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 six part one of ME3RI.
(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.)
Ghor’ant leans forward upon a couch looking out a window on the observation deck. His hands are clasped before him and his forearms braced on his knees. What he sees is not outside the window, that is just a focal point. But it is the visions inside that he can’t escape. Sweat cascades off his brow and stings into his two right eyes. He doesn’t bother wiping them clean and instead savors the brief distraction from the torment of his own mind.
He exhales deeply and tries to focus on the starfield zooming by beyond the observation window. Energy folds of the mass effect stream ripple just beyond the ship creating a distortion wave running from deep blue through violet red. After a moment of watching this effect, Ghor’ant leans back and rubs his hands across his four eyes and down his thick, leathery face. His lips tremble slightly and he drops his head back to stare at the ceiling.
I’ve failed my people. Failed everyone… He doesn’t blink as he watches colorful light dancing around the ceiling. Yeah…that’s the solution. We’re doomed. The reapers will run, how do the humans put it?, roughshod…all over us. No where left to hide.
He furrows his brow and sits forward once more and places a hand on his knee and braces his right hand on the side of the couch preparing to stand.
Armory is two floors down…they let me in. Good. If not, he sighs and takes a deep breath with eyes closing in resolution. So much the better. Would be appropriate, really. Better at human hands than…
The thoughts linger at that point and his lips open in fear knowing that he doesn’t want to know the alternative. He tightens his lips back and puts the best scowl he can muster on his face and starts to push his way off the couch just as the door to the observation deck slides open. Ghor’ant quickly lets himself fall back into his seat, his resolve vaporizing like his will to fight.
Just take whoever it is! Make your last stand! He scowls inwardly to himself, his face wrinkling in self-loathing. You varren scat!
“Ghor’ant, you doing alright?”
The voice is soothing and unmistakably female. Ghor’ant knows who it is without even turning around. He looks even further away and purses his lips. His head shakes slightly as he responds.
“Shepard…I’m doing ‘fine’ as your people say. No need to spend anymore time on me.”
She enters the room and goes to the window and stands staring outward, her arms folded behind her back.
“It was tough out there. We just barely got out. I want to thank you.”
Ghor’ant stares up at her with widened eyes, “Thank me? For what? I didn’t help you fight on the relay. Hell, I nearly got myself killed on Earth! I’m no help to you!”
Shepard turns towards him and smiles. It is then that he notices she has changed into her naval uniform. Its dark blue tone and gold rimming somehow makes her features more striking.
“But you were an immense help. You came to warn us, gave us an opportunity to respond to the reaper threat.”
Ghor’ant gasps and tosses himself back into the couch, “Nobody listened to me. We accomplished nothing.”
“Don’t sell yourself short, adjutant. Our people are still technically at war. You faced your enemy to deliver a warning. You could have just let us perish.”
“That wouldn’t have solved anything!” Ghor’ant leans forward, his hand slicing the air for emphasis. “We needed your fleets to try to save as many people as we could! But I failed!!”
“No, you got here. You let us know the fate of Kar’shan. And you remain a bastion of hope for those batarians still alive out there. They need you. We need you. You don’t have to carry a gun to be a proactive member of this team. If you’ll help us, that is.”
Shepard sighs and looks to the floor for a moment as Ghor’ant finds himself with nothing to say. He glares at the wall surrounding the window for a long moment.
“I have to get back to the bridge. We’ll be arriving at the Citadel within the next fifteen minutes. It would be good to have you with us when we make our report to the council.”
Ghor’ant doesn’t speak and Shepard turns to leave. She is at the opening door when Ghor’ant shakes his head but doesn’t shift his view.
“You don’t honestly think they’ll help, do you? They probably won’t even listen.”
“They may not help, but they will listen. Nothing is gained by remaining silent.”
Shepard leaves and the door closes behind her. Ghor’ant clasps his hands back in front of him and he watches the color filled aura rippling outside the ship.
I’ll never understand these humans. But…maybe…
Ghor’ant blinks several times and sighs. He leans back and feels an inkling of hope slowly creeping up his spine.
The Normandy enters realspace just beyond the Widow system’s relay and heads towards the massive nebula at the center of the system.
On the bridge, Genevieve stands behind Joker watching their progress. The bridge hums with a vibrant life that she finds she hasn’t paid much attention to before. This brings a slight smile to her face.
