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M-451 Firestorm[]

The M-451 Firestorm flamethrower is a product of human ingenuity, ruthlessness, and industrial espionage. Its origin dates back to the 2160s, when human colonists to new planets used flamethrowers to clear vegetation or ice. The fuels performed erratically on planets with extremely cold temperatures and differing air compositions from Earth. Realizing this could be a problem for military units, Systems Alliance intelligence operatives stole the turian design for the "Hieras" flamethrower, a battle-tested workhorse that functioned in nearly every environment.

The result was the Firestorm, an anti-personnel and anti-armor flame unit that can accept a variety of liquid fuels. The turian design used low-octane hydrocarbons thickened with dentra oil, which is taken from large marine animals similar to Earth's whales. Humans then reverse-engineered a synthetic composite with almost identical properties that could be fabricated from heavy weapon fuel cells using an omni-tool.

The result is a sticky spray that burns at approximately 1,600 degrees Celsius, a less intense fire than plasma weapons but covering a significantly wider target area. Adding to the trauma is the choking smoke produced by the spray, and if the target's armor is breached, the fires quickly consume the oxygen within. The Firestorm may not be the most efficient weapon in the Systems Alliance arsenal, but the sheer ugliness of how it kills ensures it is the most feared.

Mercenaries: Blue Suns (Full History)[]

Founded in 2160 by the human mercenaries Zaeed Massani and Vido Santiago, the Blue Suns were initially a Skyllian Verge protection racket. As they expanded in numbers and influence, the two co-founders disagreed vehemently on many issues. Finally, after arguing about whether to recruit the slave-trading batarians into their ranks, Vido ambushed Zaeed and shot him in the head.

Believing Zaeed dead, Vido took full control of the Blue Suns and hired whatever batarians he pleased. Soon, he had crowned one named Solem Dal'serah as titular head of operations. It was a move designed to placate his batarian investors and draw fire from would-be assassins. It worked on both counts, and the partnership has lasted to this day.

Over the decades, the Suns grew into a fearsome combat force spanning dozens of planets in Citadel space, the Verge, and the Terminus Systems. Knowing that a good logistical team is key to fielding an army, Vido diversified the Suns, selling arms, training, and supplies as often as taking contracts to crack skulls. Even when the Suns suffered heavy losses, Vido's entrepreneurial expertise ensured new recruits could replace the old. All that was lost was the truth -- today, only a handful of trusted mercs even know who Vido Santiago is, let alone his old partner Zaeed.

Planet: Zorya[]

"Bring firearms and antihistamines" is what veteran guides say about this lush garden world. First colonized in 2160, Zorya's temperate and tropical zones are overrun with plants and fungi of all kinds. As a result, the air in most habitable areas is choked with pollen and spores that range from benign to deadly. The scattered colonies across the planet have resorted to clear-cutting and slash-and-burn farming to create habitable zones, and the more rural areas, where the spores are thickest, are populated only by vorcha. Lax ecological laws allow mining and manufacturing industries to flourish and pollute cheaply, as the planet's carrying capacity far outstrips the current size of its colonies.

Zorya is also home to the Blue Suns mercenary company, who dominate the colonies' security forces. The Suns enjoy nearly unlimited influence with local politicians and judges, ensuring no other private military contractors can compete with them economically. Nearly every colony has a Suns recruiting station, if not a training camp, though this has hardly made the planet any safer. Piracy, drugs and vice, and political violence are commonplace.