She stood at window, looking out over Earth from space, her fierce yellow eyes focused on a distant point visible only to her as she thought.
Her arms were crossed as she leaned on the wall, absently flicking her cobalt hair out of her face.
She could feel something crawling up her spine. It wasn't something she could name or even think about, but something was coming. Something big.
Zaira Shepard blinked slowly and came back from her thoughts, watching as Earth shrunk and vanished into the blackness of space as the ship she was in pulled away.
Shaking off the odd feeling draped over her shoulders like a mantle of cobwebs, Shepard turned away from the window and began to make her way to the CIC, passing a small rec area, climbing a set of stairs and walking through a door stamped with 'SR-1', she stepped out, gracefully stepping aside as her squad-mate Tara walked by with nod.
She glanced at the large holographic Galaxy Map slowly spinning in the center of the room and traded nods with a balding Engineer and strode past several terminal banks where Alliance personnel tapped away at terminals.
Shepard came to a stop in the cockpit behind the pilot's chair, standing next to a silent Turian and looked on as the pilot's fingers danced across the screen, directing the ship and speaking through the PA. "All stations, secure for transit."
The ship rumbled gently in response and a blue light shone through the window. "Board is green, approach run has begun." The pilot announced as they flew ever closer to light, contained inside of a pair of rotating rings that were held in place by two large, pincer-like arms. "Hitting the relay in three…two…one."
A cone of energy wrapped around the ship, distorting the view of the stars. The ship lurched, causing Shepard to rock back on her heels.
The pilot went through a systems check as Shepard watched the light dance outside of the cockpit.
"Fifteen hundred is good," The Turian announced simply. "Your Captain will be pleased."
He turned and walked away, and the pilot scoffed quietly. "I hate that guy."
Behind him, Shepard turned an amused look on the pilot and glanced at his co-pilot, her second squad-mate, Kaidan. He rolled his eyes and replied. "Nihlus gave you a compliment…so, you hate him?"
"Hey, you remember to zip up your jumpsuit, that's good." The pilot complained. "I just jumped us half-way across the Galaxy and hit a target the size of pin-head, so that's incredible! Besides, Spectres are trouble. I don't like having him on board. Call me paranoid."
Kaidan gave him a dry look. "You're paranoid, Joker. The Council helped fund this project, they have the right to send someone to keep an eye on their investment."
Joker tapped a few more keys and sighed. "Yeah, that is the 'official' story, but only an idiot believes the official story."
Shepard chimed in with her thoughts. "They don't send Spectres on shakedown runs. I think Joker's right; something's up."
The terminal in front of Joker blinked and he quickly tapped a key, turning on the radio. "Joker, send Commander Shepard to the comm. room, I need to talk to her."
Joker said, "Aye, sir," Then leaned out and looked at Shepard. "You heard the man. By the way, Captain, you may want to brace yourself, Nihlus is on his way."
The Captain paused before replying with a dry tone. "He's already here, Joker."
Shepard chuckled at the pilot's misfortune and walked back through ship, passing the Galaxy Map and patting Tara, who was chatting with the ship's Doctor, on the shoulder before entering the comm. room to find Nihlus alone inside.
"Ah, Shepard." He greeted, "I was hoping you'd get here first. It will give us a chance to talk."
She narrowed her eyes slightly and replied, "Alright. Where's Anderson?"
The Turian Spectre titled his head at the door. "He stepped out for a second. I'm interested in this world we're going to-Eden Prime. I heard it's a beautiful place."
Shepard recalled the pictures of a lush garden world with rolling hills and green grass. "They say it's a paradise." She commented.
Nihlus paced a bit. "Yes…a paradise. Serene. Tranquil. Eden Prime has become something of a symbol to your people, hasn't it?"
She nodded, wondering where he was taking the conversation. "Proof that humanity can not only establish colonies across the galaxy, but also protect them." He looked at the screen behind him contemplatively. "But how safe is it, really?"
"Why are asking me this?" Shepard questioned.
The Turian shook his head and turned back to her. "The galaxy is a dangerous place, Shepard. Is humanity truly ready for this?"
Her expression turned hard and she asked, "What is this really about, Nihlus? Because it doesn't seem to be about Eden Prime."
