Only Mostly Died

Peripeteia

for-rannoch:

Before turning off her omni-tool, Tali saved some of the garbled data chunks, curious to try and see what further information she may be able to get from them when she had the proper time. It was possible, although not entirely likely, that some of the data was still yet salvageable but now was neither the time nor place to entertain her curiosity over the matter.

The light from her omni-tool faded, leaving only the flickering of the terminal to cast distorted light against her figure. Beyond the darkness, there was only the quiet sound of the cold wind, howling against the facility as the snow continued to fall. Even with Jace moving to be near her once more, to apprise the information she had shared, Tali could not help but feel the vast emptiness of the station. That the darkness stretched farther beyond what she could perceive.

It was an unsettling feeling, one that made her shiver slightly. But regardless of how she tried to reassure herself that she was merely being silly, the unease lingered. Unconsciously, she shifted closer to Jace, the pale illumination from his own omni-tool reflecting against her visor.

Tali waited patiently as he looked over the schematics, happy that she was able to successfully retrieve something useful from the corrupted files. She knew that the Commander would not have agreed to allow her to join the mission unless he thought she was capable of assisting, but her worry about proving her usefulness had persisted.

It was not often that she was asked or given permission to join the away team, which in some manner she could understand. Although she was an Admiral, Tali had no formal or extensive military training and even the time she had spent in the field did not qualify to make up for that. While likely Jace himself could handle most tech work out in the field, Tali wanted to be able to help in whatever capacity was needed. Sometimes having a few extra engineers was useful.

Jace’s nod of approval caused her eyes to warm, a bright smile tucked away behind her mask. She found herself shifting upon her heels, an excited little bounce in lieu of being proud that she had been useful.

Leaving behind the terminal, Tali began to follow Jace as his instruction. Ahead, the other soldiers had started to make their way across the expanse of the room, carefully navigating around storage crates and lifeless terminals. Settled on the far side of the room was an archway and, as indicated by the map, the only entrance into the second part of the topside portion of the research station.

Their footsteps echoed softly as Dawson took point, Jace and Tali taking up the rear. With her pistol drawn, but pointed away, she cautiously followed the dim silhouette of the Commander, keeping a close eye on the faint glow of the lights set within his armor.

The corridor which separated the two topside stations appeared to have been dug directly out of the mountain. With no embellishments, the narrow hallway was merely constructed from burrowing through the rock. A curious change from the well-polished interior they had seen within the main entrance. Tali wondered if perhaps this portion of the facility had been added later or perhaps had merely never been finished before it was abandoned.

Ice had crept further into the building as well, making the corridor a bit of a precarious walk. But Tali took Jace’s caution in mind and kept a careful watch on where exactly she stepped.

The hallway eventually gave way to the second room, which appeared to contain more darkened terminals and discarded storage crates, darkened doorways to offices and other rooms. Much like the entrance room, this one spanned two floors, but with a bit more light Tali could just make out the walkways which hung far above them. The size of both stations spoke of just how many workers must have once occupied the place. But now, now it was quiet and there was no sign that anyone had entered the station for some time.

If the map Tali had found was correct, then the elevators that would lead down to the tunnels would be located at the other side of the room. From where she stood near the Commander, however, it was far too dark to tell if this was true.

At Jace’s command, the rest of the ground team began to spread out, beginning a careful sweep of the large room. Tali lingered behind the soldiers, drifting over towards some of the stations to examine what had been left behind. She did not bother with the terminal, instead picking up one of the datapads that had been piled upon the table.

Her long fingers flicked over the device, turning it on with a flicker of orange light. The device sputtered briefly before dying, causing the quarian to frown, nose wrinkled in confusion. It was one thing for data stored within the terminal network to have been wiped, but it appeared that even the datapads had been corrupted or broken.

With a soft sigh, she set the pad back down, thoughts shifting over this new bit of information. What exactly had they found here that they wanted all knowledge of erased? What exactly was awaiting them in the tunnels far below?

