• 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

ATP

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Good.Getting stronger when nobody knew that they are humans is good choice.
They could go to Council when they become strong enough to not get invaded.
 
Chapter 26

Markwarrior

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Chapter 26


“We’re being followed,” Mathis told the trio that he was escorting through the streets of Ilium. “I count three with potential backup.”


“Copy that,” Natasha responded on her comms as she titled her head and informed the two Asari that were following her.


“Two Batarians and a Krogan,” Mathis said as he confirmed the tails that they had on them. “Marking on the Krogan looks like that pirate band that we’ve had multiple run-ins with.”


“I recommend that we branch off into the alleyway ahead,” Aethyta said as she considered what she was being told. “We should be able to grab and interrogate them.”


“Copy that,” Mathis said in his deep voice as he vanished into the crowd and moved behind the trio. “Continue moving, I’m situated for an ambush.”


Natasha, Tela Vasir, and Matriarch Aethyta turned down a dead-ended alleyway and prepared to receive visitors. Turning around, they pulled out the sidearms that they carried and waited for their tails to arrive. After a few moments, they saw the Krogan and two Batarians turn and make their way down the alleyway.


“You can’t hide from us!” One of the pirates yelled. “We’re going to take you with us back to Torfan one way or another, it’s up to you how it goes.”


“I seriously doubt that you’ll be doing much of anything except dying,” Aethyta said as she used her biotics to jerk all three of the aliens into the air before smashing them into the ground with a casual flick of her wrist.


Mathis, being the man that he was, immediately moved to subdue and secure the temporarily stunned aliens as they tried to recover from what was several times their normal gravity.


“Is there a place where I can secure these three for interrogation?” Mathis asked as his helmeted head turned to address both Tela and Aethyta.


“There’s a bunch of cheap motels in the area,” Aethyta said after a minute. “We can hold them there for a short time before disposing of them.”


“It’s been a while since I’ve done any wetwork,” Mathis said after knocking the Krogan unconscious with a heavy punch to his headplate. “But I’ve still got the basics down at least. So let’s move these three, and I’ll have another guard dispatched from the Serenity to cover my post while I see what sort of information these three have.”


“Alright then,” Natasha said. “We’ll get these three secured and then make our way back to the Serenity.”








“Hey,” Mathis stood over the Batarian as he grabbed the sheet of plastic and the cloth that he was going to be using in a minute. “It’s good to see that you’re awake, I was worried that you might end up dead from that hit on the head I gave you.”


“Where am I?” the Batarian jerked his head around in surprise as he looked around the room. “Look, I’m just a hired hand, the other guy is who you want,” the alien stammered as the Mithril-clad man took a menacing step forward. “I’m just a grunt hired to follow you guys around.”


“We’ll see,” Mathis said as he made sure that the extranet panel was playing some sort of porn loud enough to cover the screams that would soon be coming from the room. “Lies are your go-to in this kind of thing anyway.”







“Your man going to be okay by himself?” Aethyta asked once they were back on the Serenity.


“Mathis?” Natasha asked. “He’s the most solid operator that has ever served under my husband. I trust him with my life and I have trusted him with the life of my children before. He’s probably the single best person for this kind of work that we have with us.”


“Ma’am,” the captain of the Serenity spoke up to Natasha. “We’re all warmed up and ready to make a quick getaway when given the order.”


“We are just waiting on Mathis,” Natasha replied. “Once he is onboard you’re cleared to leave.”


“I’ll let the local ATC know,” Wash replied over the intercom. “Would hate to run into anyone on our way out.”







“I’ve got the information that we need,” Mathis said once he had boarded the ramp of the Serenity.


“We’re departing now,” Wash informed the crew as he began to pilot the Serenity out of the atmosphere. “ATC has cleared us and we are initiating our burnout now.”


“What did you get from them?” Aethyta asked bluntly.


“A location,” Mathis replied. “This band of pirates is based on a moon called Torfan, looks like they are in cooperation with quite a few other bands of pirates as well.”


“Anything else?” Natasha asked.


“I’ve got their Omnitools,” Mathis replied with a shrug. “But I’m not savvy enough with this new tech to pull data from them.”


“I might be able to help with that,” Tela said as she stepped forward, glad to be able to do something other than learning. “I’ve got an ex-STG operator who owes me a couple of favors,” She stated confidently. “I know where he lives, and if we’re willing to detour a bit then we can probably get him to pull all of the data from the Omnitools.”


“Give the coordinates to the pilot,” Natasha told the Spectre. “I have a feeling that we’re at a crossroads here that could change things in a major way.”




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



“You are the first militia to step through our training program,” Duke Hull said as he looked out over the thousand or so aliens who would be going through a program similar to that which had been utilized on Kentares IV. “This training will push you to the edge of yourself, and hopefully help you to break past that which you considered impossible before. We will equip you with the necessary skills to start a career in defending others from potential enemies. But it is up to each one of you individually to remain motivated and to learn what we have to teach. This will not be easy. Some of you may even decide that this is not the life that you wanted to live.


