Friday, December 28, 2012

Rambling - Non-Orbital Entertainment Dragons

Easily one of my favorite cinematic moments.
Powerful, memorable, and few words to muck it up.

Emotion, from the perspective of a writer, is an interesting thing; at once inescapably critical to most kinds of fiction and simultaneously impossible to actually describe.

The kind of fiction I’m talking about, of course, is narrative fiction involving specific characters and intended to make the reader feel certain ways and possibly think about certain things.  More vague, broad, or meta-based fiction might not involve emotion, or might only hint at small amounts of emotion; it might simply describe a fictional world, or the ever-famous mid-millennium book which describes fictional flora and fauna.  Yet nearly any book which tells a story about characters must inevitably involve emotion at some level, most often at its core.  We can’t be fully invested in a story if we don’t care about the characters in its telling, and we can’t really care about them if we don’t understand what they’re going through.  Without emotion, more specifically without the reader’s emotions in empathy for the book’s characters, a fictional narrative is stripped of any power it might have had.

Yet at the same time, emotion is impossible to actually describe.  I can describe what a character looks like to the last exacting detail.  I can describe their environment far and near.  I can detail every political, economic, and cultural movement of their world.  I can even describe every last second of a character’s background if necessary.  None of that, however, has any way of ever describing the emotions that a character, or any other character in their world, goes through.

An emotion is not actually a thing which can be described.  When I feel anguish I know exactly what it is and I can identify it, but I can never describe it to someone else.  I can, of course, say “the anguish was crushing, I barely ate for days,” but that doesn’t describe my anguish.  It only describes my reaction to my anguish.  There is no set of stimuli that I can point to and say “that is anguish,” there is no physical representation of anguish with which other people can identify, and therefore nothing for me to describe.  It’s the same principle as color, really; I have no way of knowing whether or not the color purple I see is the same color that you see.  Just like I can never describe purple without saying “it had a dark purple hue that shimmered bright violet in the right light,” or just “it was purple,” I can never describe an emotion.

So what is a writer to do?  For starters, a character’s reactions are literally everything.  If emotion is the core of a good piece of fictional narrative, yet we can’t describe the emotions themselves, then each character’s reactions to their own emotions are the most important tool in any writer’s skillset.  To overdo it makes the emotion unbelievable or perhaps gives the impression of the wrong emotion.  To underdo it leaves only bland emptiness, and lack of emotion is what kills a story.  Yet if I do things correctly, if my characters react just right, then I don’t have to be able to describe an emotion itself.  If everything is right then a reader will understand the anguish being felt by a character or, in a perfect world, feel an echo of that anguish in response.  When my words work correctly, I don’t have to describe joy, hate, love, fear, anguish, curiosity, depression, or any other emotion that a character goes through; their reactions should tell my reader everything.


Copyright 2012 by J.L. V'Tar
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Excerpt - Short Fire (Working Draft)

What follows is an excerpt from the book I'm currently writing.  This represents a work very very much in progress, and may not represent anything about the final product.


Captain Inga Mironovna
"Pull in close, find cover," Inga broadcast to her remaining frigates.  Each quickly maneuvered to match her trajectory and fired their primary propulsion.  As they continued forward, each drifted close to the Drückend, taking position between firing arcs of the dreadnaught’s powerful weaponry.  The Protectorate frigates had no defenses that could withstand the sheer energy output of a dreadnaught, and had no chance but to retreat for the moment.

"Captain, with a slight adjustment we’ll have a shot at the Chronos," spoke up an Ensign at tactical.  He opened up a display that Inga could see, and tossed it over to her for inspection.  She saw their current trajectory, saw the Ensign’s recommended course adjustment, and recognized it as a clear shot to hit the Chronos directly on his port starboard quarter, just along the ventral line as he drifted upward for a clear shot at the only dreadnaught already on station at the giant station behind them.

She couldn’t tell if the Chronos had a shot just yet, that wouldn’t become clear for another few seconds, but she didn’t have time to find out.  What she did know was that hitting the Chronos would force the Protectorate dreadnaughts to turn and face her, when what she wanted was to push them closer to the target that none of them wanted to hurt.

"Negative, Ensign," Inga said, and dismissed the new holo-display with a wave of her hand.  She spoke to the Drückend then.  "Drift port, eight degrees, turn starboard three, up two, tell me when you have a firing solution this cruiser," she pointed at the main holo-display.  Her finger touched the image of a fleet cruiser hovering just above and behind the three Protectorate dreadnaughts that was supporting them with a blistering wave of missiles against the CSN defensive group.  "Tactical, fire cannons one and four the instant Drückend reports we have a firing solution."

"Aye Captain," the lead tactical officer replied, and even as she spoke she sat up straight in her seat.  "Incoming heavy!"

"Brace!"  Commander Graves shouted, but the order was unnecessary as everyone saw the holo-display of swarms of missiles coming in.  The frigate group had mustered their efforts and fired a single barrage of missiles all at once.  Watching the Drückend maneuver to fire on its sister ship, one of the Protectorate missile cruisers had also added its firepower to the mix; launching more missiles alone than the frigates managed all together.  Everyone on the bridge grabbed onto something, Inga held onto a bit of railing with a firm grip.  She and Graves exchanged a look, and within a heartbeat the ship began to rock with heavy missile fire.

The Drückend bristled with many point-defense cannons, but there were simply too many missiles to pick off all at once.  Deflector arrays served well, sending some missiles careening off into space, but still some got through even that.  Nuclear fire erupted across the ship’s armor, billowing out in massive spheres of white-hot energy.  CSN frigates were already peeling away to escape the blasts, but some caught enough of the blasts to suffer considerable damage, and the Drückend rocked heavily.  The ship’s armor held, but all throughout the ship crew that hadn’t braced were thrown about like trash, some bulkheads and decks buckled, and alarms began to scream through the corridors.

"Firing solution," the Drückend announced calmly above the din in its hybrid voice.

"Fire!"  Inga shouted above the din of explosions, even as the tactical officer was already slamming her hand on the firing ring.

Just as the ship had rocked under the missile explosions, now it surged with the energy of firing two of its main guns.  Every person on board felt the power of just two of the Drückend’s six cannons as it hurtled from the aft engines through the length of the ship and out the nose; bright white light erupted from the ship’s front as two of the charged-particle rails launched their payload.  So incredible was the force of the launch, that the dreadnaught’s forward momentum was severely reduced.  Inga’s eyes never left the points of light that launched from her ship, watching as they streaked across the battlespace, incinerated a small cluster of Protectorate fighters, and ripped into the enemy cruiser.

