Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Midgard » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:34 pm

I think the change in perspective and the part with Tali/Titan merge worked quite well. Definitely can't wait for the conclusion - it sounds like you have about two or three updates left, right? Very satisfying so far.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:15 pm

Thanks Midgard, and according to a couple of other readers it wasn't too confusing, so seems I pulled that off. Also, in regard to parts remaining, there are two. Or according to how you count, just one to go... ;)

Recommended listening: Dragonborn, by Jeremy Soule, from the Skyrim soundtrack. On full volume. (Also, the musical sequence is kind of cued up to the chapter as the piece is what gave me the inspiration for the events that unfold, but I think you’ll have to read it really, really fast).


Chapter 62-The Angels of the Storm

“WE ARE THE LIGHTNING OF HIS WRATH!”

Four angels roared the cry as they thundered forwards, weapons raised as they prepared to deal righteous retribution upon the foe. In their wake, an army of many peoples and many cultures followed, weapons ready to bring death to a menace that had haunted the galaxy for too long.

“WE ARE THE THUNDER OF HIS HATE!”

Malleus was the first to hit the approaching lines of the enemy, vaulting over a ridge of tortured earth and crushing one of the foe’s troops with his landing, nearly a ton of ceramite and fury smashing the automaton into ruin. His thunder hammer and power sword swept out a moment later, tearing another two opponents apart, and a turning blow cleaved through their ranks, blasting the foe away.

“WE ARE THE DOOM OF THE ENEMIES OF LIFE!” he bellowed, bringing his hammer around to smash into the helmet of another enemy trooper. Though he wore no helm at the moment, his voice seemed to carry across the field nonetheless, clear and true. “WE ARE THE ONCOMING STORM!!”

They did not stop and they did not even slow down. As they closed with the enemy they clubbed them with lasrifle butts, stabbed them with knives, tore them away with point-blank shots. The charge was furious, swift, merciless, the sheer weight of numbers pressing against the Reapers, grinding them back constantly.

Tanks ploughed ahead of the charge, guns blazing while their treads crushed the enemy beneath them, crews uncaring for those that were destroyed by enemy demolition charges or blasted apart by the enemy’s stalk tanks. Hostile armour was targeted by heavy weapons, fullisades of fire tearing into them from every side, blasting away kinetic barriers and annihilating the armour beneath.

One of the walkers reared in front of Malleus, but the Brother Captain simply slammed his thunder hammer down upon its nose, power sword stabbing home a moment later to hack its vulnerable innards to pieces. Not even stopping, he ripped it free, sprinting over its raised spine, crashing among the foe and swinging out with his weapons once more, tearing them apart.

He whirled to avoid a shot from an enemy heavy weapon, and rapid thudding heralded Titus’ arrival, the banner bearer holding the standard of the Sons aloft even as his shotgun blasted away at the foe. The offending trooper was cut down with its comrades in arms, scythed apart by the sheer power of the fire Titus was sending out, and the banner bearer mag-clamped his shotgun to his armour before taking his standard in both hands and stabbing it forwards like a spear, skewering another foe.

Together, the two of them forged ahead. They were merciless and consummately lethal, working with the sort of synchronicity that came from four centuries of fighting alongside one another; they had done so in their days in the scout company, and countless battles since then had only made them all the more dangerous. They watched each other instinctively, covering vulnerabilities and openings, wordlessly coordinating their attacks with hardly a thought.

A wave of lightning rippled just to their left as Cyralius unleashed his power, while Okeen covered the Epistolary’s back with strokes from his Narthecium’s chainblade. Malleus knew that the spectacular feats of power that the psyker had unleashed before wouldn’t be an option here, the constant combat taking a toll upon him, but nonetheless they would be useful in clearing the way to Harbinger and that was all he needed.

Next to him was Jack, the young biotic a storm of dark energy as she tore at the foe with her talents. Grunt was by her side, blasting away with his claymore, while Garrus culled the foe with precision longlas shots, supported by Mordin’s target spotting. Samara hurled a shield of biotic energy up with one hand, her laspistol snapping as she gunned down a foe with another, and for a brief moment her and Malleus’ eyes met across the field of battle.

The haft of Titus’ banner slashed across his vision as the standard bearer stabbed at a foe off one side of Malleus, and he yelled to his Brother-Captain; “Focus, Malleus!”

Malleus gritted his teeth and nodded, readying his weapons before plunging into the fray once more. He struck out all around him with lethal effect, slashing through armour, crushing limbs and bodies, dicing and crushing the foe without mercy or pause. At the very tip of the blade stabbing for Harbinger’s black heart, he was as lethal and powerful as a bolt of lightning and as unstoppable as a hurricane. His weapons were a whirling tornado of deadly energies, electricity crackling and sparking off their power fields as they sundered the foe. It seemed as if nothing could stop them, as if they would tear through the enemy ranks and rip Harbinger asunder once and for all in but a few minutes of furious, glorious combat.

And then the superstalkers opened fire.

Beams of lethal, coruscating heat licked across their lines as the colossal walkers engaged, ripping apart soldiers on an atomic level. Tanks of all kinds exploded as the titans fired, while the auxiliary weapons upon their flanks and shoulders opened up, cutting down yet more of those under Malleus’ command.

“Armoured units, focus your fire on those things!” Malleus bellowed into the vox, even as he cleaved an enemy that tried to club him with the butt of its rifle in two. “Bring it down.”

He knew it would not be enough, but if he could just get close enough then he could bring them down with his thunder hammer.

“No need,” a voice answered in his ear, and he realised then that it was Tali. “I have this one, Malleus.”

And even though he was on one knee, fires still burning on his joints while his crew battled to extinguish them, Yamzarat Machtoro fired.

