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 nineteen 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!)
Admiral Lykins sits in a specially designed chair on the bridge of the SSV St Helens. On the display screen before him is the battle transpiring in the Tikkun star system. His fleet remains in a nearby system with two vessels along the outer edge of the solar system boundaries of Tikkun. The reapers on the monitors continue to wreak havoc on the quarian armada as the Normandy pulls alongside the relay far in the distance.
“Should we offer any sort of assistance, Admiral?” XO Jiles enquires from where he stands nearby.
“I won’t sacrifice the seventh for a few quarians. Besides, it would appear Shepard is taking care of that matter.”
Jiles looks uncomfortably at Lykins who has his left hand braced to the side of his face, his long index finger resting towards his forehead. Jiles swallows and watches the activities in the Tikkun system.
“Is there a particular reason why we’re tracking Shepard, sir?”
Lykins looks up at his XO and frowns, “It’s a top secret affair with the Alliance upper echelon. Do your job and there will be no problems.”
“Of course, admiral.”
Comms officer Bryant looks to the admiral and furrows his brow before turning back to his console. A signal is coming over a secure bandwidth.
“Admiral,” Bryant says. “Retrieving a steady stream of updates from the Holson and Tremors. There seems to be a buildup of energy coming from the Tikkun Relay.”
“Maintain the records recording and encrypt them to my quarters.”
“Yes, sir. Sir!”
“What is it now, Bryant?”
“Receiving a transmission addressed to you!”
“I’ll take it in my quarters.”
Lykins stands up and leaves the bridge. Jiles watches him go and walks over to Bryant. Bryant relays the transmission to Lykins’ personal quarters.
“Headset,” Jiles says leaning over the comms officer.
Bryant hands him a handsfree device and Jiles puts it in his ear. After waiting nearly a minute, he hears Lykins initiate the comms signal. A message pours through for Lykins that is one way.
“Lykins, found your man. Follow these coordinates.”
A stream of data comes in through the comms and Bryant decrypts it for Jiles to see. The XO goes slightly pale and pats Bryant on the shoulder.
“You know what to do.”
Bryant looks up at him and whispers, “There’s just the two of us. What are we supposed to do?”
“I’m sending out an alert. We’ll do what we can when the time comes.”
With that, Jiles leaves the bridge and proceeds down the corridor to the lift at the end and uses it to reach the XO quarters a level up. Once upon that level, he heads towards his quarters and enters the room. He crosses over to his private terminal and opens up his own private comms relay.
“He knows and is coming. Prepare for imminent arrival.”
He sends the message encrypted through a separate server and feels a shift in the ship’s momentum. Bryant’s voice comes through the link on his terminal.
“The admiral has ordered a new destination and is leaving the Holson and Tremors to monitor the activity on their own. What do I do?”
“Follow your orders.”
Jiles switches off the commlink and heads back towards the bridge weary of the battle yet to come.
The Illusive Man disconnects his commslink and leans back into his chair to talk a long puff of his cigarette. He exhales and presses a switch on the arm of his chair.
“Prepare my personal shuttle. And inform the fleet to ready itself to relocate to our secondary waypoint.”
“Yes, sir,” a woman’s voice replies.
He stands up and walks towards the massive window looking out at a blazing red sun. The tint of the window diminishes the UV spectrum and the brightest of the sun’s glare to allow an unfettered viewing of the magnificence of the star. He feels a slight sorrow crawling up his spine but ignores it as he takes another drag.
Here it is…how many decades later? Still fighting for humanity. Still fighting to ensure our rightful place in the galaxy and those lacking vision cannot stand to measure. He sighs inwardly. I was a fool to trust a fool. Well, the time will come for him soon enough. I didn’t spend years fighting the Alliance’s idiotic wars to not understand how they think. A soldier first, a mercenary second, and now they’d have me be their personal pariah. So be it. But in the end I will forge humanity’s future. I will deliver them to salvation. Even if they never know my name.
The Illusive Man turns on the heel of his left foot and heads across the massive black marbled room towards an exitway leading to an access corridor that will take him to his shuttle. As he makes his way down the corridor, the space station rumbles deeply and then pitches violently. He finds himself grabbing for the wall as another explosion rocks the station. He hits a comm panel at the end of the hall and pulls himself up towards it.
“What’s going on?! Status report!”
“Illusive Man, sir! There have been several explosions on decks thirteen through seventeen! All the docking bays have been destroyed!”
