May 05, 2021 5:18 PM
Theodora Ndikima Terentin, savior of the galaxy
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"I don't like the girl," Udina says bitterly, knowing it's a foregone conclusion. "Her parents were shot, so she fell into a killer trance and massacred half the invading force? We're looking for a hero, not a killing machine."

Hackett shakes his head. "Her psych profiles have always come back solid, Donnel. We don't make berserkers N7."

"She proved herself in the Blitz," Anderson agrees. "She's practically the only reason Elysium is still standing."

"We can't question her courage," Udina admits.

"Humanity needs a hero. And Terentin is the best we've got." Hackett nods firmly. "Make the call."

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Later, on board the SSV Normandy SR-1:

"Terentin. Good to see you," Captain Anderson says. "How much have you heard about this mission?"

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"You know no one tells me about anything until they want me to start doing something about it, Captain." A black ink spike peaks out from under her uniform gorget as Commander Teddy Terentin tilts her head. "But you also know the crew likes to gossip. Eden's nice, but usually a Council Spectre has more exciting things to do than observe the Alliance's maiden voyages."

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The Spectre in question clicks his mandibles together in amusement as he walks into the conference room. "You're not wrong. I could give you the party line, tell you it's because this ship was built in collaboration with the Turian Hierarchy and I'm here in my capacity as a turian. But let's put our cards on the table, shall we? I'm here to scout you for Spectre membership."

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"Well that's.. unprecedented," Teddy drawls, sounding more like she meant to say 'inevitable'. Wouldn't do to show how excited she is. "Wouldn't really be good timing on his part if he wants see me in action, though, would it, Captain? Given that we would just be doing stealthy little pirouettes around Eden. I guess Nihlus could watch me shoot targets?" She looks at the Spectre. "Sound fun, sir?"

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At this he makes a noise that his translator decides to render as an actual chuckle. "Not exactly. This isn't the last mission I'll be accompanying you on by a long shot. But I thought it'd be good to meet you on a low-stakes mission. Well, relatively low-stakes. There is the matter of the prothean artifact."

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"Which brings us to the matter of the artifact," Anderson says. "This part, we actually did manage to keep hidden from the crew: the colonists of Eden Prime have uncovered a fully functional prothean artifact - they've been calling it a beacon. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how valuable it could be to have a piece of working prothean technology to analyze? Usually, we find fifty-thousand-year-old junk. This is almost unprecedented - and what's more, preliminary analysis implies that the beacon is something like a networked data storage device. We found one of those on Mars and it catapulted human technology forward by a century or more. Imagine what we could do with another one."

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"And by 'we'," Nihlus interjects, "he of course means the Council races at large. Due to the laws on the books regarding ancient technology, the Citadel is stepping in and taking the artifact into our safekeeping for analysis. The reason this ship is involved is that we want to be incredibly discreet. More discreet than has historically been possible."

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"Okay, yeah, this is more my speed. I like that this is what you consider 'low-stakes'."

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"Assuming all goes well, we won't see any combat. Less 'low-stakes,' I suppose, and more-"

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"Uh, Captain?" Joker interrupts over the intercom. "We're getting a distress signal."

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Anderson grimaces. "Put it up on the display, Joker."

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The display is suddenly occupied by a vision of Hell.

Sleek robotic creatures gun down dozens of humans. Other humans are seized and impaled, still writhing, on telescopic spires. Whoever is filming is muttering "God, God, God" under their breath, but they have the presence of mind to turn their omni-tool up to the sky.

There's a ship. It doesn't look like it was constructed according to any known species' design philosophy. It's black, almost organic-looking, and it's making a horrible sound, like a biomechanical roar.

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The omni-tool is wrenched from its current perspective down to face a woman, lightly armored, with an omni-blade on her wrist. "Give me that- mayday mayday mayday. Eden Prime is under attack by the geth. I know, what the fuck. We're taking heavy casualties and need evac. Repeat, heavy casualties, need evac."

There's the distinctive sound of a bullet entering human flesh, and the perspective slumps to the ground. "Fuck!" says the woman, barely audible. Then there's an explosion, and the feed cuts to static.

