Mass Effect: IC-342 (Ironsworn: Starforged) Session 17

“MISO, pull up a grid map of the Devil’s Rest system,” I say, rushing up to the cockpit and gripping the flight seat as the Ulysses breaks atmo. Frantic, I try to calm my breathing, try to focus on the disjointed images that the Reaper pumped into my head.

When the map of the system comes up across the viewplate, my eyes scan it for signs, for shapes I recognize. Holding my hand over the debris cloud at the far edge of the system, I try to remember something, anything– and then it comes, suddenly, like a spark of light.

“There,” I poke my finger into the screen, into the rocks and ice at the extreme edge of the system. “Plot a course and take us there. The relay is there.”

“Affirmative, Commander.” MISO says, closing the map of the system and engaging the engines, taking us out of orbit and into the black.

Move: Undertake an Expedition (Devil’s Rest Survey Mission - Outlands)
Roll: Move At Speed (Edge) 3 + 2 (5) vs. 1 & 10 (Weak Hit)
Reach waypoint, mark progress.
Spaceborne Peril: Action + Theme: Finish + Advantage

Move: Reach a Milestone - Vow (+1 box on track [6 of 10] )
Mark Progress on Expedition (+1 box on track [6 of 10])

I hardly notice it at first, but the further we get from the Reaper Dreadnought, the more the fragments and flashes of memory in my mind start to fade. Fifteen minutes out, and I suddenly feel very alone, disconnected, lost, like I left some part of myself behind when I touched the Reaper. Leaning against the wall, I try to get a handle on myself, try to get back some of my focus.

Move: Endure Stress (-1) (now 1)
Roll: Heart (2) + Roll 1 = 3 vs 5 & 5 (Miss and Match)
Worse than you thought: Additional -1 (Spirit now = 0)

I can’t do it. I can’t hold myself together. I don’t even know how I end up on the floor, rocking back and forth, hugging my legs, but I do. I want to go back, want to get near the Reaper again, want to try to pull secrets from it again, but I also feel compelled to find the mass relay. I tell myself that it’s what I want, that it’s what Director Calderone wants.

But I also can’t deny that it’s also what the Reaper wants, and that– that scares the hell out of me.

“MISO,” I close my eyes. “Dim the lights, please.”

“Affirmative, Commander,” the AI replies and follows suit. In the comforting near-darkness, I breathe a shaky sigh, try to think of something, anything I can do to calm my jangled nerves.

“Do you have any music on file that you can play?” I ask.

“I have a complete selection of Mozart, Beethoven and Florence Price.”

“Anything relaxing?” I ask.

“Playing Florence Price: Symphony No. 4 in D minor.”

Move: Hearten (to music, on the Ulysses)
Roll: Heart (2) + Roll 1 = 3 vs 4 & 7 (Miss)
Pay the Price: New terrain / enviro hazard.

The song starts slow. I try to get into it, but when it picks up and starts to soar, it only makes the chaos in my head worse. By the time we reach the outskirts of the cloud of rock and ice at the extreme edge of the Devil’s Rest system, it’s all I can do to climb into the pilot’s chair, hand the controls over to MISO and hope for the best.

Move: Explore A Waypoint (Devil’s Rest)
Roll: (Wits) 2 + 5 (7) vs. 1 & 3 (Strong Hit)
Mark Progress.

Move: Reach a Milestone - Vow (+1 box on track [7 of 10] )
Mark Progress on Expedition (+1 box on track [7 of 10])

“Commander,” MISO pipes up, giving me something to focus on. “I am detecting an object of sufficient mass and size to be the relay. It is roughly at the coordinates you indicated.”

“Can you bring it up on screen?” I ask, and almost before my eyes can focus on the viewplate, there’s a digital frame there, and in the center of it, a huge, dark shape. My heart skips a beat as light plays across the surface of the two-pronged silhouette. There can be no doubt anymore. It’s exactly what we came looking for. 

An inactive mass relay.

Seeing it is enough to get me to sit up, to stare out blankly at the thing. It’s whole, undamaged, and looks exactly like the ones peppered throughout the Milky Way. Pulling in a shaky breath, I tap through data readouts, but one thought keeps rising over the others, getting louder and louder.

Go, it says, and when I blink, I see coordinates in the darkness, a string of code I can translate into the nav computer through keystrokes. Run.

“MISO,” I start tapping, do exactly what the voice tells me to do. “Transmit these coordinates to the relay, just like if we were back in the Milky Way.”


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