Disclaimer: I own nothing!
AN: I'm sick as FU***K. pretty much this past week and a half I've been plagued wit coughs and congestion, but I was already about halfway through this chapter so it wasn't to bad. Anyways this is a much bigger chapter as it not only marks the end of the Prologue, but also has much more people… like a lot.
Frakieu: whoops that was a typo. Thanks I'm a dumbass so I need people to point that stuff out.
Zealous Spector: Thank you, and I honestly have no idea why I wasn't doing that anyways. I've read so many books yet I forgot that one thing, I am shame.
Pyrothekid: Okay I've been waiting for some heavy feedback. And thank you for being honest, I know I'm not very good.
First: Yes I am a bad writer. Also I'm ashamed at the fact I completely forgot about line breaks between dialogue and I will be going back to fix all of that.
Second: The distinction between past and present should be fairly clear, if you could, be more specific as to what is confusing.
Third: Okay so I can't really answer this without spoilers, but I built that up for a specific reason, and I designed it to be explained in a future chapter. Don't worry it shouldn't be too cheese (I hope). There is a good reason (or at least I thing it's good) as to why he can split his mind. The whole 'Death' flashbacks are meant to build suspense and slowly, deliberately create background. And I have what I hope is an interesting reason behind 'Death' actions.
Fourth & Fifth: All of this is built up so it can be experienced and explained from a different perspective, he would have no reason to describe every little thing around him unless he's focusing on it because he's seen it all a thousand times before. A lot more of the setting and various other things like his suit and such will be described in depth soon. From Shepards point of view, one of the things I dislike about some stories is where they just dump massive amounts of descriptions without context.
I really appreciate the review it's nice to able to explain some of my thought process from time to time, keeps me on track.
Now onto the Chapter!
"Cease fire! Cease fire! We're non hostile Cease fire!" I internally grinned as Jennifer Hales voice came over the voice channel, not quite desperate, but most definitely distressed. Here it was, the beginning of the end of the Reapers.
The quiet made it hard to sleep. On every other ship I had served on, military or not the engines had always been humming, or in some cases rumbling, on in the background. The Normandy however was different from any other ship she had served on, the first stealth ship in existence and built with the cooperation of both Turian and Human minds it was a step towards reconciling their two species. Despite its size the Tantalus drive core was almost completely silent, even when standing next to it in the engineering deck it was little more than a quiet hum.
I rolled to my side from my back, staring at the utilitarian closets beside my bed. Sighing I rolled over again, trying to reach a comfortable position on the small bed. Sighing again I rolled somewhat gracefully off the bed. My toes curling at the cool metal flooring, I gave a final sigh before quickly changing from my sleeping clothes.
"Shepard? Up already? You still have about six ours of rack time" Lieutenant Kaiden Alenko's voice greeted me immediately after entering the mess. Now clad in dark navy blues. He was in what seemed his favorite spot in the ship. A small out of the way nook near between the sleeping pods and what passed as the mess hall. Currently he was sat up in one of the comfortable reclined seats a questioning look on his face. His omni tool was on, video game paused on screen.
"Can't sleep, figured I might as well do something instead of just staring at the inside of my eyelids." Despite my fatigue, my voice barely conveyed any exhaustion placating the inquisitive Lieutenant. Kaiden nodded leaned back into his seat before pausing and looking back at me.
"By the way doctor T'soni woke up an hour or two ago. Came out of the med bay for some food before returning." He informed me gesturing with his head to said med bay across the deck. "She mentioned she wanted to talk to you, probably about the molding thing. I was going to wake you, but figured you'd be sleeping. Guess I was wrong." I chuckled quietly.
"It's called 'Melding', but thanks for the heads up. And I appreciate the thought, even if I wasn't sleeping." I said sincerely with smile as I walked past, I was going kill time by going deck, by deck making sure everything was all right, but this was probably a better use of my time.
Crossing the deck quickly I entered Med bay. Doctor Karin Chakwas looked up from the computer on her desk, sharp eyes recognizing my fatigue instantly.