But know this, each one of you is going to be made into something new, and we’re going to forge you into a combined armed force that can withstand anything that may come our way. You and all of the other volunteers throughout this world are going to be put through hell. But it is better to sweat now than to bleed later. And trust me, we will be making you sweat, and we will be getting down and in the mud with you to prove that this works. At the end of this six-month journey, you will be able to do anything that is required of you in an engagement. Now, I’m going to turn everything over to your Drill instructors from here on out. Train hard, because the future is not certain.”
 

ATP

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Something tell me,that ex-SGT operator would become Duke operator.
And - it seems,that turning locals into Saudarkars loyal only to Duke is going well!
 

Markwarrior

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Markwarrior they tried a snatch operation in public? Without vehicles? How the heck did they expect to succeed? That is insane even for pirates.
It’s Ilium and they bribed the officials to stay away. Plus, they got cocky, even professionals screw up when they get cocky. Thinking that their Krogan buddy could handle the Asari and that the two Batarians would be enough for the other two. If you don’t know that there’s a Matriarch there then you should be fine. Asari Maidens go missing all of the time on Ilium.
 
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Chapter 27

Markwarrior

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Chapter 27

“What’s the plan for upgrading our fighters?” I asked Dr. Rogers as we both worked on figuring out the cost in resources that some of the new ship models would cost us. “I’m feeling a battle on the horizon, and I don’t want to lose some of our best pilots to some sort of AA that we aren’t expecting.”

“Well, we can’t put kinetic barriers on our fighters yet,” Rogers said as she typed up some numbers on her slate. “We haven’t figured out how to produce them on a small enough scale yet, and we’ve been prioritizing getting the Stings and Warships set up with eezo cores and kinetic barriers over getting our fighters outfitted with all of the new technology.”

“What have we done then?” I asked. “I’m sure there was a report on it, but I see so many reports on a daily basis that they’ve started to blur together.”

“Blaze only requested inertial dampening in the ASF systems for now, with promises that they get future upgrades as we develop new tech and get more familiar with Element Zero,” Rogers replied. “To hear him talk about it, it’s as if we gave him and his pilots the world by allowing them to be able to take on more G forces.”

“You probably did,” I said with a chuckle. “Pilots always want to go faster, and you just handed them their dream come true.”

“Well, I’m finished with my estimates,” my lead scientist and engineer said as she sent the data to my slate. “I’m going to go check on Kelley’s team and then get some rest.”

“Enjoy,” I told the woman. “I’m going to run the numbers on the Glamdring again and then check on Winston’s pet project.”

I took a look at the numbers and banged my head on my desk for a minute after Rogers left.

“I always hated this part,” I sighed as I picked my slate up again and triple-checked the salvage numbers along with what the salvage would be going to, finding that we would be able to make ends meet, but if we didn’t expand the salvage operations then we’d fall behind soon.

On the other hand, we were flush with the local currency that we had “liberated” from the barons that had been on Korlus when we got here and changed the management, and I was working on investing some of that currency into various companies and ventures that would hopefully bring about profits in the long run that we could use to fund the terraforming operations that we were going to be doing to the junkyard that Korlus currently was.

After going through all of the numbers one last time, I stood up and stretched. Enjoying the cracks that were produced from my spine as it rippled and some of the stress was released from my body.




“What the hell kind of game is that?” I asked Nadia as we walked around the perimeter of one of the compounds she was using for the Krogan.

“Rugby and football were not violent enough for them and didn’t help them to focus on the lessons afterward,” Nadia said bluntly. “So Mackenzie and I have had to get inventive.”

“And that led to this?” I asked as I looked at the mocked-up battlefield with some Scorpions and other militia-grade tanks that were being used as cover by groups of Krogan as the tanks advanced under heavy fire from what looked like manpack SRMS and some other anti-tank weapons.

“It is working surprisingly well,” Nadia said. “And while using the ammunition we have issued it ends in bruises or broken bones at the most. With the Krogan’s regeneration, they can do this for much longer and are then able to focus on the other lessons that we have been instructing them on. Also, this is a great way to instruct them in our basic tactics and strategies for when they are eventually deployed.”

We both looked at what was essentially a battlefield that looked just as chaotic as real warfare. With two main groups fighting and a third trying to sneak its way through to the objective to win the scenario.

“What does the winning team get?” I asked.

“The winner of the combat scenario gets to pick their starting point for the next scenario and also gets to decide what lessons the group focuses on next,” Nadia said. “Some of the teams opt for more combat training, and we have others that are asking for more engineering training, and then still others that want to be trained on piloting tanks and other machines of war.”

“So they still get training regardless,” I said as I looked at the war going on through the Tri-vid display. “And this way they also get to have a little fun with it?”

“Indeed,” Nadia inclined her head. “We have also mixed the clans up so that they’re not unduly influenced by their standard leaders. While this caused some issues in the beginning, once we established that this was about learning to command people that you might not get along with they took it in stride.”

“I assume that it took some object lessons for that to be the case though,” I said as I watched a Krogan dart forward and plant a smoke charge on one of the tanks, causing it to act as if it had been destroyed.

