Mass Effect 4 - The Streamer's Edge

Four centuries have passed since Commander Shepard destroyed the Reapers. In an isolated corner of the galaxy, a refueling station repairman discovers a terrible secret that could undo everything Shepard fought for. With a ragtag team of unlikely would-be heroes, he must race to the Citadel to warn the Council ... but will they even listen to him if he gets there?

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15. United We Flee

Finn hurried onto the bridge.

Eri glanced at him, saying, "If you're gonna do something, do it fast; we've got a minute before they get here."

"Plenty of time. Jake?"

"You got it, bro." Jake hopped off of the pilot chair so Finn could sit down.

"All right." Finn told them as he warmed up the FTL drive. "Everyone hold on; this might get a bit bumpy."

He forced his eyes to remain open as the stars leapt towards him. As his vision began to blur, he started to see the edges of the field. Instinct overtook thought as he moved the ship as close to the front of the field as he dared before collapsing the mass effect field.

The ship lurched forward, but Finn didn't notice; the light flying past the ship was mesmerizing. He could almost imagine following the threads through the universe to the very core.

He caught himself before he was completely lost in the stars. Blinking, he quickly reversed engines. As the ship began to slow, he let out a sigh and sank back into his chair.

After a few moments, he glanced over at Mannon and Eri to see them both staring at him.

"I'm fine." He told them tiredly. "I just need to rest for-"

At that moment, Kyra stomped onto the bridge. She did not look happy.

"Great job on the engine." Finn told her.

She stomped over to him and promptly bopped him in the head with her clenched fist.

"Oww!" Finn said in surprise; it didn't really hurt, but it sure surprised the heck out of him. "What was that for?"

"For streaming, you bosh'tet! Don't you know what that does to an engine?"

"Yes," Eri said dryly. "The danger to the engine was the paramount factor here."

She glared at the turian, but didn't say anything to him. Turning back to Finn, she said, "Do you even know where we are? We could've shot through a sun, or passed too close to a supernova!"

"Or we could've stayed where we were and got shot into a million flaming pieces by the people who are chasing us." Finn said evenly.

"I appreciate that, but it wouldn't mean much if your stunt completely burned out the engine and left us adrift in the middle of nowhere!" She pointed a finger at him in what she must've thought was a menacing fashion, adding, "Don't do it again."

As she stomped away, Eri gave Finn a curious look.

"Don't start." Finn warned.

Eri held up his hands innocently and turned back to the weapons console.

Sighing, Finn asked Mannon, "Where are we?"

She checked her console before saying, "Looks like you cut off a few days from our trip."

Nodding, Finn said, "Okay. I'm calling a meeting in the cargo bay. There's something everyone needs to see."

As Finn walked into the cargo bay with Eri, Mannon, and Jake behind him, the first thing he noticed was Kyra sitting in the pilot seat of the mysterious fighter.

He let out an exasperated sigh. "Really?"

"Hmm?" She asked, obviously far more interested in the workings of the craft than conversation.

Rolling his eyes, he turned to the others, saying, "We'll wait until …"

The lift opened revealing Darsan in what appeared to be a terrycloth robe covered with embroidered roses and a pink showercap.

It took Finn and the rest of the group a few moments to process this. Even Kyra stopped tinkering long enough to give him a good long stare.

Darsan shuffled his feet. "Annoyed; I was taking a bath. This had better be good, Finn."

"Anyway," Finn said, trying to ignore the tittering from Kyra and Mannon, "Now that we're all here …"

He stopped, realizing he didn't really have a good way to say it. Sighing, he just pointed at the ship.

"Hey!" Jake said, running up to the ship excitedly. "That's that weird ship Krieger found!"

Eri let out a whistle. "Sleek stuff. Where'd you get it? I coulda sworn there was only one ship here earlier."

"Oh, it was here, all right." Finn approached the ship and poked his head in the door.

Kyra barely looked up long enough to flash him an innocent smile. "Hi, Finn."

"Could you get out for just a second? This is kinda important."

"I can work and talk at the same time. Keep going." She made a shooing motion with one pale hand.

Glowering at her, he stepped back and slammed the door shut. Ignoring her pounding on the door, Finn activated his Omni-tool. "Watch this."

He waved his omni-tool hand over the ship, which promptly vanished.

Everyone stepped back.

"Total cloaking technology." Mannon said, her eyes wide. "This is a major discovery; we've only been able to hide emissions before now. The Alliance could use this for scout vessels, or …"

"Preemptive attacks?" Eri suggested.

Mannon glared at him. "It's not like we'd try to conquer the galaxy."

"Deadpan; that is reassuring."

"I can't not tell the Alliance about this." Mannon said, looking at Finn. "Think about it; we could build colonies that could cloak themselves from danger, satellites and space stations that could remain completely undetected."

"Go ahead and tell them." Finn said, leaning back against the door to keep Kyra from getting out. "It doesn't change our plans."

"Jimmy …" Mannon began.

"We still don't know who's chasing us, though I think it's pretty clear why." Finn glanced around the room.

Eri stared at the craft. "So whoever made this is intent on keeping it secret. They must've had impressive resources to design something like this."

"Tentatively; maybe we could just leave it somewhere to get them to stop chasing us." Darsan suggested.

