The Vault

Chapter 37 of Ghost in the Machine

Four hours before the attack on Virmire.

“How do you feel?”

Like a madman, about to run into an unsuspecting crowd with twenty kilos of explosives strapped to his chest.

He didn’t say that. He didn’t say anything for a long time, looking for the right words. It seemed inevitable that words would fail. Nobody has ever done anything like this; she’d said so herself. What good would his answer do if there was no point of comparison, no context to give it meaning?

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Just Like Old Times

Just Like Old Times by silvermittt on deviantART is a depiction of a very important scene from my Mass Effect fanfic, Ghost in the Machine. But it’s more than that. It is, first and foremost, a beautiful piece of art that I will often come back to for inspiration. It is also a reminder: of promises to keep and chapters to write.

Thank you, Silver, for painting it so perfectly. And thank you, my dear Logsig, for dedicating it to me.

Signal to Noise

The priest intoned the First, and one by one, they were to join. It was just like during the rehearsals, only now it had to be perfect. Zero margin for error. The eleven voices, all wearing the ceremonial whites, stood around the priest in a wide circle under the gaping spire of Tricabili, a seventy-stories-high wind pipe that amplified their voices many times over until the entire city, and presumably, the Spirits above, could hear the Chant of Unification.

Nihlus was the Sixth Voice: the voice of air, of purity, of freedom, the voice of turian spirituality. Of course the priest hadn’t assigned him the role for some mystical criteria, like actually fitting the description, but only based on the colors of his voice: the easy baritone of his normal speech, codified as cloud white, the crisp tenor overtones of excitement, codified as pure white, and the husky contrabass undertones of emotion, codified as bone white. All white, and air it was.

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Scars

Saren stood in front of the door to his Citadel apartment. He couldn’t remember the entry codes. It had been two years since he’d last slept here; he’d changed omni-tools several times in the interim and each iteration brought about some loss of data. He liked his storage clean. Too clean. He relied on his memory too much, but that was supposed to be safe. It had never failed him so far. He could remember the file, now. He’d called it something like, “Center in the void” and probably deleted it while cleaning, thinking it some rubbish. He’d never call it “Entry code Citadel” or “Key to my apartment,” of course. It had to be a riddle only he could answer. That was the way of a Spectre. And this Spectre would never delete files before opening them to see what’s inside again.

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