Please don't sue me BioWare... I can barely afford the my internet bill as it is...
Kelly Chambers couldn't help but notice the grey and black paint of the hallway. It always kind of amazed her that Cerberus was so damned effective at remaining secret, when the Illusive Man did pretty much everything short of getting Holo Ads posted all over the citadel. Uniforms, corporate colors, that damned logo, hell she honestly wouldn't be surprised the Illusive Man's number, or at the very least the Cerberus headquarters' number, was listed in the damned phone book. 'Maybe the universe is just that darn oblivious.' If she could have mustered the energy, she would have smirked. 'That's probably why the universe is doomed.' She thought grimly. She supposed that if people still didn't believe in the Reapers, after one had pretty much dropped onto their laps and said hello, then some could argue that this was Darwinism in action. That the universe, may in fact, be too stupid to let live.
It's funny where your thoughts go when you're nervous. Well… nervous wasn't really the word for how she felt at the moment, she was more than nervous; she was outright scared. Having spent the last 24 hours straight, in a room, being interrogated by the organization she so proudly worked for, had gone a long way to kill smile that normally lit up her face. And evidently it wasn't going to get any better, because at the end of the hall she could see Miranda Lawson. As always she stood with perfect posture, almost as if she was posing for a photo shoot or standing on a runway. Her genetically perfect face was aloof as always.
However though, not even Miranda's icy composure was any match for Kelly Chambers.
She could easily tell, by how rigid she was that she was trying to fake nonchalance. The way that she unconsciously kept her hand near her gun, all but screamed her contempt for the red head, and Kelly eyed her right hand and she saw that she was grinding her fingers into her palm 'she's not feeling patient today' she noted to herself.
In all honesty, she just wasn't in the mood for her haughty-all-powerful-bitch-routine right now. She was hungry and tired, both physically and mentally, and in spite of the pain medication that they gave her, every part of her body was sore.
It was no secret, that Kelly had seen better days. Her face was a jumble of various cuts and bruises, most of which were covered in a little blue medigel patches, meant to ensure that they wouldn't scar. Her left cheek was still swollen, and she was sporting an epic shiner around her right eye.
And that was just her face.
When Dr, Chakwas first attended to her injuries, she was a mess. Bruised ribs, fractured right femur, first and second degree burns up her back and along the back of her legs. She had contusions running up and down her entire body, and though she still wasn't exactly sure as to what function her spleen served, it had apparently been ruptured. She still had a hard time looking in the mirror and managing not to cry.
After spending some much needed time in the infirmary, she found herself being questioned nonstop, no food, no sleep, and about to face whatever else they were going to throw at her.
'So you know what' she thought as she limped 'Miranda can gosh darn wait.
Xxxx Two days Earlier xxxX
Kelly woke up to the faint sounds of sobbing, echoing within her own small coffin. They weren't the sounds of her own voice, nor were they the only ones. She could hear dozens, people who were in the same predicament as herself, crying out or pounding at the glass of their own small tombs. After a few minutes, in a delirious haze, she finally began to remember where she was at.
'Oh god, the Collectors have me!' She started to panic.
In retrospect, Kelly would never know how long she screamed for. Nor would she ever know how long she pounded, uselessly, against the glass in the hopes that someone would let her out, which was actually saying a lot, in her case.
At a young age, doctors diagnosed her with a rare Genetic anomaly known as Hyperthymestic Syndrome which, in summary, meant that Kelly had memory that was as close to a Drell's as anyone could humanly get, while being completely non-toxic to lick (though there was no shortage of men who would volunteer to test this). Did this make her a Genius?
No. Not even close.
In a feat that utterly baffled anyone who knew of her condition, she miraculously found a way to fail math. Tests also determined that her logic and reasoning abilities were… less than stellar…
However though, the one thing that it was entirely helpful in was psychology. With the acute ability to remember and categorize every single tick, twitch, and nervous habit, within 10 minutes of anybody she ever talked to made it almost impossible to lie to her. It was this gift that got her noticed by the Illusive Man, and how a seemingly bubbly-git got handpicked and placed on a crew of specialists. Dr. Wilson's betrayal came far too close to destroying the last, and best, weapon that humanity had within its arsenal. He nearly killed Commander Sheperd.
So in short, she was a walking human Polygraph or AKA the Devil Woman. (The latter was popularized by the majority of her ex-boyfriends)
Sometime later, long after she wore her throat raw, she curled into herself and tried to keep herself sane by telling herself that rescue will come soon.
"Commander Shepard will come get me. Commander Shepard will come get me. Commander Shepard will come get me…" she repeated to herself over and over again. Across from her, she could see others in the same predicament as herself going through their own veritable stages of panic and grief. The small red head tried to occupy her thoughts by wondering where the Commander was. As soon as he got here, he would make these bullies pay for ever laying a hand on her! He would save her, and then he would lift her into her into his strong arms, and carry her off to safety.
