Friendship Collection

Acethebatdog2039

Mass Effect Fanfiction

Chapter 29: Suicide Mission Part 2

0-*- 10001 -*-0

They finally made it to heat exchanger

John was really starting to believe he had terrible luck

He took a shot to the shoulder from one of the possessed Collectors.

"Garrus! Tali! Come in!"

The Gunnery Officer heard Shepard's call

"We're almost there Commander. Look out. Seeker swarms!"

Garrus covered Tali as she worked to close the door.

"We're in position. We need this door open now!" they both heard

Garrus pushed Tali to the other door, "Go, we'll cover you!"

She started to work, "Something's wrong! The door's stuck!"

John took a concussive round to the chest.

He fell back but quickly pulled himself up.

"Got it!"

Miranda and Thane made it to the door before he did.

"Here they come!"

John ducked

"Fall back!"

"Suppressing fire! Don't let anyone through that door!" Garrus ordered

John smirked

No matter what Garrus though he really was a great leader.

John shot one more Collector before the door closed.

"Nice work, Tali. Knew you wouldn't let me down."

John patted her on the shoulder

"Shepard! You need to see this!" Miranda called him

They all looked around the large room

John side stepped Thane to get a better look.

"Looks like one of the missing colonists."

John joined Miranda at one of the pods.

"Hey, there's more. Over here" Jack pointed down the hall

They all noted the hissing sound coming from the pod

"My god! She's still alive!" John tried to pull the pod door off.

But in the end he was helpless to save her.

"Get them out of there! Hurry!"

The squad rushed forward to break the doors opens as fast as they could.

Thane used the butt of an assault rifle to break the pod open of Gardner's

Jack got Kelly's open

John caught Crewman Patel as she fell out of her pod.

Garrus pulled Crewman Rolston from his.

Grunt had both Crewman Goldstein and Hawthorne out of their pods, both sitting on the ground.

Miranda raced over to Doctor Chakwas' pod, John not far behind her.

John caught her as the older woman fell from the pod.

"Doctor Chakwas? Are you okay?"

John set her on the ground

"Shepard? John? You… you came for us."

He held out a hand to pull her to her feet.

"No one gets left behind."

Kelly joined them, "Thank god you got here in time. A few more seconds… and… I don't even want to think about it."

"The colonists were… processed. Those swarms of little robots, they… melted their bodies into gray liquid and pumped it through these tubes." The doctor explained

"Why are they doing this? What are they doing with our genetic material?"

"I don't know. I'm just glad you got here before it happened to us."

"So are we. But we still have a job to do." Miranda moved to Shepard's side. "We've done well so far. Let's hope we can finish the job."

"Joker? Can you get a fix on our position?"

"Roger that, Commander. All those tubes lead into the main control room right above you. The route is blocked by a security door, but there's another chamber that runs parallel to the one you're in."

"I cannot recommend that. Thermal emissions suggest the chamber is overrun with seeker swarms. Mordin's countermeasure cannot protect you against so many at once."

EDI just killed that plan.

An idea hit him.

"What about biotics? Could we create a biotic field to keep them from getting near us?"

"Yes… I think it may be possible. I wouldn't be able to protect everyone, but we might be able to get a small team through if they stayed close." Samara answered

"I could do it, too. In theory any biotic could handle it. Shepard, who do you want to maintain the field?"

God, John wished Kaidan was still alive.

He knew deep down that his brother-in-arms would be at his side.

"Shepard?"

John shook his head, "Sorry. From what I've seen Samara I think you can pull this off. Samara and I will take a small team through the seeker swarms."

The justicar nodded

"The rest of you provide a diversion by going through the main passage. We'll open the security doors from the other side and meet you there."

"Who should lead the diversion team? Officer Vakarian?" Miranda asked

John looked over to his friend

Garrus said nothing

"Jacob will take this one." Shepard ordered.

The Cerberus Operative nodded

"I'll keep the defenders busy while you slip in the back"

"What about me and the rest of the crew, Shepard? We're in no shape to fight."

"Commander? We have enough systems back online to do a pickup, but we'd need to land back from your position." Joker said over the radio

"We can't afford to go back, Shepard. Not now."

"Enough," he snapped at Miranda. "You'll never make it without help. I'll send someone with you. Mordin, take care of them"

"Joker, need location of landing zone. Will meet you there."

"Alright, we've all got our assignments. Let's move out! Garrus, you and Thane are with Samara and I."

