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Tysyacha
02-23-2009, 08:38 PM
MASS EFFECT II: REAPING

Chapter VII: Nervous on Noveria

"Noveria's trouble. Always has been." --Captain Anderson

Noveria was not the kind of planet you'd venture to on a honeymoon, spring break from school, military furlough, or any kind of pleasure trip. You only went to Noveria if you worked there, or if you worked for someone who was researching the various corporations that had bases there. It was cold, dry, barren, and absolutely brutal in the throes of its true meteorological winter. Alas, that was where Commander Surgan Muress and his crew were slated to go, thanks to the legitimate lead of one engineer Peter McGann. Peter said that his former assignment at his former employer, Synthetic Insights, was in its second stage, and that meant nothing but trouble from the sound of it.

"Tell me again why we've landed on this frozen rock", grumbled Nina Ospidel.

"Project Skadi," replied Peter McGann, "and don't push me. Lorik Qui'in is next in line to replace Officer Thurse on the Executive Board. She's retiring this year, and if Lorik steps up, Noveria will be even more prominent than it has been before." He was getting more than a little tired of the medic's attitude.

"What, exactly, is Project Skadi?" asked asari Yeru V'torym in a humbler tone.

"It was originally a weapons development and techno-biotic mod research and procurement initiative," replied Peter. "A former Spectre agent, now the late Saren Arterius, was the one who began it with his executor, Matriarch Benezia. We thought that they required such items for their various Spectre missions, but it turns out they really needed such high-tech equipment to aid them in serving the Reapers and the geth," he explained. "I have unwittingly contributed to the possible destruction of this galaxy, if you'll forgive me."

Nina Ospidel scowled, and V'torym looked a bit confused. Muress blinked.

"Joke!" cried Peter, and then, "Ha, ha, ha." What a tough crowd! he thought. If I have to be on this mission with Nina, I'll shoot myself now.

"Anyway," explained the engineer, "Project Skadi is in its second stage, and I have absolutely no idea what that is. We have to go and see Lorik Qui'in."

"That I've heard," announced Nina. "Another turian, if I remember correctly."

Commander Muress flexed his jaw. Had she meant that to be an insult?

"Correct," said Peter, his own mandible growing as stiff as his Commander's. "I expect all of you to mind your protocol while we're on Noveria, because even Spectres are not truly welcome there. Noveria is a planet housing corporate secrets, and even if we dig up some while we're there, which I'm sure we will, you are not to disclose them to anyone outside of this vessel. Understood?"

"Yes, sir!" V'torym saluted, mistakenly, and then blushed and saluted Muress. Nina Ospidel snickered silently, enjoying the asari's embarrassment. Usually, V'torym's kind were graceful and perfectly poised, not like this present one. It made Nina proud to know that sometimes even the lofty asari could be brought low! In her own opinion, humanity was the highest of all organic species. Muress seemed to be flattered at her salute, as was Peter. As for Nina, she saluted no one, never having been in the military herself. This made her curious: had V'torym been a commando once? Was she hiding something?

"We're here," said the Commander, and then, "Medic Ospidel? You're going on a three-man squad with me on this mission to uncover the second stage of Project Skadi. The other will be Engineer McGann, of course. V'torym?" The asari saluted again. "You guard the Normandy with your life, and if anything untoward happens, alert Joker immediately so he can get us out of here." Muress squared his shoulders and jerked his head toward the ship's pilot. Lieutenant Jeff Moreau, or Joker, winked and went back to his console.

"I have to go on a mission with Peter?" Nina sighed. "Why me, sir?"

"What?" asked Peter. "Are you scared I might bleed all over the place?"

"We don't know what hostile targets we could encounter in the course of our travails upon Noveria, whether organic or synthetic," replied Commander Muress. "I expect that since you are a Sentinel, you know Neural Shock as well as various skills in electronics and decryption." Nina nodded her head, although she grudgingly admitted to herself that Peter was better at the tech talents. She, Peter, and Muress embarked out into Port Hanshan.

After receiving suspicious looks from the Elanus Risk Control Services guards that had been hired to act as "police" in the Port Hanshan Plaza, the three were ushered in to the office of Administrator Gianna Parasini, who had been promoted in the past two months to one of the senior positions in the complex. She had replaced the salarian Administrator Anoleis, who was presently serving time in a turian prison due to his "collection of rents". What he had been collecting were bribes and kickbacks. Even on Noveria, that was a crime, because the salarian had been driving important customers away.

"What can I do for you?" asked Parasini, wearing a tight-fitting fuchsia skirt.

Nina rolled her eyes. "Okay, bimbo. We're looking for a turian. Lorik Qui'in."

"He's in his office," said the Administrator coldly, "and if I were you, I'd keep in mind whom I'm talking to. I have a gun, and I'm not afraid to use it."

"Okay, okay! Chill down. We'll be on our way now," said the medic, raising her hands in a gesture of surrender. So much for minding protocol, thought Peter dejectedly. One more outburst like that, and Nina Ospidel could ruin the mission. What if she said something insulting or untoward to Qui'in? Was it really worth it to run the risk? Muress said nothing, so apparently it was.

Or was it? Peter saw Muress shove Nina ahead of him. "After you, Ospidel."

"Commander." The human female's spine stiffened, a predator under attack.

When the three entered Qui'in's office, all Nina announced was his name.

"The same. I've been expecting your arrival, especially yours, Mr. McGann."

Peter nodded uneasily. What would this uncovering of Project Skadi involve?

Alkonium
02-24-2009, 05:41 PM
Quite good. I'm really enjoying the animosity between Peter and Nina. It certainly shows some very differing viewpoints, such as how Nina seems to have human centric views, while Peter's unbiased as far as species goes, among other things.

Tysyacha
02-24-2009, 06:33 PM
Peter McGann and Nina will continue to be at odds, yet he will be the one to uncover the "beginning of the...witch", so to speak. All like Nina definitely have their stories. ;)

machievelli
02-26-2009, 02:48 PM
read