The cruiser’s defensive shields failed, its deflector arrays were ignored, and its armor plating buckled under the sheer energy and impact of those two shots.  The ship practically imploded, knocked to the side by the impact and folded nearly in half as the shots caught it amidships.  Less than a second later the ship’s reactors erupted, and all that remained of the ship burst into a bright blue ball of energy that sent chunks of the giant starship careening through the stars.  Other nearby craft were blown away from the ship by the force of the explosion, or turned away in fear, as all were bombarded by pieces of armor plating, interior structure, and shredded chunks of crew.

"Adjust heading, fire at will!"  Inga cried above the din, pointing her finger at the missile cruiser that had launched its salvo at her ship.

The Drückend’s port and ventral particle cannons opened fire, sending a withering barrage of energy at the offending missile frigate, while the starboard and dorsal cannons followed suit and ripped into the Protectorate frigate formation.  Still holding strong against the barrage of missiles, the dreadnaught began to turn toward its new target.


Copyright 2012 J.L. V'Tar
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rambling - Cut Tong Relaxing

It happened, finally.  After more than three decades of thought, the vast majority of which was spent dreaming and wishing and scheming and flailing and failing, I got paid money for my words.  The Amazon deposit hit my account.  Thirteen United States dollars, and fifteen cents.

No, it isn't much.  It's practically nothing, and yet it's everything.  Thirteen dollars is everything I've ever wanted.  Some people tell me I shouldn't care about whether or not anyone likes my work, buys it, or even reads it.  They tell me I should write for myself and everyone else be damned.  I say that, with all due disrespect, everyone who has told me that can go sit on a spike.  Sit on it and like it.

Because I don't write for the money.  I write so I can write.  So I don't have to do anything else, because everything else drives me to death.  When I write I feel everything, I'm happy and excited and sad, I'm overjoyed, I'm terrified, I'm everything necessary for my books, because I feel my characters.  It's a strange place when I write, in my head, where I can be terrified or enraged and enjoy every second of it, because it's the moment of framing a story that I can see so clearly, the joy of trying to put it to words in a way other people can follow and participate in their own telling.

Writing code, and designing games, give me the same sense of satisfaction and glory (sure, that was a bit hyperbolic, but I'm allowed to indulge right now).

They're different from how I feel when I do anything else.  Any so-called "productive" activity that I am expected to perform for one reason or another.  Because I need to earn money, because I'm worth less if I don't, because I've been given responsibility.  It's all part of a silly little mass-mind machine we've created for ourselves and I want no part in it.  I can feel it around me when I work a day job, any day job.  I can see the wheels turning, the gears grinding, the oil slicking it all to work with such imperfect motion.  If a machine could be a zombie, it would be our current society.  I want no part of it.

Well today I was paid money for my creativity.  It isn't much.  It's pathetic, unhelpful, and it won't go very far at all, but I got it for my words.  I didn't get it by smiling at people I hate, doing things for people when I'd rather spit in their faces and tell them what I think of their ridiculous little expectations.  I got it by telling one of the so very many stories in my head.

Looking at my bank statement, it's painful to see that little deposit sitting there, sandwiched so inconveniently as it is between a deposit from my day job (2,122% of my writing money) and one of several bills that I have to pay every month (725% of my writing money).

It's not a start.  It's not even the starting line.  That happened about fifteen years ago, and I've been in the thick of it ever since.  I just didn't know it until now.  Didn't know that this is what I do.  Everything else is just a maddening, insulting thing that must be endured.  My writing money will equal the money from shit day jobs, eventually.  Then it will exceed.

I don't write for validation, or because I want people to like me.  I write because I can't tolerate what the rest of you seem perfectly content to tolerate.  I'm not built like you.  Sometimes it burns, and I hope you enjoy that enough to buy it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Content - The Charge

I'm published again!  More importantly, this time it's a full-fledged novel.

Last November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month.  I'd never heard of it before, until Tracy Hickman mentioned it in a facebook post.  The idea fascinated me, and I immediately decided to participate.  I started late, so I forced myself to write more than the minimum.  Every time I missed a day, I increased the minimum words per day from then forward.  By the time I reached my 50k words, I was at least a couple days ahead of schedule.

So here we are, and that book is finally published.  Given the way in which it was written, it fits my personal style quite well.  What the characters do is more important than what the plot dictates.  Logic and consistency with the characters and the world is something I worked hard to maintain.  I also tried to make a few points, using my characters, about things I find kind of stupid within the wider world of fiction (be that movies, games, or books). We'll see if anyone actually cares about my hack attempts at making a statement.

Enough Rambling!  Where's the book?

Want to buy my book?  Click here!  Only costs you $3, and I get a percentage of each copy sold.  It's a fantasy book set in an original world.  A seasonal mercenary named Mirron, wielding a glaive and known for being strangely reptilian, finds herself thrust into an adventure that is not her own.  She ends up being the sole guardian of a helpless infant, pursued by an assassin queen and her husband known only as Butcher.  Guided by fairies and desperation, Mirron has to try to find some where safe to take a helpless infant so she can safely return to her own family.

Want to do something really awesome for me though?  Tell other people about my book!  Tell your friends, your coworkers, your neighbor lady down the street, even tell that crazy guy at the laundromat you see every few weeks with the weird ear lint.

Tell everyone.  Do it.


Like my words?  Buy my stuff!
More importantly; tell other people about my work!

Feeding Crystal Proven Circles

Several seconds before beginning writing this post, I uploaded my second book, my first full-length novel, to amazon.  The book is now in review, and we'll see if anything actually comes of it.  I'm assuming that someone reads the book, which means I get to find out whether or not they will allow some of the content within the book itself.  Which is, of course, one of the two primary issues about which I am currently fretting.

The first and most immediate worry, I have no idea whether amazon will actually allow my book through whatever screening process they have in place.

My book was written with several goals in mind, and among those is the goal of addressing what I see as a problem in the portrayal of female sexuality in fiction.  Now whether or not my own portrayal of the main character's sexuality is in any way offensive to some people's idea of what female sexuality, is not, or should be, I am more concerned with attempting to make my book say something about the problem as I see it.  The sexuality of women in fiction generally follows a particular pattern.  Good women are as close to virginal as possible and are generally not interested in anything that the mainstream might consider "weird."  Only evil, crazy, traitorous, or otherwise "not the good girl" are promiscuous and/or interested in sexual activity outside the primary "norm."  I find this incredibly stupid.

