|The Distress Call
Author: Knightfall1138 PM
Many decisions lie ahead. Most of them pointless.Rated: Fiction T - English - Parody/Mystery - Shepard (F) - Words: 1,602 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 27 - Published: 05-01-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5031104
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A/N: This story is based on the "Distress Call" trailer for Mass Effect.
"The Distress Call"
The SSV Normandy slipped silently into a high orbit above Noveria. There was no chance of getting any closer, not with the interference the tactical nukes on the planet's surface were emanating. With every detonation, a deep yellow light would flash through the cockpit, giving grim credence to the distress call the Systems Alliance had received no more than a day ago.
None aboard the ship held any illusion that there were survivors on the surface. The geth's decimation was complete.
That was until Joker noticed the red light on his console that represented an incoming transmission, followed by sweet and subtle tintinnabulation. The distress call was still going. Without hesitation, he patched the message through to the CIC, where Shepard and his companions stood huddled around the galaxy map.
The cries for help rang mercilessly over the intercom, causing all within the room to cringe. It was truly the tone of despair.
"Normandy! Do you copy?" The words fluttered in through the speakers, hardly standing apart from the static that plagued the transmission. "We are under attack! A-Are you there?" With each nuclear impact on the planet, the radio would fall silent. The pleas never stopped. "Please! Requesting immediate aid!"
Garrus took a step forward, as if to voice his protest, but was immediately silenced by a wave of Ashley's hand. He bit his tongue, but his scowl remained.
The static was growing stronger in the transmission. The words becoming more muffled and incomprehensible by the second. Whoever sat pleading on the other end of the line managed to get one more cry through the radio, "Please!" before Shepard cut the signal without cause.
The onboard computer flatly sent the final signal: "Request denied."
Shepard didn't blink. His arm waved away the holographic image of Noveria until another world rested in their sights. He locked in the coordinates.
The computer confirmed the action: "Setting new course for Caleston."
Normandy moved away from the apocalypse below them and jumped away into FTL, trying to outrun the screams they had left to fall quiet in the cold expanse.
"Normandy!" the comm operator continued shouting into the receiver. "Normandy are you—"
The radar monitor stood up from his station. "They jumped away!" Another tremor shook their tiny facility. The explosions were growing closer and closer by the minute. "They're gone!"
Comm shook his head. "Impossible. There's no way! Why would they just up and leave us here to die? Didn't they get the message?"
"Power's operating at sufficient levels. They got it alright."
Silence settled in the room until another aftershock played at the power grid, causing all the lights in the room to flicker. Comm scratched the back of his head. "The f**k? Why the hell did they come all the way out here then?"
Radar shrugged. "Beats me. I mean, we're light-years out of their way and all they did was watch the show for a few seconds. What kind of sick game is that? Maybe they're off to flip off a funeral procession. Or wave oxygen tanks at drowning men. Or run circles around paraplegics."
"I don't know about that." Comm had given himself a chance to calm down. "Maybe someone else was in more serious trouble."
"We're in trouble!" Radar huffed. "Nukes are going off around us. Trouble don't get more serious than that! Or more obvious, for that matter. When a man's dying in front of you and needs your assistance, you don't run away to help starving kids in Africa! No! You help the nuked ass man at your feet!"
"Then I simply just don't understand. They came all the way out here, and it's not very easy to do so. It's not like driving down to the mailbox. There must be some reason."
A stout, grey-haired man walked into the room just then, coughing to interrupt in the conversation. "Perhaps I can be of some assistance here," the man said, making no attempt to soften his British accent. "From what I understand, Mister Shepard and his merry band of misfits came out here to Noveria to capture one they call: Matriarch Benezia. An asari, and someone quite close to a rogue Spectre in control of the geth: someone the Alliance hopes to remove from power."
Comm threw his hands up. "Well, that explains why they're here, but that doesn't explain why they left. Sounds like an important mission—one that I wouldn't simply wave at and drive by."
