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It feels difficult to believe that less than a month ago the entire galaxy stood at precipice of a disaster, friends and foes alike united in desperate coalition against an ancient, unknowable evil exerting themselves to their limit in a desperate struggle of survival.

It feels difficult because as far as you're aware, the skeletons of yesteryear were quickly gaining company amongst the scramble to pick up the pieces.

You are Tufferson Kris, special consultant for Citadel Institute of Xenoarchaeology, and currently dealing with what even from your position of a slightly jaded Krogan scholar you have to, with a dose of irony, consider irresponsible behaviour of a younger species.

Although, in fairness, the distinction falls flat when you consider all the stunts even ancients have pulled over course of aeons that would end up biting them in their tail. One of the most remarkable being scattered throughout the Sol system in terms of nigh indestructible wreckage apparently vaguely reminiscent of an aquatic form of life native to Terra.

In this context, decanting a form of life bred for combat in an extralegal, isolated laboratory, seemed positively harmless in comparison.

Well, mostly harmless.

"What could this mean?" Nicholas, the unofficial leader of the vigilantes, muses, reading the parting, presumably incomplete, message of a doomed man.

"C-could be a prank... a prank of a desperate, dying man." Josh says. The man has only been growing more jittery since the search of what might have been the facility inhabitants' final stand. "Still..."

"Yeah, I guess it's a possibility," You consider aloud. "...but even so, I'd think there would be other things on minds of these people than... cartoons."

"Well, if it meant anything, we're likely to find out. Let's move on." Chieftain Kara says and the rest of you nod assent as your groups leaves the vacated dormitories behind you.
>>
Rest of the sweep for the floor goes by yielding neither excitement nor loot. You scour rest of the administration and common areas but find nothing else worth of note, only dead terminals and clean desks except a handful of cups of dried out coffee. Nicholas took that as indication that whatever went down in the common room happened outside of common working hours.

Whether or not that was accurate, your efforts are somewhat frustrated as none of the offices stand out as belonging to someone with actual authority over the installation. Given that it seems unlikely that this operation be conducted without defined hierarchy you are left with impression that installation's top management offices were likely to be located deeper in the facility.

Eventually, your group concludes the search of the floor by returning to the two points of access for the lower levels - an elevator and a service staircase, the shaft and stairwell located opportunely back to back, allowing both to be monitored by one of Gizmo's remote sensors. Once the engineer is done installing them, the party proceeds downwards to the lower level. As you descend, you note that the human members are avoiding stepping in the stains left on the stairs and realize that you've been unconsciously doing the same.

"Damn." voice of chief Kara, who along with Tam was first to emerge from the stairwell broke the cautious silence. As less of the group filed joined them, especially the humans echoed the sentiment - Josh by paling and wincing, Gizmo by raising her hand to her mouth, Nicholas and Lucy by grim frowns and tightened grip of their weapons.
>>
The stairwell opened into a circular chamber with four exits: two corridors on either side, one marked white, another purple; one entry into the stairwell and elevator shaft behind you and the final one... final one was another security checkpoint, or rather what was left of it.

Jagged remains of transparisteel security wall framed guard posts on both sides of the corridor entrance opposite to you, blue markings on the corridor's walls still visible under patches of dried blood, acid burns and grooves something sharp dug into the walls at various heights.

Looking down at the floor you could see the trail of blood you could trace back to the common room upstairs joined by two more, much thinner trails from both corridors, all three converging on the "secured" gate ahead of you.

"Looks like they put the defenses on wrong side of the door." Tam comments, nodding at the pair of security turrets hanging from the ceiling motionlessly, their firing arcs covering everything except for the bloody portal.

"But... why?" Nicholas shakes his head. "Did they expect to hold off an army from this side while they knew what they were developing?"

"Hubris?" Kara suggested.

"No point in milling about. We've got a clear trail now, let's follow it and finish this." Tam urged.

"Stop. Barak. Explain this to him." Kara turns to the older Krogan.

"Gladly. These creatures have not yet confronted us despite us encroaching in their territory and apparent experience fighting armed opposition. That means they consider us a threat and we can expect them to ambush us. Charging recklessly now would be foolhardy."

"Fine. We can advance carefully. Even so extermination is why we are here in the first place."

"Good. As long as it's theirs rather than ours." Kara says.

"Any alerts from the sensors topside?" Nicholas addresses the engineer.

"Nope, no disturbances." Gizmo says. "Hmm... that's funny."

"What is?" You ask.

"Vehicle's gravitic sensors are picking something up. It's really faint, but it looks like active mass effect fields somewhere in the vicinity."

"Our own shields?" Kara suggests.

"Patterns don't match. Also, intensity might be, well, a bit higher. Hard to say due to interference."

"The facility seems dead. A backup source somewhere down here?" Nicholas proposes.

"O-or the creatures can manipulate mass effect fields after all..." Josh comments.

"Well we're not gonna find out either way just by standing around." Lucy speaks up.
>>
Taking this as a cue that will prompt Kara to exercise leadership, you recognize this as a chance to provide your input.

>Advocate pushing onwards following the trail of blood into the presumed lab section. Whatever happened here, the heart of it will have been in that direction.
>Suggest checking out engineering first. It would be a natural place for backup source to be in, and perhaps offer chance to restore power to some or maybe even all systems of the facility.
>Suggest checking out the remaining corridor instead. Whatever was going on in it seemed to warrant a dedicated wing of the subterranean section of the facility.
>Suggest splitting the party. What's the worst that could happen? (propose strategy and objectives for each party) CAUTION ADVISED
>Keep quiet.
>other course of action (specify)


Story thus far:
https://pastebin.com/vrScHDdK

First thread:
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/3369286/
subsequent threads:
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Henri%20Ford
>>
>>4854553
>Suggest checking out engineering first. It would be a natural place for backup source to be in, and perhaps offer chance to restore power to some or maybe even all systems of the facility.
>>
>>4854553
>>Suggest checking out engineering first. It would be a natural place for backup source to be in, and perhaps offer chance to restore power to some or maybe even all systems of the facility.
>>
>>4854553
>other course of action (specify)
Fuck a quarian
>>
>>4854553
>>Suggest checking out engineering first. It would be a natural place for backup source to be in, and perhaps offer chance to restore power to some or maybe even all systems of the facility.
>>
"We should check out the Engineering first." You say, motioning towards the corridor to your right. "If there is a backup source of power active, it's the most likely place for it. If machines there are in operable state, restoring power might allow us to hijack facility's surveillance and defenses." You gesture at the inert turrets above. "And allow us to access any remaining databanks in search of evidence."

"That's some big ifs but with solid payout. Alright, nerd." Kara nods and turns to his younger companion. "Tam, you take the rear in case the critters came out looking." The other krogan harrumpfs his assent and your group sets into motion.

The corridor you take widens into more generous proportions after first bend, lined with larger doors to storage rooms at one side, at the other regular doors labelled as amenities for engineering crew: bathrooms, rec room, locker room. At its end the corridor opened into cavernous hall your light sources had difficulty illuminating.

Your group made a brief stop at each of the side rooms to check it out, confirming accuracy of labeling and absence of hostile presence. The storerooms were well stocked with variety of biochemical compounds and equipment used for the scientific research and maintenance, seemingly untouched by the creatures, only evidence of their presence being signs of struggle in one of the storerooms where apparently one of the facility inhabitants was vainly trying to find shelter.

Without incident you eventually make it to the main machine room of the facility, but the state you find it in does little to lift your spirits. Stains and burn marks tell tale of struggle even more vain than the one that took place above - casual scan shows no signs of firearm discharge. The engineers were probably only armed with whatever tools they could grab or the omnitool fabbers could churn out as they sought to at least take advantage of the narrow, grated maintenance walkways woven through the room, providing access to the machines that provided facility with power and pleasant internal environment.

As for the machines themselves, only one of them stood out at a glance - a fabber unit had its eezo core forcefully torn out, entire section of the machine responsible for shaping the mass effect fields that allowed it to work its magic ravaged with liberal use of force and whatever corrosive agents the creatures could produce.

In contrast, the main power generator unit looked to be in good shape at a glance, but this illusion shattered soon enough - Gizmo ran her omnitool over it, walked around to one of its access panels to gain access to machine's internals - and promptly jumped back with a startled yelp.
>>
In a few dramatic moments your party jumps into a combat stance with you, Kara and Nicholas moving to back up the engineer while Lucy and the two other Krogan swivel around to ward off possible other attacks and Josh flares up with dark energy himself, prepared to apply it to counter or deflect whatever harm was approaching.

Fortunately, none of it was immediately needed. Following the engineer's worried gaze you note the state the machine she was inspecting was in - it wasn't good. the internals were ravaged by acid and claw, creating an opening where delicate machinery used to be. The cavity went deep - enough so in fact that it turned into a burrowed tunnel leading out through the chamber's wall behind the machine and out of sight.

Good thing there wasn't one of those things lurking there, although your sensors would have hopefully picked it up if it were.

"They... dug out the eezo core of the reactor." Gizmo steadies herself.

You bring up your omnitool and its scanner's readouts confirm the pattern unveiling itself before you - not a trace of eezo, or dark energy interactions - outside traces of your and companions' activity.

"Any sign of the backup source around?" Nicholas asks his engineer, echoing your concerns.

"None. This source is completely busted, and it seems all eezo from its field generators has been removed."

"And the field vehicle picked up?"

"Still there."

"So we can rule out the backup generator hypothesis. At least here." The vigilante nods. "Can you fix this?"

"No, it's fucked." The engineer shakes her head. "However, I saw enough spare parts in the stores here, even insulated eezo containers and power cells, that I could rig a replacement. It wouldn't be pretty and it will take a while even if some of you guys help, but it should hold long enough for some limited use."

"Or we could leave this sort of work for after we cleared the place out." Tam opines.

"That would be forgoing possible benefits doctor Tuferson outlined." Nicholas points out.

"Cost of obtaining these seems proving more of a bother than it's likely worth." Kara growls in annoyance at this development.

"But Why... why do you think the creatures went specifically for Eezo?" Josh asks a question you've been asking yourself as well.
>>
Silence that follows gives you an opportunity to argue for the next course of action...

>Argue that Gizmo should be allowed to rig up a provisional source of power for the facility. Benefits of potential access to surveillance and defensive mechanisms, and probably more importantly more comprehensive information on research conducted here outweigh the necessity to spend some time and effort here.
>There's no point in delaying further. Suggest heading to the lab section, maybe there will be a portable device or an OSD for you to examine, or maybe you'll just find the creature nest and be done with it.
>Suggest checking out the third wing. It might hold clues that don't require running power to read.
>Suggest splitting the party. What's the worst that could happen? (propose strategy and objectives for each party) CAUTION ADVISED
>Other course of action (specify)
>>
>>4856689
>fuck a quarian
>>
>>4856689
>>Argue that Gizmo should be allowed to rig up a provisional source of power for the facility. Benefits of potential access to surveillance and defensive mechanisms, and probably more importantly more comprehensive information on research conducted here outweigh the necessity to spend some time and effort here.
>>
>>4856689
>>Argue that Gizmo should be allowed to rig up a provisional source of power for the facility. Benefits of potential access to surveillance and defensive mechanisms, and probably more importantly more comprehensive information on research conducted here outweigh the necessity to spend some time and effort here.
>>
Aaaaaaaa its back!!!


>>4856689

>>Argue that Gizmo should be allowed to rig up a provisional source of power for the facility. Benefits of potential access to surveillance and defensive mechanisms, and probably more importantly more comprehensive information on research conducted here outweigh the necessity to spend some time and effort here.
And I would avise setting up an ambush while she does this, If she is opening up those eezo insulated canisters and bringuing power here there is a good chance they will come to grab that eezo too, depending on how desperate for It they are.....probably linked to those massa effect fields from earlier
>>
"It's a good question." You speak up. "Gizmo's offer holds promise to help us in answering it." In more ways than one, you realize as you look between the two excavated stores of eezo, one of which you're arguing for replacing. "Chance to get some additional edge, maybe even footage from the labs on top of whatever we can dig up from databanks, can spare us some nasty surprises, especially now that we've basically confirmed the critters are specifically collecting Eezo, which implies ability to manipulate mass effect fields."

"...won't that mean they're gonna start coming as soon as I unseal those canisters?" Gizmo catches up quickly.

"That depends on whether their taste for the stuff overwhelms whatever reasoning they're using to keep hidden now. But even if they do, at least we'll be able to fight on our terms rather than walking into an ambush."

The engineer gives you a hesitant look, clearly not enjoying the notion her work could double as a bait.

"Good thinking, nerd." Kara says. "Don't worry, we are not going to let you get hurt." He turns to Gizmo. "Alright, let's do this. But first, see if you can seal the hole behind the machine in a way that won't get the structure crashing down on us."

"Not likely in a way that would make a difference, considering how they got through in the first place." Nicholas comments. "Although we don't know how long it took them... in either case simply shooting whatever keeps coming will probably be more effective."

"I'll take it as your volunteering for the pyjak-in-a-duct duty then." Kara says, to which Nicholas shrugs. "Alright, Barak, you take the high ground. Tam, you're going to be with me. Kris can stick with the engineer. But until the welcoming party arrives, we might as well make ourselves useful." The Krogan chief gets to issuing commands, then locks eyes with Gizmo. "What do you need hauled?"
>>
What would otherwise be a sequence of routine tasks is made a touch more difficult and taxing on your alertness thanks to the darkness enveloping the facility. Fortunately one of the first boxes you find and open is a crate of sticky chemical lights that is promptly expended to illuminate the storerooms, adjoining corridor and most importantly the main machine hall itself. The last thing you want is failing to notice formation of another tunnel beause it was hidden in a shadow somewhere. And so when Gizmo finally gets to the proper task of rigging up a working power source, she does so in an eerie, mostly monochromatic ambience, beneath a dome of false stars, occasionally cursing at necessity to have to double check the colour coding with her helmet light.