As such, two of the characters in my book are each of a particular bent.  The villainous female is as monogomous and rather straight-laced (at least sexually) as she could possibly get.  By contrast, our heroine is very sexually active with multiple individuals throughout the book, and she's also sexually deviant in several ways.  This manifests itself in the presence of two sex scenes.  My book does not "cut to the curtains," "fade to black," or anything of the sort.

The presence of these sex scenes is where I see the real problem coming into play.  One of the other problems that I wanted to directly address with my book was the ridiculous way in which my country views and treats sexuality in contrast to violence.  Gunfire, swordplay, torture, brutal beatings, explosions, fiery deaths, drowning, and all manner of other violent activities are regularly portrayed and even glorified.  Yet what happens when we get to the sex scene?  We cut to the curtains, fade to black, and many other methods of glossing over the intimacy of human beings.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the violence.  I love me some explosions, and I am as big a fan of violence in movies and video games as the next person, for many reasons.  Yet I'm equally a fan of the opposite side of that equation.  Violence as depicted in fiction is pain, suffering, and misery.  Why is it perfectly acceptable to show that, but not acceptable to show the opposite?  People enjoying their sexuality, enjoying another person, whether it's romantic or not.  So, I deliberately included both in my book.  Violence because it's a fantasy action adventure.  Sex because I think to show one end of the scale and not the other is quite literally the definition of imbalance.

To be clear, it's not porn.  I didn't write anything overly graphic.  The action scenes in my book are detailed, and occasionally the scenes are pretty brutal, yet the sex scenes are treated with delicacy and not nearly the same level of detail.  Whereas fight scenes stretch for a whole chapter more or less, the sex scenes are each several paragraphs.  Still, even with this, because of the way in which I know my society treats sexuality, I find myself wondering if that will be too much.

I've been told, by people who publish on amazon regularly, that I have nothing to worry about.  Specifically, I've even spoken to a writer of erotica who assures me that her books are published without incident.  So I likely am worrying about nothing.

Yet the second (but most important) worry, assuming amazon does allow my work through their filters it's not them I'm actually submitting my work to.  I'm submitting it to the public.  I am presenting my work to the world to be judged.  I poured my heart into written form, and now I will soon hold it out to the world and ask them to judge it.

If people love it, that will be horrifying in and of itself.  I will be amazed and overjoyed, of course.  Yet at that point will come the abject terror of repeating the process.  Writing another book that people enjoy.  It is possible to accidentally make something good.  Doing it on purpose is something else.

If people hate it, of course that is a major terror.  I'm the kind of writer who can't write something that isn't me.  My stories are very personal, and so when some Anonymous declares my work a bunch of amateurish crap or otherwise rips it apart, I'm not sure how I will react.

Of course, the worst possible terror is that there will be no reaction at all.  No one will read it.  Nothing at all will happen.  Just as nothing has ever happened, and my work has never been noticed.  Everywhere.  Every time.  It becomes rather crushing.


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More importantly; tell other people about my work!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Feeling That Punch in the Gut

It's been about three months now, just a day over I think, since I finished Mass Effect 3.

The end of the Mass Effect trilogy has completely thrown me for a loop.  Enough even to affect my writing schedule and the progress I make on creative works in general.  Yes, this is completely pathetic.  I understand that, and I admit it.  Doesn't make it any less of a reality for my overly-attached psyche.  I grew to love the Mass Effect franchise right to its very core.  I was excited and eager to see the end of Samantha's story (I'm calling her Samantha, not Shepard, it's my blog, eat it).  I was equally excited and eager to see further adventures of other characters within the wider narrative.

That, when everything is said and done, is what it all comes down to.  At least, for me.

I love Sam's story.  Her interactions with the crew of the Normandy, and all those wonderful characters who circulated in and out of the broad story spanning the trilogy, are what made those three games so powerful.  I won't bother going into the specifics, since I'm hoping anyone who might read this would understand completely.  Even now, if you're who I hope you are, you can easily think of at least a dozen touching, funny, badass, horrifying, or sad moments involving any of the characters.  So we don't need to go there; we've already arrived.  The story of Commander Shepard and her friends is what it is.

Yet, as I said, I love the setting as a whole.  The technology, cultures, even the politics of the setting fascinated me from the very first few hours of Mass Effect.  I was excited to see the stories of other people throughout the galaxy.  It's one reason the multiplayer of ME3 is so exciting to me; other heroes doing their part to fight the Reapers.  I was eager to see the exploits of soldiers throughout the galaxy go on their own adventures trying to bring things back under control after the Reaper invasion.  I wanted to see bounty hunters with their own rough-and-tumble ships chasing batarians through Alliance space.  I wanted an intricate murder mystery set entirely on the Citadel.  I wanted legends of the great Commander Shepard to inspire young heroes throughout the galaxy, sending them on their own adventures across uncharted regions of space on unexplored planets.  I wanted more!

But now, we won't get more.  Sure, according to Bioware, there will be more Mass Effect games.  They've said from the beginning that the trilogy would be the entirety of Shepard's story, but that they would make other games in the same setting.  What they didn't say was that the end of Shepard's trilogy would bring an end to the entire setting as we know it.

Soldiers now can't bring things under control, because they have no Mass Relays to go anywhere.  Bounty hunters and young would-be heroes suffer the same problem.  Mass Effect, as we know the setting, no longer exists in any form.  That, of course, assumes the destruction of each Relay didn't obliterate all life in its respective star system (as they are demonstrated to do upon death).

What I'm trying to get at, and using far too many words to do so, is that the ending of Mass Effect 3 didn't bother me for any story, choice, character, or plot reasons.  Those all exist, and are bothersome.  Yet I could have overlooked them.  They'd have angered me as much as they do, but I could have gotten past them.  The real kick in the gut as I watched the credits roll, I've come to realize, was the understanding that there is no more Mass Effect.  We can't have more.  If there are any more games set in the franchise, they'll have to either be set during the existing trilogy or, if post-Reaper Invasion, be completely unrecognizable to the Mass Effect we know.  Neither of these are satisfying.

The former option doesn't satisfy because we now know exactly how hopeless any struggle for hope really is.  It's one thing I keep hearing from other Mass Effect fans.  Some are perfectly able to replay the trilogy without a hitch but many others, myself included, are unable to do so.  My enjoyment of the moments within the games aren't diluted in any way, but I can't find any hope in them at all because I know that, in the end, Mass Effect will die completely.  It will end.  There is literally no hope.

Not to mention, of course, the problem of piling story after story onto the same frame of time.  The Star Wars franchise has seen its share of this problem.

