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"He's not the bogeyman. He's the guy you send in to kill the fucking bogeyman."
Cassius Strada, also known as the Hero of the Citadel or the Marauder, is a Spectre of the Citadel Council, a Major in the G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. programme, and was the Commanding Officer of the CSV Gandiva. He, along with the rest of his crew, was a key player in the Civil Uprising story arc of 2185 and the Terminus War story arc of 2186.

In his earlier life, he was a Sergeant in the 26th Armiger Legion as a Havoc Trooper and an agent of the Hierarchy Blackwatch. Quickly rising up the ranks, he became a Major within the Turian Hierarchy and his rank transferred over to G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. when he was brought aboard. He is now a rogue agent from G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. and his whereabouts and goals are currently unknown.

Appearance

Physical

If one was to use a word to describe the way Cassius looks, it would be intimidating. In every way, he is a man that can easily be feared by his appearance alone. He is a turian of average height, but he has an athletic stature. With grey plates and black markings markings, his iconic look is now dreaded across the galaxy by those who would oppose him.

In terms of his physique, Cassius has always taken care of himself but has recently fine-tuned his body. He has become athletic and wiry, with almost no body fat to be found, as if there was nothing wasted whatsoever on him. He has specifically trained his body into that of a stone cold killer's, one that is functional in every way and uses his natural musculature to his advantage. The Major's body is a temple that he upholds every single day.

As stated before, Cassius has an iconic look that he owes a lot to the color scheme he was born with. Worn, rough dark grey plates all across his body with warm, creamy darker brown skin. And as a sharp contrast to that, he wears two black markings, two sharp spikes going up over his mandibles and over his eyes like spikes jutting out from his face - the classic markings for a turian from the city of Cascan, Palaven. With most of its previous population wiped out, his markings, rare as they are, serve as a constant reminder to those who work with him the dangers of war.

Other notable features he can boast are his large, striking blue eyes that can light up a room with the right conditions. They are akin to a storm, in many ways, with them being conventionally attractive and alluring, but usually hiding a dark and depressing feeling. He also has an interesting, sharply upturned fringe that is fairly uncommon among turians. These features, along with his markings, set him apart from the average turian. Cassius might even be considered very ruggedly attractive if he didn't always appear so purposefully scary all the time.

The military career of the Hero of the Citadel has definitely taken its toll in the long term. With a number of scars, including two large ones on his torso from Varil Tyzuris' omni-blades and a multitude of knife and bullet wounds, he is battle-scarred through and through. His most notably and visibile injury is his left arm, which was irreversibly lost during the events of Operation Fortunate Sons, has been replaced from the shoulder-down by the XO-V Bionic Arm that has increased his strength and speed to a small degree.

Weapons

Cassius has a multitude of weapons at his disposal from his time with the military. Trained in all aspects of combat from his time with Blackwatch, he has gotten a very specific fighting style after years of tried and true technique. For the most part, Cassius can be seen wielding a Phaeston Assault Rifle and an M-6 Carnifex Hand Cannon, the one he used to assassinate the salarian councilor, Leral Veran. However, there's also a very good chance that he can be seen, now, using Spectre-issued weaponry such as the elite Black Widow Sniper Rifle or the M-11 Suppressor Heavy Pistol.

Preferring to be up-close-and-personal, Cassius has been training in martial arts for almost thirty years of his life, extending back to when he was a child and he is known as one of the most proficient hand-to-hand fighters alive today because of that. For a long time, he was known to use a large glowing monomolecular sword by the name of "Zara", but he has refrained from doing so for almost six months as of now, keeping the option of going back to it in the future if need be.

Mainly, he practices an advanced version of the turian martial art Bracchia, a heavy, hard-hitting style that uses one's personal strengths as an advantage to overwhelm an opponent. It is a terrifying, efficient martial art that employs more of his brute, physical strength and the use of violent weaponry such as omni-blades or knives. It's very vicious and it often results in broken bones andf torn jugulars within seconds of deployment on the battlefield.

There is also a much more deadly style known as "Viras" and is used by many Blackwatch operatives and can even be altered slightly to produce mostly non-lethal results with little damage to the opponent. However, that's not very common among its users. Although the style is most efficient against fellow turians, it has been adapted through Cassius' training in torture of various species to deal out maximum punishment.

