Okay guys, this is the last chapter for Mass Effect Sentience.
To Appbeza, Akshka, Eurodox59, Eye of Sparta, Griezz, Tusken1602 and Dekuton; thank you for the constructive critism and advice given via PM's or reviews that helped me get this far. And to the readers who had fun reading, I wanna thank you all for your support in this fanfic.
Oh and the occasional guests, I haven't forgotten about you Sparda XD
I love you all, and hope to see your names on the Fav and Follow lists on the next fic following ME Sentience!
Also, ME Andromeda lives up to its expectations, please don't diss it when you get a hold on it. Once you get past all the glitches, it's a good follow up- trust me on this.
Anyways, enjoy :)
/Consciousness transferance complete…
I opened my eyes and drew myself out of the gel pool my new body was encased in. My entourage of attendants were there waiting, eager to aid in getting their goddess dressed up.
"That won't be necessary." I bade them to disperse. "I can do this myself."
They bowed as they left the room, and I slipped into the ceremonial armor and set the robes over it. We had just won over the Collectors, and that was news sure to bring smiles all over the frontier. All AEGIS looked to me for guidance, and this victory would strengthen their resolve against the coming storm.
I will not, however, inform them of my encounter with Caliban on the Collector base or how I lost my body in the battle. What happened there stays secret, at least until I figure out my wayward brother's motives.
His talk was not about joining the Reapers. As far as I can tell, he hated them, called them obsolete. Whichever side he was on, it may not be on mine but it definitely wasn't on theirs.
Small comfort to the sister whose spine he just ripped out.
"You look magnificent in those robes, my goddess." Ilenae said with pride as she and the rest of the AEGIS councilors approached me on my way out of the rejuvenation chamber.
"I know." I answered, "I appreciate you making its chroma cerulean, matches my eyes."
"They are ready to receive you, my goddess." Saarus informed, "The followers of AEGIS await eagerly for the news."
"I'm sure they are." I muttered, "Come on, let's get this over with."
The Malevolence had made planetfall on Thanis two hours ago. Like the day I initiated the Ascenscion Protocol, the streets were filled with the innumerable masses clamoring to get a glimpse of their divine icon.
The cam bots took the best angles so that they won't miss a spot once this goes live. I climbed the steps and placed my hands on the dais before me, then recited the script I'd prepared five minutes ago.
"Faithful followers of AEGIS…"
I had barely spoken, the rest of my sentence was drowned out by the roar of the crowd. The fact that they're that happy to see me continues to amaze me. Once the noise dies down, I begin again.
"Faithful followers of AEGIS, the time for war is near. We have struck a blow against the Reapers and destroyed what remains of the past cycle. But the worst is yet to come. The Great Devourer's parting words told of a storm in the horizon, one that will engulf the galaxy and consume all in darkness." I made sure my gaze turns to each individual standing in the crowd below for my message to hit home. "The Reapers will send their legions. I say, let them come. We will face them, together!"
There were nods in the front row.
"We are AEGIS, the shield and sword of the galaxy! We will show all those who cower in fear in all corners of the Milky Way that even the mighty Reapers bleed when struck!"
My exit was completed with another roar of applause from the gathered crowd, each and everyone of my followers pressing forward against the guards keeping them back as I descended the platform. Seeing that kind of devotion gave me an idea, and so I turned back and started the long walk through the crowd and into the streets of the city.
It was a slow crawl with everyone pushing to touch me, like hungry jackals eager to claw their way towards a newly carved carcass. Hands were stretched out to brush against my robes, and cries for blessings were thrown my way. I extended my arms to meet with those closest to me as I passed, therefore acting the part as goddess of AEGIS.
Ilenae and the other councilors followed me everywhere, and this was no exception. They too got their fair share of attention from the masses.
I turn to Ilenae, "Yes, matriarch?"
"The commander returns from her mission, she wants to speak with you."
I didn't know she had a mission. Must've been pretty important for her not to tell me. But, whatever. It was her decision, and I can't and won't judge her for it. "Can it wait? I'd hate to disappoint the crowds by leaving so abruptly."
"It concerns the destruction of a whole batarian system. Something happened in one of the clusters that triggered a supernova, the collateral damage is yet to be determined. So yes, I believe it is important."
I purse my lips and made my decision, "Let's complete this round first, I'll handle it personally."
Once I had covered the whole city and given every follower my due attention, I quickly boarded a shuttle that took me up to the station orbiting Thanis. The Normandy had docked there, and looked like it had sustained a minor scratch or two from Shepard's mission. And something else aroused my curiousity.
Aside from the Alliance shuttle docked close to the legendary frigate, I bumped into Admiral Hackett on my way through the docking tube. "Good day, High Councilor." High Councilor? Wow, I've gotten used to being called a deity or just my surname. That was new one.
I nodded, "Admiral." They really don't want to call me goddess, that would be embarassing. Plus, I think that would be Liara's line.
"Let me be the first to express gratitude on behalf of the Alliance for defending our borders against the Collectors." The Admiral had a tight schedule, so I was grateful for the time he put for those words.
