A/N: I've been replaying the Mass Effect series recently, and also watching a lot of Archer. The fusion seemed too perfect to pass up. This is NOT going to be a complete rewrite of the trilogy. It's simply going to be some of the key moments from the series re-written with an Archer-esque filter. I guess in the interests of fair warning, there'll be some characters who are now massively out of character as I twist them for comedy value.
Mass Effect: Archer-ized
Sterling A. Shepard: The Galaxies Most Dangerous Spectre
Part 1: Old Flame, New Pain
The only sounds in the valley were the lessening beeps from the wreckage of the geth drones. That and Kaidan's nervous whimpering as he knelt over Jenkins' body. Sterling Shepard rolled his eyes as he strolled towards them; what a pussy.
"He's dead!" Kaidan said as Shepard drew up.
"Well yeah, he would be," Shepard agreed. "They tore right through him. Guess their tech advanced a bit in the last three hundred years."
"We should take him back to the ship."
"Don't be an idiot," Shepard said, shaking his head. "We'll come back for him. You know, if we have time."
"We can't just leave him here!"
"Why not? I mean, I assume the geth aren't into necrophilia, so it's not like he's going to get any worse." Ignoring Kaidan's indignant splutters, he set off up the path. "Oh, and when we get back to the Normandy, we're going to put in a little range time, buddy. I mean, points for effort, but I think we both know who took those geth down, am I right?"
Kaidan shot him a venomous glance as he caught up; Shepard just chuckled.
A couple more geth challenged them as they moved on but, now alerted to their presence, Shepard took them down with ease, charging ahead of Kaidan to engage with them. More gunfire could be heard up ahead, and Shepard hurried into the cover of a nearby boulder. A shapely figure in truly hideous armour was being chased by some of the drones; she dived to escape a rocket, losing her grip on her rifle.
Shepard whirled out of cover, letting loose a flurry of pistol shots that nailed the drone dead centre. Shots rang out from his side, Kaidan finally drawing his weapon, but it was the prone woman who took down the final drone, catching it amidst a barrage of bullets from her retrieved rifle.
"Did you see that?" Shepard called to Kaidan as he approached the woman. "That was – well, not great shooting, but it did the – holy shit, Ashley?!"
"Shepard? Oh you're shitting me!"
"What are you doing all the way out here?"
"Best posting I could get where I wouldn't run into you," she spat, glaring at him.
"Yeah?" Shepard said with a grin. "How's that working out for you?"
"You two know each other?" Kaidan said, offering his hand to Ashley. "Hi, Kaidan Alenko, Staff Lieutenant for the SSV Normandy."
"Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams," she replied, shaking his hand. "And yes, sadly."
"Don't be like that," Shepard chided her. "We were in boot camp together. We used to date."
"Until you cheated on me. Repeatedly!"
"What – only with asari!"
"Is that supposed to make it ok?"
"It doesn't?" Shepard replied with a confused look.
"Why would it?!"
"Because they're mono-gendered! It doesn't count if they're not actually women."
"Oh my God, that is just – "
"Ahem. Sorry to interrupt, but shouldn't we focus on the mission?" Kaidan butted in.
"Yeah, Ash, be professional for once in your life!"
She opened her mouth to respond, then paused, and shook her head. "Kaidan's right. Pretty sure the geth are after the beacon. Come on, idiot." She explained further as she led them towards the colony, about how the beacon had been dug up a few weeks prior, and the garrison had done little but guard it since. It had just been moved for transportation when the geth had arrived.
As they crested the hill, the first signs of habitation coming into view, she let out a gasp of horror. The corpses of some of the colonists had been impaled on vicious looking spikes, about twice Shepard's height.
"Ew," Shepard said with a grimace. "That's just…oh, sorry Kaidan. Looks like they are into necrophilia."
"Are you always this much of an asshole?" Kaidan snapped, heading towards the habitats.
Shepard was just about to respond when the spikes groaned and collapsed. The corpses stood up, now glowing with blue electric light, and charged the trio. Shepard and Ashley both readied their weapons, but before they could let off a single shot, Kaidan had raised his hand with a startled cry. For a moment, he was shrouded in his own blue light, and then a wave of force threw the corpses into the air. They floated along for a moment, struggling against the biotic force carrying them, before dropping to the ground with a loud crack of shattering bones.
"Damn. That was actually pretty badass, Kaidan," Shepard said. "You know, considering."
