Mass Effect 2: Naruto's Mission

Written by I.K.A. Valian

All characters and material from Naruto are the property of Masashi Kishimoto.

All characters and material from Mass Effect are the property of BioWare.

Chapter One: Prologue

The small explosion on the border of Fire Country nearly went unreported. The only reason anyone was aware of the voluminous ball of flame was that a hapless rice farmer transporting his goods to Konoha for sale saw bright lights and loud booms as he passed. The fact that he was traveling at night and half drunk was immediately used as an excuse by the council to dismiss the claim, but acting Hokage Hatake Kakashi sent Team Eight and their Jounin Sensei, Hyuuga Hinata, to scout and investigate. What they brought back was the last person anyone expected them to find, let alone ever see in this world again.

So it was that Naruto awoke. His head was pounding badly and every bit of muscle and bone in his body hurt like he'd been thrown about by one of Pain's Paths for weeks on end. When he opened his eyes, it wasn't to the comforting sight of his room, which would have proved it was all a dream and he'd just pushed himself training too hard again. No, that hope was dashed when he saw he was in the hospital. That meant he'd either nearly gotten himself killed, again, or someone had nearly killed him, again.

Off to his right, seated on a chair with her eyes closed was Tsunade. Her chin rested against her chest as she drew in slow and steady breathes. The fact that she had quite a bit more wrinkles on her once flawless face and that her hair was more white than blond had completely gone over Naruto's head.

She looked like she was really tired, and in his mind, that she was there, waiting for him to wake up when she had Hokage stuff to do meant she'd stayed up late to finish her work so she could come back here to sit by his side. Sakura or Shizune were probably picking up the slack by this time, considering the morning sun was shining merrily in through his room's window over the odd skyline. It was Konoha, if Tsunade was there, but since when did they have a large tower in the center of the village?

Naruto grunted as he pushed himself into a sitting position and looked about the room. Aside from Tsunade, there was no one else nearby or visible. If there were any ANBU Agents nearby, they were very good at hiding. The door was closed giving him and his Hokage even more privacy.

His immediate impulse made itself known when his stomach growled loudly. He quickly clamped a hand over his stomach and then glanced at Tsunade to see if she'd woken up. But she was still out cold. Naruto let out a deep breath of relief.

Bad, stomach. He admonished his body. Don't wake Grandma Tsunade up just cause you're hungry. Old people need their sleep. Naruto glanced at Tsunade again, just to make sure she was asleep. An odd grimace had appeared on her face, as if she'd just dreamed about sucking down the juices of a raw lemon, but despite that, she still remained asleep. Okay, first things first, Ramen!

Naruto quietly got out of bed and stepped onto the floor. The first thing he noticed was how shiny the floor had been buffed when he immediately slipped and fell onto his stomach. The fall wasn't loud, so Naruto wasn't too worried that he'd woken his sleeping warden, but just to be safe, he remained still and didn't breathe for seconds on end while he listened for any changes.

He let out the second breath of relief of the day and slowly pushed himself to his feet again. This time he was careful to gauge how he stood and ended up learning just how out of it he was in the process. His legs did hold him up, but it felt like he hadn't been walking at all for months or someone had ripped his leg muscles to shreds and then stuffed them back into his legs and sewed them in. Every step toward the door was like a painful knife stab to his leg that shot straight into his brain. Nonetheless, the call of Ramen could not be denied, and so he slowly made his way to the door and quietly slid it open.

He poked his head out and looked up and down the hallway. No one, not even a nurse. That's weird. With a shrug, Naruto exited his room, quietly slid the door shut. As he made his way down the hallway toward what he hoped was the exit, he carefully held in every painful shout or grunt that his body so fervently wished to make in the hopes of avoiding detection. If he was this bad off, then they'd make him go back to bed and he'd never get any Ramen. So stealth style exit it was.

As he reached the end of the hallway he began to hear the sounds of people just beyond. He slowed his walk, which wasn't really that fast to begin with, so he could listen to what was being said. Nothing any of the women talking made sense, other than the few snippets of hospital talk that he'd heard Sakura, Tsunade, and Shizune say whenever he was around them. The rest was too complicated for him to understand. But at least it confirmed that he was in a hospital.

Before he rounded the corner and made for the exit Naruto glanced down at what he was wearing. What he saw caused him to slow to a stop and look at his clothing more thoroughly. It was a very strange skin suit, much like Rock Lee or Gai Sensei's, only it was orange and black like the clothes he got during his journey with Jiraiya. While he didn't mind the color scheme, he didn't really want to devolve into the "youthful" praising head case that Lee turned into. New clothes were in order before he could leave. Plus, he doubted they would let him leave if they saw him anyway. He needed a disguise.

Naruto turned back around and started checking each of the doors along the hall. The first two doors were locked. The third door easily slid open and revealed a very tidy supply closet and a neatly arrayed set of janitor clothes. Jackpot!

The front desk clerk, a plain young woman with a flat face and large brown eyes and hair, typed away at her computer, much improved devices over the archaic things they used before the 4th War. When the 'clop clop' of crutches reached her ears, she looked up from the screen and watched a young man with blond hair slowly moving past her. She arched one of her brown eyebrows at the man, clearly a janitor from the clothes he wore, as he passed by her.

"Doc said I could head hope cause I broke my toe cleaning one of the rooms," the young man said. "He said to keep all the weight off of it that I could and to get a lot of rest and then come back in tomorrow for the second treatment."

"Okay," the young woman said. "Just be sure to come back early for your check-up." The young man smiled and moved past her. Seconds after he'd left and the glass doors slid shut automatically, a nurse walked up to her desk and sat a stack of papers down.

"Who was that?" the nurse asked.

"I don't know," the clerk said. "I think he was one of the new hires. I've never seen him before."

Naruto was really happy that his little ruse worked. It always made him feel a little giddy when one of his plans, pranks, or jokes worked according to plan. He was whistling a little tune as he clopped down the road, which was paved now! Since when were Konoha's roads paved? Carts pulled by horses and oxen were moving up and down the streets at an industrious rate, faster than on the dirt road from before anyway.

Walking through Konoha, even at his much slower rate, was like walking through an amusement park or a festival. The buildings were all incredible to look at with all the colors and small things attached to them. The side walk, a new area reserved just for pedestrians, was populated by people in all shapes and sizes. Shops were showing their wares, some for ninja to buy and others for civilians. Street vendors were selling everything from hot finger food, to ice cream, to souvenirs. The sheer number of people in the village was overwhelming.