"Yeah," Radar said. "But…Now, I'm even more confused. So this asari female is down here working for the geth?"
"Bup Bup!" British interrupted. "Need I remind you that the asari have no orientations. They are neither male nor female."
"Right. The day I believe that is the day I stop going to strip clu—" Radar caught himself. "The Gentlemen's Lounge. Call me an interstellar sexist if you want, but waving blue boobies in the air makes you female. Anyway, back to my point—the boring-in-comparison point. If this asari is working for the geth and she's somewhere here on this planet, why are they nuking it? Wouldn't that only complicate things?"
British adjusted his monocle. "Perhaps it's a deception play."
"What?" Comm chimed in. "They're nuking the planet to cover their tracks?"
British surrendered the point and paced the middle of the room. "All inconsistencies aside, I have it on very good authority that Shepard is a rather thoughtless renegade. This whole incident just grants evidence to that fact."
"Whose authority might that be?" Comm asked.
"My British accent authority. You've watched movies before. This always dictates who is the more intelligent one in the room, you know?" He placed a smoking pipe in his mouth before continuing. "As I was saying, from what I've heard, this Commander Shepard has been gallivanting about the galaxy accomplishing rather fruitless tasks."
"Like what?" asked Radar.
"Scouting mineral deposits. Driving around aimlessly in their little land rover. Collecting asari Matriarchal writings. Signing autographs for demented and obsessed fans. Trust me when I say Shepard has accomplished many things since the geth's appearance in Citadel Space, but has done nothing that could possibly benefit his ultimate goal of saving the galaxy from a rogue Spectre."
Comm and Radar exchanged disgusted glances while British faithfully puffed away at his pipe.
"So, let me get this straight," Comm began. "Shepard has to save the galaxy? And he does this by scouting out mineral deposits. Collecting useless ancient writings. Signing autographs—"
"Forgot to mention the photo ops and interviews," British added.
"Ugh. Alright, I'll just add that to the list of fail here. But surely some of this must relate to his mission in some way!"
British shook his head. "It helps the galaxy in no way at all…and don't call me Shirley."
Radar raised his hand. During the conversation, he had long since gone pale. "So, this was his one chance to do something useful and he ran his ass away?"
British nodded. "Quite."
None of them spoke for the longest time. Collectively, a feeling of dread—and galactic pity—swelled within them. Radar could take no more. He stood from his console, raised his middle finger high up into the air and roared, "THE FU—"
The facility dissolved into the apocalyptic flames of a direct nuclear impact.
The MAKO hissed to a stop at the top of a rocky hill. The hatch opened, and Shepard stepped out onto the red dust that completely coated the moon, Caleston. He moved to a dark lump of raw metal a few meters from the rover, and planted a tracking beacon on the ground next to it. With a look of pride, he turned back to the vehicle and gave a thumbs-up to his crewmate who was watching impatiently through the front viewport.
"Go, Team Shepard!" he proclaimed loudly into the alien atmosphere.
Garrus shook his head and replied into the radio, "I'm not sure that's what our group is called."
"It is now," Shepard replied through his headset. "Having sex with that asari consort gives me the cosmic authority to do so."
"Honestly, Commander, this is a waste of our time. Shouldn't we be out searching for Saren? Investigating the Counsel's leads? Acting on the visions you received from the Prothean beacon? You know…something more relevant?"
"Hey." Shepard's voice was as strict as ever. "I'm not going to give up on this mineral-based mission. It was a direct order straight from the top."
"No, it wasn't," snapped Garrus.
"Well, it was it was implied. Now get the MAKO ready to get back on the road. We have many, many more deposits left to find on this moon."
"You can't possibly know that. We don't have a map of the topography here."
"I know we don't," Shepard replied. "That's why I'm just gonna drive back and forth across this general area until we find another one. Come on, Garry, it'll be fun! Why would we get assigned missions that aren't productive—or entertaining? Think about it, it'll be just like finding all those Keepers back on the Citadel!"
Garrus buried his head in his hands. "Never should have left C-Sec."