Mass Effect 3 Re-Imagined Chapter Five: Story Time With Tim

Hello again, faithful followers of this blog! I’m Timothy Scott Purvis and this is the next installment of my fan story Mass Effect 3 Re-Imagined written for my wife Christmas 2013. Mostly because of how disappointed we both were with those final fifteen minutes of the game. Of course, it was difficult to rewrite without changing the entire story. Which might be why the developers went with the asinine ending they went with. Even so, I think I came up with something amusing and special. So I’m sharing it here.

No, I didn’t edit it any. Mostly because it IS a fan story and I have other things to do. So, you’ll just have to be content with the unedited insanity that is my rewrite of the game. There are grammatical errors. There are inconsistencies with plot. There are moments that will make you go, ‘What?’ But, in my defense, it’s no worse than what Bioware gave us back in 2012. So take that Triple A developers!

Anyhow, here is chapter five of ME3RI and I’m posting the full chapter because it really isn’t that long so no need to break it up. Some of the later chapters, however, tend to get a little lengthy.

(PS: Yes, I am copy pasting a lot of these lead ins. Pretty much because there are a lot of chapters to post and I’m doing this waaaayyy ahead of time when they will pop up through scheduling. If you’d like to skip ahead to where the chapter begins, by all means, knock yourself out.)

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5

INT SSV NORMANDY SR2

SOL SYSTEM APPROACHING PLUTO

BRIDGE

The hum of the Normandy’s FTL drive thrums throughout the vessel. Joker sits in his pilot’s seat listening to it and feeling the vibrations through the chair. He rubs his face with his hand and sighs in trepidation.

     Holy shit…that was too close. Fuck… He lowers his hand and stares out at the starfield beyond the bridge windows. Why didn’t anyone listen? Now Earth has been taken by those bastards! Where the fuck do we go? The council? Like those assholes are going to be of any use. This is it, isn’t it? Go ahead, Jeff. Just let it out. Cry like a little baby. You know you want to.

     “Jeff…” EDI’s voice interrupts Joker’s thoughts and he rubs his hands across his eyes and sniffs like he has a nasal itch.

     “Yeah. What’s going on EDI?”

     She is silent for a long moment prompting Joker to look to her display reticule with a concerned expression, “You don’t have to pretend with me. You know…”

     “What the hell are you talking about?” Joker waves his hand at her and looks away. “I’m just trying to get us to the Citadel in one piece.” 

     “…I…I don’t know…there is nothing I can say that will ease any of this pain. I’ve been thinking about some way, but…I’m at a loss for words,” EDI speaks lowly, her usual tone not of the same intensity that Joker is used to. He frowns at her and looks down to the console before him. “There isn’t anything. The crew is experiencing deep depression and fear, and your heart rate is raising at an alarming rate, you’re sweating profusely, and I’m worried you are losing hope in this conflict. …Not that I can blame you for doing so.”

     Oh man… “EDI…Look, you’re right. There isn’t anything that can be said. Watching Earth get sacked…I mean, shit, there isn’t a bigger kick in the balls than that. And we’re supposed to get help from the council? I don’t see it happening. They’re going to be terrified. Kar’shan has fallen, Earth is under siege, hell I’d be surprised if the entire galaxy isn’t already occupied,” Joker closes his eyes and leans deeper into his flight chair, “Christ, what do you do when there’s something that powerful at your doorstep? We’ve been trying to figure out how to put the boot in to their harvesting for, what, three, four years now? And there’s no solution! Of course we’re scared! How the hell are we supposed to fight this? How can Shepard fight this?”

     “I don’t know…Jeff. I’m…worried too.”

     Joker opens his eyes and leans forward, “You’re worried? Can you even feel that?”

     “I don’t have emotions like you, but…logically speaking…I know the score. And I know my life is at stake too. And I can’t help thinking how powerless I am in this fight. I can’t be out there with Shepard and her crew. I’m…a prisoner in this shell.”

     Joker shakes his head, “Don’t think that way, EDI. You are an important member of this crew, too. Without you, we’d be lost. Please…don’t fall apart on us…on me…now. We’re the organic ones. We’re the ones that are emotionally weak. Your steadiness is all we have left to fall back on.”

     EDI’s visual display hovers in the air quiet for several seconds with the audio bar flicking several times as if to speak but uttering no sound. Then she’s found her voice again, “I wish I were as steady as you say. But…I know my inability to feel hinders me in my dealings with organic life. However, you have my word, I will always be by your side. So long as I am able and functioning.”