Then the fact that not even a single person was looking at him in any form of recognition settled in. No one's looking at me like I'm a monster or a hero… Doesn't anyone remember who I am? I defeated Pain, didn't I? Naruto shook his head and continued clopping. None of this makes sense, but I'm sure I can ask Granny later after I've eaten.

Naruto eventually found himself at the base of the large tower situated in a large open circle of paved road. The tower appeared to be a clock tower, with the Leaf Village symbol painted in red on each of the four sides, now that he had a closer look at it. Above the clock section was a look out post. He could see several ninja standing up there with binoculars spying out into the distance.

Looking back down to the circle, he finally spotted what he was looking for. But even that was different from what he was expecting. Instead of a homely little shack with a few stools set up for any customers who wished to sit down and order, there was an entire fenced off section with lots of tables. Servers moved back and forth, delivering ramen and other food to hungry customers. At the back of the lot was a large, two story building with a much wider bar for people to sit down at eat at.

Naruto shook his head but he wasn't going to look down on a ramen joint just for its opulence. Heck, it made it even better because now more people could be served and they could make more money. And since more people could be served, they could make more ramen faster, which meant he could eat more ramen in less time.

"Good morning, sir," one of the waiters said to him as he clopped up to the entrance of the lot. "Do you wish a table or would you like to eat at the bar?"

"I'm going to eat at the bar," Naruto said. He could already taste the delicious noodles. His mouth was watering so much he had to swallow to keep from drooling like Akamaru. "Cause I'm famished and the sooner the ramen gets to me, the better!"

"Of course, Sir," the waiter said. He turned on his heel and stared walking. "Right this way."

"Alright, Hinata," Kiba said as he sat down roughly on the right most stool at the Ichiraku Ramen Bar. Hinata sat down next to him and then Shino on her left. "What's so important and so secret that you had to tell us in private, away from our students, and at Ichiraku's?"

"My intuition tells me this meeting has to do with the reported explosion on the border," Shino said. "How do I know this? It is after Hinata and her team returns from investigating the explosion that she requests the meeting."

"What can I get for you today," the chef asked. He was a balding, middle-aged man who wore a chef's hat and an apron with the Ichiraku Logo imprinted on it.

"Naruto Special for all of us," Hinata said.

"Right away!" the chef said excitedly.

"Come on, Hinata," Kiba said, though the drawl in his voice implied how uninteresting he anticipated Hinata's reveal to be. "The suspense is killing us."

"I was sworn to secrecy about most of the mission," Hinata began. "But I felt I should give you a fair warning for what you'll eventually find out. About what we-no, who we found out there."

"A noble-man's daughter?" Shino asked.

"Nah, couldn't be a princess…" Kiba muttered, "has to be some kind of criminal or something." A serious look suddenly over came Kiba's face as he turned to Hinata and asked, "You didn't find Kabuto's grave did you? Was some bastard unlucky enough to set off the traps set up around the place that sent them and the monster's remains to kingdom come?"

"The location of the remains of Kabuto would not be in such a place that could be found by some tomb robber or witless traveler," Shino said. "His remains are too dangerous to be left unwatched."

Kiba's face screwed up as he was about to object. Then the Naruto Special ramen bowl was placed in front of him. His expression quickly shifted to a hungry one and he forgot his indignant answer in favor of stuffing his mouth with noodles and broth.

"It's none of those," Hinata said. She poked the noodles in her bowl and the fishcake sitting on top with one of her chopsticks. "We found someone… who shouldn't be here."

"I must admit," Shino said once he swallowed his bite of food. "Now even I am curious as to who this individual is."


Hinata was suddenly cut off when a young man with a shock of yellow hair limped up to a stool, making a clop clop sound with his crutches. The three of them watched a living impossibility sit down on the stool. Then they watched, in silence as the one who should not be there ordered food.

"Hey, old man, gimme two bowls of pork ramen please!"

"Coming right up!" the chef responded happily. He really didn't care that it was only one person ordering two bowls. Either way, it meant he got more money and business was always good these days.

"That's not possible," Kiba said. His chopsticks fell from fingers to plop into his bowl of cooling ramen. His mouth was hanging agape as he stared unabashedly at the blond.

"I tried to warn you," Hinata said as she rolled her eyes and returned to eating. Kiba continued to stare as if his brain had stopped working. Shino tilted his head but otherwise didn't react. "Though knowing him," Hinata continued, "I'm not surprised to find him here… even if he should still be in bed. Maybe I should have suggested a different place to eat."

"You are Uzumaki Naruto?" Shino asked the blond suddenly. Kiba broke from his brain freeze to try and grab Shino to tell him to be quiet. Unfortunately, he only managed to flail his arm in Shino's general direction and gape his mouth like a fish out of water. Hinata maintained her poise and continued eating her meal with the deft and delicate touch any proud Hyuuga had and at the same time ignored her former teammates and the blond.

"Huh?" the blond turned and looked at the three of them. His brow crinkled as he concentrated on them for a few seconds and then he shrugged, obviously giving up thinking of whatever he tried to come up with. "Yeah," Naruto answered after the long pause. "Who are you?"

"I am… a friend," Shino said.

"Well, you're the first one who's recognized me today!" Naruto beamed but his happy face quickly faltered. "Maybe the only one. I thought after everything I've done, people would at least recognize me. It's worse than before I beat Pain even. At least then people looked at me, even if it was only to glare. Now it's… no one knows I even exist."

"Here's your order sir," the chef said as he placed the two bowls of pork ramen in front of Naruto. "That'll be-"

"Please, allow me to pay," Shino said as he nodded at the chef. "I get the feeling that my friend here is a little short on cash."

"Yes, alright," the chef said. "I'll add it to you bill then."

"Hey, thanks mister," Naruto said, halfway done with the second bowl. "I don't know what happened to my wallet."

Just then there was loud beeping that drew everyone's attention to Hinata. Hinata placed her chopsticks down on top of her empty bowl, reached into the right breast pocket of her vest, and pulled out a small handheld radio. She pressed a button on its side and loud shouting started coming through.

"-eat! The subject has escaped from the hospital. All search squads have been ordered mobilized by the acting Hokage. Look for yellow hair and a janitor's uniform."

Naruto slouched into his stool as he listened to what was being said. He'd been found out. Hinata sighed and pressed a different button and spoke into the radio. "Call off the search. I've got eyes on the target."

"Who is this?"