The latter option doesn't satisfy because if we play a Mass Effect game, we want to play a fucking Mass Effect game.  I know I do, at least.  A setting where synthetic and organic life are one type of super-being sounds really interesting, but it isn't Mass Effect.  A setting in which all synthetic life has been obliterated sounds boring, and isn't Mass Effect.  A setting wherein synthetics have been mind-controlled to ambiguous, and it isn't Mass Effect.  A galaxy without Mass Relays is not Mass Effect.  Fuck, the Relays have been one of the primary identifying images of the franchise since inception.

So there.  That's what my problem really is with the ending to Mass Effect 3, as I've come to identify it.  I suppose I owe Bioware some kind of gratitude, in a strange way.  I've been developing my own settings, of course, with the intent of ending the setting itself in a final and unalterable way.  This, I feel, is no longer something I can do.  When I first thought of it, I thought it sounded like a really fascinating idea.  I imagined it would stimulate dialogue about possibilities, shock and delight people who thought it wouldn't really happen, and shake my readers out of complacency in an interesting way because normally the heroes always save the day.  I can't do that now.  I've felt what they would feel.

I want to think that the Bioware team thought, as the built ME3, much as I did about my setting.  I really hope they've seen what I now see.  Ending a beloved franchise doesn't spark debate, shockingly delight, or shake from complacency.  It just damages any enjoyment of the franchise because...well, fuck, it's all already over, isn't it?


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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rambling - Ignorance, Love, Pain

Well, it's over.

I generally like to stay informed on the gaming hobby as a whole; the movements of various developers, corporate actions of publishers, innovations and concepts, plus a whole general slew of things that generally won't appeal to anyone who isn't interested in the design of games in its own right as an activity.  As a result, I tend to be fairly well-informed about upcoming titles.

For some reason, in the summer and fall of 2007, there was a hole in my knowledge of upcoming events.  I honestly wouldn't be able to say why.  Maybe I was distracted by other things (I was living without a roommate at that point and pulling extra hours to cover rent), maybe I simply rolled a bunch of 1's and missed every relevant article, but somehow I ended up being completely unaware of an upcoming title called Mass Effect.  By all rights, I certainly should have been.  Baldur's Gate was and is one off my favorite games, and KotOR stands high as one of the best games ever made.  Given my distaste for the standard ideal for Japanese-made RPGs, as well as games that focused on gameplay in place of story, here was Bioware as the champions of story dictating gameplay, and choice being given a prominent place.

My first indication of this thing called Mass Effect didn't even really ping my radar.  A friend of mine mentioned the game being made, and I even saw a teaser trailer leading in to a special showing of a BSG special on the big screen (I think it was Razor, but my memory could be off).  For some reason, none of it stuck.  The game just didn't settle into the "GET EXCITED, GEEK!" part of my brain.  As a result, I was not ready.  I genuinely wasn't excited for Mass Effect when it was released, and can't even remember the impetus for which I bought it, other than "it is a game, therefore I must play it."

So I made my first character.  Being that the vast majority of RPGs tend to favor hack-n-slash combat over tactical, and thinking that this strange "biotics" the character creator talked about sounded an awful lot like magic, I went with the assumption that the gameplay would be easier for a soldier than an adept (being that, in most RPGs, a wizard gets killed right and left while a fighter can barrel through most of it).  I figured a soldier would be an easy-mode way to get the story on an initial playthrough, and went that route.  Messing around with things, I ended up with a female soldier, earthborn because it sounded gritty, sole survivor because it sounded harsh.  Figuring she was a career-minded girl dedicated to her job as her only escape from a harsh earlier life, I gave her a shaved head and pale skin (doesn't see planet-side much).  I named her Samantha, and went off to adventure in the galaxy.

The artifact that gave her a vision, the adorable little quarian in the citadel, the silly asari scientist I met in a dig site, giving that dramatic speech to my crew, leaving a friend to die on Virmire, that conversation with Sovereign, falling in love with a geeky blue girl, that final end-run with Sovereign ever imposing and ever closer.

When the credits rolled, I sat in shock.  Nothing had prepared me for Mass Effect.  I hadn't pored over pre-release interviews and dev diaries.  There was no foreknowledge of anything at all; not gameplay, not story, not characters, not thematic elements.  Nothing.  After the credits finished, for three days I was at a loss.  Some people might give me shit for this, but for three days I couldn't play other games; they weren't good enough.  I couldn't watch movies; they weren't good enough.  Couldn't read books, either.  I couldn't even start a replay of Mass Effect, because I didn't want to lose the tremendous high on which the game had left me.  Later, when I did try subsequent plays, I found I had a very unexpected problem.  So attached had I become to my character, that I couldn't playthrough as anyone else, nor could I make different decisions.

Samantha Lynn Shepard.  Grew up on the streets of west-coast North America.  Did what she had to survive, even ran with a gang for a while, and got out at the first opportunity.  Joined the Navy with a fake ID (she's three years younger than her service file would suggest), discovered she liked soldiering and had a talent for gunplay, and promptly saw her unit on Akuze get wiped out.  Sam survived, thrived, and found herself in the right place at the right time to be the savior of the galaxy.  She's a good person, to her core, but she's also harder than anyone she's met; she'd put a bullet in your head to save the rest of your family.  Do the horrible things that must be done, because that's what a hero is.

I waited for Mass Effect 2.  I practically frothed.  Realizing that my lack of foreknowledge about ME1 had been part of why the game hit me so hard, I deliberately avoided anything and everything I could.  Yet still, I frothed.  I chomped my bit like a raging animal, and I couldn't get my hands on that game soon enough.  The day before it was released, my friend Kris and I stayed up all night watching our package track from Amazon, chattering at each other via Google Wave.  We pulled hair out when our package seemed to not be moving, or went in a direction that indicated it might take longer to get here.  We wondered what might happen, how the story might progress, and how characters might react.  Then the package finally showed up at my door, and I asked my roommates to provide food for me the next few days.

That horrifically glorious opening scene, Joker's return and the SR2's reveal, realizing Garrus is Sam's best friend, hugging Tali when she finds her father, Jack holding her own against the swarms and then hurling a wave of rage and hate at them to clear the room, that reaper baby, defeating the Shadow Broker, wiping out an entire star system.