Hearing footsteps coming from behind, Shepard turned on her heel and aimed her yellow gaze on Captain David Anderson, a man she had worked under for most of her career and someone she respected immensely. "You're right about that, Commander. Nihlus, I think it's time to tell her what's really going on."
Nihlus crossed his arms. "This is far more than a simple shakedown run."
Shepard ignored the urge to say, "No, really?" and simply nodded instead.
Anderson turned his eye from Nihlus to the Commander. "We're making a covert pick-up on Eden Prime. That's why we needed the stealth systems operational."
"What's the payload, Captain?" She asked, mind racing over possibilities.
"A research team on Eden Prime unearthed some kind of beacon during an excavation." He moved to stand next to the Turian Spectre. "It's Prothean."
Shepard stiffened, eyes widening slightly. "A Prothean Beacon?"
Anderson nodded slowly. "Aye. This big. The last time humanity made a discovery like this, it jumped our technology forward two hundred years. But Eden Prime doesn't have the facilities to handle something like this. We need to bring it back to the Citadel for proper study."
Nihlus looked to Shepard. "Obviously, this goes beyond just human interests, Commander. This discovery could affect every species in Council space."
She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, still thinking. "Are we expecting trouble?" She asked seriously.
The Turian gave her an equally serious look. "I'm always expecting trouble. As a Spectre, I know nothing is ever as simple as it sounds."
Anderson nodded in agreement. "True enough, but that isn't all, Shepard. Nihlus isn't just here for the beacon. He's also here to evaluate you."
Anderson folded his arms behind his back and joined Nihlus standing near her. "The Alliance has been pushing for this for a long time. Humanity wants a larger role in interstellar policy. We want more say with the Citadel Council."
Shepard's eyes flicked between him and the Spectre, realization glimmering in her fierce eyes. The Captain nodded slightly. "The Spectres represent the Council's power and authority. If they accept a human into their ranks, it shows how far humanity has come."
"Not many could have done what you did on Elysium, Shepard." Nihlus spoke up, a small tone of respect in his voice. "Protecting an entire colony by yourself from slavers. It shows remarkable strength, not just of body and mind, but also character. That, is why I put your name forward as a candidate to join the Spectres."
Shepard nodded firmly. "Just tell me what I have to do." She stated.
"I need to see your skills myself." The Turian returned, "Eden Prime will be the first of several missions together."
"You'll be in charge of the ground team." Anderson said, "Secure the beacon and get it to ship ASAP. Nihlus will accompany you to observe the mission."
The Commander stood straight and saluted the Captain. "Just give the word, Anderson."
A twitch of what might've been a satisfied smile came to Anderson's lips, but he hid it well. "Good. We should be getting to Eden-"
Joker's voice came over the PA. "Captain! We've got a problem."
The Captain frowned. "What's wrong, Joker?"
"Transmission from Eden Prime, sir. You better see this!"
That 'something' danced over Shepard's spine again as Anderson and Nihlus stepped closer to screen to get a better look at the transmission.
[The picture was edged heavily with static, as was the audio, but the sound gunfire was clear.
The view of the transmission was trained on a woman in white and pink armor firing her Assault Rifle at a distant enemy. She turned to look at the person transmitting and sprinted over, pushing them to ground. "Get down!"
The view shook and tumbled as small, blue tinged explosions went off close by.
"Shit!" An oddly familiar voice shouted. "The Colossus is firing again! Hit the dirt!"
The person transmitting dived for the ground, the view turning to a man, despite the gunfire, was wearing a shirt and shorts, jumping out from behind a burning Grizzly and throwing his arms up.
With a sudden flare of orange light, a large Biotic Barrier shot up, a large ball of plasma impacting against the shield in an explosion.
The man dived back into cover and turned to the woman next to him. "We need to take out the armature, or the little ones will overrun us! I need you to distract it for a second."]
The woman looked at him, and though the picture was scratchy, the two humans and the Turian watching the transmission could almost feel the incredulous look she sent him.
["Are you crazy? What the hell can you do, Dewitt? You don't even have a gun!"
Dewitt ducked as an explosion made the burning vehicle lurch into his back. "Yeah, well I don't see your little game of whack-a-geth working either! I can at least help! So do it!"
She looked between him and the white-and-pink armored woman. The white-and-pink lady nodded. "Do it!"