Once heavy lifting is done, the other Krogan and Lucy settle into a guarding stance while you, Nicholas and Josh alternate in performing simpler tasks the engineer assigns to you. You don't pay much attention to passage of time as you take care to avoid making a mistake that would thwart all this effort, but it doesn't feel long before the assembly is complete, a mess of components connected to what appeared to be in working order from the old installation, one of the devices with receptacle awaiting insertion of an eezo container. Gizmo looks the entire thing over once more, consulting her omnitool, then she nods to herself in satisfaction.

"Alright. I'm going to unseal the canister. If we're right, we might be getting company soon, so get ready."

There's a grunt of acknowledgment around the room. The human woman taps the control elements of the relatively bulky vessel and after a few seconds, with little apparent effort, removes the top and recovers considerably smaller container that fits right into the receptacle which accepts it with a satisfying "click".

For several moments nothing seems to happen.

"Oh, right. Need to actually turn it on." She sighs, prompting some chuckles from rest of the crew.

Then, a few taps on her omnitool later, the device hums to life, which quickly extends to remainder of the room as controls and signal lights flare up, sizeable portion of them red.

"Easy now, hold it together..." Gizmo says, not clear whether she's addressing herself or the machines. "Don't want the source to overtax itself and burn out by booting up something we don't want to," She explains. "Gotta get it to slide to emergency low consumption mode... aaaand... done. Phew." She looks up from her omnitool with a cheerful smile. "Done. Lady and gentlemen, we have the power!"
>>
Rolled 77, 47, 68, 32, 7, 99 = 330 (6d100)

"Good job, Gizmo." Nicholas squeezes her shoulder. Is that a symbol of camaraderie with humans, or something closer?

"Alright, now let me check what I can actually access. I'll do some polling and-"

She pauses when you all feel the floor tremor slightly under your feet and quickly checks her omnitool.

"Wasn't me."

"Alright I guess the party is about to start. Look alive, everyone." Kara yells.

And then there is skittering.

>Current deployment:
>Main entrance: Kara, Tam
>Generator tunnel: Nicholas, Lucy
>Sniper overwatch: Barak
>back line/support: Gizmo, Josh

Where do you apply yourself?
>Join Kara and Tam at the main entrance
>Join or relieve one of the humans watching the tunnel
>Hang back and wait to deal with anything that might come through.
>submit other plan (specify)

Also, please, roll some 8d100s. (Kris, Kara, Tam, Barak, Nicholas, Lucy, Gizmo, Josh)
>>
Rolled 38, 68, 77, 20, 98, 100, 16, 45 = 462 (8d100)

>>4858124
>>Join or relieve one of the humans watching the tunnel
>>
Rolled 79, 84, 47, 95, 12, 91, 81, 88 = 577 (8d100)

>>4858124
>join Barak
>>
Rolled 51, 98, 19, 22, 19, 78, 52, 13 = 352 (8d100)

>>4858124
>>Join or relieve one of the humans watching the tunnel
>>
100,91 and 78, that's a tough son of a bitch

as for ourselves....well....at least we are krogan, that should count for something lol
>>
>>4858391
At least we did better than Tam, and that is a good things since I think they will come from tunnels and not the main entrance.
>>
It may be because of the tremor that first alerted you that something's happening, but you get the distinct feeling that you felt the approaching enemy before you heard them. And although you're not familiar enough with the sound to allow you to estimate exact numbers, you can tell they are approaching quite rapidly and so make a snap decision where to meet them. One glance at the chieftain and his younger aide, backed by Gizmo already setting up a portable shield generator and Barak raising his long gun it seems clear the entrance that could use some additional bolstering would be the tunnel creatures used to dig out the eezo in the first place.

Exchanging nod with the vigilante leader you position yourself in front of him, prompting him to reposition so he can shift his attention as needed between both possible entrances and, side by side with the mercenary woman, you ready your spike thrower. To her credit she doesn't take attention away from the opening as she acknowledges your good taste in weapons with a smirk and a nod of her own. You have little time for shotgun bonding however as the first wave of creatures rounds the corner and the battle is joined.

You feel somewhat vindicated when the first creature you come to face emerges from the tunnel. It appears to be the same category as the one Tam vaporized with Tomkah's turret. You level your own spike thrower before the worker can spit in your face and the creature promptly explodes in a ball of gore.

"Come get some!" Lucy growls with a grin.

It wasn't you who pulled the trigger. However, you don't despair as there's no doubt enough targets for every-

THUD. "Keep them coming!" THUD.

-one. Well, at least you'll be able to pick up her slack while she's replacing the-

THUD. THUD.

You can't help but frown. You'll have to ask her how she's replacing the clips so quickly. But now was not the time for such considerations, especially as cacophony of diverse weapons, accompanied by hum of struggling mass effect shields and bizarre, unnatural 'fwops' of fabric of the universe being warped by localised mass effect discharges. You dare not split your attention too far away from your chosen fire zone but you do manage to get a measure of the battlefield.
>>
Although you were correct in assuming the first strike would come through the excavation, it appears that the dedicated warrior caste may have been too large to comfortably use worker passages and some of the specimens decided to take the regular corridor. Fortunately, Kara and Tam were up to the task to keep them from coming through. Two were already sprawled on the ground and the three closing in were about to meet the same fate as Barak brought his rifle down at him. One of the warriors was just skidding to a halt after emerging from the behind the bend but it did not seem to be going to charge right away, rather its upper torso was twitching slightly and it was leaning back, as if taking in a breath. The Krogan begin ready to reposition but ease off and resume firing when a sheen of white and blue manifests to intercept the organic secretion flying at them.

It seemed your group had the fight handled, for the time being.

THUD! -you smoothly end the next worker that emerges from the tunnel.

That's more like it. Even if the real reason you were able to land the shot was because Lucy chose to spin around and take a head off one of the warriors that somehow made it through the killzone in the corridor almost into melee range of the two Krogan, leaving a mildly bewildered Tam as his omniblade dissipated without drawing blood.

"None shall pass!"

"Less chatter, more shooting!" Nicholas growls between bursts of his Vindicator. He doesn't leave any slack to be picked up after him, finishing off whatever still appears to be moving and taking potshots at the incoming warriors, sometimes felling them before even Barak zeroes in on them.

The fight lasts for a few moments more, maybe less than a minute, before a new sound colours the discordant ambience- deeper bellows of the mounted turrets up the corridor. And with that, the flow of enemies coming down the main entrance was suddenly cut.

"Yes! Got it. The turrets are ours." Gizmo exclaimed excitedly.

"At least until they slag it with that spit." Kara growls, pointing at the puddle of melted floor where it slid off Josh's barrier.

"Well, for now it seems they gave up. No more are coming through the junction." The engineer shakes her head. "Got the cams, too. Speaking of..." She makes a few taps on her omnitool and the gloom of chemical lights shifts as red, subdued emergency lights come to life throughout the room and through the corridor. "Fiat lux!"

"Well done, but... does that mean more will come this way?" Nicholas asks, indicating the tunnel.

"I don't know. Are they still coming? Maybe they gave up." Gizmo shrugs.

They were, in fact, not coming for a while. It seems the creatures either ran out of expendable workers, or decided to adjust their strategy in face of surprisingly capable opposition.

"Well in either case we can't exactly leave this place unguarded now. The moment we leave a single of those... workers... can invalidate all this work."
>>
"Not necessarily." Barak speaks up from his perch. "I think I have an idea."

The elderly Krogan descends and approaches one of the creature carcass, picking up a splintered chunk of its carapace. "I noticed the spitting one took some effort to line up its shot away from the incoming warriors. Maybe he was just being conservative, but..." Barak explained as he dunked the sliver in a pool of creature's own blood. Within seconds it began to hiss and crack and decay. "...maybe it was simply avoiding friendly fire."

"'If you're not willing to shell your own position, you're not willing to win.'" Lucy intones reverently.

"Alright. Chief, Tam, Kris, come help me make a pile. This is probably a bit too caustic for soft skin of the locals."

Realization dawns on you and between four of you you soon have a small pile of creature pieces gathered. Next step would entail...

"Joshua, was it?" Barak addresses the human biotic who actually jerks a bit when called. "We'll need your help for the next part. Kris, Tam, your glowy antics will help, too."

With a nod you, Josh and Tam pool your control over dark energy to form a biotic field around the pile, lift it off the ground and then easily navigate it into the worker tunnel. This disturbance together with being squished together and with remains of previously pulverised workers prompts the carcasses to decay even more rapidly. Before long, the tunnel is effectively plugged by a barrier of hissing, crackling liquid death.

"This is likely not going to be effective for very long, but with any luck it should be enough for us to conclude our job here." Barak comments.

"Good thinking. And well fought, everyone." Kara picks up. "Alright then, let's do what we came here for. Gizmo, you can tell us what you see on the cams as we go."

>Follow chief Kara and head to the labs. With the power restored recovering evidence should be much easier now.
>Suggest checking out the third wing. It is a detour, but it might be worthwhile to check out.
>Follow Kara, but ask Gizmo to use her network access to check out something else (specify what)
>other course of action
>>
>>4858646
>>Follow chief Kara and head to the labs. With the power restored recovering evidence should be much easier now.
>>
>>4858646

>Follow chief Kara and head to the labs. With the power restored recovering evidence should be much easier now.
>>
>>4858646
>>Follow chief Kara and head to the labs. With the power restored recovering evidence should be much easier now.
>>
>>4858646
>>Suggest checking out the third wing. It is a detour, but it might be worthwhile to check out.
>>
There was not much of a point to wait and risk the stopgap barrier protecting the impromptu power source losing effectiveness so you simply nod to yourself and fall in line as Kara and Tam once again take the point and your group retraces their steps back to the junction. This time the round hall is illuminated in the red glow of emergency light and the turrets are resting aiming for center of their firing arcs, ready to intercept any registered hostile that would seek to traverse it.

This time you don't stop to consider but instead continue to follow the grim trail, noting how it was recently disturbed by a new set of grooves from the passing creatures.

What was with non-retractable claws like that, anyway? Seemed a bit wasteful to have the creatures leave a trail on anything short of reaper hull. Maybe they were going for intimidation factor? Arguably the dark carapace bristling with claws and teeth and acid blood did make an impression prompting one to stay well clear of the monsters.

Well, still wouldn't last too long on Tuchanka.

You clear the ravaged checkpoint and find yourself following a corridor. You pass several doors that lead to variety utility rooms with nothing of interest inside before entering a hall that surpassed the machine room in volume - the main lab of the facility, and presumably the workplace that gave it purpose. The chamber is fitted with variety of research equipment, of which possibly most remarkable is a row of shattered transparisteel cylinders lined up against a solid black wall which turned out upon closer inspection to be transparent, separating this hall from a - most likely artificial - cavern behind it.

"I guess this is where the specimens were kept." Nicholas remarks. "There's not as many here as the creatures we killed though."

"There must be another storage elsewhere." You say, your gaze following the infrastructure attached to the broken cylinders, a bundle of tubes and cables connected to several other machines, vanishing in chamber's far wall. "Either that, or they're multiplying already."

"Alright, you wanted to grab intel here, so get grabby." Kara says.

You nod, switching focus onto the desks, tables and workstations scattered throughout the room, sometimes literally. Telltale organic residues showed that whoever was working here at the time the creatures broke out has met a swift and violent end. You try to identify a terminal that would appear intact enough for Gizmo to pour power into and access and your gaze quickly falls the other remarkable feature of the hall - a separate room suspended by the roof at the near end of the chamber, with semi-transparent window overlooking the lab. If that wasn't supervisor's office, you were not sure what could be. It was accessible from the lab floor by a railless stairway.
>>
"Speaking of the surveillance." Kara picks up. "Did you get a look at more of the creatures?"

"Sorry, but no. Wherever they are holed up, there's no cameras there. Last critters I saw were the ones to be splattered by the turrets. Although..." The woman makes a few taps and sliding motions on her omnitool. "Yeah, after turrets came online, I caught maybe three of the warriors running back thataway, through here." She waves again to the far side of the lab. So it appears the creatures really did decide to withdraw when they realized the turrets are active.

"Do you think there's... more than those three around?" Josh pipes up.

"Well we still haven't seen what's causing the mass effect activity." You point out. "Whatever's left lurking is probably gonna be something special."

"Hrmf. Maybe that one will prove a challenge." Tam remarks.

"Yeah, maybe it will last long enough for you to land a hit or two." Kara mocks him, although you suppress a wince of your own. "Enough chatter, we've still work to do."

>Go check out the supervisor's office. If there's any exclusive evidence to be found here, the manager would likely keep it close.
>Head directly to the mainframe. No need to bother with the terminals here, and it's on the way to where the hidden nest probably is anyway...
>Do a thorough search of the lab floor. The creatures seem cunning, but not thinking. Valuable clues or information was likely to be ignored by them.
>Split the party. What could go wrong? (propose split/roles/strategy) caution still somewhat advised
>other course of action (specify)
>>
>>4859729

>Go check out the supervisor's office. If there's any exclusive evidence to be found here, the manager would likely keep it close.

While the others take a Quick look at the lab
>>
>>4859729

>Go check out the supervisor's office. If there's any exclusive evidence to be found here, the manager would likely keep it close.
>>
"I'm going to check out this office." You announce. "Whoever was in charge of this place might have been self important enough to leave something of interest laying about."

"Suit yourself." Kara says. "We'll look around down here and make sure nothing comes running at you."

"I'll go with you." Nicholas volunteers, which you acknowledge with a nod.

"If you find something that looks like it's on the grid, give me a call and I'll see if I can do anything about it." Gizmo calls after you as you head towards the stairs.

"Will do." the vigilante responds without looking back.

