Chapter Four: Deception

The fall seemed to just go on and on for Shepard as he continued to drop into the abyss of darkness, arms swinging out to grab at some unseen handhold. His armored body bashed and hit against crossing ducts now, driving a pained yell from him before continuing to fall. As this all happened the constant thought of Tali kept going through his mind, seeing her get dragged away to face the horrors farther ahead. Thinking about her made his determination come back to him, making him focus once more now.

Soon, another slamming hit from a metal duct went across his chest, knocking the wind out of him again. However, this time his hands grasped at the smooth metal and found a hold onto it, keeping him and place now to stop him from falling.

"I won't lose her…not after all we faced before together…" He muttered to himself, before slowly pulling himself up onto the vent top. Standing on it, he kept his balance before he moved down to look for a maintenance vent hidden around somewhere, since the Keepers needed a way to go about even here to make repairs. Soon, he found one farther ahead built into the wall, leading him more to the air control tunnels that littered around the entire Citadel.

He had no idea of where Tali was in this maze of tunnels and ducts, but he knew he would find her somehow, even if all the odds were against him. Facing the impossible was almost something daily to him by now, but this time it had become personal.

Hidden away in the deepest parts of the Citadel, Tali carefully followed Ronza who guided her through the many different tunnels and vents, seemingly know his way around the endless maze. She was stilled worried about the rest of the team and Shepard, hoping they had escaped as well. Still, knowing Shepard, he was most likely searching for her this very moment. However, she trusted Ronza, just as much as Shepard since he had long been her friend when they were both students, learning different skills for their pilgrimage.

Ronza was considered the best of out of the newest generation, being skilled in electronics, repairs, medical and even combat, proving to be quite at close quarters fighting. Tali had been one of his many admirers and he seemed to have noticed her out of all the others, so they had become close before leaving on their separate pilgrimages.

"Ronza…Why have you been away from the Migrant Fleet for over two years?" Tali asked him after a long moment of silence. "The Admiralty Board said you died…of course everyone doubted that and said you were looking for something important for us all."

Ronza remained silent still, his face still turned away and making Tali worry about him until he finally looked to her. "There were…issues from certain work. The Admiralty Board did not agree with it, but I know that it is the key to bringing us a home…"

"What do you mean? Is it something about beating the Geth or something?" She asked, confused on what he was meaning exactly.

"What I have found is a cure…a cure for us…" He answered back, before stopping at one point and turning to face the wall of the service tunnel. Pressing his hand against one point, a control pad filled out of the wall which he quickly pressed in a code to cause the hidden door to open up for them.

Guiding Tali into the dimly lit hallway, the door closed behind them as they now walked into the lab. Quickly, she looked around to see all the different tables, laid out with testing equipment and tech for all sorts of different projects. What was more shocking where the large test tubes with the twisted creatures she and the team have fought.

"Ronza…what is all of this?" She asked him in a worried voice as she looked at him and backing away a bit, his eyes behind his visor having a serious look in them.

Isaac slowed his run to take a moment to rest, panting heavily behind his visor as he looked around to make sure it was clear. Still he was completely lost in this massive space station, without a single clue of where the docking control was. Taking out a medkit off his belt, he quickly and carefully treated any wounds he got from his fight with that new flying necromorpher that he had barely escaped from.

His only option now it seemed was to find help from anyone still alive on the station, since someone here would know how to get the Ishimura free so he could take away it's monsters and so he could finish his mission in returning the Marker. He still had the sinking feeling that he was being watched, not by the monsters but someone else. From what he had seem of the necromorphs, they were moving together in larger groups and using more planned attacks, something they never truly done so far.

It was just becoming an added mystery since his arrival to this station, but hopefully he could set things right. Now more rested, he started to get moving again before suddenly hearing voices coming his direction. He could only understand a couple of words, but the voice seemed alien. Ducking behind a pillar, he waited for them to near to at least figure out who they were exactly.

Mordin, Jack and Thane all slowed down in their run, having escaped the horde of monsters and the Cerberus Agents.

"Was it wise to let Shepard run off like that alone? It's reckless to go on alone with all those creatures about." Thane said to the others, while keeping a sharp look out around them.

