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 eight part two 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.)
The Argus mountain range extends for kilometers in every direction. Upon it rests the extensive forest chains of Crichen that rolls all the way north towards the Veriximus forests. Shades of silver and grey with the occasional dark copper color the forests like a vivid metal field.
Genevieve stares at the unsettling scenery in awe. Every ounce of Palaven was blindingly glorious and completely alien. Even the animal life had metallic carapaces to protect them from Trebia’s intense radiation.
It’s beautiful, in its own way. If I lived here, I couldn’t help but be homesick for the green forests of Earth, though. And blue skies. All this metallic looking environment…it’s so bright.
A gold hue signifying midday stretches from horizon to horizon as the shuttle quickly approaches its destination. Once overhead, the craft slowly descends into a crevice drilled out by archeologists and engineers to gain access to the ruins far below. The shuttle lands in a clearing near a carved out section of the mountains and the group unloads.
“You almost can’t tell the forests for the cities on Palaven,” Genevieve says looking around.
Garrus nods, “It’s definitely different from the other cultures of the galaxy. But the strong environment and natural beauty demonstrate the character of turians. … Course, a little blue here and there wouldn’t hurt anybody. But that’s just me.”
“Still amazing how many thousands of different colors are still present. And all of them metallic,” Liara states and finds herself wandering over to a nearby tree to examine it.
“Liara?” Genevieve asks.
“There’s a beetle here. Sort of like the ones on earth. Only it’s carapace is a lot harder. Has chromes of green and blue and copper. The pattern makes it hard to see against the trunk. Which is strange given that the trunk is a dark bronze.”
“Many aliens find Palaven unsettingly. Too much silver they say. Well, obviously silver isn’t all you’re going to find. You should see the orange wood forest deep south. Like fall on Earth with so many variations of reds it blows the mind,” Garrus says. “Anyhow, we didn’t come to see the beetles. The entrance to the ruins is this way.”
“Maybe I just want to see the beetles, Garrus,” Liara chides.
“Hey, if you want to stay up here enjoying the bugs, go right ahead. Shepard and I will indulge ourselves in ancient ruins. I mean, only an archeologist would want to see awesome ruins right?”
“Shut up, Garrus. I’m right behind you.”
Garrus laughs at Liara and they enter the drilled out cave and get into a vehicle to drive down the decline that runs for several kilometers.
“When you said it was deep, you weren’t kidding,” Genevieve says watching the lights lining the dark brown walls zoom by.
“Just a few more kilometers now. The diving team that discovered the ruins were just interested in the network of caves beneath Lake Crechin. It took them several weeks to chart the underwater caves and, when they came across old structures, they were excited, surprised, shocked, and perplexed. There wasn’t supposed to be anything down here. No indications of an advanced society from the time period had ever been discovered. And here was this slap in the face to conventional wisdom disproving everything we believed in.”
“Ancient discoveries have that effect on people,” Genevieve nods.
“Like the ruins on Mars.”
“Imagine what this could mean for Palaven, Shepard. What advancements could we gain as a result of this discovery?”
“You already have the most advanced military in the galaxy, Garrus,” Genevieve says with a tug at the corner of her lips. “What more do you hope to find?”
“I was thinking maybe we could become more, I don’t know, wise, like the asari.”
“Aww, Garrus, you think the asari are wise?” Liara says from the back seat with a grin.
“Your people are certainly quite a bit more compassionate and understanding than mine, Liara.”
“Our policies towards the ardat yakshi would beg to differ,” Liara mumbles.
“Well, every society has its flaws. Still, the asari are some of the most enlightened people in the galaxy. It would be nice to share in that ideal.”
“Garrus, the turians are who they are. You shouldn’t want to change them.”
“Genevieve, we keep making too many tactical mistakes. Hell, I can’t even have a conversation with my girlfriend without using militaristic terms. Er…we are still…together, right?”
Genevieve looks at Garrus with a feigned expression of being wounded, “Seriously? You think our relationship would just end because we haven’t seen each other in a few months? Like we’d have to answer a series of questions proving we’re still interested in each other? Why, are you interested in someone else?”