"This is Jounin Operator Hyuuga Hinata, number zero-zero-four-eight. I've got eyes on the target and will escort him to the Tower after he's finished eating. He got hungry and decided on ramen."

"Oh thank goodness. Copy that, Hinata. See you in a bit."

"I guess this means you gotta bring me… in… wait… Hinata? Hyuuga Hinata?" Completely forgetting that he couldn't walk let alone stand without crutches, Naruto jumped from his stool and pointed at Hinata with an accusatory finger. Then his legs gave out and he crumpled to the ground.

Naruto watched from the ground as Hinata, Shino, and Kiba stood. They towered over him as they gazed down upon their long lost friend. Hinata bowed to Naruto and then held out a hand to him.

"You've got a lot of catching up to do," she said, "Naruto-kun."

The doors to the Hokage's office burst open and Naruto barged right in as if he owned the place, just as he'd done every time before he'd been brought here. Sure, the building was taller, looked sturdier, and had lots of shiny new equipment on the inside. But it was still the same Hokage Tower that it had always been, and that included the Hokage's office with a wide view of the village.

"Alright, Granny, what's all this crap about me being ten years younger than everyone else and what happened to Konoha, it's totally different than it used to be. And… and…" Naruto stopped talking when he saw that it was not Tsunade wearing the hat, but Kakashi. Tsunade was in the room, but she now stood off to the side. "Wait, Kaka-sensei, why are you wearing the Hokage's hat?"

Kakashi sighed and pulled the hat from his head. As he set it down on the desk, several ANBU agents appeared around Naruto, all with their swords pointed at his neck. Before Naruto could let out a help, one of the ANBU had tied his hands and arms together before shoving him backwards so he fell into a chair, where upon more ropes were used to bind him down.

"Hey!" Naruto shouted. Sure his body felt way, way better after the food kicked in, plus the extra ten bowls helped fill the ramen void he'd been holding back since waking. But it wasn't like he was in any condition to fight anything stronger than a civilian at this point. "What's the deal? I just got here, it's not like I'm going to run off now! You still haven't told me what the hell is going on!"

"Naruto," Kakashi said as the ANBU finished their handiwork and vanished once more, "You're not just younger than everyone. You've been gone for over ten years."

"Whaat?" Naruto twisted at the ropes holding him down. "That doesn't make any sense! Come on, untie me! What's with this anyway?"

"After that stunt you pulled in the war and then just now in the hospital, we're not taking any chances," Tsunade said. As Naruto calmed down enough realize these ropes were very well tied and he wasn't going to get out, he glared at the only two others in the room.

That's when he got his first really good look at them. Kakashi didn't just have silver hair now, he had graying hair. He also had several extra scars that weren't there last time he saw him, a small beard, and his headband was replaced by a simple eye patch. Of course, the only thing he really saw after that was the one good eye glaring daggers at him.

Then there was Tsunade. He was wrong to dismiss the older look to her face from the hospital. Her eyes were softer too, despite the hard edge the still held. Nevertheless, she was clearly angry at him now. It was at times like this that being tied down to a chair with an irate slug princess in the same room that one regretted every sinful act in their lives.

"Naruto," Kakashi said, "where have you been all this time?"

"What are you talking about Kaka-sensei?" Naruto asked, much more quiet this time. Then he tried to think of where he had been last and that's when he realized that the big, dark, splotch in his memory hadn't faded since waking or eating. "I…" Naruto frowned as he concentrated harder. "I was… uh… it had something to do with ramen."

Tsunade deadpanned Naruto and quickly walked up to him. Fearing for his life, Naruto attempted to escape again, but the ropes held firm. Resigned to his fate, Naruto closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable blow that would send him through a couple walls or out the window and over the village to the forest beyond. Instead a warm and soothing sensation filled his head from the top of his scalp.

Naruto opened his eyes to see Tsunade holding her hand, now glowing green. After several seconds of scanning Naruto's head, the green glow died down. Then Naruto was stunned when Tsunade's hand fell onto his hair and patted him.

"We missed you, brat," Tsunade said. "We all did."

"I suppose brain damage is out of the question," Kakashi said. "It's healed from when you were watching over him in the hospital?"

"It has," Tsunade said as she walked back to the window and stared out over the village. "There will be scarring, but his friend is helping the healing along quite well. By this time tomorrow he should be completely healed. That also means that whatever memories were lost are likely lost for good. The neural pathways have to rebuild themselves. A Yamanaka could probably tell you more, but you probably won't get much."

"I see," Kakashi said. Then he shrugged. "No loss for us then. We're just going to have to find out by other means."

"Hey!" Naruto shouted. "Come one, what's wrong with me? What happened? You said I was gone for over ten years. That's impossible."

"Naruto," Kakashi said. "I know your memory was never the greatest, but please try. What is the last thing you remember clearly?"

Naruto frowned as he delved back into his past. He remembered growing up in Konoha. Graduating from the Academy, despite Mizuki's attempt on his life. Iruka-sensei buying him ramen. That was good ramen! Getting on Team Seven with Sakura and Sasuke. Stupid Sasuke! Being tied to a post. Being left tied to a post. The mission to Wave. His vow to himself. Zabuza… Haku. His Nindo. I fight for my precious people! The chunin exams. Orochimaru. Gaara. Jiraiya. Tsunade. Itachi and Sasuke. Stupid Sasuke ran away and made Sakura cry! The three years training with Jiraiya. Coming back to Konoha. Hehe, Sakura really liked Konohamaru's Boy on Boy Sexy Jutsu. I always knew she was a perv! Saving Gaara from the Akatski. Sai. Fighting Orochimaru. Kicking Kakuzu's ass. I remember that… Rasensuriken. Good times. Chasing Itachi down only to get a crow shoved down his throat. Why does that crow feel so familiar? Mastering Sage Mode with the toads. Pain killing Jiraiya. Pain killing everyone else he cared. Fighting Pain. Almost dying only to be saved by Hinata, and then his father. Dad… Pain giving up and reviving everyone with his Rinnegan. Everyone except Jiraiya. Mastering the key to Kurama's seal. Kurama… when did I learn that? I can't remember. Granny Tsunade falling into a coma and then Danzo taking over. Danzo being killed by Sasuke. Good riddance, I say. And then finally, the S-Rank mission to the turtle island with Killer B where he learned to control Kurama's power for the first time. That's when I met mom… I remember that. I miss her.

It is only after he's wrested control of Kurama's chakra from the giant beast that things got fuzzy. There were flashes of fighting. One very big image of him punching the Raikage in the face. Hell yeah! And then the final image, which was too fuzzy to see anything beyond shadows, but he could still hear the echoes of what was being said.

