Mass Effect: IC-342 (Ironsworn: Starforged) Session 7


Even as spartan as Anchor Drop Station is, it still has its luxuries. A trio of dive bars cling to the elevator shaft near the bottom of the station, but the pair of lounges further up have a cleaner, nicer vibe to them. Hackett is the best of the two, reserved for admin staff only, so I can’t help but feel a little like an impostor whenever I walk through the frosted glass doors. Back in the Milky Way, I was just a grunt, a hired gun who ate and drank in the kinds of places that would make the bottom of Omega look like a paradise, but here, well. Here, I’m practically part of the Director’s cabinet, a minister of nothing more than ass-whooping, totally out of place among the wide-waisted pencil pushers that make up most of the station’s upper echelons.

I don’t dwell on it. Calderone looks exhausted, like someone too tired to worry, but who’s trying their best to do it anyway, so I place an order for both of us while he stakes out a table near the windows. Club sandwiches and iced tea. Best on the station. Something we can both agree on.

That, and which window has the best view.

“Nyx is transiting Neoma right now,” Director Calderone says as I set his plate down in front of him. “If there’s anything out there, I’m sure our scopes will be able to see it only a few minutes after Wayward Wellspring does.”

“Eat,” I smile, sitting opposite him.

    Move: Hearten: Share a drink and a meal with Director Calderone
    Roll: 2 (heart) + 1 (roll) [3] vs. 8 & 10 Challenge Dice (miss)
    Burn momentum (10) to turn it into a Weak Hit. (momentum now 2.)
    Recover Spirit to max (5) but lose one momentum (now 1)

“It’s difficult,” he says, putting his hands on the sandwich, but just holding it. “I think about how fragile all of this is, how easily humanity could become a memory, or less than a memory, and it makes it hard to eat.”

“I know,” I nod, trying to keep my own dark thoughts at bay. “Knowing that I’m doing everything I can helps,” I offer. “Knowing that I won’t be at my best if I don’t take care of myself helps too.”

“Yeah,” Calderone sighs, forces himself to nibble on his sandwich. As we eat, we both turn back to the window, both watch the tiny dark spot of Nyx as it slides across the center of the star like we might see something in it, some evidence, some sign, Reapers or otherwise.

“Why don’t you let me check it out?” I ask suddenly. The director looks at me cautiously, and I gesture with what’s left of my sandwich. “The Ulysses is designed with stealth recon in mind. Whatever’s out there, I bet I could get in, get readings and get out before anyone even knows we’re there.”

    Move: Compel: Convince Director Calderone to let me check out Nyx.
    Roll: 2 (heart) + 4 (roll) [6] vs. 2 & 7 Challenge Dice (Weak Hit.)
    Demand / Complication.

“Neoma A isn’t important right now,” he shakes his head.

“Tell that to Administrator Jemison,” I laugh.

“Don’t misunderstand me,” he says carefully. “I like some of Jemison’s ideas, but his methods are, well–”

“Not in line with Cerberus?” I ask, grinning.

Instead of answering, Director Calderone looks away, back to Nyx, considering. When he looks at me again, there’s something in his eyes, something almost desperate.

“I want you to do a flyby of the location where the power spike was registered,” he says. “Get in, take readings, visuals, all of it.”

“You got it,” I nod.

“And I want you to take Doctor Fushida with you.”

“Fushida?” I ask. “Emery Fushida?”

“He’s our foremost expert on mass relays and relay systems,” Director Calderone gestures. “If anyone should be out there, it’s him.”

“The guy’s like a hamster on coffee,” I pull in a deep breath. “Alright, I’ll do it. Makes sense. I’ll bring earplugs, in case he decides to start singing again.”

    Move: Swear An Iron Vow (Investigate The Power Spike)
    Rank: Dangerous
    Heart: 2 + 1 (connection) + 2 (roll) [5] measured against 9 & 8 (challenge dice)
    Bannersworn: Reroll the 9 and 8. Now 3 & 5 (Weak hit)
    Determined, but more questions than answers. +1 momentum (now 2)

“Thank you for this,” Calderone says, gesturing with the last few bites of his sandwich. “It helps. Next one’s on me.”

“Of course it is,” I wink at him as I take our trays, walk them to the cart near the kitchen and drop them off. When I look back, Calderone is already gone, already back to work, his mind on other problems, other threats to humanity’s existence in The Forge Galaxy.

    Move: Develop Relationship (with Director Joseph Calderone.) 
    Mark two boxes on the progress track. (6 of 10)

Radioing MISO, I check to see if anyone’s had a chance to look at the ship yet. 

    Move: Repair: The Ulysses
    Roll: 1 + 4 (supply) [5] vs. 7 & 7 Challenge Dice (Miss)
    Repairs not made: Pay The Price: Face a tough choice.

“Apologies, Commander,” MISO replies. “Repairs are currently in progress.”

“How long to complete?” I ask.

“Eighteen hours is the current estimate.”

“That’s going to be too long,” I shake my head, weighing my options. “Is there any way that we could be in the air in fifteen minutes?”

“Not without significantly decreasing the ship’s integrity,” MISO responds. “Plating can be bolted back in place, but certain systems would need to be left unrepaired and uncalibrated until we return. I advise against premature departure.”

“We’ll risk it anyway,” I shake my head. “Tell the techs to pack it in. We leave as soon as I get there.”

“Affirmative, Commander.”

    Move: Withstand damage: -1 to Ulysses Health (now 3)

Hitting the controls for the elevator, I radio Doctor Fuchida, give him instructions and bay coordinates for the Ulysses. Last thing on my list is a detour by the station quartermaster to pick up some extra thermal clips in case we run into the kind of trouble we can’t solve with science.

    Move: Resupply: Visit the station quartermaster to get more clips.
    Roll: 2 (heart) + 2 (roll) [4] vs. 3 & 10 Challenge Dice (Weak hit)
    Recover supply to maximum (5) but suffer a complication. (Urgent Message)
    Oracle (Action): Capture; Oracle (Theme): Life; Oracle (Focus): Refuge; Oracle (Descriptor): Corrupted. 

A quick salute and a signature gets me what I need, but as I tuck the clips into my belt, I get another call on my radio.

“Schaefer here,” I nod my thanks to the quartermaster, turn away to the elevator and tap in the code for docking bay access.

“We’ve got a new problem,” Director Calderone says, sounds rushed, hurried. “Meet me in docking bay twelve. Bring your gun.”

“Never travel without it,” I quip back, trying to sound casual, but my heart is already racing.


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