“Indeed,” Nadia said with a laugh. “I was challenged many times until it was finally understood that this was effective.”

“And now they’re working together, and really well from the looks of it,” I said as the tank crew popped the hatch and the two Krogan hopped out, one of them taking fire before being pulled out of the line of fire by his allies.

“It took us months to get to this point,” the woman replied. “I am hoping that we have some sort of real engagement soon so that we can prove that all of this really works on the battlefield.”

“I think we’ll have something for them soon,” I said. “Like I told Dr. Rogers earlier, I’ve got a feeling that there’s a conflict on the horizon, and that we need to be ready.”

“These Krogan are not ready for a war yet,” Nadia depolarized her visor to meet my eyes. “Or at least not the kind of wars that we fight. Even as warlike as the Krogan are they have not had a serious conflict in centuries, and we are going to shock them once we actually begin to wage a war.”

“Just have them as trained up as they can be,” I said after a minute or so. “Because this is going to be our debut on the galactic stage.”




“Here,” a Salarian tossed a data chit to Tela Vasir as he met both her and the other three in a shady bar. “Took me a couple of hours to break through the decryption on there, so it seems that someone in their group takes cybersecurity seriously.”

“Thanks,” Tela said as she inserted the chit into her Omnitool before sending a copy over to Aethyta. “You need anything before we head on out?”

“Yeah,” the Salarian said as he took a look around. “I need a lift off of this rock, turns out that people can’t handle losing at gambling too well around here.”

“Aerdin Ginok, please tell me that you didn’t piss off one of the main casinos here,” Tela said as she buried her face into her hands.

“Alright,” the Salarian grinned as he sat across from the Spectre. “I won’t tell you that I stole several hundred million credits from the casinos in the area.”

“We need to leave,” Tela said as she grabbed the Salarian by his collar and threw him over her shoulder. “Now. These casinos do not play around.”

“Captain Reynolds, you may want to have the Serenity ready to leave when we get there,” Natasha said into her comms. “We’re going to be making a hot exit.”

“Aerdin, you’re not supposed to get caught!” Tela said as she started running for the aircar that they had rented.

“How was I supposed to know that they had one of my old STG partners on board as a security consultant?” The ex-STG specialist asked as he was thrown into the back of the car as Aehtyta slid around and into the driver’s seat.

“You’re just adding to that pile of favors that you owe me, you do realize that, right?” Tela asked as she braced herself and unfolded her assault rifle as she saw a group of Turians and Batarians go into the bar they had just left.

The Aircar took off as Aethyta gunned the engine and began to head for the spaceport. Not taking any chances on the Casino’s henchmen being able to catch up to them.

“What can I say? Aerdin replied with a shrug. “I like to gamble with high stakes.”

“And one day it’ll get you killed,” Tela said as she slugged the Salarian in the shoulder. “And you don’t have that much life left to live.”

“Just rub it in,” Aerdin said with a chuckle. “I’m an old man, just let me have my fun.”

“And have you die before I collect my favors? Tela said rhetorically. “I’ll pass on that.”

“Funsucker,” Aerdin snarked with a wide smile on his face. “One day you’ll be old and realize that you missed out on a lot of life because you were too serious. And I won’t be there, but you’ll remember me saying that you should have enjoyed life more.”

“I’m enjoying life perfectly well,” Tela replied in an offended tone.

“When was the last time you took some time off and just relaxed?” Aerdin asked as he switched over to being serious. “Because you’re wound up tighter than you were on that op-”

“You promised to never speak of that op,” Tela said as she held the Salarian’s mouth shut. “So I would appreciate it if you never brought it up again.” She then recoiled as the Salarian’s tongue left drool all over her hand. “That’s disgusting,” she said as she shook the spit off of her hand.

“Well, one of us has to be the reasonable adult here,” Aerdin said as he poked fun at the Spectre.

“And it is currently neither of you,” Natasha said as she glared at the two of them. “We have been at the spaceport for the last couple of minutes, but you two were too busy arguing to notice.”

“Oops,” Aerdin said as he hopped out of the aircar and made his way up the ramp of the Serenity. “How very Krogan of you.” He noted as he walked into the cargo bay. “But I think I like it.”
 

ATP

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Duke: i need reasonable adult!
Aerdin: that would be me!
Tela: No,i am reasonable!

Duke: ....maybe i schould start recruiting children?

Jokes aside - Duke get new technican,Krogan Foreign Legion,and,when people in Migrant Fleet undarstandt how much their leaders fucked,Ela engineer Legion.
When he get his navy,nobody could hurt him - he would hold in space and massacre opponents on land.
 
Beyond the Horizon (Universes that were considered for insertion #1 MCU)

Markwarrior

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Beyond the Horizon (Universes that were considered for insertion #1 MCU)



A man stumbled to his feet, staggering as he looked at the massive army in front of him as he grunted and tightened down the broken shield on his left arm once again before walking towards the aliens that were arrayed before him. His fists clenched he glared at the alien that stood in front of the alien army before his radio crackled.


