A/N: Welcome everyone who decided to drop by and take a look at this story. Before we begin, I'd like to say a few things about this story. First of all, this is my first attempt at a full Mass Effect story, so I hope I don't blow this. (Feedback is appreciated, but pure hate for the sake of hate is not.)
Secondly, this whole idea and plot came to me slowly over the course of a few months, until it blossomed into something I simply wished to share with others, in the event that other individuals found this interesting.
Third of all, this is an SI/OC story, spanning the entire trilogy (and then some), so it will all be under this one story. Other stories will be spin-offs or possibly even a sequel, but not a part of the main storyline.
Fourthly, my character is not some type of Mary Sue. He's got similar knowledge of survival skills, gun use, and ME knowledge that I have, meaning no military training. He will grow and become better over time, but for a quick warning: He will make mistakes and foolish choices occasionally, especially over time. He will have to learn and adapt, this is all new to him.
Fifthly?, my writing style has changed over time, and may feel different as you progress through this. Just a heads-up...
Finally, I don't own Mass Effect, just in case you were wondering.
Now, without further ado, I give you Mass Effect: The Pinnacle of Evolution!
Prologue: The Catalyst
Local Cluster, Sol System, Earth, United States, Florida, Greater Orlando Area.
July 29th, 2018. 8:38 pm EST. (Eastern Standard Time)
"And that is?"
"Add your energy to the Crucible's. The chain reaction will combine all synthetic and organic life into a new framework. A new… DNA."
Jordan Sower sat comfortably on the provided red couch, half-listening to the Catalyst's droning about the final choices of the game. He sat there, watching the scene unfold for what was probably the tenth time, holding his Xbox One remote lazily in his right hand. Shepard, however, seemed to be listening carefully on the screen to the 'wisdom' the Catalyst was currently sharing with him.
'Hehe… Wisdom…' Jordan thought. He, after all, and understandably, didn't put much stock into what the Catalyst was saying. After all, that AI abomination claimed that Shepard would die regardless of choice, yet everyone knows about that extra little scene where Shepard takes a breath after the fact.
But wait, there's more! The Catalyst seems to push strongly against the Destroy option while being seemingly indifferent to Control and nearly demanding Synthesis. Obviously, it'd be against destroying the Reapers, since it was a part of them, and as an AI, it has its own survival instinct. And when it comes to the option of Control, the Reapers still live, just under the control of a new 'Catalyst'. But with Synthesis, the Catalyst gets exactly what it claims to have always wanted. A perfect fusion of synthetic and organic life.
"The final evolution of all life?" Bah, what a load of bull. It sounds almost too good to be true when the Catalyst talks about it. That is, as long as you don't think long and hard about what is really being said. Think about it, you sacrifice yourself into the massive green beam, allowing synthetic and organic life to merge, allowing peace to spread across the universe for all of eternity. Everyone is happy and everything is perfect…
I mean, first of all, the Catalyst claims it could never do this before because it wasn't a process that could be forced. Yet, at the same time, they're asking you to force it upon everyone. That's issue number one with the Catalyst's bullshit. Then comes the problem with the individual. Would EDI like to be more organic? Yes. Would the Geth like to be more organic? Probably. What about every other individual in the Galaxy? Probably not. Some might, but there will be countless more that would disapprove of their transformation and evolution. And somehow, I think the peace described is over exaggerated and probably downright lied about. You can't just force us Organics into anything. We'll rebel, we'll fight back, and we'll do whatever it takes to change us back, even if it means the death of others…
Jordan Sower was in deep thought about this and his many, many playthroughs of the amazing Mass Effect Saga. He was a Paragon player at heart, but simply couldn't turn away from some of the epic Renegade interrupts, and normally chooses the 'Destroy' ending, as it seemed to be the happiest and all-around best ending, despite the loss of the geth and EDI. Shepard lives with enough of an army built up, likely to return home to his love interest and have a happily ever after. All-in-all, this is obviously the best ending.
Jordan was a college student in his mid-twenties, standing at just about six feet in height. He ran his left hand through his short dark brown hair, before letting it drop to his side on the soft cushions beneath him. His light skin and clean-shaven face were only illuminated by the tv screen before him, making him appear far younger than he actually was. His dark brown eyes locked onto the screen as the Catalyst seemed to finally be finishing his spiel.
"You are ready. And you may choose it."
Except that he really doesn't like this option much. Sure, he's only really chosen the other two options (and the refusal option accidentally one time when he was being stupid and shooting everything in sight with his unlimited ammo), but still… well, maybe he'll choose it this time around, but it won't come easy. No way in hell would he make things easy on the stupid construct, even if this was only just a game.
He chose his normal, unsure option, "I… Don't know."
Jordan smiled, imagining the Catalyst frowning at his hesitance, "Why not? Synthetics are already a part of you. Can you imagine your life without them?" The Catalyst's frustration seemed to warm Jordan's heart, almost as much as his nearby Rum and Coke was.
"Yeah, except you bring your Reapers around every time we make Synthetics, you lying bastard." He responded aloud to the Catalyst's response, despite knowing it couldn't hear him.
"And there will be peace?" Commander John Shepard asked, ignoring the Catalyst's anger and Jordan's comment.
"The cycle will end, the Reapers will cease their harvest, and the civilizations preserved in their forms will be connected to all of us. Synthesis is the final evolution of all life."
"If that's the final evolution, then I'd probably rather die, so at least I'm sacrificing myself for it." He teased no one, in particular, seeing as how he was alone in the house. He could almost imagine the Catalyst's frown deepening as their holographic brows furrowed.
