Deus Ex Human Revolution is the property of Eidos and Square Enix

Mass Effect is the property of Bioware and Electronic Arts

Mass Effect: Human Revolution

Chapter 8: Know the face of your enemy


The door irised open, and Benezia, accompanied by two Asari Huntresses, floated through it, her pinstriped dress and the pearls mounted on her headdress trailing behind her. She was moving through the conduits that irrigated the Sovereign's massive bulk. The cylindrical halls were dark, their metallic blue barely illuminated by a blue gloom, the source of which Benezia had never managed to identify. Red lights veined the conduits, slowly streaking through curved circuitry. Geth spider drones skittered on the walls.

There was no gravity to speak of. Geth apparently had little use for it, and less than ten percent of the massive vessel had artificial gravity for the comfort of Benezia's Huntresses, Wreav's Berserkers, and Saren's own chemically-corrupted clone troopers. Everywhere else, one had to float towards her intended destination. Thankfully, Benezia's own quarters were not far from the Core, the central chamber from which Saren controlled the mighty, three kilometer-long warship by the power of his will alone. Another iris widened, and Benezia found herself inside the very nerve center of the Sovereign.

"Stay outside," she told her escorts, and they complied. The door to the Core irised shut, leaving her alone with Saren.

The Turian Spectre, Saren Arterius, sat in a floating chair with his back to the entrance. He was meditating on a giant sphere of black glass embedded on the roof of the spherical room. Every detail inside Core, every seam on the dark metallic walls, every vein of energy, every curve, everything led the eye towards that sphere. A red and orange phantom in the warped shape of a heart pulsated slowly inside the nearly opaque orb and, at times, Benezia could swear she could make out the image of a million faces contorted in anguish within the apex of a pulse.

A vision of hell.

She approached the seat, a hollowed ovoid carved out of a black marble that was so well polished she could make out her reflection on it. She cleared her throat, getting Saren's attention: "Shepard has been killed."

"Oh?" responded Saren. He snorted, then laughed: "Well, that's one loose end I no longer have have to deal with. What of the Quarian?"

Benezia hesitated, and Saren picked up on that quickly. He stopped meditating on the sphere. "Benezia?"

"Our assets on the Citadel, save for the Geth spy drones, have been...neutralized. The quarian has escaped us, and the evidence will soon make its way to the Council." She relayed the news with a neutral, even tone, as if reading the weather report. She betrayed neither worry nor fear.

Saren, however, saw no need for that kind of self-control. He seethed, rose from his chair, roared in fury, and backhanded the floating piece of furniture with his artificial arm, knocking it away.

"HOW? FOUR of my Myrmidons and EIGHT of your Huntresses tasked in killing one – ONE! - little quarian girl and they FAIL?" He took two strides towards Benezia, menacingly. "Who killed them? How?"

Unfazed by Saren's sudden fury, Benezia summoned her Omni-Tool's haptic interface. Using her Level Two access to the Sovereign's database and the Core's own holographic emitters, she commanded a several flat holograms to appear.

Most of them were videos taken by the Geth spy drones, displaying the gruesome fates of his Myrmidons and her Huntresses. Explosives had claimed the lives of two clones soldiers, then the human in a blue longcoat had forced another clone into a hand-to-hand confrontation, with a krogan Battlemaster cutting it short. The last of the clones met his end from the mouth of a shotgun, point blank, right in the face, from the quarian.

What happened to the Furies, though, that had surprised Saren most of all. After they had been alerted by the Geth drones, the eight Huntresses had managed to secure the quarian, and it looked like the mission had been a success. Then, Otrera and the two senior Furies left the five younger members of the group to dispose of a few quarian witnesses, and the finely trained warriors started falling. One became limp, a second choked and was thrown hard against one her comrades, neutralizing a third. The fourth attempted a Nova, but her leg broke and mask caved in. The energies she was holding back were released, outlining a cloaked humanoid figure. The last Fury engaged it, causing it to materialize in the form of a human wearing what Saren thought was a light hardsuit...but with khaki cargo pants worn on top. Odd.

The last Fury was taken down with an elbow strike to the back of the neck, and Saren got a better look at the human. It was the same man that had engaged the Myrmidon earlier.