The questions settled uneasily within her tangled thoughts, recalling stories of other ventures whereupon Jace had need to visit abandoned tunnels. They had been filled with the remnants of the workers, now turned to husks under the influence of the Reaper artifact they had uncovered. Could something like that have happened here?

Tali’s gaze shifted, glancing across the darkened room to seek out the Commander’s figure. He wasn’t very far from her, likely puzzling his own way through the unanswered questions this mission had presented.

Her lips parted, intending to call out to him and catch his attention, but Tali paused. Uncertain, she let the words grow quiet, not sure how comfortable Jace would be in her seeking out his reassurance. Not when he was currently in command and in present company.

So instead, she turned from his familiar visage, attempted to bolster her own courage and resumed her quiet search through the defunct research station.

Like the previous room for the complex, Jace noted how eerily still the whole place felt. Items left untouched and undisturbed, a thick layer of dust covering each piece of equipment before them. In the previous room, so thick was the soot that picking the items up showed how clean the spot beneath was spotless. Leaving an outline of the object that had been there. He’d seen this before. Outlines on the walls, burn marks and residue remnants. Memories scorched onto the last place they stood while fleeing, while escaping for their lives. Back home.

Their screams blared through the starry night, echoing over the shots fired. The sound of engines roared like mighty beasts against the panicked settlers, feet trampling the ground beneath them. Families separated and shot down. The corrosive ammo melting bodies slowly, each gurgling drown marking the last spoken line.

Children crying for their parents slaughtered and abused, bludgeoned by the butts of the guns. They didn’t want to waste shots. Clear games of tagging down survivors and pulling off limbs. Signs of superiority. The four-eyed beings shouting in an eldritch language. Exterminating anyone they saw, leaving their bodies decoratively across the landscape. Those with bodies intact.

His mother, his beautiful mother, shoved him into the crawl space of their small home. She didn’t say a word, not a sound was made. He’d been inside when the abominations landed. Father? He didn’t make it. Her leg was bleeding profusely, shot up by the invading horrors. In the crawl space stuffed a sixteen year-old boy, with no idea what was happening. Never before had he seen his mother so pale, ghostlike and absent.

The door was kicked in with immense force, mother standing proudly away from the space. There was enough room to see out, to examine what was happening. They were monsters, creatures from a nightmare Jace couldn’t have created in his wildest dreams. Four eyes, rows of two, with ridges covering their face. Voices deep and growling, barking and pointing with fervor and determination. His mother, brave and proud, rose a hand to point at the monsters, to stand up for herself.

Through her eye. A single shot, aimed and placed threw her eye and out the other side. Blood and bone splashing on the wall and floor. His mother, brave and proud, silenced with no chance to fight back. Not once in his life- even now- had he heard a sound as loud as her body hitting the floor. Not a sound, not one cry or tear did he let out.

Stomach churned, boiled and twisted in his body. There was blood on his hands, gripping palms to tight they’d crack apart. Jace had known fear prior and since, but not like this moment. This single moment that had never left his mind. On loop it played, repeated, her body hitting the floor. The smack on the metal. Her body hitting the floor. The glee on the creatures’ faces as they celebrated their kill. How loud her body hit the floor. How her last words never made it to the front.

As the sun rose, he made a venture from the crawl space to examine her. She was locked, solid in place and never to move again. Taking the necklace off of his mother’s lifeless body, knowing that no matter how hard he tugged, no matter how violently he acted, she’d remain perfectly calm and uncaring.

The venture from the hut showed the aftermath of the attack, bodies of those he knew as neighbors and friends strung across the roads and dirt. The dirt, soaked in blood and already drying against the sun. Outlines of frightened children calling for their parents permanently stained on the walls. People not just hours ago working in the fields now torn apart and scattered to the wind.

And not one got sent to the river.