The beam of energy skewered one of the superstalkers, tearing through it from nose to tail and gutting it entirely. The massive onyx-armoured walker staggered drunkenly before it toppled downwards, crushing swathes of the foe beneath its immense tonnage, and the other one turned its fire upon Yamzarat Machtoro before shells from the titan’s cannon crashed into the weapon-lense at its fore. The bursts of fire right in front of it’s weapons and scanners were enough to blind it, and the god machine relented in his bombardment only to send a shot screaming into it from his lance cannon. The burning blue beam tore right through it, melting away its innards, and the thing stumbled, devoid of any will to guide it. Unlike its kin, this one did not fall sideways, splayed legs keeping it upright. Instead, it seemed to fall in upon itself, crashing to the ground in a great spray of dust and dirt.

“Finish them, Malleus,” Yamzarat Machtoro called in encouragement across the vox. “Deliver vengeance! Deliver justice!”

“That I shall,” Malleus replied. He switched the vox frequencies, a channel where he could be heard by all. “Their titans are fallen! Press the attack! No mercy, no retreat, no surrender! Victory or death! For the Emperor!!”

In the shadow of a toppled god, they made their push.

Now robbed of superheavy walker support, the Reaper lines began to fold, the sheer press of furious soldiers too much for them to hold against. Everyone fighting on the planet had lost someone to the Reapers; many friends fallen, and others even had loved ones killed in the furious press of combat, and now a chance to revenge themselves upon the ancient machines was at hand. They were almost frenzied in their charge, their weapons blazing as they fired shot after shot into the foe, scything them down, pressing forwards with sheer weight of numbers behind them.

And at the fore of the army was Malleus. The Brother Captain, the hero of the war, accompanied by his remaining three brothers, carved their way through the foe. A screaming chainblade on a narthecium, a shotgun and the pointed tip of a banner, a staff wreathed in unearthly energies, a hammer and a blade all reaped a bloody toll upon the foe, as they pressed forwards. Through the press of the foe they went, merciless and unstoppable as a hurricane, before they reached the lee of Harbinger’s fingers.

Each one of them was huge enough to block out the already weak sunlight that had been choked by clouds and smoke, and here the foe’s numbers were denser than ever before, taking advantage of the natural chokepoint the massive weapons made to try and channel the foe close. Rounds hammered off the armour of the Astartes fruitlessly as they charged forwards, plunging into the ranks of the foe without mercy.

The press of melee combat, the enemy’s density proved to be their bane as Malleus and his brothers tore forwards. Shots came at them from every angle, but they merely shrugged them off, plunging towards the hatches that allowed them entry into Harbinger’s main structure. Behind them came the rest of the army, pressing into the breach the Astartes had punched. Shots blazed from their weapons, lasguns punching through armour and melting away at the foe, while missile and portable mass-driver cannon fire exploded amongst their ranks.

And then they were through, into Harbinger’s dim, onyx-walled corridors.

“Harbinger!” Malleus roared as he cut down a group of enemy soldiers before him, his team at his back. “It ends now! Your end is here!”

You are a fool, Scandarum, Harbinger’s voice echoed through the corridors. I tell you now that what we do is for the good of this galaxy! Why do you not listen?

“Because you lie, Harbinger,” Malleus replied. “You are a deluded, foolish creature, hiding from the light of the Emperor, and now that it is here to burn you from your hole you hide behind the veils and illusion! And now you must die!”

A curse upon you, Malleus Scandarum! Harbinger boomed furiously as Malleus charged forwards. He was close now, the Brother Captain knew it; not much further, and then he would be at the Reaper’s heart. A curse upon you and all who you have followed you in your acts of madness! May you and your followers forever walk in darkness, live in an eternity of war, ignorance and suffering! May you all rot and perish in the cauldron of ills that you have begun to stir upon this day! You should not have attempted to fight the inevitable! You will all pay, all of you!

Malleus simply ignored the ancient machine’s ranting, mag-clamping his blade to his armour and drawing his bolt pistol. The weapon had been unused since his assault upon the Collectors’ cruiser all those months ago, and he had only half a magazine of bolt shells left, but for what he planned, he needed only one.

“Harbinger,” he announced as he flicked the slide back with an armoured thumb. “I charge you with the crimes of genocide, mass murder, the theft of the free will of sentient beings, slavery, kidnapping and blaspheming against the Emperor of Man!”

His hammer smashed aside a bulkhead, and he found himself charging into a room dominated by a glowing blue mass effect core. He swept aside a knot of the foe, smashing one apart before he raised his pistol. Next to him, Samara swept another few aside with a blast of biotics, throwing up a barrier next to Malleus to stop an enemy heavy weapons shot before plucking it away.

“By the authority invested in me by the Divine Emperor as a Brother Captain of the Sons of Thunder, and by that given to me by the Citadel Council, I have but one judgement to give,” Malleus continued, aiming straight for the core. “I find you guilty!”

He squeezed the trigger, and delivered a justice that had been waiting billions of years to be delivered. The diamantine tip of the mass-reactive round ripped through one of the spinning rings that contained the field that powered Harbinger, throwing them out of kilter and sending them crashing into one another before the charge detonated.

The core flared for a moment, and winked, and silence fell.

Robbed of the malignant will that guided them, the last of the Reapers’ soldiers came to a halt, empty and dulled. Several toppled to the ground as the lights above them grew dim, now absent of any power whatsoever.

Malleus lowered his gently smoking bolt pistol, looking at the core while the others gathered beside him.

“Blessed God Emperor,” he uttered. “We did it. The deed is finally done, after so long.”

And before he could do anything else, Samara kissed him.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:21 pm

Welp, here goes...

Epilogue-The Heretic

And if we find our way back home again
Is there something left to save?
What if we find ourselves alone again?
Is there something left to save?
This trust will not be torn apart
Control the violence in your hearts
We gave our lives to Normandy
-Normandy, Miracle of Sound

It was the first day of 2186, and ahead of the galaxy stretched the future.

Across the galaxy, a new dawn was rising. Four hundred billion stars cast their light upon untold numbers of worlds, a sunrise that was glorious in its magnitude and made all the more glorious because it was constant, unending and as old as the Milky Way itself. For wherever there were worlds there were sunrises, even if there was nobody there to see them, and every minute of the cosmos’ existence the day began anew.