During the final segments of ME2, I was literally on the edge of my chair, face less than two feet away from a 47" television.  I knew that ME2 was touted as a suicide mission, and I was terrified for my beloved companions.  Every time Tali begged me to hurry and open the next vent, I couldn't shoot collectors fast enough; they had to die now now now and I had to hit that next switch and Tali was burning and I had to get them the fuck out of my way this very second.  Sam even progressed and had a bit of an arc in this one.  She grew her hair out (since she's not in the Navy anymore, why bother), and realized she's in it for her crew now.  It became less about "I wanna be a badass because that's how I survive" and more "I wanna be a badass and stand between my crew and the enemy."  She remained the silver-hearted badass; wiping out the batarian system is entirely what she would have chosen to do, and in my mind she watched the wave sweep across that system not because she had to, but because she chose to.  She makes the hard decisions, and then doesn't let herself ignore the consequences.

I waited for Mass Effect 3.  It simply could not come fast enough.  I devoured every tiny morsel of information that Bioware sent our way yet, as before, if anything even felt like it might hint at story elements I flung it away from me like a chunk of living disease set to infect me.  Despite my own misgivings about story spoilers, I even played the demo because I just couldn't wait for another ounce of Mass Effect.  Kris and I again fretted, via text this time, going into near panic when it seemed our games wouldn't be delivered in time.  When they did, we began playing in earnest, texting away like teenage girls as we gushed over the gameplay, the story elements, and wonderful moments as they came one after another, after another, and another, and another.

That opening scene of reapers on Earth, shooting Mordin in the back and betraying all krogan and crying to gain salarian aid, saying goodbye to Garrus in a wonderful way, saving the quarians to hear Tali so joyful, saving the geth and being so proud, shooting Wrex and crying when he learned the truth, that failure at Thessia, making the assault on Earth and knowing I'd die in the process.  That ending.

My gut still twists when I think of the ending.  Everything about Mass Effect has been glorious from the first moment of character creation in the first game; when it thrusts you into the world by turning the character creation screen into an Alliance database error.  Everything about every game was amazing, engaging, and wonderful.  Right up through the desperate, ugly battle in London.  Right through that glorious charge down the hill toward the beam, reapers tearing apart everything and everyone around you.  Right through slogging along with no strength left, just a pistol to force your way to a Pyrrhic victory.  Right through talking The Illusive Man down, or at least shooting his delusional ass right the fuck off.  Right through Shepard dragging herself, bloody and hopeless, to that last console.  But not past that.  Never past that.

I do not understand, and unless some major revelation comes very soon, I will never understand.  Bioware carried my emotions to greater heights than any video game of any genre or platform has ever done.  They made me care about my character more thoroughly than I can care about any protagonist of a movie or book.  They made me care about my character's friends, who are her family.  By the time of ME3, Sam had let loose just a bit more--primarily influenced by her relationship with Liara, but partly because she had stopped caring so much about the military as a way of life--and even gotten a bit more sun.  Her world fascinates me, inspires me, and excites me.  I love the species, the locations, the history, the technology, I even love the politics of Mass Effect.  And then....and then that ending.  The ending that literally undoes all of it.  The species become irrelevant, the locations become unavailable, the history is made pointless, the technology is rendered useless or outright destroyed, and the politics become entirely nonexistent no matter which of the so-called choices I pick.  The decisions I made through three games which, granted, shaped my story in a wonderfully personalized way, have no bearing on that so-called ending.

I had planned, as anyone who scrolls down this blog might notice, to write some Mass Effect fan fiction as an exercise to get myself writing on a more regular basis.  I decided to hold off on it, considering I didn't know how ME3 ended and I didn't want to jump the gun.  Figuring I would wait until after playing the game, I put my writing on hold until I knew how the story unfolded; I wanted to be sure my fiction didn't conflict with the state of the galaxy once the reapers were defeated.

Never, not for even an instant, did I suspect that Bioware would completely undo everything.  The entire setting.  It was said they were setting up a franchise.  Well what kind of franchise did they leave?  There is nothing left of the Mass Effect I might recognize.  Depending on which of the three staggeringly different endings become canon (which in itself is a fucking insult to the idea of my choices being important), the Mass Effect franchise that continues in the future will be nothing like the one with which I have fallen in love.

Everything about Mass Effect was perfect.  Right up until that last tiny little bit.

Now I don't know what to do.


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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mass Effect: Olympus - 07

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20:41 Hours - September 10 - 2194

The medical bay was quiet, sterile, and still.  Captain Liao stood motionless, arms crossed, watching the still form of the quarian within the protective environmantal bubble the med-techs had erected around him.  The material was light blue, opaque, and she didn't have any more idea what a quarian looked like underneath their suits than she did yesterday.  Though not a terribly horrible thing of which to be unaware, Dai found herself frustrated.

Part of her hated that she was so concerned with what the quarian looked like; there were more important things about which to worry.  Security, for one, since it was clearly so simple for a stow-away to climb into a cargo container and make it on board without being discovered.  The launch of her ship, for another, with a great many departments to organize and less than a month in which to prepare them.  More importantly, the fact that the young man was clearly on the brink of death; his appearance should be the last thing Dai was thinking about.

Still, he was a quarian.  It was the same with both quarians and volus; Dai couldn't help but wonder what they looked like.  Everyone wants what they can't have, so the old saying went, and as far as Dai knew she had no way of knowing what a quarian looked like.  It would be so simple to open the protective bubble and take just a peek, but doing so risked allowing some type of airborne germs into the area.  Though not a problem for anyone else board the ship, and likely not even life-threatening for the quarian, an illness at a time like this might tip the balance out of his favor.

Behind her, the medical bay door opened, and Dai turned to see her executive officer.  They exchanged silent waves, and the big man moved to stand beside her.  Both watched the quarian for a few moments.

"Any change?"  Karl asked.

"Not since they stopped the bleeding," Dai replied.  "Doctor Peters says he should be safe to move by morning, but that we can't do much for him until then.  We're just not equipped to deal with quarian physiology."  The Captain held a hand to her head and gave a sigh.  "We haven't even launched yet, and already this command has drawn blood."

"Can't be all bad, can it?  He's alive."  Karl shrugged and gave a little smile.

"The human isn't.  He died about half an hour ago, in the operating room."

"Fuck."  Karl went silent again as the two officers watched the recovering quarian.  Both wondered about what had happened.  If the quarian was somehow to blame for the death of a human, this incident could have political ramifications.  Given recent galactic events, this was not the time for these kinds of problems.

"So what did the security report say?"  Dai finally asked.

"Oh, right.  That's why I came down, actually."  Karl pulled a datapad from his belt and handed it to the Captain, explaining the basics as she skimmed over it.  "Short version is they don't know.  Security cameras coincidentally malfunctioning in the area where shots were heard, no forthcoming witnesses, and the only security guard on duty was the kid we found with the quarian here."  He gave a heavy sigh.  "He was barely eighteen."