The woman dashed out of cover and started firing wildly while dashing across the pitted ground, diving behind a tree. "Dewitt, whatever you're going to do, do it now!"
Dewitt chuckled a bit and stood up, reaching inside of a pocket and pulling out what looked like a handle. A blue blade shot from the handle, the humming it resonated coming through the speakers.
The person transmitting rolled behind the man, bringing a large, robotic enemy standing on four legs with a long neck topped by a flashlight into view. Multiple smaller enemies with bipedal features took cover next to it.
Dewitt pulled his arm back and hurled the blade through the air. It flipped multiple times before impaling the enemy right through the flashlight, causing it to stagger drunkenly.
The man made a pulling motion with his arm and the blade came zipping into his left hand. He leaped into the air, glowing with orange energy and created an orb in his hand and threw it.
The orb sailed across the distance and impacted into the armature, and the subsequent explosion shook the camera. The cloud of smoke faded, leaving wisps of energy dissipating in the air, along with the enemy collapsing on to the ground bereft of it's front half.
Dewitt cheered and pumped a fist in the air. "Oh yeah, get fucked up!"
The picture cleared as the woman in pink shouted, "What the hell was that?!"
He waved it off. "Later. That should've cleared up the jamming signal."
"Right!" The woman turned to the camera as other soldiers kept firing. "This is Gunnery Sergeant Ashley Williams of the 212, broadcasting on the emergency channel! Eden Prime is under attack, I repeat, we are under attack by an unknown enemy! They came out of nowhere and we're taking heavy casualties! We need back-up, right now!"
The sound weapons going off stopped as Ashley looked up, over the transmitter, her eyes going wide in shock and fear. The transmitter looked to Dewitt and the other soldiers, all with similar looks on their faces, before they turned and brought…something into view.
It looked a like a giant hand covered in smooth black-purple plating, a miasma surrounding it with what looked like red lightning crackling off of it.]
Shepard tore her attention away from ominous sight to look at the men next to her. Anderson had his brow furrowed in consternation and worry for the soldiers, but his gaze was hard as he glared a hole through the hand-ship.
Nihlus' expression made her want to chuckle, though the situation killed that. He gave off an air of serious stoicism, but his face would be equated to a human with their mouth open and their eyebrows raised.
She turned back to the screen as Dewitt began to talk again. Could it be him? She wondered. The view kept wavering, keeping his face out of shot, but the color of his biotics and the lightsaber he used made it easy to deduce his identity.
["Ash, we need to get back to the Colony and mount a defense!" Dewitt shouted, bringing the camera back on him, a fierce look of rage on his face, before it faded and was replaced by determination. "But we need to stop by my house first."
"This is not time to grab some knick-knacks, Dewitt! You need to get to the Emergency Shelter with the other civilians!" Ashley ordered firmly.
The camera focused on Dewitt's face, his expression turning dead-pan. "Uh, yeah, no. I'm going to my home, my armor and my guns are there, and I can help."
He started jogging down the road, raising a barrier to stop enemy shots from killing him. "Dewitt!" Ashley shouted. "Dewitt, get back here! You ass-"]
The transmission faded into static. "It cuts out there, Captain."
Shepard folded her arms, trying to keep a smile from her face, turning to Anderson and seeing much the same. "Well, now we know Saul's there."
Nihlus gained a frown. "Saul Dewitt…that name sounds familiar, though I can't place it."
Anderson rewound the video back a few seconds, stopping Saul Dewitt's face, showing his dual-colored eyes. "Saul Dewitt used to be a Private Investigator on the Citadel, though he seems to have become a colonist recently." He commented with some humor.
The Turian Spectre nodded. "Ah, he was the human who killed Carlo Montague, correct?"
"Yes, he fought through five hundred pirates and stormed their compound by himself and personally executed Montague." Anderson said. "And he was the one who dealt with the Edwards situation."
Shepard frowned and turned a questioning gaze on the Captain. "The Edwards situation? What do you mean?" She asked as Nihlus made noise of recognition.
Anderson debated over whether or not to tell her about it, finally deciding positively. "Kellen Edwards was an entrepreneur who went crazy after being in a Element Zero accident that hospitalized him for five months. According to his notes, he hired a doctor to get him DNA samples from the various species and managed to combine them together into something he called, 'The Perfect Being', and transferred his mind into the body he created."