The door at end of the stairway is locked, but now powered and its security is no match for decryption routines of your omnitool, especially not after Eve took a look at them earlier. With soft hiss the door part and the two of you enter the office.

Its decor is... unorthodox, at least compared to what you have come to expect during your admittedly not that frequent forays into human corporate offices. Although the basic furnishing is rather conventional - desk with an integrated private terminal, chair, several shelves. There's also a sofa, a small conference table and a few stools, all with good view on the laboratory floor through the transparent wall that took about half of the room's circumference, and a dispenser machine resting against the wall opposite to the transparent one. None of these give you pause, however, no. What does seem rather out place are several pieces of artwork that follow a definite pattern. You count two, no, there's a third one on door behind you, posters, a small action figure striking a pose and a ceramic mug that has seen a lot of use, all sporting a likeness of a character from a show.
>>
Not just any show, either, you promptly identify the character as Seiko, the gift of Cosmos, a stylized human female with black eyes and black shoulder-long hair with a silvery streak on one side. She is a fairly popular protagonist of the story that came to Earth by means of recently activated Charon relay and divided her time more or less evenly between learning to appreciate joys of terrestrial life and vanquishing recurring alien species of militant bugmen that drove her own people to brink of extinction before they learned to channel power of the heart to fuel their love lasers.

It was quite a disappointing show of wasted potential, if you're being honest with yourself. Although its conception dated well after humanity was already well integrated into galactic politics it made no effort to benefit from the wide variety of sociocultural norms extant in the known civilizational sphere of the time instead opting to fall back onto familiar, frequently regurgitated schema for its offworld arcs. You don't even begrudge the overall banality even if you feel the notion does Earth's youth a measure of disfavour, but with the amount of accessible materiel the only logical conclusion was that the creative director was a talentless, unimaginative hack.

"I didn't... realize this sort of media made it into the curriculum." Nicholas derails your train of thought and you catch yourself wondering how much of that did you let slip aloud.

"Well regardless, finding this sort of merchandise in this office comes to me as a bit of a surprise." You conclude and refocus your attention to the office at large.

>please, roll some 8d100s. (Kris, Kara, Tam, Barak, Nicholas, Lucy, Gizmo, Josh)
>>
Rolled 47, 42, 78, 10, 8, 77, 56, 95 = 413 (8d100)

>>4860618
>>
Rolled 45, 61, 86, 28, 72, 83, 34, 58 = 467 (8d100)

>>4860618
well, that Seiko character probably made it's way to a password or something

and I love Kris, the tv critic.
>>
Rolled 50, 37, 11, 73, 92, 25, 99, 25 = 412 (8d100)

>>4860618
>>
Perhaps it's your righteous indignance at the poor taste displayed by manager of this facility, or perhaps your ever so slight embarrassment at letting yourself go over it, or perhaps it's just plain poor luck but even as you pick through shelves and scour the room to examine out of sight angles you don't manage to find anything potentially useful. Eventually you settle for approaching the desk with supervisor's personal terminal - perhaps the engineer will manage to glean something from that once she's aware of it. Before you do, however, your temporary human companion announces success as he withdraws his hand from digging in bends of the sofa holding a palm sized piece of electronics.

"I've got something." Nicholas says. "Looks like a personal datapad. Has some..." His eyes switch between the datapad and his omnitool. "...modest encryption. What did you say that character was named?"

"Seiko, the gift of Cosmos." You reply. "But there's no way-"

"...and we're in. Let's see..." Nicholas begins to scan display of the device while you shake your head and return back to the terminal, scanning its connection and sending the details to Gizmo.

"Got it." Comes engineer's voice over your comm and you can see her wave in your general direction from the laboratory floor. "Will see what I can find with that."

With one last look around you believe you've found what there was to be found in the office. It was time to move on, but first you turn to the human vigilante who seemed engrossed in skimming the datapad.

"Interesting..." Nicholas says, his words echoing as he activated his comlink to ensure everyone hears the information he's about to share. "It appears this was a personal notepad for the manager here, one Esteban Li. I have not yet found any reference identifying his employers, but it seems the man himself was quite heavily, and emotionally, invested into this project."

You make a quiet gesture encompassing the office in a wordless query whether he's done with his search to which the human nods and the two make your way out and back into the lab while Nicholas resumes his recount.

"It seems the facility was running biotech analysis and development with basis of some alien sample recovered in local space and handed over for clandestine research. It is not clear which agency brought the sample in either so I don't want to jump the gun saying it was Cerberus, but I wouldn't be surprised."

"So what exactly did they have?" Lucy asks.
>>
"I'm getting to it. So they got this sample of organic material which upon closer inspection turned out to bear some very vague semblance to Rachni, thought not enough to assume there is necessary a direct link, rather there were some... design similarities, so to speak..." There's a pause as the vigilante scrolls up and down on the text. "...or maybe that's just raving. Anyway, it turns out the sample was in good enough shape that with some creative use of medical nanotech and biological engineering they were able to incubate and decant something that they dubbed..." Nicholas smirks slightly. "...projekt Seiko. Or at least the facility director seems to be referring to it this way. It appears the line between brilliance and insanity is indeed a thin one."

"This one was probably gone so far past the line he got stranded when the Crucible fired." You growl. "Anything there on capabilities of that thing?"

"Let's see... he describes in rather affectionate tone how the decanted creature developed and grew, especially when its capacity to produce offspring was confirmed."

"Damn. Good thing we came along." Lucy comments.

"It appears the Seiko prime is the primary source of all other specimen here... this doesn't go into too much detail into her- its capabilities though."

"Any indications of how to best kill it, or what it does to kill others?" Kara asks for the practical information; in response Nicholas's frown deepened along with his focus as he scrolled the text on the appropriated datapad.

By that time both of you made it back to the lab floor. Looking around you it doesn't seem like anyone had a lot of luck looking around although the human biotic looks somewhat pensive and Tam seemed to be fiddling with his weapon.
>>
"Weapon problems?" You inquire.

"Oh no, the opposite actually. There was a cryo module in one of the machines that could be repurposed for my gun." He raised his weapon to emphasize his point. "Gonna give me an edge when we go to deal with this... alien mother."

"And you did this by yourself? Just now?" You can't help but ask. Tam did not strike you as someone with enough patience for this kind of hobby.

"What's that supposed to mean? What sort of fighter would I be without a rapport with my weapon?" The younger - well, actually you weren't sure just how old he is compared to you, but he was definitely the youngest of the three dissenting Krogan present - fighter replied with a measure of indignation, but eased back quickly. "But yeah, Gizmo helped me with it. She's quite crafty."

"No worries, big guy." The engineer replied without shifting her attention from the files she was currently examining. Presumably files referenced in manager's terminal's cache. You pause for a moment to savour the cooperation fostered between your wayward kin and the vigilante. Just about a day ago they were ready to fight, and possibly kill, each other... now the mutual struggle brought them together. For the time being, you remind yourself bitterly and on this tangent find yourself wondering if the engineer took the chance to mess with Tam's gun, but quickly discard the notion as needlessly cynical and risky.

"Alright, so..." Nicholas speaks up, rerouting your thoughts once again. "...there's not much in ways of description of the baseline abilities. Author seems to spend a lot of time gushing over the creature. But there is an interesting passage towards the end:

'Those pompous fools in the board apparently want to scrap the project. Kill my beloved creation! And for what? Because of some massive hypernet breakdown in Batarian space? This will not stand. I'm too close to unlocking her true potential. The retroviral injection succeeds in 84 percent of simulated scenarios. I could bring it up to 99 with some tweaking, I know, but I no longer have time. Cleanup detail would arrive within the week, about as long as it takes therapy to take effect. This must be an omen.'

Then there's some rants and confirmations of favourable development of the creature. The final entry is brief:

'It is done. The therapy is concluded and the vitals are stable. The cleanup squad will be coming any day now so I cannot afford to delay any further. I may well be typing my final words in here, but there is nobody else I would trust overseeing the infusion with. Besides, if it results in awakening, I want to be the one my darling imprints on, selfish as it is, I cannot allow myself to go as a liar. My love, soon we will be together.'"
>>
Silence falls on your group for a few moments.

"That's messed up." Lucy comments.

"That's hilarious." Tam remarks.

"That's kind of useless." Kara concludes. "What sort of infusion and what was that supposed to mean?"

"I... I think it was the Eezo." Josh speaks up. "When I use my biotics, I can feel this slight... drift, I suppose I could call it. I can't really explain it, haven't experienced anything like it before. And... it seems to grow stronger in that direction where Gizmo says the creatures are coming from."

"So we don't actually know much more than to be worried." Barak notes.

"Actually, I have found something too." Gizmo takes the vote. "With the access via terminal doctor Tufferson scanned I was able to recover some actual data the scientists were collecting. Sending a data packet to each of you..."

The next thing your omnitool blips up with an incoming file. As you open it up, together with remaining members of the party, you are presented with an annotated model of a creature that has apparently been designed along the same guidelines as the workers and warriors you've been previously killing - vaguely slender body covered in segmented black carapace, five limbs including likely prehensile tail, all menacing with spikes of what was probably not keratin considering the marks its offspring left on the metal surfaces all around. It had the elongated skull whose front housed a maw with at least two rows of teeth, resting on extensible neck flanked by a pair of glands that might have been a structural weaknesses if they worked the way you suspected them to as the scientists' comments suggested they be linked to ability of the queen to maintain longer bursts of acid spit attacks her soldiers seemed to display.

"Not bad." You mumble in acknowledgment. "Don't see any mention of eezo or biotics though.

"I think the file shows last state of the subject before... whatever it was the manager did to it." Gizmo says. "Whatever happened after the final step must have resulted in the facility being no longer in shape to accumulate data."

"Whatever happened, it probably led to the containment breach we are seeing and likely sent these critters looking for eezo snacks. Well, party's over." Kara concludes. "Satisfied, Nerd? Time to meet the princess. Or whater that pyjak consider the beastie to be."

>It is time. You've learned what you could, it was time to confront the beast. Follow the trail to the hive now.
>You have captured some information but you still haven't recovered physical data drives. Head to the mainframe before confronting the 'Seiko'.
>There's still something that bothers you. Ask Gizmo something related to the installation (specify what)
>Ask someone about something (specify)
>Other course of action (specify)
>>
>>4862216
>>You have captured some information but you still haven't recovered physical data drives. Head to the mainframe before confronting the 'Seiko'.

>There's still something that bothers you. Ask Gizmo something related to the installation (specify what)
Where are the bathrooms. Better to relieve yourself before battle.
>>
>>4862216
>>There's still something that bothers you. Ask Gizmo something related to the installation (specify what)

2 things

ask her if there is an emergency "cleaning" system, even if it's ofline and unusable.
a facility dealing with biological experiments would probably have a purge device or system installed in the specimen contaiment zone, even if it's not active anymore we could at least look at what it was programmed to do, burn? freeze? suffocate with CO2? whatever it was we can look for a weakness that the scientists knew the creatures had.

and where is the armory? we may find some weapons designed to fight them there.

>It is time. You've learned what you could, it was time to confront the beast. Follow the trail to the hive now.
>>
>>4863379
oh, and see if the "purge" system, if it even exists, was activated, meaning it doesn't work, or they didn't have enough time to do it, meaning it's a good bet.
>>
>>4862216

>It is time. You've learned what you could, it was time to confront the beast. Follow the trail to the hive now.
>>
>>4862216
Wanted to go after the hard drives but I don't want to tie It so let's Go get them.
It's probably for the best too, If we delayed more we would most likely lose power and feed them more eezo
>>
Your first impulse is to proceeed to the mainframe to recover physical evidence, in case you need to leave in a hurry once you confront this 'Seiko' creature. But something tells you you've been dragging your feet enough already. The creature is clearly cunning enough to not send its warriors to death, but what does that mean for what she - or it, rather - is planning?

Then second thoughts make an appearance. One stray thought is brought up by the several bathrooms you've passed on the way here. Krogan could suspend their physiological needs for weeks if necessary, but you were not sure how well humans are holding up in that regard. Then again, bringing that up with them would be awkward and patronizing so you decide to let them decide for themselves how to handle their squishy metabolisms. It did kind of impress you that species with appearance this soft was able to hold off the Turians as long as they did even barely out of their cosmic cradle... but that was neither here nor there.

Another, more pertinent thought took precedence anyway.

"Gizmo, how much did you glean about layout of the installation and its functions?" You address the engineer.

"I can track the infrastructure map with reference of the nodes we've come across so far, it gave me a vague notion of what's in that I can back up with surveillance feeds, but naturally I haven't had time to look it all over. You want me to check out something specific?"

"Two things. One, this sort of installation would likely have some fallback protocols to purge it in case of containment failure or in case the authorities came to make a surprise visit. It seems it didn't get used here but if that was because the creatures crippled the facility before personnel could activate it, it might still work for us to use. Second, there was clearly security force here but we haven't seen an armory yet. Can you find anything of the sort?"

"Alright, give me a sec..."

"Good idea, but probably not going to go anywhere, I skimmed past something..." Nicholas says, appropriated datapad in hand. "...there. 'She is safe now. Prudential measures it may have been, but I cannot bear the thought of having her life, and my work, undone at a snap of the fingers. Final element of the cleanup protocol has been dismantled this day.'"

"Ah, I found it." Gizmo nods. "Nick's right. there's some dead ended ports here that would fit the idea given description and authorisation locks. Except..." The female human frowns as she scrolls and slides on display of her omnitool. "There is an undocumented device here, added after dismantling of the purge system. It doesn't give a description in response to the probing polls but seems linked to the same locks."

"Can it be activated? On purpose, or accidentally? By someone else than you?" Kara asks.

"Possibly, to all."

