Cold Lazarus

Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect

Warning: Contains spoilers for Mass Effect 3

Chapter 8


Black, speckled with tiny white dots. Endless, eternal, constant, silent, and cold. Empty, devoid of life. She found solace in the expanse. It was a void, full of nothing and everything. That was all she knew, all that she experienced in her life before she woke from her frozen slumber. She lay there, staring into the abyss as she tried to make sense of things. What was real? What was tangible? What was hers? What was she? They told her, gave her a name, a purpose if she so wished. 'But why,' she so desperately wanted to ask, but couldn't. She knew how to but never had, there was never any need when she dreamt. All she thought she knew was a dream, as corporeal as the abyss she stared into. Nothing made sense, and yet it did. Was she real or was she fake? Did she still dream or was she now awake? She didn't know, the Frozen Sleep felt real, but so did this Awareness.

The Awareness was as real as the Frozen Sleep. More so, for the Awareness held light, and the Faces. The Faces were something that the Frozen Sleep never possessed. They were different, alien. But so was she. The Faces showed her what she looked like. It was surreal, to see herself, when all she saw was strands of red. The mirage before her was a Face as well. A frame of red thread, two spheres of white frames holding two green disks that held in a black void, a porcelain white canvass, with rosy lips. The Face, her Face, held a portrait of wonder and innocence. The other Faces held no such portrait, their portraits were foreign. Hard, uncaring, probing, always probing. That's what had made the Awareness frightening. It wasn't a world she knew. The Frozen Sleep was exactly as the abyss, an endless void, filled with darkness and cold. There was nothing there. It was lonely, but it was a solitude that she cherished.

She thought of the Face that she knew as hers but wasn't. That one Face wasn't alien, though she had never seen it before. Its Face had reddish-brown thread, the same two white spheres and black voids, but the green disk was darker than her brilliant light green, its canvass was stained and rugged. Its portrait was kind, accepting, and patient. But it was also haunted, as if plagued by terrors that, like the expanse, were unknowable but absolute.

It was this Face that gave her a name: Alexis. It told her its name, but she didn't hear it then. She was frightened more so then of the Awareness. Her fear soon lessened, for that one Face, her Brother's Face, helped her. He knew her confusion, He had been there before. He told her of a world the Awareness possessed, 'Akuze'. He didn't know what was Dream or Awareness for a time, but He recovered from it. He said that she would as well, eventually. She thought about His words, about the Dream, for she had visited it many times since entering the Awareness. The Dream, like the Frozen Sleep, was a black void, with no beginning and no end. But the Dream had color and sound, whispers of words, mirages of Faces. Nothing in the Dream was lucid, but neither was it tangible. She didn't like the Dream; it was a farce of what the Frozen Sleep was.

Her Brother had introduced her to two new Faces. One was like her Brother the other completely alien. The first one's Face had white-silvery thread, olive-green disks, its canvass was also stained, but less so than her Brother's, and aged. Its portrait was motherly, caring, and calm. Its name was Doctor, like many of the other Faces, but this Doctor wasn't probing. She liked this Doctor. The second one's Face was bizarre; it like some of the other Doctors had no thread, there was only one white sphere, but it was different. There wasn't a colored disk or black void. Instead, its sphere glowed, ethereal and dead yet with a visage of life. Its canvass wasn't right, for there were no lips, and no texture. It was smooth, manufactured, and moved in programmed ways that couldn't be natural. Its, Their, name was Legion. Their portrait was collected, ghostly, and strangely innocent like hers. Legion unnerved her greatly at first, like the Awareness. But she quickly grew accustomed to Them. Their voices were hollow, desolate, and echoed, as the thousand Whispers spoke as one.

Her Brother, the kind Doctor, and Legion were her only company for the few days she stayed in the dimmed, white room. The Doctor would make sure that she ate and was healthy; Legion simply looked after her, giving her company when her Brother or the Doctor couldn't come. But she truly liked her Brother's visits, they, like Legion, were to give her company. But He told her stories of their Mother and helped explain the knowledge in her head, helped her figure out what was hers and what was not, though that didn't help much. Words were still foreign, and it was hard to comprehend. Eventually, they moved her to a new room. It was dark too, but its darkness was natural. There was hard, cold air that held back water, illuminated by a blue wall. There was another hard, cold air that had silver poles keeping tiny ships from falling. There were chairs scattered around, always next to a table. There was a door that led to a bathroom. But her favorite thing was the bed at the back of the room. It was her favorite because she could look up at the hard, cold air that held back the abyss. She'd lie there, and wonder about the Awareness, like she was now.