     “That…that’s actually very comforting, EDI. Thank you,” Joker smiles to the air around him and feels himself relaxing.

     “Damn…” EDI says.

     Joker frowns, “What is it, EDI?”

     “You’re definitely not going to like this.”

     “Shit, can’t be any worse that what we’ve faced already today. Hit me.”

     “Hit you? Even if I had arms, Jeff, I would not consider hitting you at all.”

     “It’s just an expression. It means, let me know what you’re thinking. Let’s do this. Etcetera etcetera.”

     “I see. I will bear that in mind. Then I will ‘hit you’ with this: the Charon relay is under control of the Reapers.”

     “Fuck!” Joker leans forward and hits the intercom, “Commander, you need to come to the bridge now!”

     “What’s wrong, Joker?”

     “Everything! We’re five minutes out from the relay, and, ah shit, it’s better to tell you in person!”

     “I’m on my way.”

     “Why didn’t you inform Shepard of the problem we are facing?”

     “EDI, we’re about to enter a shit storm and the ship doesn’t need to hear from its pilot that we’re fucked. That honor belongs to the commander.”

     “I wouldn’t imagine that it would matter from who the bad news is coming, though I would recommend emergency procedures if we’re taking this course.”

     “Right, sounding the red alert. Hope we all live through this.”

#

Genevieve is exiting the lift when the lights dim and go red and the emergency sirens start blaring informing the crew to assume battle stations.

     Shit! What did we just fly into?! Genevieve wonders and takes off at faster pace down the Command Information Center, the CIC, and towards the bridgeway. Personnel nearby are taking their positions and looking over battle data pouring in from beyond the ship exterior. She doesn’t waste time talking to any one and hurries towards the bridge. She hears several running sets of feet behind her and casts a glance back to see Liara, Vickers, and Ashley have joined in the mad flight to the Normandy bridge.

     Within moments they are coming to a stop behind Joker’s seat. Genevieve steps beside him and places her hand on the back of his seat while staring out the window. The ship has yet to exit FTL as the energy aura beyond the ship is still flowing across the bow.

     “What’s going on, Joker? Give me the status!”

     “The fuckin’ relay’s being controlled by the reapers!”

     A collective gasping sigh of irritation sounds out through the bridge.

     Genevieve grimaces and looks down for all of a moment before looking back up, “Looks like rest will have to wait. We need to regain control of the relay. They’re not blocking us in here!”

     “We can’t just continue on to another relay through FTL drive?” Ashley asks her skin turning a slight shade whiter.

     “The reapers would have us in no time, Ash,” Genevieve says looking back at the three. “We’re going to infiltrate the relay and open it back up.”

     “Are we even sure the reapers have locked it down?” Liara enquires from behind the navigator seat.

     “Signals indicate that the relay has effectively been shut down,” EDI states. “I am also detecting a massive battle between Alliance vessels and reaper capital ships. They are the third and the fifth fleets.”

     “Hackett,” Genevieve says and stands straight up. “They’re trying to retake the relay. And we’re going to help. Vickers, Williams, you’re with me. Liara, I need you at analytics giving us eyes on to figure out how to reopen the relay. I don’t recall hearing much about how the relay itself operates at the academy.”

     “Several maintenance tunnels exist on board the relay,” EDI replies and displays a holographic map of the relay interior. “It seems that when the reapers built the relays, they required the physical presence of sentient beings to keep the devices up and running. The design of the relays indicates they do not break down often. But it can be speculated that reaper ships would examine relays to see if maintenance was required and send their thralls in to do fix the problem. We should be able to do the same thing here. Except we are creating a problem. For them.”

     “Can we sneak in while the reapers are distracted?” Genevieve inquires seeing indicator lights blinking.

     “I believe so,” EDI replies.

     “Go to stealth and drop out of FTL beyond the field of conflict. Hopefully, no one will notice.”

     “Of course, commander,” EDI replies.

     Ashley looks to Genevieve, “I don’t like this. We have no experience in opening up relays.”

     “We don’t, but the Alliance did it before using the access ways. We should be able to do the same now,” Genevieve says and turns to leave. “Let’s get down to the shuttle bay and suit up.”

     They head back towards the lift and encounter Ghor’ant walking their way. He looks paler than before and stops as they near.

     “Ghor’ant, we have to open up the relay. It would seem the reapers are blocking our exit,” Genevieve starts and pats his shoulder. “You going to be alright?”

     “I’m not going out there!” He replies taking a step back.