Armor & Apparel

Cassius Strada's sense of style is fairly plain in many cases. He's often seen wearing things such as button up shirts or typical turian casual wear on any given day. He wears his military uniform more often than not out of combat just because it's often times just easier to put it on and wear it throughout the day to not have to worry about changing outfits at all. While he's known to be lazy with his sense of style, that doesn't mean he won't take care of himself and his appearance, as he often does.

In combat, he wears a custom-made suit of stealth armor that has been commissioned solely for him in the wake of his inauguration as a Spectre. There is only one version of this armor in existence and it was handcrafted by specialists hired out from Armax Arsenal. It is known as the C-17 Bogeyman Armor.

It is a dark blue, grey, and black suit of medium armor with classically styled pauldrons, bracers, and boots. A large monomolecular combat knife is sheathed upon his shoulder and collar so it is easily accessible. He has red lights that line his armor shining out from his suit, painting the environment wherever he is. With a built-in tactical cloaking system, he is The armor blends well with his natural color scheme, and because of that, the armor distills a sense of fear. The armor makes it seem as if the bogeyman has come to life.

G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. Personnel File

  • Serial Number: GF1 - 666-107.
  • Active Rank: Major.
  • Most Recent Assignment(s): Commanding Officer of the CSV Gandiva and Council Spectre.
  • Previous Assignments:
    • Major within the Turian Hierarchy's Blackwatch Division.
    • Commanding Officer of the TSF Vigilance.
    • Staff Sergeant aboard the TSF Vigilance.
    • Drill Sergeant stationed at Firebase Virtue.
    • Private aboard the TSF Triumph.

Biography

Early Life

Cassius was was born to Aricia and Paeus Strada on October 6th, 2150, in Cascan, Minranthous on Palaven. He grew up in a relatively well-off family as Paeus was a significant politician in the country of Minranthous and had many ties to the corporate world. Regardless of his father's important work, he always made time for his son and his wife. Cassius admired him for keeping all of that together and in check.

His mother doted on him as a child and when his sister, Bania, was born five years after he was, that never changed. Aricia was as devoted to Cassius as she was to his sister and she never forgot to let them know that. They had all kinds of fun adventures when they were growing up.

It was when Cassius was about to be sent off to his mandatory military service that things began to change. The Skyllian Blitz broke out and he was sent in as a young operative to assist Systems Alliance soldiers in the heat of battle, fighting alongside human heroes. He never saw much combat during the Blitz, but he gained invaluable experience and learnt what it meant to be a soldier.

The Cascan Incident and Blackwatch

His life had gone well thus far. From his work in the war, he was on track to being promoted to an officer and living out the rest of his service in a cushy office before he could go home and, hell, maybe even potentially carry on the family legacy and become a politician.

Cassius had returned home to see his sister and his parents after being away for so long. He traveled to his hometown to find it being raided by turian separatists. Cassius traveled through Cascan and watched everyone he grew up with die in front of his eyes. When he got to his home, he watched his family be executed by firing squads, their bodies mutilated.

Cassius is still not sure what happened that day. All he knows is he woke up in his childhood bed, bloodied and weak, and saw the corpses of several turians outside. From then on, he survived by scraping together slivers of food and bringing people into militia forces to defend against the separatists for several months before the enemy was pushed back out of Palaven by Hierarchy forces.

For his courage and leadership at Cascan, Cassius was promoted to Sergeant and offered a spot in Blackwatch, where he carried out countless operations against enemies to the peace of both Palaven and the Council's interests. During this period of time, he was haunted by visions of what he saw on Palaven and was near suicide at a few points, only holding himself together by finding solace within red sand. He quickly became addicted to the drug to hold off his horrid post traumatic stress disorder.

Cassius devoted his life to working as it was the one thing he knew how to do, deciding to become a lifer in the Hierarchy military. Continuing his work with Blackwatch, he worked as a sort of bounty hunter, mainly being sent to track down and recover fugitives in turian space or high value targets.

With G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N.

