Mass Effect Transcendence/AARs/Cloture
Client: The Panopticon Project.
Contract: Anti-piracy, Installation and personnel protection. Short term/single threat.
Location(s): Cloture, Skyllian Verge.
Principals involved: Kirroe Tuditan, Kane, Russell Ortiz, Sam Lyn and Raik Yghorl.
Account Status: Settled - fee paid in full.
Following preliminary inquiries, final negotiations were concluded on the Citadel for Penumbra to take on a contract to protect the Panopticon Project's installation and personnel on Cloture. Rumours of an imminent pirate attack in the region had led to their Project Director being authorised to take on additional security, and following recommendations they selected Penumbra.
The principals resolved upon a technology-focused base defense strategy, leasing mechs, drones, turrets and shield generators commensurate to the properties of the client site. Some surplus assault rifles, combat rations and emergency medical supplies were also procured. Please see Procurement Officer's report at Annex 1 for a complete breakdown of the details of supply of this equipment.
Upon arrival on Cloture, the principals met with Project Director Beorn Rasmussen and Security Chief Vornheim to get an update on the situation. All signs on the ground implied a batarian pirate/slaver attack with a purely economic motive (seizure of equipment/capture of personnel). No other viable leads found suggesting alternative threat scenarios.
Preparations were made on-site; weapons drills for the civilians, a crash course in combat trauma medicine for the doctors, a review of the biotics-capable staff and setup of the tech assets. The communications hub was deemed the most defensible building and designated as fallback position. Air assets were scrambled to nearby locations where they could be hidden, ready if called upon.
A warning from the Scalpel in orbit that ships had entered the system prompted an evacuation of the outlying buildings and lockdown of the scientific equipment. XO Romnus took the ship into the shadow of one of the gas giants and went comms silent to avoid detection. Three ships entered orbit around Cloture, a batarian ex-military frigate, a troop carrier and a stealthed ship. A trio of dropships, all ex-military batarian Maulers, entered the atmosphere, heading straight for the facility.
Having locked down the comms hub and civilians, the principals set an ambush on the enemy fireteam making directly for their position. Kane selected an ideal spot and the team were able to open fire as the mercenaries disemarked from their lander. One was taken out of the fight before he'd even touched down and another was incapacitated before they could get into cover, but when they concentrated their fire on me, I lost my shields and was wounded. Yghorl dragged me out of danger and we retreated back to the comms hub.
Assessing the situation once more and reading the movements of the other mercenary fire-teams revealed a concerted push on the generator. The tech-assets could not hold that alone, and if the generator went down the client's work would be threatened. It was also clear now that these were not pirates or slavers, they had no specialised gear for taking captives. It had all the hallmarks of a covert operation with fireteams out to kill. Furthermore, someone was operating with a stealth cloak amongst the gunmen.
After some hasty field medicine, the principals headed back out before the mercs locked down the installation to drive them away from the generator. Another hastily-composed ambush was sprung amongst the loading area units around the generator facility. Kane and Sam were set up on a gantry overlooking the loading bay, while Kirroe, Yghorl and I moved in quietly.
The enemy had a surprise of their own, the aforementioned stealther was a sniper who put Kane out of commission after his first shot. Only some hasty biotics from Sam spared us any further trouble from the sniper. A short, brutal firefight ensued in which Kirroe was incapacitated but none of our team were killed. The sniper, who turned out to be salarian, was captured and brought back to the comms hub for interrogation. In the meantime, the Raptors attacked and damaged one of the landers, but were unable to put it out of action before having to retreat once more.
The salarian bore an ex-military (possibly ex-STG) bearing, and a medical scan revealed heavy cybernetic augmentation. When roused, he was resistant to all attempts to intimidate and pressure, but revealed that his "Overseer" would negotiate for his release. Those discussions were non-committal.
More importantly, the motive behind the attack was discovered - recent data showed a sun disappearing a thousand years ago, an anomaly that should not be possible. These mercenaries had been dispatched to silence the installation and remove the data to maintain an ancient secret. Furthermore, Director Rasmussen mentioned "League of One" had come up in conversation with his Project Services - a viable instigator behind the events if true.
Deeming the revelation more important than attempting to negotiate a peaceful settlement (and being unable to trust that the enemy would keep their word), the data was broadcast to the Scalpel with orders to get out of the system with the data and return with reinforcements.
