Mass Effect 3 Re-Imagined Chapter Thirteen: 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 I wrote for my wife Christmas 2013. Mostly because of how disappointed we 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 the 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 thirteen of the book.

(PS: Yes, I will be copy pasting this text. Pretty much because there’re a lot of chapters to post and my days get pretty full sometimes. Plus I’m also posting these in advance through the scheduling feature so you’ll get something to read every week! Feel free to skip these beginning segments and just get straight to the chapter if you’ve been reading along. Or, if you like what you read, start from the beginning! Alright, until next week!)

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13

UNDISCLOSED LOCATION

ALLIANCE FALLBACK POINT

#

Admiral Stephen Hackett stands aboard the flagship of the Fifth Fleet, SSV Orizaba. The display before him shows the gathering of starships entering from beyond the nebula they now reside within. The coordinates to this place are only known by the admirals of each fleet and only utilized in times of great crises. This is one of those times.

     “Admiral,” a voice comes from behind him.

     Hackett turns to find Captain Hannah Shepard stepping up the platform towards him with a datapad in hand.

     “Captain Shepard. Is this your report?”

     “Yes, sir. In the last hour, fifteen ships have reported in and taken at ready positions within the fleet. All of the fourth has arrived and we have bits and pieces of the second. No word from the seventh. They’ve completely vanished, sir.”

     Hackett frowns making the scars on his face ever more malicious, “What is Lykins doing? I don’t trust that man.”

     “Sir?”

     “Something has always rubbed me the wrong way about him. He may keep passing his psyche eval, but the Alliance giving him the admiralty was a bad call.”

     Hannah shakes her head in apprehension, “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you speak in such a way, Admiral. You’re usually very positive about all Alliance initiatives.”

     Hackett looks at the slightly shorter woman and notices she has her long auburn hair folded back into a bun. He sighs and tries to smile.

     “Not all their initiatives make sense. You’re just not accustomed to me speaking my mind on them. And I never would have, if so much wasn’t at stake. I need the seventh here. Instead, it’s god-knows-where doing god-knows-what. That’s not something I’m comfortable with. We’ve already lost the First Fleet and the Third. That puts us in a terrible bind and if Shep-“ he pauses and looks at Hannah who laughs slightly with a smile. “If your daughter doesn’t pull off a miracle and unite the species of the galaxy, this fight may just prove to be impossible.”

     “Genevieve has done the impossible before. She’ll get this done. Uhm…” Hannah clears her throat. “Have you heard from the Commander recently?”

     Hackett exhales and folds his arms across his chest, “Last word had it that she was entering batarian space. From what I understand, they have a Reaper corpse there. The batarians may have information crucial to finding a weapon to use against the Reapers. The Commander entered the Harsa system via a short range relay located in the next system over. Apparently it was used by smugglers until the batarians shut down direct access to it and placed patrols there. We haven’t heard from the Normandy since.”

     “I’m sure she’s alright, but what if that weapon doesn’t exist?”

     “Let’s not focus on that problem. We’ll cross that bridge if we need to when the time comes. Until then, the Commander will keep looking and we’ll keep growing our forces.”

     Hannah looks at the displays and then to the viewport showing the glowing nebula and the richness of space they can see through one small opening in the nebula, “I hope there’s an Earth left to save when we get there.”

     “There will be, captain. Stay the course and we’ll come through in one piece,” he frowns. “Relatively.”

     “Admiral!” the comms officer rushes up towards the platform at the center of the bridge where Hackett and Hannah stand. “New ships are arriving! They’re turian!”

     “Sonuvabitch. She pulled off part of that miracle, captain.”

     Hannah smiles, “Told you she would.”

     “We’re receiving a communication from the Keliko.”

     “Put the feed through here, commsman.”

     “Yes, admiral.”

     The face of a turian pops into existence on the display hovering in the air before admiral Hackett. The turian gives what looks like their version of a smile.

     “Admiral Hackett, it is a pleasure to finally meet you. I’m captain Meritus of the Citadel Fleets. I’ve been instructed by councilor Sparatus and the primarch of the Heirarchy to bring a fleet of warships to you. This is the first of several, of course. We just wanted you to know that we are with you in taking back Earth and driving the Reapers back to the pit of hell that spawned them.”

