Thank you for giving this fic a chance :D
T'is a bit slow starting off, but I hope you enjoy it.
By writing this, doesn't mean I'm giving up on my other ME story, it's more a fun thing with my friend, Beta and Co-Author Charlie019 :']
Chapter 1- The Butterfly
2182, Abandoned facility.
Floating down the corridor using the thrusters built in his air tight space worthy suit, the man frowned, staring at his omni-tool while reaching out, anchoring himself against the wall so he wouldn't overshoot his destination.
"How bad is it?" He asked, frowning as he looked through the readings displayed on the holographic screen.
"Enough to get us sick without medication but not enough to kill us." Came the feminine reply through the tiny implant in his ear. Gérard shrugged, or as much as one could while floating in a zero gravity environment. Could be worse. Much worse. A little bit of radiation wasn't as bad as say, defunct malfunctioning mining equipment, which he had seen blown a fist sized hole through the chest of a man, despite his armor.
"Keep looking, radio in if you find anything noteworthy." He signed off, looking at a rather old sign that gave directions. It didn't look that old though, since its a derelict floating in space, and there's no atmosphere or whatever one could think off to wear it down. Unless say, this place had an unfortunate encounter with an asteroid, or got caught in a solar flare, which would incinerate and melt everything, since it wasn't that far away from the system's local star.
Or worse, considering how old everything looked. Some of the equipment even looked like something that came from the early twenty first century era, though he had doubts about that. That was a time when his ancestors were barely capable of sending something up into orbit without getting tied down by countless bureaucratic problems and budget problems. A time where the spacecraft were described as metal coffins by modern pilots.
"Radiation?" Another voice sounded in his ear, causing him to look back at the figure who had just caught up with him, floating by slowly while inverted. Or at least he believed its inverted. It was hard to tell the difference between the ups and downs of this space junk. "Think we stumbled upon an old weapons supply dump?"
"Nope." He replied offhandedly, eyeing one of the two passageways available to him. "If we are in an old weapons supply dump, then a radiation leak would have doomed us all, even if we OD on rad meds. A very old exploration craft from before the First Contact era seems more likely." He paused to think, resisting the urge to scratch his head. "Doesn't look Alliance, probably from the EU or Federation. Maybe New Zealand even."
"Well…" The Salarian muttered, kicking off the wall gently so he could swing around and 'stand' on the wall. "Then there wouldn't be much for us to find or do here. Except carving our names into the hull to show that we were here."
"As long as you don't trip some security system off, least of all we end up being found floating about a hundred years later for some scavenger or curious explorer to find."
"What security system?" He scoffed, dismissing the notion. "In this hunk of space junk? What's it going to do? Jettison us out of the airlock? Oh wait, we cut our way through that to get in."
"Blow your head off with a defunct medical equipment perhaps." Gérard shrugged, pushing off the wall as he shot across the corridor, using the thrusters to halt himself as he neared the end, least he ended up pasting himself messily on the wall of a random wreck floating in vacuum.
"Found something, come check it out. You'll wanna see this." A small orange triangle appeared on his HUD, indicating where she is. At the bottom left where the incomplete map of the derelict was, a route is highlighted to guide him there.
"What is it?" Frowning, he turned and pushed himself off the 'floor' once more, rocketing back the way he came from and past the flailing Salarian awkwardly trying to change direction or stop himself from moving. He glared at him but Gérard ignored his narrowed bug eyes. "Any clue?"
"Don't know. Looks like a sleeper pod, or a storage container. Or a coffin. I don't know, you are the expert here."
Of course. He rolled his eyes. He had been at least hoping to find the engine room to this thing and look around for a bit, see what kind of crap his great grandfather used back in the day but with these much interruptions, each listed as 'important' to garner his attention…
A whole lot of bloody idiots.
"So." Looking over the four figures anchored down on the floor with magnetic boots, hunched over something by the wall, three Human and one Asari, he spoke up. "What is it? I swear if its another…"
"There's something alive in this thing." The woman interrupted him, drawing his attention.