At her incredulous look, he nodded. "It's all true. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I probably wouldn't believe it either. But that's not all. Saul managed to track him down with a partner and confronted Edwards. He revealed that his plan was to use a suit of custom-made armor, along with the lightsaber and something called the Omni-shield to attack the various governments, kill them and then declare himself Emperor."
Shepard's face could only be read as 'really?'
Anderson nodded again. "During my visit to the Terra system, a call came in from the local police force, who had received a call from Edwards' mansion about a fight going on between two people and some kind of monster. I took a squad with me and we arrived at the mansion in time see Saul cut the head off of who later discovered to be Kellen Edwards."
"That's crazy." Shepard stated, looking off into space with a disturbed look on her face.
"Ahem." Nihlus coughed. "Eden Prime?"
Anderson's previous attitude shifted back into seriousness. "Of course. The mission stays the same, but now we have to deal with an unknown enemy. Shepard, grab Alenko and Crosse and prepare for drop, full combat gear."
Shepard saluted and marched off.
The Captain rewound the video further, stopping it on the mysterious, ominous ship, narrowing his eyes the strange and disconcerting look.
He could feel trouble coming, and that ship, or whatever it was, would be right at the center.
Well, my day was going fine. Until the Geth and Sovereign showed up, a week earlier than I had prepared for.
I said 'was'.
I nearly got blown up by an Armature (or a Colossus, they look exactly alike) and it was only my quick reflexes that saved my ass from being cooked to a crisp.
Of course, I did manage to get some payback via a long lightsaber throw that went straight through the fucker's flashlight face, followed by a Strike that obliterated it's front half and a good amount of human-sized Geth milling about it's feet.
My eyes fall on Ash, covered in a fine layer of dirt and little dash of ash, glaring at me through the visor of her helmet.
Wait, did she just order me? Not only that, order me to go cower in the Civilian's Shelter?
She must be out of her damn mind. I mean, I know she hasn't all that I'm capable of, but damn, woman, I just blew up a big murderous machine that I'm pretty sure was responsible for killing the rest of your squad in-game.
The guy in the Grizzly was fried and Jacks is bleeding from a shoulder wound and everyone's a little crispy, but otherwise alive.
Though, now that I think about it, I can't really hold knowledge she doesn't have against her.
"Uh, yeah, no." I reply dryly. "I'm going to my home. My armor and my guns are there, I can help."
I twist on my heel and jog off towards my house. There are a few more Geth running around, so I raise a barrier around myself to deflect the bullets.
I can hear Ashley shouting at me before cursing and ordering her men to follow her, followed by the sound of multiple footfalls and gunshots as they run and gun.
The dirt road rests on a sort of long hill, and on either side are rolling hills with trees, grass and small crag-like features filled with water. And there are gas-bags, a peaceful and semi-sentient alien animal that floats over water, dipping their little tentacles in it to feed off of the algae.
There are probably three or four per feature. It must be feeding time.
Opening my omni-tool, I type out a message to Jade, as there are other people nearby and I would look a bit crazy talking to thin air.
[Can you access the house's systems from here?]
"One second…" She replies in my head. "Systems accessed. What do you want me to do?"
[Download all the important files and then wipe the terminal.] I tap out.
"On it, download commencing."
Spotting my pre-fab house coming out, I break out into a dead sprint. The door slides open before I even come into range of the sensors, showing a Geth soldier stepping out.
I don't even slow down, not as Ashley calls out, in fact, I run faster.
The Geth turns his…it's flashlight head on me right as I jump and land a straight kick right to its chest. Its arms fly out and I snag the rifle before landing and turning it on the previous owner.
The rifle spits metal at a furious rate…but this gun feels really stupid in my hands. The bullets are smaller and the gun itself is lighter than Medusa, plus it barely kicks and the sound it makes while shooting.
It's like shooting a toy gun.
The Geth doesn't get back up, what with it's head and upper body all shredded and what not, though I do keep the gun.
I dash into my bedroom to find there aren't more robots inside, but I can hear gunfire outside followed by shouted orders from Ashley.
Better be quick then. I move into my workshop and quickly slide on my Shockgaunts. My armor's open, as I was tinkering with the shield system, which is stored on the inside. I jump at my armor, turning around in mid-air and landing back first in the familiar embrace. It comes to life as Jade takes over the systems, closing and locking the plates into place.