     “It’s good to see you, captain. Even better news to hear that the Council is supporting Alliance efforts to take the fight to the Reapers.”

     Meritus frowns, “Err, yeah. It isn’t the whole Council.”

     “I see.”

     “Sparatus made a deal with Commander Shepard that if she shut off the Trebia Relay and helped secure turian space, that ships would be made available to the Alliance. Turian space is secure for the most part. Though the Commander was forced to deal with a Reaper scouting party that made it to Palaven. One of them escaped which is another matter I need to discuss with you. Permission to come aboard and deliver my report in person?”

     “Granted, captain. I wish this was under better circumstances but at least somebody is willing to play ball.”

     “Ah, you humans and your euphemisms. I will never understand them all. I don’t think.”

     “It helps if you have context. Surprised you haven’t heard that one, though. Have a few turians on Earth that are part of sport leagues. One Mr. Riin Jovero is a star player on the Canadian Radiant Stars. He’s one of my favorites.”

     “Sorry, I’ve, uh, never heard of him. Or, uh, whatever team that was.”

     “Futbal team on Earth. Might know it as soccer? No. Hmm. Go figure. Why don’t you come aboard, captain, and give me that report. I can explain it to you a little more in detail when you’re here.”

     “I, uh, look forward to it, admiral. See you soon.”

     The commlink disengages and Hackett looks at Hannah, “You would think the turians would follow all of their denizens’ actions on other worlds.”

     “Do you follow humans out there?”

     “If they’re engaged in some sort of athletics or notable activity, sure. Salarians have this weird water sport called Hapdash. Several human players on their teams. Not many real good at it because it helps to be amphibious but, then again, those teams are not really good to begin with. Now, Benson Reagar of the—“

     “Forget I asked. I am not really a sports aficionado, admiral.”

     Hannah waves her hand with a smile as she walks down and towards the rear of the bridge.

     “No? Gives you a finer appreciation of other cultures, y’know!” Hackett laughs to himself and uncrosses his arms to make the journey from the bridge to the captain’s debriefing room where Meritus will soon be.

#

The three Reaper capital ships close in on the rachni fleet as it heads towards the relay. The Kodiak shuttle uses the distraction to make a beeline for the relay entry port to disable the IFF to the Reapers. The rachni fight fiercely as do a small fleet of batarian warships who pound the smaller Reaper vessels mercilessly.

     “Alright, team,” Cortez says from the cockpit. “The Normandy is right behind us making sure Reapers don’t come a callin’. Not sure how much time we have before reinforcements drop in. So we better make this quick.”

     “Copy that, Cortex. We’re ready to go. Get ready to depressurize the crew compartment.”

     “Aye, Commander.”

     In the back of the shuttle, the crew is fully suited and ready to jump into the relay station.

     “Prepare for heavy resistance inside. We’ve done this three times already. So it should be a cake walk from now on.”

     “Or so you hope, Shepard,” Liara says and checks her ammunition.

     “Let ‘em come,” Wrex calls out. “I’ll take them and their Reaper overlords anytime anywhere.”

     “Then let’s do this,” Vickers finishes and they feel the shuttle docking next to the relay.

     They open the door to the shuttle after the interior depressurizes and leap out to head into the interior. Inside they find nothing. No sign of enemy comabatants.

     “Where are the Reaper drones?”

     Genevieve shakes her head at Liara, “It doesn’t seem that they left any troops here.”

     “Or, if they did, they’ve been removed,” Vickers says.

     The group moves forward and up the ramp towards the next level. Meeting no resistance there, the team heads towards the console that will allow them to activate the relay IFF and alter its frequencies to Alliance command.

     “Fascinating,” Admiral Lykins mumbles to himself as he watches the events unfolding in real time.

     He leans his head into the nook between his index finger and thumb and watches Genevieve on a display screen before him. It is tied into the monitors onboard the relay. He sees a sequence of inputs popping up on the monitor before Genevieve.

     “So that’s how she does it. Found a way through a backdoor using Alliance coding and discovered a new feature.”

     Lykins looks at another screen next to that one and sees the battle playing out beyond. Several rachni ships are destroyed while the batarians have only lost a few ships. The Reaper forces have dwindled to just the three capital ships. He grins with a chuckle.