Cassius was hand-picked by August Emerson to become the Commanding Officer of the CSV Gandiva. As they had a longtime friendship going back to the days of the Skyllian Blitz, August personally believes that Cassius was the man for the job when looking for an officer for his cover starship.

Operation Fortunate Sons

Cassius took part in the ship-wide Event CSV Gandiva: Fortunate Sons as the leader of Fireteam Venom, an infiltration unit tasked with investigating an unidentified space station in the Argos Rho system. During the operation, he sustained numerous injuries from combat with krogan adversaries, most notably concussion, various fractures, heavy bruising, numerous lacerations and the loss of his left arm from the elbow down, which was crushed by maintenance machinery attached to the foot of a TITAN mecha.

Cassius awoke in the medbay of the CSV Gandiva a few days later, where he talked over what happened with Operative Leravan. He discovered that, due to being exposed to the vacuum of space, his severed arm had been damaged further and had been amputated at the shoulder. The medical staff had fitted him with an XO-V Bionic Arm to replace his lost limb.

Various Operations and Calling to the Night

Afterwards, he led his team through a couple more operations involving Insurrection sympathizers and the distribution of chemical weapons. During this period of time, he met the soon-to-be love of his life, Tec'Uhtli vas Zehala, over the social media app - Flitter. He quickly fell for her and then subsequently grew a relationship with Brathe Sap'Korah, a subordinate of his who became his second-in-command of the CSV Gandiva near the end of 2185.

Councilor Laius Caern contacted Cassius in early-November to bring him in on a dangerous, convert operation to assassinate the salarian Councilor and frame the Insurrection in the process. In return, he would be granted a Spectre position, giving him access to any resources he would ever need. After mulling it over for almost a month, he decided to go through with it and convinced many members of his team to join him on this suicide mission.

Landing on the Citadel and allowing one team to distract Citadel Security, he, Brathe, and Zakhar Kosmas infiltrated the Citadel Tower and after battling through guards, made their way to the Council Chambers. There, they encountered Varil Tyzuris and Genea Tasati, who they were able to dispatch. He assassinated the Salarian Councilor shortly afterwards and Councilor Caern joined the scene, congratulating him. He then proceeded to let Major Strada in on a vast conspiracy that revealed Caern created the Insurrection to bolster nationalistic pride and support in the wake of a galactic civil war. He orchestrated this entire event as a way to make Cassius into a galactic hero. The plan went off without a hitch and Strada earned the title of Hero of the Citadel.

Pre-Terminus War Interim Period

After his actions on the Citadel, Cassius spent a month recovering from the injuries sustained during the mission and was made an official Spectre in late January 2186, becoming one of the most well-known and respected members of the organization that the galaxy had ever seen. Afterwards, he started pulling away from his crew and the people in his life, not sure how to live with himself knowing how instrumental he'd been in a galaxy-wide manipulation tactic that costed thousands of lives, even knowing the positive impact it had.

Taking time to recover from injuries and focusing on his Spectre work, Cassius accompanied a Council team of ambassadors to Parnack, the homeworld of the yahg, to provide security in a televised, public negotiation to join the galactic community. In the process, however, he got into a battle with a young, arrogant Yahg Champion by the name of Modikaer Korse. After beating him in one-on-one combat, the Yahg Horde exiled the Champion and made him serve under Major Strada to confer to an old tradition of theirs.

In April 2186, Cassius began a list of people he was going to take down one way or another, first beginning with finding the mole the Councilor used on his team, Mah'Raan nar Undani. Tracking him to an isolated bar on the planet of Tortuga, he killed all of his security and then strangled him to death, burning the building alive in the process and gaining a pet - a varren named Thor.

After his time away from his crew, Cassius Strada returned to the CSV Gandiva as its acting Commanding Officer in early May of that year.

The Terminus War & The Asgard Invasion

PalavenMoonsCassius

Pictured Above: Cassius Strada in his custom Spectre Bogeyman Armor.

In late April 2186, the Terminus War was declared by the Confederacy against the Council. Cassius Strada led the CSV Gandiva on various G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. and Spectre-related operations during this period of time. G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. received a mass influx of new recruits as the war started so Cassius was brought on once again to train their largest class yet. Rask was brought along as an Assistant Trainer. While he was initially against it, he was convinced to go by Cassius while tensions rose between them. He arrived at the station on May 3rd, 2186 and gave an induction speech, which was received well by the audience.