"I…yeah." Kaidan was staring at his hands, a stunned expression on his face. "I guess it was, wasn't it? I haven't cut loose like that in a long time."
"Well, here's hoping it wasn't a one-off," Ashley said, heading over to the fallen bodies and making sure they were done for with a couple of rifle bursts.
"I'm almost certain it was," Shepard commented, walking past them. "Come on."
"Don't you want to take a closer look? For your report?" Kaidan asked.
Shepard turned and looked at the oozing husk. "Yeah…going to take a pass on that. But hey, knock yourself out."
Kaidan looked down at the husk, then back at Shepard, then shrugged. "I suppose it would be better to leave that for the experts…"
"Exactly. Ashley, what are you doing?"
The soldier was clearing one of the habitats, rifle ready for surprises. "Some of the researchers were here, my squad and I were guarding them as they packed. I'm not sure whether they survived or not."
There was a beep as the door to another habitat opened, and a man and woman walked out, hands held above their heads, the man cowering a little behind his companion. "Don't shoot! We're humans!"
"Dr Warren?" Ashley said, lowering her rifle. The woman turned, and let out a sigh of relief.
"Oh, thank the Maker. Chief Williams, yes? Your squad saved us, thank you so much!"
"No-one is saved!" her companion suddenly exclaimed. "The age of humanity is ended! Soon only ruin and corpses will remain!"
There was an awkward silence. Shepard looked at Ashley, who shrugged, and Kaidan, who just looked unsettled.
"So…thoughts on that? Anyone?"
"I'm sorry," Dr Warren said, taking hold of her companion's arm. "Manuel has been a bit…disturbed by what's happened. More so than usual."
"Disturbed? He should be wearing a sandwich board and standing on a street corner!" Shepard snapped.
"Excuse me! Dr Manuel is a genius!"
"Not right now he isn't," he pointed out. "Inside voice, buddy!"
"Did you see anything after the attack, Dr Warren?" Ashley cut in. With a lingering glare at Shepard, Dr Warren talked them through what they had seen, which turned out to be not much more than they already knew. They hadn't seen the turian Nihlus, either.
"Damn. Either he's crazy fast or he's gotten lost," Shepard said to the others as they moved on towards the spaceport.
"He did say he moved faster on his own," Kaidan pointed out.
"I could outpace him."
"Sure you could," Ashley said with a derisive snort. "I remember all those amazing runs you did back at boot…"
"Well, maybe not like laps, but you saw me play clawball."
Ashley groaned. "Please don't."
"What? It's a brilliant sport. I could have gone pro!"
"Really wish you had," she muttered.
Their bickering was cut short by a loud gunshot, echoing off the cliffs around them. Ashley and Kaidan both raised their weapons, scanning their surroundings, but Shepard stayed casual.
"Relax, he's on our side."
"Who?" Ashley barked, still looking around for the source of the shot.
"Nihlus. That was a Brawler pistol," he elaborated, seeing their confusion. "Come on, didn't you recognise it?"
"You did?" Kaidan said.
"Well duh. Plus, clearly not here, so put your weapons down, idiots."
"How can you be so sure?" he asked, lowering his pistol.
"It's called situational awareness. I'm pretty good at it."
It was then that more shots rang out, zinging off Shepard's shields by the barest fraction. He hopped back with a yelp, drawing his pistol to return fire. Ashley charged past him, the heat sink of her rifle already starting to glow. The geth waiting at the port ducked into cover to avoid her barrage, and Shepard took advantage to get in close, adding his own shots to Ashley's. He vaulted over a wall just as a geth took aim, slamming feet first into it. It staggered back, beeping quietly, and he spun another kick at it before taking aim at another one on the next level up. It went down with a crackle of static, and he turned back to his first opponent, which was now back on its feet. A single shot, and its flashlight-like head dimmed.
"Kaidan, aim for their bulbs!" he called. "I mean, you can hit a target that big, right?"
A few wild shots impacted against the wall behind him, and he ducked. "Right?!"
"Yes, Shepard, I can manage that!"
"Great! I believe in you!"
"Do you?" Ashley asked, bunkering down next to him. He laughed, and shook his head.
"You've only known him what, half an hour? We've been on the Normandy a few weeks now, and trust me, it doesn't get much better than this."
"He seems nice."
"Yeah, because nice is just the skill you want in a firefight. It's what made me the man I am today!"
"No, your mother made you the man you are today!"