Malleus Scandarum stood before one of these stars, looking out at its roiling orange surface through polarised glass. What should have been blindingly bright instead showed a seething mass of flame, a solar furnace where hydrogen was formed into helium, where the base elements that made up the entire galaxy were forged.

“It is strange to think,” he said after a moment. “That however the war would have ended, this star would have burned away for millions years more regardless of the outcome and utterly uncaring for it. All the struggle we went through to save the galaxy, and it would continue to do what it has done for aeons without a scrap of concern for what happened.”

Next to him, the Illusive Man nodded, dwarfed by the giant in power armour that stood next to him, watching the solar foundry blaze.

“It’s certainly an interesting thing to think about,” he said, stepping away from the glass. “But that wasn’t what I brought you here to discuss.”

“I suspected as much,” Malleus replied, following in his footsteps. “In fact, unless I’m very much mistaken, I would hazard a guess that you might want to discuss the future of humanity.”

The Illusive Man nodded.

“I’ll admit, it could be better,” he said. “Earth is ruined, the Citadel is shattered; I’m having a hard time seeing how we’ll recover any time soon.”

“It’s not impossible,” Malleus said. “After the Horus Heresy, Terra was a wasteland, the Emperor was on life support and the Imperial armies had taken casualties that numbered in the hundreds of billions, perhaps even the trillions, but we recovered to rule an Imperium of a million worlds and quadrillions of citizens. I suspect that such a thing could happen again.”

“We do have a unique opportunity,” the Illusive Man observed, sitting down in his chair. “The dynamics of galactic power have been greatly upset in recent days, and you’ve gained a great deal of influence.”

He gestured to a waiting servant, and the man stepped forwards, two glasses filled with clear amber liquid held on a silver tray.

“Scotch?” he asked, taking one.

“I don’t,” Malleus answered.

“You have just saved an entire galaxy,” the Illusive Man pointed out. “I’m sure your Emperor would forgive you one glass.”

Malleus shrugged, before taking the other. He took a sip of the drink, the taste reminiscent of finely made Imperial amasec.

“Of course, all this talk of Emperor’s and Imperiums…means that you can’t help but think of such things,” the Illusive Man remarked. “Its always sounded like quite a place.”

“It is more than Cerberus dared dream of,” Malleus said. “Humanity in the ascendant, ruling over the greatest empire ever to span the stars. Guarded by a million Astartes, trillions of mortal soldiers and fleets the like of which you cannot even begin to imagine.” There was a warm, nostalgic smile on his face. “It was truly the most glorious thing you could imagine.”

The Illusive Man nodded.

“And here we are,” he said. “Presented with a unique opportunity; a powerful, charismatic pro-human leader, adored by billions and regarded as the saviour of the galaxy, called upon to lead all the people of the galaxy into a new age. One who has the drive and skill to hold it all together, and the respect of every soldier out there. One who has the clarity of vision to know what shape the future must take.”

Malleus chuckled quietly at this.

“Aye,” he said. “The time has come, I think, to rebuild the galaxy anew; we have thrown off the mantle of harvest the Reapers placed upon us, and now it is time that we take bold steps forward into the future.”

“That sounds like something from a speech,” the Illusive Man remarked.

“That’s because I intend to use it in one,” Malleus said. “You and I both, we are able to guide and shape the future to the right ends.”

He raised his glass.

“To the New Imperium,” he said.

“To the New Imperium,” the Illusive Man echoed.

Glass clinked against glass, and the foundations for the future were laid.

#

The ability to exercise restraint.

That, Malleus remembered, was what had picked him out as the eventual successor to Brother-Captain Mordechai’s appointment as commander of the Sixth. Division-Commander Heyachus had been the better strategist than he, but that was what had picked Malleus out in the end; the ability to take a step back, assess the situation, think carefully of his actions and consider the further-reaching consequences that may result. And then, all of that had led to that single, pivotal moment upon New London, the order to hold fire, the decision to take stock. If it had been anyone else, he reflected, he thought that things could have gone very differently; a zealous Templar, a hot-headed White Scar, any of their ilk would most likely have opened fire without question.

And now, here he was. Preparing to step onto a stage to be greeted as a hero not just by human beings, but by xenos, of all things. Simply because he had taken a moment to think, and to consider; as a result, the entire galaxy had been changed. As a result, he had been changed.

The entire ceremony felt unfamiliar to him. Before, once the Sons of Thunder had completed a campaign, they would not tarry, instead moving on to the next war and leaving the task of aiding refugees and survivors to PDF or Imperial Guard forces. But now? There was nothing more to move onto. There were no more wars. The entire galaxy had forged bonds in the furnace of conflict, soldiers of every species fighting and dying for one another against a common foe, and such things would not be easy to break. So Malleus had no choice but to let them shower him with accolades.

And after this…that was something he had failed to consider still. Building the New Imperium, that was true, though how it would be built? That was another matter entirely.

For the moment, at least, he put those thoughts aside. Instead, he stepped forwards onto the stage; Councillor Suvat and Councillor T’Loak were already waiting for them, Aria having been picked as the leader of the Asari Republics on a landslide with thank due in no small part to Malleus’ endorsement of her as a candidate.

The sound of the cheering hit him like a hammer, and he raised hand with a smile to greet them. His power armour had been repaired, the chips and scratches in the paint removed, the gold of its pauldrons and trim gleaming in the spotlights overhead.

“My friends,” he said, voice carrying over the jubilation in the crowd before him. “Victory is ours.”

#

They were gathered in the CIC of the Normandy. Four Astartes, a Quarian, a Geth, a Krogan, four humans, an asari and a Salarian. All, with the addition of Ashley, that was left from the original team that had taken the fight to the Collectors. With them, the entire crew, as Malleus stood before them on the command pulpit. Kelly, somehow looking less tired and harrowed from her experience on the Collector’s station, Gabby and Kenneth grinning at him proudly and, he noted, holding hands tightly, and Joker, supporting himself on Kurias’ wheelchair, the old captain’s leg in a cast after the Thunderhawk had come crashing to earth. Antoinette was by Miranda’s crutches, standing by her legs

“I have but two words to say to you all,” he said. “I will admit that no that, in my mind, they come nowhere near close enough to the heroism, the courage, the willingness to commit humbling acts of self-sacrifice that you have all shown during these times. Nonetheless, I feel I must say them. Thank you.”