     “Enjoy it while you have it, cretins. Once I’ve discovered everything there is to your fiddling with the rela—“

     An explosion rocks the ship causing Lykins to lose his balance and have to jerk forward to grab the table top. He looks at the display for the battles and sees that the capital ships have all gone lifeless. On the first screen, Genevieve and her team are preparing to leave.

     “Joker, we’ve changed the IFF and I think I’ve figured out the secondary function of the relay. Did it release the dark energy like before?”

     “Affirmative, commander,” comes the voice of her pilot over the speakers. “Relay frequencies have been tuned to Alliance channels and all Reaper forces are now defunct.”

     “Great. Let’s head out of system and rendezvous with the rachni. We’ll take the batarians to the fleet and see if we can figure out those datafiles.”

     “Ready to leave when you are, Shepard,” Joker replies.

     “Christ…” Lykins leans forward and stares at the screen with his mouth ajar.

     He initiates an icon to play back what had happened on board the relay. He sees the coding frequencies input to trigger the dark energy release and looks to the other screen to see the relay maneuvering to a different angle and glowing brightly just before a dark discharge explodes from the relay core in a wave of energy that darkens the core. After a moment, the core resumes its original posture and bright glow.

     Lykins looks back to the main screen to see Genevieve and her crew leaving the relay and taking the shuttle back to the Normandy. After which the ship flies near the rachni and batarian ships and then warp out of system via the relay. He leans back in astonishment and feels a sensation overcome him. He leans forward and hits the commlink.

     “Track the Normandy and set destination.”

     “Yes, admiral.”

     Lykins looks at the statuette in the corner, “Why do I get the feeling you already knew about this?”

     He feels a throbbing in his temple.

     “Yes. NO. I understand. It won’t be difficult,” he pulls up the screen with the IFF frequencies shown clearly to him. “And now we have leverage.”

     “We didn’t find any sign of the STG team, admiral,” Genevieve says to the QEC transmission. “We downloaded the entire schematics of the compound and it didn’t elaborate on any prisoners held there. If they were there, they’re not there now.”

     “I see. That’s not good. But at least you found some help in the rachni and batarians. You sure they’ll be an asset here?”

     “Absolutely, admiral. The batarians are eager to take the fight to the Reapers and Antiga has a promising lead on an ancient ruin out in the far reaches of Hades Gamma.”

     “Be careful, commander. Having the rachni back in play won’t sit well with the rest of the galaxy.”

     “The queen just wants her people to be able to live in peace. Once we direct the batarians towards your location, we’ll be heading that way.”

     “What about Wrex wanting to head to Rothla?”

     “We gave him a shuttle and will be meeting up with him there after checking out this ruin,” Genevieve shakes her head. “He was too much in a hurry to get his copy of the data back to Mordin. From what I understand, there’s some sort of talks going on between them and a high ranking official in the turian hierarchy.”

     “Hmmm…well, since you’ll be heading out to the edge of Hades Gamma, I have some news to pass along. Apparently there’s some activity involving the quarians out in the Perceus Veil. Rumor has it the quarians are taking Rannoch back from the geth.”

     “Damn…” Genevieve sighs. “I was hoping they wouldn’t waste their forces on a war with the geth. I’ll check it out once I get out there. Maybe I can make contact with Tali or even Legion.”

     “Good luck, Shepard.”

     Genevieve cuts the feed and heads back to the CIC to set course for the small world of Griese out in the Hades Gamma. It’s an interesting world for the crew given that it doesn’t sit within a solar system but rather is roaming free out in the depth of space. Antiga had discovered it while rebuilding her people and looking for a quiet world where the rachni wouldn’t be bothered.

     “Joker, set our destination for Griese,” Genevieve says as she reaches the galactic display.

     “Aye, commander.”

     “Let’s see if our little wayward world holds a ruin afterall.”

#

HARSA SYSTEM

KAR’SHAN PLANETARY SPACE

#

The Harsa Relay glows brightly as a ship drops out of mass effect drive. It is a private turian cruiser and it zooms by several massive shapes floating silently in space. The lone occupant of the vessel stares outward at the figures and shakes his head.