Joining the group by the boxy object, he took the sight in. She had been right when she used the word 'coffin' to describe it, because that's exactly what it looked like. "Someone's alive in this thing?"
"Or something." She shrugged. "Don't really know, can barely get a bloody reading out of this damn thing because its technology is too old to even sync with my omni-tool. Closest we have is some datapad Alyna found, but that too, like every bloody thing in here, is broken."
"What a surprise…" He stated dryly. "This some stasis or sleeper pod?"
"Cryogenic pod actually." She corrected. "A very old, miraculously working cryogenetic pod. Probably dates way back to the Second American Civil War."
"Can't be. The ones back then were known to malfunction at an alarming frequency and a high mortality rate for anyone suicidal enough to give it a go." One of the other humans, the one currently fiddling with what that seemed to be like the control panel of the pod, Matton, spoke up. "Are you sure this dates way back to nearly a hundred years ago?"
"Not exactly impossible." Gérard corrected him. "The cryopods manufactured by Manswell weren't as bad, and have a much high success and survival rate. Shame though, because he took every last one of his pods, the research and anything pertaining to them when he took of on that mad space expedition of his."
"Okay, then how do you explain this?" Matton gestured at the pod. "Or you are suggesting that we are looking at what's left of the expedition and are currently standing in the tomb of three hundred people, including that bastard billionaire himself?"
"Too small to accommodate three hundred people I'm afraid." Noting other similar looking pods in the room, he gestured at them. "What about those? Anyone alive in them?"
"That's a negative."
"If you don't mind me asking," the woman spoke up, turning to look at him. "What are we going to do with this thing?"
The diminutive Asari amongst them stepped forward slightly, a soft whisper that was barely heard despite the voice amplifiers that did its best to transmit whatever she said as clearly as it could to everyone. "Open it?"
"Sure… open a random old space pod that we just found… inside a random space derelict that we just found… in the middle of nowhere." Matton scoffed. "Who knows what kind of security system this thing has. For all we know, cracking this casket could trigger some failsafe that goes on to vaporize all of us. I say," he tapped the side of the pod for emphasis. "we just sell what we found to the Alliance. They should be interested enough at some century old wreck of ours, enough to pay us quite a sum for its location anyway."
"And leave them to deal with whatever kind of shit that could be waiting in the pod instead of us." The woman remarked, nodding in agreement. "Smart."
Naturally, and oddly unsurprisingly, the Salarian was quick to protest. "You are just going to leave it there? Leave whoever that's trapped in there to freeze? Need I remind everyone that there's something alive in there?"
"This thing is nearly a hundred years old and its still working." Matton retorted, shrugging again. "A couple more days wouldn't hurt."
"It could become a tomb in that couple days." The Salarian shot back before turning to Gérard. "What say you Monteil? Should we crack it open, or leave it for the Alliance?"
Gérard paused in thought.
Cracking the pod open had its benefits, namely being that they get to claim whatever they found, along with any scientific and research discoveries they could make, to their name instead of having some random Alliance personal take the credit because he or she was simply there to push the button. No worries about anyone trying to stake a claim at the credit that was rightfully theirs. Plus there's just so much more he wanted to have a look around before handing it over to the proper authorities…
Scientific reasons aside, it was also… the humane thing to do as some would put it.
Then again, tinkering with old technology, especially one that they barely understood was undeniably dangerous. Defunct Turian mining equipment especially. Why would the Turians have built in kinetic rail modulators into a mining laser, he would never understand. Its a mining laser, not a bloody bazooka.
That aside, operating something they barely understand would be the same as handing terrorist a nuclear weapon based on the assumption that they would be too stupid to understand how to use it.
But then again, risks was what that made his line of work interesting.
Not to mention… he liked danger.
"Prep the pod." He ordered. If they were going to open it… they need to seal the room and pump some air into it, least whatever that's inside died of asphyxiation the moment the pod opened. There's also the lack of gravity but it shouldn't really matter. Plus there were other more important factors that should be considered before…
Letting that thought trail off, Gérard started giving orders.
2182, Abandoned facility
It was peaceful.
