Mass Effect: IC-342 (Ironsworn: Starforged) Session 16

  I can hear the Reaper, somehow, even before we get close to it. There are whispers, something like a low, barely audible hum, and it grows the closer we get to the planet’s surface.

By the time we land on the outcropping of volcanic rock, my skin is practically itching with the need to get out there, to see it in person, to put my hands on it and steal what secrets I can from its smooth, silver-black carapace. I waste no time getting into my vacc suit, trigger the airlock even before the engines cut out and settle us into place. Harsh rays of unfiltered sun darken the glass of my helmet, and then I’m in the sand, trudging through the salt-crusted, ankle-deep remains of a seafloor.

Move: Explore A Waypoint (Reaper)
Roll: (Wits) 2 + 6 (8) vs. 5 & 8 (Weak Hit)
Opportunity: Shortcut
Peril: Unearthed secrets best left buried

The Reaper itself is huge, a full sized dreadnought half buried in crispy silt. It takes me less than five minutes to clear the distance between the Ulysses and the crashed Reaper, and within seconds, I’m inside it, crawling over glassy, blackened wounds in the living starship. MISO has almost no data on Reaper systems, but something nesting in the back of my skull tells me I’ll know what I’m looking for when I see it. 

There are secrets here, secrets that will be valuable to Cerberus, and all I have to do is take them.

Move: Gather Information
Roll: (Wits) 2 + 4 (6) vs 8 & 9 (miss)
Reveal dire threat.
Pay The Price: Action has an unintended effect.

The deeper I move into the Reaper, the more familiar the layout seems to me. The whole dreadnought sings to some part of my mind that feels dormant, and as I reach the sleeping core, I feel like I reach it in a dream, fumbling through the darkness like I’m remembering the way. Standing before the core, I panic momentarily, wonder if this, this fog, this pull– is this what indoctrination feels like?

Move: Endure Stress (-1) (now 2)
Roll: Spirit (2) + Roll 2 = 4 vs 2 & 10 (Weak Hit)
No change.

No, I tell myself. This is drive. This is motivation. This is me trying to do what is best for humanity. I have to believe that I’m in control now, that I’m doing this all out of my own volition.

“MISO, can you read me?”

Static, thick, across all frequencies. Transfixed by the core of the Reaper, I walk across the black steel to the eye-shaped heart of the ship, reach out and put my hands on it.

And that’s when I see it. The relay. The mass relay hiding in the icy debris ring at the far edge of the Devil’s Rest system, waiting and dormant, sleeping, like the Reaper giving me these dark visions. Only sleeping, waiting to be awakened.

Move: Endure Stress (-1) (now 1)
Roll: Heart (2) + Roll 3 = 5 vs 2 & 6 (Weak Hit)
Lose momentum -1 (now 0) to prevent Spirit loss (now 2)

Desperate for more, I press my hands harder against the shell of the core, shout at it with my mind. The need is nameless, wordless. I want power, power to support and protect my people, to defeat the Reapers and drive them from the galaxy. 

Move: Gather Information
Roll: (Wits) 2 + 5 (7) vs 8 & 9 (miss)
Reveal dire threat.
Pay The Price: Equipment malfunction.

But the Reaper doesn’t give me what I’m screaming for. It pushes back instead, sends a shock through my vacc suit that fries the oxygen scrubbers and the shields in a single burst. Falling backward, I stare agape at the core as it opens like a single, wide eye and looks at me, just looks at me.

And then the voice of the dreadnought blossoms like an echo from the deep, explodes up through my mind until it is too loud to deny.

Go. Run.

There’s a flash of an image, the shape and location of the mass relay burned into my mind. I don’t stick around to see what the Reaper does, to see what comes of this connection. Already my lungs are starting to burn. Running as hard as I can, I fling myself out of the wreckage and rush across the salty sands to the Ulysses. The instant I can get MISO on the radio, I’m yelling for him to fire up the engines. Shoving my way through the airlock, I tear my helmet off the instant the door closes, then slam my fist against the comm and scream for MISO.

“MISO! Get us out of here!”

Move: Undertake an Expedition (Devil’s Rest Survey Mission - Outlands)
Roll: Move At Speed (Edge) 3 + 2 (5) vs. 4 & 2 (Strong Hit)
Reach waypoint, mark progress.

Move: Reach a Milestone - Vow (+1 box on track [5 of 10] )
Mark Progress on Expedition (+1 box on track [5 of 10])


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