"Is that all? What happened to Otrera?"

A new vid window, this time of a Sky Rover hovering on a highway being shot at by a turian driving an older SydMotors Spinner. The turian had managed hit the large Penthesilean Huntress right between the eyes. The human – him again! – decloaked on the side of the car and proceeded to try and hijack the Sky Rover. The vehicle rolled in an effort to shake him off, but it was no use. Minutes later, Lampedo and Otrera had been ejected from the vehicle, which then started spiraling out of control. The human jumped out of the vehicle, carrying the quarian in his arms.

"The video cuts out after that," said Benezia. "The drones couldn't maintain their stealth fields for much longer and had to return to their berths for repairs. We assume the human used a landing system, as he is still alive."

"That's the how. Now, the who."

Benezia obeyed, and she arranged three pairs of 2d images side by side in front of Saren, portraits and profiles on three different individuals from C-Sec's very own data archives. Two pairs were of a human and a turian dressed in C-Sec's Navy Blue and silver-trimmed uniforms. The last pair were mugshots of a scarred, red crested krogan in an orange jumpsuit. Benezia named them all:

"Detective Sergeant Adam Jensen, Detective Sergeant Garrus Vakarian, and former Chieftain Urdnot Wrex."

"I remember Wrex," stated Saren, his anger dissipating. "A Battlemaster. I hired him and dozens more mercs of his ilk for the Caravel job. He evaded my 'cleaners'. As for the detectives, I recall their names: They were assigned to investigate Udina's accusations, but their deadline expired."

"C-Sec has Urdnot flagged as a known Shadow Broker contractor. He was likely sent by the Broker to deal with Fist."

"...And no doubt secure the quarian and her intel for the Broker. I take it he killed Fist?"

"Not quite. The detectives attempted to apprehend him. From what I can tell, he took his own life instead."

"And yet he still managed to put the police on the quarian's trail." Saren said bitterly as he skimmed over the C-Sec files. Jensen and Vakarian were apparently partnered some 4 years ago, and their commendations, awards and medals began to increase in frequency around the same time. Of note, They both earned the Silver Star of Gallantry for bravery, the Eye of Pythia for solving a record number of cases within a year, and the Venator's Arrow for "uncommon determination in the capture of a fugitive." Vakarian still held the C-Sec record for best long-range marksmanship, while Jensen had set the record for best medium and short range marksmanship as well as hand-to-hand combat. They were both tied for advanced driving.

As for Urdnot, well, he had a rap-sheet that went as far back as the Krogan Rebellions. Two hundred and sixty-seven counts of driving under the influence, three hundred and seventy-five counts of vandalism and assault, and one count littering. Said 'litter' consisted of two pairs of testicles he had torn off a fellow krogan and unceremoniously thrown in a floating park's lake. On the more "legal" side of things, he had brought in hundreds of high-profile C-Sec sanctioned bounties dead. His best 'catch' was an Elcor mercenary by the name of 'Two Ton Tank' Thorkel.

Between these three individuals and a quarian with a love of explosives, it was little wonder that twelve elite soldiers were defeated. Saren himself had taken on worse odds.

"Shall I have them killed?" asked Benezia.

Saren wanted them dead! He wanted their mangled corpses mounted on the hull of his ship as a trophy! Reason, however, chose this moment to assert itself within Saren's mind. "...No." Saren sighed. "Taking these three out isn't worth the cost in manpower, and with the damage done the quarian is of no concern to us anymore. Besides, with Shepard dead, the biggest threat to our plans is gone."

"But with the Council moving against you..."

"The Council will simply remove my Spectre 'privileges', which I am no longer dependent on. I can manage the rest of our operations from within the Terminus Systems. The Council's fear of all-out war will keep them from sending any sort of task force after me."

"And the Spectres?"

"The Spectres are far too busy keeping the peace across the galaxy. They'll be able to spare one, maybe two after me. If they make it all the way to the Sovereign, well..." His mandibles parted, just so, the turian equivalent of a smile. "Then they'll have proven their value to me, and I shall be able to...convince them to join my cause."

"What is our next move, then?"

"Have you succeeded in locating your daughter?"