"Commander Shepard will come get me…"
He was probably kicking down their doors this very second.
Xx meanwhile xX
"…Launching Probe…" Commander Shepard watched as a single bead of light streaked from the Normandy, and landed on the planet below. 'I wish I could go down with a Mako' He thought. While launching probes from orbit was by far the single most efficient way of devastating local ecosystems, he felt like it lacked that 'personal touch'. There was just something… primal… about ruining patches of flowers, and hopelessly slow, yet gleefully peace loving animals in six wheel drive. Sure, he had a cool Hover Tank now, and boosting around at 200 mph was fun, though Tali and Garrus might disagree… loudly.
But where was the awesome crunch of running over those stupid monkeys? Where was the ever satisfying THUNK, THUNK, THUNK, of running over Thorian Creepers at 60 some miles per hour? The new M-44's jets could score them some awesome air time, but there was just no sport in it. Getting air in the old Mako… now that was an achievement.
"We have found a large vein of Platinum, Commander." EDI said in her cool tone.
"Finally! Go baby, go…" he quietly cheered as he watched the counter for the platinum climb… He gave a small whoop, as it stopped at 5003. "Yes! Alright EDI, tell Garrus to start on the Thanix Cannon."
"Commander, we have only managed to mine 5000 units of platinum. Mr. Vakarian clearly stipulates that he requires 50,000 units of platinum to construct the Thanix Cannon."
Kelly woke again, having finally worn herself out from panicking, to the sound of something different. It almost sounded like an odd mechanical buzzing, or maybe something vibrating. Fearfully, she pressed an ear to the glass and tried to identify where it was coming from. As far as she could tell, it was coming from the odd tubes that attached to the pods. She didn't know what they were for, but she assumed that they supplied air or something like that. After a few minutes, she estimated that it was coming from several of the pods across from her.
As if to confirm her suspicions, the people trapped across from her, more than likely the colonists from Horizon, began to lower themselves as far away from the noise as possible. Then with morbid curiosity, she watched as they were being sprayed with some sort of… liquid? Too far to hear them, whatever it was it drove them into a panicked frenzy. But after a few seconds though, she noticed that it didn't really look like panic… 'It looks like they're in pain'
What she saw next will haunt her for the rest of her life.
Black splotches appeared on their skin, almost like thick mud, they began to get bigger. Hair fell out, eyelids disappeared.
"Oh god…" right before her eyes, they began to literally melt away, dissolving into nothing. "NO!" she beat at the glass again, wanting to do something, anything, to help them. The sounds of muffled screaming, more than likely from the pods next to her, could be heard as they were forced to watch the same show.
"NOO! SOMBODY HELP THEM!" she screamed, the sound of her own voice reverberating in her own pod. "please…" They weren't even struggling anymore; they looked like oily looking corpses, drunkenly swaying before they finally collapsed. Minutes later, they were gone.
If they tiny Yeoman could have mustered the energy, or the moisture, she would have cried again. But now all she could do is slump in her own little prison, and await the same fate to eventually claim her. With amazing clarity, she began to go over her life, reliving some of the most memorable parts, trying to figure out what had gone wrong.
How did she end up here? Was she really going to die like this, alone and afraid?
Kelly felt something familiar poking her in her back pocket. She reached back and discovered that the collectors had only stripped her of her Omni Tool, and her weapon (Like everyone else, she taken up arms to help defend the ship.) With something that might have passed for a smile, she fondly looked at the small stainless steel pen, which had been given to her when she graduated with her phycology degree.
In a world without paper, an old fashioned ink-pen was completely useless. It was merely symbolic, a gift from her parents, to show their support for her pursuit of one of the only things that she was ever really good at.
Suddenly… Kelly had an idea.
XxNormandy Mess HallxX
Just behind Sargent Gardner's prepping table, Kelly Chambers stood in front of metal flash freezer. Like everything else, it was clearly marked as Cerberus property should they ever happen to lose it… or something. Kelly had no idea; she'd stopped questioning the reasoning long after discovering the logo on her underwear and socks that Cerberus provided to everyone, and focused on her task at hand.
On the left hand side of the door was a key pad that only the mess Sargent had the codes to.
Looking thoughtful for a moment, she entered in a series of characters then pressed enter. She frowned when the LED readout flashed red and scrolled 'Access Denied'. After another long moment of thought, she tried again. However, this only provided the same results.
"Whatcha doin?" a playful voiced asked behind her.
Kelly jumped, and gave a shrill 'EEP', before she whirled around to her interloper. Kasumi sat, cross legged, on the counter and smiled at the red head. Her hood only revealed her grin, but Kelly could see the impish glint that never seemed leave her eyes.
"I really wish you wouldn't do that!" Kelly said, as she clutched at her chest, giving the mightiest pout she had in her arsenal.