Confederates led by Commodore Zatch and Kurgan Rantor then attacked Asgard Station in the middle of the Orientation Ceremony, slaughtering dozens of innocent lives. The two trainers were able to get their trainees to safety in the barricaded Residential Block with timed distractions and on-the-spot stealth training. They spent the next following days conducting guerrilla operations against the Confederate forces who had taken the station. After interrogating a quarian agent, they found that the invading had a communications jammer in the Asgard Biodome and proceeded to make plans to destroy it.

Rask and Cassius Strada split their class up into two teams and went to distract the rest of the Confederates while their trainees pushed to the biodome. Finding that the Confederacy knew what their plans were going to be all along, the two trainers rushed back to the scene as fast as they could. Cassius was severely injured in the line of battle and Rask was able to save the day by defeating Kurgan Rantor in a knockout brawl. Cassius was able to make Commodore Zatch flee and he sent out a distress signal. Since then, the two have recovered from their injuries and are back in the line of duty with a newfound respect for one another.

Downfall

Cassius returned to the CSV Gandiva after recovering in the hospital from the Asgard Invasion, however, when he got back to his cabin, he saw something horrific. One of his trainees, Kallen Grey, had somehow gotten into his apartment and had his wrists slit open while overdosing on Red Sand. On the wall, written in blood, was the word STARFALL. A crew of investigators and security subsequently cleaned up his room and took the body away, but Cassius decided that they needed to investigate the Rakgazi and whatever STARFALL actually was.

When August Emerson received a number of offers from the Council and Terminus Confederacy about allying G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. with their respective factions, August called the high brass of the Aegis together and any other members of the higher echelons of the organization, which included Cassius Strada and Rask. The three met in a penthouse on the dreadnought and were primed for a night of catching up and friendliness, but August entered the room and punched his best friend, Cassius, right in the face. The two brawled before they were broken up by Rask and August explained he did that because he knew that the Gandiva was responsible for the assassination of the Salarian Councilor. When trying to explain, August cut him off and told him that James Talon was the real Butcher of Cipritine and, with a team of watchers, he needed to go take him down.

Angrily, Cassius left and went ahead to do just that. Tracking down Talon, he dealt the finishing blow to him after catching him off guard, finally ending the Butcher's story in a fit of rage, wanting to blame anyone else other than himself for the atrocities he had committed. For hours, he sat in his own room on the Aegis, rocking back and forth and being relatively unsure of what he could do to make up for his transgressions. He was desperate and angry.

After the Independence Vote from G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N, Cassius, in an attempt to save face with the organization, maintained his Spectre status by promising Laius Caern that he would be a double agent for him while simultaneously informing August of his plans to be a mole. As a triple agent caught between worlds, he continued his operations as the Commanding Officer of the Gandiva while providing intel and information to both sides about the Citadel Council and G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. This led right into Cassius encountering the Outsider for the first time, in the form of seeing his beloved Tec'Uhtli having shot herself in the face after supposedly being pushed to by this mysterious figure.

Feeling whatever left of his sanity falling by the wayside, he had no choice but to continue on when he was sent into the Second Skyllian Blitz. Acting as an independent agent on the battlefield gathering intelligence about Jake McEwen, he finally took out a couple of quarian agents who told him their General's location, the MSV Valkyrie. Amassing a squad of all-stars from the battle, they rode into the lion's den and took on Jake head on, who had been waiting for them from the beginning. After a back and forth fight, Cassius was bested in hand-to-hand combat and was injured, only to worsen that by taking the shock wave of a Zaphaaden tank blast head on. With even further brain trauma to his already damaged head, he survived and was kept conscious just long enough to reluctantly negotiate Rask and Jake's gladiator battle to decide the fate of Elysium.

Following the battle, Cassius had a difficult time adjusting. He had given up his position to Rask, who he had never gotten along with, and had been injured yet again. Medical experts had told him specifically that he had received some lesions on his brain with prolonged damage and while they were reparable with modern medicine, it would take time. He waited and waited, stewing in his own unstable thoughts for a time and reflecting on his failures in the past year. And while he had difficulty moving past some things, he might've had a shot at it, if it wasn't for the Outsider's sudden attack against the GSV Gandiva and the rest of G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N.