     “I wasn’t asking you to,” Genevieve says as Ashley and Vickers head to the lift and start down to the shuttle bay. “You’ve been through enough already. Why don’t you head down to the crew deck and lay down? We have plenty of crew to watch out for you.”

     “I, I’m not in the mood to sleep. I, I just don’t want to be here,” Ghor’ant opens his four eyes widely and stares at the ground in distress. He brings his hands up and looks at his palms. “It’s too much.”

     “I know it is. It is for me too. We’re going to get through this. I promise,” she pats him on the shoulder again and heads back towards the lift.

     Ghor’ant remains standing, staring at his hands unblinking and feeling the sweat pour from his face down to the floor that is starting to seem to him to  be twirling at his feet.

#

The Normandy comes out of FTL drive and all of space surrounds her. The ship zooms forwards towards a scene of utter chaos where hundreds of ships fight seven massive Reaper ships, and are losing. The two fleets vie for territory around the relay, that floats quietly beyond them. The rings still spin, and a blue glow still emanates, but the energy it gives off is much lower than normal.

     The Normandy pushes forward through the battle going unseen as it approaches the relay on the far side. Once close enough, the hangar bay opens up and a small shuttle drops out and heads towards a port on the underside of the relay. The Normandy flies around the far side of the relay and tries to stay out of view of the battle.

     The shuttle slides into the bay and extends a plasma shield across its aft port allowing the entryway to be accessed. The shuttle door opens and Genevieve, followed by Vickers and Williams, jumps out. Genevieve steps onto the platform leading toward the closed entry and looks down to see space below them. She leans back from the ledge where the edge of the plasma shield connects with the relay and goes to use her omnitool to open the locked entryway. The door slides open and the three enter with their weapons raised before them.

     “Keep your eyes open. We don’t know what surprises the Reapers left for us in here,” Genevieve commands and takes point.

     The group makes its way up a decline ramp and towards a hallway running the length of the lower spoke to the relay and hurry down several hundred meters.

     The rings are really loud in here, Genevieve considers feeling the pulse of energy as the rings making up the relay jump point spin slowly out beyond the hull. She tries to ignore the thrumming filling the whole relay and examines her omnitool display.

     “Looks like a control station two levels up through the hub above us,” Genevieve says as they near a rampway leading upwards and curving around a corner to the next floor.

     “How come they don’t use stairs?” Ashley asks as they start the ascent.

     “Maybe there are a type of keeper here too and they maintain the relay,” Vickers responds.

     Genevieve shakes her head, “If anything like that existed we’d already know about it. Whoever originally maintained this relay, they’ve long since gone.”

     They follow the curving ramp up to the floor the control station is maintained upon and continue down another hall running the same direction as the main floor. After several minutes of silence they hear a wet smacking sound and slow down. Genevieve raises her fist indicating that they halt and looks into the scope of her rifle. She sees two creatures hovering over the inert form of another creature no longer recognizable.

     “I don’t believe this,” Genevieve says and lowers the weapon.

     “What’s wrong, Shepard? Why have you stopped?” comes Liara’s voice over their comm links.

     Genevieve raises her fingers to the holo link in her ear and speaks, “Two of those batarian husk thingies are blocking our way. And…they’re eating another one.”

     “Did you say, they’re eating one another?” Liara asks.

     “The other one doesn’t seem alive anymore, but, yeah.”

     “Ew, how much more disgusting can these things get?” Ashley asks from where she’s crouched low behind Genevieve.

     Genevieve braces her elbow on her knee as she raises her rifle again to take aim.

     “Least we know what to call them now,” Liara says somberly. “Cannibals.”

     Genevieve lets loose a small huff of amusement, “Just don’t let Ghor’ant know that.”

     “I really wasn’t planning on it, Shepard,” Liara says. “But it does make you wonder if this is how batarians typically behave.”

     “You know, I’m going to go out on a limb and say ‘no’,” Genevieve concludes and fires two shots into the skulls of the standing Cannibals and watches them collapse to the floor. “The control station is just down the hall towards the end.”

     “After you, commander,” Vickers says and they continue onward.

     Two minutes later, the team finds itself standing in front of a console with holographic interfaces. Genevieve pulls up Alliance files on her omnitool that will walk her through initiating the relay and follows the instructions until she runs into a data file that she recognizes as prothean.

     “Huh…”

     “What’s wrong,” Ashley asks.