"They say that only a person with guilty conscious would jump like that." The infiltrator said, completely unperturbed by Kelly's Pout of Doom. "I believe that also raises the question at what you're doing here, at this hour."
"I'm trying to guess the code for the freezer." She admitted easily. Given Kasumi's choice of profession, and her adventurous personality, she highly doubted that she would tell on her. In fact, she may even be just the perfect person she needed.
"Trying to guess the code? I don't think I've ever seen that work on a job before."
Kelly shrugged "I have access to Gardner's file and personal Psych Report. I figured I could try and guess what his password was." Kasumi made a face of mock surprise.
"Isn't that against some kind of oath, or something?" she said and lithely changed to a lying position, placing her hands under her chin.
"1. I don't have a doctorate, so I'm not a doctor. 2. It clearly states, in the Hippocratic Oath, 'to do no harm, unless Tootie Fruity Ice Cream bars are involved.'" Kasumi giggled, causing Kelly to smile before she continued "So what do you say? You want in on this heist?" The playful glint in the thief's eyes, clearly told her approval.
"What's the offer?"
"Fifty, fifty. But I call dibs on any Choco Tacos we find."
"Deal" she said, and vaulted off the counter, in one smooth movement, and landed soundlessly in front of the freezer.
Kelly expected her omni tool to light up, or maybe for her to pop the keypad off to get at the electronics inside. What she didn't expect however, was for her to pluck a spatula off the nearby rack, and jam it into the door. Within seconds, the door popped open with a -click-. Kelly blinked.
"Why didn't I think of that…"
"I wouldn't sweat it. Every lock tries to make itself look impenetrable. However, you have to remember that every lock is built by someone, who'll inevitably cut corners, to save costs, somewhere."
For the third time, Kelly stabbed her pen into a random spot, between the door and the pod, where she hoped would be a latch. Black ink ran down her hands, the stainless steel in ruins as she worked it along the crack. She gave a small sob of desperation, as she prayed that this would work. Her makeshift tool was falling apart; there would be no fourth attempt.
After a few seconds, she realized that it was caught on something. She pulled, and her heart leapt as the door opened just a millimeter. There was a latch, and she found it! She pulled up, with strength that was fueled by both hope and desperation, and cried out in surprise as the pen finally gave out.
She instantly cradled her hand, in a vain attempt to stop the bleeding, of her new inch long gash on her palm, when an odd hissing noise caused her to look up.
The pod door was open.
She all but flew out of her prison, scared to death that it might suddenly close again, and landed in a heap on the floor. The air smelled so bad, that she could actually taste it. Her hand hurt, and she was pretty sure she had bruised her knee, but she didn't care.
She was free!
[[ Achievement Unlocked - Limited Edition ]] Successfully escape from the Collector Pod.
She suddenly heard the sounds of screaming and cheering. She looked up and saw that everyone in the pods, who had the line of sight to see her, were now in an uproar. Some cheered, others pleaded for her to come let them out, while others were making their own escape attempts.
A small, high pitched, beeping noise brought her back to her former cell. She had obviously set off some sort of alarm. Who knew how much time she had before someone, or something, came to investigate. She rose to her feet, and…
"Oh my god…"
She could only see a dozen or so others from her vantage point, but now that she was out, she could see hundreds, maybe even thousands of other pods, most of them full.
On her level alone.
There had to be millions, all of them neatly lined along the walls and stretching out as far as the eye could see. Kelly was stunned.
After a long moment, she was broken from her trance, by the sounds of everyone screaming, and rushed over to the nearest pod with a Cerberus crew member. As she felt along the edges, hoping to find some sort of release lever. The dark skinned face of Crewman Patel pressed her hands and forehead against the glass.
Kelly couldn't find anything. Maybe it was remote controlled? She spun, looking for some kind of panel or maybe another tool she could use to pry it open. She was about to look for a release again, when Patel's hands began to beat at her door.
"Run Kelly! Run!" Her muffled voice said, pointing off to the side.
Not seconds after, she turned her head to the sudden sounds of beating wings. A Collector Drone landed, a mere hundred feet away. Its 4 eyes locked on to her as it raised its rifle.
Kelly ran, so panicked that she tripped on her own feet, just as a few rounds came whizzing by, where her torso would have been. Scrambling on all fours, barley making it to cover behind one of the other pods, she curled herself in fear as rounds pinged, and panged, right next to her.
"Don't just sit there, yah daffy woman! The vent! Go to the vent!" She knew that accent anywhere.
"Kenneth?" Kelly looked up at the pod she was using as cover, and saw the copper haired engineer frantically pointing to the wall right next to her.
"Damn it Kelly, you've got to move yer ass! Go to the vent!" He said, jumping around his own pod like a Jack Russell Terrier. She looked over, and sure enough, there was a small rectangular hole in the wall. She crawled over and saw that it lead down.
