I'm fucking fixing it. Right NOW! That's ENOUGH! Beware, this is a Shep/Miri fic. I'm sorry, but it's my favorite pairing, and I'm writing what I RP'd. Hopefully this will still mean something to all of those who were as disappointed as I am. I'm basing this opening chapter on a suggestion post I read on the Bioware forums. If anyone finds the story outline, give me the name so I can properly credit the guy.

The Fourth Option

"What path do you choose?" the glowing effigy asked patiently.

John stared at the three paths. His three options. Blue, Green, or red. Control, synthesis, or destroy? The last choice he would ever have to make. He thought of Miranda, and glanced at the hectic battle. She was in there, somewhere, fighting for her life. For the future. Just like everyone else. Garrus and Ash had already died for it, during the long run to the beam. How could they have survived? Harbinger's fire had hit its marks. Kaiden had died for the future on Virmire. Anderson had died for it not five minutes ago.

John envied Mordin. The Salarian had a hero's death, sacrificing himself to give the Krogan back their children. And Thane had died at the hands of Kai Leng…Of Cerberus… of the vicious fucking cycle! Too many people had lost their lives! Too much had been sacrificed! John himself had sacrificed too much.

Miranda… He hadn't fought so long and hard not to see her again. He felt his heart wrench as he recalled their last conversation. A short jumbled exchange over London's entanglement communicator. How long had it been? Two hours? Three?

I'll find you! John had promised, trying to be light-hearted. The brunette had fixed him with a look of grief and sadness; She hadn't expected him to survive…

"Make your choice." The Catalyst urged.

Something in him rebelled. It was all owed to the glimmering figure poised in front of him. He said, "I refuse."

The child stared.

John stared back, his breath labored. He felt the warm blood seeping from his wounds. He had five hours, with the implanted trauma module. Maybe six. Far longer than it would take for the battle to run its course.

"You can't do that!"

"Watch me." John lowered himself gingerly onto the cold platform. He sat down cross-legged and stared defiantly at the nonplussed figure.

"There will be chaos!" the child warned. "Synth-"

"Look out there!" Shepard ordered, pointing furiously at the battle, "Quarian and Geth working side by side. Synthetics and Organics working together! Fighting side by side against the only true threat there is: Extinction!" he shook his head, "Synthetic…organic… chaos…control…the only thing that matters is life, and your solution is taking that away from them!" for a moment he was brought back to the citadel hotel room, and the feeling of her soft body coupling with his own. "Away from me…" He glared at the tiny glowing figure, hating it beyond all words. It had the audacity to choose the form of the child?

"What right do you have?" he demanded furiously. "What right do you have to dictate our future?"

It stared at him. "It is inevitable. The created will always rebel against their creators."

"Irrelevant." John replied. "That does not give you the right to do any of what you've done here. That's no reason for the cycle to continue. We're not going to play your game."

"My Reapers will win." The Catalyst tried.

"I know." John replied, feeling oddly cheerful; he had a plan of action now. He tapped the cold surface beside him. "Come sit down. Watch it with me."

"The Reapers will win."

"Let them." John said.

"You can stop them."

"But I'm not going to. I'm acting on self-determination. I want to choose my own fate. Not one you've provided for me."

The Catalyst was quiet for some time. "You speak for all organics?"

"I speak for all intelligent life." John replied. "If we make mistakes, they are ours to live with! Ours to correct!"

"You will bring chaos upon yourselves."

"Life pulls through!" John replied angrily, "Look at what's happening out there! Every race, from Rachni to Geth to Asari all gathered together. Working together! We can manage without you. We have done for thousands of years. Your cycle is destructive and unnecessary. We don't need to rely on you to protect us."

"You choose chaos?"

"I choose self-determination. And that is not the same thing. Stop the Reapers!" Shepard urged. I choose to see Miranda again. "See how we fare without them." I choose to stand at Garrus' grave and…calibrate…

Calibrate…? His head-trauma must have been far worse than he thought… he held his hand up to his ear and felt the warm trickle of blood. Not good…

He turned on his Omnitool and activated an emergency beacon. Not that it would do much; there wouldn't be any ships available. Not for some time.

"Without the reapers, Synthetic life will destroy all Organic life."

"Well when that starts to happen, you can send the reapers in to keep the peace." John replied, pumping his last unit of medigel. "Why haven't you thought of that? Ending my civilization is not the solution to that problem. Especially since it'll apparently crop up again in fifty thousand years anyway." He stared out at the battle. Perhaps it was his imagination, but the Reapers were beginning to slow. He was seeing less and less of their beams. He felt a small amount of ever-elusive hope flare within him.

The Catalyst appeared deep in thought. When it spoke again, it's tone was hesitant, ungrounded. It pointed at the glowing blue conduits. "You can choose to control the Reapers yourself…"

"That would destroy the Mass Relays, leaving thousands of Aliens stranded here. Most of them wouldn't survive it. It would also destroy my civilization. Simply take your Reapers and leave. Come back when you're needed."

"You must choose your path." It said hesitantly.

"I already did." Shepard replied. "Now it's your turn."

The child turned thoughtfully, watching the blossoming explosions and crisscrossing lines of fire. The sight was beautiful in its own way. Horrific, but beautiful.

"Very well…" it said slowly as a trio of Reapers soared past their platform. "I will…monitor."

"You do that…" Shepard lay back against the metal floor. He watched the interplay of lights flickering on the strange mechanisms. His vision began to waver and dance with them. Dizziness swept through him, and he felt… heavy.

This is how it ends? He filled his mind with thoughts of Miranda until white light took him.

This was a badly-written, jumbled mess slapped together at 3:00 in the morning. Tell me how it compares to the actual game ending, and if I should continue it. If I get too much negativity, I'll take it down. I just felt like having a go at fixing the problem. If i do continue it, i promise you'll see a relatively happy ending, hopefully better written than this first chapter.

otherwise, this is a oneshot.