He was silent for a moment, before he said; “We have all suffered from this war, all lost those we were proud to call friends and comrades. Many of us bear scars, wounds that shall never quite heal, but nonetheless I am proud of you, each and every one, for what you have done here. But the ties that have bound you to this fine ship have finally been severed. Your duties have been fulfilled. I do not know what will become of the Normandy, though I will do all in my power to make sure that nothing ill befalls it, but for those of you I recruited to fight the Collectors and their masters, your duties have been fulfilled. Do what you wish, go where you will; whatever happens, you all have my blessing, and my eternal gratitude.”

He stepped down from the podium, and let the crew say their farewells.

Miranda was the first to come to him, moving slightly awkwardly on her crutches, and Malleus stopped as the Astartes said; “So what lies in store for you then, Miranda?”

“Me?” Miranda asked. “Well, seeing as the Kasrkin are now being co-opted into the Alliance, I’ll still be leading them once I’m walking again.”

“Good,” Malleus said. “They’ll do well under your command.”

Miranda smiled, before she said; “Thank you, Malleus.”

She chuckled quietly and shook her head.

“You know, I had a few doubts about you when were first put in command,” she said. “I’m glad you proved me wrong.”

“As am I,” Malleus said, nodding slowly. “And now look at this; the greatest threat to humanity’s existence has finally been vanquished, once and for all.”

Miranda nodded, and there was slightly awkward silence before she said; “Well, I suppose this is it, isn’t it?”

“Aye,” Malleus said.

“What’ll happen to the Normandy?” Miranda asked.

“I don’t know,” Malleus said. “I might keep it, but I’m not sure; I don’t know how much use I will have for it.”

“I’m sure you’ll find something good for it,” Miranda replied, smiling slightly.

Malleus nodded, before he said; “Give my regards to your sister, by the way.”

Miranda smiled, and said; “I’ll be sure to. Good luck to you and Samara.”

Like everyone else, she had seen the kiss, but with that, she left, Antionette following in her wake.

Mordin’s farewell and his plans were delivered in the brusque shorthand that was his usual mode of speech; “Returning to Omega. Daniel, my assistant, running it at moment, doing well but lacks experience, needs help. Saved lots of lives on Earth, can always save more.”

Garrus’ answer was vague.

“I’ve got some unfinished business,” he said, tapping a talon on his longlas. “And I’m not just ready to settle down yet.”

“Spectres will still be needed,” Ashley said. “And, well, I was sworn in for a reason.”

“I’m going back to Urdnot,” Grunt said. “I’m glad I was here, Malleus; you showed me a thing or two about breaking heads. And the clans owe you, big time. Urdnot Wrex told me to say that every Krogan is in the debt of the Sons of Thunder.”

“Tell him he has my gratitude,” Malleus said. “And that that debt can be considered repaid by what he and all other Krogan did upon Terra.”

In a slightly lonely corner of the CIC, Jack and Cyralius met.

“Well, I guess this is it,” she said, an edge of slight nervousness on her voice. “We won. We actually beat the motherfuckers.”

Cyralius nodded slowly, before he said; “That much is true. I almost never expected it.”

“Yeah,” Jack said. “So what’re you going to do now?”

“I was thinking that I might lend my expertise to the Ascension Project at Grissom Academy,” Cyralius said.

“The school for biotic kids?” Jack asked, a slight hint of derision on her voice. “And you as a teacher there?”

“Well, Jack, if I can teach you then I daresay I can teach anyone,” Cyralius replied with a gently reprimanding smile. Jack just shrugged.

“Yeah, good point, I guess,” she said.

“So what are you going to do, then?” Cyralius asked.

“I…I don’t know,” Jack said after a moment. “I hadn’t really thought about that. I’ve got no idea.”

Cyralius just smiled, and placed hand on her shoulder.

“Whatever it is,” he said. “I’ll wlways be willing to help, and you’ll know where to find me.”

Jack simply grabbed him in a hug, and said; “Thanks, Cyril. Thanks for, well, thanks for everything.”

Cyralius returned the embrace, gently squeezing her shoulder with a gauntlet, before he said; “There’s no need to thank me.”

Several members of the old team had already left by the airlock, and somehow the CIC was feeling distinctly emptier to Malleus as he looked upon it. Titus stepped away from where he was saying a farewell to Grunt, the young Krogan grinning at him as he left, and the standard bearer remarked to Malleus; “Grunt’ll do well, I think.”

“Aye,” Malleus said. “I hope he does; he fought hard enough for the chance to.”

Titus nodded.

“To think,” he said after a moment. “That I count xenos amongst the warriors that I’ve felt the most honoured to serve with. I never would have suspected that I’d actually be a mentor to one, of all things.”

“Strange days indeed,” Malleus replied. “None of us suspected this, I don’t think.”

There was a silence, before Malleus said; “I have a feeling that you’re going to ask me a question with a difficult answer quite soon, aren’t you, brother?”

Titus nodded.

“I think I should call you a heretic,” he said after a moment. “But if that’s the case, well, I suppose that I am too, and an expression concerning pots and kettles springs to mind.”

“So you don’t think…”

“You’re both members of a monastic warrior order dedicated to defending the innocent and bound by a strong honour code,” Titus replied with a gentle smile. “Even if she is a xenos, all things considered I’d say that you two were made for each other.”

Malleus chuckled at this, before he said; “Thank you, brother. For everything. Not just here, but in the Imperium as well. I think I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve owed you my life.”

“Well, you’ve been quick to repay those debts,” Titus answered.

There was a pause, before Titus said; “Do you think…do you think He is out there?”