"Shukaku, Matatabi, Isobu, Son Goku, Kokuo, Saiken, Chomei, Gyuki, Kurama."

"Who are they?" Kakashi asked. Naruto jerked his eyes open, the warm feeling from having said those names vanishing to the back of his mind. "Is that the last thing you remember?"

"Those names… nine names…" Tsunade said to herself. "No… how?"

"I made a promise to them," Naruto said quietly. He concentrated again to figure out what exactly he promised them. But all he drew was a blank. "I can't remember who or what they were, but I promised them something. The last one is the Kyuubi, though. I remember that much. Other than that, the last thing I really can remember well is the mission to the turtle island."

Kakashi glanced over to Tsunade who looked at him and nodded. "That far back, hmm? Nothing about where you were in the mean time? Where you went after the final attack?"

Naruto shook his head. "What are you talking about? What final attack? I was cataloging the wild life on the island and I used the waterfalls of truth and the temple there to gain control over Kurama's chakra. And then… Then I can't remember anything but hearing those names and feeling like I made them a promise. That's it! I swear!"

Kakashi huffed and stood. "I guess we'll need the Yamanaka after all." He walked passed Naruto, placed his hat back on his head, and opened to doors to leave. "I'll be back."

Silence filled the space between Naruto and Tsunade. Naruto focused on the feeling he felt after saying the names, but it was too illusive to grasp. Shaking his head, he looked at Tsunade and noticed that her whole body was stiff.

"Hey, Granny, what's wrong?"

Tsunade snorted. "I can't believe I missed being called an old woman by a brat like you," she said. But despite the heat in her voice, her posture relaxed slightly. Then she turned to face him with the most serious of looks on her face. "Naruto. You wouldn't happen to know what happened to Sakura, would you?"

"Sakura…" Naruto frowned and thought back. Nope, no memory of that there. "No… but didn't she stay with you when I went on the turtle mission?"

Tsunade sighed sadly. "No, she was a medic in the war, promoted to head medic in Kakashi's regiment. When Kakashi and Gai went to back you up, Sakura somehow got dragged along. You and she vanished, along with Tobi and Sasuke."

Naruto frowned. He pushed really hard this time to remember something, anything, like what Tsunade was saying. Before it was an exercise to remember because Kakashi wanted information. Now it was a desperate desire to remember because Sakura could be in trouble, or worse. But no matter how hard he pushed into his memory, the blotchy shadowy nothingness that surrounded his most recent memories remained firm. He could remember nothing.

"Why," Naruto asked. His voice cracked as his emotions got the better of him. "Why can't I remember?" A single tear slid down his cheek as his desperation turned to melancholy. Sakura was in trouble and he couldn't do anything to help.

"When Hinata and her genin found you, you were badly injured," Tsunade said. "I was called back from the capitol to help heal your injuries. It wasn't just that your body was nearly completely destroyed underneath your skin, but your brain too had large open wounds. Yet your skull was undamaged, as if someone teleported a knife inside and then back out. I did what I could to save your life, but apparently it wasn't enough to save everything. At the end, the nine-tails power took over and you started healing on your own. Your brain, along with the rest of your body, just started pulling itself back together. You've been unconscious for about two months now."

Naruto hung his head as he took all this in. Two months and all he'd done was lay on a slab and breath. Meanwhile, Sakura could be in trouble, or worse, everyone had gone through over ten years of time without him, and now he couldn't remember anything beyond what happened, apparently, over ten years ago.

"You'll never guess who I found," Kakashi said as he walked back in. He looked up from Naruto's brooding, despairing form to Tsunade. "You told him?"

"He's not a spy and he deserves to know," she said. Then she turned to the blond who entered behind Kakashi. "Ino, it's good to see you. How are you?"

"Ah, um, I'm doing fine ma'am. We're selling a lot of flowers for the festival at the capitol. I hope everything is going well for you?"

Tsunade shrugged and waved Ino off. "Same old politics, new building. The only consolation I can take is that we're stabbing each other in the back with words and not kunai."

"While it is nice that you ladies are catching up," Kakashi said, "could you, maybe, talk about that stuff later? This one doesn't look like he'll last much longer."

The three looked down at Naruto, who was hanging his head even lower now. Ino walked up to him and pushed his head back. Then she gasped as she looked into Naruto's bright blue eyes.

"I had been told but… I still didn't believe it could be true."

"Oh, it's more true than you can imagine," Kakashi said. "He's already snuck out of the hospital to get ramen." Kakashi sighed melodramatically. "Just like old times."

"Ino," Naruto said, his voice scratchy. "I can't remember. I… I was hurt and I can't remember. And Sakura could be in trouble."

Ino frowned. Then she took a deep breath and calmed herself. She'd lost Sakura over ten years ago, after all. Like almost everyone else who lost friends in the war, she moved on. That Naruto, supposedly lost in the final attack, was now sitting tied to a chair in front of her… she wouldn't let that shake her resolve to keep moving forward.

"Then let's see if you are repressing the memories instead of having lost them, okay?"

Naruto gulped loudly and then nodded. Ino wouldn't be the first Yamanaka to attempt to get into his head. He just hoped that she wouldn't run away screaming and pulling their hair out like all the rest.

In quick succession, Ino made the hand seals and then formed a triangle in front of her with her pointer fingers and her thumbs. She centered Naruto's head in the triangle and said, "Mind Body Switch, activate!" Neither Ino nor her target saw Ino's body get caught by Kakashi or Naruto's head slump forward again.

Ino found herself standing in a pool of ankle deep water. Only the water was stretched out forever in every direction and the darkness overhead was like a night sky with innumerable stars twinkling. Naruto grunted next to her as he looked around as well. He was frowning as he inspecting his mindscape.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"It's different," he said. "It used to be sewers, not this. Is this what happens when you get brain damage?"

Ino frowned. She shook her head and said, "I don't have much experience with brain injured people, only prisoners trying to keep me out. Let's move forward and see what we can find along the way."

"Yeah. I should check in on Kurama while we're here too. I want to see if he's alright."

Ino paused mid step and looked at Naruto sideways with a questioning look. "Kurama?"

"Oh, uh, yeah," he said and flashed a grin. "You know, the fox."

Ino's eyes widened and she quickly looked around. If that demon was loose down here from all the damage, then she and Naruto were likely in danger. Though it was curious as to why the fox hadn't eaten her and Naruto yet, but he was a demon. Far be it from her to know what went through its head. Then she saw Naruto frowning at her.