"No!" Mannon said, the loudness of her shout startling everyone.

"That's right!" Jake said, sitting down by Finn's feet. "This is our secret prototype spaceship!"

"That's not what I meant!" Mannon told him angrily. "It's going to the Alliance!"

Eri interrupted, "This isn't an Alliance ship. It's Finn's ship. It seems to me as the captain, he should have some say in the decision."

Mannon opened her mouth to argue and quickly closed it. Turning to Finn, she said, "I didn't mean any disrespect, Finn."

Finn frowned at her subdued tone. Yes, he was captain, but Mannon was his friend. Heck, Eri and Mannon were his friends. Even Kyra, who was still banging fruitlessly on the door behind him was kinda his friend.

"Don't worry about it." He assured her. "We're all in this together, so I want to hear what you all think."

"In that case, perhaps we should consider

"Intruiged; that is certainly a possibility." Darsan said, a metaphorical gleam in his eye. "Reasonably; if we're getting rid of it, we might as well get some credits out of it."

Mannon quickly said, "The Alliance will match any offer you get, I'm sure of it."

"Oh, sure." Jake said, the cartoon dog face on his screen rolling its eyes. "Just give up the super-awesome top-secret space ship. Come on, man, we should just keep it! I mean, look how quickly you took out those idiots following us!"

"Pointedly; what do you think, Finn?" Darsan asked.

Finn tried his best not to laugh as he looked at Darsan. It didn't help that the elcor had a shower cap over his bald dome of a head and a rubber duck tucked away in his robe pocket.

He sighed and said, "I don't think it matters if we get rid of it at this point. They know we have it, and they know this ship. The best we can do is get this ship's transponders changed, and hope to whatever god is listening that they don't find us again. For the moment, we might as well keep her."

"Him!" Darsan patted the ship, saying, "His name is Billy."

Finn stared at Jake. "What?"

Ignoring him, Jake rubbed against the ship's plating, whispering, "I love you, Billy."

Finn rubbed his eyes; it was bad enough that insanity was following him at every step. Now, it was starting to spread to his crew.

"Once we're sure we're in the clear, we'll reevaluate the situation." Finn said, his eyes on Mannon.

"Thank you, Captain." She said, bowing her head slightly.

Finn let out a sigh. "Okay, if this is my ship, then we're going by my rules. Rule number one, no one calls me captain. Ever. I'm the same Finn I was when I patched the sewage line back on J-27."

"Now that's a lovely image." Eri said, shaking his head.

Mannon relaxed a little, saying, "You're right. Sorry. It's just …"

"… the training, I know." Glancing around the room, he said, "No matter what happens, we're all in this together. That goes for all of us from J-27 and our newer crew members. We'll get through this, I promise."

About a minute passed as everyone seemed to be waiting for him to say something else. He looked at them a moment before saying, "Okay, meeting's over. Go do … whatever."

"Hopeful; maybe my water's still warm." Darsan said as he lumbered back to the lift.

Jake finally broke away from Billy, saying, "Want me on the bridge?"

"Only if Billy doesn't mind." Finn replied sarcastically.

"Oh, he doesn't, I'm sure. He knows you're doing what's best for the crew."

As Jake walked away with Ensign Mannon, Finn shook his head and muttered, "That was creepy."

Once they were gone, Eri commented, "Great speech, Captain. Really rallied the troops."

Finn scowled at Eri as the turian followed after Jake and Mannon.

Still leaning against the ship, he found his gaze wandering skyward to the stars he couldn't really see. He never would've thought it, but he was beginning to miss the humdrum life of a repairman. Life was just too damn complicated wandering around the galaxy.

Shaking his head, he pushed himself off of the door. Opening the door, he leaned in and said, "Comfy?"

Kyra's arms were crossed. Her face could've served as a mask for the word 'pout'.

"You look adorable." Finn blushed when he realized he said that particular thought aloud.

She tried hard not to smile, but the blush on her cheeks made her feelings clear.

There was a long moment where they stared pointedly at anything that wasn't each other.

Coughing, Finn said, "Listen, we can have you back to Omega …"

"Back to Omega?" She interrupted, sounding alarmed. "Why would you bring me back to Omega?"

"Because you aren't a part of this." He told her, a little taken aback. "People are trying to kill us, not you. You don't deserve to be in danger because of an accident."

"Isn't that how you all got roped into this?" She asked him pointedly. "I can't imagine you went out on top secret missions."

"Oh?" Finn asked her, raising an eyebrow. "And how do you know I'm not a spy?"

She tilted her head to the side slightly, an odd smile on her face. "You're too nice. I've seen a few 'covert' agents while I was working at the Rigger's Folly. There's something … dark about them. You don't seem like that at all."

"I'm not really that nice." He told her, moving aside so she could leave the ship.

She held out her hand for his help. He took it and helped her out of the ship without thinking about it.

"Yes you are. See?" She gave him a peck on the cheek and cheerily walked over to the lift. "I'm gonna be in the engine room looking at the data I got from the ship. Talk to you later?"

"Uh, sure."

She gave him one final cheery smile before she stepped into the lift.

Once she was gone, Finn looked back at the ship. His reflection stared back at him from the glossy black plating, his cheeks quite noticeably red.

He scowled and walked away, muttering, "Traitor."

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