After the Fall: A Mass Effect 3 ending extension
**Historical Archive A-15843792
Complied by Diana Allers, starting 1/1/1 P.R.E**
My name is Diana Allers, I was a news reporter during the war... during the war. So strange to think that all of it is over, long finished even as I write this. That I got to watch Reaper shells burning in space outside my window. For the final battle Commander Shepherd had me transfer over to the flagship of Alliance Fleet Admiral Hackett, to get the best view he said. I was there on the bridge for all of it. The desperation, the pain, the sacrifice and... the triumph. The fact that I am alive to write this today proves that we won, that against all odds the galaxy stood together and prevailed.
The fleet took massive casualties in those desperate hours of fighting. Even worse the firing of the Crucible, the super weapon that has delivered us, has also heralded the start of a dark age, where all the universe is cut off from each other... but we are alive and that is a start. The following document is my notes from those first days, because we're going to live on, we're going to survive. We're going to follow the example of Commander Shepherd. If he taught us anything, if the greatest hero the galaxy ever knew taught us anything, it's to be indomitable. To never surrender, no matter the odds or circumstances. I'm proud to say as a human being and a citizen of the galaxy, that in those days following the fall of the Reapers, we rose above. All of us.
Commander Shepherd succeeded in destroying the Reaper threat. He ended it and saved us all. But the relays were destroyed in the process, leaving millions stranded. On this day, day zero no thought was given to the future by any involved. Though perhaps our leaders should have begun to do so immediately. After the salvation of the Galaxy from those would eradicate us all, I believe that a day off was acceptable.
From the log of Kari'Kitai vas Lenaia, Quarian 7th Marines
There was a moment of silence like I had never before heard. Like the entire universe held it's breath in anticipation for a single second. Then the light... the light began flowing from the bright spot in the sky, from the Citadel. Keelah it was gorgeous... then the Reapers began to burn. That was even more beautiful then the light itself. I found myself hugging a Turian sniper who's name I'll never know, jumping up and down like school children. The combined voices of every soldier in London crying out to the heavens. A scream of survival, of victory.
From the journal of Wing Commander Wesley Janson, Alliance Fighter Pilot, VMS-214 "Black Sheep"
"All ships! Brace for impact!"
When the order to brace came I only had time for one thought, "Oh bugger" as I recall. I was in the middle of a dog fight with a particularly tenacious Reaper "eyeball" trying to keep him and his friends off one of the Turian light cruisers that was supporting the Crucible and moving to engage one of the bigger Reapers. The shock wave came out of no where and while you might be able to ride shit like that out fairly easily in a dreadnought. Things are a little different in a fighter. Wildest ride of my life, burned my inertial dampeners out as they tried to compensate for it. Once I finished riding the wave and could unglue myself from the controls I saw it. The Reapers... not even dying but dead. I just sat back in my burned out fighter and watched that for awhile, the burning Reapers over my home world. I barely even noticed when a Turian Combat Search and Rescue boat picked me up. It was just... beautiful in that peaceful moment, right after the end.
ANN News Bulletin:
Search and rescue efforts system wide have begun in earnest with the crew of the alliance frigate SR-2 Normady being among the first recovered. Light casualties were reported amongst the crew but no fatalities. A near miracle considering the conditions of the Normandy's crash in Africa and a testament to the skills of Flight Lieutenant Jeff "Joker" Moreau. Of the entire crew and staff, their primary concern was not about the relays but for their leader. While Shepherd was a hero to all of us, he was a friend to all of them. The leader who brought them to the end of the world and back, to the very gates of hell itself. The entire Normady crew is joining the SAR efforts where their injuries permit.
Meanwhile the Asari Counselor, Turian Primarch Victus, Admiral Hackett, Clan Leader Urdnot Wrex and the Quarian Admiral's Board held their first formal meeting together to discuss the situation at hand. It was confirmed by alliance scouts that the Mass Relay has been destroyed. FTL links with nearby systems confirmed that their Relays were gone as well, extrapolating from that it seemed that the entire system of Mass Relays had gone down. Now the combined fleets of the galaxy are stranded here in Sol system. There is no going home. Fleet wide reports of just an incredible sense of loss amongst the allied fleet, especially within the Quarian migrant fleet. Who had just so recently retaken their own home world. Admiral Hackett, acting as the new head of the Council that was to begin the forming of a combined government until something more formal could be established addressed the combined forces later that evening.