"Not anymore," Dai said, flipping the datapad off.  "Come on Karl, let's let this one sleep."  Dai turned and left the room, with Karl not far behind.  Neither said anything as they walked through the corridors and made their way to the command deck.

Other than a few last-minute stragglers making final touches in various areas of the ship, workers from the Olympus' construction had cleared out during the day.  Finalizing their reports and giving them the go-ahead to clear out had taken all of Dai's time, and left her with a pounding headache.  Yet with them gone, and the staggering majority of ship's crew yet to arrive, the Olympus was eerily silent and empty.  Their foot steps echoed through the corridors, which quietly hummed with the passive might of the dreadnaught's tremendous engines.  Where once had been a teeming mass of construction workers and robots, now was only two worried officers in a very lonely ship.

Nearing the command deck, Dai turned from the main corridor toward the communications room.  Attached to the comm room, wherein was contained holo-units that could be used to reach command personnel both on the Citadel and back on Earth, was one of many meeting rooms scattered about this level of the ship.  Waiting within one of the rooms, the turian Termidus sat in a chair.  He stood to attention when the two humans entered.

"Captain Liao, Commander Ostermann," he said respectfully.  Dai noted that he refrained from saluting.

"At ease, Lieutenant," Dai said with a smile.  She sat at the conference table, across from Termidus, and Karl sat a couple seats down from her.  "This is just an informal meeting.  I wanted to get to know you, seeing as you're going to be my security chief come tomorrow morning."

If Dai could read turian expressions at all, she would say the man was surprised.  "Captain?"  His voice made it obvious.

"I know, sensitive positions and all that, your orders said the same thing mine did.  Well I just came from the med bay, where a young turian is dying and a young human is dead."  Dai gave a small sigh, and her jaw set.  "Command has a point when they tell me not to put aliens in positions of security, but I think their point is wrong."

"Respectfully, Captain, just to play the advocate," Termidus said slowly, "some would say you have a right to keep human interests foremost."

"I think the war we just fought says otherwise," Karl interjected.  The turian looked between the two humans, and Dai nodded her affirmation.

"You're a trained officer, served in your own Navy for the past ten years and you've held this type of position before."  Dai looked down at her hands, then back up at the turian.  "I'll be perfectly honest, I only made this decision today.  Had a little talk with the volus on board--on whom I suggest you keep an eye, by the way--and he made me realize something."


"If I don't trust you good folk in sensitive posisions, I shouldn't even let you on my ship."

"The volus...he said that?"  Termidus sounded half shocked and half amused.

"No," Dai was thoughtful.  "I just think it's the way this ship seems to be going."


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This is a work of fan fiction, intended for the amusement of myself and those reading it.  I am in no way affiliated with Bioware, Electronic Arts, or anyone else who has any official say over the Mass Effect franchise.

Also!  This work is an effort by yours truly to force myself to write 1,000 words of fiction each and every single day.  Without exception.  It isn't planned, or plotted, or pre-thought, I literally pull this stuff from my ass.  The quality of writing may reflect that origin.

Like my words?  Buy my stuff!
More importantly; tell other people about my work!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mass Effect: Olympus - 06

16:30 Hours - September 9 - 2194

Dai was already through the elevator hatch before it had already slid open.  After a long trip through several corridors, many interruptions to deal with the significant number of complications involved with running a brand new ship (let alone a ship of such considerable size) she had finally made it to the hangar deck.  She was not too much delayed, the trip would have taken her a bit of time anyway given the length of the trip, but she was aggravated by this minor delay all the same.

Her conversation with Topri Von had been troubling.  Though he hadn't said much, what he did say had Dai wondering just who had assigned him to this ship and why.  If he was an analyst, of any kind, he was likely associated with sensitive topics of information, and she had been specifically informed that the high brass, and especially Intelligence leaders, didn't want the alien members of her crew attached to anything that might be considered sensitive.  Yet now there was a volus claiming to be an analyst, and being frustratingly vague about it to boot.

"What's the problem?"  Dai asked, as she entered the hangar.  Karl was already there, surrounded by the deck chief and a Lieutenant who looked as if he hadn't slept in three days.  Given the busy schedule lately, that seemed likely.

Karl looked relieved to see the Captain, and he immediately turned her direction.  "You should take a look at the supply crates we just got, Captain."

Dai gave him a questioning look, but the big man just raised his eyebrows with a "you'll see" expression, and motioned to her right.  Suppressing a frustrated growl, Dai turned and followed where he indicated, led by the tired Lieutenant and the nervous deck chief.

"We haven't touched 'em, ma'am," the deck chief was saying as they walked.  "They showed up like this, and I called the Lieutenant, and now here we are."

"Don't worry..." Dai looked back at him questioningly.

"Service Chief Felden, ma'am," he supplied.

"Chief Felden.  I'm sure everything is in order as far as you and your crew are concerned.  Now what happened?"

"Well they got shot up, ma'am," the chief said, and as they rounded a group of high-stacked cargo containers, Dai saw the chief meant exactly that.  A set of cargo containers, surrounded by curious deck personnel who quickly either snapped to attention or dispersed at the sight of their commanding officer, had clearly been riddled with small arms fire.  Heavy gouges were dug in from several angles, and many direct hits could be seen, there were even a few scorch marks from apparent explosions, either missiles or grenades she couldn't tell.

"Harbor security claims they don't know how it happened, Captain," the weary Lieutenant supplied, in an equally weary voice.  "They do have an incident report of gunfire in the temporary holding bay last night.  No arrests, no conclusion, but I'd guess whatever happened was right around our containers.  Harbor sent these up on the last shuttle, probably hoping we wouldn't notice in the rush.  Almost didn't."

"Whatever happened to these containers didn't happen around them, it involved them specifically," Dai added, walking around the most heavily damaged container.  "These aren't stray shots, whoever had the guns was shooting directly at the container."  She ran a hand across the bullet-ridden surface, wondering exactly what happened.  "What's in here?  Actually, I should probably ask, what's supposed to be in here?"  She exchanged a look with Karl, who appeared equally concerned.

"Generator parts, Captain," the Lieutenant replied.  "Nothing vital, just backup equipment."

"Open it," Dai stepped back, motioning to the container with her arms.  Karl stepped to her side.

"Shouldn't we have a security detail here?"  He asked quietly.

"Not if it's what I think it is," she replied.  "I think we have a stow-away, with trouble attached."

"That's exactly my point, Captain."

"We'll be fine," Dai said, holding a hand out.  She just hoped she was right about that part.

