Project Overview: Untitled Document is a serial comedy novel dealing with the sort of topics that we so frequently make fun of here at Something Awful.
This Chapter: Captain Patrick "Liberty" Henry and his Gamma Strikers battle Nazis in the Presidential Palace, Raylene gets a message from beyond the grave, and Admiral Regel's courtesy call to Finland takes a surprising twist. All that and more in this action-packed blast-a-sentence chapter of "Untitled Document". Okay, not really "and more", that's pretty much a summary of what happens.
"I love Chalupas." Raylene sighed and took a long drink of Sprite, washing the delicious taste of the Taco Bell out of her mouth.
She leaned back against the plastic stucco wall of the fast food restaurant and let her good hand drop into the soft grass. In her entire life she had never even considered eating at Taco Bell and she cursed for having deprived herself so long.
"It's probably the euphoria the medic warned you about," advised Eliza, who chewed much more cautiously. "You shouldn't have gotten sour cream, either. Their electricity went out in there hours ago."
Technical Specialist Rhonda Summers had awkwardly landed the Imperatrixian drop ship in a Taco Bell parking lot thirty miles north of Mobile, Alabama. Eliza had finally managed to contact a medical team still in the field and had ordered them to rendezvous with the captured alien craft. Mobile had not yet been attacked and the Alabama National Guard were anxious for a good fight. Eliza hoped their sacrifice would provide Raylene and the others with plenty of time to rest and, more importantly, for Specialist Summers to figure out how to properly pilot the drop ship.
The Taco Bell employees and several curious onlookers wandered around the parking lot, marveling at the alien ship and mingling with the armed women who had emerged from it. Eliza nodded her thanks once again to the paunchy manager as he ambled past offering cold soft tacos from a large sack. The medical team had arrived in a deuce and a half they had "borrowed" from the National Guard. Most of them had not even had time to armor up before rushing to the rendezvous point, leaving them dressed in their civilian clothes. Their leader was a Conservator in the US Army combat uniform of a lieutenant colonel, her Kevlar helmet swapped out for the red dress cap of the Sisterhood. It looked incongruous with the dusty fatigues, like red nail polish applied delicately to the head of a hammer.
"Do you think it can be saved?" Raylene's gaze was far away.
"Probably not, ma'am." Eliza toyed with the badly scuffed and delaminated front of her cuirass. "We didn't recover much of your arm. We were in a pretty big hurry. I'm sure they can make you a new one."
"Not my arm. This…" Raylene gestured as expansively as she could with her remaining arm. "Do you think anyone can pull it off?"
"No. We're delaying the inevitable." Raylene remained silent for several seconds and Eliza worried that she had overstepped her bounds. "There's always a chance. Maybe one of the other organizations has a trick up their sleeve."
Raylene snorted derisively.
"No, I don't think so. If we're left relying on the Templars or, God forbid, the Masons then it's definitely all over." Raylene rested her hand on Eliza's shoulder. "I appreciate your candor, though.
Explosions flickered on the horizon like heat lightning and the muted thunder of distant battle became audible.
"I suspect that if we plan on dragging this out further we had better make preparations to depart." Raylene groaned, weakened by her unnatural age, and leaned on Eliza heavily as she rose to her feet. "See what surviving Sisterhood cells you can get in touch with. There are sure to be a few scattered here and there. I'll go speak with our pilot-in-training."
Raylene limped along the beetle-like body of the Imperatrixian drop ship, inspecting its construction for the first time. Its seemingly smooth black surface was actually covered in tiny scales of armor like a fish or reptile. Raylene could see a dappling of dark gray spots on the craft where scales had been torn away by damage and realized that somehow the craft was replacing them. The new scales were smaller, lighter in color, and softer to the touch when she ran her fingers over them. The drop ship's two large cylindrical primary engines were tilted vertically into a landing position. Raylene ducked beneath a stubby wing to briefly examine the strange hemispherical protrusion at the engine's tail end. Getting close to it made something tingle in her forehead, just above her nose, and she dimly recalled a bit of folklore about mankind's vestigial ability to perceive magnetism.
The engine on the opposite side of the craft had been damaged during the first few moments of flight. Specialist Summers had slammed the engine into and through a cellular telephone transmitter during their precarious escape. She had recovered just in time to avoid ramming the whole craft through a five story office building. Beneath the craft were a dozen or more mechanical sphincters that served as a more advanced form of thrust vectoring. Whatever form of propulsion the main engines used there was no sound or visible disturbance, but the thrust vectors whined like jet engines and made the air quiver with heat. Only they were not jet engines, and the air they expelled was not really hot. Summers had offered up the possibility that they were "cold electron ramjets", but admitted she had no idea if this was true.
"Ma'am." Specialist Summers stood at attention near the cockpit.
Raylene returned her salute.
"Have you been honing your skills, Miss Summers?" Raylene asked and tried to ignore the bolt of pain that shot up her nonexistent left arm.
Specialist Rhonda Summers was a slim woman with mouse brown hair and a body that you could use as a straight edge. She was not particularly good looking, but her freckled face and big brown eyes gave her a certain tomboy appeal that left the more progressive members of the Sisterhood feeling broken hearted. Raylene was too distracted by pain and fatigue to even pay Rhonda's appearance any heed.
Mass Effect: Andromeda turns its nose up at the original trilogy's rigid morality. It boasts a more nuanced and intellectually compelling shades-of-grey approach in which a heart icon pops up when it's time to tell an alien to take their clothes off.
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