"Are you still hung up on that?" Shepard snapped, popping up and drilling the geth with a well-placed shot.
"Nowhere near as much as you, Shepard," Ashley replied smoothly. He grimaced at her, then headed up to the train platform, shaking his head. Just past the top of the stairs, they found a body, blue blood pooling around it.
"Oh dear…" Kaidan said, kneeling to examine it. "This is bad."
"This is your turian?"
"Yep, Nihlus." For the first time, Shepard looked a little uneasy. "He was a Spectre, so whatever killed him must be pretty dangerous."
"It was the other turian."
The trio wheeled at the unexpected new voice, just about suppressing the urge to fire. A rumpled looking, unshaven human man was creeping out from behind a stack of crates, his arms raised.
"There was another turian, he was already here. It looked like they knew each other, but when your friend looked away the other one shot him."
Ashley looked at Shepard doubtfully. "There weren't any turians on Eden Prime that I know of. And why would one be working with the geth?"
"It was a turian pistol we heard firing, so that adds up," Shepard said.
"Really? That's all it takes for you to believe this guy?"
"Well yeah. I'm almost always right, and why would he lie?"
She shook her head. "Fine, whatever. Sir, did you see where this other turian went?"
"He took a train over to the port. He had some of those robots with him."
"Synthetics," Shepard corrected. "The geth are fully sentient, it's what makes them so creepy."
"Really? You're scared of hem?" Ashley scoffed.
"Are you not? Massively intelligent, emotionless lifeforms? They're a glitch away from killing the entire galaxy!" Shepard explained.
"Wow. Ok, Well, definitely coming back to that, but maybe we should get to the port before they make off with the beacon?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"This is not a train," Shepard said flatly.
"Of course it is," Ashley replied.
"Well it's a crappy train – it's the twenty second century, haven't they head of roofs? This journey is going to be the worst. It's basically a sledge."
"Oh my God," she said, heading for the controls. "You're an N7 marine! Suck it up! Kaidan's fine with it."
"See? Even Kaidan thinks they're crap, so, you know."
Ashley hit the power with a little more force than was strictly necessary, and Shepard and Kaidan were swept from their feet as the train jerked forward. She smirked down at them. Shepard pointedly ignored her, reaching into his ammo pack and pulling out a flask, taking a big swig with a sigh.
"Is that whiskey?" Kaidan asked in scandalised tones.
"Yeah, you want some?"
"No! We're on a mission!"
"What, it's only 55% proof. It's basically water."
"I am never going on a ground team with you again," Kaidan grumbled.
"Sure you will," Shepard said with a chuckle. "I'm XO, remember?"
"Will you two shut up?" Ashley hissed, readying her rifle. "We're here."
Here was the spaceport, two long platforms linked by bridges. The sensors in Shepard's armour beeped as they picked up the signals from a squad of geth, currently out of sight. He led the way, hurrying off the train to survey the stairs. A nasty sight greeted him.
"Uh, guys? Is that a bomb?"
"Shit!" Ashley said, peeking over his shoulder. "Did you ever do that bomb disposal course?"
"Well, I know a bit about tech…" Kaidan stood up to go and examine the bomb, but Shepard had already tapped a few icons on his omni-tool; the bomb whirred for a moment, then the lights on top of it flickered and died.
"You just said you couldn't do that!" Ashley snapped.
"No, I said I didn't take the course. Why would I? It's an omni-tool – the whole point is that it does figuratively everything."
"That's actually a surprisingly good point," she admitted.
"A point which completely ignores the hard work and effort marines like me put in," Kaidan snapped.
"Oh, I'm sorry, buddy," Shepard said. "I'm picking up another three – why don't you go and handle the two on that side of the station."
"Oh." Kaidan hesitated, looking sheepish. "Well, I don't know…"
"No, please, I insist," Shepard said, practically throwing out of their cover. He stood there for a moment, then hurried off towards the further two bombs. Ashley watched him go, then turned to Shepard.
"Was that really necessary?"
"Absolutely," he said. "He'll draw them away while I disarm the bombs; you can provide covering fire."
In the end though, even Shepard had to admit that Kaidan handled himself pretty well. He was without question the worst shot Shepard had ever seen, but he supposed that didn't really matter if you could throw your opponents' twenty feet clear with a wave of your hand. He did point out though that for all Kaidan's protestations, all he had done to disarm the two bombs was tap his omni-tool a few times.