     “By the pillars…” Garrus starts and checks his instruments. “Massive energy expulsion by the relay…what the hell happened here? Reaper corpses and no life signs…wait a minute…”

     Garrus opens up his transmitter and begins a broadcast, “Turian cruiser Ailox to any Alliance personnel in the Harsa system, please respond. This is Garrus Vakarian. Copy.”

     He waits for several long moments and repeats his broadcast as he navigates towards Kar’shan.

     Where the hell did she go? It’s obvious Genevieve was here and there was some sort of battle…I hope she’s alright. I meant to tell her what I’d learned after showing her the ruin. Some good news before bad, he sighs. Then that went all to shit. Where the HELL is she!?

     He rebroadcasts his message and gets no response but his scans show lifesigns coming from Kar’shan.

     Something’s alive down there. Let’s go find out what it is.

     Garrus angles his vessel towards low orbit of Kar’shan and makes his destination the southern continent where the life signs shine brightly in the near complete darkness that has engulfed the once living homeworld of the batarians. The atmosphere rattles the cruiser as it drops through the thick stratosphere laced with debris and smog and chemical particles that one should definitely not be breathing in. The craft pierces a black cloud covering and Garrus can barely make out the now ashen forests stretching out for hundreds of miles and where they meet the mountains in the distance.

     It all takes on shades of grey until Garrus realizes that the reason it all looks so drab is not so much for the pollutants hanging high in the sky but the fact that all the vegetation has been destroyed.

     By the pillars…

     The cruiser zooms overhead and comes in low as Garrus angles towards a cityscape some distance away. Within several minutes, the Ailox is flying over a city. No signs of life are evident. Only destruction and once sleek buildings buckling into one another.

     Garrus checks his scans and sees indications of lifesigns at the northern edge of the town. Coming closer he sees what used to be a military installation and sets the craft down in the massive clearing before the complex. He attaches his helmet and adjusts its internal pressure before initiating the opening of the canopy. It slides back into the roof of the craft and he jumps out of the cruiser. Garrus brings his plasma rifle to bear and checks his omnitool for the scans. Seeing the direction it is coming from, he starts the trek across the compound.

     After fifteen minutes, he closes in on the lifesigns that appear to be moving away from him. He hurries onward hoping to catch up to them or it or whatever before the signs vanish. He hears an explosion and pushes forward as quickly as possible and rounds a corner where he is met by weaponry pointed in his direction. He looks for cover but pauses when he sees that it is a group of salarians carrying a wounded man.

     “Salarians! What are you doing here?”

     “I, identify yourself!” the lead salarian says as two others pick up their weapons and point them at Garrus.

     Garrus sees that they had just blasted a hole into the side of a building as smoke is still pouring out of the opening. There are five of them altogether. One holding the injured man, two who were blasting the hole, and another coming up from around the edge of the building where he must have been doing reconnaissance.

     “Garrus Vakarian. Lieutenant in the Palaven Defense Force.”

     “Now, what are you doing here?”

     “Really? You’re suspicious of me?” Garrus lowers his weapon and chuckles. “You’re on the batarian homeworld, where the Reapers have been and apparently left or were destroyed, you find a turian and wonder, hmm, why’s he here? Well, actually, that is a good question. I’ve come looking for commander Shepard of the Alliance Navy. But you guys look like you need the help right now.”

     The lead salarian sighs and lowers his weapon, “We were trying to reach our ship. We were captured infiltrating Kar’shan looking for datafiles that can stop the Reapers. Captain Kirrahe. STG. This is my team.”

     “Kirrahe!? They sent you on this mission!? We worked together on Virmire. Garrus. With commander Shepard.”

     Kirrahe pauses for a moment, “Hmmm. Yes. I didn’t recognize you. Sorry, with the helmet on, you could be anyone. We’re exhausted and it’s hard to think.”

     “Let me help you,” Garrus says and comes to get the other arm of the wounded STG soldier. “Where’s your ship?”

     “Stored in there. When the batarians took us, they locked up our vessel. Surprised they detected us. It uses advanced stealth technology. Invisible to sensors. But, it’s like they were expecting us. The batarians that took us…they didn’t seem all there.”

     The group proceeds into the building where they can’t see anything. Two of the STG troops move forward and turn on lights on their weapons. They cautiously move through the opening and towards a wide portion of what looks to be a hangar.

