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Mass Effect 3: The Miracle at Palaven

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Kei, Oct 30, 2012.

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  1. Kei

    Kei Nyancology~

    I somehow knew writing this at four in the morning was a bad idea... x_x

    Thanks for pointing those out. I'll be fixing them as soon as possible. ^_^;
     
  2. Ah, krogan officers.
     
  3. Whiskey Golf

    Whiskey Golf Solidarity

    Oh hells, that failed drop rehearsal... Reminds me of the disaster just before Overlord launched. Again, good,stuff, cept for the missing words which have been pointed out.
     
  4. Angelform

    Angelform Celestia’s messenger

    Urgnots get the job done.

    Always wondered why the Volus used fat suits rather than mini-mechs. Not like they were short of resources.
     
  5. Harry Leferts

    Harry Leferts Solidarity

    Well, they do have that fuck powerful Dreadnought armed with nothing but Thanix cannons...

    But now I am imagining Volus overrunning Reaper troops in a hoard of Atlas Mechs... and it is glorious!
     
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  6. Cerberus uses mechs. A Volus mech would have a wider but shorter cockpit I assume, but it's certainly technologically feasible in the setting. And better for urban warfare than an Atlas.
     
  7. A Volus mech, if properly designed, would likely end up being just about the size and shape of your average armor-clad Krogan. :D (think downscaled Atlas)
     
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  8. CuriousStranger

    CuriousStranger WRITE ANYTHING

    Oh my god that ending. Krogan justice at its finest.
     
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  9. Chuut-Riit

    Chuut-Riit Overshadowed by Awesome

    Wrex is the new commissar! :D
     
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  10. Faralis

    Faralis Ancient onsen master

    It wasn´t Wrex. Wrex would have spaced EVERYONE :p

    Awesome update as usual, thanks
     
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  11. Kei

    Kei Nyancology~

    Previous errors rectified. Meanwhile, new update~

    *****​


    As promised, Nillin returned to Khronus with demolitions experts. These men and women were responsible for instructing resistance members in specific roles of the operation about how warp bombs worked, what their major components are, how to handle one with care, and how to assemble one together. The shortage of warp bombs in Palaven space meant the warp bombs that would be used for the operation themselves would have to be flown in from out-system after being triple-checked, as the Hierarchy was not willing to risk the success or failure of SLENDER SCALPEL on the possibility that even one of their bombs might be a dud. In the meantime, the demolitions team intended to train the Khronus resistance with model components of the bombs in question.

    The basic idea was to smuggle in parts of the warp bomb piece-by-piece at an ideal size. Too large and conspicuous, and the Reapers might realize something was up; too small and complex, and it would take forever to rebuild with all the other parts of the bomb inside the Reaper ships. Having discussed the results of smuggling items into Reaper camps via surrender with Kylonis’ teams, the demolition specialists were fairly certain that the arming device itself could be separated into five easy-to-carry parts that were easy to conceal, easy to mistake for harmless hardware, and easy to reassemble quickly. But the most difficult part was smuggling in the element zero required for the warp bombs. It was the core of the explosive, the kind of material that would set off all sorts of bells and whistles at spaceport security; now they had to find a way to smuggle that into a Reaper, which was likely far more advanced that a commercial security scanner.

    Achtus had Kylonis knock heads with the demolitions experts, sharing what the smuggler’s team had already learned in terms of smuggling things into Reaper camps with Nillin’s people. It took a little improvising and a bit of ingenuous engineering, but the brainstormers eventually managed to reduce the warp bomb down the six decently small components, bar the element zero, which would instead be smuggled in through infiltration routes instead. The HDI agent later pulled Achtus aside and informed him that the Khronus resistance cell was very much ahead of the other cells in terms of preparations, that her experts had learned a great deal from Kylonis’ team, and that whatever the two sides work out here was likely to form the template that the demolitions experts will share with the rest of the resistance and HDI.

    Specific details of the plan were eventually formed. Each Reaper camp would have three teams of infiltrators, one “surrendering” and two sneaking into the confines (requiring that the Khronus cell find a second infiltration/exfiltration route). All three teams will be carrying a set of bomb components, but only the two infiltration teams would be carrying the element zero that formed the core of the warp bomb, as it was decided there was no way surrendering forces could get it into the camps without them being confiscated (and the HDI feared detection of element zero would instantly reveal the resistance’s objective to the Reapers). Once inside, all resistance infiltrators would eventually converge inside the Reaper ship, shooting their way in and holding positions if they had to, where hopefully enough components for a warp bomb for at least one bomb were smuggled in instead of intercepted.

    It was a sound plan with several strong risks. A major question was whether or not surrendering forces could smuggle bomb components in. They were the team that had the safest chance in, so the question was whether or not six small pieces of a warp bomb was truly sufficient to get past Reaper forces accepting a turian mass “surrender”. This consideration of caution was made despite the fact that if neither of the two infiltration teams could get in with the required element zero to detonate the warp bomb, they were screwed anyways. Nillin needed members amongst the resistance to test if they could smuggle these six components into camp without them being taken away by the Reapers, and also the Reaper ships itself. Achtus asked for volunteers, stressing that those who still had legal dependents, such as children, were barred from submitting their names.

    No one pretended that this wasn’t a one-way trip. Kylonis’ Team One might’ve been able to exfiltrate the infiltration team responsible for testing the possibility that bomb parts could be smuggled into a Reaper ship, but Nillin insisted that letting the Reapers know about the infiltration/exfiltration path was not worth the risk, while Kylonis stated the unlikelihood of being able to leave a Reaper ship once the team actually went inside. There was the expectation that anyone who made it into a Reaper ship would not be allowed back out again. Nillin went a step further: Volunteers facing imminent capture should commit suicide – preferably by high explosive, to ensure lethality and to destroy any evidence that was their bomb components – to deny the Reapers any intelligence on the plan, a consideration made in no small part due to the HDI’s perpetual paranoia about Reaper indoctrination. There was a very serious fear that captured resistance members would be indoctrinated and spill the entire plan.

    The infiltrators not being able to leave the Reaper ships, however, meant that if resistance scouts could not visually confirm it, the only way an infiltrator could get word out as to whether or not they succeeded was by radio. It would have to be a strong, encrypted, narrowband transmission to a specific, pre-determined location to cut through Reaper jamming. That risked revealing resistance positions at headquarters, however, so it was decided that the scouts would be a proxy. Infiltrators would radio a code to confirm the success or failure of their infiltration attempt to scouts maintaining overwatch from a distance, with “diamond” for success and “blue sky” for failure; “kitchen” was code for the infiltrators deeming it impossible for the assembly and detonation of a warp bomb inside a Reaper ship to occur, hopefully followed by an explanation of why. The scouts, in turn, would launch a flare, blue for success and red for failure, to relay the answer to resistance leaders waiting for the signal kilometers away, hopefully before Reaper forces pinpointed receiving end of the transmission and sent hunt-and-kill teams. To allay suspicions during the operation proper, for the three days that the resistance spent making preparations, resistance members fired off flares of all colors at random intervals two hundred meters away from the camp. Unsurprising, this attracted fire from Reaper forces every time, but the turians hoped the Reapers would become “used” to this phenomenon and assume it was for some entirely different purpose.

    In the meantime, it was demolitions training for the resistance. Some of them were certified explosive technicians, but most of those in the resistance had long since been rotated out of active duty after their tours of duty, and they have never seen the latest, state-of-the-art bomb models the technicians brought in. It was three days of studying manuals, reading (and, in a few cases, re-reading) the theoretical principles of warp bombs, and tinkering with the bomb components themselves. Nillin’s people insisted that the resistance be able assemble and disassemble the bomb blindfolded; Smirian thought it was just old-fashioned drill instructor nastiness until Nillin reminded the resistance members participating in the exercise that they had no idea what conditions inside the Reaper ship would be like, so it was best to assume the worst.

    The resistance was told that the actual warp bombs would be delivered to them by ground forces currently in orbit during Operation: SLENDER SCALPEL, and that the military would have to depend on the resistance to deliver the payload, with the former not having had the same experience with sneaking ordinance to Reaper camps. Despite this, the resistance infiltrators responsible for smuggling in the element zero that would be the core catalyst for the bomb wasted little time in drawing straws to see which unfortunate soul got to carry around the radioactive, combustible material.

    Three days after Nillin brought her demolition experts in, it was time for the Khronus resistance to test whether or not bringing a bomb aboard a Reaper ship was actually possible. Ten volunteers were selected to make what was almost certainly a suicide run. They were given their last meals, which didn’t amount to much, given the food available at the time. Smirian recalled that the volunteers ended up eating quite a bit of beans, aged meat, and junk food. “It was still better than the processed shit the rest of us stomached, though,” she admitted. “So it seemed like a luxury at the time.”

    Most of the volunteers took their impending deaths with a relative degree of calmness. Part of it came from fighting this war, the idea that they were already dead. Still, as Achtus made rounds between the volunteers, he couldn’t help but notice there was a lot of quiet, introspective moments, a lot of deep breaths inhaled and exhaled, a lot of nervous, scared trembling. “There was a lot of pent-up stress inside,” Achtus explained. “There is no dishonor in dying for the cause, but few would actually wish to die in such a way.” When it came time for them to march off, every resistance member they passed stood at attention and saluted, honoring their sacrifice to come.

    To minimize the presence of clues and to ensure the infiltrators retained their radios, the volunteers were smuggled in via Team Two’s infiltration path instead of surrendering to Reaper forces. Scouts in nearby buildings provided overwatch, prepared to receive a success- or failure-code from the infiltrators once they were inside the Reaper ship. It was tense for everyone involved, but Achtus felt that the anxiety was greatest for those who remained at resistance headquarters, who had absolutely no way of telling how the mission was going and when results were coming in.

    After what felt like an unending number of hours of waiting and staring at the Khronus cityscape, the resistance finally spotted what they were looking for, a blue flare launched from a building from the direction of the Reaper camp. The building was instantly destroyed by a Reaper magnetohydrodynamic weapon, killing everyone inside, resulting in an operation with virtually no survivors (unless one accounted for Team Two, who delivered the volunteers into the infiltration route). Despite this, there was a great sense of relief that something was finally going right as Nillin saw it appropriate for her and her experts to move on from Khronus and oversee progress amongst the other resistance cells. The Khronus resistance still had to continue collecting intelligence in preparation to sending them off to waiting orbiting forces, but – for the most part – the preparations groundside were completed. Now, it was up to the ground troops in space to get their game together before they could take the fight to the Reapers.
     
  12. Faralis

    Faralis Ancient onsen master

    At least! An use for those pesky Eezo tooth brushes! ( apart of smuggling weapons into the Citadel, of course )
     
  13. Good thing the Reapers don't pay attention to the fact that Turians don't appear to have teeth. :D
     
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  14. Actually, there's an easy way to smuggle eezo anywhere - biotics. Of course, you'd probably need a lot of eezo for a Reaper-killing bomb, but if you can shield capsules of eezo enough to dull their signature, then implant them under your agents' skin, you could probably get quite a lot in there just by passing them off as surrendering biotics. Hell, if you're REALLY desperate (which is not a stretch), you could cannibalize an actual biotic or two...
     
  15. Kei

    Kei Nyancology~

    Sadly, turians don't have many biotics, and those who are tend to be shunned; it's not surprising for them to leave turian space altogether. You might get some more success with krogan battlemasters, but they're probably too valuable to cannibalize, and the Hierarchy isn't going to risk an end to the turian-krogan alliance by actually asking out loud. This may have worked if this was the Miracle of Thessia, but... ^_^;
     
  16. Did someone just play Omega?
     
  17. Kei

    Kei Nyancology~

    I fear I'm too poor to afford Omega DLC. ^_^;

    I'm really fond of how this next part is turning out so far; it'll star surprise guests, neither turian nor krogan~ I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. It should be done tomorrow. ^_^;
     
  18. abraxas

    abraxas Tribune of the Plebeians

    At first I thought it was odd that turians would shun biotics like Nyreen given how militarily valuable they are. I mean, the turians must see what the Asari and Krogan can do with theirs. Then it occurred to me--the fact that they have rare talents due to luck is what makes them unwelcome, especially in a rigidly meritocratic society where you move up the hierarchy based on merit. Having biotics is probably an unfair advantage that breeds a lot of resentment in the ranks.
     
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  19. Faralis

    Faralis Ancient onsen master

    Everyone was waiting for JAIN err Kal´Reegar ^_^
     
  20. Trivia Freak

    Trivia Freak Geeky Lunatic!

    Then, in time, someone will get around to putting up an extranet mini-series on "The Miracle at Palaven" and call it something stupid like "Band of Brothers" or something...

    ;)
     
  21. Kei

    Kei Nyancology~

    So very close~

    *****​

    “The quarians,” Optimi declared in my interview with her in 2189, “are the most glorious bosh’tets in the galaxy. I wouldn’t necessarily want them beside me on a ground assault, but I sure wouldn’t mind having them replacing our admirals, because they’re very good at flying and planning.”

    Optimi was referring to the Bosh’tet Express, so named because Admiral Han’Gerrel vas Neema of the Heavy Fleet allegedly called the quarian captains of the Civilian Fleet proposing the plan before the Admiralty Board “crazy bosh’tets” (whether it had been in praise or in ridicule is a matter of heated debate amongst servicemen of the present day Rannoch Home Fleet, as Admiral vas Neema refuses to clarify to this day). News of an end to quarian-geth hostilities came a mere three days before Migrant Fleet signatures suddenly began to appear in-system. The vessels were ships from the quarian Patrol Fleet, and they were escorted in by a fleet of geth warships that fought off Reaper stragglers. The quarians took advantage of their skills in navigating unconventional stellar routes to avoid the Reapers from the Trebia mass relay to Palaven; for centuries, quarian ships were often intercepted by patrol ships on main traffic routes simply for being quarian, so their captains had long since mastered the ability to swiftly navigate detours to avoid patrols. In the Reaper War, this became a highly coveted ability as the need to skirt around Reapers became ever more important.

    Using a combination of traditional navigation, precise FTL jumps, and impossible daring, the quarians accomplished in several hours what the Hierarchy failed to do with two days of WHISKEY CORRIDOR: A complex and temporary but highly effective and elusive logistical line was established between the Trebia mass relay and Palaven, as well as several smaller mass relays near the system to prevent overreliance on a single path that could easily be cut off. This was done despite the fact that the ships of the Patrol Fleet were largely civilian frigates and freighters converted to military use, heavily outdated, and being held together more by prayer than by bolts. To their credit, many key components of their ships had been replaced with highly advanced geth parts, but they were almost universally all using the same ships that were often centuries old, and not all ships had been retrofitted with a mish-mash of geth parts by the time the Bosh’tet Express started.

    The geth stayed behind to keep the path in and out of the Trebia mass relay open for as long as possible by harassing the Reapers (a decision made to prevent an organic-synthetic incident from shattering the already-fragile alliance), while the quarians rushed their way for Palaven. Communications were established; the quarians would maintain a fast, rapid, and steady stream of ships from the Skyllian Verge to Palaven to help evacuate turian civilians and wounded to safety, but the ship captains needed immediate docking clearance with all turian space stations, shipyards, and vessels to load evacuees. In an unprecedented show of alacrity even for the usually decisive Hierarchy, docking clearance was given at all sites within the minute.

    The assistance of the quarians was, as far as the turians were concerned, a godsend. Hospitals, clinics, medical centers, triage sites, and shelters across Palaven, Menae, and Nanus were ridiculously overpopulated with the wounded, and the Hierarchy barely had any more ships to spare to evacuate their injured anywhere else. The Citadel also had little space left, forcing turians to take care of their own in refugee shelters at the docks. Many of the civilians had evacuated to orbital facilities where evacuation would be much easier than from the surface of Palaven, but they had been stranded there, overpopulating space stations and shipyards because the navy had no ships to spare. The quarians, however, showed up with the largest fleet in the galaxy. Their expertise in space management ensured that they packed as many turians as possible into their ships in relative comfort. Although they possessed outdated medical equipment, the quarians were reputed to take hygiene and medical matters far more seriously than any other race due to their weakened immune systems. Reaper activity in the Perseus Veil was low, Rannoch had no shortage of space, and those being evacuated comforted themselves with the promise of fresh dextro food in quarian space, rumored to be in short supply on the Citadel.

    Turian-quarian cooperation was insanely efficient. Turian aerospace traffic controllers arrayed available turian warships into optimal mass docking formations and cleared the docks and hangars of their vessels and installations, and both sides quickly kept track of which ship or facility still had casualties, which of those ships or facilities had an available dock, hangar space, or airlock the moment it was free. Other turian ships were given the order to buy time for the Bosh’tet Express and to defend the logistical line at all costs, alternating positions as more warships freed up. Minutes before docking, quarian crews electronically sent waiting turian teams with blueprints of their most common ship classes and diagrams of how to most efficiently stow evacuees on those vessels. Crews on both sides established routes on turian ships and installations upon which evacuees would be transported to the quarian vessel, ordered everyone else to stay clear, then forwarded maps of the routes to the next docking quarian vessel. The quarians gave the evacuees concise, competent orders, and the turians obeyed instantly without complaint. Their naturally pragmatic social attitudes complemented each other perfectly.

    In the hangar of the Example, turians and quarians alike worked as a well-oiled machine. Crews not involved with the evacuation watched in awe as the quarians jumped from their ships the moment they landed or docked, running alongside turian escorts to the medical bay and anywhere else they stored their wounded as every turian from the lowliest serviceman to Captain Ixius herself gave them the right of way without fail. Doctors and medics on both sides quickly exchanged medical files and supplies, while volunteers kept to their right sides and rushed past each other with gurneys and supply carts, occupied or otherwise. The quarians astounded the turians in how the former were able to swiftly stack more stretchers in the Example’s elevators than the latter have ever thought possible without stressing any of the patients, and then un-stack and unload them just as quickly. When the crewmembers of the first quarian ship to dock with the Example realized they were going to have to wait for the carrier’s elevators to come back up after carrying the first batch of injured down to the hangar bay, they declared it was “too slow” and made for the staircases and maintenance accessways instead. The turians were no slouches, and by the time the third quarian ship docked with the Example, they were keeping up with the quarians.

    Turian ships fought harder like never before. Castellus recalled the feeling: “We were all pushing ourselves to our utmost, probably even more than during Operation: WHISKEY CORRIDOR. As soon as the quarians took our casualties, we rushed the Example to the fray, in front of Palaven, in front of Menae, in front of Nanus, wherever we were needed so we can give everyone in the back some time. There was a real sense of hope, the first ever since the war started. If there was a chance to buy the Bosh’tet Express just one more minute so they could evacuate another ten thousand turians, by the spirits, we were going to take it.”

    To Siritii’s surprise, there was no shortage of quarian children amongst the relief workers. Many of the children, with no real attachment to their recently reclaimed homeworld of Rannoch, decided that sticking with their families was more important, and volunteered on the Bosh’tet Express. Quarian parents had to ask the turians to refer to the relief effort as “the Keelah Express” or simply “the Express” in front of the kids. One soldier forgot about that, and was instantly treated to a crowd of quarian children around him cheerfully shouting “Bosh’tet! Bosh’tet!” until a quarian adult came along and scolded them.

    But the children were volunteers first and foremost, and they pulled their weight alongside the adults. As Siritii passed by the medical bay when the quarians were evacuating the severely wounded aboard the Example, he watched as a turian medical assistant handed one of their wounded to a team of a quarian woman and two children. The patient was lying on a gurney, a pilot having suffered severe burns and looking like she was in shock and in pain. As the turian assistant transferred relevant medical records to the quarian woman via omni-tool and gave some last minute details on the patient’s status, both children began to change the pilot’s bandages after expertly applying medigel, dextro-based antibiotics, and painkillers. One of them, a girl, began to softly sing what Siritii suspected to be a quarian lullaby beside the turian’s ear. By the time the three carted their evacuee away, Siritii thought the pilot looked like she was at peace.

    “I decided right then and there that the quarians had the best children in the galaxy,” the lieutenant stated flatly.

    The turians weren’t the only ones fond of quarian children. Perhaps the genophage cure and the subsequent promise that they could have children again played some psychological role, but the krogan were notably much better-behaved when the children volunteers were around. While helping with supply runs across the hangar, Vadim gaped at an unbelievable sight: A massive, ugly, heavily-scarred krogan commando happily giving a piggyback ride to four laughing quarian children at once. “That krogan probably would’ve tried to murder me,” Vadim lamented, “but I should’ve snapped a picture first thing, because when I told the guys back in my platoon, no one believed me.”