Cassius helped his crew evacuate, putting their lives first above all else. Taking the time to recover some data from the intelligence archives of the ship, he was the last one out on the last escape pod, but leaving so late caused the ensuing explosions to send his pod off course. It's unknown where he landed, but he had gone missing for a few weeks. His activities were entirely obscured up until Zakhar Kosmas, his former dog of war, tracked him down to find his old commanding officer and was met with ferocious violence. The drell was knocked out and woke up in a dark alleyway, being told not to follow him and that G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. had better not get in his way. He was going to war.

Going Rogue

At the beginning of 2187, after his interaction with Zakhar, Cassius had gone entirely dark. There was not a soul alive in G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. that knew where he was. August Emerson passively looked for his old friend, unsure of what his goals were and what he had planned. As of now, he has still not reared his head again.

Medical Record

Cassius has had on-and-off health over the years. He has been able to stay in shape thanks to a fitness regimen that August Emerson helped design for him years and years ago, however, he's had his issues with maintaining a consistent level of wellness. For a long time, he wasn't known to eat very well and just converted the carbs into muscle. At the age of thirty-six (2185-2186), he is relatively healthy with some serious issues across the board.

Despite his position as the Commanding Officer of the CSV Gandiva and a Spectre, Cassius still finds time for regular combat and fitness training along with practicing his martial arts and sword fighting, usually within the CSV Gandiva's hangar bay. Nevertheless, he has the habit of overworking himself to the point of nearly overloading, has never taken a vacation (only leaves of absence for mental health reasons), and has a nasty Red Sand habit that often times dehydrates him, gives him prolonged exposure to element zero dust that sickens him, and sucks all of the nutrients out of his body.

With a multitude of old injuries that plague him to this day, Cassius is the definition of battle-scarred. With notable injuries being several omni-blade wounds in his torso from Varil Tyzuris with the Attack on the Citadel, a large knife wound within his back he got on Tortuga in 2185, several gunshot and blade wounds from the Cascan Incident, and more, his most notable injury is, by far, the loss of his left arm after his hand and wrist was crushed by maintenance machinery while on Operation: Fortunate Sons. Due to infection and severe burning from the wound being exposed to the vacuum of space, it was amputated from the shoulder down and replaced with an XO-V Bionic Arm. Whether or not the arm will cause complications in the future is yet to be seen.

Personality

Cassius is many things - complicated being the most common word used to describe him. Outwardly, he is a traditional turian in many respects - a proud man who takes pride in his work. However, upon further inspection, one would find that he is not a very proud person at all who desperately clings to his work as a way to feel validated, otherwise he feels absolutely worthless in the grand scheme of things. He is a cynical, pessimistic man who believes that everything is going to go wrong before it happens and, unfortunately, he has a track record of being right. While lauded for his leadership skills, he's known to be extremely reclusive socially and only has a handful of people that he would ever venture to say are close.

One of the many aspects of Cassius is his aggression. A naturally angry person, he used to be able to keep his rage under lock and key, only using it when it benefited him or his crew. After the events of Operation: Calling to the Night, he has become an extremely short-tempered and vengeful person who is hellbent on retribution. It's an unhealthy feeling of power, where he believes his anger gives him an outlet to let out all of the pain that he's feeling onto people. This has bled into many aspects of his life and he has watched himself become this unhinged, indignant person.

Another trait of his to touch on is his pessimistic outlook. Unfortunately, due to Cassius' history, he has grown to hate a lot of the world around him and learn what to expect from it because of that. Cynical to a fault, he believes in Murphy's Law; anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. However, unfortunately, he has a tendency to be right about the things he thinks are going to screw up. It's made his day-to-day life extremely predictable and has made it blend together, because everyone that he knows is going to make a mistake at one point, he already can see it coming from a mile away. This outlook will consistently pester him for the majority of his life.