     “This was before the Reaper invasion?”

     “Just a few days, yes. You see, we believed commander Shepard’s account of the Reapers and got word through Spectre contacts of batarian interests in the subject. Data all pointed towards batarian acquisition of Reaper artifact. The Spectres gave us rendezvous coordinates. We would infiltrate and set up for extraction resources before the Spectres arrived. Unfortunately, we got captured shortly after arrival. Don’t know what happened to Spectre agents. If they came or if they were captured as well.”

     “I’m not sure. I know Genevieve, uh, commander Shepard came to Kar’shan on information retrieved by the Spectres. Something about being unable to download the datafiles themselves as the Reapers had hit Kar’shan by then. I’m guessing they got out all right. They may not have known you were captured.”

     “Indeed. It’s been months since the Reaper assault. When they first struck,” Kirrahe exhales sharply as they enter deeper into the hangar. “Our captors didn’t seem…concerned. They seemed…happy. And then all hell broke loose. The buildings were razed and our cells damaged. We lost two men that first night and were able to break out of detention. We hid in the forests at first. The Reapers decimated the cities. There was little fight back. The military bases and shuttleports were destroyed in that first wave. After a few weeks, fires started waging unchecked in the forests and we were forced to seek shelter in this city.”

     “Damn. It’s a miracle you guys made it.”

     “No kidding. Pretty much every day we fought Reaper forces nonstop. Resting only when we felt confident we were hidden from sight. Then, a few days ago, the whole conflict came to an end. Sure, over the last month, the Reapers had been leaving the system, we believe. The forces were dwindling. But there were still Reaper drones. And then, they just…died.”

     “What do you mean?”

     “I mean, there was this pulse of energy. We felt it in our bones like standing to close too a soundwave machine and feeling the waves pulsate inside you. And then the Reapers we were fighting just collapsed to the ground. No signs of life. Then we were completely alone. Joren, here, was injured in that fire fight. We thought we were lost until that miracle happened.”

     “I wonder what she did?”

     “Commander Shepard?”

     “Yeah.”

     “Couldn’t tell you. We were too busy trying to survive. Whatever she did, if she did anything, saved our lives. But, had the side effect of leaving us stranded.”

     “Well, I’m going to help you get out of here. We’ll get your ship and you can follow me out of system.”

     “We’re grateful for your help. I’m sure, though, we can make it back to Sur’kesh.”

     “You’re probably right. I came here hoping to find the commander. Now I don’t know what to do.”

     Kirrahe pauses for a moment and looks at him, “Hmmm, you could always escort us back to Sur’kesh. Maybe we can reach Alliance Command and discover where her mission has taken her?”

     “That sounds like a good idea.”

     “Sir!” one of the troops runs up to Kirrahe. “We found the ship. Looks like it’s in operational condition. Just behind this hangar divider.”

     “Good job, Tior. Let’s get to that ship,” Kirrahe looks to Garrus. “Where is your vessel located?”

     “The other side of the complex.”

     “Hop on board and we’ll take you too it.”

     “Think you have enough room to navigate this small ass building?”

     “We’ll make room.”

     Garrus chuckles, “Heh, this building could use a little renovation anyway.”

#

Half an hour later, the two ships are approaching the relay. Only, it isn’t activating causing Garrus to furrow his brows.

     “That’s strange.”

     “Lieutenant, the relay seems to be inoperational.”

     “It certainly isn’t triggering. Huh…”

     Garrus sees a frequency light blinking and flips over to Alliance channels. There he finds a new frequency coming from the relay.

     “That’s right…she was doing that wasn’t she?” Garrus triggers comms for the salarian ship. “Captain Kirrahe, switch over to these frequencies. I forgot that commander Shepard was changing the relay IFFs. My ship is already updated for them because she changed access to the Trebia Relay.”

     “Changing IFFs? Why?”

     “To shut the Reapers out, of course. New tactic she discovered. She’s good like that.”

     “Ah yes! Can see benefit to action. New frequencies set.”

     “Then let’s come around for another pass.”

     The two ships double back and the relay activates allowing them to enter mass effect drive.

Thanks again and read to everyone again soon!

~Timothy S Purvis

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SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION STARTS!

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