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Terentin is up and out of the office before the woman takes over the stream, armed and kitted by the time the crew is chattering about the Geth, the Geth? the Geth, and pacing like a tiger on the bridge by the time the camera hits the ground. She snaps out orders as needed to keep her people from boiling over, but mostly she glares at them between occasional glances at her omni-tool. Her hand blurs over it even when she's not looking at it.

Geth. Robotic. She switches from majority-steel to majority-polycarbonate on her omni-blade. Unclear capabilities. She broadens the blade's design from the width of two fingers to the width of her hand. That'll be a strain on the field that contains the blade, but whatever. She's broken omni-tools plenty of times. She also sets a background program at constructing a model of the (Geth?) ship from frames where it's visible in the transmission.

Pace, pace, pace, turn. Glare at Joker. Pace.

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Anderson joins her on the bridge. "Nihlus is going to go ahead solo, to secure the beacon as quickly as possible without attracting attention. He'll keep in radio contact. You, Halliwell, and Lieutenant Alenko will follow and clear a path through the geth, and reinforce him once he gets to the beacon. Any questions?"

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Terentin commits her changes with several rapid pinkie-swipes and looks up. She's going to need to keep Halliwell close. You can divide Alliance personnel into 'kids' and 'not kids' and, well. The kid's a kid.

"No, sir. We'll watch the Spectre's tail. Mort, Kaidan, come on." She figured she'd either be teaming up with Nihlus or going alone, but, well, that's why she's not Anderson. Gonna be good to have a biotic along, at least.

 

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"Yes, ma'- commander."

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Mort follows them into the shuttle, babbling. "Gonna be weird seeing Eden Prime again. I mean, especially with geth on it, but I haven't been there since I graduated high school. Wonder if it's all still prefabs and soybean farms? Well, prefabs are kind of a given, but if we're landing near the port I guess soybeans might not be..."

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"Could we keep the babbling on-topic, if you please." Terentin takes her seat and prepares to head out. The helmet she grabbed has a big scratch on the casing, by her temple. "Any wild theories you have about the geth, fun facts about our fancy new stealth systems, just not soybeans." Mort has a lot of drive but not a lot of steering, you could say. It would be counterproductive this close to go-time to shut him up, and it would also just be sad.

(Say what you will about Kaidan, but he can mostly handle himself.)

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"Yessir. The geth, honestly, I'm - almost kind of perversely excited about this? No human's seen the geth - well, ever, that we know of, I'd be willing to bet the quarians are the last race to get a good look. Why they're here I've got no idea. It seems like it has to be connected to the Prothean beacon, right, but why would they be that interested - let alone how would they find out about it, I mean, this thing was unearthed what, two weeks ago? Workers dig it up, the science team steps in and tells them to keep quiet if they want to keep their jobs, from then on all comms are heavily encrypted and intra-Alliance until it hits the Council agents... who are, as far as infosec goes, a sieve. But that was days ago. And the geth beat us here? In a flagship that looks nothing like their standard cruisers? It doesn't add up, that's my opinion."

The door to the shuttle hisses open as they touch down. Morty twitches. "Oh! Well-timed, well-timed," he murmurs.

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"No time to waste if we want to keep up with secret agent turians." Which she does. Obviously. If Teddy can't win a footrace against a veteran special forces dinosaur-alien with predator legs who has a head start, through a geth invasion horde, then she doesn't know why she got out of bed this morning. "Now it's time to test out our stealth systems, fellas. It's the three of us against a mob of evil robots. Personally I think we could win that fight, but we're not here for that. I want us to go through fast, which means I want us going through silent." She give Morty a moment to absorb that. "Guns are loud. We're going to keep going until they make us shoot, and then we are going to be accurate. Tell me you've got it."

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Morty nods.

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"Loud and clear, Commander."

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Terentin puts a finger to her lips and hikes a thumb over her shoulder. Her pistol's in her other hand. Time to go.

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They move ahead swiftly and silently. They pass by a number of fleshy jellyfish-like things floating through the air, one of which Mort pats as they pass by it.

There's a rustle in the tall grass. Mort's head snaps around, and he raises his omni-tool, but it turns out to just be another one of the floaty things, drifting through the stalks without a care in the world.

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