Garrus shakes his head under her intense glare and laughs, “Oh come on now, Shepard. Who could possibly take your place?”
“Will you stop calling me ‘Shepard’!” she slaps him on his shoulder. “There are all sorts of pet names out there: honey, dear, love, sweetie, beloved! And you decide my last name is all you can remember!”
“I’m sorry! I got used to it on the Normandy!” they look to each other and laugh and he looks back forward down the tunnel. “Besides, you’ve led us haven’t you. In a way, you’ve become THE Shepard.”
“Oh lord. That’s so corny.”
“Get used to it, babydoll. I might just go back to the Normandy and convince everyone to start referring to you as the such.”
“Don’t you dare!”
In the backseat, Vickers quirks an eyebrow and looks to Liara, “This is probably the most laid back crew I’ve been a part of.”
“Don’t let it fool you. Shepard runs a tight ship. But we’re all pretty sociable, so enjoy the opportunity,” Liara says and looks around the tunnel as the vehicle comes out into a wide opening.
The opening is a large cavern with hundreds of lights lining the walls and free standing along the guided path in front of them. They can barely see the cavern ceiling far above but all lean forward when they see the structures coming into view before them.
A cityscape begins to rise up out of the darkness and they see lights nearby all the large, highly advanced buildings.
“This isn’t a ruin, Garrus,” Genevieve begins. “You’ve brought us to a city.”
“The last time I saw anything like this was on Feros,” Liara says, her hand on the back of Genevieve’s seat. “By the goddess, I think these structures are more advanced than even the protheans.”
“Hey Garrus, this is pretty much an excavation site, right?” Vickers inquires.
“Yeah, it is. Cept we didn’t have to dig a whole lot out. There’s a whole section of the ruins underwater at the far side of the site and maybe a dozen more buildings inside the interior mountain. Digging them out is going to take time.”
“That’s nice and all, but, where are the excavators and workers?”
Garrus goes quiet as the vehicle comes to a stop midway down a road between buildings.
“He’s right,” Garrus states and looks to Genevieve slowly. “There should be hundreds of people here. I don’t hear a peep.”
“Lunch break?” Genevieve says and opens the door to the vehicle.
“Maybe we should find the cafeteria then,” Garrus retorts.
Garrus gets out with the group and they draw their weapons. They slowly start walking down the street looking into the various buildings. All are dark except where internal lights had been placed showing vast interiors running all through the structures. Liara initiates her omnitool and scans the ruins around them.
“I’m not detecting any signs of life. How long has this excavation been going on?”
Garrus looks to Liara, “We’ve been down here for the better part of five months.”
“You didn’t hit some kind of hidden city of husks did you?” Genevieve quips quietly.
“Believe me,” he chuckles hesitantly. “If we had, you’d be the first we call. No, there hasn’t been anything down here other than one big dark city.”
“How far down does it go?” Vickers asks as they proceed past several large buildings and through an alley.
“We’ve gone as far down as two hundred fifty meters. Give or take a few. The lake has washed out a lot of the city on the southern side but containment fields have drained it from the lower levels so we can see what’s down there. “
“Is it possible there was a discovery down below and the teams went down to investigate?”
Garrus shakes his head at Liara, “That would be against protocol. Two teams would investigate while one team made an upper base along the corridor to the discovery. The other two teams would position beyond the entrance to the ruins and communicate directly with the primacy. I don’t know what happened here but it wasn’t official.”
“What was the last thing you were working on?”
“Come on, Genevieve,” Garrus smiles. “I’ll show you. It’s what I wanted to bring you here for in the first place. But first, let’s establish a commlink with the primacy, let them know the excavation teams are awol.”
“I don’t think that’s possible,” Liara says. “I’ve been trying to establish any communication links with government officials or traffic controllers since we vacated the tumbler. There is some sort of interference field preventing outgoing links.”
“That’s odd. Why didn’t we detect anything coming in?”
Liara shakes her head at Garrus, “It’s a low polarized shield. It emulates the natural magnetic field of the mountains. Perhaps we should fall back to Cipritine, let the turian primacy deal with this.”
Garrus looks conflicted for a moment and Genevieve puts her hand on his shoulder.