“I find your calmness strange, Shepard.”
“Huh?” Genevieve looks to the spherical graphical display of EDI’s neural network and furrows her brow.
“You are smiling. And your heart rate is considerably lower than that of the crew. Are you feeling alright?”
“What, are you kidding?” Joker turns and says. “Shepard gets off on this whole ‘save-the-galaxy’ thing.”
“Ha ha, Joker,” Genevieve grins. “No, I was just thinking about how comfortable it actually feels up here on the bridge. I’ve never noticed how…alive you actually are, EDI.”
Joker quirks his eyebrow but doesn’t respond as the lights on EDI’s displays rapidly flicker.
“I’m no more ‘alive’ than this ship, Shepard—“
“EDI, you are the ship. And you’re one of my crew. You provide the most crucial ingredient, support. You’ve saved our asses a dozen times over already, give us valuable intel, and a place to hang our hats.”
“You are not wearing a hat.”
Joker laughs at this, “She doesn’t mean literally, EDI.”
“…Ah right. A euphemism for ‘home’.” EDI is silent for a moment. “Do you view me as your ‘home’, Shepard?”
Genevieve tugs the corner of her lips into a pucker as she considers the idea for a moment, “Shit, EDI, I don’t remember the last real home I had. The Normandy is about as close to one as I’ve ever had. But, yeah, you are like home to me. To all of us. Especially Joker.”
Genevieve rocks on the back of Joker’s chair with a giggle and he gasps and grabs on to his handrests.
“Holy shit, did you just giggle?” Joker asks and turns the chair to look at her. “That’s not something I would have expected out of you, commander.”
“Oh lighten up, Joker,” Genevieve chides. “We’re only human. Besides, I don’t imagine I’ll be much in a mood for levity after this meeting.”
Genevieve crosses her arms and stares at the floor with a sigh.
“No, hey, that was great I was just surprised,” Joker says slapping a smile on his own face. “Come on! Ah shit. I didn’t mean to spoil the moment. You already have too much to deal with. What with Earth, and the relay…reapers. Now the fuckin’ council. Great, now I feel like a heel.”
Genevieve chuckles and lightly places a hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t. We all know the score. Got to catch our breathes where we can and keep pushing on. You haven’t done anything wrong and, yes, I’m capable of giggling,” she smiles at him and crosses her arms back. “Take us in, Joker.”
The Normandy closes in on the massive Citadel space station. Within the five armed structure, sits the heart of government for a variety of species along the outer rim of the galaxy. Member governments have embassies in the inner ring of the Citadel while the most select have a seat on the council. To date, only four species hold a slot on the council: turian, asari, salarian, and human.
The Citadel is the presumed last vestige of the ancient species prothean. When threatened, it can close the arms to surround the central ring of the Citadel forming a long obelisk like shape. At that point, the station is virtually impenetrable to any assault. At the moment, the station looks like a massive starfish reaching for prey in the middle of a milky pond.
Back on the bridge, a voice rings out, “SSV Normandy, this is Citadel command. You are cleared for docking bay thirteen D level. Do you require any special transportation?”
Genevieve replies, “That won’t be necessary, command. Thank you for the offer.”
“Welcome back to the Citadel, commander.”
The channel operator clicks off and Joker leans back with a smirk, “Well, at least somebody is in a good mood down there. Don’t know what you’ll find with the council though.”
“We’ll work it out.”
“Right, let me know how that goes. I’m just going to chill on the bridge.”
“Why don’t you get out and stretch your legs some?” Genevieve queries half serious.
“Uh, hello, can break my hip just takin’ a piss! Besides, you’ll take some pictures, share some amusing anecdotes, and when you get back we can crank dial the council and hang up on them before they have a chance to respond.”
Genevieve shakes her head, “That wouldn’t be very nice, Joker.”
“Nice? I was trying to be nice? I think you miss the point of this game.”
Genevieve smirks, “Uh huh. Get Liara and Ghor’ant up here. I’ll need their analysis when facing the council.”
“Already here, Shepard.”
Genevieve turns and finds Liara has walked onto the bridge.
“Damn, I forgot how quiet you walk.”
“Lots of observations leads to lots of practice. Are you sure you want Ghor’ant to come with us? He is a bit unbalanced.”