"He's not going to attack you," he said sternly, as her father might have admonished her for fearing a cute little puppy sniffing her legs. But the fox was not cute, or little, or a puppy. He was a man-eating, demonic, monster fox that consumed souls and destroyed villages. The fact that Naruto was standing here and admonishing her like she was afraid of nothing was laughable. "And even if he did, I'd put him in his place. So you got nothing to worry about."

"How can you be so calm about this?" Ino asked. She swallowed and forced herself to calm down. That almost sounded hysterical. "Whether you give him a pet name or not, he's still the monster that nearly destroyed the village."

"He's not a pet," Naruto shouted angrily, "he's an ally. And I didn't name him Kurama, the Sage of Six Paths did. So show some respect!"

"I… Wha…" This was completely off the wall information Naruto was coming up with, even for him.

"Look," Naruto said, still perturbed, but trying to change the subject, "let's just look for anything that can help Sakura. You can leave after that and I'll look in on Kurama alone." After that, Naruto just started walking away silently into the darkness of his mind.

Ino took a deep breath and then forged ahead. The Hokage had given her a mission and she was going to see it through. Naruto was looking for something to help Sakura. That did fall under her mission mandate, but so did finding anything else that would help piece together what Naruto had been doing for the past decade.

As they moved over the surface of whatever they were walking on, they passed several stars that seemed to lower themselves from the sky until they were close enough to look at in detail. Instead of being giant balls of light too bright to look at, they were balls of light with memories playing out across their surfaces. Ino quickly realized that all the stars in the sky were Naruto's memories.

Naruto snorted watching the memory sphere they now stood under. It was a memory of one of his spats with Sasuke before he'd defected to Orochimaru. Naruto shook his head and moved on. Ino watched herself in the memory sphere run up and beat on Naruto for bothering Sasuke.

"I can't believe I acted like such an airhead," she mumbled.

"Hey," Naruto shouted from further ahead. "What's up with this one? It's chained down and covered up and stuff."

Ino caught up to Naruto and found him trying to pull a black tarp off of a glowing sphere of light that was further restrained by thick, heavy metal chains. She quickly pulled Naruto back.

"Wait," she said. "Memories that are hidden and locked away like this are usually something the mind does to protect itself." She looked up at the sky to maybe guess what this memory could be about based on the other memories nearby, but this section of Naruto's memory sky was completely blank, like the memories had from this section of Naruto's life had been erased. "There are no other memories nearby. Whatever this memory is must be very powerful if it's the only one still in this section."

"So… whatever is under there could hurt me?" Naruto asked.

"Yes," she said. "If you open it, then you'll have to deal with the pain of the memory right away instead of getting over it gradually. If you can't handle the memory then it could kill you."

"Hah!" Naruto barked. "Don't you remember who I am? I'm Uzumaki Naruto! I don't care what year it is, I'm still going to become Hokage one day! And I always fight for my friends, so if whatever is under here can help me find Sakura, I'm going to rip this thing off and find out."

Ino chuckled. She's forgotten what Naruto could be like when he got riled up. If you told him doing something to help a friend could possibly hurt or straight up kill him, he just grinned and did whatever it was all the happier. She kind of missed this reckless courage.

"But, it can't hurt to be prepared," he added. Then he formed a hand seal and several dozen clones appeared around them. "Alright guys, I'm going to open up this memory and see what's inside. It could make… uh… Ino what could be under here?"

"Anything from dealing with a bad hair day to your worst nightmares," she said. Despite the calmness with which she spoke, she still grinned. "Knowing you it'll be a dentist telling you that you have cavities in all your teeth so they have to be pulled out. And you can't eat ramen anymore."

That last part was added in jest. Naruto, and all his clones, had taken it seriously. Every single one of them grew whiter than the palest white flower petal she'd ever seen. The very idea of being banned from ramen, apparently, was Naruto's worst nightmare.

"Don't even joke about that," Naruto rasped, his voice shaking. "That was the worst nightmare I've ever had… I…" he shivered. "No, it can't be that bad. It's probably some kind of battle with Sasuke or Orochimaru."

Ino looked at Naruto incredulously. He considered fighting two of the most dangerous men, even if only in memory, to be better than never being allowed to eat ramen again?

"Half of you start making Rasengans," Naruto said to his clones. "The rest of you go sage mode and ready some Rasensuriken. I'm not taking any chances. If any of you even see some crazy, wild-eyed, crazy doctor with empty ramen bowls, don't ask, just attack."

"Right boss," the clones responded and then got down to business preparing. Ino had to chuckle. He was taking the threat to ramen seriously.

With no small amount of trepidation, Naruto approached the tarp and carefully gripped the edges of it. Light shone out from where the tarp didn't fully cover the sphere. With a final nod to his clones, Naruto gave a mighty tug and the tarp ripped off with a loud tearing sound.

The chains holding the sphere down snapped and gave way as the memory sphere quickly rose into the sky and exploded. Sparkling bits of light rained down over Naruto, Ino, and his clones. And then the surrounding geography changed from a flat, water logged plan, to a dark metallic structure of some kind. Lights all over the place gave off a red haze to the entire place. Ino immediately felt a pressure on her skull. A sound appeared in the background that was annoying, constant, and digging into her mind.

Naruto, and all his clones, groaned and fell to the floor. The clones quickly dispersed under the assault of the sound. Ino could barely hold herself together as she pushed the intruding sound from her mind with a well structured barrier.

Then she saw him. Or them. In the memory playing out before her was Naruto, wearing that really strange orange and black jumpsuit, and after three looks just to be sure, Sasuke. He wore a full body suit of armor, with a helmet over his head. He held his sword in one hand and simply stared at Naruto. Then she noticed that the Mangekyo Sharingan was active in his eyes. It was hard to see through the glass face plate, but it was definitely there.

"It matters not," said a deep and booming voice just as Naruto slumped to the ground in front of Sasuke. "You have failed. In freeing his mind of indoctrination, you have destroyed it. In delaying his destruction, you have brought about your own. Your resistance ends here."

"You're wrong," Sasuke said. He took several steps toward Naruto and pulled something out of a pocket in the armor. "Naruto can heal from anything, even this. By destroying the parts of his mind you corrupted, I've given him full control over his body again. He will heal eventually and become the leader of our people." Sasuke kneeled down next to Naruto and attached the device he pulled out of his pocket to an orange contraption that appeared around Naruto's arm. The device beeped once before it started to whir and make a high pitched whine. Just as Naruto's body began to glow and then fade, his eyes began to flutter open.