John turned to walk away

"Shepard, Commander." Mordin grabbed his arm

It was very rare for the geneticist to touch anyone.

"What is it Mordin"

"I will take care of them, promise."

0-*- 10001 -*-0

"Almost there Samara," John coached, "Hold on. We're almost there."

John vaulted over a low wall.

Thane jumped on top of a box.

Garrus was covering them from the rear

"We must move quickly, Shepard." Thane spotted more enemies on the move.

"All right, let's move."

He squeezed two shots off hitting the Collector dead center in the chest.

"They're pushing. Keep it up!"

"Hurry, Shepard"

They made it to the door.

The three men watched as Samara charged a powerful biotic attack killing any leftover enemies.

The doors closed cutting the squad off from the Collectors.

Soon as the doors closed the radios came back to life.

"…repeat, Shepard, do you copy?"

"I copy. What's your position, Jacob?"

"We're pinned down at the door. Taking heavy fire."

Thane and Shepard took positions on either side of the door.

Garrus was covering Samara.

"We're coming; just hold on!" Samara moved to the door console "Get this door open!"

The opened and the second team filled into the room with them.

"Come on!" John looked around taking a count of everyone. "Seal the door!"

Jacob fell against the door "I'm okay. Just need a second to catch my breath."

John patted him on the shoulder.

"Joker? Are you at the rendezvous point?"

"I'm here, Commander. Chakwas and the rest of the crew just showed up."

"Good, and Mordin's?"

"Mordin's group just arrived, Shepard. No casualties."

"Thanks EDI"

"Excellent. Now let's make it count. EDI, what's our next step?"

"There should be some nearby platforms that will take you to the main control console. From there you can overload the systems and destroy the base."

"Commander? You got a problem. Hostiles massing just outside the door. Won't be long until they bust through."

Yeah, he definitely wasn't lucky

John hopped on one of the platforms.

"A rearguard could defend this position and keep the Collectors from overwhelming us."

He looked over his squad again

John nodded at both Garrus and Thane; they joined him on the platform

"I'm ready, Commander." Garrus said

"As am I" Thane nodded at the two of them

"Anything to say before we do this?"

The rest of the remaining squad drew closer together.

"The Collectors blindside their target. Hit and run. As powerful as they are, they're cowards. They've never had to stand and fight the best if us. That's you."

He pointed at them

"It's been a long journey, and no one's coming out without scars."

Grunt slammed his fists together

Garrus rubbed the side of his face

"But it all comes down to this moment."

John looked at all of them in turn again

"We win or lose it all in the next few minutes. Make me proud. Make yourselves proud."

"We'll do our best. Good luck, Shepard." Miranda nodded at him one last time.

The platform took John took one more look at his team.

0-*- 10001 -*-0

"Thane do you want to do you're…?" John was unsure what to call it.

"Of course, thank you John"

The Drell bowed his head and folded his hands together.

"Amonkira, Lord of Hunters, grant that my hands be steady, my aim be true, and my feet swift. And should the worst come to pass, grant me forgiveness."

"Damn right" Garrus chuckled.

John nodded in agreement

"What of you Shepard? Do you have a prayer?" Thane asked

"Nope, was never very religious, Thane. Never have been"

"Garrus?"

"Nah, you've gotten pretty good at that assault rifle Thane."

Thane looked down at his new M-8 Avenger rifle

"Ah, yes, the extra training from both of you has helped"

"Well it's been put to some good use." Shepard chuckled

"Just wait till John has you training on the Mattock, these things are sweet."

While Garrus was showing Thane some of the features of the Mattock, John took the time to really look over his best friends.

"John we've got company"

0-*- 10001 -*-0

The last of the Scions fell in a hail of gunfire.

"Man, I hate those things." Garrus reloaded his rifle

"Yes, they are unpleasant"

John reloaded his own weapon before heading over to the console

"Grab as much ammo as you can, we're going to need it."

John stopped right next to it.

"This is it. All the tubes lead to this spot. EDI, what can you tell us? What are they doing?"

"The tubes are feeding into some kind of super-structure. It is emitting both organic and non-organic energy signatures. Given these readings, it must be massive. Shepard if my calculations are correct, the super-structure… is a Reaper."

"Oh my spirits" Garrus whispered

"Not just any Reaper – a human Reaper." John finished for her.

"Precisely"

The platform linked up to others that were in front of the monster

"It appears the Collectors have processed tens of thousands of humans. Significantly more will be required to complete the Reaper."