Malleus shook his head, before he said; “I think not, no.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“In the Old Night, he came from Terra to save humanity,” Malleus said. “And that was, according to legend, caused by Chaos. Seeing as this galaxy has its Reapers in place of its Dark Gods, I would have thought that he would have arisen to safeguard Terra against them. But he’s still there, on Holy Terra behind the Eternity Gate, guarded by His Custodes, His Imperial Guard and the Astartes, beyond the veil of this universe. But he wasn’t here, so that’s why I think he sent us instead, to safeguard this humanity in His stead.”

“Perhaps you’re right,” Titus said after a thoughtful moment. “I wonder what He’d think of us right now, though.”

“We were what He sent,” Malleus replied. “And humanity is safe. Hopefully, that’s what He intended. And if we’re heretics for what we’ve done, then I suppose I shall just have to accept that. There are more deplorable traitors than us out there.”

Titus nodded.

“Well,” he said. “You’ve been my commander for four centuries, Malleus, and you’ve been as good a one as I could ever hope for.”

He grinned at him.

“I think we’re doing the right thing here.”

#

Malleus found her at the end of the Normandy’s jetty on the Citadel. She was leaning on the railing, looking out at the station as the first attempts at reconstructing the great station were beginning, a contemplative look on her face. Malleus simply stood next to her, not bothering to lean in the knowledge that his weight would probably snap it off, and watched it with her. Many of the buildings had not even had the ash scrubbed off them, and even with the massive construction machines assigned to the task, it would be months before the rubble was cleared.

“I’m released from my oath,” she said after a sudden moment. “I only just realised that.”

Malleus nodded, before he said; “That you are. I remember on Ilium you said that if I was unworthy of living up to the code’s standards you’d have to kill me. Tell me, Samara, am I worthy of death, then?”

Samara was quiet for a moment, before she said; “You have been ruthless at times, Malleus, perhaps excessively so, but always, it seems, working towards the greater good and whenever you sacrificed lives for victory, you were always willing to sacrifice your own just as much. You are harsh, sometimes, but evil? I don’t think so. You’re a better person than you realise.”

Malleus nodded.

“About…” he managed, before trailing off slightly. Frankly, he had no idea how to approach the subject.

“I know,” Samara said. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have. I was simply…caught up in the moment. You said how you felt about it. It was unfair of me.”

“I don’t know,” Malleus said after a moment’s quiet. “I suppose that, as first kisses go, one in the moment of victory over the greatest threat to every living thing in this galaxy with a woman who I greatly respect and admire can hardly be considered the worst of them.”

Samara was quiet for a moment, before she asked; “Do you mean…?”

“I thought of what you said,” Malleus said after a moment. “What I said as well. I don’t know exactly what I should think, but everything about this galaxy, about this war, has changed how I view things, how I feel I should view things. I have been proven wrong in a great deal of things so far, Samara.”

He smiled at her gently.

“I think I can be proven wrong in one more.”

#

“We cannot simply allow a potentially hostile fleet within such close proximity of our homeworld,” Han’Gerrel protested. “It poses an unacceptable threat!”

“Our intentions are not hostile,” Legion replied. “But the space is controlled by the Geth; we harvest valuable resources from that area, and those are essential for our survival. If we were unable to access these resources, we would have to seek them from elsewhere, and that may disrupt consensus in the galaxy.”

“So you expect us to simply let you have an entire fleet of warships on our doorstep?” the admiral asked incredulously. “Preposterous; you’re clearly planning an armed buildup.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Han,” Zaal’Koris interjected. “If the Geth were trying to start a war her then would they have really put so much in against the Reapers? Can’t you see that we have an opportunity to get our homeworld back without any bloodshed? Or are you just too blind to see it?”

Tali fought the urge to sigh as she watched the members of the Admiralty Board start bickering again. It had been frustrating in the extreme to see the first negotiations, if they could be called that, start out. She had hoped, dearly hoped, that it could be resolved without any stupid arguments (the Geth needed to mine as well, how hard could that be to accept?), but here the Admirals were, arguing with themselves more than they were with the Geth’s sole representative they had in the form of Legion.

“Lady Machtoro,” Yamzarat Machtoro muttered to her from the small pedestal that he was using to speak through. “I tire of these talks; why are we even her in the first place?”

“Supposedly we’re a neutral party in all this,” Tali replied, the scepticism layered upon her voice all too obvious for all to hear. In reality, though, she knew what they were really there for; both sides wanted two things from her, and it had nothing to do with her returning to the Homeworld.

“Pah,” Yamzarat Machtoro said. “I say that this enough.”

Tali nodded, before she suddenly stood.

“I’d ask if I could interrupt,” she said. “But as far as I can tell, right now all I’d be doing is stopping the Admirals from going in circles again.”

“Wait your turn before you take the floor,” Zaal’Koris interjected.

If she had been her younger self, Tali might have done so, but she had not battled Collectors, outwitted a stalk tank, fought the Reapers and commanded a titan to be cowed by Zaal’Koris, of all people.

“No I shall not,” she replied, fixing him with a glare. “These negotiations can continue without me, so I want to know why I’m even here.”

“As we said,” Daro’Xen replied. “We need you to provide-”

“No you don’t,” Tali said. “That’s what you have Malleus and the Citadel’s diplomats here for. Unless I’m completely wrong, there are two reasons why I’m here; you just want Yamzarat Machtoro and Kullas’ data chip.”

“That’s completely irrelevant,” Han’Gerrel protested, but Tali shook her head.

“They’re both the most powerful things in the galaxy,” she said. “And you’re trying to bribe me into giving them away.”

“We’re not trying to bribe you, Tali,” Shala’Raan said soothingly.

“Yes you are,” Tali said. “And I’m afraid you can’t have them, either of them.”

“Yamzarat Machtoro is ours by right of inheritance,” Zaal’Koris snapped. “He is the property of the Quarian people.”

“Property?!” Yamzarat Machtoro growled from the projector that allowed him to speak. “I am the property of no one!”

“You seem willing enough to serve Tali’Zorah,” Han’Gerrel said.