By then, the chief had organized three nearby gawking deck personnel into a work detail, and they had the side of the container unlocked.  With one last grind of metal and the sound of sliding support bars, the container slid open.  Boxes of parts were stacked high, large and small.  Nestled within them, tucked between to of the larger boxes near the side of the container, was a quarian male.  Just beyond him, the crumpled form of a human male.  Both men had been shot multiple times, and were laying in a pool equal parts human blood, quarian blood, and fluids from the quarian's environment suit.

Amid the exclamations of shock from the crew, the quarian raised his head almost imperceptibly.  Seeing a group of humans staring at him in mixed parts shock and horror, he raised one hand weakly in their direction.  It looked like he was trying to speak, judging from the faint flickering of light at the front of his helmet, but he never managed to get out any words.  Instead, his head slowly slumped back down, and his hand dropped to the floor of the container, resting in the puddle beneath the two mean.

"Med-bay.  Now."  Dai commanded, her voice heavy with authority and adrenaline.  The Lieutenant, weary as he was, had already left for the nearest comm unit.  Both Dai and Karl approached the canister.  Dai waved back several deck crew who had moved forward to help.  "No, don't touch them," she ordered.  "The quarian's suit is ruptured, we could kill him."

"Medical emergency, medical emergency!  Trauma team to forward hangar two!"  The Lieutenant's voice no longer sounded tired, as the shock of the sight in the container sent everyone's adrenaline skyrocketing.

Karl and the deck chief kept watch, and even ordered nearby personnel to cordon off the area.  Dai walked gingerly into the container, stepping carefully over a box and past the legs of the quarian, careful not to disturb anything.  Looking them over, it seemed that both men were still breathing.

"Welcome to the Olympus," she said with a sigh.  "Hang in there, boys."


This is a work of fan fiction, intended for the amusement of myself and those reading it.  I am in no way affiliated with Bioware, Electronic Arts, or anyone else who has any official say over the Mass Effect franchise.

Also!  This work is an effort by yours truly to force myself to write 1,000 words of fiction each and every single day.  Without exception.  It isn't planned, or plotted, or pre-thought, I literally pull this stuff from my ass.  The quality of writing may reflect that origin.

Like my words?  Buy my stuff!
More importantly; tell other people about my work!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mass Effect: Olympus - 05

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16:03 Hours - September 9 - 2194

Topri Von waddled down the passageway at a liesurely, unhurried pace.  The short, stocky alien looked curiously at the ship around him through the lenses of his mask, viewing this human environment from the safety of his pressurized environment suit.  Some of the crew personnel he passed would give him curious looks, and he would wave to them with his little three-clawed power glove.  Others would wave cheerfully at him, and he would wave back at them as well.  Overall, Topri was enjoying himself.

Of particular enjoyment to the industry-fascinated volus, many aspects of the ship's design seemed to be less than economically efficient.  Everything was all very sturdy, and looked quite capable, but to the young businessman's eyes he could already see seventeen different ways in which the construction cost more money than it should have; materials from known overpriced vendors being the primary issue.

A small commotion among the crew alerted him to the presence of a high-ranking officer behind him, and Topri halted his waddle.  With small shuffling movements, he turned around to greet Captain Liao, raising his little three-clawed power glove to wave at the human female; asian, likely Chinese, of an old family line.  Eighty-three possible families came immediately to mind, as Topri studied the Captain's posture, comparing it with her behavior during the recent meeting with the frightened turian, the angry salarian, and the dangerous asari.  Having narrowed the Captain's possible ancestry down to eight distinct family lines, Topri realized the woman was within socially comfortable speaking range.

"Uh, hello, Captain," he said.  Like most volus, he spoke slowly, somewhat haltingly, and sounded a bit congested.

"Hello again Topri," the officer smiled.  As a volus, Topri was probably the only person aboard the SSV Olympus who was shorter than its commanding officer.  She stopped in front of him, and though she took time to acknowledge and smile at passing crew, it was clear that Topri had her full attention.  It was a marvelous trick she did, dividing her attentions that way without sacrificing etiquette.  Topri noted this ability positively.

The Captain continued speaking.  "I did get a chance, back at the group meeting, to talk to you about your assignment here.  I have to admit, that unfortunately my superiors haven't told me exactly where aboard the Olympus they intended you to serve."  She was holding back many words, it was evident.  Likely it was the confusion brought about by the assignment of a volus, among the least physically capable species in the galaxy, assigned to a ship of war.  Captain Liao did a remarkable job of concealing her confusion however, and expressing her question in the least offensive way possible.

"Oh, nowhere special," Topri replied.  He gave a little shrug of his shoulders, which moved his entire sturdy environment suit.

"Well, what's your area of expertise?  Where were you trained?"  Topri saw a tick of concern in the Captain's eyes, and wondered about it for an instant.  Which was, for him, quite a bit of consideration.  He was forced to conclude that the Captain was having a trying day, and the presence of a volus about whom she had not been informed was irritating her.

"Nothing specific," the young volus replied with a sigh of effort.  Her irritation twitched in that right eye again, and so Topri continued.  "If you like, um, I can spend time on, the command deck.  You'll see what I'm good at, fairly quickly I'm sure."

"Are you a trained deck officer, then?  I wasn't really given much to go on."  Apparently Topri's comment had piqued the human's curiosity, and her irritation was pushed to the back.  She was now more intrigued than not, and she was genuinely curious as to exactly what skills the volus was referring.

"Well," Topri began, "I'm kind of an analyst."

"An analyst...what type?  Personnel, tactical, or intelligence, maybe?"

"Yes," Topri answered.  "For a start."

The human's brow furrowed a bit, partly in surprise but primarily in returned irritation.  Topri headed off any further discussion of the subject.  "Captain, there is a disturbance, uh, on the hangar deck," he spoke before the human could say anything.  Mere seconds after he spoke, the ship's intercom cracked to life.

"Captain Liao, to forward hangar two.  Captain Liao, forward hangar two," a voice spoke.

Dai looked at the volus with a dangerous mix of confusion, suspicion, surprise, and amazement.  In reply the volus pointed to the side of his helmet.  "Monitoring comms," was his only response.  The Captain didn't have time to question further, but she seemed hesitant to leave at just this moment.  "You should go," he prompted.