"This thing is an abomination. EDI, how do we destroy it?"

"The large tubes injecting the fluid are a weak structural link. Destroying them should cause the supports to collapse, and the Reaper to fall."

"Give us a minute, EDI. We've got to take care of some old friends first."

0-*- 10001 -*-0

They all watched as the human Reaper fall into the void.

"Shepard to ground team. Status report."

John heard gun fire from the other side.

"Jack here. I'm tagging them as they come, but feel free to call for an exit anytime!"

John nodded his head, "Head to the Normandy. Joker – prep the engines. I'm about to overload this place and blow it sky high."

"Roger that, Commander."

John pulled the center up from the platform.

"Uh, Commander? I've got an incoming signal from the Illusive Man. EDI's patching it through."

'Lovely,' John thought

Thane pulled it up on his Omni-tool, the Illusive Man appeared in front of them, and John kept his back to them.

"Shepard, you've done the impossible."

John looked over his shoulder, "I'm not finished here yet. This base is ten minutes from extinction."

"Wait, I have a better option. I'm looking at the schematics EDI uploaded. A timed radiation pulse would kill the remaining Collectors, but leave the machinery and technology intact. This is our chance, Shepard. They were building a Reaper. That knowledge, - that framework – could save us."

"They liquefied people. Turned them into something horrible. We have to destroy the base."

John stood up and turned to the Illusive Man

"Don't be short-sighted. Our best chance against the Reapers is to turn their own resources against them."

"I don't know, Shepard. What happened here was horrible… but we have to stop the Reapers. If we destroy this base, then all these people died for nothing." Garrus spoke up

"They were working directly with the Collectors. Who knows what information is buried there?" the Illusive Man asked

"You're completely ruthless. The next thing I know, you'll wanting to grow your own Reaper."

"My goal is to save humanity from the Reapers. At any cost. I've never hidden that from you. Imagine how many lives could be saved if we keep this base intact and use it knowledge to thwart the Reapers. Imagine the lives that will be lost if we don't."

This man was trying to play him, John could feel it.

"No matter what kind of technology we might find, it's not worth it."

"Shepard, you died fighting for what you believed. I brought you back so you could keep fighting. Some would say what we did to you was going too far. But look what you've accomplished. I didn't discard you because I knew your value. Don't be so quick to discard this facility. Think of the potential."

"We'll fight and when win without it. I won't let fear compromise who I am."

"Shepard! Think about what's at stake. About everything Cerberus has done for you! You—"

Thane cut him off turning off the signal from John's soon to be ex-boss.

"Thank you Thane."

The assassin nodded

"Garrus hand me the timer would you?"

John nodded in thanks.

"Let's move. We've got ten minutes before the reactor overloads and blows this whole station apart."

They all heard an angry roar and the platforms started to shake.

"Oh, you have you have to be kidding me!" Garrus shouted

0-*- 10001 -*-0

"John! You are the unluckiest bastard ever!"

"Tell me about it Garrus!"

The platform started to shake again.

"This is the last suicide mission I ever do with you!" Garrus shouted

"I'll keep that in mind Garrus!"

The platform that his best friend was standing on started to give way.

Garrus started to fall with the platform

"Garrus!"

John threw himself after his friend.

He grabbed the turian's hand but it slipped through his fingers

Just as Garrus fell over the edge John reached out again, this time grabbing his friend.

"Holy shit, you're heavy!"

John felt his shoulder scream in pain as he pulled the former C-Sec Officer up.

Once Garrus on back on the platform an explosion sent them rolling down the platform

"Still unlucky John!"

John managed to punch himself in the face as they rolled down

"I know!"

They landed on the same one that Thane was fighting to stay on.

"Shit! Watch out!" John pointed to another platform just before it crashed into them.

Then everything went black.

0-*- 10001 -*-0

His whole body hurt as moved the piece of metal off his back.

John ran over to check on Thane and pulled him to his feet.

Seeing as the assassin was fine, Shepard spotted Garrus also buried under a steel of broken metal.

With Thane's help Shepard pulled it off his other friend.

The two of them pulled the turian

"Do you copy? Commander? Come on, Shepard, don't leave me hanging. Do you copy?" Joker sounded rattled

John touched the ear piece

"I'm here, Joker. Did the ground team make it?" his voice sounded pained himself

He heard Joker sigh, "All survivors on board. We're just waiting on you."