For a while, I saw nothing. Blackness. But it was a blackness that was warm, engulfing me like a loving and protecting mother. It carried me. It let me glide through the abyss. It allowed my body to float serenely. Nothing disturbed me. I could hear nothing. I could see nothing. I could smell nothing.
I felt nothing.
No anger. No frustration. No hope. No solid emotion.
It certainly was sudden. Like a trapdoor flew out from underneath me. Air slapped me in the face. I woke up, breathless and choking like something was blocking my lungs. I had attempted to gasp and desperately clung to the small amount of air, due the near impossible tightness and pain in my chest I found it nearly impossible. It was alarmingly cold. And dark. So, so, very dark. I couldn't see a thing.
I tried to move, to make a sound, but my hands felt heavy, immensely so, like anvils were weighing them down. There was something blocking my throat, something cold, painfully cold.
Why is it so dark?
Even though it hurt, even though it was very difficult, I forced my arms up with the diminutive, limited strength I had, only to harshly bang them against a similarly freezing surface just a few inches in front of me. Worry and confusion began to rise, rushing through my veins. Why is it so crammed?
I opened my mouth to scream, yell, to make a sound, to do anything except just lay there like a vegetable. My hands moves to slap on the wall in front of me as panic began to swell in my chest. Pants started to come out shorter and more rapidly. I can't breathe.
Without warning, my knees collapsed and buckled. Something horrid forcibly pushed and lunged up my throat. I quickly snapped my hands to my mouth, biting down on it and tried to keep whatever that it was down. A second later, despite my efforts, I regurgitated a freezing liquid out of my mouth, drenching my front in it.
The chillness of it all caused me to shiver violently as I took in my first breath, cold air entering my lungs, cutting into them painfully like a thousand knives as I grimaced, teeth chattering.
There was a hiss, then the sound of machines, a hint of light breaking through and cutting across the darkness. The sudden, burning brightness blinded me, causing black spots to appear in my vision and stars to dance in front of my gaze, a searing pain at the back of my eyes exploded and I weakly waved my hands. A stinging scraped across the surface of my palms.
An agonizing screeching shot through my skull. My dry feeling lips spread apart in an effort to beg for it to stop as pain slowly crawled over my body. I wanted to pick up my arms. I wanted to jump. I wanted to do something instead of being this immobile.
...Where am I?
Light prevented me from seeing anything. It hurt to open my eyes. I clenched them shut, feeling my entire body shake from head to toe. Ice coiled around my spine, it flooded through my system and I trembled. With the speed my teeth were chattering, I wouldn't be surprised if they were faster than hummingbird's wings. I couldn't hear anything, a high pitched shriek whistled in my eardrums, muffling everything around me.
Cold... cold… cold… cold.
My blood rushed to my head as my shuddering body slowly flipped upside down without my consent, lifting without my control. It was as if I were a puppet, my strings being jerked left and right by the puppeteer. My arm, without me moving it, swayed to the side, my leg did the same.
Something was pressed against my mouth, enveloping both that and my nose. A hissing noise, I struggled to pry it off before a wave of fresh air came over it, making breathing much more tolerable as opposed to the cold vapors and stale air earlier.
Something hot washes in my chest, releasing the solid pressure pushing onto my lungs. I found myself breaking into a coughing fit and opened my eyes again. I blinked frequently but still didn't get used to the light shielding my view from my surroundings. My ears perked at more sounds that slithered through the incoherent, blurred blockages. It was still very difficult to make anything out.
Why is it… so… cold?
Something cold and hard firmly grabbed hold of my arm, pulling me forward, though I only felt my upper body being pulled forward, leaving me levitating in a 'horizontal position.
Am I… floating?
Why do I feel weightless?
I still felt groggy, but regardless, I pried my eyes open forcibly, my desire to know what was happening around me outweighed my personal comfort at the moment.
Five silhouettes, all looking like blurry, boxy figures. Robots? Machines? Animals? People? I can't make out a thing.
"...ello? Hello? You with us?" It came from the one holding me, voice oddly distorted and muffled. My vision cleared slightly, and I found myself staring into a pair of black eye lenses.