“Captain d* *ou co*m* *n? Cap, it’s Sam. Can you hear me?” a voice asked as the lone man held a hand up to his ear to reply. “On your left.” A golden portal opened up behind and to the left of the Star Spangled man as he turned around in shock as three figures left the portal. T’Challa and two of his warriors walking in step with each other.


Captain America gasped slightly as he took in the reinforcements that had arrived, a smile appearing on his face as more and more portals appeared, the Wakandans chanting as more and more people came through the portals.


“Avengers!” Captain America yelled as he called Mjolnir back to his hand. “Assemble!”


As the words left his lips, something unusual happened though. In one timeline that had been witnessed by Dr. Strange, this merely signaled the attack for the assembled forces that were arrayed against Thanos and his armies. But in this timeline, something else entirely took place.



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


“What the fuck just happened to us?!” I asked as I stumbled back up onto my feet.


“No clue sir, but whatever happened, we’ve only got the other two Warships and the Marksman with us,” Admiral Jewel said as she strapped herself into her chair.


“We’re in orbit over Terra,” the sensors officer reported. “But there are some ships that are sitting parked in low orbit over a concentrated area, and they do not look human.”


“Can I take a look at the feed?” I asked.


“Yessir, transferring to your station now,” he replied.


“Fuck,” I muttered as I looked at the ships that I recognized from a long distant past. “Scrambled all of our forces, and get ready for a hot drop, we’re going straight into hell for this one!”


“Are you sure?” Jewel asked.


“Yeah, they’re going to need all of the help that they can get down there,” I replied as I began to move toward the dropship collars. “Get word to the Ducal Guard and the Marksman. All of those alien bastards are hostile and are to be shot on sight. Don’t let them survive.”







“We good to go?” I asked Mathis as we all got into our delivery vehicles.


“Yessir, we’re ready to drop on your command,” Mathis said as he held his helmet in his right hand and mine in his left. “You sure this is the course of action that you want to take though sir?”


“Yeah,” I said with a small smile. “This is how we’re going to do this.”


Climbing into my Warhammer, I powered up the Fusion engine and waved to my wife who was across the drop bay from me.


“You ready to fight some aliens Natasha?” I asked over our private channel.


“Always,” she replied with a chuckle. “Now let us show these aliens why we are some of the best warriors in any universe!”


“Punch it,” I ordered over the command channel as the dropships released all of their drop pods at once, the tanks, Mechs, and infantry all riding to the ground in unison while being escorted by the dropships that would be falling after us.



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


“Assemble!” Rogers said with finality as what looked like debris fell from the sky and landed in the middle of the enemy army. Groups of two-story robots looked over the battlefield as tanks and infantry drop pods crushed the enemies that they landed on before rolling off of their platforms.


“Sorry to crash this party,” a voice said from one of the robot’s speakers and the radio at the same time. “But it looked like y’all could use a hand.”


Steve just turned and looked at Thor and Stark for a moment, getting a shake of the head from Stark and a shrug from Thor at his inquiring glance. Before turning at the sound of weapons fire from one of the giant machines tearing into a Chitauri Leviathan and sending it crashing to the ground before the rest of the newcomers began tearing into the army with expert precision.


“I do not know who you are,” Thanos roared as he looked at the war machine that the voice had come from. “But you will regret interfering in this!” He ran towards the black and gold painted machine as it tore sections of his army to shreds.

Swinging his double-edged and bladed sword, Thanos began to carve massive chunks of armor off of the feet of the machine that towered above him before it darted out of the way and sprinted towards one of his ships before taking off and flying towards another Leviathan before it killed it with what looked like lightning from one of the massive guns that adorned its arms.


Stark was about to say something when Thor cut him short.


“Let us join in!” Thor roared as he took off with Stormbreaker in hand, lightning surrounding him and assisting him as he launched himself into the air and landed next to a cluster of the newcomer's infantry, swinging his axe as they continued to systematically dismantle any Chitauri that got within range of their weapons.


“Thanks for the assist,” a giant of a man said as he nodded at Thor. “But I think you might want to help out some other teams, we’ve got this handled.” The man said as he turned and fired his shoulder-mounted inferno gel SRMs into a cluster of Chitauri and watched them melt into a puddle of flaming goo.







Thanos could not believe his eyes, his army was being dismantled in front of him as he finally crippled the war machine in front of him. It fell to its knees as he pulled his sword out of the rear of the giant machine and watched as a mere human left the cockpit.


“You!” Thanos roared as he picked up the armoured human and slammed him into his own war machine until his helmet cracked and came off, revealing an older man with gray-streaked throughout his hair and beard. “Do you realize what you have done?!” Thanos asked as the human spat blood into his face. “I was about to fix everything before you intervened!”


“Fix it?” the human laughed as he coughed more blood up. “You’re just a crazy man who doesn’t understand the way that the universe works.”


Then, a red-haired woman trembling with rage emerged from behind the mad titan, her hands glowing red as she launched energy bursts at Thanos, causing him to drop the armoured human and move to evade the energy blasts before trying to carve the redhead into two with his sword.