"Was no time to stop him, besides he could not just leave Tali…He would go to any risk to save us, but for her he give his life for." Mordin said in a serious tone.

"Guess so, besides Shepard can handle himself." Jack added in as well.

"True…but still…you saw how those creatures just seemed to find us. Someone or something is guiding them. Unsure how such creatures can be controlled in such a way. Perhaps pheromones or sound…hmm…" Mordin said, following along with his thoughts on the creatures.

Thane however could hear a taint shuffling behind one of the pillars and glanced over to the others, his eyes looking over to it before giving a small nod.

Mordin and Jack nodded back, understanding what he meant before all drawing their weapons and aiming at the pillar. Quickly, Jack used her biotics to pull the figure out of cover, making him yell out in surprised before landing in front of them but quickly getting up on his feet. The man was dressed in some metal suit of some kind that looked like a space suit of some kind. It even had a helmet and visor that covered up his face was well.

"What the fuck, who the hell is this guy?" Jack spoke out loudly, aiming his shotgun up more at him.

"Well he's human…" Thane said, his rifle lowering a bit since he could tell that man wasn't a threat to them.

"Uncertain…suit not of any design I have seen before, ever of old human works." Mordin said in a curious manner as he studied him.

The man looked between all three of them, giving a uncertain look to Mordin and Thane, but focusing on Jack. "Look…just lower that gun please and tell your weird buddies here to calm down. I don't like how they are staring at me." Isaac suddenly said in a nervous voice.

"Well…he can talk at least." Jack said with a small sneer as she looked to the others.

"Wait…if he does not have a translator then he could be from that mining ship." Thane said quickly.

"Yes…I do think I can have a solution to this…" Mordin added before activating his omni-tool to link up to their translators. After a few moments, he took a moment to clear his voice, before speaking again to Isaac. "Sorry about our misunderstanding. Thought you were one of those creatures or a spy of Cerberus."

Isaac seemed to relax a bit more now that he could understand the strange alien, who he could barely understand because of how fast he spoke. Taking a moment to press a button on the side of his helmet to rise his visor up and show his face, he gave a sigh before looking at them.

"My name is Isaac Clarke, engineer of The USG Kellion which was sent to repair the Ishimura. I guess I have a lot to explain here…about the necromorphs and what I need to do with the ship." Isaac said after a moment of silence, his voice quite serious to them.

"Necromorphs…fitting name for such creatures…Tell me more Isaac, I'm sure we can figure out a solution to both of our problems here." Mordin said, a showing interesting in his voice as he already had his omni-tool out to start taking notes.

Eland was moving away from the surveillance room to take a break, but stopped in the lab when he noticed Ronza with the female Quarian from the videos of Shepard's team.

"What is -sss- she doing here?" The Volus said in a surprised tone to the male Quarian. "I thought you-"

"I saved her and nothing more Eland!" Ronza snapped back angrily, silencing before he could say more. "She can be trusted…she must understand my goal here." Taking a breath, he calmed down before speaking again. "Leave us please...I need you to speak to our friend in armory about her new mission. You know what to tell her."

Eland, breathed loudly as he looked at them, but gave a small sigh and nodded before moving away, muttering to himself. "Foolish -sss- Quarian…Will ruin -sss- everything because of that girl…"

Already he reached the heavy metal door of the armory, which he unlocked and opened before walking in. Sitting at a work bench was an asari dressed in a light top of the line combat uniform. Her back was turned to him as she was busy working on a pistol, adding mods to the already deadly weapon.

"Ronza says -sss- it's time." He simply said to her.

Quickly, she turned to him, a cold smile on her lips as she held up the weapon. "Perfect…and Shepard is out there yes?" She said in a smooth voice.

The Volus nodded. "Yes…you have orders -sss- to kill him, that is if he is alive."

"Oh trust me he is…and I plan to have him pay for what he did to me back Noveria all those years ago!" She answered back in an angry voice as he raised her left arm up to show it was robotic limb. "For killing the Matriarch and my team!"

Tali looked back to Ronza when the volus had left them, the worried look in her eyes still showing at she stared at him. "Explain yourself Ronza, what was it you were doing that made the Board say you were dead?" He demanded from him.