"...My spies are investigating rumors of her presence in Caleston, apparently the miners there found a Prothean ruin, and the University of Thessia has dispatched a research team to excavate it. I am waiting for their report."

Saren biotically pulled his marble seat back onto its anti-grav mount. "Have you anything else to tell me?"

"Not at the moment, no."

"Then leave me," commanded Saren as he seated himself.

"As you wish." Benezia bowed, and left Saren alone to meditate on his seat. With little else to do but wait until his other agents sent in reports, Saren decided to distract himself by reviewing the profiles he had been shown. Something had bothered him about the human's dossier: his age. At 190 Terran years, Jensen should have died some 30 years ago. This anomaly prompted Saren to examine Jensen's medical records. Excellent physical condition, no chronic diseases, no gene mods, and...a prescription for Neuropozyne, the human equivalent of Raffia. Jensen's profile had no Biotics ratings, so Saren assumed he was a cripple in need of prosthetic implants. That alone should have confined him to a desk, but Pallin had him on the streets. It wasn't hard to figure out why.

Realizing that he wasn't getting the full picture, Saren ran a simultaneous search for "Adam Jensen" on his database and the extranet. The first hit was, to Saren's surprise, an extensive dossier put together by Nihlus Kryik, Saren's former protégé: he had collected C-Sec academy scores, various interviews from Elysium citizens and co-workers, and much more detailed medical files on Jensen's prostheses and implants. More hits came along, news articles concerning a vault of ancient human technology being uncovered, and one of its cryogenically preserved, cybernetically augmented subjects – Jensen – waking up, escaping, and evading authorities for weeks before finally being caught. More articles: political uproars, ethical debates, legal ramifications, terrorists attacks, and Jensen was in the middle of it all.

Saren rose from his chair, approaching Jensen's pictures. They merged to create a three dimensional, life-size holographic bust that Saren closely studied. He was a somewhat gaunt-faced pale human with dark brown hair and beard, with black plastic clips mounted on his temples. A scar marred his left eyebrow, and a prominent hexagon was carved onto the left side of his forehead, just below his hairline. The rest of his face was neutral, but his long eyebrows, low brow and narrow eyes conspired to give him a permanent frown and a defiant glare.

Saren couldn't help but glare back, and let out a long, low growl.

~[h+}~


CODEX ENTRY: CULTURE: TURIANS: PALAVEN: MYRMIDON

Myrmidons are legendary creatures of turian myth, servants of the Titans that once ruled the surface of Palaven in ancient times. They were, according to myth, molded from anything from clay, lava, water, or any combinations thereof into the form of tall, 'humanoid' bipeds. They were considered by the ancient turians to be peerless warriors and thought to possess a portion of the power of the Titans themselves. When the Titans fell asleep and became the mountains, the Myrmidons appointed themselves as their guardians, and effectively withdrew from the world, only to be seen during times of great turmoil and change.

They are a popular subject of modern turian fiction, and the name has been in use for centuries to denote military vehicles and units.

~[h+]~


CODEX ENTRY: THESSIA: CITY STATES: PENTHESILEA

Penthesilea is a sovereign city-state in the middle of the main continent on Thessia. Throughout its history, Penthesilea had come under attack by invaders, resulting in an extremely militant culture. Ancient Penthesileans were considered by all other asari to be obsessed with physical training, mental discipline, and martial prowess, so much so that only proven warriors were allowed to mother children. The enduring physical trait of Penthesileans is a far larger physical size than the average Asari, as well as a denser, more defined musculature. Unfortunately, Penthesilea is considered one the more element zero poor regions of Thessia, and as result its inhabitants are considered some of the poorest biotics on the planet. The modern day Penthesilian is extremely dependent on biotic amps.

~[h+]~


Author's notes: Sorry for the short chapter, but my muse has not been kind to me. :(

I toyed with the idea of turning Saren into a sort of Loghain/Ammon Jerro, a tragically misguided anti-hero and an obvious threat that everyone went after while the real villain was free to gather its strength. I decided against it, though, as I would have had to rewrite previous chapters and excise any reference to Saren and the Geth. Oh well.

Yeah, you know what Penthesileans are supposed to be :)