She was about to protest, but she suddenly heard the heavy footfalls of the Drone approaching.
"C'mon you over grown cockroach, I've eaten haggis that's looked meaner than you!" Donnaly said, trying to gain its attention. "It's true!" Gabby's voice drifted in, from somewhere unseen.
Kelly looked into the black void behind her only escape. Who knew how far it went down? In all likelihood, she was probably going shatter every bone in her body. There had to be other options. She was about to try and make a break for the other direction when the collector finally came into view. It once again locked on to Kelly, and reached out to seize her.
Ignoring the Vent, Kelly dived to the right of the Collector's feet, narrowly dodging its outstretched hand… pincer… whatever, and scrambled to her feet. She ran for her life, trying to keep her pattern unpredictable as possible Kelly zig-zagged. The sounds of gunfire and ricocheting bullets were heard all around her.
One struck her in the back, and came out of her chest.
With no kinetic barriers, and no armor of any kind, she was mortally wounded. Kelly dropped to the ground like a stone. The round had penetrated her lung, pretty much obliterating her ability to breathe. She tried to crawl along the ground, but her strength was failing fast. With what little she had left, she managed to roll on to her back.
The last thing she ever saw was the Collector stand over her, raising its rifle, she stared down the barrel.
(CRITICAL MISSION FAILURE)
She dove into the vent praying to God, Buda, and Tom Cruise, that she didn't turn herself into something that looked like baby-food at the bottom. She was lucky, that it didn't go straight down, like she feared.
Her freefall stopped, only after a few feet, and she landed on some sort of slope. Without any light of any kind, she could feel herself sliding down. Though she had no idea of how hast she was moving, she was pretty sure that, at one point, she hit Mach one on the way.
Just as she was beginning that that this vent may actually be bottomless, it finally evened off and she came to a jarring halt at the wall.
She did a quick inventory of her body and discovered that all of her limbs were still attached, and nothing seemed to be broken. Amidst the blackness, she could see a small rectangle of light. Undoubtedly another vent hole, she crawled for it.
It's kind of funny, what can through a person's head at a time like this. Kelly liked to watch a lot of movies, and she couldn't help but think how much this felt like a scene from Blasto: the first hanar specter 2, justice stings, when he had to crawl through the ducts, of a Blue Sun's base to save the Asari counselor, before they sold her into slavery. Kelly sighed.
If only she could be as brave as Blasto, he'd know what to do.
Like a red headed rodent, Kelly carefully poked her head out of the duct entrance, and scoped out the surroundings for any danger. Like most of the Collector base, it was poorly lit. Only the air was much damper and had an odd odor, like something electrical was burning. Seeing nothing move, she crawled out.
Everything was in a dark blue hue, from a light source she couldn't see, and there were poles everywhere, sort of like an artificial forest. She cautiously moved, careful not to touch anything as she kept an eye out for any Collectors. She spotted a few doors, where they led she had no idea.
Any direction she took wasn't going to do her any good, unless she found some sort of weapon, or maybe a way to signal help. She thought that maybe if she tried to crawl back into the ducts, then she might be able to find another room with something more useful. However, maybe she…
She heard something. It was faint but she was pretty sure it was a voice. She looked all around her, but she didn't see anybody. She looked up and…
"Oh god…" She fell backwards, onto her but "oh god, oh god, oh god," she reapeated as she stared up at the limp bodies that were all mounted up at the top of the poles. There were dozens of them; she suddenly realized that all of the poles were actually Dragon's Teeth. She recoiled from everything near her, and tried to make her profile as small as humanly possible.
Too scared to take her eyes off the twitching bodies on the spikes, she crawled along the ground, in hopes of finding a door, when her hand brushed up against something. She looked down and her eyes lit up as she saw that there was a small pile of equipment, undoubtedly from the bodies of the victims on the spikes. She was about to crawl away when she finally looked at the random items strewn about. This was stuff that she could use!
(^ Level Up ^)
[10 squad points added]
Combat Therapist: Channeling every Blasto Vid she's ever seen, Kelly now knows how to defend herself. Since she knows where the Heat Sink is supposed to go in the gun, Kelly selects the M3 predator pistol. This also grants a bonus to Renegade points and unlocks special dialogs.
+ 15% Weapons Damage
+ 10% Health
Technological Yeoman: Hour spent, day in and day out, clearing spam mail from the Commanders mail box has taught Kelly to somewhat tech-savvy. Kelly equips herself with an OmniTool, allowing her to interface with simple computers, and even hack simple locks. This also grants a bonus to Paragon points and unlocks special dialogs.
+ 10% Shield Bonus
+ 15% Power Duration
There it is! If you feel like taking part in this game, pick a class. The outcome of this little poll will greatly affect how the story goes.