Excerpt from "The Unification Speech":
"...While it seems that all is lost, that we have gone from darkness to darkness, lost our worlds and lives only to do so again an instant after we have regained them I tell you that it is not so! We are alive! We have survived the worst the universe can throw at us by coming together in the darkest hour of our need. To our allies I only have this to say, we mourn the loss of the worlds that you have left behind, the isolation we currently face from the rest of the galaxy. Many of you certainly feel that you have lost your home worlds, even after fighting so hard to defend them.
Again I tell you that is not so. We have reports from the shattered links of the FTL communications systems that our worlds survived, that we won. Truly won. The planet you are in orbit of or on now is called Earth, you fought and died for it just as humans fought and died for your worlds. Because your blood has been spilled for this place, it is your place. Just as much as it is ours. To everyone in our fleet, to everyone who stood against the darkness. Earth is your home world, we are your people. We all stood united and in that spirit we should not stand apart. To the Turians, Quarians, Asari, Salarians, Krogan, human and all the races who stood with us... to all who are now here in the Sol system with us. I have only this to say, Good job and welcome home."
Historical Note from Diana Allers:
While it wasn't quite as easy as Hackett's speech would have us all hope for. The vaguest outlines of the species coming together continued, the Salarians especially were the first to process and accept their new change in status. Querying the Admiral's flagship, now re-dubbed the Sol Unified Fleet Dreadnought Phoenix rising, about possible Colony sites in South America and other tropical regions of earth. Of the rest the Quarians were the hardest hit, the entire migrant fleet had come to Sol system to see the fight with the Reapers through to the end, leaving only a few million colonists to retake Rannoch with the aide of their Geth allies.
While some where dismayed to the point of suicide, a figure of hope walked among them all. Admiral Tali'Zorah of the migrant fleet gave them hope, going to many of the ships of the migrant fleet personally and spreading the word that, while they had gained and lost Rannoch in a span of months. They were still home. They would still carry on and with the promised help of the Salarians and other surviving scientific communities after rebuilding began in earnest they would walk under the skies of Earth with out masks. The rumors of Tali'Zorah's personal relationship with Commander Shepherd actually helped encourage the Quarian people, their relationship serving as an example that their species could coexist and that in the end life continues no matter what. Tali'Zorah's actual feelings and her personal desires however were slightly at odds with her public face, as this journal entry reveals.
Admiral Tali'Zorah's personal log
Keelah this political garbage is wearing on me... I... I'm so scared that I lost him. I knew I might, I knew... but I want so much to be looking for him right now. Instead I'm doing what he would have wanted me to, what Shepherd would have wanted me to do. He would have wanted for me to stand up straight with my head held high. To rally my people, to rally all peoples before this next great challenge, the next mountain to climb. It's what he'd want me to do. What he said he knew I could do, that I was a leader... I'm still not so sure. I'll try for him though, always I'll try for him and this time like the last I will succeed.
I miss him.
I... I miss him so much. That one shining memory, of our house on the home world, any home world. Rannoch, Earth, keelah we could settle any where and I'd be home. I wouldn't care so long as he was there. That memory means everything to me now... and hope. Hope that he's still with us, that we'll find him and I'll be home again.
Others amongst the Commander's team weren't quite as distraught as Admiral Tali'Zorah however and like it did for her, hope continued for them.
Garrus Vakarian's personal log:
Another fruitless day of searching wreckage. At least I was able to pick up an assault shuttle with better scanners this time. The flight team was most obliging once they figured out who I was and who I was looking for. I'm not going to give up though. It takes a hell of a lot more then a damn space station blowing up to kill Shepherd.
He's been back from the dead once already, I'm sure doing it again won't be much of a problem. The first time's always the hardest. Besides he owes me a drink on the beach... I hear somewhere on Earth called "the Bahamas" is a good place for vacationing like that. Hopefully the Reapers left at least one bar intact and they have a decent Turian whiskey somewhere on this planet.
