Mass Effect 3 Re-Imagined Chapter Fourteen: 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 fourteen 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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14

THE FAR RIM

DHOLEN SYSTEM

#

The Normandy enters the system of a massive red giant star and exits the mass effect field of the relay hovering at the edge of the system. Joker looks out the viewport on the bridge and can make out the red dot far in the distance that is the star. He frowns as he calculates the coordinates retrieved from admiral Hackett detailing the location of the quarian armada.

     “I wonder if they ever figured out why Dholen is amassing so much dark energy.”

     The spherical interface of EDI comes to life and blinks lights across its surface like a computer with a facsimile face.

     “It seems oddly prescient that the quarians were investigating a star pulsing with dark energy and now we discover the relays unleash a dark energy wave under certain conditions.”

     “You don’t think the relay is malfunctioning and causing Dholen to accumulate dark energy do you? I mean, that would suck. What if all the relays start backfiring?”

     “I’m not sure that’s the case, Jeff. Commander Shepard picked up some intriguing intel from that ruin on Carsus. I feel confident that we will soon uncover the weapon to defeat the Reapers and discover the truth behind the dark energy waves released by the relays.”

     “I hope so. Workin’ with the rachni always gives me the shivers. Carsus…how can a world without a sun in the middle of the void of space, have an atmosphere and be WARM!? I mean, it’s dark there every hour of every day and it feels like the tropics on Earth! That’s just not natural!”

     “The rachni certainly seemed comfortable there. Maybe the Reapers will not find them there.”

     “Well I won’t be looking for them, that’s for sure,” Joker says and sees an indicator blinking. “Alright, I see the migrant fleet’s signature. I’ll let Shepard know we’re getting close. Glad we’re not still with the rachni.”

     “What is your aversion to the rachni?”

     “I don’t like bugs, okay?! Big, scary lookin’ bugs…still remember the collectors. Ewwww…”

     Joker shudders in his seat and EDI says nothing more to him about it.

WAR ROOM

NORMANDY

#

Genevieve stands on one side of the display table listening to the archive message again. Around the display are Vickers, Liara, and Cortez.

     “Thhh…las…beacon of…r kind…Let not these beasts consume you! Seek out…archives…turn it…knowle…devel…overcome the darkness devouring our galax…own nefarious ends…Use…index…turn purgi…ight…ack to that dark abode they crawled out from!”

     Static fills the room and Genevieve stops the feed and zooms in on the map displaying the information so far gathered from the automatons and their crystals.

     “The message is still too cryptic…” Cortez says and crosses his arms.

     “True. But each one has coordinates programed into the crystals which will allow us to discover this archive that whoever it is is referencing.”

     Genevieve nods to Liara, “Yeah, and these map references here point to worlds in an almost circular fashion. We’ve found enough at this point that I think we can infer that what we are looking for is somewhere around this locale.”

     She zooms in on a region of space nearly central from the six data files they’ve recovered from Thersander, Carsus, Palaven, Kar’shan, Zeona, and Despoina. It is on the inner ridge of the Traverse systems.

     “I would be more comfortable finding a few more data files,” Liara says. “There is too much open space there and we would be looking for years maybe decades or more. We don’t have that kind of time.”

     Genevieve sighs and steps back to rub her hands on her face, “This is impossible. How are we going to stop the Reapers if we can’t find a weapon? What is the point in gathering allies if in the end it won’t matter?”

     “It’s a little premature to throw in the towel now, commander,” Vickers says and walks a short distance towards Genevieve. “We’re almost there. I can feel it. Let’s go help out the quarians and see where this latest data file takes us. It has coordinates here, right?”

     Vickers uses the console to zoom in on a planet in the Hades Nexus systems. Genevieve looks at the planet and frowns with a shake of her head.

     “Trident. A water world with miniscule amounts of land and a lot of criminal activity,” she sighs. “I would rather not go there.”

     “What else are we supposed to do, Shepard?” Liara slams her hands on the console. “The Reapers are spreading and we’ve only been able to shut down a handful of relays! They WILL find alternate routes! We have to find that weapon!”

     “I don’t know that it even exists! Damnit!”

     The room goes silent as Genevieve paces around the console looking at the map projections from various perspectives around the galaxy. She feels herself flushing under duress and her outburst.

     “I’m…sorry…” Genevieve begins. “I’m at my wit’s end and I don’t know what else to do. We’ve been everywhere and accomplished so little. The Reapers have taken thirty two systems galaxy wide and are pressing for sixty one more. So far, we’ve bought Palaven and Sur’kesh some extra time. And secured the Citadel. Which will slow them down some but won’t stop them.”