Not a single man, woman, or child got put into the river to join their former loved ones. Every single member of his settlement, his home, left to wander the leydik alone, an eternity of solitude and cold. Their faces frozen and twisted in fear, dying trying to save themselves and their families. And they failed.

They failed being brave. Not hiding and cowering away. A few hours passed before more screaming engines descended from the sky. His legs froze, not wanting to run or hide this time. Humans emerged from the carriers this time, sharp dressed and guns waving. Jace couldn’t understand a single word as they shouted at him, pointing and screaming. They were angry, violent, hateful. He remembered them in stories. The Alliance.

They swept the area, kicked down the doors and tore apart the homes. Immediately the young boy rose up to protest, but was shoved down on his ass. The men shouted louder, as if increasing the volume would make him understand somehow. After being invaded by creatures from beyond, Jace had to sit back and watch these soldiers tear down what was left of his home.

These suited men and women continued to scream at him, as they drug him from the settlement and into their ships. Hands waved and pointed at him as he struggled to get off the carrier and out. They were piling the bodies, burning them. Permanently condemning them. No matter how bad the stories were, the truth seemed even more horrendous.

Jace set the instrument back down on the table, not remembering lifting it up in the first place. A layer of dirt shook from the item’s new resting place, emphasizing and age upon the setting they’d been in.

Long enough to leave a fine coating of soot, encasing each object around them. He didn’t recall the previous room being so overwhelmed in abandonment, but there wasn’t much he could do. If he couldn’t shake the dust from his thoughts, then at no point could he condemn a room for being unable to do the same.

Pivoting on a single foot to those with him, quick head nods and finger pointings assigned tasks to the individuals present. In different directions the privates went, to scour the room of its’ worldly possessions. Tali, on the other hand, was already on the task of recovering data from the terminals she could access. A smile lit up his face behind the dark visor, ever impressed with her ability and awareness. Though she might not act like it, Tali always had a knack for doing what was needed.

Not to be left out, Jace turned to take in a full view, seeing the room about him, noting the layout. His stomach rolled over as his eyes searched to make meaning of the abandoned shaft. This room, in particular, had so many doorways and evacuation points. Entrances and exits for no reason but to be there. More dust, however.

(Source: restrictedtodecaf)

for-rannoch:

ooc: The not entirely serious shenanigans that go on behind the scenes.

for-rannoch:

ooc: The not entirely serious shenanigans that go on behind the scenes.

for-rannoch:

Favorite Tali relationships - Familiar - Admiral Shala’Raan

"I was there when Tali was born. Her mother and I had synced up our suits so we could be in the same open-air room. I was sick for a week, but it was worth it."

Linking suits for a quarian is seen as the ultimate gesture of trust and affection. However, this is not something exclusive to or indicative of a romantic and/or sexual relationship. The act of affection is also shared between family and very close friends, indicating that it is also a familiar and platonic gesture.

Rate my character. My portrayal of my character. A+++

How well I stay IC. Very. Even when the mess is on fire!

How sexy my character is. You’re sexier than chocolate, sir.

How interesting my RPs are. Between refurbishing a Starfall-7 suit and burnt toast, they are fascinating.

Also: Please tell me WHY you followed? I’m the treasurer of your fan club, sir.

ALSO:

What AU(s) you think I should do? I think you would make for quite the angsty high schooler.

Your favorite verse? Any in which the Foundation exists. Allegedly. 

Your favorite ship (romantic or bro/pack things all acceptable)? You/Pvt. Bright/Microwave

A person/blog you think I should interact with that is not your own (and why as a bonus)? Me? I’m very charming.

cdrwintershepard:

Nearly a year ago I made this blog in an effort to try writing a character a bit different from my past characters. Though I had intended to keep to only a small circle and maintain the blog as private, somehow I managed to have 300 lovely people following and even interacting with my Shepard. It’s been a bumpy ride, but overall I had the opportunity to flesh out and develop my character more. I owe that in large part to many of you. Because of that, I’m doing both a follow forever and a giveaway. 