ANN News Bulletin:
"...while some rioting has broken out amongst ships of the allied fleet the over all tone has been somber as many mourn those they have left behind. But there is hope and pride in these brave individuals as the provisional unified government begins to coordinate relief efforts and plan a new future for the Sol system..."
ANN News Bulletin:
"...Admiral Hackett has officially stepped down as the commanding officer of the Alliance military and has accepted the position of Human Counselor for the new Sol Council, taking his place as Fleet Admiral for the time being will be Vice Admiral Shepherd, mother of Commander Shepherd, one of the few senior Alliance military officers left alive after the battle of London. The fleet has chosen to mirror the council and is convening an Admiral's board of the senior military officers of each major fleet as the voting members and the smaller forces having non-voting representatives for the time being. This board is expected to hold the line temporarily until the new protocol for the unified fleets can be established by the S.A. Council. SAR operations continue through out the system with special attention being paid to the wreckage of the Citadel in hopes that some of the millions of civilians, and Commander Shepherd, possibly survived the Reapers and the firing of the Crucible."
Turian Scout Shuttle "Blade" Cockpit Recorder
Pilot Arcturius Alkronit: "Got anything? We're in a little close to some of this debris and I don't feel like slagging one of the engines today."
Copilot Daedren Ratarian: "Yeah we're supposed to be the rescuers, not the rescuees."
Tech Specialist Nala'Rasha vas Raaya: "Calm down fly boys we're more the 25 meters from the nearest debris, I thought turians were supposed to be tough?"
Pilot Arcturius: [Indignant] "Fine, taking you in to 10 meters. There, anything?"
Tech Specialist Nala'Rasha: "Thank you... still noth... wait... got something... signal the fleet, life signs confirmed on the Citadel... scanning for IFF signature... keelah..."
Copilot Daedren: "What? What is it?"
Tech Specialist Nala'Rasha: "The armor IFF I just picked up... it's reading as Commander Shepherd..."
Pilot Arcturius: "What! You're sure?"
Tech Specialist Nala'Rasha: "No I'm sure it's some other set of Alliance N7 armor belonging to some other human named Shepherd who just happened to be on the Citadel..."
Pilot Arcturius: "Okay, okay I get it, informing fleet command."
Copilot Daedren: "You need to send it out wideband sir, the whole fleet needs to hear about this! Even if we've only found his body... I mean it's Shepherd! Did you hear what he did for some of the units out there? The Turians he's saved alone..."
Pilot Arcturius: "That's a damn good point... Alright command can fry me for it later but we're getting the word out... to everyone."
*Activates wide band radio*
Pilot Arcturius: "Attention all ships, this Scout Shuttle Blade, we have located Commander Shepherd, request breaching response teams to the following coordinates immediately!"
ANN Priority News Bulletin:
"After just shy of 48 hours of tireless work by a Quarian Fleet Marine Corps breaching and ship rescue team lead personally by Admiral Tali'Zorah vas Normandy has breached just shy of a hundred meters of heavy plating and safely recovered Commander Shepherd, while details about the Commander are limited military command has confirmed that he is alive and aboard the Naval Hospital Ship Redemption where he is listed as being in critical condition. Our thoughts, hopes and prayers are with the Commander, his friends and his family as he goes through the next forty eight hours, which an inside in the hospital ship's ICU says will be critical to his survival. When asked for a comment Commander Sheperd's comrade in arms and self described drinking buddy Garrus Vakarian simply said "Called it." and walked away from the ANN reporter he was speaking with.
Admiral Tali'Zorah's personal log
Heart of the stars it's been a long day diary. It feels like it's been months since the final battle, since we took the combined might of the Galaxy to defeat the Reapers in orbit around Earth, years since the moment I thought I'd lost him... but what was lost is found. I have him back diary, everything I ever truly wanted, even more then Rannock, is personified in this one man... this one human man. Father would be so disappointed in my choices. I think I don't care any more. I've taken up a vigil, there's a small room outside the airlock to his ICU unit, I dragged a chair in there that I scrounged from an unattended office. I'll be here till he's ok. Alone I suppose, everyone else is busy but all I want is for this miracle that gave him back to me to... someone's coming.