I opened my mouth and attempted to ask, what the hell is going on? Where am I? Who are you?
Instead, an unintelligible, slobbish blowing of raspberries spluttered out of me. It was a gibberish mesh of words. It was difficult to form letters, to form familiar sounds of communication. It was like a horrible train wreck.
"Give her some time." Someone at the back said, voice similarly distorted and muffled, like it had been filtered through a voice amplifier or something. "She might still need sometime to shake off the cryo sleep."
What the hell?
"Whaaaa- ureeeh-?" The incoherent word slurred out. The brightness of the room very slowly dimmed down, allowing me to make out the forms of bewildered people standing around me. Black spots fizzled in my vision, but I could mostly see.
"Or not." Someone else mumbled, an impassive look behind her open faced helmet unlike some of the others. I was disturbed, however, when I realized she was upside down. My eyes drifted to the floor only to conclude that it wasn't her upside down.
It was me.
What the hell is going on?
The woman was wearing some kind of hardsuit that covered her whole body. Everyone was, I realised after looking around, wearing that seemingly form fitting hardsuit. Though one of them had an odd elongated helmet for some reason.
"Wha-wha-wh-wha-?" My teeth were shattering, not at all helping with speaking. I felt a wave of goosebumps spike up on my skin. There was a tingling sensation running up and down my legs, like pins and needles. I cringed uncomfortably, feeling my body quake at the cold.
"Easy, easy there." The first figure called out, pulling me down and setting me straight, or as straight as one could get given its current weightless state. Why aren't they floating around? "Don't know how long you've been in there, or why but right now you need to relax. Can you do that?"
I didn't know how else to respond. At the moment I was doing everything else but relaxing. My shoulders tensed and untensed. My hands curled into fists and unclenched. It was hard to stay still, considering the majority of my body was behaving like a shaking fish out of water. I was still gasping for air despite the oxygen easily shooting in and out of my burning lungs. My trembling hands reached up and wrapped tightly around my upper torso as I hunched over.
"C-c-co-co-co-col-!" Even though I couldn't finish what I was saying, the tone of desperation was definitely clear. It was too cold. I couldn't bend my fingers. My toes were impossible to curl or wiggle around. It even got to the point where it started to hurt. A whimper squeezed out of me.
Need. Warm. Too. Cold.
My blood felt like ice.
"Ah, yes. Give it a while for your body to warm up first." The figure at the back instructed, though despite the face concealing helmet he's wearing, it was seemingly clear that he was more fascinated at the metal coffin rather than my well being. "Interesting, cryonics procedure lacks proper drugs to prevent potential cell damage from the subzero temperatures…"
"How about we give her something to cover herself first?" The woman snapped, annoyance laced in her features.
Hearing the woman's statement I had a glance down my body to realize that I was in some kind of tight, white fitted underwear. It didn't cover much, only the important parts, but still it was rather exposing. This embarrassment brought a form of heat rising through my neck to my cheeks, to which I was both grateful for, but also still a little humiliated to be this bare in front of others.
The only reason I didn't die of embarrassment right then and there, was because I compared it to me being on the beach with a bikini. It's okay. It's okay. It's fine.
If I could, I would have hugged the considerate woman with all my might. Unfortunately, I still found it a bit hard to move. Please. Please. Please. Clothes. Blanket. Anything.
The man looked around, then shrugged. "Doubtful, considering that none of us prepared anything for that. Unless you want to open the door back to the ship to go get it, but the decompression will kill her."
My brows furrowed at his words, trying to make sense of them. My brain was a little hazy, still fighting through static to see any logic. I shrugged it off, just trying to keep myself warm in the room of strangers. I didn't know how in the hell I was floating or what I was doing there in this weird room, but all I wanted and could focus on was the lack of warmth.
Cold. So cold.
"We brought a spare suit didn't we?"
"Oh right." The first figure reached down to some mechanical utility box, similarly anchored to the ground by some invisible means, pressing a few buttons on it. Am I the only one floating about? The box unfolded, revealing a similar set of whatever these people were wearing.
