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 thirty 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!)
A dozen reapers hover in the space beyond the relay casually investigating Pluto and keeping a watchful eye out for any vessels trying to leave the system. But predominantly they are they to prevent anyone from using the relay. None expect any activity to occur given the harvesting transpiring on Earth and the human settlements throughout the solar system. However, they grow astonished with the Sol Relay begins glowing brightly and a fleet of hundreds of vessels pours out towards them.
A rain of fire pummels the reaper vessels and two are destroyed before the reapers can even respond to the assault. Within moments of the opening salvo, though, the reapers are plowing into the vessels of half a dozen different species. The first wave of attackers takes heavy losses but not before crippling or destroying five of the reaper dreadnoughts in close proximity to the relay.
As the first wave continues to keep the reapers attention, one vessel with several engineers peels off towards the relay to board it and attempt to trigger the dark energy wave. As they do this, another wave of vessels enters through the relay and lays siege to the reapers as well. Two of the reapers retreat back towards Earth as the remaining reapers fall to the thousands of vessels swooping towards them.
Another wave of vessels led by Admiral Hackett arrives in system and set coordinates for Earth. Beside the ships, zooms in the Normandy.
On board the Orizaba’s bridge, Hackett opens a channel to General Shepard, “Normandy, do you copy?”
“Normandy standing by, Admiral,” Genevieve replies.
“We’ve just received an update on the relay mission. It’s a bust. Apparently the reapers have disabled that mechanic proving that they’re all too aware of our intents. We’re setting course for Earth. The remaining waves will be shifting into the system at regular intervals to deliver us crucial reinforcements. Are you prepared?”
“All ready and eager to do this. Just give the word,” Genevieve says.
Captain Hannah steps forward, “Genevieve, be careful out there. And no matter what, no that we’re all proud of you.”
“I…I appreciate it, captain. We’re going to come out of this in one piece. I promise.”
Hannah nods to the air and tries not to look worried.
“The show is yours now, Shepard. You’re in charge of the general tactics. We’ll follow your lead,” Admiral Hackett says.
“I’m inputting the coordinates now and dispersing them to the fleet. Further instructions are standing by for incoming insertion waves. On my mark. 3, 2, 1…”
The Normandy disappears into FTL drive prompting Hackett to give his orders, “You heard the General. Activate FTL drive now and let’s show these bastards we’re not playing.”
The fleets in system jump to FTL and head towards Earth.
Harbinger hovers in space above the atmosphere of Earth watching his fellow Antara. He starts feeling agitation out of the other reapers and turns towards the direction of the relay. After a moment, Deimos flies towards him and stops quickly.
“Harbinger,” his metallic, twangy voice gasps. “The Alliance has invaded the system. They are on there way here now!”
Harbinger is silent for a moment then calmly reassures his colleague, “All is as it should be. The Alliance is coming to us as I anticipated. The word is sent out to all Antara. We will destroy this resistance now as it struggles in its infancy and wills itself superior.”
“There are thousands of vessels…”
“None are a match for our collective. Every ship in this galaxy is in our databases and accessed for combat operations against us. You should not have abandoned your post so quickly. Go to Luna and prepare the reavers.”
Deimos’s lights flicker for several moments, “As you command, Harbinger.”
Harbinger looks to the Citadel and sees it continuing its mission undisturbed. He is satisfied that it will be the first target of Shepard and therefore slowly meanders towards it and behind out of sight.
The fleets drop out of FTL drive just beyond the moon and open fire on the awaiting reapers who all plow towards the Alliance vessels. Several are destroyed nearly immediately while the rest of the forward forces focus on disabling as many reapers at a time as possible. The Alliance vessels take heavy casualties while only disabling three reapers.
The Normandy flies by the rear of the battle making for the Citadel.
On the bridge of the Normandy, Genevieve speaks with both Admirals Anderson and Hackett.
“I think disabling that beam might be a more prudent move,” Genevieve says to Anderson. “I get the suspicion that it does more than just transport people to the Citadel for processing.
“Yeah, I’m starting to get that impression myself. Several tellik scientists down here have postulated that the beam may be acting as a tether to prevent the Citadel from floating away from its postion over London.”
“It’s a good theory,” Genevieve nods.
“We’ll find a way to break the link. There’s several of those destroyers gathered around the base of the beam,” Anderson continues. “I’ll wager we’ll have to take them out before figuring out how to disable that beam.”