Follow Forever:

Quite a few blogs on here are run by the same person. While I tried to be thorough, I of course might’ve forgotten some people on here. For that reason I apologize in advance. 
Bold=People I’ve RPed with a lot, really look up to, or have just known for forever uvu. 
Bold+Italic=Hover for a message from me to that person. Please note that since I’m super not eloquent, I only did these for a close few people. 

Mass Effect Canons:

admiral-talizorah, allianceadmiralhackett, alliance-sentinel, asleepfortenyears, cerberusofficer, damngoodmarine, drsolus, elementnought, for-rannoch, garrusvakarianhere, gynoidcopilot, hannahshepard, hexagonass, inductionstraw, innatelegacy, justasdurable, ltcortez, ltjamesvega, ltpendejo, lonewolfspectre, major-kirrahe, mjrcoats, normandyspilot, notsoperfectsister, onelesstoworryaboutouroboriplayingwithashadow, prayersneverforsaken, ruinedvessel, sentinelalenko, spectrenihluskryik, superstarspectre, tank-baby, unhealthyfascination, unrefinedgreatness, vengeanceawaken, withsulfur

Non-ME Canons/Playable Characters:

aspecificskillsetassholeinahoodie, beinsbloodofthesith, borntotakethis, boss1138cptquinn, crowdefectordeceptivelyspicysalsa, flyingxshotgun, imperialwarlordludenbergenthespydance, thislooksunjoyous, warriormohawk, withinvigil

OCs:

aegaeonpirate, alliancepaladin, apothicaire, arte-et-marte, battlewornscars, bioticfury, boozeandbiotics, brokengeth, chargingintothegrave, cerberusgenius, cloakandcrusader, convolsum, detomalley, edenpride, engineeryara, formerbravo, iihen, isisrisesmec, kar-alorade, littlecurseddeity, mostlysobersecurity, operativegaley, russkiysamurai, silverbulletstare, sweetsunday, thegoldenclue, xenobirdologist

Shepards:

aberrantaurora, aiden-shepard, amyshepard, andmilestogobeforesleep, arielshepard, askmamashep, commanderscarface, lostlittleshepard, nathanielshepard, ofmouldedclay, quietparagon, renegonsoldier, restrictedtodecaf, ruthlessrenegade, sanctumadducantur, spectrewolf, tenthstreetvanguard, thelastshepard 

Giveaway (under the cut)

Read More

quietparagon sent: //Rate your character: Jace is superb and I believe one the first that was pitted against Eme. He's definitely one of my favourites. As far as portrayal goes, I adore your take on Shepard and the dimension you've given him. I wouldn't classify Jace as sexy but, more handsome. Your writing is always enthralling and enjoyable. Verse where his ship isn't on fire and I ship Tali/Jace to dark space and back. Yep.

(You are wonderful and I do not talk to or interact with you enough. Thank you for the comments, lady. I, too, enjoy the lack of medbay on fire and Jali. Thank you!)

commanderscarface

Each stop at the Citadel ended the same. Someone got lost, would have to be found, would lose what they were supposed to have, then there would be acquisitions remade to get another of whatever item was needed. And it would fall on Jace at the end of the day, both Council and Alliance not happy with lost product.

There was nothing to be done about it, however, long since past that time as was. Regardless, each store was visited with a list of items that were required on the ship. Engineering had the smallest list, mostly due to being the only part of the ship where nothing ever exploded.

Thankfully. If Engineering decided to emulate the hangar’s explosion rate, the Alliance would need to talk to Cerberus about and SR-3.

A gentle sigh swept from the Commander’s mouth, inaudible to those around him. Hopefully. There were enough passer-bys to mute most noises, the Wards capable of doing taking away most small sounds.