"Where is it? If we can't control it, we need to get rid of it." The chief says.
>>
"I think I can lock it out... but to answer your question, I'm not sure where the device is physically located, but the node it is connected to seems to be in the Armory, which brings me to the other thing you asked about, doctor. It seems armory wing, and barracks for the guards, and a gymnasium is all located on this level, back through the checkpoint." Gizmo explains and you nod to yourself. The third wing, you were wondering what's in there. "Anything interesting on the cameras there?"

"There are signs of struggle, much like in engineering or the labs, but the soldiers seem to have been taken by surprise, too. There's more intense signs of carnage in the gymnasium, some in the armory. There's a tunnel opening in the armory, similar to the one in the power unit."

"Must have been attracted to eezo stores in the weapons. Small individually, but in greater numbers it adds up..." Nicholas remarks. "Once the guards realized what's up they were probably running for guns only to find them eaten."

>You should go to the armory wing to check it out. There may be something left for you to salvage still. Perhaps more importantly, the node Gizmo said bears similarity to the panic trigger was located there somewhere.
>There's no point in wasting time with this. There was nobody left to trigger whatever might have been put in place of the purge protocol. You came here for a reason and you're reasonably confident between the eight of you you are equipped well enough to deal with the large alien and whatever she might have held back.
>other course of action (specify)
>>
>>4864714

>You should go to the armory wing to check it out. There may be something left for you to salvage still. Perhaps more importantly, the node Gizmo said bears similarity to the panic trigger was located there somewhere.

Well, let's go for the panic button, the wepons are most likely toast.
All this is behind the turrets right?
>>
>>4864734
yes, even if any workers went through the tunnel in the armory they can't leave the floor without going through the junction with turrets
>>
>>4864714
>>You should go to the armory wing to check it out. There may be something left for you to salvage still. Perhaps more importantly, the node Gizmo said bears similarity to the panic trigger was located there somewhere.
>>
>>4864714

>>You should go to the armory wing to check it out. There may be something left for you to salvage still. Perhaps more importantly, the node Gizmo said bears similarity to the panic trigger was located there somewhere.
>>
"I don't think we can afford to leave that panic trigger unattended, especially if it was added specifically after the original system was dismantled." You say. "We should go check out this armory wing; additionally, there might be something useful left there."

"Hrmpf." Kara doesn't seem thrilled by backtracking but can luckily hear sense in your words. "Alright, go take the point then. Tam, we have the rear."

Not wanting to waste more time than absolutely necessary you stride out, trusting rest of the group to follow suit. Before long you retrace your steps to the ruined checkpoint and pass through last unexplored corridor leading out of it.

It would perhaps be unfair you've gotten used to seeing the signs of human bodies, some of them possibly still moving, being dragged and leaving trails of blood and viscera but you are certainly not surprised by it anymore. Even the biotic human looks less green than he was in the common room on the ground floor. This time however circumstances had a slightly different spin to them - there were more signs of struggle here, some of them with participation of firearms, and more stains left by alien secretion as well as their decaying body parts. By the time fight reached this part of the facility the guards were at least to some degree aware something was going on and were able to arm themselves if they weren't previously.

Unfortunately for them, it was not enough, and as robust door to the armory proper slid open before you, Nicholas's speculation appeared to have been confirmed. There was a by now relatively familiar opening in the opposing wall, and the racks around the room that used to hold a variety of weapons and equipment, including a fabber unit to intended to assist in maintenance, were stripped of anything possibly useful.

"Being second to arrive to the armory is never a good feeling." Lucy commented.
>>
"Doesn't look like everything's quite gone though." You note as you spot several untouched crates resting in one corner and a row of intact lockers in the other. You approach the crates while Lucy goes for the lockers and when you open them you see...

"Grenades."

"Hmm, pre-fabbed ones. Could be handy to have smaller yield than what Barak is lugging with him." Kara remarks from the back.

"What does he have actually?" You ask.

"A couple of demolition charges. I expected we might want to leave a crater." The Krogan chief explains. "If the creature is as small as the data show we are unlikely to need them. These could actually come in useful."

"Assuming the creature hasn't gained biotic abilities with control fine enough to redirect them." Josh speaks up.

"That's why we have you, boy." Kara replies.

"Oooh nice." Lucy expresses herself, having gotten one of the lockers open. Inside, secured in a foam cradle as if presented for a showcase, rested a M-99 Saber, also dubbed 'The Big Iron' for the kinetic punch it carried. "Dibs!" Lucy says and recovers the weapon with smooth, gentle movements of a doting mother. Nicholas, recognizing that she won't be paying attention to her companions for a few moments, steps in and gets to work opening remaining lockers. There are three more Sabers, and one Widow sniper rifle which Tam promptly appropriates. Kara and Nicholas pick up two of the spare rifles, leaving one. Tam looks between you and his new sniper rifle with an unspoken question in his eyes.

>Take the remaining Saber for yourself/Chariot's armory? (Y/N) (If not, Tam will take it.)

With looting of Armory concluded you ask Gizmo whether the panic device is linked in the vicinity. The engineer shrugs in response and gestures further into the instalation. So the group sets into motion again and you move to the near end of the corridor to reach a door - well, acid-eaten remnants of one, actually, that lead to facility's gymnasium.

It is, as Gizmo suggested earlier, a sign of battle. The soldiers here definitely made effort to make good account of themselves as you can tell between gunfire marks and pools of acid located in way that was virtually guaranteed to having been remnants of alien warriors who managed to get themselves killed with whatever small arms the guards ended up having access to and some half-melted, half-eaten remnants of gym's equipment.

"It seems they even engaged in melee with some success." Kara said, his tone lined with hints of admiration. Which in this case you found ever so slightly misplaced, as the engineers in the machine room had no choice but to do the same, even though their success rate was likely considerably lower, perhaps downright negligible. Not that it made much difference in this fight.
>>
"Alright, let me see if I can find the node we're looking for." Gizmo says. She brings up her omnitool and begins to scan and walk slowly along the walls, confronting found infrastructure pieces with network map she put together. "Hmm..."

The engineer follows the trail only she can see and you follow her in turn, to a door on the far side of the gym, flanked by a mirror wall that is in all likelihood another window. This suspicion is proven correct as you enter another corridor that seems to connect the exercise hall with two other points of interest - one is a heavy set armored door labelled "Gallery", the other one rather ordinary and unmarked. Gizmo heads towards the unmarked one, which opens before her with a wave of her omnitool, revealing to you a modest sized office with good view of the gymnasium, a desk with terminal and a pair of empty lockers and a weapon rack. Gizmo ignores them as well as all other distractions as she navigates the room before stopping in front of an open fuse box on the wall next to the large window.

The fuse box was open, suggesting it was not forgotten when the creatures broke out. And whether it might have any infrastructure purpose, its amended function was readily apparent by the inscription "Fuck starchild" someone engraved above one of the switches.

"This is it. This is where the panic button is activated. And now..." Gizmo runs her omnitool over the device. "It's mine. We can leave without fear of it being triggered now. But if you want to take a look at what it does..." The engineer sends the rest of you a rundown of a diagnostic routine. It doesn't tell you anything though, aside from the vocabulary in some of the entries looking surprisingly..."

"Turian?" Kara asks. "What does this mean?"
>>
"Oh, I recognize these names!" Lucy announces. "It's Armax line of military explosives. They call it 'last resort', I believe, mostly because they resort to it when they really don't want to resort to anything else afterwards."

"So there's a Turian bomb linked to this switch? Does that mean Hierarchy is involved? And why didn't it go off, since someone probably tried to punch it given it's open." Tam fires off several questions.

"Well Armax is a corp so this alone certainly isn't a proof of Hierarchy involvement." Lucy shrugs. "But I suppose anything is possible. As for why didn't it go off? No idea."

"I have some." Gizmo takes over. "The bomb didn't go off probably because there was no power in the network when they tried to activate it."

"Sounds like a horrible way to set up a self destruct last resort." Kara remarked.

"It is. But if I'm reading this right, this was set up after the original measures were dismantled, possibly behind back of the facility management. This was likely jury rigged... and poorly, at that."

"Why wasn't it rigged in a way it would blow if the trigger became inactive?" Tam asks.

"Would you want to live on a bomb that may blow up because of a malfunction?" Kara asks in return.

"Well we can count ourselves lucky the switch did not register as activated when I restored power..." Gizmo says. "Anyway, with data extrated from this node I can find and activate the device at will. Although I wouldn't do so from the inside..."

"I believe a kilometer would be sufficient range as long as we squeeze into the Tomkah." Lucy says. "Our ATV might get hurtled by the blast wave."

Well this discovery does make one new option available to you...

>Let's return to the surface, drive out of the blast range and crater the installation. That ought to ensure the creature won't be a danger to anyone for sure.
>With the bomb under our control we can return to the original plan and confront the creature (and whatever remaining warriors she may have).
>You're a bit curious about this "Gallery"...
>other course of action
>>
>>4866147
-Y
>You're a bit curious about this "Gallery"...

I say after this we honor the dead saboreie and "fuck starchild"
>>
>>4866147

>Let's return to the surface, drive out of the blast range and crater the installation. That ought to ensure the creature won't be a danger to anyone for sure.

Yes
>>
>>4866147
>You're a bit curious about this "Gallery"...
>>
"Honestly, it does sound like the most sensible option." You voice your opinion. "It certainly leaves least to ch-"

"You can't be serious." Tam huffs. "There's an opportunity to test yourself against an unknown adversary, and you want to throw it away? For what?"

"I have to agree with the young one." Barak nods. "Although wise warrior takes every advantage he can get, turning down a chance to face an entirely unknown enemy is plain wrong."

"Well look at that, Nerd, you actually succeeded in doing something I considered impossible - you goth the two to agree on something." Kara says. "And I'm of the mind to agree with them. We went for one last real hunt because it held promise of being actually challenging. Reducing it to a big explosion... is just not the bang I imagined we'd be getting." The chieftain shakes his head.

"It would be the safest way to clean up all traces of the infestation..." Nicholas thinks aloud.

"But we haven't even recovered the data drives. We'd be burying the evidence and any useful data alongside with it." Gizmo argues.

Josh says nothing, although his pleading eyes show he's not happy where this exchange is going. Lucy for her part seems content but is keeping her peace presumably for different reasons.

As for yourself, you have to admit that at some primal level Tam's words resonate with you. Although you realize that someone had to stay with the ship at the time, nevermind how deadly the whole affair was, you can't help but feel occasional pang of regret at never having gotten to confront the ancient enemy your species was uplifted to fight, in its grotesque, reaperified variant to boot. However, your reason quickly overpowers the atavistic urges. Main thing is that the crisis is now over. Besides, the upcoming holy arcade Henri was busy arranging will no doubt have Rachni programs to go up against.

"Anyway," You decide to change the topic. "I'm rather curious what's hidden behind the door number three."

"The 'Gallery', was it?" Nicholas asks.

"Go check it out." Kara nods. "But don't drag your feet."
>>
You don't wait for another prompt, or for the chief to get bored and go do something unwise, and head out of the office onto the short corridor, human vigilantes in tow, with krogan footfalls joining in a few moments later. Before everyone filtered back onto the corridor however you approach the armored door, after giving a confirmatory nod to Gizmo, watch them slide open, confirming your suspicions that any paintings done in this place would be done with blood.

Past the door you get to see what at first appears to be another, if slightly wider, corridor, its right hand wall sporting a waist high shelf and slanted metal wall. But then the wall begins to move.

"Looks like an emergency safety barrier. I'm getting it out of the way." Gizmo says, her omnitool just going dim again as you turn to regard her. Returning focus to the now revealed walkway you note that it sports an array of kinetic barrier projectors that are currently inactive, presumably intended to give anyone on the gallery a clear view (and shot) at anything that could skitter along the now undeniably artificial cavern below.

During first visual scan of the cavern the first thing you notice is a transparisteel section that stands out in one of the cavern walls which you recognize as the same you saw in the lab, viewed from the other side... you also recall there was a row of storage cylinders lined up in front of the transparent wall and that together with conspicuous row of currently sealed openings below suggests one possible explanation for this chamber's purpose.

"It seems they chucked the creatures here to see how their weapons work on them." Nicholas comments, echoing your own assessment.

"Well, that was then and this is now." Barak has caught up and is surveying further reaches of the cavern through scope of his new rifle. "There's a rather large opening at the far side if you look."

"Was that done by some of the specimens digging out, or some of the workers digging in?" Josh muses.

"Well it looks quite a bit larger than the other tunnels we've seen so far." Nicholas says, peering intently, presumably with assistance of his helmet's HUD.

"So, is your curiosity satisfied, Nerd?" Kara asks. "If you want to, you can take whoever wants topside and we'll catch up once we're done killing. No fat off my hump if you want to salarian now."

It appears your compatriots are rather set on confronting the mother creature on foot.

>Try to convince Kara and the others to give up on the fight (difficult roll and/or write-in sort of required)
>Jump down the ledge and be the first to head into the tunnel. If they want a confrontation, they will have it.
>Suggest retrieving the evidence now, although you get the feeling Kara and his aides might just go off to confront the creature on their own.
>Agree to head back through the lab to confront the creature.
>other course of action (specify)
>>
>>4867988

>Jump down the ledge and be the first to head into the tunnel. If they want a confrontation, they will have it.

I vote this If It means we all go together but with Kris upfront, If this options splits the party I'd rather go with

>Agree to head back through the lab to confront the creature.
>>
>>4868062
+1
>>
>>4867988

>Jump down the ledge and be the first to head into the tunnel. If they want a confrontation, they will have it.

New shotgunão goes THUD
>>
Given that attempting to talk them out of their course would likely have been a fool's errand, besides there being some merit in disabling the creature without vaporizing the whole facility, you decide to adjust your approach. And the perspective of thrill of the battle has nothing to do with it, at all.

If confrontation is what they want, then confrontation is what they shall get.

You nod quietly at the chief, turn toward the ledge... and in two strides you build enough momentum to leap over the bulky railing and into the darkness below. Briefly you enjoy the sensation of both of your hearts beating with excitement as you allow yourself to relish in urges that drew your people to deny its kin the skies, the same urges that later saw you elevated to the stars in pursuit of unknown, alien prey.