     Genevieve starts downloading the file onto her omnitool, “Nothing really. Just found something interesting. It’s prothean and I can make out a few words. It seems to be about controlling the relays. Oh yeah…”

     “Does it get better?” Vickers asks as he and Ashley keep their weapons trained down the long hall.

     “Hell yeah, it does. These are directions on changing the IFF signal for the relay. I’m transferring the signal to the Normandy,” Genevieve grins broadly as her fingers dance across the interface. “The protheans had identified unknown signals in the IFF database but didn’t know what they were so left them alone. However, I know from experience that these…are…reaper codes. And now they’re blocked!”

     The relay brims with new activity as the systems come back online and Genevieve unshoulders her weapon. Ashley and Vickers smile in relief.

     “Now let’s make like little Bo-peep and get the flock out of here!” Genevieve commands and rushes forward.

     “Fuck yeah, commander!” Vickers says and follows suit.

     Ashley follows close behind but says nothing. Soon though they find themselves face to face with more husks and cannibals and nowhere to hide in the corridor.

     “Shit! Cut loose!”

     Genevieve unloads her rifle as Vickers and Williams do the same. Genevieve ducks down allowing for her teammates to create a triangle of fire power that pours into the enemy combatants rushing down the hall towards them. The team pushes forward towards the rampway leading back to the entrance and find even more of the creatures rushing down from the upper levels.

     “How many of the fuckers did they leave here!?” Vickers cries out as he fires up the incline towards the horde trying to file down towards them.

     “Just enough to be a nuisance! Don’t let up!” Genevieve commands and they force their way to the main floor and back to the entrance.

     Genevieve covers her teammates as they jump back into the shuttle and turns to do the same. Several husks and cannibals follow after her but the shuttle door closes and the plasma shield drops causing the creatures to plummet into space below. The shuttle zooms back towards the Normandy and docks just as the massive vessel pulls away from the relay.

#

On board, Genevieve hurries to the bridge and stops behind Joker, “Open up a channel to Admiral Hackett. EDI, prepare to transmit copies of that file I downloaded from the relay.

     “Of course, Shepard,” EDI replies as Joker says nothing but opens up the comm link.

     “Admiral Hackett, this is commander Shepard.”

     “Shepard, thank god you got off world! I assume you’re the one to thank for getting that relay back up and running?”

     Genevieve nods to the holo display floating in the air in front of her and Joker, “Yes, sir. And I got something else for you. EDI, transfer the data. Admiral, this will help us become a pain in the reapers’ ass.”

     “Is this what I think it is, commander?” Hackett looks down at something they can’t see and then he looks back to her in surprise.

     “Yes, it is, Admiral. And now, we have to get out of the system. I’ve locked the reapers out of the relay controls but I don’t know for how long,” Genevieve says and leans forward. “We have to get to the council and convince them to help us. I think this information will do the trick.”

     “Maybe, maybe not, commander. Regardless, you absolutely do need to get to the citadel. But don’t wait for us. We’re falling back to a prior rendezvous point. I’ll fill you in on a more secure channel later. But for now, get out of here, Shepard. And thanks. You’ve just saved hundreds of lives again. We won’t forget that.”

     “Admiral—“

     “This isn’t open for discussion, commander. You have your orders,” Hackett’s expression closes the argument.

     “Yes, sir. I look to hear from you soon,” Genevieve stands up and looks at Joker. “Joker, get us out of here.”

     “You don’t have to tell me twice!” he retorts and disconnects from Hackett to input coordinate instructions.

#

Admiral Hackett watches the Normandy turn from the battle and make a beeline for the relay. Within moments it is gone from the conflict and he lets loose a sigh of relief. He leans against a railing on the bridge and gives a command to his comms officer.

     “Alert the fleet, we have clearance to use the relay. And send those IFF readings out. We need to jump immediately.”

     “Yes, sir,” the comms officer says and then nearly jumps at a beep. “Sir! Incoming transmission from third fleet.”   

     “Put through the captain.”

     A projection comes into existence in the air in the center of the bridge showing one captain Larson. The man gives a quick salute before getting to business.

     “Admiral Hackett, please proceed through the relay. We’ll cover your flank.”

     “Captain, you’ve been given orders—“

     “Sir, there is no way both fleets are getting out of this. Fifth has taken massive losses but third is nearly gone and the reapers are giving even harder since the relay was turned back on. With all due respect, you need to get out of here. Now.”

     Hackett looks to the ground for a long moment and then looks back up, “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing several brave officers in this Alliance over the years, Captain. It honors me to have worked so closely with you. Give them hell, captain.”