“You took everything from me!” the woman said as she snapped his sword in half and began to rip the armour off of the mad titan.


“I don’t even know who you are,” the Titan said as he was lifted into the air along with pieces of the Earth around him. “Rain fire!” he ordered one of his subordinates as he struggled to survive Scarlet Witch’s onslaught.


Thanos’ ship tried to open fire but had to change and defend itself from the group of dropships and fighters that made themselves known, the Sting gunships taking the brunt of the damage while the ASF support that was with them began runs that ripped pieces of armor off of the alien vessel.


“This is how you die,” Wanda said as she clenched her fists together before a needle came through and pierced her arm, the energy leaving her hand and allowing Thanos to move away from the enraged woman as she turned and disintegrated Ebony Maw with a flick of her wrist.


“Here,” the armoured human said as he struggled to stand up. “I’ve got a med kit in the mech, let me get that patched up, you don’t want to bleed out.”


Some of the rage left Wanda’s eyes as she saw the man struggle to climb back into the war machine’s cockpit to remove the medkit.


“Here,” the man said as he wrapped up her arm and secured the bandage. “Now go finish him off, I’m pretty sure I’m done here.”


Wanda just nodded in thanks as she took off into the sky once again to look for Thanos.



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



“Does anyone have eyes on Duke Hull?” Mathis asked as he dodged an energy blast from one of the alien staff weapons.


“Negative,” came the responses from all of the Ducal Guard and Marksman.


“Then we must find him!” Natasha said as she sped up her Nighstar and began to comb through the battlefield looking for her husband.


Running through the battlefield, Natasha finally saw the ruins of her husband’s Warhammer slumped over on its knees, the massive War machine being crippled and blackened darker than its paint as the distinct signs of weapon damage marred the surface and scarred up pieces of the massive machine.


“No no no,” Natasha muttered as she looked for any signs of an ejection. “Mathis! I need you here, I don’t know if Mark ejected or not!” She commanded into her comms as she turned her Nightstar back and forth so as to see if she could locate Mark.


“I’ve got two platoons en route,” Mathis said as he used his jump jets to move quickly through the battlefield with a couple of groups of the Ducal Guard. “ETA is two mikes.”


“Natasha then looked down at the foot of the Warhammer with enhanced magnification and saw a figure slumped over against it. The figure was painted in the standard colours of the Ducal Guard and didn’t seem to be moving at all.


“If I cannot achieve my goals,” A voice rang out through the battlefield, seeming to draw all of the combat to a close. “Then you will not live to see your victory here.” The titan strode towards the man slumped over against the Warhammer and picked him up by his throat.


“Mathis, I cannot hit him with my lasers without also hitting Mark,” Natasha said as she felt helpless watching her husband be picked up as if he weighed nothing.


“We’re moving as fast as we can,” Mathis gasped out as he pushed the platoons faster.


“What is he doing?” Natasha asked as she saw her husband push a button on the slate mounted to his left wrist. “No, you cannot do that!” She yelled from inside her cockpit as she watched Mark override all of the built-in safeties of his Mithril. “I still need you,” she began to cry as a flash of light erupted from where the two figures were and then vanished, leaving nothing but a charred Warhammer’s foot and a broken helmet behind to show that there was a man there before.


Screaming in rage, Natasha began to push her Nighstar to its limits, breaking apart every single cluster of the aliens that were in sight, and even firing the last of the ammunition for her twin Gauss rifles at the ship that was still hovering over the battlefield, the Sting gunships taking the opportunity that was provided by the mad Titan’s death to finally drive the alien vessel down to the ground as it collapsed and crushed what was left of the alien invaders.




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



“Well, this is the last thing I expected,” I said as I looked at the white nothingness that surrounded me.


“Why do you never do what I expected you to do?” a disembodied voice asked from the whiteness. “You are always the anomaly among the others that I have plucked from their own lives.”


“I’m not sure what you mean, but if this,” I indicated the wall of white in front of me. “Is all that’s left for me, then just put me into nothingness. I’ve done plenty in life, and in my death, I’ve ensured that more people lived. I’m an old man, and I’ve had a full life. My only concern is that Natasha will do something crazy now that I’m gone. She has a tendency to do drastic things when her loved ones are affected.”


“That is what I am talking about,” the voice said with what felt like a disappointed tone. “You were never supposed to encounter her that early. And by doing so you derailed many of my plans and cost me much in bets with the others. Now, I will send you on to the next life as you desire, but know that the other copies of you survived in their new universes for much longer.”


“Eh,” I shrugged. “I’m not concerned with competing with other versions of myself. Whatever I manage to accomplish I can be satisfied with. Now, can we get on with the next part? I want to see Sapphire again.”


“If you insist on being obstinant,” something that sounded like fingers snapping echoed through the white space.


The white space vanished, leaving me blinking as I took in a massive city shining on a hill.


“Let’s go experience the greatest adventure yet,” I muttered to myself as I began to walk down the narrow path to the gates made of white.


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


Natasha and Wanda stood in front of the Warhammer that had been turned into a grave site and memorial for all of the people that had died fighting off Thanos' forces.