“Then hammer is go for operations at its earliest possible convenience,” Genevieve says as Liara and Garrus walk up beside her. “We’re on our way to the Citadel now to insert Vickers. He’ll space walk over to the surface of the Citadel’s outer hull and infiltrate through one of the venting gates.”
Hackett’s voice comes across the channel, “Will the vent work? I hear they’re only about as wide as a small child.”
“Bailey updated me on an access port while we were coming up with the plan on the Orizaba. He’s certain it leads to the lower levels of the Citadel.”
“Regardless, I’m ready for the challenge,” they hear Vickers say from the ready room.
“You’ll be getting quite the challenge here soon, Vickers. Are you ready?”
“As I’ll ever be, comman…I mean, General.”
Genevieve stifles a smile, “We’re nearing the Citadel now. Drop in eta three minutes.”
“Yes, ma’am. The master node is ready to do some damage.”
“Good to hear. Admiral Hackett, the only thing we ask is that the reapers are kept off of our tails.”
“We have another wave coming in now. I’m certain that the reapers will be too occupied with other issues to even pose you a concern.”
“Alright. We’ll be in constant contact with all of you. Good luck, gentlemen,” Genevieve says as the affirmatives come back to her. “EDI, sound battle stations. I want everyone at their posts wide-eyed and ready for action.”
“Battle station alert sounding. We are a go, Shepard,” EDI says. “Approaching the outer hull of the Citadel.”
“Got the venting port in my sights and entering geosynchronous orbit with the Citadel,” Joker says as they feel a thump. “Gravity wells aligned. I’m taking the Normandy straight down its side, General! Tell Vickers he’s go in ten!”
“You copy that, Vickers?” Genevieve asks over the comm.
“Affirmative. Drop bay depressurized and access doorway open. I can see the surface. Preparing to drop…now!”
Outside the Normandy, Vickers flies out of the Normandy horizontally and dives towards the Citadel like a sky diver. The massive station comes up quickly and he pulls up using his suit jets to parallel the Citadel surface. His faceplate monitors show the vent fast approaching and he fires his retroboosters to come to a near crawl. He activates his magnetic boots and attaches to the side of the Citadel to make his way towards the vent nearly twelve meters away.
“Damn, should have timed that better,” he mumbles and sees the Normandy zooming by over his head.
He gives a wave even though he knows that they won’t see him, and makes his way to the vent. Kneeling down, he exposes the emergency access port and inputs the keycodes he received during the debriefing. The port slides open and he stands up to take a step in. His body shifts into the interior gravity causing a momentary fit of dizziness and finds himself standing upright in the perpendicular port tunnel. He looks back to see the starry black backdrop of outer space, the rim of the atmosphere of Earth, and what looks to be a hundred ships at war.
“Damn…” Vickers turns back around and starts down the long tunnel towards the catwalks that everyone hopes leads to the central core of the Citadel.
Genevieve sees the successful drop on the monitor display and smiles.
“He’s in. Alright, Joker, keep us near the Citadel and pray that the core isn’t too far into the Citadel.”
“Will do, General,” Joker looks to EDI. “You know, I’m never going to get used to that. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as Commander.”
EDI looks at him and cocks her head, “I don’t have any problems with the term. I don’t see why everything has to be so difficult for you.”
“What can I say? I’m a difficult guy.”
Genevieve stops smiling and feels herself getting dizzy and the whole bridge spinning in a blur. She braces herself on the back of Joker’s chair and stares off into the space beyond the window and shakes her head.
“Do not fight me. We are as one, you and I. I will prove it to you…”
“Shepard, are you alright?” Liara asks grabbing Genevieve’s shoulders as she starts to stumble.
“What voice?!” Garrus asks alarmed as Genevieve collapses in Liara’s arms. “Genevieve!”
“I’m waiting for you, Shepard…”
The deep voice thrums inside Genevieve’s skull causing a headache and she feels herself dropping to the floor and the world going black as she hears the crew calling her name. Hears Garrus pleading for her to stay awake.
“What the hell just happened?!” Joker yells seeing Genevieve twitching on the floor and trying to focus on flying the ship.
“Stick to the plan and stay close to the Citadel,” EDI commands and drops back to kneel before Genevieve. “Her vitals are steady but she is unconscious.”
“Any idea what caused it? She isn’t under too much pressure is she?” Garrus rattles off while stroking Genevieve’s cheek and trying to keep her still.
“She said something about a ‘voice’ and ‘he…here’. If I had to extrapolate,” EDI says looking to Garrus. “She was talking about someone in her head. Perhaps a voice speaking to her.”