"Shouldn't you be asleep Commander?" she asked curtly, an eyebrow rising in emphasis as she lifted her hands from the holographic keyboard to cross them over her chest. I smiled sheepishly lifting my hands in helpless gesture before answering, "Couldn't sleep, to much has been going on lately." Chakwas, sighed uncrossing her arms before standing. She crossed the Med bay in measured steps before placing an arm on my shoulder. "I understand how you feel, really. There's a lot on your plate right now, but not sleeping isn't going to help." She said sincerely looking at me with soft, but stern eyes. I smiled reassuringly at her.
"I know, I was just going to walk around. Maybe try and settle my mind when I head Liara had woken up and wanted to talk to me, figured might as well do that." I said truthfully meeting her gaze. Nodding she withdrew her hand and stopped back.
"Well just make sure to get some sleep afterwards. Liara's in the storage room, she's using the computer back there I think." She said, turning and returning to her desk, resuming whatever activity she had been doing before I had entered. Smiling to myself I nodded to her as I walked through the Med bay to the smaller room at its back.
Liara T'soni was so focused at whatever task she has set herself to, she didn't notice me entering the room. Realizing this I shifted awkwardly before making my self known.
"Ahem." I cleared my throat startling the blue scientist. She recollected herself quickly, turning in her chair to look at me, eyes wide and surprised.
"Shepard! I wasn't expecting you!" She spoke quickly, and somewhat loudly. Clearly surprised by my presence. "I was told you were going to be asleep for a few more hours." That explained it. I gave her a second to calm down before speaking.
"Couldn't sleep, decided to go around and check on the crew, when I heard you were awake and wanted to talk." I explained, leaning against the wall next to the door.
"Oh. Oh! I see, yes I did want to talk to you." She turned fully in her chair to face me. Clearly excited at the prospect about talking about anything Prothean. Smiling I gesturing for her to continue. Nodding she opened up her omni tool, scrolling through it for a few seconds before looking back to me. "I've been taking notes of what I could discern from the… visions you shared with me." She looked back down to her glowing omni tool, eyes flitting over the holographic display. "As you said, I can definitely see destruction and death, but not much else." She closes her eyes and lowers her arm, shaking her head slightly. "It's unclear, not vague, or blurry, but like I'm…" She trails off, probably continuing her train of thought in her own head. I smiled amused before speaking.
"Like you're looking at I the wrong way? Or like listening to a language you don't understand. You just can't comprehend what you're looking at?" She looked up at me smiling.
"Yes exactly! Just like that!" She stood excitedly pacing. "It must be due to the Protheans unique physiology. We know from their Beacons that Protheans had an ability similar to Asari mind melding which is how Beacons work in the first place. It's likely that the only way these beacons worked is through the use of this ability, which is why we cannot completely comprehend this- this message of destruction!" As she ranted, pacing ever faster back and forth, her words grew louder and louder until she was almost shouting. Stopping abruptly she turned to face me, shoulders heaving and wide eyed. I smiled amused before walking up to the still panting Liara and placing my hands on her shoulders just like Chakwas had done minutes ago.
"Calm down, explain what you've figured out and we can work it out together okay?" I spoke softly and calmly. And Liara quickly cooled, she closed her eyes and took deep breaths before looking back to me and smiling.
"Okay." She said softly, taking a step back and bringing up her omni tool again. "From the few details I was able to disce-" Liara was cut off abruptly as the ships internal comms system came to life. Tilting my head I listened intently.
"Ummm, can someone wake up the commander because… I just found something really weird…" Their pilot. Jeff Moreau's voice broadcasted through the room, and assumingly across the ship. I sighed, before looking back at Liara, who had also looked away.
"Well, I should probably see what that's about." I said, genuinely disappointed. Looking back at me, Liara also sighed.
"Yes of course, mean while I'll probably get some more sleep." She said walking over to her desk and shutting down the computer. I made a noise of agreement before exiting the room into the med bay.