“He can be a valuable ally. He’s been through a lot so give him a little leeway. Besides, with all your connections I’m sure you know all about him and what he can do.”
Liara frowns, “I may be the Shadowbroker now, but that doesn’t mean I can breach Hegemony space. It was a complete surprise to hear that Kar’shan fell so fast. That poor man has to be completely numb by now. We should take Vickers too, just in case.”
Genevieve thinks on this for a second, “We generally only go out in groups of three.”
“Groups of— What do you think this is, some sort of extranet computer game?” Liara smirks.
“I was just saying, that’s all.”
“Joker said you might need me,” a voice says from just behind them.
Liara and Genevieve turn to find Vickers looking at them. Behind him is Ghor’ant who seems less than thrilled to be there.
“Yes, you and Ghor’ant are accompanying us to council chambers to make our reports. With any luck, they’ll be able to offer some assistance,” Genevieve nods at them.
“There’s something more pressing I think we need to address with them first,” Vickers says.
“What would that be?” Liara queries.
“Shutting down the Widow relay. It won’t take the reapers long to open the Sol relay back up.
Genevieve nods, “You’re right. We have to get that relay shut down. We need to hurry to the council chambers.”
They feel the Normandy connect to the docking bay clamps and the docking doors pressurize. Within moments, the doors are opening up and the group is exiting the Normandy. They head down a long hall towards the interior port. Once past an armed check point, they enter a waiting area that has a few people loitering about and sitting in the various furniture spread around the facilities. The room is tall, almost three people high and display monitors with news reports and sport summaries line one wall. The wall perpendicular to it is almost completely window and as they walk past it, the group can see the Normandy hovering in its moorings.
“Mass effect fields are always so impressive,” Liara says looking at the ship. “Put one in a ship and it can hover nearly stationary almost anywhere. Imagine if they started designing suits for people. Just use it to dash anywhere planetside. Wouldn’t have to worry about being crushed to death under the force because you wouldn’t even be affected.”
“Probably wouldn’t happen. Always some lunatic that’d try to go to space with it and suffocate to death,” Vickers responds and takes the lead towards the visitor counter.
“Interesting thought, though,” Genevieve agrees.
The four are almost to the counter when a familiar face approaches from behind a containment field down the hall.
“Bailey!” Genevieve greets him and reaches her hand out to grasp his.
They shake hands and Bailey nods at her, “Shepard, good to see you again. Heard you were laid up on Earth for a while before…well, yeah.”
“Glad to see you still around, Bailey. We’re here because of Earth. We need the council’s help.”
“Not sure how much good that will do. There’ve been, and this you didn’t hear from me, reports of reaper incursions into systems close to Alliance and Hegemony space,” he notices Ghor’ant. “I, uh, heard some bad stuff about Kar’shan too.”
Genevieve shuts her eyes tightly, “Yeah. Kar’shan fell…”
“Damn…that’s harsh. Is Earth…?”
She looks at him with pursed lips, “It’s under siege as we speak. Look, I really want to catch up with you—“
“But Earth isn’t going to wait, gotcha. I’m right there with you,” he motions for them to follow him and they walk through a series of checkpoints. “They beefed up security points in response to these incursions. Council still refuses to believe it’s reapers. Officially blaming it on ‘enemies unknown’. But they ain’t fooling anybody. We all know who they are and it won’t be long before they’re knocking on our door. Council heard you were incoming and are already in session at Udina’s behest. They’re waiting for you on the Presidium. Here ya go, got you a special transport.”
Bailey activates a quick transport car parked along an overhanging port leading to the transit lines. He pauses and stares at the vehicle for a long moment with an almost forlorn expression on his face.
“We’re going to do everything we can, Bailey,” Genevieve consoles and pats him on his back as the others get into the vehicle. “How much family you have back home?”
“Too many. My kids…my ex. Not too sad about the ex but still don’t want to see her get stomped on by some…Mmm…but listen to me rattle on when you got places to be. Give em hell, Shepard.”
She nods and gets into the main driver’s seat.
“Watch yourself out here, Bailey.”
She hits a button and the car lifts up and zooms down the transit tunnel merging with other harried traffic. Everyone is quiet and deep in thought as they head towards the Presidium. Genevieve contents herself looking out at the buildings lining the transit way and seeing the commerce still in action despite the heavy weight bearing down on them.