But, the markets on the Wards yielded cheaper goods that were less likely to be snagged. Used and checked. Jace enjoyed the browsing, so long as the Lower Wards were avoided. It reminded him of living here- for better or worse. A past life now. Quite literally.

The stands were busy, buyers and ooglers examining wares and chatting amongst each other. There was still destruction from Cerberus, many of these people could easily be working. As his frame leaned against the counter, another sigh escaped him, notably louder. Just a few more parts, all was well.

Rate my character. I kinda share the same sentiment with you in how I have a love/hate relationship with Shepard. There’s good points, bad points, fleshed out points and overlooked points to Shepard in general.

My portrayal of my character. That said, you really fill in the blanks, give depth to Shepard (a ton of it, which is great), and really added to the backstory of Shepard. From his Mindoir upbringing that forms into the hydrophobia he carries, to the unique changes you make to the in-game canon that makes everything flow better, it’s enjoying to see. Jace is certainly a paragon character, but that doesn’t make him a pushover. He’s experienced awful things, and while it’s marked him, it hasn’t broken him. 

How well I stay IC. Quite well? He still comes off as a commander and a Shepard, which can at times be challenging I’m sure given the fact that he has a couple Privates under his command he has to deal with constantly.

How sexy my character is. Though I’m sure Jace is a complete bab, I never viewed him as sexy? 

How interesting my RPs are. I always stop to read when I see you on my dash. Your threads with for-rannoch are engaging, and your memos never fail to amuse me.

Also: Please tell me WHY you followed? Because you’re a great writer, a fun person to talk to and I enjoy RPing with you and seeing you on my dash *u*

ALSO:

What AU(s) you think I should do? AU where the penguins live.

Your favorite verse? Uh your canon one I guess??? This is such an odd question…

Your favorite ship (romantic or bro/pack things all acceptable)? Tali/Jace woops B)

A person/blog you think I should interact with that is not your own (and why as a bonus) A part of me can’t help but feel curious as to how Jace would act towards clone!Shepard. I’m  not sure if you’ve written about that at all and I missed it, but it would be interesting to see all the same.

Rate my character. Jace is a hard character. A unique one. Some Sheps share similarities (which is fine imo) but Jace, Jace is something else. He’s one of the few Sheps I’ve seen that has an absolutely unique aura about him. There’s nothing you’ve ever seen with him. It’s refreshing and exciting. It’s hard to explain really. I’ve been following you for a damn good amount of time and it’s so amazing to see Jace throughout these months as hes progressed. All the backstory you put into him as well as the memos you put out, they all build up to an amazing Shepard that I love so much

My portrayal of my character. ^^^^^^????

How well I stay IC. You basically are Jace Shepard and really no one can tell me otherwise

How sexy my character is. oh commander oh

How interesting my RPs are. Interesting. Entertaining. Amusing. All of them really. From dialogue to details, it keeps attention and the enigmatic presence of the Commander adds to it all. The things you do with TaliMun are also great cause it’s not all fluff and rainbows and kittens it’s a well done relationship that’s very, if not the most, realistic I’ve seen on here. Interactions with you are basically superb.

Please tell me WHY you followed? idek honestly

What AU(s) you think I should do ???? idk.

Your favorite verse the one with the stuff.

Your favorite ship (romantic or bro/pack things all acceptable) Jace/Tali duh. And James and Jace being bros and military buddies as well

A person/blog you think I should interact with that is not your own (and why as a bonus) idk man me.

Rate my character: I’m pretty fond of Shepard as a character, the possibilities and creativity it presents. 10/10

My portrayal of my character: Absolutely wonderful. You have a knack for creating rich characters that have so much depth and detail to them. You’ve put a lot of thought and effort into Jace, into creating and allowing his personality to evolve and I’ve enjoyed actually watching him grow as we’ve interacted. 