     Hackett salutes and the captain returns it. Within short order, the comm channel has been cut and the battle projections in front of him shows the third fleet rushing the reaper forces.

     “Open comms to fifth,” Hackett orders.

     “Sir.”

     “Fifth fleet, this is Hackett. Withdraw from combat and rendezvous at fallback point. That is all.”

     The comms go quiet as he feels the ship reorient itself towards the relay. Several vessels in the fifth fleet flee through the relay ahead of them. Within moments, they are making the jump and leaving the dying ships of the third fleet behind them. Hackett closes his eyes and feels the sorrow in his bones. 

#

Blue light shifts into existence before the Charon relay and a massive reaper appears and drops out of the mass effect field surrounding it. The vessel travels towards the seven reaper ships still in the vicinity and slows. One of the seven approaches from the wreckage of a dozen destroyed Alliance vessels.

     A series of unusual noises emanates through the void of space as the reaper speaks in its ominous language towards the newly arrived reaper, “Harbinger, a large majority of the human fleets have been destroyed. Several dozen vessels escaped just before your arrival, though Earth lies prostrate before us.”

     “Ships fled? What of Shepard? Is she still within Alliance command?”

     The reaper comes to a stop as Harbinger glares at it menacingly. It hesitates before speaking, “…We have heard that Shepard was not on Earth. That the Normandy vessel…may have left the system just before the escape of Alliance warships. And…”

     “And what?” Harbinger booms, his lights beaming upon the surface of his lesser.

     “The relay has been blocked to us. It would seem the humans discovered how to recalibrate the IFF signal and turned it against us. It will need to be undone.”

     A silence pervades for several long moments before Harbinger slowly flies by his lesser, “Fix it. We will need to take the Citadel next. If Shepard has truly left the system, then we are already disadvantaged. Her will shall join our collective. And Earth will be her salvation through perfection.”

     “It will be done, Aracle.”

     Harbinger slows again and glares at the yellow sun hanging quietly far at the center of the solar system. Twinkling specks of energy course across his hull as wreckage drifts by in the void.

     “We are Harbinger. That title no longer applies.”

     “Of course, Harbinger.”

     The massive reaper continues his journey towards Earth.

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SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION STARTS!

I would appreciate if you have Kindle or even if you want some paperback goodies if you’d head on over to my page and maybe show me some love there. I mean, if you’ve been reading a while and see something you like, wouldn’t you like to have it in your personal library? I have some cool short stories available for cheap. Also Tales From A Strange Mind that collects my short stories (there’s also a Kindle edition but, for some reason, Amazon wouldn’t let me link them together) , Tales From A Strange Mind II which collects my old novellas, Red Star Sheriff (Which also has a Kindle edition but Amazon, am I right?) my first novel ever released, though, yes, it does have some grammatical errors and drags on for way too long, sigh. But I still love it and I will be writing a follow up sometime within the next few years. I have a collection of my poems called MisAligned: The Heart Waxes Poetic which collects my old poems but not some of my newer ones included those flash fictions! I’ll probably do that in the future as well. And if you love the perfectly inane, why not check out my Star Cloud scripts presented in book form? Star Cloud The Original Scripts. Another one where Amazon was being difficult with me in connecting the Kindle and PB versions. Still, the paperback they let me sale for cheap and it’s well worth a look if I say so myself. Or, if you don’t want to click on individual links (all of which will take you to my author’s page anyway), just click on my author’s page directly by tapping my name: Timothy S Purvis See for yourself what all I’ve published since I began this venture in 2016.

I mean, if you like my work, of course. No pressure. Just trying to find my way in this world without working menial tasks and suffering physical and mental issues as a result. If only I could merely stay home and write. That would be my most epic fantasy brought to life. Well, if you don’t want to do that, you could also donate to my cause down below after all is said and done. It would help. You know, if you liked what you saw and all. Up to you. I don’t have a lot of reviews on my materials because of low sales. I mean, very, very low sales. In the single digits. Right now, I have to rely on Pubby for reviews and those people only read your synopsis and recap it for a five star review. I want honest opinions. Not mean ones, but honest. So, if you ever find yourself buying some of my work, I’d certainly appreciate some feedback. Again, up to you.

Also, I’m selling my work for cheap over at Smashwords.com! Check out that page here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TSPurvis

End Shameless Self Promotion!

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So brings to an end another week of Story Time With Tim! Hope you’re enjoying the work so far and hope you’ll be back for more next week. Until then, read to you soon.

~Timothy S Purvis

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