Next to Ino, the real Naruto gasped and grunted as he pushed himself onto his hands and knees. "Sasuke?" both he and his memory-self said at the same time.

"Don't come back for us," Sasuke said to Naruto. "You were right, about everything. Now go be a good Hokage."

Then the memory-Naruto vanished and the scene faded from view. Fire and high winds took their place as memory Naruto found himself falling. And then darkness.

Naruto gasped and up right. He immediately looked down at his right hand and concentrated, but nothing happened. Ino tilted her head a little but didn't say anything.

"I don't remember anything except for that," Naruto said. "Something in me had to be destroyed. Something bad."

"The voice called it indoctrination," Ino said. "Do you know what that is?"

"No," Naruto said as he got to his feet. He shook his head and started walking again. "But now I know what happened to Sakura and Sasuke. They're still there… where ever that is. I have to go back and bring them home. I swear it!"

Ino was silent as she followed Naruto. She had completed her mission. She knew now where Naruto had been, sort of, and had information in regards to Sasuke and Sakura. A brief surge of emotion threatened to overtake her at the thought of her friend being alive again, but she quashed it before it could become a problem. Then she looked up and gasped. Before her was a giant gate attached to a wall that seemed to fade into existence from the nothingness of the sky above.

"What is… this place?"

"It's Kurama's house, or cage, or whatever foxes live in," Naruto said as he walked up to the door and pushed it open with one hand. The metal gate slid open silently, like the mouth of the demon itself was opening to swallow her and Naruto whole.

"Oh shit," she said as the gate fully opened and she realized that the cage was no longer closed. She was probably six steps away from being eaten by the demon fox.

"You can stay out here if you're so worried," Naruto said before he vanished into the darkness beyond the gate. Ino was about to chase after him, but decided it would be better not to. She brought her hands together and formed the hand sign.


"Unh…" Ino sat up from her spot on the floor. An ANBU helped her sit up and gave her a cup of water which she drank heartily. Nodding to the ANBU that she would be alright, she continue drinking. The ANBU took the sign and vanished.

"What did you find, Ino?" Kakashi asked. He was once again seated behind his desk with his hat on once again. Tsunade now sat in a chair against the wall on the other side of the room. She looked tired.

"He wasn't lying about not remembering anything," Ino said. "But there was one repressed memory. He pulled it open and I believe I saw a clue as to where Naruto had been and how he got back here."

"Gah!" Naruto's head snapped up and he started breathing quickly, like he'd just woken from a nightmare about running forever. "Stupid Kurama, what the hell was that for! I just wanted to make sure you were ok-urk!" Naruto tried to move, but quickly discovered that he was still tied to the chair. "Not this again," he moaned.

"Naruto," Kakashi said, "before I ask what that was about, did you find any memories to help you find out where you've been?"

"Didn't Ino tell you?" Naruto asked. He turned to look at the woman just now getting to her feet. "You did send her in to find something to confirm my story, didn't you?"

Kakashi smiled his one eye smile and nodded. Tsunade snorted and crossed her arms over her generous bust. Ino sighed and moved to lean against the wall.

"To be more specific," Kakashi said, "how do you feel now that you remember what happened, even if only just one memory?"

"I'm going back, of course," Naruto said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Someone's gotta save Sakura and Sasuke. They're not saving themselves, are they?"

"Ino," Tsunade said, "what did you see in that memory?"

"Hey, I saw it too," Naruto shouted.

"Yes, but you were sprawled out on the ground from the pain of remembering," Ino said. "I saw everything from a more objective point of view. The memory was of how Naruto came back to this world. He was in some kind of metal cave with lights everywhere. Naruto and Sasuke were there, but Sasuke was wearing some kind of full body armor and Naruto was wearing that leotard thing. Sasuke was using his Mangekyo Sharingan on him, I think the Tsukiyomi ability.

"After a bit Naruto fell to the ground. A loud, deep voice that was both in my head and in my ears was boasting to Sasuke about how he had failed, you know the basic villain dialog. Apparently, the thing Sasuke was talking to had brainwashed Naruto or something and Sasuke burned it out of his head. Sasuke, for some reason, was defending Naruto as if he hadn't just caused him to fall to the ground near comatose. Then Sasuke attached some weird device to a glowing orange… thing that appeared around Naruto's right hand. He activated it and told Naruto to not come back for them and to become a good Hokage. Finally, the world around Naruto vanished and went fuzzy, followed by an explosion."

"Is that it?" Kakashi asked. "Darn, I was hoping to find out what caused the explosion. Also, I highly doubt Sasuke would be the one to defend or help Naruto."

"It was!" Naruto said loudly, but he was looking down as he relived that part of the memory again. "He… I don't know why, but he was helping me. That voice had indoctrinated me, or something, and Sasuke saved me. And then he told me that I was right about everything. I don't know what he meant, but he told me not to go back and get them. I am going to completely ignore that request. They're my friends, I have to go back and get them."

"Naruto," Kakashi shook his head. He nodded to Ino, who took the cue and left. When she closed the door, he looked at Naruto and said, "You finally got back here, no matter where you were or whether you can remember what happened. What makes you think we'd let you go?"

Naruto's head snapped up and he looked straight into Kakashi's eye. The two of them had a staring contest. Eventually it looked like the hard, bored look Kakashi was giving Naruto was going to win out.

"Those who break the rules are trash. But those who abandon their friends are worse than trash," Naruto said. He enunciated each word clearly as if he were driving a nail into a coffin. Kakashi reacted silently, only his eye widened visibly. Then he looked away from Naruto and sighed.

"Damn it, Obito," Kakashi said. He looked at Naruto again, but this time he seemed resigned to Naruto's chosen course of action. "Very well," Kakashi said. "But on several conditions. First, we have to take apart that device and reverse engineer it. The technology in that thing is well beyond what we're capable of right now and I don't like the idea of sending anyone, let alone just you, Naruto, into the unknown without any way of getting you back."

"Cool," Naruto said, grinning widely. "How long is that going to take?"

"Several years."

"What?" Naruto quickly shook his head. "No, no, no, no, no, no! I need to go now."

"Would you just shut idiot," Tsunade snapped. Naruto immediately shut up but he was frowning deeply. "Let the man finish talking."