“It’s probably the best option…”
“I disagree. This is more than a sight seeing tour to keep us busy until the Normandy shows back up,” Garrus sighs. “We found something similar to the hangar bay on Thersander.”
The group slows down as Garrus speaks with them and fixes his gaze on Genevieve. She shakes her head in surprise.
“You mean you found another automotan? On Palaven?”
“No, nothing to that effect. But energy signatures are similar so I’ve been pouring over every inch of the subterranean level for months trying to find a creature just like it,” Garrus exhales heavily. “My team discovered a control room with the tech we found on Thersander. I wanted you to come see what you could make out of it. I had planned on going to Earth when your house arrest was hitting the six month mark and petitioning Alliance command to let you take some r and r here on Palaven. Then…”
Genevieve exhales slowly and a look of concern crosses her face, “Yeah. Our options are fairly limited with the reapers on the move. Let’s get down there, then. Maybe we’ll find out what happened to the excavators. Everyone stand ready for anything.”
“Won’t the primacy have issues with us trespassing on turian property?” Liara says with a skeptical look. “Especially with missing teams in the equation?”
“Don’t worry, I was one of the lead officers in charge here,” Garrus says. “This has turned into an investigation and the urgency of the situation doesn’t allow for a return to the capital just yet. We need to find out what happened here. And if in the process we discover something that can help Earth, well, so much the better.”
“Thanks, Garrus,” Genevieve smiles and looks to her team. “Stay on your guard. We have no idea what we’ll find.”
“I’ve got your back, commander,” Vickers nods.
Genevieve nods back and the group continues forward. The next ten minutes reveals nothing as they explore every avenue for any indication of the excavation team as they approach the shaft lift that will lower them down to the lower levels. The four get onto the lift and look at the walls around them. The stone walls of the cavern surrounding the half of the city visible rises up and curves into the distance far overhead and the light from nearby floodlamps streams up the sides of the tall angular buildings rising up into that ceiling.
“It’s surreal,” Genevieve says.
“I find it a little creepy myself,” Garrus replies.
“I’m fascinated by the architecture,” Liara puts in. “The buildings are sleek, and while it’s obvious they’ve been down here for a very long time, the components show no sign of decay. Some broken windows from the pressure of the mountain, but that pressure didn’t buckle any of the supports that I’ve seen. These were built to last. If we can find the team, I would love to explore some more.”
“This is starting to feel like a mission so I don’t know if that will happen,” Genevieve says to Liara. “But maybe if we’re lucky.”
Garrus makes a pffting sound with his lips, “Yeah, we know how our luck goes.”
He triggers the lift causing it to begin its descent while Liara shakes her head, “Not every one of our missions ends with someone getting shot or a ruin being destroyed.”
“True, but it’s common enough to not make me hold my breath.”
“You should stop being so pessimistic,” Liara chides.
“It’s not pessimism, it’s pragmatism. I’ll be an optimist once we find the teams, gather the data, and get back to the Normandy.”
“Does that mean you want to join us back on the ship?” Genevieve grins at Garrus as the lights lining the lift corridor zoom by.
“The second I heard you were in system I knew I would be going back. Is this even a question?”
Genevieve only chuckles.
The lift arrives nearly a hundred meters beneath the surface and the team disembarks from the lift. They hold their weapons forward with their lights concentrating on every nook.
“These were the last programed coordinates, but I still don’t get any life readings,” Liara quietly says.
“I’m getting that shiver up my spine that says I’m not going to like this,” Genevieve says and takes point.
“You have right to be cautious,” Garrus replies. “This is the level where the control room is located. There’s a series of blocks situated roughly thirty meters ahead. At the center, there’s what looks to what be a park.”
“A park? So far down?” Genevieve furrows her brows as they push forward.
“Looks like it was a massive city. Further than the two hundred fifty meters. A few scientists are suggesting upwards to a thousand meters if not double that. Those buildings above aren’t just sticking out of the mountain, there’s more than a few locations suggesting there was a thriving commercial zone.”
“So the city was layered over itself, then,” Liara says.
“Yeah. We don’t know how many layers yet. Our scientists speculate hundreds.”
“So what floor is this?” Genevieve asks as they come to the end of the carved out corridor and enter a massive opening.
