Mass Effect: IC-342 (Ironsworn: Starforged) Session 11

Catching naps in the cockpit and using the coffin-sized head in the back of the Ulysses is no substitute for some decent rack time back at Anchor Drop. Not wanting to leave Calderone hanging, I dash off a quick report, attach all of the collected sensor data we’ve gathered on the debris field, and upload it to Calderone's personal line the instant we dock with the station. Sure enough, when I wake, there's a message from him, some kind of reply or request that I tell myself I'll handle later. The damage to the Ulysses and my own sanity take precedence right now.

Move: Sojourn (Anchor Drop)
Roll: 2 (Heart) + 4 (6) vs. 2 & 8 Challenge Dice. (Weak Hit)
Time Crunch: One automatic strong hit only. Hearten (+3 to spirit) (Now 5)

Move: Repair (Ulysses)
Roll: 5 (Supply) + 1 (6) vs. 1 & 7 Challenge Dice. (Weak Hit)
Repair +2 points on Ulysses. (Ulysses health now 5)

I spend most of the day on my ass, ignoring the blinking notification light on my console. Losing myself in Blasto reruns helps me get my head on straight again, mostly, but eventually, my curiosity gets the better of me and I check my messages. The reply from Calderone is short, to the point. 

        Let’s talk. 

Feeling like I’m mostly myself again, I check the status on repairs for the Ulysses, find that the time I spent in the rack has been good for the ship as well. Clock on the console says 4:30, so I dash off a reply, offer to catch an early dinner at Hackett’s with the Director. By the time I’m showered and dressed, there’s another message from Calderone. 

        My office, 5pm. I’ll bring the beers.

The debrief goes about like they always do with Calderone. Casual, friendly, a recap of everything I already typed out in the report. The beers help keep the existential dread at bay, help put a damper on the feeling that, while we’re here getting buzzed, there’s a real threat out there, positioning itself to wipe us all out in the space of an instant.

Move: Fulfill Your Vow
Compare 8 to 2 & 7 (Strong Hit)
Mark legacy quests (2 ticks - now 1 box)

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

“Let’s talk about the future,” Calderone says, finally, setting aside his beer. “I’ve got the Ducornet heading out to get a closer look at the debris field, and the team that is looking into the Vault on Neoma C has been sending back a lot of interesting data we’re mostly still just trying to make sense of.”

I know the Ducornet. It’s a warship, one of the few that survived Sovereign’s attack on the Citadel in 2183. It’s big, exactly what Doctor Fushida will need to push through the debris and see if there’s anything worth salvaging. Leaning back, I nod, gesture with my beer.

“What do you need from me?”

“I need a scout, someone to check our neighboring star systems for another mass relay. Whatever happened to the one in this system, it’s either dust or inaccessible, but if IC-342 follows the same pattern as the Milky Way, then it’s reasonable to assume that there may be additional deactivated relays orbiting the stars just beyond our doorstep. Administrator Farin has her scopes on Nova Station scanning those systems, and we have a promising candidate that I’d like you to check out.” He hands me a pad computer, watches as I tab through the data. “Astrometrics on Nova Station is calling it the Devil’s Rest system.”

“Charming name,” I push through lines of spectral analysis, but most of it is too technical for me to make sense of, so I toss it back on the desk between us. “I’ll check it out, see what I can find.”

“It’s going to be like Charon all over again,” Director Calderone says, looks worried when he says it.

“Hopefully without another First Contact War,” I offer.

“Hopefully,” he says. “We’re just going to have to take this one step at a time, make allies where we can, and hopefully band together before the Reapers show up to kill us all.”

“There’s that optimism again,” I say, trying to be humorous, faking a smile.

“Whatever happens, I want you at the head of this,” he says to me, leaning forward. “With a little luck, we’ll be opening relays and meeting new species. Are you ready to be the ambassador between Cerberus and the rest of IC-342?”

“No,” I grin, touch the chunk of hull hanging at my neck. “But I’ll work on getting ready. I’ll check out Devil’s Rest and see what’s out there.”

“Anything you need,” he makes a gesture. “Just give the word. You’re my right hand in this.”

        Move: Swear An Iron Vow (Investigate The Devil’s Rest Sector)
        Rank: Formidable
        Heart: 2 + 1 (connection) + 6 (roll) [9] measured against 3 & 1 (Strong Hit)
        Emboldened (+2 Momentum = now 4)

“I’ve got everything I need right now,” I tell him, nodding. “Making the Ulysses a priority for repairs in the docking bay would be nice, but I’ll settle for reliable access to thermal clips.”

        Move: Earn Experience (Quests).
Boost Overseer Asset: Purchase ability #2. 

        Move: Earn Experience (Discoveries).
Boost Overseer Asset: Purchase ability #3. 

Move: Forge A Bond (with Director Joseph Calderone.) 
Compare 10 to 8 & 7 (Strong Hit)
Bond Forged! Mark legacy bonds (2 ticks - now ½ box)
Bolster Their Role: Call in a favor with the administrator when Sojourning on Anchor Drop Station.

“You might not need many repairs after the upgrades I had installed on the Ulysses while you were resting.”

“Yeah?” I grin back. “Does MISO make decent coffee now?”

That gets a laugh out of Calderone. “The techs in AI research call it the Sigma Upgrade Package. It gives MISO greater control over ship systems on the Ulysses. Think of it as an autopilot option, with the ability to summon the ship if you’re in a tough spot on the ground.”

“That sounds,” I pause, shake my head, grin at him again. “That sounds incredibly useful.”

“Anything to keep you safe,” he says, and there’s a note of softness in the words that makes me uncomfortable.

“Hey, hey,” I laugh, standing up, maybe too fast. I see Calderone’s smile flicker, just a little, and it’s everything I can do not to fumble my words. “How bad can it be out there? I’ll be back. Don’t worry about me.”

“You’re right,” Calderone says, and suddenly he’s all business again. As weird as it is, he even salutes me. “Good luck out there, Commander.”

“To us both,” I say, faking a smile, then getting out of the director’s office before either one of us makes the situation any more awkward.

        Move: Set A Course: (Out of Cerberus Space)
        Roll: 5 (Supply) + 6 (11) vs. 2 & 2 Challenge Dice. (Strong Hit / Match)
        Arrive safely, favorable situation, +1 Momentum (now 5).


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