"It will take several years of study for us to even understand the basics behind the basics of a device that complicated. Replicating it will probably take beyond my lifetime. But, because time is of the essence, I'm going to have the Seal Jutsu teams make a chakra imprint of the device so that we can study it on paper."

"A chakra what?" Naruto asked.

"Complicated way of saying we're going to copy it onto paper and let you use the original," Tsunade said. "But that doesn't mean we're just letting you run off into the unknown without any kind of back up."

"We're going to be applying a seal to you," Kakashi said, "That will let us track you through space-time."

"Cool, so are you going to use that to bring me, Sasuke, and Sakura back here?" Naruto asked.

"Err… no, not exactly," Kakashi said. "The exact specifics are kind of hard to explain, but the seal will be used to find out where you went and how far away it is from here. Actually pulling you back will have to wait until we understand that device you're using to move between worlds."

"So then… How are we going to get back?" Naruto asked. "There's only one device and I don't know if it'll work for anyone else but me. And shouldn't we be finding a way to get back to when we left… whenever that was ten years ago?"

"That's going to be your mission," Tsunade said. "Your primary goal is to track down Sakura. I suppose that it now includes tracking down Sasuke as well. Your second goal is to find a way to bring all three of you home and if possible find a way to modify the device to target your original time. Once we figure out how to send stuff, we'll be using your tracking seal to send you support packages. However it is important that you be aware this is a one way trip."

"A mission?" Naruto looked back and forth between Tsunade and Kakashi. "You were planning on me going the whole time? Why didn't you tell me?"

"Would you have wanted to go back before you found that memory?" Kakashi asked.

Naruto growled. "Damn you Kaka-sensei! Untie me so I can kick your ass!"

"You wouldn't hit an innocent old man, would you?" Kakashi asked, holding his hands up in front of him as if he were trying to ward off the attacks.

"Innocent old man my foot," Naruto shouted. "You're just a old pervert who still reads ten year old porn!"

Tsunade snorted, shortly followed by chuckling. "He's been gone over ten years and he still has you pegged, Kakashi," she said. "I'm going to miss him when he goes."

Naruto bit back his reply, only now realizing what they were going through. For him, he'd seen these people just a couple weeks ago. For them, they hadn't seen him for years, over a decade. Not only that, but he hadn't really felt like he lost them at all, even though they were ten years older. For them, they'd lost him once already and now they were losing him again with no guarantee of getting him back.

"I see you finally understand what leaving means," Kakashi said. "But you're right, it has to be done. Sakura and, I guess now, Sasuke need to be brought back. Wherever you four went, it's not where you belong."

"I'm sorry," Naruto said. "When I get us back to our normal time, it'll be like we'd never gone and you won't have to worry about this. Wait-four?"

"Don't you remember what I said," Tsunade said. "When I told you about Tobi's final attack? You, Sasuke, Sakura, and Tobi were never seen again after he launched it."

"And if you, Sakura, and Sasuke wound up in the same place, then that means Tobi most likely did as well," Kakashi finished. "I would highly recommend that you don't go looking for him. I was knocked unconscious by that time, so I've had to go by what other people said what happened. Last reports from the war suggested that he'd sealed the first seven tailed beasts into himself. They've yet to re-manifest, so it seems likely that is what happened before he launched the attack. It's probably all of their power that enabled him to send you four so far away. Even you don't have the power to resist someone like that, Naruto."

Naruto was silent but nodded. Tobi, or Madara, or whoever he wanted to be called, was not someone he wanted to think about having the ability to strike at his friends. Even more of a reason to go back for his friends. And then there was that promise to the names. If Kurama was the last name, and the other names all came first, then they were possibly the names of the other tailed beasts. If he made a promise to them it likely involved saving them from Tobi. He'd have to make good on that promise while he was there then. He never when back on his word, after all.

It was decided, two weeks later, that Naruto would activate the device in the woods, far away from Konoha. This was a precaution in case another explosion occurred. Everyone who came out with him to wish him well on his journey, which meant only those whom he'd been friends with before he'd vanished ten years prior, would be leaving the area too. Naruto would wait until they were far enough away to activate the device. He'd also go into Sage Mode just in case he was dropped into a battle or something.

During the two weeks that he was waiting for the ninja teams to make the Chakra Imprint, Naruto did a little training, ate a ton of ramen, and caught up on worldly events.

Tsunade was the Konoha Representative in the Shinobi Congress, a ten year old governing body that ruled over all nations, settled international disputes, and enforced the hard won peace. She was going to be retiring in the coming months, after a prosperous career as Sannin, Hokage, and finally Representative. She confided in Naruto her hopes to have a nice and quiet retirement, unlike the last one with Shizune. Shizune had gotten married and was off healing the sick, or "something along those lines."

Hinata, Ino, Kiba, Shino, Rock Lee (who now looked more like Gai than Gai did), Tenten, Neji, Shikamaru, Choji, and Konohamaru all told him wild and colorful stories about their adventures over the last decade. It made him feel even more depressed that he'd missed so much, and all the more excited about what he had to look forward to when he returned at the proper time with Sasuke and Sakura.

Kakashi related a few tales of his father, the fourth Hokage, to him. The acting Hokage told Naruto he didn't understand some of the things Minato had complained about until he'd taken the position himself. He also explained the reason he wasn't officially Hokage, even though he acted like he was anyway. It was in honor of Naruto himself, whom Kakashi swore should be Hokage instead. So Kakashi was only keeping the seat warm, as it were. Not that he didn't enjoy the perks that came with the job, like the magic crystal ball he kept in his lower right drawer.

When it finally came time, Naruto found himself, fully stocked with the latest weapons, equipment, and rations in a wide open field with several shadow clones of his friends, Tsunade, and Kakashi. Neji, who'd turned into a technology buff after the war, was explaining how the device worked to him while he figured out how the glowing orange device on his arm worked. After he'd figured that out and Neji was sure Naruto understood that the batteries on the device had only enough charge for one transport at a time before they had to be refilled with Raiton nature chakra and normal yin/yang chakra, Naruto was only left standing with Kakashi and Tsunade.

"Just like old times, in a way," Kakashi's clone said. "About to head off on another adventure. Feels great to get out of that stuffy office every now and then."

"Don't get too comfortable, cause I'm coming back and taking that hat and seat away," Naruto said with a cocky grin. "And don't worry, I will bring them back and we'll set everything right."

Kakashi's clone nodded and then held out his hand. "Good bye, Naruto. I hope we meet again, under better circumstances."