And then, as you drop into a landing roll and regain your footing, you purge it with clarity of reason. Facing an unknown foe, culmination of some depraved mind's work and named after a second rate anime character, you're going to need your wits about you.

Or, barring that, you think to yourself as you weigh the hard hitting rifle in your hand, sufficient amount of firepower.

It's about time that you decide to ask the others if they're coming when you register Kara's laughter.

"Hah, hah! I knew there was more to you than you let on, nerd!"

The Krogan three are next to join you on the cavern floor, followed by the bluish glow as Gizmo and Josh descend enveloped by the latter's biotic field with the two remaining vigilantes being last ones to jump.

You don't wait or ask whether they are with you. You made your intentions clear enough. With weapon in hand you stride onwards, towards and into the tunnel.
>>
There are no emergency lights here that would give shapes to the darkness. You are reliant on your suit's light, and your helmet's low light vision. Because seriously, who would limit themselves to single digit arcs of vision?

You do not delude yourself into thinking your approach might go unnoticed as you place one foot in front of the other, the sound echoed sevenfold by your companions. Kara walks closest to your side, if maybe two steps behind, perhaps in recognition of your antics earlier. Or maybe so he has better line of fire on whatever gets a drop on you.

On that note you estimate you are perhaps about half of the cavern's length again into the tunnel when a tremor, accompanied by a shriek unsteadies your stance and causes you to raise your weapon in anticipation. You were definitely getting closer, perhaps right after the next bend...?

It was not the next bend. However, the tunnel did widen abruptly after it and was joined with another one. Examining it with several sets of headlights you discern the familiar trail of blood and viscera you've been following earlier, and in the distance glints of metal and right angles, betraying another place where facility's walls have been penetrated. Additionally, thought that mihght have been shadows playing tricks on you, you got the impression there might have been another fork in the tunnel somewhere between here and the other breached room. Perhaps a thing to look into once you were done here. For now there was work to be done.

Turning back towards the darkness ahead you resume your careful, deliberate pace and corner another bend in the tunnel...

This time it was the next bend. Your group emerges into another, final, circular chamber that rose into some semblance of conical shape with the floor slanted uphill from your perspective. You groan inwardly at the connotation but don't have much time to bemoan imperfections of the battlefield while your attention is captivated by what sat at the far end of the cavern.

You have to admit the orange wireframe cast by the omnitool's projectors looked much less impressive than the mass of matte black segments resting with its taloned limbs bent at its sides and the head swiveled in your direction, teethed maw open and issuing a shrill challenge to the band of interlopers while measuring you with the bottomless pits that might have housed its eyes, folds at its throad pulsing slowly as they grew turgid with promise of something no doubt unpleasant directed at you. None of that was not of immediate concern, however.

Of interest as well were also clumps of organic matter flanking the queen's roost from either side, most of them limp, torn and dessicated, but a few were plump, scattered around one that was faintly moving and, according to your helmet overlay, a heat source! But that one was not your immediate concern, either.

No, the immediate concern was the dim blue glow surrounding her, followed by blare of sensor alarms in your earpiece.
>>
Rolled 17, 60, 64, 88, 69, 23, 27, 65, 65 = 478 (9d100)

You barely have time to utter a profanity as you dive for cover, trusting your companions to have enough sense to do the same. They do, and it's a good thing, too, as a wave of force pulses through the area you were only just occupying and into the wall behind you, causing some rather unpleasant rumbling and cracking.

Once again you find yourself hoping the environment was not quite as destructible as it sometimes proves to be. And once again you are not given the luxury of bemoaning infeasibility of a dream encounter as the queen's cry is joined by a chorus of lower, weaker voices, and a cascade of skittering of claw against stone. "The battle," Nicholas narrates from behind the corner, "is joined."

With that your guns and those of your companions roar to life, cutting down the three warriors that followed Queen's biotic attack with their charge. Quick and clean, you think, but not the end of it you realize as more warriors begin to emerge from dark recesses of the cavern and you momentarily let your weapons cool down, conversing the limited spare clips.

"Barak." Kara commands.

"On it." The old Krogan raises the Widow, takes aim, makes a grin and gives the single shot the weapon can handle before cooling down, delivering its payload across the chamber, squarely into the Queen's open maw... or at least that was the intention as the projectile is harmlessly deflected in a spark of white and blue.

It seems this fight will be slightly less straightforward than the previous one.

>Push aggressively forward. If you can establish your presence in the chamber, you will have more room to maneuver and better access to dealing with the queen.
>Withdraw back. Maybe you'll be able to at least lure the warriors out?
>Hold the cavern mouth where you are. You don't have much room to maneuver, but at least you don't need to worry about being surrounded.
>other plan

Regardless, please roll 8d100 (Kris, Kara, Tam, Barak, Nicholas, Lucy, Gizmo, Josh)
Rolling for Queen, Warriors and Workers...
>>
>>4870073
>>
Rolled 61, 37, 5, 83, 26, 80, 92, 63 = 447 (8d100)

>>4870073
>>
Rolled 82, 87, 91, 55, 80, 42, 33, 73 = 543 (8d100)

>>4870073
>>
Rolled 54, 73, 60, 79, 90, 3, 41, 53 = 453 (8d100)

>>4870073
sorry I'm late, I have a busy life lately.
>Push forward with a rearguard at the mouth of the cavern.
>>4870627
>>4871084
A low of 73? not bad at all.
>>
>>4870073
yup, create some room, gotta have space to avoid those biotics

you just know Kris will binge watch Seiko's animated series after this, or at least leave a strongly worded review somewhere
>>
Although holding a chokepoint held some appeal against multiple attacking creatures, allowing yourself to be clustered would not be a good thing given Queen's known and demonstrated abilities, so you quickly settle on approach you've found dubbing "aggresively conservative".

"Barak, Nicholas, can you hold the rear for us? We'll carve out some room." You announce without regard of usurping Kara's self appointed leadership, but you don't hear him gainsaying the suggestion which was probably more or less in line what he intended to anyway.

With that you advance, wielding your new acquisition against the emerging warriors. Your aim is true and the creature falls before it can approach or inhale enough to become a threat, with a satisfying metallic ring of the hand cannon which is echoed by those of fighters who joined your advance - Kara, Tam and Lucy, all delivering death with similar efficacy.

Firepower does not come cheaply, however, and at one moment you need to interrupt your fire to replace a thermal clip, with corner of your eye noticing that Kara, rather than accepting the downtime, reaches for his shotgun and briefly wields both weapons to some effect, clearing the area before him from warriors emerging to defend their queen that now have some of the smaller workers mixed in. Just how many of these things are there?

Tam meanwhile seems to have resolved to catch up for what he probably considered a mediocre performacne back in the machine room, with his biotics ablaze he makes small dark energy aided leaps into close quarters with nearest warriors to alternately blast them with his shotgun or disembowel them with his omniblade, with Lucy covering his advance with her new rifle and a small smile on her lips.

You're about to congratulate yourself on how well your initiative is progressing when the Queen unbidden gives you another reason to do so: with one final shudder her head lurches forward and produces a spew of corrosive fluids that fly in general direction of your group. It's a good thing you spread out a bit or someone might have been struck with possibly dangerous consequences, even if you note Queen's aim was less than perfect - the glob splattered mostly across the wall above the arch you passed through entering the chamber, leaving behind some caustic dripping and hissing.

Barak takes the chance to fire off another round at her, perhaps hoping that the queen would drop her barrier to spit. However, if she did, her control over it was fine enough to restore it quickly enough that the attack ended with similar lack of imploding chitin.

I've only just realized I made a mistake few posts back, it was Barak who took the Widow, not Tam.
>>
Rolled 4, 16, 65, 50, 24, 34, 4, 63, 34 = 294 (9d100)

For their part, Joshua and Gizmo have wisely decided not to advance with you but stuck to supporting roles in the back. Gizmo was tinkering with her omnitool while Josh satisfies himself by watching flow of the fight, occasionally throwing a probing ball of biotic energy against a warrior that looks like it might pose a threat, on one or two occasions actually helping you or the others to steady your adversary for an easier takedown.

"Careful with the queen... now!" Gizmo shouts, prompting you to pay just enough attention to catch the movement before your suit's sensors shout at you about dark energy buildup. Another wave of distortions strain the fabric of space between the creature and place where Tam and Lucy have been only moments ago, having succeeded in dodging the attack. Again the Widow thunders - and again the attack is thwarted by the biotic barrier. But this time you're pretty sure there was something different as the spark was more pronounced, and maybe closer to the creature as well? Could it be because the shield was waning under pressure, or because its timing was quicker?

"Workers behind!" Nicholas announces amongst discharges of his weapon. Where did those - of course, the tunnels behind you.

"I've got them." Lucy announces, withdrawing from your vanguard, leaving the front to you, Kara and Tam. Luckily, the number of warriors emerging from dark recesses of the hive appeared to be thinning as well.

>Just keep at it. There can't have been that many warriros around or the Queen would have sent them at you already. Clear out the trash, then you can focus on the Queen.
>Who knows how much biomass from the base and around it these creatures turned into more instances of themselves? Bring your weapons against the Queen, between you and Barak that shield has to give eventually.
>Perhaps hands on approach would be best. If the barrier extends that far out form her body, maybe an attack from melee range would bypass it entirely, on top of distracting her from those ranged attacks...
>Withdraw from the hall, find a way to defeat Queen's offspring in isolation.
>other course of action (specify)

>also, please roll some 8d100s...


>you just know Kris will binge watch Seiko's animated series after this, or at least leave a strongly worded review somewhere
He already did before this whole affair. He doesn't go by "SeenItAll" on Extranet for nothing.
>>
Rolled 55, 77, 82, 31, 13, 29, 71, 87 = 445 (8d100)

>>4872378
>>Perhaps hands on approach would be best. If the barrier extends that far out form her body, maybe an attack from melee range would bypass it entirely, on top of distracting her from those ranged attacks...

Tell Kara and Tam to cover us

the extensive library on the ship is explained, I'm curious as to what Kris tough about Ford's favorite detective show, nothing flattering I bet
>>
Rolled 22, 5, 13, 18, 75, 72, 80, 55 = 340 (8d100)

>>4872378
>Perhaps hands on approach would be best. If the barrier extends that far out form her body, maybe an attack from melee range would bypass it entirely, on top of distracting her from those ranged attacks...
>>
Rolled 60, 61, 28, 35, 77, 7, 65, 5 = 338 (8d100)

>>4872378
>Just keep at it. There can't have been that many warriors around or the Queen would have sent them at you already. Clear out the trash, then you can focus on the Queen.
>>
A quick survey of the battlefield tells you that as long as nobody takes one of the Queen's ranged attacks in their face, your odds looked rather well. The warriors were dying faster than they could close into melee range or produce their caustic spittle, despite arrival of a weak stream of workers who must have bypassed you by one of the narrow tunnels, possibly in what was left unexplored of the labs. Joshua proved exceptionally effective at countering them, as he took a page off Seiko's book and focused his biotics on causing admittedly weaker, but sufficiently potent waves of force, squishing the skittering menaces and allowing Lucy to pick off the stragglers.

That left the Queen herself as the principal threat, and from what you could tell so far, basically untouchable. There was certainly a limit to what her barriers could take, but was that limit within ability of your small - relatively, compared to vehicle mounted weapons - arms fire to reach? In worst case you could expend all your spare thermal clips before the enemy was defeated! Something needed to be done. And as they say, if you need something done, you are best served in doing it yourself.

"Going in close." You announce calmly before drawing on your own innate control over the trace amount of eezo that coursed through your body. With exertion of will the power that gave shape to the universe flares up around you and in a routine sequence of unconscious commands you let it wash over and encase you as you focus all your physical strength into giving yourself enough momentum to propel you straight towards the grotesquely named adversary.

She... looks really quite a good bit bigger from this close up, you realize as you emerge from your dark energy capsule within arm's reach of the monstrosity. Your maneuver took her by surprise granting you several seconds, enough to regain your bearings, but just about one second short of raising your weapon before she swipes one of her limbs with surprising agility for a creature of her size, forcing you to dodge and slightly off balance. You curse silently as the creature deprives you of the initiative, barely registering uproarious laughter from chief Kara - likely amusement at your charge rather than how it turned out.

Before you are pushed on the defensive as the queen begins to once more prepare for another of her expulsions, however, two strikes in succession ring through the air, one from the Widow, one from Tam's shotgun - not enough still to do any damage, but enough apparently to make the abomination shift her attention away from you, giving you a moment to act...

>Hold [F] for Heavy melee
>Cut her up
>Maybe it's time to put that gadget the Asari passenger gave you on your trip to Enceladus finally to use...
>>
>>4872624
>the extensive library on the ship is explained, I'm curious as to what Kris tough about Ford's favorite detective show, nothing flattering I bet

Ford and Kris watched these together and had a lot of fun, despite his tendency to groan at more corny proclamations and moan about anachronistic gadgets
Ford is about 97% certain he saw Kris blink back moisture when the femme fatale died at end of season two, initiating the alcoholic cope arc that lasted for better part of season 3
>>
>>4873280
What was the gadget Kris got?
>>
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>>4873429
The same as Ford. Kareeda and Lea made them for both of you.
>>
>>4873280
>Hold [F] for Heavy melee
>>4873434
Right. That said, acid blood makes that a less pleasant prospect.
>>
>>4873280
ORANGE
TRASNPARENT
CHAINSAW
>>
>>4873280
Even considering the acid, I'm going with
>Gadget
It gives us a bit of range and I'm not confident we can pass her armor without help
>>
>>4873280
Chainsaw tiiiiime
>>
This was it, your chance to inflict some serious damage up close. Maybe even kill it in one go. It's a split second decision whether to go for the tried and true blunt force trauma, staple of your people, or draw up the more conventional omniblade. But after briefly contemplating possible risks you quickly dismiss them in favour of a stray bolt of inspiration.

