaxy Commander for a minute before moving on.


“What?” Jane asked the ex Smoke Jaguar warrior. “I got my degree on studying the patterns and habits that pirates fall into.”


“When did you have time to get a degree?” Jill Viola asked as they pushed forward. “I am always too busy to have time to do that sort of thing.”


“I am not the only one who has acquired a degree,” Jane responded. “Regina and Alexandra have also acquired degrees. It was recommended by Mathis when we were settled down in a time of peace while on Kentares.”


“Alright then,” Jill replied. “I shall have to look into this sometime.







“Finally, a worthy adversary,” Natasha said as she grabbed the Krogan that charged her and threw him into the bulkhead with enough force that it left a dent in the wall. “You are a big one.”


“Need a hand?” Aethyta asked as she exchanged fire with the group of pirates holding down the choke point that was the entrance to the frigate’s bridge.


“No,” Natasha grunted as she wrestled with the Krogan. “This is the most fun I’ve had in days. Don’t take this from me.”


“Banging!” Regina called out as she tossed a flashbang into the bridge before following it. The small rounds pinging off her armor as she moved into CQC with her pistol and combat knife drawn.


“Following,” Jane replied as she hefted her rifle and followed the other warrior, hosing down a pirate that got in her way before shifting and targeting the next one.







“I’m not as familiar with all of the different physiologies yet,” the medic treating her told Tela Vasir. “We’ve got the basics down, but we’re still working on getting expert data on advanced treatment. Just let me know if I do something wrong, and we’ll move on from there.”


“I’ve just got some bruises and scrapes for the most part,” Tela tried to brush the medic off at first before she felt a glare and a finger touch her broken arm.


“No, I can clearly see that it’s broken,” the medic chided her. “Both you and the Batarians have a similar enough skeletal structure that I can figure that much out at least. I’m going to wrap this up in a splint. It’ll take a couple of minutes to harden, and you may feel some heat, but it’ll keep the arm immobile until we can get you scanned and see if there are any more serious problems. Now, would you prefer a female medic for the next part of the examination? I don’t mind if it makes you more comfortable, it’s not like I have a lack of patients after all.”


“Why would that bother me?” Tela asked as confusion shown clearly in her eyes. “You are a professional yes?”


“Different species and culture,” the medic hit the side of his helmet. “Sorry about that. I’ll just finish up and we’ll get you some clothes. I’m certain that we’ve got some that will fit you.”







“No strenuous activity for three months if not more,” the medic ordered Tela after he had finished checking on the rest of her. “I’ll help you get cleaned up and into some fresh clothes so that you aren’t freezing, but you’re going to need some serious therapy to fix some of that. They made sure that you’re going to need surgery in order to be able to do anything more than hobble, and I’m not even going to discuss the mental health issues with what you went through. I’m not a licensed mental health professional after all.”


“I can’t be a cripple though,” Tela muttered to herself as the medic helped clean her up with a clean rag and then pulled some clothing out of the pack by his side.


“You won’t be,” the medic replied as he depolarized his visor just enough that she could see the small smile. “We’ve got some of the best doctors in the ‘Sphere onboard the Argo, and they’ll make sure that you’re up and running again. Why, I’m on my second arm, and I’m still good.”


“Thank you for the clothing and for the care,” Tela inclined her head to the medic as he helped her into the pair of gym shorts and hoodie that was in his bag. “This jacket, what is it called?” She asked as she stuffed her hands into the pocket at the center of the pullover.


“That’s a hoodie,” the medic cringed internally. “Sorry I didn’t have better clothes, but that was all that I had in my medbag. I actually forgot to pack the normal clothing that we give out for these sorts of things.”


“This clothing will suffice,” Tela replied. “Now, I believe that there are others who require your care.”


“Actually, you’re the worst off, and I’m supposed to make sure that your condition doesn’t worsen,” the man replied. “Now, I’m going to get you something to rest on and to cover you with. And then you’re going to rest. Doctor’s orders.”
 
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