“That’s impossible! Signal the alarm that we have intruders on board! I want them found and taken out!”
Alerts start blaring all across the station as The Illusive Man rushes down the corridor and takes his private lift to his personal docking bay. He exits and sees his small ship at the far end of the bay and begins to make his way across. Then the floor collapses beneath him causing the Illusive Man to scramble across the remaining sections he can still maintain purchase upon and grab on to a beam as he starts to fall through the hole. He grips the edge of the newly tattered floor and feels metal slashing at his palms.
He grimaces with a slight grunt and looks down to see his vessel crashing into a heap into a pile of debris several levels below. He pulls himself up to the remaining floor and quickly gets to his feet to dash along the perimeter until he finds his weapon locker where he fishes out a plasma rifle he hasn’t used in years. He loads the weapon and preps it for firing and looks down into the chasm. The metal of the flooring had been sheared by precision explosives and he frowns.
“Agent Black…” The Illusive Man calmly walks over to a comms unit on a nearby wall. “Wayne, contact security. We’re not looking for a group. We have one intruder. Execute with extreme prejudice.”
He steps away from the panel and looks down into the pit, “Everyone’s a turncoat these days.”
He gets an idea and heads across the docking bay and into an adjoining room accessible only by a secret panel on the far side of the bay. A door slides into the wall and he enters the facility beyond and turns to reshut the doorway. He heads through the densely packed room containing computer terminals, weapons lockers, and experimental laboratory equipment.
He heads to a terminal in the middle of the room and lays his weapon on the countertop. He opens up the terminal database and programs in instructions. As he nears completion an emergency alarm starts ringing all across the station. The Illusive Man triggers a comm relay on the terminal.
“Incoming ships from the relay! It’s the Seventh!”
“Get the fleet out of here any way possible. Don’t wait for any further instructions from me. Meet at the secondary waypoint at the earliest possible convenience. Sound general emergency protocol theta chi.”
The line goes quiet as the Illusive Man sighs and continues his work, “Damn you, Lykins.”
Thirteen more vessels emerge from the relay joining the twenty three other ships of the Alliance Seventh Fleet as they maneuver towards the massive space station at the center of the solar system.
Onboard the SSV St Helens, Admiral Lykins stands with his arms crossed over his chest. He sees the myriad of Cerberus vessels turning towards them while others try to leave the system through the opposite direction.
“Order squadrons Six and Seven to pursue evacuating vessels. Move in on the main armada and focus assaults on the main dreadnoughts. They have only three so I want them taken out first.”
The Seventh moves into attack positions and exchange fire with the incoming Cerberus vessels. Several Cerberus ships explode under heavy fire from six heavy cruisers leaving only one dreadnought left while the rest of the fleet concentrates on the smaller ships. The sixth and seventh squadrons intercept the fleeing Cerberus vessels before they can jump into FTL drive at the far end of the system. Well placed shots by them disable the Cerberus vessels’ drive systems and are quickly dispatched.
Bright flashes of light emanate from the main Cerberus star station and the SSV St Helens maneuvers towards it. After nearly ten minutes, the majority of Cerberus’s fleet has been destroyed. The St Helens moves in to dock as on the bridge Lykins smiles aggressively.
“That was hardly any battle at all. What is the casualty report on our forces?”
Commsman Bryant looks to Lykins, “Fleet reporting three cruisers having taken heavy damage, forty two deaths fleet wide, and damage to our main cannons. Cerberus fleet shows nearly one hundred percent casualty rate. Two frigates remain barely operational. The Ferrogate is apprehending remaining Cerberus forces.”
“Excellent. Signal Evans to prepare his men for incursion.”
The inner sanctum doors slide open and Admiral Lykins enters with his entourage. At the center of the room sits the command chair and interactive monitors that control the Cerberus star station. In the seat, Lykins sees the mysterious Illusive Man smoking and staring out at the star beyond the viewscreen. Lykins smiles and lets loose a slight chuckle.
“Lykins, I don’t believe you were invited here so soon,” the Illusive Man says.
“The illusive Illusive Man,” Lykins begins as his men surround the swivel chair at the center of the room. “After everything you’ve touted, after all the rhetoric you’ve dispensed, after the many years of anguish you’ve caused the Alliance, you’ve finally proven the worth of your Cerberus network. They’re completely, utterly useless.”
