The Fifth Age (Mass Effect / The Secret World)

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Darth Ruinus
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The Fifth Age (Mass Effect / The Secret World)

Postby Darth Ruinus » 2016-10-04 05:24pm

There is no plan, there is no story, there is no order. It's just a jumble of thoughts at 3 AM.





Voyeurism protocol: Far Rim > Dholen System. Unknown Event: Extreme Caution Advised.


Captain Kirrahe didn’t like short messages from the higher ups; even in his line of work short messages often spelled trouble. The shorter the message the more there was that supposed to be kept secret; the more that is supposed to be secret, the more that was on the line. This, combined with the fact that his crew and ship had been rerouted from a prior mission, had him on edge. He scanned the message again and again as he waited for his ship to drop out of faster-than-light.

What bothered Kirrahe was the destination, the Dholen system. He’d been there with his crew on a previous op; providing clandestine support for SPECTRE Vakarian during his mission on Haestrom. His crew had spent the better part of an hour engaging Geth ships with a prototype cyber-warfare suite, disabling the ships and preventing Geth reinforcements from swarming SPECTRE Vakarian’s position. They’d succeeded and SPECTRE Vakarian had rescued the Quarian Tali’zorah, improved relations between the two governments. The SPECTRE never had a clue that a full STG regiment had been fighting alongside him; just as it should be.

That had been the only excitement to grace the Dholen system in centuries. Outside of the interests of a few astrophysicists and Geth counter-intelligence branches of STG, no one cared what happened here.

So what was this Unknown Event?

“FTL drop in 5.”

Kirrahe’s eyes snapped up to the CIC screens in front of him; information about the system began to fill the screens, though the probe his team had left behind when shadowing Vakarian failed to respond.

"Geth detection?" Kirrahe asked, the entire mission would be that much harder if the geth suspected their presence.

"Negative sir, we dropped at the outer edges of the system. Stealth window is good."

“Link up to our probe,” he ordered, his pilot and sensor officers both responding as they maneuvered the ship to its last known location.

“Activity?”

“Readings indicate increased geth activity, but light lag prevents more accurate readings” one of his officers responded. “Slight variation from Dholen.”

“Variation?” Kirrahe questioned, new information being sent to his CIC from the sensor stations. There appeared to be a slight increase in the trace amounts of dark energy around the star, but he doubted that this was the cause for their mission. “Have we linked up to the probe yet?”

“Negative captain,” his officer responded, “We’re having trouble picking up the probe’s signal.”

“Equipment error?” Another of his officers supplied.

“Or deliberate action.” Another countered.

Unknown Event.

“Keep searching for the probe, low level scans. Deliberate action possible. Keep me informed of geth activity.” He rattled off. Something was out there, hidden from their view. Kirrahe knew this; years of covert operations had honed a gut feeling that let him know when someone was hiding.

And he had a mission to find it.

***You see us Sweetling? They can't. Their eyes can't see like yours can.

Kirrahe looked at his omni-tool’s clock. 48 minutes. The hour was almost up and they’d seen nothing, not a trace of the probe or whatever the probe had reported back to headquarters. In addition, espionage missions in geth space had always had an air of increased nervousness, meaning that the mission was starting to fray everyone's nerves. His crew had quickly ruled out some sort of equipment error or natural event. It was rare for an STG probe to fail, especially deep space probes like the one that had been deployed in Dholen. Onboard obstacle detections and the computer’s own course correction systems meant that it could avoid asteroids with trivial ease, not that such measures were needed in this system.

That left deliberate action. Someone had removed the probe.

He’d conversed with one of his techs, double checking what he knew of the probe model. STG custom made, very hard to tamper with, very hard to spot.

That was suspicious.

The probe, his technician had told him, would start broadcasting back towards headquarters if it picked up low or high level sensor sweeps. If a ship had discovered the probe, the probe would prioritize identifying the ship over any previous duties. That the probe had only begun its emergency signal moments before going offline meant that whoever had disabled the probe had done so without being detected until the very last moment.

Technically, the probe hadn’t even detected the ship, it had only detected something.

That was troubling.

If it was the geth, how? There had been no reports of the geth building their own counter to the Menae-class, a terrifying thought that kept many awake at night, and if there was a geth stealth ship, why test it against probes most likely to detect it? It was highly unlikely that this was the case, one of the techs reminded the crew, as the STG probe also contains several cameras to capture images of any object that approaches a certain proximity. Nothing had shown up and stealth systems, despite advances in the technology, did not make the ship visually invisible. Even the Menae could be detected by visual confirmation. Furthermore the geth activity didn't add up. They'd been able to detect an increased number of geth ships patrolling near Charoum and Haestrom; which meant that the synthetics were on guard. One of his officers had also told him that they'd passed the stealth window minutes ago, which meant that it was likely they could be spotted. No reaction from the geth. This meant the synthetics were expecting trouble, but not from STG. No evidence pointed to their involvement in the probe's disappearance, then whatever had been in the system had spooked the geth.

Stealth ships were limited to the Menae and a few other prototypes. But Vakarian and the Menae were currently stationed at Palaven, and the locations of the other Menae-class stealth frigates were quite well known to STG. Even if they were not, there was currently no reason to suspect the Turian Heirarchy. No other Citadel species had the capability to build such a frigate.

Which left Outside forces.

The Terminus Systems were quickly ruled out; they had not attempted such a stealth system since the failure of the Kophet prototype and would certainly have never been stupid enough to test such a device in geth space.

Kirrahe looked over the 72nd sensor sweep his crew conducted. Nothing.

Kirrahe’s eyes roamed around the CIC. He surveyed his crew. He knew them, all top specialists.

And not a single one of them had a clue as to who had disappeared their probe.

Which meant it was someone no one had heard of before.

A new player.

That was quite troubling indeed.

***

It was nearing the 2 hour mark when one of the sensor techs suddenly gasped quickly followed by the CIC screens filling with sensor information.

Kirrahe momentarily didn’t understand what he was looking at.

Or what he wasn’t looking at.

Dholen was gone.

***

Spoiler
TRANSMIT - initiate cleansing signal - RECEIVE - initiate anima circulation – BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM - initiate the slumber syntax – HERE’S A LULLABY TO CLOSE YOUR EYES - initiate enhanced clearance –CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR PROMOTION - initiate greater responsibilities - WITNESS – The Fifth Age.

Sweetling, do you remember the fourth? It is still in your history books. The age of the secret world, of the secret wars. We remember how hard you tried to keep it secret.

But the foam and filth bubbled up and the lid could not hold. The pressure cooker of your boiling secrets exploded in your collective faces. The curtains pulled back and all your skeletons were dragged out of the closet and into the burning, blinding light. You could not deny the tumors in your X-rays.

Sweetling, this is honesty. We did notsuspect you wouldsurvive-you would survive-you would survive-you would sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss-Hiya Chuck-ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
Last edited by LadyTevar on 2016-10-04 09:52pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed the Spoiler tag. One day we'll fix it permanently -- LadyTevar
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