"I am sorry for your loss," Wanda said as she turned to the older woman. "I understand what it feels like to lose someone that you love."


"I always knew that it was possible," Natasha said as a lone tear trailed down her face while she held Melissa tight to her chest, her silver-streaked red hair concealing part of her face as the blond buried her face into her shoulder. "But we always seemed to be invincible together."


"It was my fault," Mathis said as he knelt in front of the memorial, his normal powered armor having been changed to a black suit with gold trim. "I lost track of where the Duke was on the battlefield," Mathis stood up and made his way over to the group of women. "I am sorry for failing you, Natasha."


"No one failed," Melissa said as she pulled herself free from the hug that she had been trapped in by Natasha. "He chose to go out like that. Uncle Mark has always been like that."


"If he were anyone other than who he was, he would not have been the man that I grew to love and married," Natasha agreed.
 
Chapter 28

Markwarrior

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Chapter 28

“I’ve got a target of opportunity for us,” Natasha said as she walked into my office. “At the end of the month over twenty thousand slaves are going to be held for auction on a planet called Torfan. I want to crash their party, rescue the slaves, and capture and interrogate any of the ones who would be purchasing said slaves.”

“I take it you have an idea of an operational plan?” I asked.

“The beginnings of a plan,” she said with a savage smile. “Have we managed to upgrade the rest of the dropships with the new FTL method?”

“About half of them,” I replied with a shrug. “Certainly not enough for the entirety of the Marksman or Ducal Guard to deploy by the end of the month.”

“What about the captured haulers?” Natasha asked. “Are they able to tow ships through their FTL method?”

“I honestly have no idea,” I replied. “But if it is possible then we’re going to be very busy testing it out to see if there are any drawbacks.”

“Good,” Natasha said as she reclined on the lone sofa in the office. “That gives me enough time to figure out an actual plan.”

“I can help with that,” I offered.

“No, you have enough to accomplish as it is,” Natasha said with a sigh. “As much as I would like to be side by side with you and planning the elimination of our enemies I know that you are needed here to get things arranged for the safe arrival of the rescued slaves and what is to be done with them after we are finished with the rescue.”

“True,” I replied. “One thing that people always seem to forget is the aftermath of this kind of op.”





“We don’t know if it is possible or not,” Dr. Kelley said as he looked at his slate. “I mean, we’re not familiar enough with the new technology to answer one way or the other as to whether it has even been tested before.”

“Can you run it by Sura and the Quarians?” I asked. “I’ve got a lot of preparations to make regardless of whether you can tow other ships or not. Just make sure that you have an answer for me by the end of tomorrow. I’m not willing to put our people through something that we haven’t done our very best to test and get working properly.”

“I’ll see what I can come up with,” Dr. Kelley said. “But you may want to have a backup plan in place for if it doesn’t work.”

“I’m working on one,” I said as I stood up from the chair I had been sitting in. “Dr. Rogers and I are working on the logistics of everything while Natasha, Carter, and Mathis get the operational plan working.”


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


“Alright, initiating test number one,” Dr. Kelley said as he directed the pilot to start plotting a short FTL course with a singular dropship in tow.

“Starting us off slow,” the pilot replied. “Moving to engage.”

“I’m keeping an eye on all of the readings from my slate, ”Dr. Kelley said from where he was strapped in.

“Jumping now,” the pilot said as he pushed the button to engage in FTL.




“We’ve got to drop out of FTL,” Dr. Kelley said after a few hours. “The static buildup is too high for this to be survivable for longer than ten hours at a time.”

“We are close to our target destination though,” the pilot said with a shrug. “Even if we were slowed down by towing the dropship.”

“Speaking of which,” Kelley said as he opened up a comms channel to the dropship crew. “They should be communicating with us now. “

“Doctor, we lost communications for the entirety of the trip,” the dropship captain said plainly once they had been able to reestablish communications. “Whatever static charge thing is building up is playing merry hell with anything regarding our sensors or our comms systems. But nothing else is majorly affected.”


“Copy that,” Dr. Kelley replied. “We’re going to discharge the static and then make our way back to the Imir system. We have proof that this will work, but we’ve got some kinks to work out before it’s a solid method of transporting some of our troops.”



“What can we do to make this a viable way of transporting our people?” Dr. Kelley asked the rest of the assembled engineers, problem solvers, and scientists that he was in charge of. “I need ideas. So I’ll be splitting you up into groups of five to six and having you each try and figure out what can work and be realistically tested and implemented with the resources that we have available. I need your solutions submitted by the end of the week, so don’t think that this is a project that you can be lazy on. We need results people.”




“So it works?” I asked Dr. Kelley at our regular meeting.

“It does, but there are some long-term concerns,” the scientist replied. “Static buildup increases dramatically when hauling an extra mass like that, and we’re going to have to find a way to discharge that before we can use this as a way to transport our people.”

“The report said something about losing external sensors and comms when being transported,” I recalled.

“Yes, the static buildup temporarily rendered those systems inoperable despite our hardened systems,” he responded. “It didn’t completely shut them down, but we did have to reset them to receive complete comms and sensor data from and for the dropship.”