The whole galaxy is coming down around us, and nobody can see it yet, she sighs quietly and closes her eyes feeling the motion of the cab flowing down an offshoot causeway heading towards the center of the Citadel. Hopefully the council will help us and we can stop the reapers before they truly begin.
Genevieve opens her eyes as they reach the inner ring of the Citadel and quickly approach the presidium. The shuttle cab lands out front of the council building and the four exit. They look up towards the structure that rises through the roof of the inner ring and towards the empty space in the middle of the citadel where the presidium suddenly becomes a spire rising ninety degrees towards the directions of the five massive arms of the space station. When open, which it generally is save for threats from outside sources, the arms spread wide making the Citadel look like a giant flower with the presidium its lonely stamen connected by only the one bridge to the inner ring from which the arms spread out from.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ghor’ant says in awe viewing the presidium and the roof of the inner ring flowing around the bend until it curves upwards and disappears into the horizon. The main presidium gardens and commons lay on the surface of the inner ring which is more like the wall but the gravity well of the station ensured that any construction upon that section would have to be laid out in a centrifugal way.
“That’s right, none of your people have been on the Citadel in years now, have they?” Genevieve asks him.
“Not since we withdrew our embassy personnel,” Ghor’ant replies watching a keeper walk by towards an unknown destination. “Not since our conflict with your people began.”
“Seems like the batarians made their own bed with that action.”
Ghor’ant casts an angry glance at Vickers, “Your people claimed territories rightly belonging to the Hegemony. The arrogance of humanity made this happen!”
Vickers turns to face Ghor’ant fully, “I don’t want to hear about arrogance! The batarians raided our colonies and waged war unjustly!”
“Unjustly! Let me explain to you what’s just-!”
“Enough! Both of you!” Genevieve steps forward and puts herself between them and raises her hand. “We don’t have time for this shit. The council chambers is right up there and we need to stand united. What’s done is done. Nothing we can do to change that now.”
Vickers stands back and clasps his arms behind himself. Ghor’ant shakes his head and looks away towards small trees rising up at the base of the presidium building.
“There won’t be any problems from me, Shepard.”
Genevieve frowns and shakes her head, “Let’s just get up there.”
Liara quirks her brow. She says nothing as they enter the lift that will take them up to the council chambers. The shift halfway up that changes direction always threw Liara’s equilibrium off and now was no different as the lift shifted and she grabbed the back wall slightly.
“You all right, Liara?”
Liara smiles at Genevieve, “Same as always.”
“Thought you’d be over that by now.”
“I believe I once mentioned I’m a field rat and prefer very solid ruins over gallivanting around the galaxy.”
Genevieve chuckles, “And how is it now that you’re the shadow broker?”
“I know a lot more now. It’s fun. I still prefer the field though. If I could set up in a prothean ruin on an isolated world, I’d be perfectly content.”
“We’ll have to work on that.”
The lift continues onward and arrives in the main foyer to the council chambers. They head down the long walk passing extant gardens and rising trees. Genevieve enjoys the view but ignores it as she’s seen it numerous times. Ghor’ant and Vickers, however, find themselves looking upwards to the massive skylight rising from the chamber floors towards the slanted roof high above.
The group hurries up several levels of stairs and come to the council meeting platform in the chambers. There, they see the council is already in session with Udina sounding off loudly to the other three councilors.
“We cannot afford anymore delays! While we stand here debating the finer points of council regulations, Earth is under attack! We must lead the charge!”
Tevos, the asari councilor, shakes her head with eyes slightly shut, “Rushing headlong into an invasion force is not the wisest course of action. Whoever this force is-“
“They’re reapers, councilor! Pull your head out of your-“
“The reapers are a myth, Udina,” the salarian councilor, Valern, waves his hand towards Udina. “You humans persist on propagating this rumor everytime we turn around. The fact remains, we don’t know who is responsible. We’ve had reports that Kar’shan has fallen yet have heard no word from the batarians on the validity of this rumor. This council cannot act until the invaders have been identified.”
“They’re reapers alright, you arrogant bastard,” Ghor’ant says as the group walks down the rampway extending towards the three councilors podium.