Much has happened since, despite relatively brief period of time, but during your trip to Enceladus, before the harrowing encounter with the unknowable force - and your own emotions - you were approached by the Asari engineer you ferried there. Apparently she sat together with miss Lea'Fari to put together a custom omnitool module. Ford would later confirm its efficacy, though you didn't find justification to make use of it yet... until now.

You activate your omnitool, slide your finger over the haptic selector to an unfamiliar setting and confirm your choice with a twitch... the miniautire fabber whines in protest as the unlincensed, no doubt warranty voiding hacks drive the little piece of technology past limits it was tested for - and a row of radiant orange prisms bursts into existence, pushed into a relentless assault by combined vectors of your arm and the mass effect projectors attached to it.

The conjured orange chainsaw digs into Seiko's side and the creature screams in pain, and with it chorus of its offspring joins the whine of your omnitool and the wet noise of their mother's parting flesh. You push the weapon in deeper for maybe two seconds until you see the nearest warrior launching itself in a desperate attempt of interdiction. It doesn't go far, Tam's shotgun drops it dead in its tracks, allowing you to extend your butchery by another two second before your omnitool safeties, modified by the two tinkers to accomodate the customisation, finally kick in and your improvised weapon sputters and dematerializes, giving you a fraction of a second of faux respite in your adrenaline trance to appreciate your handiwork. The scream is much weaker now. Your assault has inflicted a grave wound on the queen, perhaps even fatal one - you had no idea on her capacity to regenerate to make that distinction.

Fortunately, you don't have to. There's another thunderous shot of the Widow and this time the projectile reaches its mark, burying itself in the creatures head and departing it again with a spray and a clump of organic(?) matter, followed in quick succession by several more shots from your other companions perforating other parts of her anatomy.

And then the screams end and a brief dizziness gives you a pause as a wave of dark energy washes over you, originating from within the creature as she attempts to draw on her power one last time in her death throes. For a brief moment the only sound heard in the cavern is a wet, squelching thud, followed by several marginally quieter drops as the offspring creatures seize up and fall, and then - silence.
>>
The battle was over.

"Good show, Nerd! I honestly didn't think you have it in you." Kara says cheerfully, then looks around. "Well, I'd say this is as good an outcome as I could have hoped for for our last hunt. That arcade of yours better measure up to this!"

Tam simply gives a respectful nod, as does Barak.

"I-it's really over? We did it?" Joshua asks for confirmation.

"We sure did." Lucy says.

"It was a pleasure to fight at your side, chieftain Kara." Nicholas says, approaching the Krogan with arm extended. There's only briefest moment of hesitation before the wayward chief accepts and shakes it.

"Likewise, Laish." Kara replies. "Alright, let's pick up what you want for your authorities and call whoever might be interested in checking this place out. I think we're pretty much done here."

"Um, guys? Aren't you forgetting something?" Gizmo prompts rest of the party to look at her and then follow her index finger to the single moving thing in the chamber that wasn't any of you - one of the vaguely man sized organic sacs near the queen's roost.

"Oh dear. You think...?" Josh says, running towards the incriminated anomaly alongside Nicholas, with Gizmo and Kara following them.

"There's a person inside! A survivor!" Josh cries incredulously, running his omnitool before deactivating it and digging his gloved fingers in the sac. "Help me get them free!"

It takes less than a minute to tear the tissue apart. Luckily it was only loosely attached to the person's skin and so you were able to eventually liberate them entirely.

The survivor turned out to be a middle aged man clad in dirty, torn and otherwise damaged overall, with signs of cuts and bruises underneath. He breathes heavily, having recognized he has been rescued.

"wa...ter" he croaks weakly. Nicholas produces a canteen which the man greedily gulps from only for Nicholas to jerk it back after he had several sips. "Easy now. Steady." The vigilante says before returning the canteen. After a few moments of more paced drinking he appears to calm down but before you, or anyone else, can ask him anything, he utters "thank... you" and closes his eyes.

"Blacked out. Cursory scan shows he should be okay though." Gizmo comments.

"T-they must have been saving him... as a fresh snack." Josh hypothesizes.

"Well, whatever it is, we can't leave him like that." Nicholas says.
>>
>Bring the man back to the Krogan camp. It's nearer and has some medical facilities, though none of them are dedicated to treating humans. There should be enough tools and expertise to keep the man alive and question him.
>Bring the man to Adventurer's guild. The trip is longer and their medical facilities are also rather improvised but suited for humans.
>Call the Alliance. This is their mess to deal with anyway, and it's difficult to imagine someone with better means to ensure his health... and extract information from him.
>Call Libella, the Spectre Ford befriended. She might be interested in this, although from what you understand she has enough to deal with as it is.
>other course of action (specify)
>>
>>4875299
>Call the Alliance. This is their mess to deal with anyway, and it's difficult to imagine someone with better means to ensure his health... and extract information from him.
>>
>>4875296
>Bring the man back to the Krogan camp. It's nearer and has some medical facilities, though none of them are dedicated to treating humans. There should be enough tools and expertise to keep the man alive and question him.

Middle aged man and only survivor? I'm going on a wild guess here but I think this guy has a very questionable taste in TV shows
>>
>>4875741
I think I'm not revealing much if I say...
Seiko was never sapient enough to recognize the man who gave her her name, he was the first to get eaten. This is just one of the guys who put up last stand on the ground floor.
>>
>>4875299
>>Call the Alliance. This is their mess to deal with anyway, and it's difficult to imagine someone with better means to ensure his health... and extract information from him.


but find those physical hard drives and extract whatever we can find to take a look later in case they don't want to share info after they talk to the guy
>>
>>4875799
>>4875799
Makes way more sense than my wild guess lol
Just once I wish I could see the mad scientist face when their obviously terrible ideias blow up in their faces...maybe there is footage hehe
Kris must be asking himself what's up with humans and suicide by experiment
>>
>>4876168
It's probably the same reason salarians do it, short life spans
>>
>>4876187
Also technological advancements outpacing cultural and philosophical advancements.
>>
"I know just the man to call." You announce. "This sod needs medical attention and Alliance will be best suited to provide it. Besides, they are going to be damned interested in turning this place upside down, now that there's no reason to crater it any more."

"Good. Make your call, then." Kara nods. "Is the snacks man good to move?"

"Not seeing anything that would suggest otherwise... although neither me nor my scanner is medical spec." Gizmo shrugs. "He looks just stressed out and exhausted though, those wounds seem supeficial."

"Alright. Tam, grab the guy and put him into the medical room we passed by earlier. They can grab him there."

The younger krogan looks like he's about to protest but thinks better of it and simply throws the unconscious man over his shoulder with a sigh.

"I'm pretty sure Alliance will want to debrief every one of us anyway." Nicholas points out.

"Bah. Whatever, it's not like we have anything to hide. More goodwill for our consultants' project, I suppose." The chiev shrugs. "They better not make me return this, though..." He says as he approaches the fallen queen and with one sweep of his omniblade separates her deformed head from rest of the body and picks it up. "...because they cannot have it."

"I'll make sure the medibay is active by the time you reach it." Gizmo says "But... I think we should check out the mainframe and at least copy what we can. You know, just in case they want to, I don't know... pretend this place never existed."

"We can do that." Nicholas nods. "Josh, can you go with mister... Zarka, was it?"

"Yeah." The krogan calls from the corridor he halfway disappeared in.

"Right, and help him handle the survivor. Lucy, Gizmo, let's go."

"Of... of course."

As the group breaks up, you find yourself alone with Kara and the older of his lieutenants, thought they seem currently both engrossed in examining the trophy while also sneaking glances at rest of the carcass, mauled as it was by the gunfire. You give them some space and bring up your communicator.
>>
"...Doctor... Tufferson." Comes the deliberate voice soon after you finish dialing. "I see that you and your... partner... have decided to... begin involving yourselves in... incidents... on simultaneous basis."

You groan inwardly, appreciating the burden Henri takes upon himself by being the one to make these calls usually. What did he mean by that remark, though? Was he keeping tabs on Ford, or did the human get himself into another mess, exactly as you knew he would? Regardless, first things first.

"That's right. Since you're now aware where I am, are you also informed on what has been going on here?"

There's a brief pause during which you cannot hear anything that might have been fed to the intelligence officer via whatever earpiece or display he might be paying attention to.

"We do... now, it would seem. Although it pains me to admit, we were not aware of this particular installation. Rest assured, there will be... inquest."

Only two ellipses? You take that as a hint the colonel was getting emotional.

"Well, we cleaned the place out for you. There was some semi artificial modified creature spawning others, and it appears linked to the one we killed outside of London."

"I see. Very well, ...doctor. Thank you for bringing this affair to my... attention. I'll see to it that a... team... is dispatched... immediately."

"Good, now that that's settled, what were you talking about Ford earlier?"

"That...? I'm sure your... colleague... will brief you... appropriately. Suffice to say, you were not the... only one who took to... delving into unsavory... places. Rest assured he is in good... health and good... company."

Well that wasn't quite as reassuring as Graves apparently intended it to be, even if he managed to regain some composure. But it did seem like the man was unwilling, or perhaps unable, to divulge more so you decide to politely conclude the call with assurance you're still going to be around when the Marines arrive.

Next hour or so passes rather uneventfully. You catch up with the vigilantes in the mainframe room to find them busy imaging what they can get away with from the physical storage repositories and put your scanning omnitool to use (you are pleased to note that the strain of the melee attack did not seem to damage its more sophisticated functions any). By the time Gizmo notifies you that the vehicles left topside have detected inbound shuttles you are mostly done with scanning and copying, which is probably a good thing as the Alliance technicans that no doubt arrived would shoo you away from the computer soon enough.
>>
Kodiaks don't even touch down entirely as they disgorge several squads of Alliance Marines before dusting off and returning to whatever business the Alliance is using them all for, with singular exception of the shuttle that carried an officer, a Captain if you're reading the insignia correctly, accompanied by Victoria Scout, the second infiltrator unit that, to your knowledge, returned to life after the Crucible blast. She is wearing human guise and you are only able to identify her because of her semblance with Eve, and thanks to having seen her aboard Hackett's dreadnought.

"Doctor Tufferson, it's a pleasure to meet you again." The mechanical woman says politely. "This is captain Theresa Skye, she has been assigned responsibility for securing the facility and support me in the investigation." Victoria adds, introducing a female with skin slightly marked with wear and hair showing early signs of coloration associated with advancing age in humans.

"Delighted." You exhange curt greetings with both women and, after some smalltalk including mention of the Turian bomb wired to facility's infrastructure, which Victoria acknowledges with a word of thanks, proceed to show them around. First to the medical facility, where two of the marines relieved Tam and Josh of their task of watching over the sole survivor, then guide them to the lower level.

You catch yourself noticing that Victoria too makes conscious effort to avoid stepping into the trail of blood left by the facility occupants.

Seeing the improvised substitute for facility's power core prompts the synthetic woman to express admiration to Gizmo's ingenuity; the engineer blushes in response, making you suspect she too recognized Victoria for who she was. The vigilante also brings up topic of the bomb and transfers the control of it to Victoria without shred of hesitation; Victoria on her part has enough tact to not mention the courtesy was not really necessary.

Eventually, after leaving the two officers into the Queen's chamber you leave them to their investigations and make your way back topside where you reach the main gate of the installation just as Kara and Nicholas are shaking hands in an agreement and are about to head in their respective ways. They tell you as much, and head off in opposite directions, reaching for their communicators to address their respective teams and leaving you in position where you need to decide where to go next...
>>
>Return to the Krogan camp with Kara and return to the Chariot. You can plan your next steps from there.
>Return to the Krogan camp with Kara, then set up a meeting with the stakeholders for the Arcade project. The sooner this gets off the ground, the better for everyone involved.
>Go with Nicholas and his vigilantes to the Adventurers' compound they organized their activity out of.
>Stick around with the Alliance and talk to Captain Skye and/or Victoria about something (specify). This will strand you, but you can hitch a ride with them to London, maybe, or have Ford pick you up later.
>other course of action (specify)
>[Meanwhile, in Normandy...] (return perspective back to Ford, Lea and Eve who just brought their missing persons investigation to a successful conclusion)
>>
>>4879022

>Go with Nicholas and his vigilantes to the Adventurers' compound they organized their activity out of.

Have we discovered who was feeding them false informativon to get them to fight against the Krogans? If we have not discovered that yet this is the ideal time to strike since the rest of the adventurers don't know about the agreement Kara and Nicholas reached. Maybe we can get our hands on the operative responsible for this and get some answers about who is trying to incite these incidents.
If I remember wrong and that IS not an options then
>Go with Kara and set up the meeting
>>
>>4879050

That is the gist of this option, yes, although Nicholas did inform his friends in the Guild he's looking into more amicable resolution of the issue. Although be advised the task will not be easy for Kris due to his species and relative lack of history with the Adventurers.
>>
>>4879068
hmmm
metagaming now but....was the group Ford rescue those people back in europe part of the same adventurer's guild?
>>
>>4879074
Well you can always call him and ask.

However, as far as both of you can tell the Adventurer's guild is simply a loose community of volunteer combatants ME3 multiplayer characters borne of camaraderie from the Reaper crisis time that kind of exists out of inertia. It has been given a measure of recognition by authorities allowing it to be assigned communal bunkhouses and facilities in blue zones, such as the one in Rouen.
>>
>>4879022
>Return to the Krogan camp with Kara and return to the Chariot. You can plan your next steps from there.

