With a quiet clink, a mug of tea was set down on the glass surface of the meeting room, the sound echoing down the deserted corridors of the Tempest. It was relatively late in the day/ night cycle onboard the ship, lights dimmed to imitate the darkness of night as the engine shifted into energy-saving mode.
Mr Brodie is currently in the engine room, performing routine diagnostics of the ODSY drive. Would you like me to contact him?
“No, SAM. Is anybody else up?” Suvi sighed. Gil was a good enough friend, but their relationship hadn’t quite gotten to a level that would make this conversation any easier.
Kallo is currently in the galley, preparing a particularly strong caffeine beverage. Would you-
“God no, Kallo’s a nightmare after his hourly coffee,” she tried to suppress a giggle, remembering the time the Salarian pilot had done flips and corkscrews around the Nexus after one break, “plus, he’s not that great with human emotions yet...”
Might I suggest Dr T’Perro? She is the crew mate most qualified to deal with your current issue.
Before Suvi could speak, another voice floated up from the control centre, “Lexi’s busy with Kosta. I told him that sofa was a death trap…” Vetra climbed the stairs, eyes locked onto her omni tool as she continued, “I said,’nothing that old will stay uncombusted for long, especially with that damn omni-blade of yours’”
The turian came to a stop next to Suvi, eyes still focused on her endless reams of data and contacts as she leaned against the table, “And whaddya know, within two weeks the whole thing goes up in flames, with the moron asleep on it.”
“Is he okay?”
“Yeah, he might just have to wear a hat for a few months,” Vetra chuckled, “so yeah, Lexi’s a bit tied up right now. But I’m not, so we could talk?” She looked over at Suvi, omni-tool flickering away with a few deft swipes of her hand.
“I don’t know Vetra, it’s kinda personal, and you’ve already got a full enough plate, what with Sid and everything.”
The turian blinked in confusion, “Couple of things: one, what plate are you talking about? I know my mandibles haven’t really been cleaned in a while, but I don’t see-” seeing the bemused look on the scientist’s face, realization dawned on her, “ah, that’s a human saying, isn’t it?”
“Yep, means that you’re already doing a lot, though I can understand the confusion.”
“Uh-huh,” Vetra shifted slightly, “anyway, it’s my job to make sure that you’re all at your best, regardless of whether that means getting you new specimens for research-”
“Thank you for those by the way- really intriguing stuff, full of all sorts of new scientific finds! If you’d like, I could send you the data analysis?” Suvi looked at Vetra with an expectant look, eyes brimming with barely contained excitement.
“Uh, sure Doc, whatever you want. As I was saying, it’s my job to keep you all at your best, regardless of whether you need new specimens or an armoured shoulder to cry on.”
“Thanks, Vetra, that’s… too kind,” taking a sip of her rapidly-cooling tea, Suvi looked out of the window, “it’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
“I guess so… don’t really have an eye for that kind of stuff, to be honest. I’d prefer unpredictable over beautiful any day.”
“Unpredictable…” Suvi’s thoughts drifted to the Pathfinder and the mess she had gotten herself into, “honestly, I’m not a fan of unpredictable. But sometimes, y’know, it can be so alluring.”
Vetra looked over to the Doctor, a look of shock spread across her face, “Oh! Um, I’m not sure what to say, Suvi. I’m flattered, but…”
“What? Oh, no, that’s not what I meant Vetra!” she laughed, the exposed skin of her turian friend flushing a deep blue, “You’re lovely, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not what I meant.”
“Yeah, I was about to say. Always thought you and Ryder had a thing going on, but what with all the rumours going around-”
“Rumours?” Suvi asked, setting her mug back down with a single sharp movement, “what’re people saying?”
Vetra raised a brow plate, her mandibles fluttering as she stared at the blushing scientist, “absolutely nothing, but I’m assuming by your reaction that there is something between the two of you?” Her gaze moved down to Suvi’s feet, where a handful of holdalls lay in a neat pile, “I think I’m beginning to piece everything together now…”
“It’s for the best if I leave, things have gotten… complicated,” Suvi sipped her tea again, “she’s struggling enough as it is and I’m really not helping matters. She needs to be at her best, just like you said.”
“She’s struggling, yeah, but she’s been through worse. Plus, Lexi’s be-”
Vetra couldn’t help but roll her eyes as Suvi interrupted her again, “what do you mean ‘she’s been through worse’? I’ve seen her files- they’re virtually empty.”
“Yep. Ryder’s official files are just a few lines- name, age and gender. It’s actually kinda funny, they even managed to get one of those wrong. Fortunately,” Vetra bought her omni-tool back up, flicking through folder after folder as she searched for…
“Aha! Got this one off of an old contact of mine back In the Milky Way just before we left. I was looking into the Pathfinders and their teams and had hit a certain, Sandy-Ryder-shaped hurdle. Fortunately, this contact had a certain heavily-classified document just laying about,” Suvi’s own omni-tool flickered to life as a new message appeared in her inbox, “she never did say where she got it, just that Ryder had been considered for a mission or some shit like that.”