“I am willing to serve Tali’Zorah because she has shown courage, intelligence and strength of character that marks her as being worthy of bearing the title of Lady Machtoro,” Yamzarat Machtoro replied. “You, on the other hand, have done nothing but bicker and argue like children during this entire process, and it took the intervention of Malleus Scandarum to make you gain enough courage to fight the Almarach Ikmrin. It shames me to think that the legacy of the Askriit are lead by fools such as you.”

“Yamzarat Machtoro is right,” Tali said. “I’m not coming back to the Migrant Fleet, or the Homeworld, if you ever stop arguing long enough to work out something reasonable and get it back for us.”

“But…Tali,” Shala’Raan managed to say. “I was…”

“I know,” Tali said. “I’m sorry, Auntie Raan.”

She ran a finger of her bionic over the skull on the head of her axe-staff.

“But I’ve got something I need to do.”




The Reaper War, as it became known, was the bloodiest conflict in Citadel history. The galaxy suffered a total of more than eight billion casualties, civilian and soldier alike, from all species. But through immense sacrifice and boundless courage, the Reapers were finally defeated, the greatest menace to all life in the galaxy vanquished once and for all.


Due to their contributions to the war, the Krogan, Geth and Quarians were granted embassy on the Citadel. As of early 2186, the Quarians have also begun resettlement programs on their homeworld, Rannoch, though there has been great unease at the Geth’s presence in the nearby systems of the Perseus Veil.


Despite various protests from political opponents, Aria T’Loak still remains one of the most popular presidents in the history of the Asari Republics, due in no small part to her actions in the Reaper War and her endorsements from Malleus Scandarum. It is noted that she recorded in her memoirs that, compared to presiding over the Republics and serving as the Asari’s representative in the Council, ruling Omega and fighting the Reapers was child’s play.


Due to the role played by the Batarians as auxiliary forces to the Reapers, considerable reparations have been levied upon the Batarian Hegemony. Known as the Reaper War Reparations (a term swiftly shortened by the popular media to the ‘Reaperations’), the severe economic sanctions have caused a great deal of difficulty for the Hegemony. With several groups within the Hegemony believing that their actions were justified, a crippled military and an economy struggling beneath the burden of the sanctions, civil war is threatening to overtake the Hegemony within the next few years.


The Yahg were returned to Parnack and stripped of all Reaper technology. Realising the threat the hyper-aggressive species pose, several Council observation teams remain in constant vigilance over the planet; the Yahg have had their first taste of the stars, and it seems that such a thing has whet their appetite for more.


Urdnot Wrex currently holds supreme authority over the clans of Tuchanka. Despite rumblings of discontent already threatening, stability looks set to reign for at least a few more years, due in no small part to the bonds forged between the various clans in the war. Urdnot Grunt is currently serving as one of his lieutenants, and is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the clan’s most formidable warriors.


Shortly after his departure from the Normandy, Garrus Vakarian seemed to fall off the radar. A few weeks later, the infamous sniper rifle wielding vigilante known as Archangel reappeared on Omega despite beliefs of the mercenary bands there that he was dead. So far, it is still under debate as to whether or not his one-man war on the station’s crime lords is meeting any kind of success.


In early 2186, an Alliance planetary survey team discovered an arid, but habitable world in the mid-western arm of the galaxy. The honour of naming it was given to Malleus Scandarum, who dubbed it Cadia. Currently, it serves as the primary training ground for Alliance soldiers as its military begins to rebuild, and it is governed by Lady Castellan Miranda Lawson. Due to a still-unexplained genetic anomaly dubbed ‘The Cadian Phenomenon’, all children born on the planet have the distinguishing feature of having violet irises.


Mordin Solus continues to run his clinic on Omega. Despite pressure from mercenary groups demanding ‘protection’ he appears determined to carry on his work.


Thanks to her actions in the Reaper War, Ashley Williams received a promotion to Captain, and is still one of the Council’s Spectres. Currently, she is working in operations against the Shadow Broker along with Liara T’Soni.


Fabricator General Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya Vas Mechanicum left the Normandy for Mars, setting the foundations for the Adeptus Mechanicus along with Andrew Johnson, Kaede Yukio and Yamzarat Machtoro. Styling itself as a ‘technophilanthropic’ organisation, it has already made several advances in medical and computing technologies. It has gained several members from multiple species (most notably, Quarians and Salarians as well as multiple representatives/contributors from the Geth). Thanks to the knowledge and blueprints provided by Yamzarat Machtoro, they are one of the few organisations in Citadel space now allowed to research Artificial Intelligence. Funding provided by Yuri and Vasiliev Rasenkov have lead to accusations of pandering to corporate interests, but a notable lack of weapons technology emerging from the Mechanicus, along with its large-scale distribution of freeware, seems to provide ample evidence to the contrary.


The day after the crew of the Normandy departed the ship, Cyralius Lockheim received the following note:

Cyril

I’m sorry, but I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and I don’t think this can work. I don’t think I’m ready to handle being normal. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I think that I want to go somewhere where people need help, do something like what Garrus did.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and everything you taught me, but I’m not ready to settle down just yet.

Please don’t try and follow me
Jack


Thane Krios spent his final days in a hospice for sufferers of Keppler’s Syndrome. He died just as the year turned, in time to hear news of Malleus’ victory over the Reapers. According to the attendants, he passed away peacefully in his sleep, smiling happily.


Kurias Issich has gone into retirement on Bekenstein, and currently enjoys the accommodation of a spacious home provided to him free of charge by the Alliance. Despite his advancing age, he still flies light aircraft as a hobby.


Jeff ‘Joker’ Moreau remained as part of the Normandy’s crew under the overall command of Malleus Scandarum, and is now hailed as one of the best pilots in the Alliance and the galaxy. Currently the Normandy SR2 serves as the flagship of the Alliance Fleet as well as the personal vessel of Malleus Scandarum; much of her crew remain aboard, even though the Normandy was technically a Cerberus ship.