The walkway hangs over a sunken garden covered in glass and was where Genevieve was forced to face down Saren three years earlier when he was attempting to hand the citadel over to the reaper known as Sovereign. Genevieve stares down towards the pit as they hit the end of the three-quarters bridge.
It’s like a battle never took place here, Genevieve ruminates and looks up to the councilors.
“Shepard, we had heard the Normandy had reentered council space,” Tevos says, her features looking haggard from a morning’s worth of bad news. “We apologize for what is happening to Earth, but as we were informing your councilor, we cannot bring our forces to bear until we know who the adversary is. We’ve speculated it is one of the previously uncontacted species on the borders of batarian space. We have barely any information on them though, when last a mission passed by, they were on the cusp of space exploration. A diplomatic mission to establish contacts is being prepped to sue for peace in these invasi-“
“Save your team, councilor. These are not members of a previously unknown. You’ll find out soon enough,” Genevieve states slicing her hand through the air for dramatic effect. “They’re on their way here even as we speak.”
Sparatus, the turian councilor who’d stay silent the entirety of the current session, steps forward with furrowed brows, “What do you mean?”
Genevieve had noticed he had been going through a variety of emotions, most of which said he was conflicted over what needed to be done. Typically the man was a fierce critic over anything reaper. Though today seemed to be different.
“After decimating Kar’shan, the reapers hit Earth. They’re using the relays to coordinate their attacks. They’ll want to take the Citadel next,” Genevieve purses her lips and looks to the garden below as she grips the railing. “Had it not been for my actions against Sovereign before…and the collectors…and destroying the Bahak relay…maybe the reapers wouldn’t have attacked Earth first. They would have hit the Citadel right away.”
Genevieve looks up at them with a fierce determination in her eyes. Ghor’ant lets loose a growling grunt and doesn’t say anything. Vickers eyes him and takes a ready-to-react stance while Liara steps forward past Ghor’ant.
“We found a relic on the world Thersander that had hidden information that we may be able to use against the reapers. The message we found held star maps and inferences to a way to stop the reapers. It wasn’t specific. The message, from what we were able to decode, made it clear that we were to follow the star maps to a source location. We just need the time necessary to track down the information.”
“Is it a weapon?” Sparatus asks gripping the railing right before him.
“We don’t know,” Liara says lowering the omnitool in her hand. “However, we do not whatever it is can stop the reapers.”
“Speculation will get us nowhere,” Tevos says then. “Even if what you say is true, even if these reapers are a threat to this station and all our worlds, the fact remains we are not just sending our fleets to Earth to save your people. Especially if these invaders are intent on attacking the rest of us. The sad fact is, Earth’s invasion buys us time to regroup and counter the threat. Maybe once our worlds are secure…”
“Has everyone in the galaxy lost their fucking minds!?” Ghor’ant rages and slices his hand through the air in front of him. “Kar’shan has fallen! Earth is falling! And you’re next on the chopping block! We have no chance on our own! We’ve tried it and failed! The reapers descended from the skies like devouring swarms of Niik’lip scavengers and decimated our cities! It was a miracle I survived as long as I did! And now, here I stand, two worlds savaged that I have lived through and the galaxy’s greatest civilizations are too busy shitting their pants to do anything about it!”
Genevieve reaches over and pats his back as he turns to the railing nearest him and glares with a scowl down into the sunken cavity below. Genevieve sighs and turns to look at the councilors across the space dividing the two groups from one another.
“We have a more practical tactic for you, then. We’re already wasting too much time and need to do this soon,” Genevieve starts. “We can change the IFF instructions of the relays to operate only for council ships. This will effectively halt the reaper advance on the Citadel. We already turned off the Sol relay’s jump capacity. But that won’t last long. The reapers have likely already re-engaged it by now.”
“If we can stop the invaders from using the relays, let’s get to it then,” Sparatus says and leaves the podium before Tevos and Valern can argue against it.
“Shepard, get this done,” Udina says. “Afterwards, come see me in the embassy.”
Genevieve sees him rush off and she turns to do the same. The group rushes out of the council chambers and towards the transport that will take them back to the Normandy.
“Well, that went well,” Vickers says as they come to the elevator leading to the transports.
“Actually, that was one of our most productive meetings,” Genevieve retorts with a wry grin.
The lift doors close and the group descends.
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.
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End Shameless Self Promotion!
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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