Suvi glanced over the file, scrolling through page after page, “Lots of blacked out sections, I think the file’s corrupted.”
“Nope, those are the redacted bits,” Vetra tutted mockingly, “Spirits, anyone would think that you don’t spend all your time reading heavily classified documents from top-secret archives.”
“Funny that, anyone would think that I’m just a humble scientist and not an infamous smuggler,” Suvi smiled, nudging Vetra as she looked back down at her bags, “so, about me leaving…”
“I think it’s a bad idea- whatever you did, leaving will only hurt Ryder more. Plus, you’re the best in your field, Suvi. Like it or not, we need you here.” Vetra flared her mandibles- the turian equivalent of a smile- as she returned to whatever it was she had been doing.“Oh, I should probably mention- don’t tell ‘Sandy’ that I gave you that dossier, okay? She’s one crazy bitch…”
Dossier: The Corsair
Former First Lieutenant Nasira 'Sandy' Ryder- N4. Served at the Prothean Archives on Mars, then under Captain H. Shepard on the SSV Kilimanjaro from 2180 until her dishonourable discharge in 2182. Recent intel suggests that she is currently working on Omega.
Born on the Citadel in 2163 to the legendary Dr Ellen Ryder and Alec Ryder, Nasira’s early life was turbulent. C-Sec records show that by
[redacted], Nasira had already been put on several young offenders registers, including [redacted], [redacted] and, most notably, [redacted]. According to Alliance Military interviews, Alec had been training her and her brother using his own N7 training for several years by this point. It’s probable that he also helped Nasira develop her formidable biotic powers during this time.
At the age of 15, Nasira ran away from home. Reasons for this are unclear, though one can imply that her mother’s AEND diagnosis, along with her father’s coldness to her, was the driving force behind this choice. Within a month of her being reported missing, she had signed up with the Alliance and had been shipped off to
[redacted] for training. As the Alliance’s minimum age for volunteers is 18, it follows that Nasira lied about her age to join up.
Following a series of
[redacted], Operations Chief Ryder was posted to Mars, where she served in a support role at the Prothean Archives. It’s unknown for how long she stayed at this posting, but Rear Admiral [redacted]’s personal files from 2180 mention a ‘series of strange upsets on Mars, almost universally involving that damnable Ryder woman’. None of [redacted]’s data explains what these ‘upsets’ were. It was also during this time that Nasira began her N-class training.
In 2180, First Lieutenant Ryder was assigned to the SSV Kilimanjaro, where she served as platoon leader for Captain Hannah Shepard (mother to Lieutenant Commander
[redacted]). Nasira led her platoon on covert cleanup missions across the [redacted] Verge, mainly around [redacted] and [redacted]. This brought her into contact with batarian slavers and pirates, and it was in these engagements that she earned several commendations. Our sources in the Council suggest that, for a brief period of time, Nasira Ryder was considered for the honour of being the first human [redacted], though she was dismissed early on out of fear of further worsening diplomatic relations with the Batarian Hegemony.
Deployed in 2181 to
[redacted] as part of Operation [redacted], Lt Ryder led her platoon into a [redacted] on [redacted], a fully established colony world in the Hegemony. The mission was top secret- the only details regarding the goals of the assignment were [redacted]. After [redacted] days of heavy fighting, the [redacted] collapsed- losses were absolute, save for Nasira, who had been separated from the remaining [redacted].
Nasira spent 2 weeks in intensive medical care. Medical records recovered from the SSV Kilimanjaro describe her injuries: ‘First Lieutenant Ryder has suffered second and third degree burns with 30% soft tissue coverage. On top of this, ribs L4, 5 and 6, along with ribs R4, 5, 6 and 8 have all been fractured, causing the right lung to be punctured. Left hand has been almost completely shattered. Though her injuries are severe, the medical team and I expect her to make a full recovery within 6 months.’ Despite the doctor’s predictions, Nasira was returned to active service within a month.
She was discharged 3 months later after being linked to multiple
[redacted] and a single [redacted], She fled to the Terminus Systems, where she has since made a name for herself in a small mercenary band called the Scarlet Corsairs operating out of Omega, eventually rising to take joint-ownership over the group, alongside a volus called [redacted].
Sometime in 2183, Nasira- who had dropped the surname ‘Ryder’ and started going by the name ‘Sandy’- and the Scarlet Corsairs were taken over by a splinter group of the Blue Suns. Whereas her old group had mainly been simple guns for hire, the Blue Suns pushed them into ferrying drugs across the Terminus Systems. Objecting to this,
[redacted], along with two-thirds of the ex-Corsairs attempted to stage a coup against the Blue Suns, but were betrayed by Sandy and the loyalist Corsairs. What followed was described in Omega’s local news as ‘a slaughter’, as at least [redacted] were found dead in the bowels of the station.