Cerberus remains an illegal organisation, working on multiple projects out of the Terminus systems. Following the Reaper War, multiple arrests were made of Cerberus ringleaders, but the Illusive Man himself has avoided capture. Despite the fact that Malleus Scandarum worked closely with him against the Reapers and the Collectors, the Brother-Captain professed no close insight as to his identity or current location. Arrested Cerberus leaders found themselves strongarmed into working into the Alliance under threat of arrest, and it was only through their action against the Reapers that the Kasrkin and Miranda Lawson found themselves not facing charges. Notably, however, Okeen Narre seems to have dropped off the grid following contact with the Illusive Man; currently, the Apothecary is working on Project Angelus in [location redacted]. Despite accusations of still working with the organisation after the war and protecting its members, Malleus Scandarum has had no charges levelled against him due to a lack of any evidence proving this to be the case.


Titus Adron currently serves in the Council’s Special Tactics and Reconnaissance. Despite being somewhat less subtle and more noticeable than some of its agents, his record of completed missions has been extremely positive; most notable was his near-singlehanded breaking up of a slaver ring operating in the Terminus systems, and his elimination of the infamous Blood Pack mercenary leader, Halvag Karroh.


Despite his somewhat unconventional teaching methods, Cyralius Lockheim is becoming one of the most accomplished tutors available to biotic children at Grissom Academy’s Ascension Project (which he jokingly nicknamed the Schola Biotica). He remains popular with pupils and staff alike, and despite his near-unmatchable martial and psychobiotic abilities, has clearly stated that he will only take up arms if it is over a matter of dire necessity. Despite connections with the information broker Liara T’Soni, he has made no attempt to track down Jack/Subject Zero.


Following his work fighting in the Reaper War, Malleus Scandarum currently holds the position of the Council’s Warmaster, a rank second only to the Councillors themselves and with overall strategic command of the Citadel Guard. Despite his somewhat abrupt manner when dealing in political matters, his charisma and sheer popularity, combined with his tactical capabilities, means that no amount of backroom politics look set to remove him from his office at any time soon. Notably, few attempts have been made to do so, and Malleus has joked that those that may attempt a coup d’état on his position are probably too afraid of him to try it.


Domenica T’Marris-Scandarum was born June 18th 2200.



FIN
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:22 pm

A Final word from the Author

So…this is a little something for those of you who like to read the acknowledgements and so forth that you often find at the back of books. There’s nothing here’s that essential reading, but if this is the sort of thing that interests you, read on. There are a few people I need to thank here, both from the Black Library Bolthole and on Fanfiction. net, the two sites where I posted this up, and because I’m a lazy person I’m doing you both at once.

I’ll admit that I’m a little shellshocked at actually having come this far; for a long while, finishing Angels of the Storm seemed to become more and more of an unobtainable goal as more ideas bloomed from it and not only hit Hammerhand’s wordcount but eventually shot to more than one and half times its size with the end still a gook 30K words away, but here I am, writing this little note and worrying about not sounding too damn smug. And I couldn’t have got here without you people.

First of all, a resoundingly huge thank you goes to Gaius Marius of the Black Library Bolthole forums, my longest-standing reader of this piece, who was there from chapter one and stuck with this the whole way through. Not only that, but I realise that his story, Imperator, gave me the idea of Yamzarat Machtoro’s character, even though when I first introduced him I had all but forgotten it at the time. The subconscious is a funny thing like that.

Secondly, I want a shoutout to S058, Vermin-Lord, LunaticPandora1 and Warmaster Samiel for being a useful sounding board for ideas of this story even though they were under no obligation to respond to me to shouting random thoughts at them like an internet hobo, and in a similar vein, NutsToYouToo for pointing out several potential plot points that I’d missed before it was too late to change them. Also, thanks to my IRL friend Mack, who got the same sounding-board treatment but, since it wasn’t the internet I was talking to him on, also had to deal with the offensive smell and the occasional ballistic can of Special Brew, something for which I owe him greatly. Millennium hand and shrimp!

Third, thanks go to Ursakar, TheSGC and MalletMann for the truly humbling accolade of citing me as inspiration for some Mass Effect/40K crossovers of their own. If you want more Warhammery, Mass-Effecty goodness, then I recommend The Mission Stays the Same, The Tide of War (I’ve probably got that wrong, I’m sorry SGC, I don’t have a net connection at the moment) and The Outsiders as the places to go.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who’s taken the time to review, critique, or just say they liked it, along with the lurkers and followers who favourited and subbed this but chose to remain in shadowy silence like a mysterious legion of literature ninjas (God Emperor, I’m using weird similes right now). Now’s a good a time as any to break that silence, guys! ;)

Finally, of course, I owe a great deal of gratitude to both Games Workshop and Bioware, without whom none of this would have happened. In particular, I feel I ow Jack Wall and his soundtrack which, when listening to while sticking together some Chaos Marines (for the Dark Gods!) caused a thought to strike me which went roughly along the lines of; ‘Hey, what if Commander Shepard was a Space Marine?!’ The rest, as they say, is history.

In short, I couldn’t have done this without you guys. I owe you all big time for seeing me through the adventures of Malleus and his brothers and their war against the Reapers. Everyone one of the 299,259 words of this story I owe to you, you amazing, lovely people (except for you, Clive, you can frak right off).

Finally, all that remains to be said that, as far as things go, the story of Malleus Scandarum and the changed Mass Effect-verse that he has helped shape is now at an end. I have ideas for this, quite a few, and I have a feeling that right after finishing this I could open up a new document and start writing them straight away, but I won’t; I’m leaving Malleus and the others to rest now. I wish him and the others the best of luck, and I’ll remember him fondly, but there are other ideas I have and I feel it’s time for him to step aside and allow them to take centre stage. He’s had his hero’s journey, he’s learned the lessons of the events that unfolded around him, and it’s time to move on.

CursedRogue and EvilAngel215, the Mass Effect/Bioshock and the 40K/Halo I’ve romised pieces are coming, but after I’ve got at least one more thing finished first, I’m afraid; four stories are a lot to write at once, even without deadlines, and with exams looming on the horizon I fear that they’d probably all lose out if I tried carrying that on. But worry not; arrive they shall.