"Please do join me on the command deck," the Captain said, as she began to turn and leave, "I'll have a spot for you, and we'll see if we can't find a use for analyst, as you said."  She made an effort to be friendly, but it was clear she was slightly put off by Topri's responses and foreknowledge of events on her own ship.  The volus sighed to himself quietly in his suit, the good mood he'd been enjoying slightly dampened.  He hadn't intended to upset the Captain, he liked her.  She was friendly, cared about her crew, and well equipped for the job ahead.  Clearly, he would need to put time into undoing the potential damage he'd just done with any eventual friendship that might be possible.

For a few moments, the volus stood in the hallway and let crew personnel wander past him.  He did not respond to them as they looked or waved, but was lost in thought as he wondered about the possibilities of this upcoming venture.  Eventually he did begin to walk again, in his slow and waddling manner, shuffling to turn the other direction and head towards the nearest elevator.  He boarded quietly, giving a small wave to the crewman standing near the control panel.  "Deck eight, please," he said.

"Sure thing," the crewman said, and complied with a smile.  Topri conversed with the young man on the elevator ride down, but his mind was busy the entire time.  He was distracted.  There was much to consider.


This is a work of fan fiction, intended for the amusement of myself and those reading it.  I am in no way affiliated with Bioware, Electronic Arts, or anyone else who has any official say over the Mass Effect franchise.

Like my words?  Buy my stuff!
More importantly; tell other people about my work!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Mass Effect: Olympus - 04

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14:00 Hours - September 9 - 2194

Captain Liao and Commander Ostermann made their way through passageways, hatches, compartments, and elevators as they traveled through the massive starship.  Most of their journey took place along what was informally referred to as The Line.  Technically it was the Firing Line Parallel Compartments, but that was simply a construction term that had very little relevance to the ship's future life.  Crew, however, tended to refer to the compartments and passageways along the ship's central main gun as The Line.  It ended up, more often than not, being a focal point for meetings and off-duty activity.
Even now, with the ship still uncommissioned and with only a tiny fraction of her full crew, the line was busy with activity.  Though there were scant few sleeping quarters along the line, many of the widest passageways stretched along or wrapped around the ship's central gun.  Newly arrived crew gravitated here; whether old hands familiar with the function of the line or new recruits unfamiliar with most onboard traditions, the line was simply a place where people ended up.  The Olympus' gun was quite simply her physical, tactical, and societal heart.
The two ranking officers aboard the ship found themselves greeted by excited crew personnel who were settling in and getting to know each other.  Karl replied to each greeting with a friendly, if formal smile and nod.  In contrast, Dai was practically a social butterfly.  She smiled brightly to her crew, answered questions swiftly enough that she didn't need to slow her pace, and made a point to ask the names of several personnel along the way.  Tradition referred to people like Dai as "the soldier's officer," and she was proud of that.
Within a reasonable amount of time, the two officers reached one of the berthing areas, designated for officers and visiting dignitaries.  Turning down a passageway marked with a dark blue deck, in contrast to the standard steel gray found throughout most of the ship, they passed a sign on the bulkhead that read "Officers Only."  Karl barely even noticed the sign, and was surprised to find that his Captain was no longer leading the way.  Looking back, he saw the small woman glaring up at the sign.  She looked over at him.
"I don't have anything with me to pry that off.  Can you get it?"
Karl blinked a few times, and looked at the sign.  He thought at first to question why, but the man was quick.  Without a word, he reached for the sign and yanked at it with his hand.  Though built of sturdy material, in a multi-alloy bulkhead designed to withstand the stresses of interstellar flight and tremendous kinetic impact, the adhesive bonding them was no match for the big man's powerful grip.  The sign came down with an audible ripping sound, drawing the attention of nearby personnel.  Captain Liao smiled cheerfully.
"Thank you, Commander," she said with genuine warmth.  Leading the way again, she headed into the berthing area to find her newest crew members.  The task was not overly difficult.  Some way down the corridor, the voice of a young woman could be heard chattering away happily.
"These rooms are much more spartan than I was expecting, but not as bad as I had heard about human vessels.  I like that they each have their own bathrooms, that makes everything so much less complicated.  Do you think the corridors in this part of the ship are less echoey than the rest of the ship?  I do, I hardly hear any echo at all in here."
Dai and Karl rounded a corner into a small, open rest area for officers.  Relatively comfortable couches were arranged in a near-full circle around a small holographic display, and a row of computers on the far bulkhead allowed for easy access to the extranet during off hours.  Along the couch were arranged four people.  The first, a turian male listening with amusement to the chatterbox next to him; a small blue asari woman fiddling with her head tails as she spoke.  Just a few spots down from the asari was a salarian who appeared to be reigning in the desire to forcibly silence the young woman.  Directly across the circle from the other three, a volus sat as best he could on a human-made couch, legs sticking out rather adorably.  He was the first to see the two humans round the corner.
"Um," he managed to say, in that slow way that volus tend to speak, raising a finger to point.  The others turned to look, and all three immediatly stood up.
"Captain, it is a pleasure," the turian said, instantly snapping to attention and giving a salute.
"You're the Captain!"  The asari exclaimed.  "It's wonderful to meet you, I'm Kimila, these two are Termidus and Kiran, and that's Topri," she waved her hand toward the volus, even turning to give him an excited smile.
"It's wonderful to meet you all," Dai said, returning Termidus' salute.  "On Alliance vessels we don't actually salute while indoors, but I appreciate the gesture, Mr. Metridus."
"Blast, and I remember reading that now that you mention it.  It won't happen again, Captain," the turian scowled.
"It's fine, don't worry about it.  Today is fairly informal, I just wanted to meet the four of you, and it's nice that you're all here in one spot."
"I was hoping we would meet you today as well, Captain," Kiran, the salarian, jumped in as the asari opened her mouth to say something.  "It seems our berthings have been mixed up, the document says I'm bunked with...with this young lady."  He nodded his head toward the asari, who smiled cheerfully, seemingly unbothered by the interruption.
"I apologize, Lieutenant, but we're going to be full up as soon as we leave port.  We will have individual berthings for both you and Ms. Danagi within a few months."
The salarian made a face, at least as far as Dai could tell, and she smiled sympathetically.  Opening her mouth to speak, she had to catch a laugh at the look Kimila gave her new bunkmate.
"Don't worry Kiran, I never snore, and I don't sleep much anyway."  She seemed genuinely concerned for the other's peace of mind, which apparently only irritated him.  He gave a curt nod to the Captain, and returned to standing at attention.  Already, Dai liked this bunch.


This is a work of fan fiction, intended for the amusement of myself and those reading it.  I am in no way affiliated with Bioware, Electronic Arts, or anyone else who has any official say over the Mass Effect franchise.

Like my words?  Buy my stuff!
More importantly; tell other people about my work!