APEX: Andromeda's Finest

Public Codex Entry:

The races of the Andromeda Initiative were not expecting trouble when they crossed the galactic void to the Andromeda galaxy, but prepared for it, nonetheless. In preparation, they recruited Initiative candidates with military experience and tactical acumen, such as the Pathfinders and many of the Turian species. In addition, the Andromeda Initiative also procured a wide variety of weapons, hardsuits, and equipment for whatever challenge may appear. One hundred thousands asari, krogan, humans, turians, and salarians set sail across the void to a hopeful new home.

When the Andromeda Initiative arrived in the Heleus Cluster, however, no amount of preparation could prepare them for the Scourge; an entity comprised of dark energy attracted to "Remnant" technology on a number of worlds targeted for initial colonization, the "Golden Worlds". The Nexus and Ark Hyperion, the only found Ark at the time of this entry, ran afoul of the Scourge, causing damage to their vessels and causing the death of many colonists and colonial leadership. Initiative founder and Director Jien Garson was killed, in addition to much of the Nexus' leadership. The position of Initiative Director fell to Jarun Tann; former Deputy Director of Revenue Management and eighth in line for the position.

In an effort to triage the damage done by the Scourge and to create a supply line for the Nexus, Director Tann and Colonial Director Foster Addison authorized the colonization of Habitat 1; Eos. However, it became clear that during the six-hundred-year journey to the Heleus Cluster, more had changed than was immediately apparent. Eos, already an arid world, was plague by lethal radiation and violent storms that made habitation difficult, evidently caused by the Scourge. The Initiative sent more supplies than initially projected, draining the Nexus' resources.

To make matters worse, the "Kett" appeared; a group of aliens not local to the Heleus Cluster that have shown open hostility towards the Initiative; firing upon and killing members of the Initiative. Site 1, dubbed "Promise" was attacked by the Kett, and this, in combination with the hostile weather, forced the evacuation of the colony. A second colony was founded, dubbed "Resilience", in the hopes that it would survive. Reports from the colony indicate that the Kett attacked shortly after the colony's founding, massacring the colonists.

The Scourge incident, the failures of the Eos colonies, and rising supply shortages caused immense unrest on the Nexus. A mutiny occurred, led first by chief life support engineer Calix Corvannis, then by former chief of security, Sloane Kelly. In response, Director Tann allowed the krogan, led by clan chieftain Nakmor Morda, to put down the rebellion. In the aftermath of the rebellion, Sloane Kelly and her fellow rebels were exiled, with reports having them settle on the world of Kadara. In addition, Clan Nakmor, which had been promised a place in the Nexus leadership following the rebellion, left the station as well due to the deal going sour. Reports have the krogan settled on the world of Elaaden.

Even with the threat of the exiles dealt with and peace restored, the Nexus was in a very grim position, with the fate of the Andromeda Initiative teetering on the edge. In order defend the Initiative, Director Tann authorized the creation of the Nexus Militia, led by new chief of security, Tiran Kandros. Even still, the Nexus was on the verge of starvation when hope arrived, in the form of the human ark: Ark Hyperion.

With the arrival of Ark Hyperion and the human Pathfinder Ryder, Nexus leadership approved the creation of the APEX program; a special operations unit within the Initiative Militia intended to act as mobile strike teams, going where a large contingent of the Militia could not or would not be effective. This unit is led by Militia Commander and Nexus Security Chief Tiran Kandros, operates at the behest of Director Tann and under the guidance of Pathfinder David Ryder, currently the only Pathfinder to have arrived at the Nexus, and the successor to his father, former first graduate of the Alliance N7 program, Alec Ryder. While nascent in his tenure as Pathfinder, Ryder is the Nexus' eyes and ears on the ground, and thus has a firmer idea of the overall situation in Heleus.

This record has been made available for public consumption and shall be continually updated as the Initiative's time in the Heleus Cluster progresses. Admission into the APEX Program requires membership in the Nexus Militia and selection by Tiran Kandros or by personal recommendation by Pathfinder Ryder. If protecting the Nexus is how you feel you can best serve the Initiative, please see your local Militia recruiter today!

This has been the Heleus News Service, the voice of the Nexus.

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"And this is the shit they're feeding the rest of the Nexus?" Sloane Kelly asked as she handed Kaetus back the datapad.

"Apparently so," he said, tossing the datapad aside, "thought it might be good if you knew we were considered a 'threat'."

"Oh, I already knew that…but's it's nice to be acknowledged from time to time." Kelly admitted smugly, leaning back on her throne. "Have our operational heads be made aware of APEX and have someone spin this for the rest of the exiles here on Kaedara; make them the boogeyman of the port so we can up protection fees a little bit."

