Five years after Commander Shepard fired the Crucible and ended the Reaper threat for good, the galaxy is still recovering. The scum of the galaxy, kept in line for centuries by the now devastated militaries of the Council, see a chance to carve out a larger piece of the galaxy for themselves. What can stop them as Darkness Approaches?
Dozens of starships flanked the Dark Maiden as she led the way to the system’s Mass Relay. In the silence of space, it seemed like a peaceful procession. Her Captain’s ready room was anything but peaceful.
“What the hell am I doing here, White? You don’t need mercs for a damned space battle!” said Commander Dal’serah.
Captain Jacob White said, “Relax, you bloody idiot. The space battle is my problem. We’re hitting a turian shipyard and your men are going to secure as many functioning ships as they can. Then they’re gonna set charges and blow the station.”
“A turian shipyard? You might have told me about this death wish of yours before I accepted the contract. No way in hell you’ll even get close to the shipyard,” said Dal’serah.
“Captain of one of the freighters we captured last week says differently. He said they only had about 30 ships guarding the station. We’ve got nearly three times as many. So, calm down and let me handle the space battle,” said Jacob. A notification blinked on his screen and he stood up. “We’re nearing the relay. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a battle to win. You just get your men ready to hit that station.” With that he showed the batarian merc into the hallway then turned and headed to the bridge.
“Lining up for the jump now, Captain,” said the XO.
“Excellent. Helm, take us through.”
“Three minutes from the relay, Captain,” said the helmsman.
“Thank you, Fabrian,” said Captain Gradius Medinius. The elevator doors behind him opened and another turian walked up to stand beside the Captain’s chair.
“Captain, I spoke to Killian earlier, and she were hoping that we could stop over at Aephus for a couple of weeks after we drop off the Kwunu for refit. She's concerned the Marines are getting soft riding around on the ship,” said Ariston Corolan, Executive Officer of the turian stealth destroyer TSF Nelikus.
“I assume you told her that there are combat simulators onboard for a reason,” said Gradius.
“Well of course, Gradius, but she said it isn’t the same as a mock battle. I told her I would see what I could do. I just happened to mention it to Rinus – the XO over on the Kanarus – and he said he had heard similar rumblings from his crew.”
“Really? I suppose you said we would be happy to let our Marines give his a lesson or two in tactics?” said Gradius with a chuckle.
“Captain, have you been monitoring our communications? Why, that’s almost word for word what I told him. Shall we place the usual bet?” said Ariston.
“Absolutely. My wife would love a nice gift, and I suppose the crew could use some shore leave,” said Gradius, raising his voice for the last part. The crew gave a small cheer and returned to their duties.
“On final approach to the relay now, Captain. Transit in five, four, three, two, one.” For just a moment, there was the slightest feeling of vertigo as the Nelikus jumped 480 lightyears to its destination.
“Relay jump successful. Drift of 4700 kilometers – excellent, for a fleet this size. Estimate three hours to… Hmm, that’s odd. Picking up a lot of ships ahead of us, distance 12,000 kilometers,” said Melanis Fabrian.
“The system picket coming out to greet us, Melanis? I thought we were dropping in unannounced,” said Gradius.
“Unknown, sir. I’m trying to clean it up now,” said Melanis, working quickly at her console to separate the various LADAR scans.
“I see turian, human, batarian… It looks almost like a mercenary fleet, Captain, though what they’re doing here in such numbers, I’m not sure,” said Melanis.