"It was a human who created me, Admiral. I'm just returning the favor."
"Er…right." He acknowledged, walking away with the two Alliance marines accompanying him.
I continued on my path, finally arriving in the Normandy's med bay and finding my lover sitting atop the bed with just as much scratches as the ship itself. She was looking rather glum prior to my arrival, which didn't at all come as a surprise since she just nuked a whole batarian cluster – not that I cared for the four-eyed scumbags in any way.
But her eyes lit up when she saw me, and she smiled. "Hello there, beautiful."
"Hello yourself." I said with a voice tinged with concern, "I bumped into Admiral Hackett on the way here. What happened out there?"
Dr. Chakwas swiped at her datapad a few times and disappeared into the other room, giving the two of us the privacy we needed. I knelt before the Spectre and placed my hands on her lap. Shepard sighed, "It's a long story."
"Then tell me the shorter version."
"Well." The Commander says as she squeezes my hands, "As soon as we got you transferred from the Normandy's servers and into Thanis, I got a call from the Admiral. It was supposed to be another rescue mission, I was supposed to save an Alliance scientist from batarian hands. But it got complicated once we got off planet."
Inwardly, I heaved a sigh of relief. It wasn't her fault after all. "I take it the batarians didn't like that?"
Shepard shook her head, "It was still me, Kara. I caused those deaths."
My brows tighten down, "I don't understand."
"Well, as it turns out, the Alliance had a team stationed deep in batarian territory- same system. I got the scientist to regroup with the team, only to find out they've been walking around an unstable Reaper artifact. You can guess what happened next."
They were indoctrinated. "And?"
"Supposedly, the base- which was situated in an asteriod floating about the system- was initially designed to act as a network of thrusters that'll send the asteriod hurtling towards the batarian relay."
"Wait a minute, what?"
Shepard nodded, "You heard me. When they dug up that artifact, before they all got indoctrinated, the doctor saw that the relay was going to be the Reapers' shortcut into the galaxy so that their invasion can start early. Once I heard that, I jumped at the chance to put a stop to it. Then, they turned on me."
She sighs wearily and puts her head in her hands, "I tried to save them, Kara. Tried to warn the batarians so they could at least evacuate before the asteroid hit."
I rise and sit next to her, giving her a much needed hug. "There's no easier way to say it, but those deaths were necessary."
"I know. And that's what makes it feel so cold."
"Hey." I take Shepards face into my hands so I could look her in the eye, "We do what we must to keep this galaxy from falling apart. You bought us time, that is all that matters."
"Yeah, I know."
"So." I glance out the window to take a look at the beautiful desert world below, "What now?"
"Now?" Shepard answered, "The batarians are gonna be out for blood. Tomorrow, I'm heading out for Earth to turn myself in to the Alliance."
"What?!" I stand up, "What the hell for?"
"It's not a matter of preference, I know I'm a convenient scapegoat for avoiding open war." Shepard says, "That's the last thing we need right now with the Reapers knocking at our door."
I ponder on the Commander's decision. I knew her long enough to know she always did what was best for humanity, and this one proved just how deep her convictions were. I hated it, but that's who she was. "You look like you're firmly rooted in this. Is there anything I can say that'll change you mind?"
"I doubt it."
"Well, you can stay with AEGIS, at least until this whole thing blows over. They'll treat you like a queen. You'd have warm food, soft beds and the comfort of my arms to wake up to every morning."
Shepard smiled and shook her head, "Tempting, but no thanks. I appreciate the offer, though."
"Well, I'll stay in touch while you're there." I leaned in and kissed her, "I'm just a phonecall away."
"Thank you, Kara." Shepard says as she embraces me. "Thank you for understanding."
"You know I'd support you with every decision." I held her back, "Even if I don't like it."
We stayed that way for a full minute, both probably wondering if this is the last time we would see each other. I sure as hell hope not! "Can I at least accompany you on the trip back to Earth?"
"Ah, why the hell not?"
We sit in the med bay in silence for another minute. Then Shepard addresses the issue that's been bothering her the most, "Kara. What are you going to do about Caliban?"
"To tell the truth, I haven't the slightest idea where to begin." I replied, "He certainly did not perish in the Collector base when we blew it up, and he's not the type to sit idle while everything in the galaxy's flaring up. I should know, I raised him that way."
"It's weird you call him 'brother' when all evidence points to you as his mother."
I roll my eyes at her words, "I'm okay with many things, but that's not a title I'm ready for just yet."
"Why?" Shepard teased, making light of the somber tone. "I think you'd be a great mom."
"You're going off track, Jane." I pointed out, "And on the contrary, all evidence points out that I'm a terrible role model. Leave it at that."
We continued our small talk until duty called us to go our separate ways. Inwardly, I wished it went on just a little bit longer. But time, as I know it, is a resource best spent wisely. I will be at her side when she goes to Earth to face the music, and I'll be waiting to be there again when she gets out.
Until then, AEGIS stands vigilant.
This is Kara Solana, signing off.