"You sure we can get away with that? The Collective-"

"The Collective is a bunch of small-time nobodies who don't wanna pay what's due. They'll find out what happens when you mess with Sloane fucking Kelly."

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Pathfinder David Ryder set the datapad down on his side table and swung his legs over the side of his bed. He was dressed for the day; his dirty blonde hair slicked back as it always was, but his blue eyes were tired.

"Pathfinder, your vitals are slightly elevated; are you alright?" SAM, the AI his father had constructed, asked. It had access to all of his vitals and saw the world through his eyes, both literally and figuratively.

"I'm fine…I guess." Ryder answered. "It's just…. it's just a lot to take in."

"Your father would not have given you the duty of Pathfinder if he did not feel he had adequately prepared you for the task. A Pathfinder is both the physical duties of exploring and defending the Initiative, in addition to the leadership and mentorship duties that come with the role." SAM counseled.

"But why me? Why did he leave me alone, and with locked logs? Why couldn't he just spell it out for me?" Ryder asked, frustration rising in his chest, balling his fists.

"Your father did not coddle or 'give hand-outs' as it were; he firmly believed that knowledge and experience must be earned in order for it to 'stick' as he would say." SAM said. "As for his departure, he did not leave you alone, Pathfinder; he left you with me."

"Yeah…yeah he did." Ryder acquiesced. His personal terminal began to beep, forcing him to stand and move to it. On it was a priority message from Kandros on the Nexus.

"Kett activity spike near Prodromos reported, development of firebase near colony highly possible. Pathfinder intervention requested, but denied due to Pathfinder priority mission on Rem-tech. Activate APEX?" The message read.

"And just when I thought we were done on Eos." Ryder said as his fingers danced across his keyboard. "APEX activation approved by Pathfinder Ryder, dispatch Strike Teams Alpha and Bravo. Protection of Prodromos is our highest priority. Mission criteria as follows: Priority One, defend the colony of Prodromos from Kett incursions. Priority Two, destruction of any and all Kett buildings, fortifications, and equipment in the vicinity of (IVO) Prodromos. Priority Three, retrieval of intelligence on Kett activity IVO Prodromos. Priority Four, total destruction of Kett forces IVO Prodromos. Priority Five, preparation for follow on operations to be conducted by Pathfinder Ryder. Mission is considered a failure if Priority One is not achieved, mission is considered a success if minimum of Priority Two is achieved." Ryder looked over the message then pounded send. The reply came a moment later.

"Affirmative; Alpha and Bravo en route to Eos; asset on the ground will meet them at Prodromos. Will report when mission is concluded,"

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Author's Note: Hello everyone, thank you very much for reading, I hope you guys enjoyed this first little installment of APEX: Andromeda's Finest. For those of you who follow my other works, yes, I am still working on them; From Domination to Genocide almost has it's next one or two chapters done while 40K Journal…is undergoing revision, but expect a chapter by mid-July.

For those of you who are reading my work for the first time, welcome! A couple of things to note about me and my writing style, especially as it pertains to Mass Effect Andromeda:

One, I am open to criticism. my main work, From Domination to Genocide is on Version THREE, and it is first version (which has since been deleted) was back in 2012…yeah. This is due to a good deal of constructive criticism from others in addition to my personal evolution as a writer. I am more than willing to listen to good critique because "wisdom drawn from only one source quickly grows stagnant" and I don't know everything. If you just scream "shit-fic" or "Mary-Sue" without explaining it so I can understand what I may potentially be getting wrong. You may, quite possibly, be right, and I need to fix it.

Two, I like to twist the canon slightly; in the case of Andromeda I feel that are a select few decisions that can have the best of both worlds if another variable was added into the mix. There are several restrictions to this, however, such as the mission involving the Archon and the salarian ark. David Ryder will be interwoven into the story as a focal point and his decisions will have weight, such as who he decides to save in that mission, be it the krogan scouts or the salarian Pathfinder. Also in terms of twisting canon, I will be including weapons not included in Mass Effect Andromeda. Why? Because if the Initiative can obtain N7 grade weapons and Cobra MISSILE LAUNCHERS…they can have a few more weapons, in my opinion.

And finally, Three: I am including reader OCs in this story. For almost a year now I've been running a game of Dungeons and Dragons and I feel that after all this time, I finally have a decent grasp on how to weave personal story lines with involved parties. I'm going to try and do this for Andromeda's Finest, but we'll see how it goes. If you would like to have an OC in this story, please PM me with their name, race, class, and what made them come to Andromeda.