Take the Adventurer's contact info , we can call them later
>>
>>4879022

>Return to the Krogan camp with Kara, then set up a meeting with the stakeholders for the Arcade project. The sooner this gets off the ground, the better for everyone involved.
>>
>>4879022
>>Return to the Krogan camp with Kara, then set up a meeting with the stakeholders for the Arcade project. The sooner this gets off the ground, the better for everyone involved.
>>
Briefly you consider attaching yourself with the Adventurers as they return to whatever staging grounds they've set up for their ecological movement in hopes of finding out the connection between their activity and the conspiracy that seems to be set on sparking animosities between the nations of the galaxy. Eventually though you decide against it - your only contacts in the community were Nicholas and his team, and even though there were Krogan adventurers in the guild, you doubt you'd find any participating in this venture, leaving you to stand out like a quarian on Tuchanka. No, it would be better for you to stick with the task that brought you here in the first place - to ensure that your kinsmen would not cause an incident in pursuit of violent entertainment.

You had to admit Henri's plan was a bold one, and the coalition he put together eclectic like something straight from 22nd century Terran unification cartoons. To this day you found the fad somewhat conspicuous and occasionally wondered whether it came up as an avenue of social engineering to assist in diplomatic endeavours, or spontaneously emerging from the natural shock caused by sudden induction into galactic community.

Shaking your thoughts back on track you decide to accompany chief Kara to the camp. Before long you find yourself seated in the Tomkah, browsing through the contacts and correspondence Ford forwarded to you. Once confirming with Kara he'd be ready to attend the meeting to seal the deal with his authority on behalf of the wayward Krogan faction you initiate a round of correspondence, half expecting not hearing a reply for days - and move on to perusing academic research. Luckily the signal coverage is good and you can access Chariot's stores of knowledge with your omnitool.

Blinking signal of incoming messages leaves only more than a little bit surprised when representatives and bureaucracies of every involved party respond promising readiness to arrange a meeting before you make it to the end of the first Stahlberg's paper on civilizational self-sabotage. You felt compelled to look it up after your foray to the clandestine facility but the message notification catches you just before you make it to the comparative analytics section.

It turns out the various relevant bureaucracies have been in measure of contact ever since Ford got them all aboard with the plan and they already had some scenarios for the meeting in mind. When brought up with Kara the Krogan chief agreed with your assessment that the sooner this thing would be resolved the sooner his people could begin living out their violent fantasies. From then it didn't take long to arrange time and place for a meeting where each of the stakeholders would send their representative.
>>
By the time Tomkah reached the camp, you had a broad agreement for the timeframe in which the meeting could take place. All involved parties seemed committed to seeing the matter through: the clergyman Henri talked to, one bishop Pascal, for the Church; Alliance was represented by the base commander Kang - apparently the link Ford managed to form between this affair and his orbital project justified his involvement in this - and the Quarian admirals deputized captain Masi'Sin vas Namek to negotiate on behalf of the migrant fleet. The liveship captain brought his vessel, along with its escort and maintenance craft, into orbit of Earth to assist with the salvage and orbital construction.

Of course, the specific terms were yet to be hammered out on the formal meeting on which Kara would have to participate. Which was something the chieftain agreed should be done without any unnecessary delay. As soon as Seiko's skull was properly prepared and elevated to its position to honor on the trophy wall the Krogan leader sent Tam to commandeer one of the two shuttles Wrex allowed the dissenters to keep for when they decided to move their stuff back to the proper Krogan bases (the largest one was still firmly planted in London's blue zone).

"Alright, nerd. Let's go and get it done." Kara says as the younger of his aides stomps grumbling away. There's a brief pause as the chieftain fixes you with his stare before he picks up. "Listen, I... suppose I owe you an acknowledgment."

This takes you a bit by surprise. Even though the rebellious chieftain did prove himself marginally more thoughtful and competent than you initially suspected, you felt for the most part validated in considering him a reckless warlord material that is always with one foot in a disaster. One of the finer examples of your own species, but still within the "trajectory to oblivion" category. Regardless, you keep your reservation off your face as you give Kara an expectant look.

"I didn't expect much from you given your choice of path and company, even though I respected your wisdom in choosing what suited your nature. Now I don't, though." The chieftain grins. "You showed yourself a worthy warrior. And I am pleased that I got to fight with you at my side." He offers you a hand which you almost automatically grasp, even though you know full well how many clan feuds started over this maneuver turning into a surprise massacre. You got a good enough measure of the man for that, and admittedly the part of you that revelled as you clashed with the alien monstrosity is genuinely touched at the gesture.

The other part of you hoped that this recognition will make the chieftain more likely to allow you to nudge him away from causing a political incident on the meeting. You felt like you might need that.

In any case you did not suppress a smile. "Thanks. I appreciate that."
>>
"I'm not finished yet." Kara lets go of your arm. "Once the arena is set up sufficiently to allow it, I'd like to challenge your Krantt for the first real fight in it." You give the chief a curious look. "I am not blind and deaf, Nerd." You note he has been using the word with considerably less contempt for a while now. "I heard you and your human friend were keeping yourselves busy. I want to see for myself how well you practical scholars fight. I even have something to put up as ante if you prove sufficiently challenging that I think may interest you." You also note how he doesn't seem to think you can actually win.

Do you accept Kara's challenge?
>Yes
>Yes

Afterwards, you are set to depart. How will you get to the meeting?
>Ride with Kara in the Krogan shuttle, leave Chariot as it is.
>Let Kara ride in his shuttle, you will take the Chariot, that way you'll have transportation if you need to leave on your own.

How do you spend the time until you reach the destination?
>Call Ford, catch up and see what he's up to.
>Check the News.
>Discuss something with one of the passengers (Kara, Tam, Barak, Shaman) (specify topic)
>something else (specify)

sorry about the delay
>>
>>4886650
>>Yes
>>Yes
LOL
YES!

>Ride with Kara in the Krogan shuttle, leave Chariot as it is.
just to make sure they don't set up any surprises and to discuss things with Kara to make sure they go smoothly

>Call Ford, catch up and see what he's up to.
>>
>>4886650
>Yes
>Ride with Kara
>Call Ford
>>
"Oh you're on, Kara. You will yet learn why the term "Nerd" is in the human culture associated with "Rage"."

"Hahaha! Bold words, Nerd. I'll enjoy feeding them back to you!" The chief acknowledges your acceptance of his challenge with appropriate mirth. Once he calms down the two of you move on to the less exciting agenda of finalizing roster for the diplomatic business trip. From what you gather from the correspondence, Kara would be expected to arrive with two aides, which would ordinarily have been Tam and Barak, but seeing as you've invited yourself along the chieftain recognized you to be a better choice for the job than either of those two; and considering their respective stances, quickly decided on inviting the Shaman to be the second.

You hoped this would not create problems. Shamans were guardians of traditions and proper ways, and you were sure their vision of propriety would differ from that of the human priest. Then again, if Ford already managed to get the priest on board with idea of a hard light slugfest, as arcade was sometimes colloquially known, he was probably of the sufficiently pragmatic sort that would not let their principles get in the way of a desirable result. You did do some quick research on your way to the camp and it supported image of the man as one with reputation for discipline and integrity.

These were the sort of thoughts you occupied yourself while waiting at one of the glades for Kara's staff to assemble and embark the shuttle - a battered Kodiak, presumably one of the very few survivors of Hammer task force Krogan got to keep for their internal use. Tam got the honors of piloting it and got to it without any grumbling once you relayed to him coordinates for the meeting point where the deal would be hopefully formalized and struck.

The meeting would take place on the vacant plot of land in Green Zone on outskirts of Kinshasa where the Arcade Arena would take place and the flight would leave you with enough time to conclude any research you still meant to do and with more time to spare you figure you would finally check on how Henri's group did in their search for missing persons. He never asked for backup so you can only assume things went without much difficulty...
>>
"So Shaman, you were saying earlier that the value of pain is in the way how you endure it in defiance of death. How does that work in environment where you literally can't die?" Tam opens a conversation from pilot's seat as the vessel takes off and begins to accelerate.

"The short of it is that if it hurts you, you suck and deserve what you got. But there is a novel aspect here that even if you fail completely in a way that would kill you, with this technology you theoretically still have a chance to redeem yourself in the future. Me and the boys have been for some time now debating whether..." The Shaman explains patiently the state of flux Krogan doctrine is finding itself in, something you happily tune out as you dial Ford's contact on your communicator. You make sure the channel is encrypted with the tools Eve left in your omnitool and...

"Kris? Good to hear from you. That hunt of yours went well?" Ford comes in across the channel. "I've noticed you were getting busy with the Arcade affair." Well of course you'd keep him in carbon copy for all that stuff.

"Yeah, and yeah. The hunt went off without a hitch. We found a clandestine installation operated by some shady pyjaks that housed a mother creature for a pack of those black acid spitters. It turns out someone brought a sample of some alien organism and experimented on it - what's so funny?" You interrupt your recount when you hear snorts of suppressed laughter from the other side.

"Sorry, sorry. It's just that you're pretty much describing what happened to us as well."

"You're kidding me."

"Nope. We can compare notes later. Alright, what have you got?"

"Not much more. There was a queen creature, the lunatic in charge of the labs seemed to develop some sort of relationship with it to the point of naming her after... a cartoon character." You decide to alter course before you run off on an unrelated tangent.

"A man after your own heart, eh?"

"Get fucked, Ford. Anyway, we killed her, collected evidence - I've got a copy for miss Ferrum to chew on - and called the Alliance to take over."

"Nobody got hurt?"

"No, it was a smooth operation. That engineer was right good. And I think the vigilantes and my kinsmen bonded a bit over shared violence."

Kara, who was sitting across of you and overhearing your part in conversation, gave you a look but did not protest your claim.

"That's great news."

"Yeah, anyway, your turn. How do you go from looking for missing people into a bloody dungeon delve? The track took you out into the wilds?"

"I wish. There was an ex-Exogeni lab with links to our canine nemeses right underneath the city and it turned out that the missing people were captured while investigating it."

"Amazing." You shake your head to get the sarcasm off your forehead plate. "Wait, you mentioned an alien?"
>>
"That's right. Exogeni brought some mind control plant from one of the colonies but it took over shortly before the Reaper came, turned the whole facility into some sort of gestalt consciousness... and captured the people we were looking for. Luckily we were able to negotiate with it. It's now under Council care."

"Ah, you got the Spectre involved." You nod. Kara nods sagely in recognition of your connections. You figure there's no harm in him knowing about them.

"Yeah, she got the local Asari to secure the installation and arranged contact with Alliance for the investigation. We're still under observation by the Asari medical tech. Imagine they have some experience with the stuff, called in a green Asari to interrogate us."

"Green?"

"Don't ask. Anyway, I understand you're headed for the meeting in Kinshasa then?"

"Exactly. I think the groundwork you laid is solid. If nobody does something idiotic we should be able to exchange some pleasantries and shake hands on it, or whatever is it you people do."

"That's reassuring. Do you want us there? We're almost done with answering questions and physical examinations, I think."

Well that was a question, wasn't it...

>No, you're fine. You got this. You can spend remainder of the flight giving a once over to the negotiation strategy and Ford and others can spend some more time kicking back over there.
>Actually, you could use some company. (Reunite the party)
>[MEANWHILE, IN NORMANDY] (switch perspective to Ford and others)
>propose something else (specify)
>>
>>4890967

>Actually, you could use some company. (Reunite the party)
It's time

Also
>Cabine nemeses
That was good
>>
Did we ver talk with the lady that was the guy's mother?
>>
>>4891636
Not in perspective, no.
We can get back to it later upon reunion if people so desire.

She was overjoyed at having his son returned and apologetic when she was told the Asari harlot she suspected was at fault was helpful in rescuing him; also she sings less depressing songs now.
>>
>>4890967


>Actually, you could use some company. (Reunite the party)
>>
>>4890967
>Actually, you could use some company. (Reunite the party)
>>
"You know, actually I think I could use some familiar faces around."

"Alright. You've got a head start there but going by the agenda..." There's a pause as Henri checks how the meeting was arranged "...we should catch up before the meeting proper."

"Good, good. And, by the way, I signed us up for a team battle with Kara once the Arena's set up."

"You what?"

"Don't worry about it. I've seen them fight, we can take them on." You say, prompting a snort from Kara. "Anyway, it's going to be a nice introduction event for everyone when the Arena is set up and ready to run."

"Alright, I'll trust your judgment. Although we still need to make sure it's standing first. Catch you there, Kris."

"Later." You return and terminate the call and your attention returns to the fellow passengers of the shuttle.

"...and this is how you need to approach the female clan if you want to have any chance at being noticed." Shaman concludes some sort of lecture. "Although that last portion is my personal advice. Everything before that, however, you need to observe."

"Things used to be so much simpler before the Genophage." Barak grumbles under his breath.

And that's how they directly resulted in the bloody thing, too. You think to yourself but decide to not bring it up, although you could tell Kara was watching you intently, so perhaps you let some slip past your expression.

"Alright, Nerd. If you've got something more to say in regards to this... contest of wits ahead of us, now is the time." The chief proposes, and you catch yourself wondering if you maybe did not give him too little credit. But then you remember the potential conflicts you've managed to narrowly avoid and reforge into alliances - and get your mind back in gear. You were not out of woods yet - literally, checking the shuttle's sensor feed, or figuratively.

Even so, as you spend rest of the trip going over positions of various actors, you catch yourself feeling optimistic. This was going to work. This was going to be a success.

This was going to be a circus.
>>
The shuttle touches down eventually, taking up one of several empty landing zones on the cracked surface of a transit terminus. The aircraft portion of the facility was apparently not assigned priority treatment, though the hub section looked lively with human traffic, embarking and disembarking a maglev train sticking slightly from out of freshly rebuilt rail station. On the opposite side of the hub, an airship was attaching itself to a mooring tower, with another approaching in the distance.

"I can't bear watching this." Tam comments. "Imagine this thing flying over Tuchanka. Someone would pop it as soon as it crested the horizon."