     Liara puts a hand on Genevieve’s shoulder and looks her in the eyes, “Nobody said this would be easy. Anderson is fighting to buy us time. The primarch has given us turian forces to use in the fight. Hackett is amassing an armada to strike back at the Reapers. There are batarians still alive out there seeking refuge on the Citadel proving that they are just as resilient as the rest of us. This is not a fool’s errand. We will find this weapon and defeat the Reapers.”

     Genevieve forces a smile, “I’m glad to have you along, Liara. You’re optimism is an asset.”

     “There’s just no other way to look at this. If I did…”

     “I know. You’re right. We can do this.”

     “Commander?”

     Genevieve pauses and exhales sharply, “What is it, Joker?”

     “We’ve entered the Dholen system and found the Migrant Fleet. We’ll be rendezvousing with the admiralty ship in ten minutes.”

     “Understood. We’ll be ready to go by then.”

     “Copy that.”

     Genevieve walks up a set of steps and looks back at her crew, “Let’s go see if we can convince the quarians to join our cause. Maybe convince them to give up this war too.”

     “They’re just trying to get their home back too, commander.”

     Genevieve looks to Vickers, “They’ve had three hundred years in exile and communications with Legion. I’m sure this is a matter that can be dealt with diplomatically. Unlike the Reapers, who don’t care to talk just walk all over us. Come on.”

#

QUARIAN ENVOY VESSEL

DHOLEN SPACE

#

The Normandy docks with the envoy ship and Genevieve followed by Vickers and Liara exit to board. After several minutes of decontamination procedures, Genevieve and crew are greeted by admiral Shala’Raan vas Tonbay. She is an old friend of Tali’s family and someone Genevieve feels she can trust.

     “Commander Shepard. You come at the most opportune of times.”

     “Admiral Raan, it’s good to see you again. I’ve been hearing disturbing rumors that the quarians are at war with the geth.”

     The two walk down a hall towards a meeting room further into the ship.

     “The rumors are correct. The Admiralty board voted to wage war with the geth to regain control of the homeworld. Of course, this decision was reached before the Reapers invaded. Had the vote taken any longer, a consensus would not have been reached.”

     “This is definitely a hell of a time to be waging this. Is there any way a resolution can be found that doesn’t involve sacrificing your people and your ships?”

     “These are difficult times, commander. Our resources are finite and our people exhausted. We need Rannoch back if we are to be of any use against the Reapers. Of course, that matter has been greatly complicated.”

     “How do you mean?”

     “All will be explained shortly. We are meeting with the other admirals to see how best your talents can be utilized in the immediate future.”

     Genevieve shakes her head, “I never said I was going to fight a war for you.”

     “And we’re not asking you to,” Raan says as they reach a corridor and travel halfway down to the entrance of another room. “We could use your tactics and your resourcefulness. But we won’t hold you to fighting for our own agendas.”

     The group enters the room and they see Admirals: Zaal’Koris, Daro’Xen, Han’Garrel, and Tali’Zorah.

     “Tali! It’s good to see you!”

     “Shepard!” Tali responds and comes around the table to hug her. “I’m glad you are here! Though it is regrettable that it is under such circumstances.”

     “So, they made you an admiral, eh?”

     “A vacancy needed to be filled and my family name carries some weight. So, yeah.”

     “Why don’t you all fill me in then and I’ll see what I can do to help.”

     “It was a three to two vote to attack the geth,” Tali says and looks towards the other admirals as Raan approaches the table. “Myself and Admiral Koris refused to support a war…”

     “Raan, you voted for war?”

     “It was obvious that something needed to be done. With the information gleaned from Rael’s data, the benefits outweighed the detriments.”

     “What data?”

     Admiral Xen nods towards Genevieve and speaks, “The data you refused to share with us showing how we could manipulate the geth’s ocular range. We developed powerful anti-scanning devices that confused geth sensory allowing us to drive them from four occupied worlds and to destroy a massive dyson sphere they’d been developing to link their units together in a single mainframe. It would have proven devastating towards the quarian populace had they achieved their goals.”

     “We don’t know that they would have attacked us, Xen!” Admiral Koris yells out. “The pursuit of sanctity and self-preservation is the right of every sentient species!”

     “Stop being such an apologist,” Han’Garrel says. “They are machines, plain and simple. Programmed to enact protocol.”