Vice Admiral Shep... Hannah, Shepherd's mother is here. I still can't call him John for some reason... no matter much I love him. Hannah and I... talked. I think we're going to be talking a lot. I doubt either of us are going to leave until he can walk out with us. I know I won't, the Admiralty board can strip me of my rank later.
Hannah is... very nice. I expected her to be overbearing, disapproving like my father. Shepherd and I... we're both military brats, both born spacers. I didn't expect Shepherd's parents to be different then mine. She's... warm, welcoming, caring. She even gave me a hug. I don't know how she knows... but she knows. Maybe it's a mother thing. My mother could do things like that too. I get the sense she approves of me though diary... I... I'm glad. Maybe the wait for Shepherd to get better won't be quite so lonely.
ANN News Bulletin:
Allied forces are putting down rifles and picking up shovels as heavy troop transports move thousands of S.A. soldiers, Marines and sailors to the surface in one of the largest military troop movements in galactic history. Instead of attacking of invading these troops are breaking ground on a new city in the southern hemisphere, moving prefabs into place in what was once Rio de Janerio before the invasion obliterated the beautiful Brazilian city completely. Similar work details are making planetfall world wide to provide aid and reconstruction support to surviving local populaces en masse. Other major work details include massive groups of troops being landed to till fields and manage live stock, as well as prepare massive hydroponics works and greenhouses so that all of Earth's populations will have food in the next year. Most of the hydroponics facilities are being dedicated to food to help support the new Turian population, to supplement the massive Quarian lifeships that are being placed in geostationary orbit around the planet.
ANN News Bulletin:
The Sol Admiralty board and Counselor Steven Hackett announced that Commander Shepherd has finished the majority of his needed surgeries and is recovering well. The Commander should be returned to active duty within six months. At a new posting however. The Commander was offered the position of Fleet Admiral by the provisional government. There's no report as to whether the Commander will accept the promotion. Counselor Hackett had this to say "There's no better man in the galaxy to lead us into the future then the man who brought us all together. The council and I are in complete agreement on this matter. Personally I've thought that Commander Shepherd was working above his paygrade as of the first time he saved the galaxy from imminent destruction, so we probably owe him a few promotions considering this is the third time he's managed to prevent the end of intelligent life as we know it."
ANN News Bulletin:
This is an ANN exclusive, Dr. Maelon, a salarian scientist and former member of the Salarian Special Tasks Group informed the Sol Alliance council a week ago that he had developed a potential cure for the weakened immune systems found in the Quarians. A unit of Quarian Marines volunteered to be the first to accept the refined genetic modification and were lead by Admiral Tali'Zorah. The cure apparently has worked as we have this exclusive image, possibly one of the first of a Quarian unmasked and outside of an exosuit with out fear of death in centuries of Tali'Zorah at Commander Shepherd's bedside. The couple was holding hands, and while Commander Shepherd is still confined to his hospital bed, the Commander's famous hostility towards reporters manifested itself in a glare that would make a krogan think twice. The news crew apologizes for interrupting the personal moment between the Sol Alliance's so called "first alliance".
*image file corrupted, access via general extranet archive files*
When we asked Dr. Maelon why his findings hadn't come forth sooner he had this to say. "This isn't really my work, this data was left to me by the will of my teacher, Dr. Mordin Solus, I might have finished it, but he did the work over the last four or five years. I just finished and refined the data... I was working on it, even during the final battle. As always I'm just following in my mentor's footsteps." For the unaware Dr. Mordin Solus was another STG veteran and a survivor of Commander Shepherd's mission to destroy the collector base a little over one and a half solar years ago. The Doctor is most famous for his work reinforcing and more recently curing the Krogan geneophage.