"Yeah, imagine being able to live in a society where that is not an actual issue." You growl under your breath. Tam heard, no doubt, but he seems to muster enough decency to not bark back.

Wasn't it, really, though? The buoyant transports were used specifically as an alternative that didn't require much, or any, eezo to operate but that also meant they were unlikely to be protected by kinetic barriers. Although you did not imagine piracy would be widespread immediately after Reapers fell, but by your estimation enough time has passed for people to begin wonder if they could not, after all, do unto others.

Damn it. You shake these grim notions away. When all's said and done, this system was still home to most concentrated military presence in the galaxy. It would be madness and suicide to stir up trouble in such environment.

Then again, you've already seen first hand that didn't stop everyone.

"So, where are we going exactly?" Tam asks.

"The meeting area is a quick walk in that direction." You confirm with your omnitool and point in the direction opposite to where most of the city was. The meeting was to take place on the very piece of land that the Church was contributing, a vaguely rectangular plot stretching from Kongo riverbank to a ruined commercial zone that has been temporarily designated a blue zone and served as logistical area supporting the transit hub.

"Lead on, then." Kara prompts you and takes a position to your left, with rest of your small entourage falling in behind.
>>
After couple of minutes you make it to your destination. You meet several people and land vehicles flitting between the blue zone, the hub and the city behind you and are treated some looks with varying degrees of antagonism but nobody is insane enough to actually give a band of armored Krogan any trouble.

It was clear even before you arrived that you are headed in the right direction: you passed by an alliance checkpoint where a pair of marines gave you specifically a respectful salute and what you initially took for oddly symmetrical landscape features resolved into structure foundations, overlaid at the edges with rows of benches and seating. Once you reached edge of the designated arena location you could also make out a slim gazebo that has been erected in the middle of the area, and some scaffolding with light sources, currently inactive.

There were several clusters of people present among the prefab structures scattered along the periphery, interspersed with construction vehicles. More people seemed to be trickling in.

"Looks busy." Kara remarked. "Did they already start without us?"

"It certainly looks like some work has been done here." You assent.

"Getting ahead of ourselves, aren't we?"

"It could mean the arena will be set up earlier."

"Hrm. We will see." Kara growls.

"Ah, welcome, honored guests." A smiling young man approaches. "On behalf of the local authority, councilman Helmut Zmeyevich. Delighted to make your acquaintance."

"Well met." Kara responds, offering a hand. The councilman hesitates only for a moment before grasping it. To the man's credit he doesn't wince in pain, although you're sure Kara is holding back. "What is your role in this talks? I don't recall you as being one of the parties."

"The subject in question is potentially a large construction project that will be realized within boundaries of Kinshasa metropolitan region. I'm responsible for ensuring all formal requirements in regards to construction and environmental code are met. Our people have learned some painful lessons in the past regarding fragility of our environment and have no intentions of repeating them."

"Yeah? Well, I can relate. We blasted our own world with nukes. I don't recommend it." Kara makes light conversation. "Even if harsh climate does help forge character."

The human clerk maintains an awkward expression for a moment until you decide to intervene.

"Would you happen to be able to point us to our hosts here?"

"Ah, of course. Last I've seen the secretary Lumiére he was over in the prefab office nearest to the gazebo."

You thanked the man and proceeded in the indicated direction, trusting your companions to follow suit.
>>
"Why were you toying with him?" You ask as you go.

"Wanted to get a feel of him." Kara replies. "Whether he'll chicken or not if push comes to shove."

"And?"

"He doesn't look like a chicken. But that's as much as I got."

"Don't do it with the people Ford already talked to, please. You might accidentally antagonize them."

The chieftain harrumphs just as another young man emerges from the prefab you were approaching, though where the previous one was clad in simple formal overalls, this one was wearing some outfit you take for ritualistic garb.

"Welcome to the site, gentlemen." He says. "Benjamin Bellu, serving as assistant to monseigneur Pascal. Delighted to make your acquaintance. Monseigneur Pascal and secretary Lumiere are waiting inside, although..." he gives your group a once over. "It might get a bit cramped. In fact, allow me..."

Without waiting for reply the youth walks back into the prefab and after several moments emerges again, keeping the door open. Reason for this becomes apparent when first a tall, gray haired man with hawkish expression comes out, followed by a shorter, visibly older man with pale white complexion and blood red irises. He was surrounded by a shimmer of air betraying a personal shield, presumably meant to shelter the man's delicate skin from the sunlight.

Having done your research you recognized the latter as the bishop Ford was talking to, and could appreciate implication of the man's status in conjunction with his condition. It was something that gave you a pause - idea that a mark that used to condemn one to suffering could be instead sheltered to the point where its bearer could ascend into a position of authority, that was not something that was conceivable among your people. Even if the clan and krantt structure allowed for specialisation and mutual support among close friends, any sign of weakness was punished mercilessly and systematically.

It was without a doubt a small miracle you were alive. Doubly so for not being stillborn.

You gave the man a respectful nod of acknowledgment. The priest returned it, with a barely perceptible hint of a smile, leaving you guessing if the man had any idea what might have been going through your head, though you realized that there was no reason why reading Krogan body language would be in his curriculum.

"Be welcome, friends." The bishop speaks. "I do hope we will be able to call each other that by the end of this meeting, at any rate. As you have no doubt surmised, I serve here as a man of faith and my name is Bondeko Pascal. I hope you've not taken offence to the works Secretary Lumiere organized to expedite whichever favourable outcome Providence has in store for us - the preparatory works are universal and generic enough to be easily adapted to any manner of project that might end up being put into work."
>>
"I'll reserve my judgment until after I hear more concrete proposals." Kara says.

"Prudent." The secretary, the hawkish man, nods. "However there is no reason for concern. I believe we've considered every angle. Lord willing we are all leaving here content and looking forward to witnessing fruits of cooperation. Oh, Secretary Roberto Lumiere, at your service."

"Secretary is confident to the point of vanity, but his faith has yet to be proven displaced." Pascal says, then gestures around. "As you can see, aside from the foundation ground works we've took it upon ourselves as hosts to make some preparations for the meeting, some of which are still ongoing."

"Everything will be ready by the time remaining attendees arrive." Lumiere assures.

"I and the secretary will be available should you wish to discuss things," Pascal picks up. "though other parties might feel slighted at the exclusion, I don't believe that should be the case as long as we all approach the matter in good faith. Barring that you are welcome to spend the time enjoying diocese's hospitality."

"Catering pavilion is being set up in the southwestern sector. It has been stocked in anticipation of needs of every expected participant and spectator." Lumiere says with a barest hint of smugness.

"Come to think it's been a while since we've had a good chow." Tam says.

"Yeah, that stuff we filched from the storerooms was stale and human-thin." Barak nods.

"I hope your calculations anticipated after-battle hunger." Tam turns to the secretary. To his credit, the man does not flinch.

With that the two Krogan turn and depart in the indicated direction.

"I have." Secretary says quietly, though you almost miss it for bishop's question:

"After battle? Filched? Should I be worried, friends?"

"We are not entirely at liberty to say," You speak up before Kara or the Shaman can. "but Alliance is well aware of our last adventure and I can guarantee it has been resolved to military's full satisfaction."

"I see. Very well, I believe you." If that is a lie, the man is much better liar than Ford. Then again that is a skill you'd expect from man of his rank, regardless of his actual conviction. But there you go going all cynical again. There are better uses for your faculties, like right now that would be deciding how to spend remaining time before the meeting begins (and Ford and others hopefully arrive)...
>>
>Go join Tam and Barak in feasting. See if the secretary was bullshitting.
>Stick around and begin discussing things with the clergymen.
>Take Kara and Shaman on a brief walk into town
>Go look for that civil servant, he looks like another party that invited itself to the meeting.
>Go on a walk around the premises.
>other course of action (specify)

Additionally, who will eventually go to the meeting proper as Kara's plus two?
>Kris will, alongside Shaman. You got it, and besides it will give more credence to Kara's view to be backed by all-Krogan team.
>Henri will, alongside Shaman. He is the one who brought most of these people together whereas you are unknown to them.
>propose a different scheme alongside justification
>>
>>4898259
>>Go look for that civil servant, he looks like another party that invited itself to the meeting.
make sure they won't bring any surprises

the next decision I'm really torn actually, while Kris would be better to reel Kara in, Ford set this thing up basically from scratch
I'm going with
>Henri will, alongside Shaman. He is the one who brought most of these people together whereas you are unknown to them.
>>
>>4898259
>Go look for that civil servant, he looks like another party that invited itself to the meeting


>Kris will, alongside Shaman. You got it, and besides it will give more credence to Kara's view to be backed by all-Krogan team.
>>
>>4898259
>Go on a walk around the premises

>Henri will, alongside Shaman. He is the one who brought most of these people together whereas you are unknown to them.
>>
>>4898449
shit! can I still change my vote?

let the civil servant for now, maybe send a message for miss Ferrum to do a check on him and his coms so we have no surprises but Kris should be
>Go on a walk around the premises.

it just downed on me that this is the perfect oportunity for a major diplomatic incident, Kris should do a check around for anything suspicious or canine related
>>
"Thank you for your hospitality, eminence." You say, hoping you remembered the correct honorific. "I believe I should look up that Zmeyevich fellow, he seems a bit of an unknown variable here."

"Ah, the civil servant. Yes, it was necessary to involve representatives of the local authority in order to ensure the law is observed." Monseigneur Pascal nodded.

"I have seen to it all formal requirements which we can affect will be observed." Lumiere says. "As you can see we have already secured license to begin with landscaping and construction. However, the bureaucracy reserves its right to intervene at any point until final inspection and approval at its discretion. The clause is rather vague and a legacy of... more troubled times, but it has also been used to benefit of the public. I suggest avoiding antagonizing the man."

"I see... all the more reason to ensure we're on the same page, then." You muse.

"That sounds like something I've hired you for. Go consult then. I'll join those two in... partaking in hospitality." Kara says.

And so, with a round of provisional words of parting, your group breaks off and you head off, alone, in the direction where you last saw the young clerk. Looking around searching for the man you note that more people have been arriving - some of them in formal wear were busy talking among themselves, others in more casual outfits simply stood back outside of the bounds set up by the Alliance marines, probably curious about what was going on.

As you survey the area a thought occurs to you that makes you nonchalantly adjust your course and head away from the cluster of prefabs where you were expecting to find your quarry - a nagging suspicion that you didn't realize you were sporting ever since the bureaucrat introduced himself. There was no mention of him in any of the messages, and although his presence did seem to have valid justification, there was a chance that his intentions were less than pure.

Fortunately, you did have someone you could ask for more information. You bring up your commlink and dial your skycar's contact as you stroll arcing slowly towards the river.
>>
"What's up?" Ford comes in.

"I've got a favour to ask the ladies." You say. "A bureacrat invited himself into the meeting, and I'd like to know what I can expect to him."

"Corroborated background check. You got it. Got a name for us?"

"Mhm. Let's see if I remembered it right... Hellmutt Zmeyewitch?"

There was a snort from Ford.

"Hey, it's not my fault your human names are all over the place!" You defend yourself.

"Sorry, sorry."

"I think I have him. Helmut Zmeyevitch, councilman. Not member of any political party but loosely affiliated with conservative platform promoting limited partnership between public sector and private enterprise. Not in any political function though, looks like a career bureaucrat." Lea brings out the publicly available information.

"I am not seeing him directly listed in any of the databases we've collected over course of our adventurers." Eve reports. "However, I can see potentially meaningful overlap in schedule between him and an Ambition agent three days ago."

"Could be nothing special. Ambition after all makes no secret of its... ambition." Lea comments. "Buuut... there is no mention of any meeting in the lobbyist register."

"That could still be simple omission." Ford says. "But better be careful just to be sure. Hell's mutt or not, the man could mean trouble."

"Yeah, yeah. That's why I called. What's your ETA anyway?"

"Thirteen minutes and twenty six seconds." Eve answers.

"Alright. Thank you and see you then." You say and terminate the connection.

Although the women did not come up with conclusive dirt on the man, what they did didn't alleviate your suspicions any. Well, you'll have to deal with the problems as they come.
>>
In the meantime, now that you no longer focus on the conversation you are free to look around and take in the ambience. you've reached a slight elevation at the edge of the designated area with a decent look on the construction site, the riverbank and the surrounding area. You let your eyes wander from the partially pristine dome of the transit hub from which you arrived to the green wall of foliage of the natural preserve that extended to the river and onto the cluster of islands it enveloped.

One artificial element captured your attention as you surveyed the horizon. In stark contrast to surrounding greenery a stone terrace stood out topped off with an arc that rose above level of the forest that covered most of the medium sized islet. Upon closer inspection you could make out what was likely a pier that was probably preferred means of accessing the site for those who wished to reach the monument for their remembrance.

You contemplated looking up significance of the landmark when a movement in the corner of your eye caught your attention - a landing craft you identified as Quarian upon recognizing script and symbols used to mark its hull, if the jigsaw design of a vessel that has been remodelled and refitted multiple times over course of decades was not enough of a clue on its own. The starship's trajectory suggested it would try to touch down somewhere on the site proper rather than landing on the landing pad, presumably to save time. As you confirm that the meeting would soon be about to begin you nod to yourself and head towards the central gazebo, hoping that Henri would make it in time.


>this concludes the part 2 of episode 13 of the New Beginnings
>Henri Ford and his friends will return!
>>
>>4904775
thanks for running qm
I suspect the ressurgent of one of my favorite games has something to do with the quest coming back and I'm very glad for it.

do you have any means of communication you use to let people know or we just lurk the catalog until you pop up?

thanks again
>>
>>4906375
Sorry, friend, no twitter accounts or the like here. I figure my updates are slow enough that it's not needed anyway. I intend to open a new thread within few days.
>>
>>4906501
that is no problem at all, I'll be looking forward to it



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