"So I guess you're living proof that all your training was a waste," he finished.
"Screw you, Shepard."
"I never cease to be amazed at how quick you can make an impression," Ashley commented, leading the way to the loading dock. It was deserted, save for what Shepard presumed was the prothean beacon, which was emitting a weird green light. He shot it a wary look, then turned away to radio back to the Normandy, requesting evac.
He looked over his shoulder to see Ashley walking towards the beacon in a daze, her head lolling slightly. The green light was getting brighter. He cursed, charging towards her and dropping his gun in his haste.
Throwing himself forward, he cannoned into her, pushing her away from the beacon. Rolling over, his eyes caught the light –
And everything went dark.
Shepard blinked, the lights above him blinding. He sat up, raising a hand to shield his eyes.
"God, how much did I drink?"
"Significantly more than would be recommended on a mission, commander, but nothing excessive by your standards."
The voice sent a jolt of fear down Shepard's spine, and he frantically ran his hands over his body. "What did you do to me Chakwas?"
"Just a few scans, a bit of pain relief. Don't worry, you're just the same as you were when your squad brought you in."
"Oh, thank God," he said, relaxing a little. "Seriously, your cybernetics fetish is just freaky."
"It's not a fetish, just a professional appreciation," the older woman said, flicking through his chart. "I really wish you'd listen to a few of my recommendations, you'd be much more effective."
"Hey, I don't need cybernetics to be effective!" he snapped. Doctor Chakwas held her hands up in surrender.
"Whatever you say, commander. I believe Captain Anderson wanted a word with you once you're up and about though."
As if summoned, the captain appeared, strolling into the infirmary with his customary ease.
"Ah, you're awake! Excellent, excellent. Your mother was worried sick."
Shepard groaned. "You've been…talking to her?"
"Of course! I know she likes to keep up to date on what you're doing, I think it's rather charming."
"Yeah…charming…" Shepard looked around to see if Chakwas had left her brandy visible. He was out of luck.
"So I've had reports from Chief Williams and Lieutenant Alenko, and I've got to say, Shepard, that was a pretty ballsy move you pulled back there."
"Heh…uh, never mind. Well yeah, I mean, it's just instinct, you know? I don't think, I just do."
"Funny, I've heard that said about you before, Commander," Chakwas remarked in soft tones. Anderson didn't seem to hear her.
"That just makes it all the more impressive in my book, Shepard. Do you remember anything from when the beacon activated?"
Shepard shook his head. "Not really. Well, a little. It was like a vision. I haven't felt anything like it since my last shore leave on Omega." He chuckled, shaking his head at the memories. "Man, that asari could bend!"
"The vision?" Anderson said.
"Oh, yeah. Well it was pretty whacked out stuff. It looked like synthetics...there was some pretty rampant abuse of Asimov's first law. It was like a warning, I think…"
"Asimov? First law?"
"Isaac Asimov? The father of twentieth century science fiction? Robots do no harm? Hello?"
Anderson frowned. "I'm not sure that's strictly relevant, commander. But your vision…that's alarming. The Council will want to know about this, Shepard. We're en route to the Citadel now."
Shepard sat up a little straighter, some of his usual good mood returned. "Yeah? How long are we in dock for?"
"That depends on the Council," Anderson replied. "A few days at least though, I'd imagine."
"Awesome." He was already making plans – Fluxx to start with, he thought, possibly followed by a trip to Hyneria Ward, which he'd always enjoyed.
"It'll be a good chance for you to adjust to Chief Williams joining your team," Anderson continued.
"Gunnery Chief Williams has joined us. I was very impressed with her conduct back on Eden Prime, and her unit has been wiped out. I figured that with your history she'd be a good fit aboard the Normandy."
"Oh, yeah," Shepard agreed. "I'm excited to, uh, work with her again."
"Excellent! I'll leave you to sort the details, Commander." With that, Anderson headed back to the bridge. Shepard followed him more leisurely, pausing to raid Chakwas' supply cupboard for surgical spirit, which would do until he found wherever she'd stashed his armour. As he headed out of the infirmary, he caught sight of Ashley leaning against the far wall of the mess, chatting to Kaidan. She narrowed her eyes at him as he waved, and shifted so their eyes wouldn't meet. He chuckled, and started to wander over to them. One of the only people whose abilities actually merited some level of respect was back on his team, and he was confident that the old spark was still there.
This was going to be epic.