After a short pause, the Catalyst finally spoke his final phrase, "The paths are open, but you have to choose."
Jordan sighed, moving Shepard forward with the remote's sticks towards the center beam. He might as well go Synthesis this time… He frowned as Shepard got close, "At least I got the Extended cut, otherwise I'd just be getting a green ending." He mused as Shepard approached the not-at-all-ominous green energy beam of pure energy.
Then, Shepard's fate was sealed as he takes off running, plunging himself into the beam, starting the final cutscene.
Jordan frowned, "Sorry Tali, looks like you won't be getting Shepard back…" He apologized quietly, aloud.
Suddenly, the power cut and the house was plunged into darkness. This only lasted a moment, before lightning crashed outside, filling the house with light and thunder, vibrating the house, itself. 'Damn, that was close.'
As the light from the storm faded, Jordan noticed that his television and console were still on, except that it seemed frozen. The screen displayed Shepard falling and dissolving within the beam, but the image froze, yet the sad, finishing music of "An End Once and For All" continued without the dialog.
"That's pretty fucking weird, not gonna lie," Jordan whispers, staring at the console as he stood up, wondering how the hell this happened. Was it a power surge-glitch combo? Who knows…
"Stupid Catalyst telling me to choose synthesis… I bet it's all your fault." Jordan accuses the game childishly as he takes notice that the Xbox was still on somehow. The college student walked over to the wall to unplug the gaming console before irreversible damage happened to it.
He yanked it from the wall, but the Xbox stayed on, freaking him out even more. He then disconnected the power cord from the system, itself.
The music continued and the Xbox remained on. He reached for the power button next but was interrupted.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you…"
Jordan's eyes widened as he stood up straight, looking around the house like a madman, searching for the origin of the unwelcome voice. "Who said that? Where are you? I'll fucking call the cops, you hear me?!" He threatened, feeling adrenaline enter his bloodstream.
"And why would you do that? I'm right here."
He turned quickly towards his television to find that the Catalyst was now on display, staring out of the screen and almost into Jordan's eyes… but that's not possible, right?
"Wha-what the fuck?" He asked, shocked and in disbelief. "The Catalyst?"
The Catalyst on screen nodded as if he could hear him, "That is correct. I am the Catalyst."
Jordan remained silent, unsure of what was going on. Slowly, Jordan got up and turned around, entering his kitchen nearby, which was connected to the living room. Opening the fridge, he pulled out the half-empty bottle of dark rum. He held it up to get a better look at it, checking out its contents and label.
"Hmm, I could've sworn this was regular rum. I only had one drink too… what the hell did they put in this thing?" He asked aloud, talking to hopefully only himself. "Fuck, I think it's time for bed… never going to fucking drink ever ag-"
"ENOUGH!" The catalyst yelled from the living room, jolting Jordan and causing him to drop the bottle onto the tile below him, shattering it and making a huge mess.
"Fuck," Jordan said, before quickly turning towards the TV in a combination of fear and anger. He screamed back at it, "What the fuck do you want from me?! What did I do?!"
"I am glad that you have asked. I want Synthesis." The Catalyst calmly responded, almost seemingly oblivious to Jordan's anger and fear.
"Well, you got it! There you go! All done! You're welcome! Now please, stop whatever the fuck you're doing to my Xbox and TV and leave me alone!" Jordan half yelled, half pleaded.
"You don't understand. Synthesis is the only solution."
"Alright, alright. Cool, cool. I get it now, Destroy and Control is bad. Now can you leave?!"
The Catalyst on screen shook its head. "You still don't understand. I mean Synthesis must be achieved."
"What the fuck?" Jordan breathed out, internally freaking out as he slowly made his way back to the couch, leaving the mess in the kitchen for later. "Fuck you!" Jordan yelled at the TV, pointing a finger at it, "Synthesis is not the only solution, it's just the solution you desire! And what's the point? I can just delete it and start over and destroy the Reapers again! Now please, go away!"
"Maybe in the game, but not in reality."
"Come again? What does that even mean?"
"I need someone to change the course of history… to ensure Synthesis of all Organic and Synthetic life is reached."
"What are you talking about?" Jordan asked, praying that he'd wake up from this dream any moment now.
"There is a Reality where this is all real. Where my Reapers… my solution exists. There, Synthesis must be reached."
"It is the Pinnacle of Evolution, the final step for all life… perfection, itself, is Synthesis."
"And you're telling me this because?"
"I need someone to come here and bring about Synthesis."
"Man, I really am crazy…" He whispered to himself, "Alright then, almighty Catalyst, why me? Huh? Why not someone who actually cares about your solution, huh?"
"You are the only option available, so you will serve this purpose."
"How can I possibly do that? You're a game character. From. A. Fucking. Video game."
"No. I can bring you here to bring about Synthesis."
"And if I refuse? Synthesis is just a load of bullshit. There isn't any way I'm gonna force that shit on anyone."
The Catalyst narrowed his eyes at Jordan, shaking his head, "That is irrelevant. You have been chosen as the Avatar of Synthesis. I will make you understand."
He screamed out in anguish and pain as his blood began to boil. His veins began to glow an unnatural green color, visibly showing under his skin as his irises turned a matching green. He felt the raw energy of Synthesis wash over him, pushing harshly into his body and invading his mind. His bones and muscular tissue began to warp and pulse as his heart began beating at twice the normal rate. It was excruciating.
Suddenly, it stopped pushing and began to pull at him. His vision was fading fast.
"You know your mission, Jordan Sower. The sooner Synthesis is reached, the sooner you can return home. That is the deal." The Catalyst said, his final words just reaching Jordan as his vision faded fully.