“Seventy nine out of one hundred and twelve discovered,” Garrus says as they pass several small buildings that don’t rise to the ceiling. “We’ve only been able to excavate twelve of those floors. The energy readings we received here is why we dug in so deep. Fortunately, this section isn’t buried under a hundred megatons of stone and dirt. Same can’t be said for most of the floors, though.”
“Rather convenient don’t you think, Garrus.”
“How do you mean?” Garrus looks to Genevieve.
“This is where those energy readings were strongest and this is the most complete part of the city we’ve seen so far.”
“You think it’s related?”
Genevieve nods at Garrus, “I think there’s good reason to suspect so.”
“The readings are coming from that direction,” Liara indicates beyond them. “Across the park.”
“The control room?”
Garrus nods to Genevieve, “Yeah. There’s a building beyond that looks to be a massive communications complex. I concluded that it may be the control facility for the city. Several scientist I spoke with agree. A few suspect a more ominous function, that it’s some sort of weapon. But those guys are paid to think that way.”
“Let’s see what we got,” Genevieve says and leads them across the clearing.
The group becomes alarmed when they see gashes and burn marks in the ground of the park and damage to nearby buildings.
“Those look fresh,” Vickers says.
Garrus nods, “Yeah, they weren’t here when I was down here last. Wait! Over there!”
Garrus runs across the park towards another section of the city and the group follows. It doesn’t take long for them to see what has his attention.
“By the goddess…”
Genevieve holsters her weapon and runs towards the person lying on the ground. She checks his pulse but knows before even arriving what she’ll find.
“They all are,” Garrus says shining his light across the section of pavement they stand upon.
The group looks around and sees dozens of lifeless turians lying in various positions and angles all across the walkway.
“I’ve only seen these types of burns one other place,” Garrus stands back and looks all around.
“Reapers,” Genevieve replies. “Come on! Let’s get to the control room!”
“How do you know we’ll even find anything there?” Vickers calls.
“We’re still getting energy readings!” Genevieve replies and the group rushes towards the control room.
Within minutes they are pushing through a building complex towards an energy reading at its center.
“Is this the control room!?” Genevieve asks.
“Yes. But it goes down several floors…holy shit.”
Genevieve points her light where Garrus is looking and they see a large hole pouring through the building top down into the floor. “We’ve got company. Let’s get down there.”
Genevieve motions for her team to hit the stairwell nearby and they move as quickly and quietly as they can. The hole runs through five levels until they reach the bottom floor and proceed into a room that has ramp leading even further down.
“The readings are off the chart, Shepard,” Liara says examining her omnitool.
“What kind of energy are we talking about?”
“The same as we encountered on Thersander. Only these are three times the strength.”
“Stay frosty, people.”
They see a corridor that has been torn apart like something massive forced its way down it. The group cautiously continues down the corridor and towards the energy source. They turn down an adjacent corridor when the corridor they are following dead ends into a collapsed section where whatever it was forced its way even deeper into the compound.
The team rushes through the dark corridors until they begin hearing unusual clicking sounds and a series of heavy steps.
“What the hell is that?” Garrus asks as they stick close to the walls and come to a corner.
“Sounds like some sort of communication,” Liara replies.
Genevieve motions for them to stop and peeks around the rounded corner. She sees three silhouettes taking up the better part of a room beyond. A glowing emanates from their torso and limbs and they seem to be gathered around something built into the floor.
“I can’t tell what they are, but I’m guessing they have the energy source.”
“Is it a glowing blue conduit?” Garrus asks her.
“Yeah and they seem to be struggling to get it out of the floor.”
“What kind of reapers are they?” he asks.
“I…I don’t know. I’ve never seen them before.”
“We need to get in there now, commander,” Vickers hunches over and comes forward to where Genevieve kneels. “If they get it they’ll take it straight back to Harbinger. And who knows what it contains.”
“The relay is disconnected from reaper access, that shouldn’t be a problem,” Garrus says.
“Yeah, only we don’t know how they got here,” Vickers replies.