ANN News Update:
With rebuilding work across the system moving ahead at full tilt and Agro-techs projecting a very plentiful crop for all species food stuffs in the coming season the S.A. Council announced that they were going to begin devoting resources from the remaining fleet to reopening former Systems Alliance bases on Mars, including a large Prothean research facility that will now be directed by Dr. Liara Tisoni. The red planet's other major research facility and what remains of it's orbiting spacial facilities is the Noviea Plantia ship yards and Naval Research Facilities, with plenty of ships to stock the fleet the Naval Yard is being given over to the staff of the Crucible research team, now re-designated as the "Stargate" program. There reported mission will be to begin research and construction into the design of mass relays. While the council and directors of the project are hopeful, no projections of results can be made for a project of this magnitude and technological scale. Counselor Hackett personally commented to this reporter that,
"We have the best damn minds in the galaxy working on this, and we learned a large amount from the Crucible project, between that and Dr. Tisoni's continuing efforts in the Prothean ruins on Mars I have high expectations for the Stargate team to see us through. Make no mistake, this will take some time, I have no illusions about that but we will end this galactic dark age that the destruction of the Reaper threat has forced on us. Till then we all need to pull together, no longer as separate species, but as one system, as one people of many cultures and races, against a truly unified people such as we have the means to create here, nothing in the galaxy will be able to stop us, not even a couple fried mass relays."
Admiral Tali'Zorah's personal log
"I'm going to build you a house on the home world" always my father's dream, his promise, and as a daughter who wanted to please my father, and as a Quarian that became my dream too. I couldn't help but reflect on this today.
Shepherd is feeling better and is more and more active. This mean some paper work for him of course, but Hackett is mostly making everyone leave him alone. Grunt and some other Krogan shock troops guarding the hallways nearby to protect Shepherd doesn't hurt either, even if it does worry some of the nurses a bit. I went out and snuck in some contraband, a few of Shepherd's things, some food, a couple books, including one of poetry from Ashley. Returning the favor she said. When I came back however it was Shepherd surprising me. I'll never know how he managed to get me flowers from his hospital bed but he did, Earth roses, midnight blue instead of the traditional red. They were some of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen. Keelah... after a life in space I think both of us truly appreciate growing things with a passion.
The second surprise was even better. Real estate. An old human term for a home, or a place to build a home. Shepherd had someone, Garrus I'd bet, bring him a computer and a bunch of brochures for various places we could live. So many choices... so beautiful. I can't wait to be able to see all of it with out a mask or an exosuit on. With Maelon's cure... it should only be a year or so and I can do short excursions now with immuno-supplements and other basic precautions.
Still in spite of it all, of the amazing turn things have taken, of the miracles that just keep piling up after the victory... I can't help but reflect on Rannoch and on my father. I suppose I finally am fulfilling his dream of a house on the home world... I just don't think any one in all the stars of the galaxy could have predicted that my home world would be so far from where my race was born, a whole sky away from them. Or that the person who could make that house a home would be a human... much less the man who saves the Galaxy so regularly that he's literally made a career out of it.
I'm going to go sneak into his hospital bed diary, if the doctors don't like it I'll let Grunt deal with them.
Addendum: I think I want to build our home by the sea.
ANN News Bulletin:
Commander Shepherd was sighted out of the hospital for the first time since his recovery today attended by several friends and family members including recently promoted System Police Commander Garrus Vakarian and Admiral Tali'Zorah, while a gathering of this many heroes of the budding Sol Alliance would normally draw out the paparazzi and press in force a company of Alliance Marines under Lieutenant Commander James Vega were providing security and didn't let anyone closer then near visual range, asking that "People respect the Commander's privacy during this time of healing." the Marines were reported to add "Or I'll break your head." to the official statement in the case of several "overzealous" reporters. An insider from the Alliance council reports that Commander Shepherd was being taken to the Solar Alliance Council chambers to be sworn in as the new Admiral of the Fleet, but neither the Council's official press office or the military's public affairs office would comment on the rumor.
Chief Medical Officer's log, Patient 178-JS, Dr. Karin Chakwas attending
I really don't know how Shepherd does it some times. Maybe this time it's the implants but he's survived so much more then any normal human should be able to bear so many times now... I think it's finally caught up with him this time though. According to his charts it looks like he'll be walking with a limp for the rest of his life, we'll do everything we can to correct for that of course, my continuing treatment of Jeff "Joker" Moreau has lead me to some rather progressive treatment vectors for skeletal system weakness and damage.
Of course Shepherd's chart also says he shouldn't be conscious, much less able to move around on his own and he's been doing that for over a month.