Lykins stops before the Illusive Man who merely stares up at the man, “I wouldn’t expect you to understand. Afterall, you’re just one cog in a massive machine. My network can’t be so easily destroyed. I’ll confess, you’ve caught me with my pants down. But you were only able to manage that with your Agent Black. How is Canton these days? Still infiltrating impossible fortresses with the ease of a cockroach? I couldn’t help but feel his presence here today.”
Lykins smiles and quirks his lip, “I think Agent Black is the least of your problems, Mr. Harper.”
The Illusive Man chuckles and exhales some smoke, “What, do you think I’ll be thrown off guard that you know who I am? It was only a matter of time before my identity was turned up. And with Canton working for you while double dealing with me, well, I’m surprised you didn’t come for me sooner.”
“I was still dealing with Shepard. And now she’s cornered where I can use her to my own advantage. But you, you’ve become a thorn in my side. I’m shutting you down.”
“Shutting me down? No. You still need my network even if you won’t admit it to yourself. We’re still here, Lykins. And we’re not going anywhere regardless of the resources you commandeer for your mad quest. I’m disappointed in you. I thought you had more integrity than that.”
Lykins shakes his head as his smile widens, “Come on now. You remind me of those old television villains who went up against the justified hero. Is that what we shall do now? Continue to try and outsmart each other for as long as we both shall live?”
“Don’t flatter yourself. You’re insane. Your psych profile somehow remains clean but your analysts are clear about one thing. You can’t be trusted,” the Illusive Man, aka Harper, leans forward in his chair. “I know what you’ve done. And I’m shocked. I would never sell my soul for what you have. And what you have benefits no one but the reapers.”
“Spare me your speeches,” Lykins says pulling his sidearm. “Jack Harper. Former special forces corporal of the fifteen division. You have been found guilty of conspiring with enemies of the Alliance. How do you plead?”
Lykins grins broadly, “Objections noted. The penalty is: death.”
Lykins pulls the trigger and the bullet flies right through the head of Harper. The chair he sits in jiggles widely as the form of the former Illusive man remains stationary and takes a long drag of his cigarette. The chair settles and Lykins laughs as he sees the image of Jack Harper wavering under the distortion of the blast wave.
“I’m glad you find this so amusing,” Harper says and exhales a long stream of smoke.
Lykins lowers his weapon and cocks his head, “Cerberus has fallen. You are on the run. And you no longer have any say over the direction that this galaxy will take. You are an enemy of the state and will be hunted with all available forces.”
“Not by you, Lykins. I’ve got an inside track that you don’t. The Alliance doesn’t trust you. And even facing eminent destruction, they wouldn’t call on you for help if you were the last living organic being in the galaxy. They’d sooner go to the geth. For all your bluster, you’re a failure.”
The smile dims slightly from Lykins’ visage, “They might not trust me, but they despise you. Wherever you go, it’s only a matter of time before I catch up to you.”
“We’ll see. There are bigger fish to fry in the galaxy right now. All-out war is strangling the galaxy. You can’t afford to worry about me. I’ll see you on the other side, you bastard.”
With that, the image of Jack Harper fades from view leaving only the empty chair of the control center. Lykins sighs and turns to the entrance of the room.
“Well, were you successful?”
Canton Reksil walks towards Lykins and nods his head, “Yeah. I’ve got the tracker in place. But I doubt you’ll need it.”
“You’re right,” Lykins laughs and claps the man’s shoulder. “I know exactly where Jack is heading. And soon, Shepard will be in our scopes as well. You’ve done your job well.”
“I’ll prep the long range communicators for the next job.”
“Have everything ready within the next twenty four hours. I anticipate everything falling into place by tomorrow evening.”
Reksil leaves the room and Lykins laughs to himself and stares at his men, “Well? Get the station cleaned up! We still have work to do!”
“Sir!” his soldiers answer as he walks out of the control room.
Jack Harper leans back into the chair in his personal vessel. He puts out his cigarette and sighs as he rubs his face with the palms of his hands.
Goddamn it, Lykins. You’ve fucked everything up. I should’ve seen this coming. I knew I couldn’t trust him. But…fuck…Canton. He opens his eyes and looks out the canopy of his ship seeing the stream of FTL energy flowing across the bow. It was because of him that I lost Eva. It was because of him that I became who I am. Yet he blames me for that whole affair. What a son of a bitch. They talk about my ego. He’s ego personified.
Jack taps his finger for several long moments as he contemplates his next move. Not many fallbacks to fallback on. Looks like I don’t have a choice. If he believes me, we might stand a chance.