They passed it to the woman, who approached me. I felt myself being lowered to the ground and I stared at the suit like it was a rubix cube. She, seeing the bewildered expression etching along my features, helped me put it on, moving my rigid arms through the sleeves and the same with my legs, before getting behind me and zipping it up. Almost instantly, a warmth flooded over my body, coating it and engulfing my skin. I let out a shuddery breath of relief.
"T-th-thh-thhh-tha-than-y-o-yo-" My blood boiled in frustration, but she seemed to understand what I was trying to tell her.
"Well that certainly sped up the warming up process…" The guy at the back shrugged, though it was nearly unnoticeable given the hardsuit he's wearing, to which the woman helping me shot him a look before reaching over and doing something to my suit.
The next second, my feet were pulled towards the floor, slamming them into it and causing me to wave about wildly as I tried to keep straight. Oddly, I didn't fall over, even though at one point my body was bent at a near seventy degree angle. It was like something was anchoring my feet to the ground, and just my feet. Magnetic boots?
I finally got a proper chance to look around, to say the least I was surprised I wasn't having a panic attack. It was like something out of a sci-fi movie, pristine white walls, grey nondescript flooring, or metal tiles, a couple displays, some of which were no longer attached to what they were supposed to be connected to, instead floating around the room, just like I did moments ago.
It once again begged the question, where the hell am I?
"Wh-whe-where-?" I managed. The snapping of my teeth had died down a little. I forced the words through my mouth. "Whe-where a-am I-I-I?"
"Somewhere four hundred and thirteen thousand kilometers away from the nearest planet." Was the reply as the guy at the back moved to the machine that trapped me, something glowing around in his arm as he studied the contraception.
My eyes widened. What feels like a sledgehammer harshly collided with my chest, winding me as I stared out at the man with shock. My blood rushes through my veins and I could feel my heart hammering against my ribcage painfully. "W...w-what?"
"Four hundred and thirteen thousand kilometers away from the nearest planet and seven hundred and forty eight kilometers away from the nearest star in the system." He repeated, waving his 'glowing' hand over the machine as he responded to me with an almost bored tone, underline by his general interest of the hunk of metal before him.
He must be joking.
"S-seriously, whe-where are we?" I asked again, frozen to the spot for a minute before shaking my head. The back of my knees knocked against a metallic wall when I took a step back, wobbling around unsteadily as I tried to get used to walking with magnetic boots on.
"Horse Head Nebula, Pax System. Four hundred and thirteen thousand kilometers away from the nearest planet and seven hundred and forty eight kilometers away from the local star." He once again repeated in the same tone.
Annoyance swelled up inside me. When I tried to strengthen my voice, it failed and it broke pathetically halfway between speaking. My breathing had increased. I gripped the wall. "S-stop joking a-around. Te-tell me the truth."
"Orbiting Coruscant, about to be blasted into oblivion by a Star Destroyer commanded by Darth Vader who for some odd reason wants us all dead." Was the dry reply as he too similarly got annoyed by my questions.
I tried to move away from the wall but stumbled and had to grip onto the nearby machine to keep myself up. Craning my head up weakly, I gritted my teeth and narrowed my eyes into slits. "W-where am I? Who a-are you people? S-stop lying!"
"Klingons." He droned, no longer bothering with giving me a straight answer as the woman rolled her eyes.
"Somewhere above Veles, in the same system as Noveria." She told me, turning to the man. "Damn it Gérard, she asked you a question."
"If she isn't prepared to receive a straight answer then she probably shouldn't even ask it or better yet, straight up call me a liar."
I ignored them and lurched forward, my feet struggled to lift. They slammed against the hard surface of the ground, against the magnetic pull. They trudged along and instantly nausea whipped into me. Bile clawed up my throat. I pressed my palms against my mouth, doubling over as I kept it down. My eyes watered as the burn scorched in my throat and I swallowed the foul taste. I gagged and shuddered.
The fast movement caused black spots to dance in my vision again. I shivered, holding onto my stomach as if my organs were about to spill out.
"P-please-" I didn't know quite what I was begging for. Water? Comfort? A bed? Medicine? My mother? No more lies? Maybe it was a mix of all of them. Sickness swirled around my head like a hurricane roughly twirling in my brain. There was a tight churn in the pit of my stomach.