“So…what…Harbinger? That bastard encephalopod!”
Liara shakes her head, “You’re reaching for conclusions when we don’t have the facts yet, Garrus. Stay calm and rational. We’ll figure this out. In the meantime, Vickers is out there and relying on us to see this through.”
“I know! But, we haven’t seen Harbinger! Where the hell is he?!”
“Uh…found him…” Joker says hesitantly.
EDI walks up next to him and leans close, “Where?”
Joker points at a vidscreen monitor showing the tip of the Citadel, “There.”
EDI shakes her head in puzzlement, “It would seem that Harbinger is straddling the top of the Citadel. It looks like he’s interfaced with the station.”
“Well, shit! What does that mean for our mission!?” Garrus asks.
“I’m not sure. But we have to stay with Vickers…and Shepard.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Garrus says and looks back down to Genevieve.
Genevieve awakens in a dark place. She opens her eyes and has trouble seeing. There are shapes surrounding her on all sides and she has to force herself through great effort to push off of the ground.
“Ugh…where…where am I?”
“You are here, with us,” a deep voice rumbles. “These are the spaces we inhabit. We are the voices that bring perfection.”
Genevieve scowls as she looks around, “Harbinger! What do you hope to gain by bringing me here!? You hope to turn me to your cause!? I’m not one of your indoctrinated puppets!”
She stands up and sees an environment full of purple and blue hues, and black shadows blacker than even the void of space.
“We see into your mind, Shepard. We see the lies you have been told. By the Detos. By those seeking our destruction,” Harbinger’s deep voice booms. “We bring order to the chaos of this galaxy. Were it not for us, yours would have expired long ago.”
Genevieve is able to more fully see the shapes surrounding here. They are insectoid highlighted by blue light and stare at her from every corner of the space she can see. Their glowing white eyes penetrate her mind from every angle she looks. She feels the world spinning yet again and struggles to remain composed.
“You…you’re the liar, Harbinger! You seek to destroy everything that you touch! You wiped out the Detos because you blamed them for the deaths of your people! But that isn’t the real truth, is it!? No, you buried the Detos for an entirely different reason!”
She spins slowly in a circle taking in all the Antara shapes staring at her from the darkened recesses of wherever it is that she was. A shape comes closer to her from the side and she struggles to focus on its glowing eyes and clicking lights.
No. Not lights…mandibles! On his throat! Just like the images that Rhou’ke Shaa was showing!
“Rhou’ke Shaa…an ancient name,” Harbinger says. “A hated name. Let us show you the truth, Shepard. And then you will see why we must do what we do.”
Genevieve finds herself standing in the middle of deep space as all the Antara disappear from view. Quickly coming up from below her, is the world Aprica IV. Withink moments, she is standing on its surface and witnessing all its high rising mountains and steep canyons full of flowering trees and striking vegetation. The view is much like she recalled from the Detos’s interpretation of events.
“We are the Ch’nok Antara. Ch’nok means ‘the joined people’, while Antara implies the hive among hives. Ours was superior,” Harbinger relates while the view shifts into the culture of the Antara and a clan war meeting. “It was here that the hive chieftains met in ceremony to decide which would rule for that season. It was a tradition passed on for many generations. Since the time before the flooded harvest. Which saw the deaths of countless Ch’nok.”
Harbinger stands before her slowly rubbing his hefty legs together. Genevieve stares at him both terrified and mesmerized at the same time.
“Am I in some sort of…reaper consensus?”
Harbinger laughs lowly, “Consensus. Like the geth, you mean. No. We are no mechanical abominations. It is a certainty that not every group will agree upon the same desires. No, only the rulers must make those decisions, for ‘consensus’ is an illusion. Even your geth fail to reach total agreements from time to time and must resort to more…extreme solutions.”
Genevieve frowns and looks around the hive chamber seeing the dozens of powerful insectoid creatures clattering at one another.
“They forced the heretics to see their vision, did they not? Hardly a consensus.”
“It was necessary to establish order,” Genevieve says quietly trying to ignore Harbinger yet wishing to know more about what happened.
She feels Harbinger’s cold glare at her back, “Necessary. A curious term for you to use given your opposition to that which is necessary.”
“If you have a point, get to it.”
Harbinger walks forward and the view widens out to reveal to Genevieve more of the Ch’nok entering the meeting chambers. On the far side of the room, she sees Harbinger and his Antara. They have unique designs of purple and blue rimming the edges of the plating on their backs and chest.
“I was there for the nine hundredth concord. My hive fought for dominance of the hives. As did the hundreds of other hives. Only the strongest would be permitted to rule. For only the strongest was capable enough to make the decisions that the other hives would have to abide by. And this they did gladly for only the strongest and most powerful earned the truest loyalty,” Harbinger walks past the back wall of the new view showing the brutal combat of hive chieftains flailing each other to the death seeking dominance. “It was the Veetra hive that claimed this victory that day. Only they were considered strongest. I was there, I desired to fight. Yet the Antara were viewed as weakest and not permitted the honor of the death dance. Rebuked as always, our hive was forced to leave and allow the victory to the Veetra.”
“I fail to see how any of this has anything to do with the harvesting of the reapers.”
Harbinger glares at her unblinkingly, his words come from a mouth without lips, “So eager for a fight, Shepard. It is why you are favored. The culling is more appropriate than harvesting and we are not reapers. We are the Ch’nok Antara. We are the strongest, most powerful. And in so proving, we came across that which we had never seen. The creatures called Detos.”
The view shifts to a dark river flowing down a ravine. Genevieve sees several Detos gathering supplies at the edge of that river. From inside the water, one of the Antara arises from where it had been grazing the riverbed.
“But why? Why was it on the riverbed?”
“She was feeding from the chiabrum. A substance needed for our survival,” Harbinger relates. “It is that which you now know as ‘dark energy’. It coalesced along riverbeds and lakeshores. In the oceans along the floor. We evolved to feed off its rich energy reserves. It was…abundant on this world which the Detos called Aprica IV but which we knew as Pelagus, the deep world.”
Genevieve witnesses the startled Detos along the rivershore react to the presence of the creature and stab it with a long spearlike instrument. He keeps stabbing until the Antara is dead. Genevieve furrows her brows and frowns.
“He accidentally killed her.”
“Yes. He did. An honorable kill.”
Genevieve looks to Harbinger with a gaping mouth, “An honorable kill? You use this as an excuse to go to war with the galaxy and yet you call it an honorable kill?”
“An excuse? No, Shepard. You are very wrong.”
The Detos evaluate the body of the Antara female and pull her back to their camp. Once there, the heads of the mission look over it and shake their heads.
“Just one of the local wildlife. Discard of it,” the Detos says and leaves the structure.
The Detos do as commanded and burn the corpse. In the dark trees, the other Antara are watching and the vanish from view. The projection changes to an underground city where the Veetra administer to all the other hives. She sees Harbinger approaching the chieftain who looks down on him in disdain.
“Aracle, why do you displeasure me with your presence? Is it not offensive enough that the Antara hive exists?”
Harbinger lowers his head in a nod like bow, “News from the far climb. Strangers from another land are harvesting the landscape. They have murdered one of our own.”
“I should thank them. One less Antara to contend with,” the chieftain spits. “So they are strangers. What would you have of me? Why should I waste my mind on your efforts?”
Genevieve sees several guards approaching from the side looking intent on eating Harbinger alive.
“They are not of flesh. They are of machine.”
This grabs the chief’s attention and he stands up on his six legs, “Synthetic? None of their like has been seen here in many cycles. You speak truthfully?”
“I would not lie to my chief.”
The chief walks down and takes Harbinger’s head in his pincher like hands, “I will snap off your head and feast upon it for the AllHands if you are.”
“I am your willing meal, havenmil.”
The chief lets go of Harbinger and heads out of the throne chamber. Genevieve watches Harbinger turn to look at the chief with maliciousness.
Genevieve says nothing as the view shifts once more to the Veetra battling the Detos and the Detos slaughtering great numbers of them. The Detos evacuate to a ship and take off. The remaining wounded Veetra, who have led many hives to this place, stare up at the crafts as Harbinger comes up beside them and lops off their heads with his pinchers.
Genevieve glares at him with disgust and his cold visage seems to give off an aura of pleasure.
“The hives were lost. The chief had been killed by the Detos and we Antara knew who had slain them. We spoke of the old tombs and the forbidden knowledge. They resisted at first. Until we reminded them that all of us Ch’nok were now the weakest in the galaxy. They soon fell in line and we went to the old tombs to retrieve the forbidden knowledge.”
“I’m not sure I’m following. What’s the old tomb? Or the forbidden knowledge for that matter?”
Harbinger looks to Genevieve, “They were from the times before times. When we Ch’nok were more…advanced. And settled other worlds in our solar system. We went to war with ourselves and lost the knowledge. The knowledge that was deemed too destructive for any to behold. We went there, deep into the crust and took that knowledge. Built our vessels and sought out the Detos. How were we to know that they had left behind the relays? How were we to know that they would take us so far? The Detos were superior in every way, and I knew that we would not be their superior unless we became them.”
Genevieve shakes her head as she sees the Antara leading the Ch’nok across the galaxy on a crusade to sieze the Detoan technology for themselves.
“You’re not convincing me of anything, Harbinger. Except that you’re a tyrant.”
“The Detos came to our world. They took our source of sustenance, dispelled it out into the void! They murdered our people and thought themselves superior to all other species! We only took back what was rightfully ours and solved a problem they had been trying to solve for many millennia.”
“The dark energy buildup…”
“Yes. Their solution was to disperse it into the void. But we found another use for the relays, they sustained us! But there was so much of it…we could not ingest it al,” Harbinger says as the view shifts to a laboratory on an unknown world. “We found the scientists on the world near the galactic rim. They were constructing massive vessels to make building the relays…simpler. We took those blueprints. Took those machines. And integrated our beings into them. We became the harvesters of the dark energy. We could save the galaxy, save ourselves, and counter the efforts of those who really put the galaxy in danger. These synthetics could not reasonably consider the implications of their actions. But we could.”
Genevieve sighs, “So you attack synthetics by becoming synthetic? What a preposterous notion.”
Harbinger walks forward past the image displaying the chaos of the Detos’s being destroyed by the Antara, “We took the technology back to our homeworld. Showed them true power. The Ch’nok saw the truth and all joined the consciousness of the true form. We became Harbinger. We became perfection. The Detos showed us how to be stronger. Our hive joined Harbinger. Our hive showed the galaxy what needed to be done. To save them, to save all life, we had to eliminate the buildup of dark energy. So we consumed it and disabled the relays from spewing that precious resource out into deep space.”
“And then used it to wipe out great civilizations all across time!”
“Great civilizations,” Harbinger bellows. “Like the Gramady? Or the inusannon? Or perhaps you mean the protheans? A species so vile they enslaved a galaxy to do their bidding? No, we did the only right thing. We connected the relays to the master collector the Detos had built and used those devices to encourage advanced civilizations to explore the galaxy. And once they had reached their pinnacle, once the dark energy in stars grew too fierce, once the threat of synthetic life arose once more to cast the galaxy under a pall…we returned to restore order.”
Genevieve walks forward seeing the fall of several galactic civilizations after the Detos. She recognizes the keepers’ species and shakes her head.
“Keepers…You destroy everything and then claim it’s to protect us? It’s all about power and control to you! Sovereign claimed we could never understand the reapers! Could never fathom your being! Yet here you are before me giving me the same song and dance every tyrant gives to keep control of his peasants!”
The eyes of a thousand Antara light up once more and Harbinger stands before her with his four eyes narrowed and his stare directly on her.
“We offer you perfection, Shepard. This galaxy will fall. Your will is strong and we can make it stronger. All that we have done has been to preserve order, to strip the chaos from every corner of the dark. The Citadel offers us the opportunity to bring this perfection to the most worthy species. Humanity is worthy.”
Genevieve purses her lips, “Worthy. Like how you viewed the Detos as superior? Worthy to be your inspiration? And…whatever happened to the nine survivors on Ardix?”
Harbinger chuckles, “They were considered beings of light all across the galaxy by numerous species. Gods who descended to bring wisdom. We gave them the godhood they so desperately searched for…”
Genevieve sees the darkness turn to a bright white. Suddenly she’s in the Citadel control room and she’s looking at the core. Her eyes go wide when she sees that the nine Detos survivors, with Rhous’ke Shaa at their center, line the core of the Citadel. Their bodies power the great station while their minds slumber for eternity.
“You…you bastard!” Genevieve turns to Harbinger. “You couldn’t find a power source to the Citadel, could you? So you used them in your sick experiment!”
“They will forever be, the light of the galaxy,” Harbinger slowly cocks his head and his mandibles form a semi-smile.
Genevieve takes a step back and feels her heartrate increasing.
“Now, Shepard, will you give your will over to the Antara and join the Ch’nok? Or will you suffer oblivion with the gods and your careless friends?”
Thanks again and read to everyone again soon!
~Timothy S Purvis
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