Chakwas gave me a pointed look as a passed her in the med bay, followed by a reminder as to how important sleep is. I placated her with a few assurances before continuing into the crew quarters. Kaiden gave me an inquisitive look from across the room before returning to his omni tool and I quickly jogged up the stairs into the first deck, made somewhat more difficult due to my fatigue. I quickly passed by the CIC nodding to Pressly as he worked at his station.
"What's the situation?" I asked as I came to a stop just behind Jokers seat. Breath slightly labored.
"Commander?!" He jumped in his seat, clearly startled. I frowned, I'd been startling people a lot lately. "You sure got here fast." He said frowning over his shoulder at me.
"I was already up." I explained stepping up to stand next to him and crossing my arms. "So, What's the situation?" I repeated scanning the various monitors around the cockpit. Set up roughly ten meters from the nose of the, it's walls were covered in various complex monitors and controls. Recovering quickly from his shock, he shifted slightly before speaking.
"Well, I was just here making sure everything is running smoothly when that came up on the passive scans" He said pointing to a monitor that showed a vague, but distinctly unnatural shape about ten billion kilometers beyond the furthest planet of the solar system. Under it noted that whatever it was was definitely synthetic and about a kilometer long.
"How did we even pick that up?" I asked surprised uncrossing my arms and leaning in to look at the screen, one arm resting on Jokers seat. "That's way beyond our sensor range… isn't it?" I asked turning to Joker, who had begun fiddling with some controls before him.
"Well, the average sensor suite of a military vessel has about a seven billion kilometer range, but this ship was designed using the latest tech of both the Human alliance and the Turian Hierarchy. Add onto to that it's probably the only thing in that direction for hundreds of trillions of kilometers means we picked it up pretty easily." He explained, not looking away from his controls. Nodding, I straightened crossing my arms again.
"So… what is it?" I asked
"Not sure." He said before pausing. "wanna find out?" He asked grinning as he look back at me. I grinned back before answering.
It took two hours of traveling at a comfortable cruising speed to reach the anomalous object. During which I had managed to get some restful sleep, mind focused on something other than Reapers, Saren, and Galactic doom. So when I returned to the cockpit once more I was much more alert. Looking to Joker I noticed he seemed much more alarmed than the last time I was up here.
"What's wrong." I asked brows furrowed in concern. He glanced up at me for e second eyes worried before looking back down at his consoles.
"Well… from what I'm getting." He paused for a second, looking to different display and manipulating a control there. He sighed before leaning back into his seat. "That's a Relay." He said in disbelief.
"A Relay?" I asked immediately in surprise. "But I thought the scans said it was only a kilometer long. Besides, what would a Relay be doing all the way out here?"
"Well the scanners say it's definitely a kilometer long, exactly. And despite its shape being only vaguely similar to most Relays, it's definitely giving off the same readings as one." He answered still reclined in his pilots chair arms crossed.
"Is it active?" I asked scrutinizing the shape on the scanners. It looked less like A Relay and more like a thick geometric tuning fork, straight planes and angular edges, rather than smooth curves.
"No it's inactive at the mom- wait! Power levels are rising, I think it's activating!" He said alarmed. Leaning forward and uncrossing his arms, his hands flew over the consoles before him. Taking a step back, eyes wide in surprise. I let Joker do his work before turning to the side of the cockpit and activating the ship wide comms there.
"Attention! Attention! This Is Shepard! We're about to enter FTL! Brace!" During a standard FTL jump, the change in speeds, while noticeable, was rather inconsequential. However going from dead stop to FTL during an unintentional jump could end in disaster. Reaching over to Jokers seat I activated a specially designed harness for his frail constitution. He barely seemed to acknowledge its presence as he continued to furiously work Normandy's controls.