A pack of seeker swarms found them

"Run!" he yelled at them

In was in that moment that John realized that his ribs were broken

'Human, you've changed nothing.'

He heard in his head

John paused and took a few shots at a Collector

'Your species has the attention of those infinitely your greater.'

Shepard started running after Thane and Garrus

His lungs burned with every painful breath

'That which you know as Reapers are your salvation through destruction.'

Another pack of Collectors found them, taking a few shots at Shepard and his squad.

A round hit Shepard in the shoulder causing him to miss a step

He was behind Thane and Garrus

Their saving grace was the arrival of the Normandy

The side hatch opened and John had never seen Joker with a rifle before

His pilot took a few Collectors out giving them more time.

Both Garrus and Thane made it to the ship just as an overhead platform crashed into the one below it leaving a wide gap.

He had to make this jump, it was the only way

John ran over the edge and took a leap off the side.

He felt like he was floating for a few seconds, he had a grip on the side of the door but the impacted on his broken ribs caused him to let go.

He started to fall; he was unable to pull himself up.

Garrus and Thane reached down, both hooking him under his arm pit and pulled him up into the ship.

"Detonation in ten, nine, eight – "

Joker limped back to his seat as quickly as he could

"Yeah, got the gist of it, EDI! Hold on!"

'You have failed. We will find another way. Releasing control.'

The base behind them exploded

The blast caused Garrus, Thane, and John to fall on top of each other

"Joker!" John called out

Garrus' elbow was in his throat

"Made the jump, we're good."

They did it.

John was the first one to cheer

"Holy shit, son of a bitch we did!"

It didn't matter that a turian elbow was pressing down on him

"Shit! We did it!" Shepard yelled again

Thane was the first one off the ground

"Yes, yes we did."

All pain forgotten Shepard jumped off the floor, nearly kicking Garrus in the back.

John ran up into the cockpit grabbing the back of Joker's chair.

"Joker, you crazy son of a bitch, I could kiss you."

Joker made a face, "Please don't"

John left the man there, pulled Thane into a quick hug, catching the man off guard.

Garrus threw an arm around the commander

"I knew you could do it," he said to his friend.

"Holy shit Garrus we did it!" John threw the arm off

He placed both hands on Garrus' shoulders and shook him

But stopped soon after, as the adrenal started to wear off

John gasped, "Yeah, okay, not a good idea. Broken ribs"

0-*- 10001 -*-0

The comm room was a mess like the rest of the ship

It took longer than he thought because of his injuries

But he wanted this call done and over with

"Shepard. You're making a habit of costing me more than time and money."

No matter his injuries, John felt good

"I'm sorry, I'm having trouble hearing you. I'm getting a lot of bullshit on this line."

John had EDI open the comm channel to everyone.

The crew needed to hear this.

"Don't try my patience. The technology from that base could have secured human dominance in the galaxy. Against the Reapers and beyond."

"Human dominance, or just Cerberus?" John glowered

"Strength for Cerberus is strength for every human. Cerberus is humanity. I should have known you'd choke on the hard decisions. Too idealistic from the start."

"I know what you are, and the price of dealing with you. We do things my way from now on. Harbinger is coming. And he won't be alone. I'm going to make sure we're ready when they get here. You can fall in line or step aside, but don't get in my way."

"You sure that's what you want? You're taking a hell of a risk, Shepard."

"Yeah, I'm sure. Illusive Man, it seems you didn't get my email. So I'll say it again. Go fuck yourself."

John stepped away from the pad, "Joker. Lose this channel."

Shepard heard the cheers of the crew on deck three, that made him smile as he walked away.

0-*- 10001 -*-0

A quick visit to the doctor and he was back to work

"Joker, how bad," he asked

Most of them were in the cargo hold

"Not too bad, we can still make it to Omega and get a few repairs there before heading to the Citadel."

John nodded

"Good, have a repair crew met us at the Citadel, then shore leave for everyone. Till then I want the repairs done in small teams, we don't need to burn everyone out."

"Aye, aye, Commander"

"Commander, Miss Lawson would like to speak to you in your cabin."

"Thank you, EDI"

John turned to leave

"Hey Commander?" Joker called out to him

John looked over his shoulder, "Yeah, Joker?"

"Bow chicka wow wow" the pilot called after him

John sighed, but he quickened his pace to the elevator.

0-*- 10001 -*-0

A/N: Not going to talk about the ending of ME3... no... will not.