The helmet slides closed with a hiss, indicating that I am sealed inside, and the Jetpack on my back whines softly as it warms up. The pair of wrist-mounted launchers click and shift as I press the button to change the ammunition into Concussion rockets.
Medusa, my Gorgon Assault Rifle goes on my back along with the Geth rifle. Bagger, my heavy pistol made for armor penetration, goes on my right thigh within easy reach. My lightsaber goes on my hip and my knife just behind that, all held in place with magnetic holsters.
"All systems are operational, Saul." Jade reports, sounding satisfied. "The new shield is up and running and all batteries are at full charge. We are ready for combat."
I crack my knuckles and do the same to my neck, a smile coming to my face. "Damn right we are."
Ashley ducked under a hail of bullets, cursing. "Dammit Dewitt, whatever you're getting, hurry up!"
Faint music could be heard from inside. (H-Blockx-Gazoline)
"Is that…music?" Nirali Bhatia asked, somewhat confused. The Alliance Marines traded confused looks.
The back of the house exploded violently and something raced out of the smoke followed by a heavy crunch as it landed on a red Geth, crushing it underfoot.
The figure stood to it's full height, the music emanating from the round blue pack on it's back, hidden eyes looking at the multiple Geth shooting at, the bullets deflecting off a shield.
The figure crouched and leaped into the air, heading straight towards the largest group of Geth standing together, pointing it's closed fists at them. Four small rockets fired from it's wrists, impacting into the huddle and exploding violently, throwing smoke into the air along with assorted Geth detritus.
The armored man landed, drawing his lightsaber and bisecting a pair of soldiers before hurling it at another, impaling it through the chest. He pivoted, pulling the glowing blade back with a flick of his wrist and pulled the pistol off his thigh, unloading six rounds into a nearby Geth's chest, breaking the shield and sending oil white fluid splashing on the ground.
The last robot, a red Geth wielding a shotgun, ran straight at him in a suicide rush, firing it's gun rapidly.
The man turned again and fired, knocking the shotgun out of the Geth's hands before dashing forward and punching it right in the face.
Electricity arced off of his fist, encasing the Geth and causing it to float away and disintegrate.
He strode up to the gather Alliance Marines, storing away the pistol and lightsaber and equipping a purple and black painted assault rifle.
The helmet hissed and spilt, showing them Saul's grinning face. "So, you said something about going to the Civilians' Shelter?" he asked sarcastically.
A/N: Dammit. Dammit.
*Sigh* It was my intention to post this in a month. Instead….I posted it today. After I finished it. Two days after I finished Hero, I am Not.
My fucking muse is refusing to answer my increasingly desperate calls, leaving me to stare at her from outside of her house, my tears lost in the rain that comes down like a typhoon…
I should say that my muse lives in my head, so all I'm actually doing is staring deeply into my eyes through my mirror.
It's kinda gay. But I am damn handsome man.
It's true. My mother says so.
Okay, anyway, yeah, I'm posting this today instead of next month, so be happy!
And some notes:
Again, something are going to stolen wholesale from Destiny, pushed through theoretical Mass Effect science then integrated into the story.
Shockgaunts: Titan's 'Storm Fist' Melee.
Biotic Artillery Strike, or just 'Strike' (i.e. the technique Saul uses against the Armature): Warlock's 'Nova Bomb' Super Charge.
Those and more will be appearing later. I'll list them as they appear. And to answer a frequently asked question: Yes damn it, that is Saul's kid, he doesn't know yet! Stop asking, I made it obvious on purpose!
Another thing: No Jenkins, and here's why:
In my Fanon-Canon (the way Mass Effect would've gone without Saul) after six months of searching, the Alliance would finally track down Carlo Montague to his base. On the way during Operation: Trident, Shepard's ship get's shot down and everyone gets knocked out, and they get captured by pirates.
The pirates execute Tara and Oleg before Shepard and Kaidan are rescued by back-up.
And there you have it, the first chapter of 'Still Not A Hero'! I hope you enjoyed it, and I'll see you back here for more.
Read, Review, and Enjoy!
P.S.: I don't know how long this roll will keep on going, but Imma ride it as far as I can! Though I will take a break if it gets too bad.
Stay Awesome Some More.