Then is Now: The Journey Begins

Chapter 1: 2014: Cambridgeshire

17th December 2014


Nathan, Conner Caineson

'So you think this going to be a normal story about two people in a normal life?'

'Are you seriously going on about this again?'

'No, you are, I'm only suggesting it dumbass.'

Nathan and Conner Caineson were two brothers who lived in the North of Cambridgeshire and attended PRC on a sub-daily basis, most of their spare time wasn't revising for god-forsaken tests and other things, they just played video games, learned their lore and were generally geeks for series, especially if it was a series called Halo or Mass Effect, just them playing it and learning it, beating it on the hardest difficulty, maybe even iron-man mode and such.

One day on one of their many days off, it was a very stormy day, thanks to Nathans' apparent ability of making it rain whenever he walks outside, this time it was even worse than usual. "You always have to do that on a good day don't you?" Conner complained as he looked out of the window at the weather. "I was planning on going out for a bit, but you had other ideas."

"You're damn right I did. I'm sorry if you are heartbroken, you prick." Nathan replied, picking up a can of fizzy. "Anyway, haven't you got homework to do anyway, you know, for tomorrow? Ever remember anything these days, I'm like your personal diary for these events."

"And? I can do it later, it's not like I don't have all day. Might as well make some food to go with it, and some sarcasm to add on to annoy the living daylights out of your brain."

Nathan was about to get up and punch his bigger brother but thought better of it as Conner walked out of the room and into the kitchen of their apartment. Instead he got up and walked over to the TV and turned it on, the screen sparking into life in front of him. "Want me to plug in the ONE or the 360?" shouted Nathan to Conner.

"You still have that piece of crap lying around? Might as well make use of it." Conner shouted back at him, while still making the lunch.

"Which one, they are both pieces of crap."

"Take an educated guess, genius."

"What game?"

"Mass Effect 3."

"Seriously, after all this time, you want to go on the one that is the worst out of the lot?" Nathan questioned.

"Yes, now get on with it before the rain stops and I have to go outside again" Conner said as he walked in with the food ready. "Here you go, should shut you up for a bit. I'm going first by the way."

Nathan verbally responded but was stifled while he had his mouth full of food. "Hmm, Hgggr?!"

"Oh, deal with it" Conner sat down and started up the game."So, about that ending."

"Shut up. Or are you willing to go that far in depth that you wouldn't know where we started earlier?" Nathan said sternly.

While the game loaded, Conner decided to put his point forward. "How much would change if we were involved with this universe, without any knowledge of it?."

"Not much, we would be lonely on some Alliance world. So not much." Nathan said as the loading finally finished on the game. "That took longer than usual. Think this pile of crap is dying finally?"

"Wouldn't be shocked after what it has been through, you have killed three of the controller's left analog sticks from your excessive sprinting." Nathan just smiled, proud at his achievement.

The game loaded and Conner selected the Multiplayer menu of the game, loading it up faster this time and seeing that the character he had last played was the Quarian Male Soldier, that he had named after himself: Conner'Caineson and it was frost white and light blue trimmed one. As soon as he selected the character to play in the next game, the screen went black and one second later and thundering crash was heard in the background, making Conner jump in shock. The lights in the room flicked off and even the fridge, that made a horrible whining noise, went silent.

"For God's sake, why does it have to hit the fuse box on our day off!" Conner complained as he got up to see if the Xbox had been ruined due to it. Nathan, in tandem, got up and went over to the other side of the room, opening up the fusebox and resetting the circuits in it. The light flickered back on and the fridge returned its annoying noise. "I really have to fix that don't I?"

"You will have to, I shouldn't be able anyway, you are the one with a A-level in Engineering. Should be all fine now, try turning the Xbox and TV on." Conner followed as instructed and when he went to turn the Xbox on, a spark shot out of it and hit his hand, making it fly back in spasm and him reeling in pain.

"Motherfucker, why am I having a bad day today?" Conner said as the Xbox whirred into life.

"Just you and your luck, for a change, is not working. Welcome to my life brother." Nathan said sarcastically as he browsed through the game pile on the shelf. "Where are you, you should be where I left you…" He said to himself, but Conner picked up on it.

"What you looking for?"

"Mass Effect."

"What the original?"

"Yeah, if you can call it that."

"It's over here, where you left it after you binge gamed it a few days ago."

"Oh, did I? Okay then. Put it in. I'll be over now."

Conner did so and while he was putting the disc in, the Halo 4 disc was on top, Conner, none the wiser, put both discs in without realising that he had in the first place. The Xbox accepted the tray but had a ear-wrenching screech come from it as it loaded the game. Conner winced at the noise and Nathan just stared at his facial expression. "Having issues?" He mocked at his older brother.

"Shut up and see what is wrong before the console destroys the disc and the laser." Conner stated as he and Nathan moved towards the Xbox to shut it off. Suddenly a bright white light emanated from the centre of the power button. encasing the whole room in light and blinding the two brothers in their step.

After a few minutes, Conner felt like he needed to reopen his eyes, but all he could see was lights at the end of a darkness. He looked around and saw the same thing, just tiny lights in a sea of black, he spun himself around on his own and found Nathan next to him, eyes closed. "Hey Bro, wake up, come on Nath!" He shook his arm and suddenly Nathan's eyes open in a flash, his face scrunching up into a face of fear.

"What the hell are you?! What are you doing here!" He shouted at Conner, making Conner raise his eyebrow.

"It's me Nathan, Conner, it is just us, no-one else."

"Leave me alone, no more experiments, I need my own path, no-one elses!" He shouted again and Conner felt like he wasn't shouting at him specifically.

All Nathan could see is needles attached to robotic arms, himself locked down on a table of some sort, making it impossible to move. The needles moved towards him with blue, red and yellow vials which intruded his body and dumped the substances into him, the pain of the injections and the substances burning through his body made him pass out on the spot.

Conner looked around him again to return to the lights in the darkness. Then his vision blurred into a mist and a few seconds later a mirage of grey objects appeared out of nowhere, thousands of blurs moving past him and and focusing until they started to move away, Conner could not make the specifics but the best idea he could come with is a large mass of ships.

His visions changed but this time all he could see was darkness, out of the blue, his back started to feel different and his spine start shrink in size. a stinging pain shot over his shoulder blades and up his neck to the back of his head and his forehead, a new sensation entering the mix, but as quickly as it started, the visions ended with his eyes blurring out the world (if it could be called such) around him as he felt gravity again take hold of his body and start to fall towards something.

It was another piece of the Future, brought to the Past.