“That could be a problem,” I said as I stroked my beard in thought. “If we operated with our dropships still dealing with the comms being down we would have to understand and build our plan around that weakness.”

“Why aren’t we using our Jumpships and Warships for this?” Kelley asked.

“Too far away for us to make it in time,” I sighed. “We have a limited time window and the mass relays are faster for this sort of thing. While we are using the Manassas because we already installed a core onto it, we still don’t have the ships. If I had two to three months then I would have already dispatched the rest of them to go hit our targets and get out. But I don’t have that luxury at this time and so we’re having to make it up as we go along.”

“Copy that,” Dr. Kelley said as he stood up. “I’ll have a solution in a couple of days, even if I have to jury rig it myself for it to work. We don’t let people get traded like that.”

“Agreed,” I said to the other man as he left my office.

“Now, time to see what I can do to get set up for the influx of slaves that we are going to be rescuing from this moon.” I cracked my neck and opened up my slate to the data that we had on the pirate haven.
 

ATP

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Torfan - Shephard hit it in canon,right? could they meet ME humans there?
P.S I remember some dead ME/WH40 crossover,when one of missing Primarchs get there as slave,made revolt,liberated planet,and....story died.
What about meeting him there ?
 

Blasterbot

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Torfan - Shephard hit it in canon,right? could they meet ME humans there?
P.S I remember some dead ME/WH40 crossover,when one of missing Primarchs get there as slave,made revolt,liberated planet,and....story died.
What about meeting him there ?
If I remember right Butcher of Torfan was 1 backstory option among 3. I think it was the more brutal backstory.
 

Markwarrior

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If I remember right Butcher of Torfan was 1 backstory option among 3. I think it was the more brutal backstory.
Butcher of Torfan is one of the three canon backstories for Shephard. But, considering we're just a few short years after the FCW for humans. (The Alliance hasn't even established their Embassy yet) it won't be a thing where Shephard shows up yet.
 
Goshawk

Markwarrior

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Goshawk GO-H1K VTOL
Base Tech Level: Standard Mixed (Base IS)
Level
Era
Experimental
-
Advanced
-
Standard
3050+
Tech Rating: F/X-X-X-E
Weight: 55 tons
BV: 1,050
Cost: 11,098,167 C-bills
Movement: 8/12 (VTOL)
Engine: 210 XL(Clan)
Internal: 30 Armor: 211 (Ferro-Fibrous)

Internal Armor
-----------------------------------
Front 6 64
Right 6 52
Left 6 52
Rear 6 41
Rotor 6 2



Weapons Loc Heat
---------------------------------
LRM 5 (Clan) FR 2
SRM 2 (Clan) FR 2
ER Medium Laser FR 5
ER Medium Laser FR 5

Ammo Loc Shots
--------------------------------------
SRM 2 Ammo BD 50
LRM 5 Ammo BD 24


Carrying Capacity Troops - 12.0 tons


The base model of the Goshawk is designed for troop transport where stealth or a quick getaway is needed but where a full Sting would be too much or would blow the operation. With a maximum speed of 129.6kph under a full load, the Goshawk is capable of not only dropping off the troops that it carries, but is armored enough to either stay as a small support craft or to leave and return upon the call for an Evac.



Author's Note: This is something that will come up later and so I wanted to go ahead and post the design.
 
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Yacovo

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I've been over here for a while.
Huh, I was mainly on the quest side of the forum so I did not notice. Still, good to see you here.

Also the latest chapter numbers don’t seem to line up. The threadmark says 29, but the start of the chapter says chapter 28.
 

Markwarrior

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Huh, I was mainly on the quest side of the forum so I did not notice. Still, good to see you here.

Also the latest chapter numbers don’t seem to line up. The threadmark says 29, but the start of the chapter says chapter 28.
It's because I'm writing chapter 29 and my brain mixed up the two while crossposting...
 
Chapter 29

Markwarrior

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Chapter 29

“Dropping you off quietly now,” one of the VTOL pilots said as the troop transport set down just out of sight of an orbital battery and let the twenty-four power armoured infantry out of the craft. “I’ll be setting down somewhere out of sight so let me know when you need a pickup or evac.” The Goshawk VTOL took off and made its exit as the twenty-four specialists began their trek across the airless moon to their objective.

“Wilco,” Lieutenant Veronica Miles said as she braced her knees for the light drop. “We’re going in quiet on this op, so let’s keep the noise to a minimum yeah?” She said to her troops.

“Yes ma’am,” the men and women of her team responded as they screwed on suppressors or gave their handheld laser weaponry one last glance.

“Remember, we’re here to disable the orbital guns so that our dropships can get here without being threatened too much. Also, watch your fire. There’s a lot of slaves down here and I don’t want us to be responsible for accidentally killing any of them.”

“You heard the lady,” Staff Sergeant Locke said with bark in his voice. “We’ve got a mission to accomplish, now let’s get moving.”