A string of questions slapped me. A shower, with the weight of bricks, collided with my skull.
Where? Where? Where?
There's a block in my way. Everything is aggravatingly blank. I tried to recall the last thing that happened to me, but I couldn't. It hurt when I tried to remember. Tears stung my eyes, a deep throbbing that was almost agonizing pierced my head. I cried out, letting out a hysterical yell. I found my nails scratching my scalp, pulling and yanking hard on my hair.
I can't remember. I can't remember. I. Can't. Remember.
Can't remember. Can't remember. Can't remember.
What happened? What happened? What happened?
Where am I? Where am I? Where am I?
Where? Why? How? Why? Why am I here? Who are these people?
Where? Where? WHERE?
WHERE AM I?!
"Where am I?!" I found myself screeching out and hunched down to my knees. I curled into a ball, hands raking through my hair. My voice rose in volume and it pained me to shout, but I didn't care at this point. I was sobbing the question, desperate for an answer. "Where? Where?! WHERE?!"
There was a brief moment of silence, broken when the elongated helmet guy spoke up. "The human appears delusional."
"Anyone wants to open the door?" Gérard asked, sparing me a brief glance before facing the people staring down at me. "It may be... merciful."
I cried, collapsing on my knees. To me, it was just a cloud of immense confusion and a bundle of frustration. To them, it probably looked like the mumbling of a crazy person. I didn't blame them if they thought I was crazy. Where? Can't remember. Why? "Can't remember… why? I can't remember."
There was a buzzing pain in my head, then a high pitched hiss that slowly rose. I sobbed, grabbing my head. I gasped. "It… hurts… it hurts... It hurts! It hurts! I can't remember!" All I remembered was pain. Cold. So dark. So much pain. So fucking cold. "Stop it. Please! Stop it! Stop it!"
"Oh dear oh dear…" He shook his head. "We woke a lunatic."
There's something warm on my shoulder. I flinched, but didn't run away. It was assuring. When I looked up, I saw the woman kneeling in front of me with a soft look of sympathy. "Shh, it's okay. It's okay, you're safe here."
"Give her a break Gérald." She barked with an irritated sneer. "We don't know how long she's been in there, or who put her in there. It doesn't look like she volunteered to me. She's just scared." She stroked my arm, squeezing slightly. I froze when she gently gathered me in her arms like a loving mother. She rubbed my back. "It's okay sweetie. You're fine here. You're safe."
"Can't remember." I mumbled into her neck, tense as she held me. "I-I-I can't remember-!"
"Temporary amnesia is normal under these conditions." She told me matter of fact, calm and collected. Unlike me, a mess. "You will remember, but right now you have to calm down. Breathe, honey. Breathe."
I choked on a sob and found myself clutching at this stranger. I hiccuped, struggling to do as she said. My lunged shuddered, but eventually I managed to slow my breathing. Her fingertips massaged the back of my scalp to help ease my anxiety. My nails dug into her arms like talons, clinging to her.
"Of course she didn't volunteer, no sane person would want to go into that horribly designed and heavily flawed deathtrap willingly." Gérard scoffed, only to stop when the one with the elongated helmet tapped his shoulder. His head turned, lowered as a low some emitted from within his helmet, before moving to the other caskets in the room with the other person with the odd helmet.
Even I stopped crying, the woman had helped me to my feet. I stood and felt my legs shake. Gerald turned around, sending a look to the woman holding me up. "Winters, take her to the ship."
She didn't reply, but she did nod and wrapped her arm around my back, keeping me up as we moved toward a door.
As you can see, she's a tad hysterical. But who wouldn't be?
Glad you managed to stick around for this long and I hope you enjoyed the chapter :']
Don't forget to show your support and leave a review! Let me know what you think, if you didn't like it, if you thought something should've been different, etc :'] Thanks guys! I love you! *Spreads hugs and cookies around* :'D T'ill next time!
Thanks guys! I love you! *Spreads hugs and cookies around* :'D T'ill next time!