“We’ll figure that out later,” Genevieve holds her hand up. “We need to get in there like Vickers says. There is no cover so we go in brute and find cover. Liara, I’ll need a warp field. Vickers, Garrus, lay down suppressing fire. I’ll push in hard and look for a weakness.”
“Genevieve, it’s too dangerous. We don’t know what they are and the only cover I remember is at the back of the room.”
Genevieve rubs Garrus’s shoulder, “This is the job. And we can’t let them have that conduit. If it’s important enough to risk a stealth invasion of Palaven, then it’s something we don’t want the reapers having.”
“…You’re right,” Garrus nods with a grimace. “Alright, we ready to do this then?”
“Liara…” Genevieve nods at her.
Liara rushes forward and unleashes a warp field on the three figures. Garrus and Vickers roll into the corridor and lay down a heavy field of fire as Genevieve ducks and runs into the room. Their lights highlight the three creatures that turn towards the group with a high pitched screech. Genevieve almost panics when she sees the multilegged beasts hovering over her. They fire plasma discharges at her as she rushes to the back of the room. The creatures take heavy fire from Garrus and Vickers and two of them focus on those members of Genevieve’s team.
Liara brings up a shield and pushes forward into the room as the three creatures disengage from the conduit to focus on the new threat. Genevieve gets a good look at them.
Garrus and Vickers rush in to join Genevieve as Liara forces an energy burst into the nearest creature sending it hurling backwards and into a torn structure of the room. It is impaled and screeches loudly. It is then that they get a good look at the creatures.
“Holy shit!” Vickers yells. “Are those spiders!?”
“They may have the legs, but I wouldn’t call them spiders…per se,” Garrus replies with a grimace. “Some unknown species we haven’t encountered, I’d say.”
One of the creatures turns its attention on the conduit as the other screeches and spits a weblike material in the group’s direction. Liara throws up a shield as the web encases much of the back of the room. She sees a beeping coming from her omnitool and uses her other hand to engage it while concentrating on the shield.
“Keep firing!” Genevieve calls to Garrus and Vickers as they try to get a bead on the fast moving creature angling for a better shot at them. “What do you have, Liara!?”
“They’re using dark energy weaponry!”
The creature focusing on the conduit manages to get it loose from the floor and fires a beam straight up through the ceiling. Garrus rolls into the cover of a nearby console and fires at the thing. The other creature begins to glow in what could be called its face and fires a red aura at Garrus who ducks back as the console protecting him is vaporized.
“Oh shit!” he jumps towards another console as the creature sends another energy volley his way.
Vickers stands up and yells as he fires directly at the creature’s face. Behind it, the creature with the conduit ascends into the newly formed hole.
“I see it!” Genevieve yells as Liara tries to force the creature back down with a polarity field.
Genevieve rushes towards a better angle and fires at the creature as the second one begins to glow brightly. Its blue lights turn yellowish orange and begins to pulse loudly.
The group stops firing as Genevieve yells at them, “Get down!”
They try to take cover as the creature explodes violently and blows the team back against the walls. A massive hole is rent beneath where it stood and the ceiling gets scored a deep black but holds. The other creature races up the hole above, its seven legs digging into purchases with ease and propelling it forward at great speed.
Garrus tries to stand but the floor he is on gives way and he falls into the hole where the assaulting reaper once stood.
“Garrus!” Genevieve tries to find a way to get to Garrus before he falls too far but he plummets before she can get around the hole and is unable to find something to grab onto.
Vickers helps Liara up as Genevieve looks at them with resolve, “Get back to the surface and contact the Normandy! Do not let that reaper out of turian space!”
“We can’t just leave you here, commander!”
“Thanks an order, Vickers! We don’t have time to argue! I’m going after Garrus!”
“Understood, Shepard!” Liara says and grabs Vickers by the arm. “Time is of the essence, lieutenant.”
They rush out of the now hollowed out room as Genevieve scrambles to look for purchases down into the hole. She sees that the metal is still glowing under the blast and that it goes down several levels.
“How the hell did that blast not bring down the building!?”
She sees a doorway has been blown open across the hole and notes that it leads to a stairwell still in mostly one piece. She rushes towards the stairs and takes the steps two at a time avoiding the collapsing debris falling into the support columns of the stairwell.
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!
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
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly