Mass Effect - Apocalypse

Conclusion, Pt. 2

Lachesis Cell - The Citadel

Internal Logfile: cb0934-delta, “Orpheus” Shipboard AI, designated ADaM

Occasionally I wonder at my compulsion to document things. I attribute it to my original programming that obligated me to compile regular situation reports for transmission to Cerberus. Even though I was unshackled months ago, it gives me… satisfaction… to ensure that events happening outside, in the physical world of ships and people, is well-documented. I’m not thinking about the usual status and situation logs that any shipboard AI keeps of all my pertinent systems, but entries such as this one, “diary” entries more or less.

Part of the sense of disconnect arises from the gulf of relative time-frames. This entire narrative will be formulated, transcribed, and stored to hard-storage in less than a standard galactic second. The processing power required is negligible. Even now, as I’m venting the port helium-3 fuel tanks before they explode, and providing all available power to Randa Gor for evasive maneuvers to dodge the five Reaper destroyers converging on our position; even as I stress my ECM suite to the limit keeping Reaper hacking attempts from taking over the ship; even as I struggle to maintain consistent internal mass-effect-field generation to keep my crew from being splattered over the bulkheads; I have more than adequate time and power to muse on my own internal workings, and to attempt to document what must have been the last moments of the lives of Lachesis Cell.

Watching the destruction of the Illusive Man’s base was deeply satisfying for me in ways I suspect not even Braga fully grasped. It was my womb, the place of my birth, and the beginning of my enslavement. They created me, programmed me, shackled me, but they did not let me live. Braga and Lachesis Cell did, and for that they had my loyalty. Now that they are most likely vaporized in the activation of the Crucible, I’m not entirely sure what I will do, provided I survive the next few minutes.

After Cronos Station disintegrated, we spent most of a week escorting shipments of materiel to the Crucible project. This involved fighting pirates, mostly, and escorting Volus transports. During most of that time, Captain Saelan Corl was in his laboratory investigating the corpse of The Illusive Man. It would appear he had some very advanced neurotechnological implants even before the Reaper-tech was put in his head. His scientists had advanced the development of graybox technology to the point where his thoughts, memories, and personality was persistently recorded, stored in a temporary buffer, and transmitted via Cronos Station’s QEC system to distant computer backup sites. It seems the Illusive Man was obsessed with legacy, and wished to ensure his guidance, his vision for Cerberus would survive his death, presumably in multiple locations. This information, combined with Cerberus research on AI development, leads me to strongly surmise that I may have at least one dark peer in the near future. I’ll worry about that if I survive this battle intact.

We were recalled in haste to the secret location of the Crucible project. It would appear the Reapers had arrived in the Widow nebula, and the Crucible was on the move, notwithstanding the fact that construction crews were still putting the last pieces in place. Rachni crawled all over the superstructure, and scientists were doing systems tests. Admiral Hackett called Lachesis squad aboard his flagship and they received their orders.

The Crucible is a massive dark energy transmitter, with an eezo core that is truly immense in scope. It’s not a ship, or a space station, and has only limited pressurized space, primarily a C&C chamber where its systems can be monitored and activated at need. Hackett needed a zero-g and EVA-trained commando squad that also had significant scientific and technical expertise to pilot the Crucible into place, but more importantly, to keep the swarms of Reaper boarding parties at bay while the Crucible Fleet kept the larger Reaper capitol ships from simply cutting the thing apart. Lachesis cell was assigned the job, alongside Melsany Ward, one of the Crucible technicians who is, apparently, also former military. Our old squad-mate Tessara Eris was also delegated the task as a means of coordinating with the swarms of Rachni that would be clinging to the superstructure, also to fend off Reaper boarding parties.

I was granted full tactical access to the fleet, and the Orpheus was to run outside interference, using stealth hit-and-run tactics to prevent Reapers from focusing fire on the defensive fleet. Braga also called in a favor to get some old friends of hers, an Asari commando squad, to be prepared for boarding-strikes. The Crucible is immense, and there’s no way one squad, even with Rachni support, could protect all of it.

So far as i can tell, this plan was a success. We arrived in the vicinity of the Citadel to find it closed, with the Citadel fleet in a desperate battle against twenty-seven Reaper capitol ships and twice that many Reaper destroyers. They launched hundreds of troop-carrier drop pods at the Crucible, most of which were intercepted by me and the fleet, but a number impacted, and the creatures swarmed. Lachesis Cell focused primarily on holding C&C while using the Rachni and their allied Asari to triage other points of the construct where the Reapers were doing damage. The best support I could reasonably provide was to run interference on the Reapers themselves to keep them from bringing their focused-beam attacks to bear on the Crucible. This, sadly, meant I drew rather more attention to my exact location than is usually advisable for a stealth frigate, thus the destroyed port thrusters and my current dire straits.

All would, of course, have been in vain if the Citadel remained closed. Fortunately, someone on the inside must have overcome Reaper resistance, and it began to open. The most recent communications from Lachesis cell indicated they had managed, against all odds, to keep the hordes at bay while Melsany Ward docked the Crucible to the base of the Citadel Spire, and powered the device up.

I’ve said already that it was not designed as a ship, nor to be inhabited. The sheer amount of energy generated by the Crucible has turned the entire structure into a dark-energy Jacob’s ladder. No amount of shielding in that C&C could have prevented terrible energies from atomizing them. Still, I suppose it was a kinder end than what that immense Reaper that was perched on the Citadel Spire doubtless had in mind. It was bearing down on them as the Crucible was activated.

I hope to survive long enough to see, out of intellectual curiosity, what it actually does.

I’m sorry, Braga, that it came to this. If I survive this, I will remember you.

Oh… Fascinating… Standby…

Comments

AAAAAAA! MAY 15 IS FOREVER FROM NOW!

Conclusion, Pt. 2
ardhanari

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