Except from The Song of the Shepard (Canto 3, Stanza 2). Light spoilers for Mass Effect. © Bioware
The sky is the colour of mustard brew.
The cold ground beneath us could never construe
A fleck of good earth on its sharp barren slopes.
Sand trickles round us in hard wind-blown ropes.
In our truck, the “Mako”, we search fruitlessly
The Quarian, the Turian, and human me.
The site is bare rock, sand, poison wind
Though we scour the ground where the signal rings.
But there’s scattered equipment about in the dust
Rent, as if gnawed, and dissolved as with rust.
Yet still I know it, the marks are still clear.
A squad of Alliance marines died here.
As we ponder their fate, the ground below trembles
There’s a shifting of sand dunes which closely resembles
A boring-rod’s plunge through the granular ground.
We leap back to the truck.
There’s a cruel shrieking sound.
From out of the sand, a hideous head
Strikes to the air with the lash of snake.
Its great length is plated and foul and red
From its massive, ringed maw, acid bolts break.
I take the wheel and Garrus the guns.
Tali just tries to make sure the truck runs.
Long we give battle on pallid grey sands
Between the dark hills in their tumbling bands.
While acid dissolves the sand into pits
And splatters our shields and with shrieks the air rips.
But the killer is killed by the Mako’s hot blasts
And Garrus’ quick eyes and his clawed hand so fast.
The marines who died did not send the call.
It was set up before, they were lured to their fall.
We cannot discover who did it or why,
Who set it up to send cries to the sky.
One well placed shot blows the death trap away.
We contact the ship, and we fly away.
No travellers more will be lured to its hands
But never those men will return from the sands.