The amount of thought and detail you’ve put into world building Mindoir is fascinating. I’ve enjoyed listening to you talk about it, reading your posts and prodding you with endless questions about it. And it is reflected in how Jace is portrayed, within his attitude and opinions. It’s nice to see where some of that comes from.

I also like your take on a paragon Shepard. Jace can be friendly and he does tend to do the right things but that doesn’t always make him a good person. Sort of neat to see a paragon that doesn’t mind the violence and has a sort of no-nonsense outlook.

I like the sense of humor you’ve given him, often dry and playing to the straight man. Jace’s characterization takes into account the seriousness and gravity of the setting presented but you also give it a nice balance with the dry wit.

How well I stay IC: Amazingly well.

How sexy my character is: Very

How interesting my RPs are. Considering that I enjoy reading all of your posts, I think they are very interesting. They are entertaining and engaging, very well written and easy to read and follow. I adore the various interactions and ways that Jace plays against other characters, not just with Tali.

Also: Please tell me WHY you followed? Actually, you followed me first. But I followed you back because, after looking at your page, I was impressed with your writing. And, at that time, I hadn’t come across many male Shepards and I was excited to see one.

ALSO:

What AU(s) you think I should do: After the war. We’ve I’ve babbled about that one a lot.

Your favorite verse: Canon

Your favorite ship (romantic or bro/pack things all acceptable): Jace/Tali

A person/blog you think I should interact with that is not your own (and why as a bonus): Honestly, with anyone. I would love to see you appear more on my dash and interacting with others. c:

DO THIS.

Rate my character.My portrayal of my character.

How well I stay IC.

How sexy my character is.

How interesting my RPs are.

Also: Please tell me WHY you followed?

ALSO:

What AU(s) you think I should do

Your favorite verse

Your favorite ship (romantic or bro/pack things all acceptable)

A person/blog you think I should interact with that is not your own (and why as a bonus)

(Source: psychedelic-psychopathic-pervert)

[MSG]: I’m sorry, Commander. I really should’ve caught it.

[MSG]: No, Cortez, it wasn’t your fault. If anything, all of us would have equal responsibility in it. However, I should have caught it when examining the chassis earlier. You’ve done nothing wrong. Glad to see you weren’t hurt when it decided to microwave on us.

"Shepard, I’m glad you are fine, do you need me to do anything."

No, thank you. Once this is patched up I’ll get back to fixing the shuttle.

Again.

Memo to all Normandy Crew

As of exactly three hours ago (1700), that loud explosion you heard was- much louder in the hangar bay- the destruction of my shuttle. I say ‘explosion’ and ‘destruction’, but let me clarify.

The internal components of the shuttle had been damaged from our last planet visit (there were bullet holes. I assume these were Cerberus. Or Reapers. Or Cerberus Reapers. Or any of you). We didn’t catch these at any point, which is on my head for not checking thoroughly.

The damaged areas included the eezo filters, a spare fuel tank, and the system diagnostics. While trying to run said system diagnostics, the start of the shuttle kicked the eezo filters on, and in typical fashion of most of you privates, proceeded in destroying everything I work hard to keep going.

The filters blew out, and the tank caught. It didn’t ‘explode’, but the hangar is very reflective at sound. It did, however, send a copious amount of scrap metal in every direction ever. It damaged some of the nearby vehicles- specifically my MAKO- and did actually cause physical damage to the personnel- specifically my private Bright.

As of right now, I am in the medbay with Bright and LT. Vega. Cortez is fine, no major damage was done to the ship. Bright has shrapnel in his leg and his arm is broken. I have shrapnel currently in my side and I am typing this while also screaming at Doctor Michel. Who is yelling at me to suck it up and I apologize to you Doctor.

Until further notice, I will need Private Clef to assist me in the hangar to replace Bright, who will likely be out for a few weeks. The arm isn’t in major damage- the doctor states it will not need surgery- but it’ll be enough to lay him out.