Now the de facto leader of what remained of the Scarlet Corsairs, Sandy and her Blue Suns higher-ups pushed the red sand trade out into the Attican Traverse, eventually bringing them into conflict with elements of the Systems Alliance in 2184, costing the 63RD Scout Division half of their active fight wing as the small flotilla fled back into the Terminus. In response to this threat, the SSV Cairo was deployed to the Traverse, with Alliance officers hoping to deter pirates from attacking their fledgeling colonies. On top of this, the Council deployed the Asari Spectre,
[redacted], to take down the growing drug ring before it could pose a real threat to Citadel space. It’s unclear whether [redacted] was directly responsible for the fall of the Corsairs mere months later.
As of November 17th, 2184, Nasira ‘Sandy’ Ryder is operating as a gun-for-hire around Omega, though recent intelligence reports delivered to
[redacted] suggest she has been critically injured in an encounter with the Turian vigilante Archangel (see Dossier: Archangel) and is making preparations to return to the Citadel.
ADDENDUM 01: Eligibility for Phase 2 of Project
[redacted]- Her combat skills and raw biotic abilities will prove useful for the mission, though potential personality clashes with both the commanding officer and other team members have been predicted, most notably with Archangel.
ADDENDUM 02: Eligibility for Phase 2 of Project
[redacted]- Further investigation into classified Spectre files suggest that Nasira Ryder is suffering from a severe addiction to the nerve stimulant ‘red sand’.
ADDENDUM 03: Withdrawal from Phase 2 of Project
[redacted]- Upon further deliberation, it’s been decided that Nasira Ryder will NOT be a good fit for the team we’re putting together for Project [redacted]. This dossier will be archived in case of reconsideration.
ADDENDUM 04: Recent Developments- DEC23.2185/ Nasira Ryder has arrived at the Citadel and has been booked onto Ark Hyperion as part of the Pathfinder Team. The Andromeda Initiative leaves in one week. It’s unclear if Nasira has been informed of this development.
ADDENDUM 05: Vetra Nyx- Hope this fits what you’re looking for Nyx. Good luck in Andromeda! From, Maya Brooks.
Suvi sat in the galley, staring at her datapad as she cradled a mug of tea in her hands. She had read the entire dossier over and over again, letting every single word sink in one by one. San- Nasira had mentioned her past only once before, and even then she had brushed over a lot of the finer details- the secret missions in the Hegemony, the betrayal, all the violence. Vetra had been right- the Pathfinder was one crazy bitch.
With a muted hum, the doors slid open and the Pathfinder’s second-in-command slunk in. Suvi looked up at Cora, mumbling a greeting as she went back to her tea.
“Good morning to you too,” Cora said, fully awake and alert as she searched the pantry, “I assume you didn’t sleep well?”
“Something like that, yeah,” sipping her tea, Suvi shifted in her seat, “who else is awake?”
The huntress turned to stare at the scientist, mouth pulled into a concerned frown for a split second before softening into a smile, “Suvi, it’s 4 AM. Go and get some sleep.”
“But… my tea…”
“You can make another one when you get up, just go to bed,” Cora sighed, rummaging through a cupboard, “Look, you’ve been on edge for days now, you can’t let our Pathfinder stress you out, okay?”
“I didn’t say anything about Nasira, I don-”
“Nisira, my old captain?” Cora asked, pulling a protein bar from its box, “You should really go to bed Suvi, you’re a mes-”
“No! Nasira is Ryder’s first name! I thought you would have known that- you were close with Alec after all.”
Cora hesitated, chewing on her meagre breakfast as she stared at Suvi. After what seemed like hours, Cora sighed, “Alec never even mentioned he had a daughter.”
“Huh? But surely her brother must have said something?”
“Mo never mentioned her either,” she shrugged, taking another bite of her protein bar as she sat down opposite Suvi, “I dunno, she must have been a family secret. I actually only met her for the first time a few weeks before we left the Milky Way.”
Suvi sipped her tea, groggy mind struggling to process this new information. “So,” she had to be careful how to ask this, “you know absolutely nothing about her past?”
Cora paused before shaking her head. “Only what I overheard you-” she finished her bar, brushing away the few crumbs that had landed on the table, “excuse me, only what I overheard you and Lexi talking about after the Pathfinder’s little ‘incident’ on Aya.”
The way she had spat ‘Pathfinder’ set bells ringing in Suvi’s head, but for now she swept it to one side. “She did mercenary work for a little while, yeah,” finishing her cup of tea, she rose from the table, “it’s not really that important, to be honest with ye.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah,” Suvi shifted under Cora’s piercing gaze, “I should, erm… probably go back to bed, like ye said.”
“Uh-huh, sleep well,” the Lieutenant grunted, crumpling up her breakfast’s packaging as she too rose from the table. As the door to the galley closed behind her erstwhile colleague, Cora turned her attention to Suvi’s abandoned datapad. Throwing her wrapper on the counter, she picked up the datapad, mouth agape as she read through page after page of heavily classified data.
“Just what I was looking for…”