     “If that’s true, Admiral,” Genevieve says crossing her arms. “How is it the geth rebelled against the quarians to begin with? Weren’t they programmed to be servants?”

     “There was a malfunction in their basic protocol nodules. Had we been able to repair those malfunctions—“

     “Oh please!” Tali says to Xen waving her hand in the air. “History has shown one truth to be wholly evident, that we struck at the geth because we were terrified that they started asking questions! Terrified over how the Citadel Council would respond to our having created true AI! We reacted to preserve ourselves just as the geth responded to preserve theirselves!”

     “They were violent machines suffering from a program malfunction. A glitch in their protocol matrixes. They had to be taken off line.”

     “Boshtet!”

     The group starts arguing and Genevieve rubs her face and then braces her hands on the table top, “So what are we doing now, then? What has happened that’s prevented you from totally wiping the geth out? Obviously this point is moot if you’ve developed the technology to counter geth scanning capabilities.”

     Raan clears her throat, “The Reapers happened. We were unaware for a time that the Reapers had begun their invasion. When we began our assaults, everything was going as planned. But once we took out the geth sphere, they disappeared back behind the Veil in panic. Apparently, Reapers had appeared there and the geth made a deal with them to counter our technology.”

     “Yes,” Xen states, “When we began our assault on Rannoch, we didn’t anticipate a Reaper presence. Several Reaper warships appeared and fought us at first before heading planetside leaving a well-coordinated geth assault force for us to contend with. We lost nearly a dozen liveships and four heavy cruisers.”

     “You took liveships into battle!?”

     Han’Garrel looks to Genevieve, “We outfitted them with heavy cannons and ablative armor plating. We had figured on a diminished geth fighting force and were anticipating landfall on Rannoch in short order.”

     “Needless to say,” Tali says. “We were driven back with our tails between our legs. So far, the Reaper enforced geth have yet to track us back to Dholen. Though it is only a matter of time.”

     Liara taps Genevieve’s shoulder, “Do you think we could use the Tikkun relay to our advantage? Initiate a dark energy wave?”

     Genevieve quietly responds, “Let’s not be too hasty. Maybe there is still a chance for a peaceful resolution.”

     “With the Reapers involved and quarian desires to retake Rannoch?” Liara replies in a hushed tone. “Not likely.”

     The Admirals speak amongst each other for a moment before Raan speaks to Genevieve, “So, will you offer us a tactical opinion? What we have on the board may work but you have more experience with the Reapers than we have.”

     “Actually, let me see if I can infiltrate the Tikkun system first and—“

     “No deal, commander,” Xen interrupts. “The fleet will already be engaging the geth within the next few hours. If you wish to tag along that’s fine, but we will not wait another day.”

     “Your impatience in this matter will be to the detriment of your people, Admiral.”

     “Maybe. Maybe not,” Xen replies with a shake of her helmeted visage. “But we will take Rannoch back. Now, either you will assist us or you will be a hindrance. Which is it?”

     “Admirals,” Tali holds her hands up. “Shepard is my friend. Allow me to speak with her privately and see if we can find a resolution to everyone’s benefit.”

     “Tali, I’ve watched you grow up. You make a fine Admiral, but your insistence on finding a ‘peaceful resolution’ with the geth, while noble, is wholly in vein and only holds up our ability to finish this conflict.”

     Tali lowers her hands and looks to Han’Garrel, “Trust me, Admiral. We won’t be doing anything that will ‘hold up’ your suicide mission. Feel free to engage in your actions when you’re ready. While you’re doing that, I’m going to speak with Shepard.”

     The Admirals murmur disapprovingly as Tali walks with Genevieve. They say nothing to one another until they are in the hallway heading back to the Normandy followed by Vickers and Liara.

     “So what’s the plan, Tali?”

     “Plan? There’s no plan,” Tali remarks. “They’ve already made up their minds. Koris may be sympathetic to the geth but he’s the one in charge of the liveships and he wants to keep them in one piece. As for myself, I think I’m just wasting space. Do you have any qualms about my rejoining the Normandy? I may be an Admiral now, but I can do just as much good with you as I can here.”

     “And besides,” Liara interjects. “You do have a plan.”

     “Heh, maybe a small one. But we don’t have a whole lot of time.”

     “Say the word,” Genevieve says as they hurry towards the docking bay.

     “Thank you, Shepard. We need to get to Adas. I think you’ll want to speak with a certain someone about the Reaper/geth ‘alliance’.”

     “Lead the way.”

Thanks again and read to everyone again soon!

~Timothy S Purvis

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