Private Bright will have the pleasure of cataloging these next few weeks, and sorting information and data for me. The rest of you will be given a bit extra work to make up for Clef’s and Bright’s current issues.

Namely you, Traynor. Yes, I’m already aware that you decided to wax the floor of the showers. While funny, I don’t find it funny that Private Tobias is in here with a bruised tail bone. If he has to be benched too I will personally put you in medbay with shrapnel too.

Thank you.

LT. Commander Shepard.

Peripeteia

for-rannoch:

Tali could feel the subtle movement of his hand within her own, fingers momentarily tangled together as they spoke quietly. The sensation was muted, poorly translated through layers of her suit, but she appreciated the reassurance it offered. It helped to sooth the unease of the darkened facility, the empty research stations that offered far more questions than answers.

The terminal flickered, casting uneven light against them, reflecting in the soft glow of his eyes. There was a smile tucked away behind her helmet, subtle but hopeful. Tali knew that the Commander had his own apprehensions about this mission, despite the simplicity it presented. The lingering unanswered questions, however, were disconcerting; as was the prevalent lack of information regarding the research facility. Just what was it they were involved with here? And why did they leave so abruptly? It didn’t appear that their departure had anything to do with—

Admiral Zorah?

The sound of the name gave her pause, causing Tali to shift uneasily, gaze adverting from the Commander. It was uncomfortable to be addressed as such, a title that had so long been associated with her father.

Tali had slowly become accustomed to Jace’s insistence of using her rank, often spoken to her with the warmth of affection behind it. An Admiral’s daughter was something she knew well how to be and, with Jace’s encouragement, she was learning how to begin and hesitantly accept the role of being an Admiral. But Admiral Zorah had been her father and that was a position the quarian could neither be nor live up to.

 Her fingers slid away from Jace’s, attempting to tuck away the doubts that haunted her, the questions of if she would ever be able to begin living for herself outside of his shadow. With her omni-tool still lit, she began the process of delving deeper into the encoded files, sussing out routes of data that were not fully corrupted.

The network that linked the research terminals appeared to be unstable, mostly a garbled mess of incomplete data chunks. What files that she was actually able to access gave little information as to what sort of research the facility was conducting, a mismatched jumble of memos, correspondents and reports. Mentions of schedules, shift rotations, requisition forms and dig site locations- all of which made little sense to the quarian without further context.

However, the further she probed into the network towards finding possible redundancy files, the more apparent it became that data corruption was likely not a result of the power failure. The erasure was too ubiquitous, too thorough to have been from a systems failure. For reasons unknown, it appeared that the inhabitants of the facility had attempted to purge whatever data remained before they had calmly left. It was only by a small bit of luck that, whatever procedure they had implanted to delete their network’s data, was not nearly so precise.

It was an unsettling notion, the prospect that the abandonment of the station had little to do with the Reaper invasion. Was this part of why the Alliance had such interest in sending Shepard here? On an otherwise simplistic search and retrieve mission?

Tali’s fingers fidgeted over her omni-tool’s interface, sifting through what data she could find. However, when she finally came across some of the redundancy archives, it was evident of just how pervasive the damage had been. Any lingering doubts that the corruption had been due in part to a systems or power error was disproved with these results. Clearly the asari who had been working here had not wished any of their research data to be left behind.

Out of the mess of useless data chunks, Tali was able to pull a few files. Internal memos, compilations of research data she couldn’t quite understand and-

“Ah-ha!” She quietly muttered to herself, a happy note of triumph lighting her voice. It carried through the shared com link, a mildly embarrassing after thought, but Tali quickly went on to explain. “I believe I’ve found something.”  

Among the data she was able to retrieve was a simple, but hopefully useful, basic map of the facility’s layout. Looking it over, it appeared she was correct in her presumptions that there was a second floor. Mostly containing research labs and offices, it opened up and gave way to the main floor they were currently on. Glancing up, Tali could just make out the railings and scattered walkways that disappeared into the darkness above them.