A response came from the opposition; the generators were knocked out and orbital bombardment from some sort of kinetic harpoon began. The sniper was executed and left behind as the civilians were moved into the underground bunker beneath the communications hub. The onslaught carried on for several hours, but the civilians were safe in the bunker and there were no casualties. Everyone settled down as best they were able given the circumstances. I walked amongst the staff with Sam bolstering morale while Kane and Yghorl prepared IEDs.
The cessation of bombardment was a sign that an assault was coming, so using what little time there might be before its arrival, the principals went back up to the comms hub to lay some surprises for the assault troops. We were briefly able to make contact with the Raptors, but Kane was unable to create a more lasting solution to the comms blackout in the bunker.
Once the explosives were set, we retreated underground once more, sealing the entrance. The breaching troops set of two of the five devices before making it to the final door, slowing their sweep considerably. Once they cleared the last device, they were at one of the two stair entrances. A flash-bang tossed down the shaft, followed by smoke grenade stunned the unarmoured civilians, but some quick-thinking by Sam who erected a biotic screen prevented any more. Someone on the other side raised another biotic barrier shrouding noisy activity going on in the stairway. When the smoke cleared, a very large bomb was clamped to the wall near the doorway. A narrowly-averted panic turned into an evacuation of everyone in the vicinity. Sam's barrier took the brunt of the blast, and rather than clearing a breach the explosion collapsed the stairway, sealing it as a viable entrance to the bunker.
Rather than waiting for the assaulters to try again at their leisure, the prinicipals decided to turn the tables. Yghorl's bio-scanner suggested there were around six bodies on the floor above. Kane wanted to go up and get eyes on our attackers, and went up stealthed. He relayed the situation non-verbally, but was spotted. Unwilling to abandon him, we charged out of the bunker to engage the remaining hostiles.
A desparate battle ensued with their biotic proving a difficult adversary. They had numbers on their side, but were caught between two elements of our forces. Kane, Kirroe and I were badly injured, but we prevailed due to effective teamwork. The last of them fled and Sam and I gave chase, followed by Kane and Kirroe. Kirroe and I caught up with him in the bay outside the hub and brought him down, but not before one of the landers appeared overhead. Kane's quick thinking overheated their cannon while we dived for cover. Finishing off the last merc with a grenade, Kane was out in the open too long, and hit by the reloaded cannon. I opened fire with a rocket launcher, damaging the underside and driving the shuttle off.
The bombardment resumed, forcing us to pull back to the bunker once more. This did not last more than a few hours, during which time we rested and recuperated. All the principals were exhausted having spent the better part of a day under attack and fighting. Once the bombing stopped, we waiting until the Raptors gave an all-clear signal to move people out of the bunker. The shuttles had retreated and ships left orbit.
The installation was devastated. No power, ruined dishes and incoming data lost. However all the project staff survived (barring a sprained ankle in the evacuation, there were no casualties amongst the civilians) and we retained the project data stored up to the point of evacuation of the comms hub. It would be several months of repair and reconstruction at great cost before Panopticon's work could resume.
The Scalpel returned with a salarian military cruiser in support a couple of days later, and the salarians rapidly moved to secure the installation and provide humanitarian assistance. We were debriefed by their Captain on the presence of the League of One and the nature of the data Panopticon had found. Apparently our broadcast had set in motion a rush to reach the location of the missing star. That is a developing situation we will monitor. For the time being, however, what was needed was rest. Concluding our business on Cloture and ensuring transfer of the balance of the fee, we left.
Aeodes - Salarian warship from the 3rd Fleet that responded to the Scalpel's distress signal.
Black One - Designation/callsign of the unnamed salarian sniper.
Cloture - A remote world out in the Skyllian Verge where the Panopticon Project set up a major astronomical installation.
League of One, The - A historical and mythicised salarian special forces/espionage unit.
Mauler-class shuttle - A military assault lander most commonly used by the Batarian Hegemony.
Panopticon Project, The - A scientific organisation focused on astronomy and astronomical mapping.
Raptor - Designation/callsign of Penumbra's gunships.
Rasmussen, Bjeorn - Project Director of the Panopticon Project installation on Cloture.
STG - Special Tasks Group, the salarian special forces.
Captain Tasloff - Captain of the marine contingent of the Aeodes who debriefed the principals at the end of the mission.
Umbra - The name given to the disappeared star in honour of Penumbra Securities.
Vornheim - Chief of Security at the Panopticon Project installation on Cloture.