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Snipers Die Last

Chapter 1: Snipers Die Last

by Mitasova

a/n: Continuing with my Mass Effect obsession, and now branching to coop! A short piece that pretty much wrote itself, dedicated to my Salarian Infiltrator. Tried very hard to bridge game mechanics and reality, character voice and objective events.

***

There are too many of them, and only one of him. Jonis doesn't quite have time to process that. The mission goes from "routine" to "disaster" in a nanosecond.

Should have taken the Valiant.

Still, impossible to predict. No use blaming anyone now. They were a good team, efficient - worked together a lot, liked each other even. This time, too, everything goes according to plan - until the upload. Until a Praetorian jumps out of nowhere and kills Speedman. If Jonis had his Valiant with him, maybe would have been able to do something. As is, the Black Widow is too slow and the distance too short. He takes the shot anyway, misses, and the next moment Speedman's head is shapeless pulp impaled by a serrated beak.

The voice in his earpiece announces the obvious: "Squad member has flatlined!" Problematic.

Two possessed captains skim the corner. Jonis kills one, leaves a proximity mine behind and runs.

He has never understood why humans would call a heavy Destroyer class infantry unit Speedman - in his experience, those were anything but speedy. Suspected it was some sort of in-joke, but never had any desire to inquire further. Regrets that now.

Without Speedman and his Typhoon things quickly go from bad to worse. Narinni gets torn to pieces by a cluster grenade, and when they finally try changing position (why waited so long? Stupid!), a possessed Scion downs the turian. Jonis gets lucky with a headshot from around a counter, but there are two more up the ramp. Direct line of sight, hopeless. Try helping him, die as well.

Jonis fires and watches through the scope as the turian bleeds out. Alone now. Time to relocate.

"Get on that server and start the upload, soldier!"

"I know, I know. Soon."

Not afraid to die - got a good bit of work done back on Sur'Kesh before the war. Progeny contract finalized, brothers solid researchers all. Good life. Would like to keep living, of course, but would like to win this war even more.

Start with small things. Make the upload.

Jonis kills two abominations that are running right at him (no survival instinct at all), and ducks just in time to avoid another volley from one of the Scions. Almost falls over from the glancing impact. On his scanner, there is a Praetorian closing in - probably the same one that had killed Speedman. Would like to kill it now, but no time. The facility is small and cramped, they are as far away from the terminal as they will ever be likely to be. Shields depleted, but no way to refill them, so not worth thinking about. Time to go back.

Activating the cloak, Jonis darts as fast as he dares - through the doorway, along the corridor, down the stairs and to the terminal. Two footsoldiers guarding it - no problem. Hoping they didn't have time to alert the rest. Hoping 30 seconds is enough.

It is enough.

"We got it, upload verified!" Jonis thinks his lungs are going to bottom out, he sighs so deeply. "The shuttle will be there in five minutes, repeat, in five minutes!"

He feels dizzy with relief: was ready to die, but if honest, prefers not to. Prefers to fight another day.

The Scions are shambling along somewhere slowly, but the Praetorian is already right on top of the flight of stairs. Jonis can make out scratching, spidery clutter of its claws. Five minutes, perfect. Just enough to take care of some matters.

Jonis smiles, triggers cloak with a twitch of his fingers, and looks through the scope.