Turning I ran down the CIC pathway, as the various personnel who worked here strapped in at their stations. I clapped Pressly on the shoulder as I passed him briskly walking up to the command center where a utilitarian chair had extended from the floor, made for situations just like this one. Strapping my self into it I opened several holographic consoles before me. Linking them to Jokers own, I had just enough time to see one of them signal an FTL jump before feeling the ship accelerate so quickly black crept at the edges of my vision. The intense G-forces pressed me into my seat, and I grunted as I felt my consciousness being pulled slowly from me by the pressure. I blearily acknowledged alarms sounding through the CIC as the G-forces mounted.
It seems to go on forever, but probably only lasted a few minutes before stopping abruptly as it started, throwing me forward into the straps of my chair with a grunt and a generous dose of pain. Well that's going to bruise in the morning. Moving the chair straps around as to not cause further pain, I looked back to the still open screens before me. Ignoring the still ongoing alarms. A quick glance told me we had finished our initial acceleration, and had in fact begun slowing down. Frowning, I unstrapped my self and stood, swaying slightly as the aftereffects of the intense G-forces took hold. Shaking my head, I made my way steadily back towards the cockpit.
Pressly ignored me as I passed, he looked unharmed, but alarmed. I would have stopped to see what worried him but Joker would have to be the first priority. As I moved through the CIC towards the cockpit It was relieving to see no one had been injured in a major way, mostly groaning about bruises and being disoriented.
Joker was leaning heavily into his chair when I reached him, heaving shoulders just visible over his chair along with and orange glow. Walking up next him I took in a series of vibrant orange mass effect shields covering entire form. His eyes were lidded, and he stared blankly at the controls before him, panting.
"Joker." I spoke in a hushed tone, trying not to startle him. However that didn't seem to elicit any response from him.
"Joker." I tried louder this time leaning in closer to him.
"…" This was starting to get irritating.
"Joker!" This time I exclaimed it loudly, leaning down to shake his seat slightly.
"Gah!" That got his attention, I watched as he jolted in his restraints. The mass effect shields keeping him from moving around too much. He looked up at me, face twisted in alarm, before frowning at me.
"Hey what was that for?!" he asked incredulously as he looked back at his controls. Smirking I straightened myself and crossed y arms before answering.
"You weren't hearing me." I explained amused, before becoming serious once more. "What's the situation?".
"Well… we're currently traveling at about… That… That can't be right!" He exclaimed, disengaging his safety harness and leaning forward to stare at his console. "We're… We're going almost a hundred times the speed of Light!" He shouted, eyes wide with surprise as he began manipulating various controls before him.
I gaped at him in shock, arms dropping to my sides numbly. Choking slightly on my own words as I tried to formulate words. "Wha- What do you mean!?" I finally managed to get out. He seemed just as mind boggled as I did, he threw his arms up and looked at me eyes wide before answering.
"I don't know! This- This shouldn't be possible! I just barely managed to keep the Normandy together during that jump!" He sagged into his chair staring blankly at his controls. I shifted awkwardly, glancing over my shoulder at the disoriented bridge crew.
"So… What now?" I ask quietly. He didn't respond. It was almost a minute of awkward silence later before he seemed to snap out of his trance.
"We're slowing down." He said softly. Despite how quite he was I heard him clearly.
"But that means-"
"We've already passed the midway point of this jump." I probably would have been annoyed at being cut off in any other situation, but I couldn't bring myself to care. "On top of that, it means something about that Relay also slowed us down mid jump." He scoffed shaking his head. "Another impossibility." He added on under his breath.
"If we've started slowing down, is it possible you could calculate how long until we reach our destination?" He sighed heavily, before turning to face me, determination clear on his face.
"I can." He said confidently, before turning back to his consoles. Smiling proudly, I patted the back of his chair before turning away and heading towards the CIC.
AN: Well there's the first half of Normandy's perspective, the next one should be coming out pretty soon and start off just where this one ends. Also, I once again apologize for this chapter coming out somewhat late… Even if there isn't really a schedule to these… anyways! Make sure to point out any mistakes and thanks for reading!
A Hui Hoi