"How is she?" Tristan asked Chakwas as she tended to the wounds his team received after recruiting, freeing, Jack.

"She's fine. Alexis still lies on the bed and stares into space. Probably still trying to make heads or tails of everything. It shouldn't be long for her to start talking, her mind has adjusted to that quite rapidly," she replied as she bandaged his arm.

"I wonder what it's like having an entire language downloaded into your head," Duze muttered as Chakwas began her examination of the Turian.

"Not just that, but also knowledge of what alien species there are, as well as that of your own. That's got to be weird," Jacob sighed as he waited for Chakwas to dismiss him. It was an interesting thought for sure. Shortly before waking Alexis from the stasis pod, the scientists had imprinted on her things that she'd need to know, such as: language, what alien species was what, basic history, just enough to get by.

It had been two and half weeks since the Normandy had its armor upgraded. Shepard had decided to get the biotic Jack, hoping it would be the quickest recruitment before heading to Korlus to recruit Warlord Okeer. Of course, this being a simple pickup mission involving one Commander Shepard, things went south very fast and the mission ended with a lot of gun fire. Naturally, Shepard owed Joker 50 creds.

Shepard, along with Duze and Jacob, had a bad feeling and had decided to prepare for the worse. Finding Jack was easy, first they simply had to follow the trail of dead guards, release Jack from her stasis, and then follow the trail of dead bodies, critically damaged mechs, newly freed convicts, and guards trying in vain to restore order. Unfortunately, a couple of YMIR mechs managed to penetrate their shields, no serious damage had been done but being grazed by twin automatic mass accelerator cannons tended to be painful, regardless. In the end, Shep had managed to recruit Jack. Miranda wasn't too happy that it meant that Jack got free access to Cerberus files, but relented anyways.

The three were soon discharged by Chakwas. Jacob went back to the armory and Duze went to go run some more diagnostics on the Hammerhead. Shepard merely went into the AI Core, where he could enjoy the silence. Legion only spoke when spoken to, unless it was to Daedalus or EDI, in which it just "spoke" to them as only AI could.

|Shepard-Commander| Legion greeted.

"Legion," Shep replied before sitting down on the floor, leaning back against one of the servers in the room. It was beginning to become a habit for him to come to this room. He'd be greeted by Legion and he would greet it back, then he would sit down and lean against a server and just listen to the gentle hum of the servers. There, he would just let his mind wander, about the inevitable suicide mission, which dossier to look into next, or about Alexis.

His thoughts would often shift to her, but other than 'Alexis' he wasn't sure what to call her. His clone? His sister? The latter seemed to be right but it was just weird; a foreign concept that he wasn't sure what to make of. Chakwas said that he was doing things fine and that he needn't worry, but it was hard not to. She was innocent, like a five-year old, despite being physically somewhere around her earlier to mid twenties. She seemed to enjoy star gazing and stories about his, their, mother. She also got along with Chakwas, something both he and the doctor were thankful for. The other doctors had trouble getting her to cooperate, why was anyone's guess, but she was completely accepting of Karen. Surprisingly, Alexis liked Legion. True, she had to warm up to the synthetic but afterwards she was unfazed by its presence.

Both Legion and Daedalus found that intriguing and had questioned him and EDI about it. When neither of them gave any answers to their questions, they had asked Chakwas who gave a couple of theories as to why before telling that it'd probably be easier to simply ask her when she could talk.

Shepard stayed in the Core room for a couple of hours pondering his sister before getting up. He made his way to the elevator and selected Deck 1.

As he entered his cabin, Tristan found the familiar sight of Alexis sprawled out on the bed staring into the blackness of space beyond the skylight.

"Hey Alexis," he called out gently as he made his way to the sofa.

She turned her head, making it upside down as she was away from the door, to look at him as he sat down. She quickly sat up and looked at him, her eyes lingering on the new bandage, before looking him in the eyes as she usually did.

"It was a rough day," he shrugged, a meek smile on his face.

She was quiet, as usual, but had a pensive look on her face. She stood and walked over to him. Bending down, so she was at his eye level she said, "Broth…er?"


A/N: Chapter 8 is complete. Sorry for the wait, please read and review. Stay classy.