The tunnels far below the facility seemed to be accessed either through an elevator or stairs, and it appeared they were quite extensive, most ending at various dig sites. It told them little of where exactly what they were looking for might be located but at least it was better than blindly wandering around the long since abandoned research station.

“Here.” She forwarded copies of the map to both Jace and the other Alliance soldiers, the bright glow of her eyes turning to gaze at the Commander. “Most of the data in their systems has either been manually wiped clean or corrupted. I don’t think we will get much else of use from it. The damage is pretty systematic. Before they left, the researchers at least first took their time to make certain very little would remain.”

A muffled exclamation of excitement carried through the comm systems, forcing the marines in the room to turn to her before Tali could even go on to explain her findings. Jace already made his way to the computers as she began her findings.

The wind outside passed through the shafts leading to their current locations, chill howling and frosting the group. Rocks fell and banged against the metal, empty halls reflecting the sound back at them to remind them how lonely the room felt.

Tali turned to face him, to briefly explain what information caused her to become so excited in the first place. One of his omni-tools lit up, the light sources around the room flaring with each received message.

A map, or lay-out at least. Corridors twisting down further into the ground, with note that the digging stopped at a third floor. From what he could make out, appeared whatever caused this vacancy also stopped the facility from any further expansion.

His mouth twisted down, frowning at the layout and structure of the map presented to him. The corridors were uneven, the trek would be hindered by the poorly tunneled shafts leading down. It didn’t matter if the sigh escaped him caught through the comms, Jace couldn’t help but feel exasperated.

"Okay, so they did an automatic wipe without physically checking what the systems had left-" that sounded familiar- "and parts of the facility’s layouts remained.

We’ll be heading down the tunnels to my left and going slowly. Orderly. I want guns down but out. Doesn’t matter what was down here that caused evacuation, but evacuation happened. Dawson, take point.”

Jace’s eyes drifted to Tali, bobbing his head at her for the job well done. And it was a well done job. These specs could have easily been lost by someone combing the directory for basic information. Thorough was not something he’d seen out of Alliance work in the past.

Footsteps of the privates banged across the room and he knew it was time to go. Fingers twirled to Tali, drawing her forward while staying behind him. Honestly, Jace had no expectation of anything still in the tunnels or the rooms, but he’d prefer her behind him nonetheless.

As their journey through the tunnels transpired, the sight of poorly cut rocks caught his eye. They dug down and through, sure, but it was haphazardly. Almost frantic. The metal scaffolding was designed solely for the purpose of standing damage, but it didn’t seem to be sound in the location chosen.

Like the entrance, ice had claimed the metal walkway long before they got here, meaning water had to be present, or a heavy amount of condensation. Regardless, a quick warning of taking time through the area was issued through the headset.

A general warning he wasn’t worried about, but his nerves were shot. Nothing seemed right, all of this was too convenient. The Alliance bared down on this mission, urging the LT. from informing the Council. Even though this was an asari colony world. And to make no effort to help the citizens?

And of course, this whole structure seemed poorly designed. Rushed. How long was it here, and why did the asari know to build and dig in this spot?

The questions were simple, but they bugged Jace. And their sudden disappearance, coupled with how empty the location truly was. Shadows danced across the walls, tricks of the mind. It seemed like they moved away from him, studying him. It wasn’t the first time he’d thought the darkness watching was truly watching, but all the same, these shadows seemed more animated to him.

Small amounts of light flowed into his vision, likely some activated in the room ahead as their journey now stopped. Another open room, high enough to have a second floor, greeted them with open arms. Lights were more ample here, visibility far greater tan the previous room. Immense amounts of crates and containers, several small rooms closed off by doors.

"Same as last time. Proceed to sweep the room. Slowly, and report anything you see. Comms on, but minimize discussion."

(Source: restrictedtodecaf)