A final part of him to elaborate on are his biggest flaws. Quite possibly one of the biggest problems in his life, Cassius is horribly addicted to red sand as a way to cope with his rampant PTSD and manic depression. He uses it as an escape, often times hallucinating and going into several day-long binges. His depression manifests itself here in various ways - often times in self-loathing messages that pick and prod at all of the failures that he had in his life along with all of the flaws he believes himself to have. His addiction comes from a place of fear as he isn't sure he could function without it and is worried he could even lose his job, the only thing that he thinks keeps him sane. The depression extends to all aspects of his life - tainting everything about him. He has become a recluse because of it, scared to let anyone in yet pining for someone to understand him for who he is at the same time. Unfortunately, he's also been known to become obsessive over the people he does let into his life, becoming extremely possessive and dependent on them. All of those issues can even turn into suicidal feelings, as the Major has had to ward off the urge to end his own life a multitude of times.

However, he's not all doom and gloom. Cassius is a man who likes to keep himself busy and has a multitude of hobbies he partakes - including painting, reading, and gaming.

Memorable Quotes

Sad Cassius

Pictured Above: What really goes on inside the Major's head and a meme to span the ages.

"You should never try out a technique you've only just heard about in the middle of battle!"

-Cassius, on approaching innovation in battle.
"Until then, however, I will be content with my cow."
- Cassius, on the subject of art.
"He's not the bogeyman. He's the guy you send in to kill the fucking bogeyman."
- Cassius, speaking about himself in the third person.
"I know what's coming. Tell them. Tell all of G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. not to get in my way. I'm going to war."
- Cassius, issuing an ominous warning to Zakhar Kosmas

Monologues & Speeches

"Precision strikes. All out assault. Various diplomatic approaches. Research and development of projects that we can use to take them down. Extensive information gathering to use as leverage. I’ve heard all the suggestions for how to take down the Insurrection. From subordinates, from officers, everyone. Everyone has an opinion on what you have to do. And we’re trying all of it. We are. The Aegis is negotiating peace between the Dominion, the Empire, and the Council. The Avalon is curing the genophage. The Muramasa is assaulting the Insurrection at their base.

But none of them understand a simple fact. The Insurrection? The Dominion? Organizations like them... they’re not factions. They’re ideals. They are, very simply, a set of beliefs. A set of values that enough people hold true to themselves to not only influence a society, but the leaders who run it. You cannot take down an idea with negotiation or an assault or a precision strike. You cannot kill an idea with a gun... Because at the end of the day, you give the idea more reason to exist with that approach. More justification.

We are running out of options. This set of ideals has existed for millennia and it’s not going away, it’s getting stronger. And despite everyone having an opinion, no one is *fucking doing anything* that matters. Everyone sat, staring at me, waiting to be given orders. Waiting for me to have all the answers. And now that I and a goddamn Councilor have an idea that could work? Now people want to claim it’s morally irreprehensible. In these dire times, if there is even a one percent chance this could possibly work, we must take that as an absolute certainty.

Yet they want to blame me for this. They want to make me out into the bad guy. They want me to be the monster. Ohhh, ‘Cassius Strada’! He’s the bogeyman! But he’s not. He’s not the bogeyman. He’s the guy you send in to kill the fucking bogeyman. They want Cassius to be the villain? Fine. But if they want me to be the villain, then they fucking better be ready for me to be the villain. And I’ll remember their faces when I’m wearing a Spectre logo on my armor. They can be damn sure of that."

- Cassius' Bogeyman Speech in the Calling to the Night Event.

Nicknames

Cassius has been known to provide a variety of colorful nicknames to his subordinate officers and sometimes otherwise.

Notable Kills

Committed by Major Strada:

Musical Themes

Main Theme(s)

Battle Theme(s)

Social Theme(s)

Romance Theme(s)

Trivia

  • Cassius Strada was initially a character in a Solo D&D known as Mass Effect: Marauder which centered around him as a Blackwatch agent infiltrating a prison world and taking down a corrupt regime.
  • Cassius' character concept was heavily inspired by an older version of his previous character of Sam's named Galen Tyzuris, whose updated version is a main character in Mass Effect: Starfall.
  • The series Metal Gear Solid's main characters, Solid Snake and Big Boss, are often compared to Cassius Strada. These comparisons have gotten ever so more legitimate since he lost his left arm much like the aforementioned Big Boss.