"We will," Naruto said with a grin as he grabbed Kakashi's hand and shook it. "And that's a promise of a lifetime!" Kakashi's clone nodded and popped out of existence, a cloud of smoke left in its wake. Naruto turned to Tsunade's clone and was suddenly enveloped in a big hug. Naruto's cocky grin turned into a genuine smile as he hugged her back. "I promise, Granny, I'll set everything right."

"If you don't Naruto, I'll haunt you after I die," Tsunade's clone said. "No matter where you end up." She pulled back and looked Naruto in the eyes. "Be safe."

Naruto nodded and took a step back. Tsunade's clone popped away and left him utterly alone on the field. Naruto looked down at the device that hummed with life in his hand. He lifted up his right hand and activated the orange glove.

After taking a deep breath, Naruto closed his eyes and focused on the natural energy around him, in the air, the earth, and beyond. Once he felt the rush of Sage Mode activating, Naruto opened his now yellow, frog eyes, fitted the device onto the glove, and pressed the button on top. The device whirred loudly, beeped once, and then there was a funny sucking sensation from his center. Naruto had felt the feeling before when he was reverse summoned to the summoning dimension.

Moments later, he wasn't on the field any more. Instead, he now stood in a much darker metal chamber with a large, boxy, metal carriage (of some design he'd never seen before and couldn't make heads or tails of) off to one side. Directly in front of him was a huge door that, seconds after noticing it, swooshed open with click and a beep. Revealed were three people, a dead body behind them on the floor.

"I've had enough of this station to last a lifetime," said a woman with red hair in armor eerily similar to the one he remembered Sasuke wearing. Next to her was another woman, who had black hair and wore a scandalously curve clinging white body suit and was faced toward the first woman.

"Or two, in your case," the second woman said. "Come on."

"Who's that?" shouted a black man, wearing a black uniform, as he pointed at Naruto.

Naruto swallowed loudly as he realized that he'd been seen while standing like an idiot out in the open. He was about to jump behind the large, boxy, metal carriage when he suddenly found himself floating away from the floor. His arms and legs flailed around as he tried to move anywhere but toward the three people.

"Whoa!" he shouted as the three pulled out some kind of devices and pointed them at him. "Hold on, I'm not gonna hurt you. Come on! You gotta believe me!"

"I don't know who you are or how you got in here," said the woman with black hair, "but it's safer to assume that you're not at a secret facility for anything benign." She gripped the thing in her hand a little tighter when the first woman suddenly pushed the black haired woman's arm down. The thing in the woman's hand let out a loud bang and something ricocheted off the floor and further into the room.

"Hang on Miranda," the red haired woman said. "I think I know who that is."

"We don't have time for this," the woman named Miranda said. "Either we shoot him or we take him with us. I don't know how he got onto a secure Cerberus base, but the fact that he did, and isn't a Cerberus operative means he already knows too much. I should shoot him."

"Just hang on," the red head said. "I want to ask him a question and see if it's really him or just another clone."

"Have it your way," Miranda said. "I'm going to get the shuttle prepared. You have two minutes. I do hope you can shoot him if he proves not to meet your expectations."

Miranda put the shooting thing onto her hip, where it magically stayed. Probably magnets or something like that, Naruto reasoned. Miranda then walked toward the large, boxy, metal carriage and waved her hand over it. When she waved her hand, an orange glove like thing that was very similar to the one Naruto had, came to life and vanished. Then the side of the carriage lifted into the air and a spacious inside was revealed, into which Miranda disappeared.

"Hello," the red head said. "Do you know who I am?"

Naruto shook his head vigorously. "I've never met you before in my life." Then he remembered that he couldn't actually remember some large swaths of his life. "Or maybe I have?"

"Which is it?" the woman asked.

"I don't remember a lot of what happened to me over the past few months," Naruto said. "But I do know that I lost my memory of being here because Uchiha Sasuke was the one who took them away. He did it to save me from something called Indoctrination. I have no clue what that is though. I know that it was this place because I have one of those glowing arm glove things."

The red head frowned and then made a hand motion toward the black man. He nodded and lowered his arm, a purple glow fading from around his hand. In that instant, Naruto fell to the ground and landed with a small grunt. He was surprised when he saw an armored hand appear in before him.

"I knew Uchiha Sasuke," the woman said as she helped Naruto to his feet. "He helped me defeat a Turian named Saren and a Reaper named Sovereign. We also fought you and many of your clones while you were under the effects of Indoctrination."

"I… I'm sorry," Naruto said. He grimaced as he silently cursed himself for being unable to stop this indoctrination thing. "Whatever was wrong with me is gone now. Sasuke burned it out of me, most definitely."

"That's good to hear," the black man said. "I'd hate to have to shoot a friend of the famous Uchiha Sasuke. My name is Jacob Taylor, by the way." Jacob held his hand out toward Naruto, who took it. They shook hand and then Miranda shouted out for them to hurry up.

Then the red head said, "And my name is Jennifer Shepard."

"It's nice to meet you," Naruto said. He grinned, his eyes going back to normal as he released Sage Mode. "My name is Uzumaki Naruto."

Notes from the Author

Where to begin... this story idea came about from a plot bunny in my head that was hopping around all over the place like it was flying high as a kite. The fact that this bunny is inside an enclosed space means it's bouncing off the walls and the ceiling as well as the floor. I post this chapter as a feeler to see how well received the Naruto/Mass Effect crossover idea is. Hopefully it'll generate some traffic.

This story didn't just start here, with this chapter. I wrote a background for what happened during Mass Effect to explain what happened here (and to keep my story straight). The reason I start here, in Mass Effect 2 is because it is easier for people to relate to Naruto as a character learning about everything going on than it would be for people to relate to Sasuke, who would be the main character for Mass Effect's story. I am consciously choosing to hand-wave Sasuke's character growth from before this story's start in favor of adding it to the mystery of things Naruto has to figure out.

Why Naruto and Mass Effect? I've been itching to write a Naruto fic for a while now, but everything I came up with didn't seem to work well once I'd written some of it out. The desire to write a Mass Effect story is new, due mainly to the upcoming release of Mass Effect 3 in a months time. The two fandoms sort of melded into one when I read some of the other crossover stories out there. But those stories didn't have what I was looking for and didn't do some of the things I thought could be done. I aim to do those things in my story, one of which is Biotic based jutsu, once I figure it out. Chakra and Biotics aren't exactly made of the same stuff, though they do get certain similar results in application.

Thanks for reading. Hope you liked it, despite the length. Over eleven thousand words. Wow...