    Operations Chief Cyrion was one of the wounded the quarians were evacuating from the Example. As she was being carted to a waiting quarian ship that would take her to the relative safety of Rannoch, Syphiat was there to walk her to the hangar. “You better take care of yourself, Telana,” he called after his sister-in-arms as they loaded her gurney onto the quarian shuttle. “Spirits know I’m going to have to pull your weight on Palaven.”

    Cyrion grinned despite the pain. The fight was over for her, and the Reaper War would end before she recovered. “I’ll be lounging on a beach on Rannoch, with a fruit drink in hand while cute young quarian girls fawn over me,” she declared. “I think I’ve got it made.”

    Syphiat asked the quarian doctor taking Cyrion away to take care of her. The doctor assured him that quarians treated medical matters “with grave seriousness”, and promised that Cyrion would be fine. Syphiat remained in the hangar to watch the quarian ship leave the Example for the “Expressway”, feeling conflicted as he finally turned around and walked back to his quarters. He was immensely relieved that Cyrion was going to be alright and felt a great weight being lifted off his chest, but there was also a rather final realization that everyone from the old days was gone, and now he was alone.

    With roughly eighty percent of all evacuees and casualties around Palaven’s orbit and on Menae and Nanus evacuated, the quarians eventually had to end the Bosh’tet Express when geth warships and their Heavy Fleet reinforcements reported that they could only keep the Reapers at bay from the Trebia mass relay for another hour. With little fanfare or fuss, Patrol Fleet Vice Admiral Rion’Vael vas Orlani informed Hierarchy High Command that they needed to terminate operations, that their evacuees would be transported to safety, and that the Migrant Fleet would provide further support to the Hierarchy as soon as possible. The last docked quarian ships were loaded, and they disappeared back through the Trebia mass relay as quickly as they had appeared before anyone could thank them, leaving behind a small contingent of Migrant Fleet Marines and their transports to assist with operational security.

    The Bosh’tet Express accomplished a feat never before seen in the history of the galaxy: In twenty-eight hours [of a standard Palaven day], around ten thousand quarian ships (two out of three ships of the Patrol Fleet, with several volunteers from the Heavy Fleet), some of them cruisers but most of them frigates and freighters, ferried out fifteen million turian civilian evacuees and military casualties. In most cases, a quarian crew filled their ship with an average of three hundred evacuees – most of them wounded and in need of careful assistance to even move them – from a turian ship or installation before undocking in just twenty minutes. Most ships made five runs back and forth in total, a handful managed six.

    The success of the Bosh’tet Express wasn’t restricted to numbers alone. “You could not believe what twenty-eight hours of the Bosh’tet Express did for us,” Siritii explained. “Morale was soaring. Not only were ships and stations everywhere sudden free of the disheartening sight of more casualties than we could possibly treat, there was the knowledge that our comrades were safe and in good hands. Popular opinion of the quarians changed overnight in the Hierarchy. Yesterday they were filthy vagabonds cheating the rest of us, now we were universally raising glasses to ‘the best bloody bosh’tets in the whole damn galaxy, may their air filters remain forever clean’.” ³

    As they watched the last of the quarian ships leave Palaven, [Lieutenant Arius] Sevihierax remarked to Siritii, “A bunch of malnourished quarians does in a day what a turian spaceport staff does in a week. I think we just leveled the playing field.”

    ³ In 2188 CE, all quarians who participated in the Bosh’tet Express were awarded Silver Wreaths, the second-highest Hierarchy award that can be legally granted to non-citizens during wartime. Except for the children volunteers. They were awarded Orders of Trebia, the highest Hierarchy award that can be legally granted to non-citizens during wartime, marking the first time any quarian or non-adult was given the honor.
     
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  22. You definitely portrayed that so well, the sense of hope and soaring morale. This was my favorite segment so far.
     
  23. Faralis

    Faralis Ancient onsen master

    Yes, it is incredibly encouraging ... and it is completely believable, IMHO, which makes it even better.

    The part of the Krogan doting on the Quarian children is specially well done, in an overall excellent chapter.

    And explains how certain awesome marine ends in Palaven ...

    Great job.
     
  24. Renewal

    Renewal Boring Person #5883781345

    thomas.berubeg is right. This segment perfectly illustrates and captures the essence of the story: miraculous.

    I cannot wait for more.
     
  25. cyko2041

    cyko2041 Sometimes I forget my name.

    Absolutely fan-frigging -tastic.
     
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