So all that remains to be said is this; my version of Mass Effect 3’s events is complete. My love letter to your games was completed in Hammerhand, and now the gauntlet is thrown down to you in Angels of the Storm. I’ll be waiting for the 6th March, Bioware; my bar’s been set.

So all that remains to be said is this; may the Emperor protect, the Dark Gods annihilate your foes in fire and damnation, the C’tan grant you transcendence from the flesh, the Hive Mind consume, the honourable tenets of Tau’Va guide you and the Young Gods gift you peace and prosperity. Colonel Mustard signing out.

*Salutes*
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Midgard » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:54 pm

A very satisfying story and conclusion, and I am almost sad to see it at an end. Good luck on your next project(s)! :)
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Gaius Marius » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:47 am

Frigging brilliant ending Mustard. Look forwards to more of your stories eventually. I've been following some of your halo ones.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:53 am

Thank you very much, Gaius and Midgard. :)

I've got a few ideas for future stuff in the works, and I hope you enjoy them as much as you did this. CHeers! :D
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Nutstoyoutoo » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:49 am

A great end to a great story. Good job, ColonelMustard, and I'd love to read more of what you write in the future!
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:58 pm

Thanks very much, Nuts. I'll be sure to keep delivering. :)
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby havoc » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:11 pm

Well that was well done and interesting story to read.
Good work.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Blinded » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:25 am

Yo Mustard!!

Even though I don't parcticularly like this one as much as Hammerhand ( it went super-AU on something I'm looking forward to see), you still did a freakin' hell of a great job and this much is appretiated.

At this point for whatever reason I can't access to neither gmail nor my fanfiction account (regional problems it seems) so here's my review on latest update for "Deliverance"

Who is their target anyways (And I don't mean his/its* name)? To call upon SUCH drastic measure to find.... A chief-librarian? I didn't expect that one!! Though I must say unlike Hammerhand there is a more real and acceptable reason for such a person to be there. Back in hammerhand one of the things that i didn't like was the convenience of presence of all those marines of different speciality, which was kind of as if they were hand-picked for such a mission as that.

Liked the Tarot part (Kinda reminded me of Cadian Blood), and was surprised that they decided to send the Sisters after that reading... I mean, they are not exactly the most diplomatic ( not most of them anyways, though from Faith and Fire I believe some are) and are rather unsuitable for first contacts (though alien invasion force might help), but considering they are making the bulk of Ultimate Sanction's ground force, vagueness of tarot and Inquisitor's haste, it was not unexpected.

And considering this is an Ordo Xenos operation (hence the presence of Death Watch), I think someone actually forced sisters on the good Inquisitor. Something like You need this many Astropaths? either you take Sisters with you to keep an eye on them (and you, part goes unspoken) or Ordo Hereticus won't let you!

*: It, because a creature that is THAT dangerous is either a would be daemon, or a twisted beyond belief xenophile or a kindly old man with saintly smile who is neither kind, nor old nor even possibly man.
Worm and W40K are both dieing worlds, but while Worm is barely managing to avoid getting swallowed up, 40K is trying to stab Death in the eye with a chainsaw. - .IronSun.
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:06 am

Blinded wrote:Yo Mustard!!

Even though I don't parcticularly like this one as much as Hammerhand ( it went super-AU on something I'm looking forward to see), you still did a freakin' hell of a great job and this much is appretiated.

Thanks very much!

On the AU note, there wasn't all that much I could do considering that we don't know tons and tons about ME3 yet. So I figured I'd have some fun.

Blinded wrote:Who is their target anyways (And I don't mean his/its* name)? To call upon SUCH drastic measure to find.... A chief-librarian? I didn't expect that one!! Though I must say unlike Hammerhand there is a more real and acceptable reason for such a person to be there. Back in hammerhand one of the things that i didn't like was the convenience of presence of all those marines of different speciality, which was kind of as if they were hand-picked for such a mission as that.

I cant say all that much as of yet, but it's partly that he's extremely dangerous and, as Zacharias pointed out, things have got rather personal for some. Ahlyss is going to find Teyn, whatever the cost, and when she does...

And, now that you mention it, I can see what you mean about the marines seeming 'hand picked'. The idea was that they were Malleus' command squad, hence why he had specialists, but I suppose you're right in that criticism. Hmm, must bear that in mind when planning future stories.

The One Who was made to be Unable To See wrote: Liked the Tarot part (Kinda reminded me of Cadian Blood), and was surprised that they decided to send the Sisters after that reading... I mean, they are not exactly the most diplomatic ( not most of them anyways, though from Faith and Fire I believe some are) and are rather unsuitable for first contacts (though alien invasion force might help), but considering they are making the bulk of Ultimate Sanction's ground force, vagueness of tarot and Inquisitor's haste, it was not unexpected.

Actually, you misread that part, I think; the conversation Ahlyss had with her Stormtrooper captain had her taking a squad of Stormies down to the surface for pretty much the same reasons that you listed...

Blinded wrote: And considering this is an Ordo Xenos operation (hence the presence of Death Watch), I think someone actually forced sisters on the good Inquisitor.

Not quite, but a good guess considering what you know. Reasoning will become clear as the story goes on.

Blinded wrote: *: It, because a creature that is THAT dangerous is either a would be daemon, or a twisted beyond belief xenophile or a kindly old man with saintly smile who is neither kind, nor old nor even possibly man.

Oh god, a kindly man with a saintly smile? IT'S THE VAN ALL OVER AGAIN!!

*Curls up in a ball, weeping incoherently* :P
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Re: Angels of the Storm [Mass Effect/40K]

Postby CaptainMcSmash » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:36 pm

OK, I made a post specifically so I could ask this out of confusion. This story is 62 chapters long and has 11 thousand views on this forum alone. Why the hell are there only 8 pages? Wouldn't something like this post over such a long period of time have thousands of posts?

Also, what happened with Samara? Malleus smiles at her then she isn't mentioned again in the epilogue.

Bloody loved this though.
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