Ronza seemed to relax and a faint chuckle came from him as he moved closer to her. "Simple…they were scared of what I had found." He said in a calm and collected voice. "I was studying our DNA, looking into what makes are weak and unique immunity system. Because of how our planet is we did not need a strong immune system, which made it difficult to live on other worlds…and even more when forced off our home world."

Slowly, he paced around her to a table, opening a case to take out a green gas canister which he stared at intently. "I pieced together how our unique system also made us immune to diseases in a way, since we suffer from coughs and other fever like symptoms. All we needed was to make it strong enough to free us of our suits, then we never have to worry of suit breaches in combat or making colonies. I went to the Board and asked to stay a program to change our genetic make up, but they refused, saying that such actions would only harm our race and break even more laws of the Council! The fools…"

He placed the canister back in its case before looking to her, seeing the shock in her eyes as she backed away from him. "Y-you can't be serious!" She said to him in disbelief. "You would never go that far…to change what we are just to make life easier, even though it is permanent."

"Yes! At any cost for freedom!" He answered back in a louder tone. "It has taken me years to fully understand our DNA and hundreds of thousands of credits to fund my projects. I have been forced to deal with all sorts of illegal work to get such money, but for the better of our race I did so. But even with all my work there was just something missing…something that I have recently found."

Slowly, he walked over to one giant test tube, pressing a hand against it as he looked at the twisted monster inside. "The necromorphs…a quite a special being indeed…for a virus." He said in a calm voice once more. "It was quite a shock really when they attacked from that ship. I was out when that happened and when I saw all those people getting cut down and infected I thought I was going to die…but you see these creature just ignored me."

Turning away from the tube, he walked back toward her, but stopped when she had her hand drop down for her pistol. Giving a stern look to her, he kept his distance as he continued. "I figured these creatures can 'see' our genetic makeup…in a way figure out who are more fitting pray to turn. However…our DNA is different and with our unique immunity systems, the creatures know their virus can't inject us…even in death because of our DNA."

Tali was surprised at what he was saying, but was surprised at how their race was safe from these creatures. "Then why they attack me then?" She questioned, a more aggressive side hinted in her voice.

"Your…team are all perfect hosts to the necropmorphs. With you so close to them I believe they could not tell you apart from them for the moment…." He said, not mentioning how he had also been controlling the creatures as well. "But the point is Tali…I have been able to find that last bit of genetic code needed to change ours. The necromorphs have proven to have a mountain of useful genetic data and the virus is a perfect host for my formula. In fact…I have already taken it…"

Slowly, he raised a hand up to his visor and started undoing the safety latches for it. "No don't!" Tali started, but it was too late as he pulled it aside, giving a deep breath of air, his eyes closed now. He was handsome as she remembered him back when they had the rare time outside of their suits; it pained her since she had cared so much about him, even after hearing all evil things he had done.

"Yes Tali…I did it…" He said in his smooth voice, a smile showing on his face. "I have the cure that will make our people strong. To beat the Geth and take our place in the galaxy! This is just a piece of my whole plan…and once it all comes together all the Quarains will follow me to take what is theirs!" And with that he opened his eyes, which instead of being the light purple she had remembered, had now become a dark green color.

"Oh Keelah…Ronza…what have you done…What have you done!" Tali said out in fear, stepping back until her back pressed against the wall of the lab.

Slowly he walked up to her, until his face was inches from her masked face, an evil grin on his face as he looked into her eyes through her mask. "Simple Tali…I have become the future…" He said in a causal tone before giving a low laugh as he stepped away from her, snatching away both her pistol and shotgun before she could even react. "And you will also join as well…"

Author note: Again, life has been busy for me, with college starting and such. I really have been trying my best to work this crossover really and forming an interesting and detailed plot for it as well. I know I don't give a big description of Ronza's face or Isaac, but you all know how Isaac is and I have no idea what a Quarain looks like, so sorry if you don't like that. I hope Ronza's genetic change plan does not sound too absurd or anything, since it took me quite a while to think it up. Still, if you have questions, complaints or ideas you wish to share please tell me so I can improve my work. Thank you all my subscribers and any viewers of my writing, who I all hope enjoy my crossover.