He leans forward and triggers a sequence of commands and swivels his chair backwards so that he is staring at a communication core several feet behind him. He pushes a button on the arm of his chair and boots up the QEC device and waits until he has a signal that piggybacks over the communication systems of the SSV Orizaba.
After several moments, he hears a voice demanding who he is.
“This is the Illusive Man. Inform Admiral Hackett that I wish to speak with him over his QEC interface.”
Stephen Hackett stands before his QEC feeling reticent about the idea of communicating with the Illusive Man. But after a moment he swallows, lets loose a sigh, and triggers the device. He sees the seated form of the Illusive Man come into existence.
“Admiral Hackett. I regret that we have to speak under these circumstances.”
“There is really nothing I have to say to you. You’re a sworn enemy of the Alliance, of the Citadel, of the galaxy. Everything you’ve done, you’ve done for yourself.”
“Everything I’ve done has been for the betterment of humanity regardless of how you feel about me. But I’m not calling upon you to talk about me. We have a common enemy.”
Hackett crosses his arms and groans, “You mean the reapers? I thought you wanted to control them. Make them a means to an end so that all of humanity would have a better position among the species of the galaxy.”
“I’ve always been highly impressed with you, Admiral. You’re a legend in the Alliance. Hell, a legend in the galaxy. And if anyone will understand what it is I have to say, it’s you. Yes, I want to control the reapers. But recently, I’ve had to switch to plan B.”
Hackett furrows his brows, “Plan B?”
“A mutual acquaintance of ours has siezed Cerberus operations for himself.”
Hackett chuckles, “Whoever it is, maybe we should give him a medal.”
Hackett’s smile fades and he’s dead serious, “Lykins. He was working with you? I knew I didn’t trust him.”
“It’s true. I paid him off to keep Shepard off my back. Out of the way as it were. But he’s gone off the books. He isn’t working for the Alliance anymore. What I offered him was a way to profit and rise further into the ranks of the Alliance. I didn’t want to hinder Alliance operations in the galaxy. Lykins however…”
“Lykins is just mad and wants power for himself. Yeah, I’m aware of his operations. He may keep passing his psych eval, but those he works with are not impressed. He’s already on the cusp of being booted by the brass.”
“With the reapers bearing down on Earth, and the galaxy at war, there won’t be an opportunity for that. He wants me dead, he wants to destroy the Alliance, and he wants to hand it all over to the reapers.”
“That’s impossible. Even Lykins wouldn’t be willing to work with the reapers.”
“I think he got a hold of one of the reaper artifacts I acquired some time back. He shows all the symptoms of indoctrination. Nobody in their right mind would toy with those artifacts, but he seems to relish it. I can see it in his eyes. Only, he isn’t like Saren was. Saren wanted to help his people, save organics. Lykins just wants to see the galaxy fall to pieces. And now he has my star station. Cerberus is gone, Hackett. He’s all but wiped us out in one fell swoop. And now the only hope for salvation is to get this information to Shepard.”
The Illusive Man holds up a small datafile and Hackett frowns, “What do you want me to do about it? There’s no way Shepard is going to trust you again. I’ve read her report. I saw how she was railroaded by the Council. You’re not even on her list of people she’d talk to.”
“True enough,” the Illusive Man says as he takes a drag on his cigarette. “However, Shepard actually has a sense of honor. This data will change the tide of the war. It will give her the answers she’s been struggling to find. And, let’s face it, my plans went down with Lykins’ insurrection. Controlling the reapers is no longer an option. That means we need that weapon. And that means Shepard needs this file. I’m sending you my coordinates and where I want to meet. It is somewhere that she will be desperate to find.”
“What makes you so sure about that?”
“Because she’s been trying to triangulate its position for nearly two months. And because I used what she’s found to fine tune those coordinates. Please, we don’t have any time left.”
“I never thought I’d see the day when the Illusive Man would be pleading for my help. For Shepard’s help. It’ll be a hard sell.”
The Illusive Man puts out his cigarette and leans forward, “My name is Jack Harper. I was a special forces recon officer during the First Contact war. I was on Shanxi under the direction of General Williams. All my information can be found under classified documents of Williams. Which is information stored in the database of the Orizaba. I believe in humanity, Admiral. I’m not a traitor to my kind. We differ on the objectives and the means but not in protecting humanity. Get Shepard. If she doesn’t get this weapon, there won’t be a humanity left to save.”
Thanks again and read to everyone again soon!
~Timothy S Purvis
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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