“Fireteams Alpha and Charlie, with me,” Lieutenant Miles ordered. “Locke, you’ve got Bravo and Delta. We’ll take the guns on the far side, you take the ones closer to the LZ.”

“Copy that ma’am,” Sergeant Locke replied as fireteam Bravo began to stack up on the entrance to the airlock of one of the orbital guns.

“On you,” Sergeant Locke Gestured to Specialist Jameson as he set the breaching charges.

“Breaching!” Jameson said into their comms as he triggered the shaped charges and blew the airlock. The pointman threw a flashbang into the room and waited for it to detonate before moving in and to the left.

“Six tangos,” the pointman said as he fired his suppressed rifle into the chest of a Batarian pirate until his kinetic barriers sparked and died, the massive rounds penetrating the ceramic-based hardsuit after another burst of fire.

Jameson, being the second one into the room, went right, his rifle raised and ready to fire on who he found in the room.

“I’ve got a noncombatant here!” He yelled as he saw a Turian with a slave collar cowering below a pirate.

“We’ll treat her after we deal with the hostiles,” Locke said as he went in and took out a third pirate before moving to clear another section of the room. “Clear!” He shouted as he cleared his sector.

“Clear!” The rest of the two fireteams responded as they each cleared out their sectors.

“Alright, let’s make sure that the rest of this gun is clear and then set our charges,” Locke said. “We’re on a timetable here.”




“Fucking pirates,” Lieutenant Miles said as she kicked the dead body of the slaver she had caught ‘enjoying’ one of his slaves.

“Charges are set ma’am,” one of her platoon members reported. “And we found a couple of hardsuits that the slaves we rescued can use.”

“Get them suited up,” Miles ordered. “We’ve got to get out of here and detonate these charges.”



“How much longer do you think they’re going to take?” Smith asked his copilot, Fletcher.

“No clue,” she shrugged. “But I’m not liking the look of these enemy gunship patrols. They keep edging closer to our location.”

“Someone probably got made,” Smith said as he began to wake the systems back up. “And it’s time to pick up our troops anyway.”

“Time to move then,” Fletcher said as she took over the weapons controls. “I’ve got the guns.”

“And I’ve got the stick,” Smith replied with a laugh as he pulled the VTOL up and over the rock pile they had been hiding behind, surprising the enemy gunship as they moved right behind it.

“Firing,” Fletcher said as the two lasers shot out invisibly due to the lack of air accompanied by the flurry of five missiles from their LRMs. “I’ve got confirmed hits, looks like moderate engine damage on the gunship. And their barriers are down too, must have hit something critical.”

“Keep it up then,” Smith ordered his copilot as he weaved through some of the missiles that the gunships threw at them while turning around. “This gunship needs to die before we get our people picked up.”

“Firing five of our rocket pods,” Fletcher said as she triggered some of the rockets to fly out and impact the already damaged gunship. “Tango is down.”

“Yeah, but they definitely got a message off,” Smith said as he brought his VTOL up to full speed. “Marksman Platoon Mike-Bravo 2, we’re doing a fast pick up, I repeat, a fast pick up.”

“Copy that, Golf 1-2,” Lieutenant Miles responded. “We’re waiting at the LZ now.”




“Orbital guns are down,” the report was relayed to Natasha. “We’re having our Stings engage their frigates now while our cruisers come out of FTL and take on their three cruisers.”

“Good,” Natasha said as she strapped herself into her Nightstar. “Are our scout VTOLs in place?”

“Aye ma’am,” the report came. “All reports confirm that their main strength is in the spaceports or the strongholds below.”

“Mathis, I want you and the spec ops teams to begin breaching the strongholds now,” Natasha ordered. “We are dropping our vehicle and mechs on the spaceports as a distraction so you should have less to deal with.”


“Copy that,” Mathis replied. “What do you want to be done with any enemy VIPs?”

“Hold them for interrogation,” Natasha responded firmly. “We are going to figure out where they are sourcing their slaves from and where their main buyers are.”


“Understood,” the reply came back. “I’ll let you know if we run into any major problems down below.”

“Good hunting, Mathis,” Natasha said as she signaled to the tech that she was ready to be dropped, feeling the slight lurch that normally occurred when gravity took ahold of a mech and began to pull it downward to its impact point.

“And you as well ma’am,” Mathis replied.




“Why are all of our orbital guns down?!” Egram Brok'caros screamed as he walked into the command center of the spaceport, “This is supposed to be our most profitable day, why are we experiencing these problems?!”

“At first we thought it was just a glitch sir, a couple of gunships failed to report in, but that’s normal for us. Then, we thought that it might be a long-range Turian Patrol-”

“The Turian who is in charge of this sector was paid off well in advance for this, so it would not be the Turians,” Egram interrupted fiercely as he glared at the technician. “So we must be under attack from someone else, have all of our clients informed that we cannot provide them with their slaves or their money if we lose this moon.”

“I’ll relay the message,” the other Batarian cowered before the still-angry senior caste member.

“Yes, you will,” Egram said as he drew his pistol. “And find me the commander of the troops on loan from the Hegemony, I have a feeling that we're going to need them soon.”
 
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