A/N: This is an ending I made to Mass Effect 3 because my actual ending was fucking awful, and I felt like I could do it better by a large margin. This revolves around my specific Shepard, just so you know: Daniel Shepard; Earthborn; Sole survivor; Sentinel class. Romanced Tali in second and third games. If you don't like it, that's fine. I just needed to write this before my rage brought me to destroy my house.
Shepard found himself in some secret area in the citadel. He was approached by a translucent figure resembling a child. It explained to Sheppard that it was the catalyst, and that it was in control of the reapers.
It gave Sheppard the option of destroying synthetic life, destroying the reapers, but also destroying the mass relays, and probably him. Shepard had never felt more conflicted. Was he really going to die? Was the preservation of earth really worth the loss of interstellar travel? Perhaps some other civilization would have more resources and time to defeat the reapers in some other way.
Sheppard looked down. He was losing blood, and getting woozy.
If he didn't decide on something, he would pass out and miss everything anyway. But he simply couldn't bring himself to do it. He was starting to feel the cold grip of unconsciousness take over.
Until he heard a familiar voice.
"Edi? How am I hearing you?" Shepard was out of comm. reach with the Normandy, and shouldn't have been able to hear her, or anyone else for that matter.
"I was installed into a synthetic component of your brain during project Lazurus; I was to emerge and assist you in case of near death emergencies. I am currently keeping your heart going through the use of neural electric stimulation. "
"Why didn't I find out about this earlier?"
"It did not seem like someone of your abilities would find themselves in such a situation."
Shepard held his face in his hand. Does everyone have some sort of idea that I'm invincible? He thought to himself.
"Yes." Edi said.
"You could hear that?"
"I have knowledge of what goes on in your outer most thoughts, yes."
Okay, so, do you know what my problem is?
"Yes. And upon inspection of your area, I can offer an alternative solution."
"When you first recruited Legion, I scanned his unit for anything dangerous. Upon scanning I discovered an advanced version of the reaper code. I took it upon myself to craft a virus to counteract said code, should the need for one arise."
Why am I just hearing about this now?
"Would have preferred me to tell you after the reaper invasion?"
You're hanging around joker too much.
"Humor aside, the reason I withheld the information is because the nature of the virus against the reapers would require access to their beacon, and an immensely large transmitter. Acquiring either of which seemed highly improbable."
So, how does it help now?
"You're within the catalyst, the beacon from which reapers can be controlled. And the crucible is large enough to act as a transmitter. Your technical expertise makes you more than capable of uploading the virus from the beacon, allowing to safe transmit to any synthetic under the influence of the reapers."
What about the Geth?
"Commander, the Geth's code has been modified to separate the Geth network into individual AI's, freeing them from reaper control. Even if the code could affect them, they are no longer under a single network; the virus could not affect them as a whole. They are safe."
Edi, this is great! Tell me what I need to do.
"I have sent the virus to your omni-tool, to be uploaded for your location. You need only to bypass the beacon and upload the virus to be transmitted through the crucible."
Shepard took haste in doing exactly as Edi commanded. Bypassing the beacon, he gained access to the crucible's controls.
"What are you doing?" asked the catalyst.
"This virus will put the reapers to sleep for good, probably you as well."
"No! We are meant to bring order to the chaos. You will ruin everything!"
"Wrong. You're bringing chaos. I'm bringing order."
Shepard uploaded the virus. He felt the citadel rumble as the crucible began transmit the virus. In an instant, the virus spread presumably across the whole galaxy, shutting down any and all synthetics running under the reaper code. The people of earth watched in awe as the husks, cannibals, brutes, banshees, and all of the other monstrosities created by the reapers suddenly fell dead.
"Tali, look!" Garrus gawked in astonishment as the vast armies of monsters fell before his very eyes.
Tali looked on as well, but was not quite as surprised. Beneath her mask, she shed a single tear, and smiled.
Shepard looked at the army of reapers floating outside of earth as they simultaneously shut down. He then felt the ground beneath him shake, and the catalyst was nowhere to be found.
Edi, what's happening?
"The catalyst, and therefore the citadel also operated under the reaper code. You will need to find an alternate way off the citadel."
"Escape pods should still be operational if you can reach them."
Shepard nodded and limped his way towards the lift that brought him to the room with the catalyst. He could see the escape pods mounted against the wall, and made his way as fast as his injured legs could take him.
Finding an operational pod, he entered and set coordinates for earth.
He looked to see the citadel go dark in the distance, and closed his eyes, taking a well earned rest.
Shepard awoke with confusion.
He was sure he was dead. Was this the afterlife?
Apparently not, unless the afterlife looked like a hospital bedroom.
As his vision cleared, he made out the forms of Garrus, James, Ashley, Liara and Edi leaning on Joker's shoulder.
Where's Tali? He thought.
He turned his head to see Tali sitting in a chair next to his hospital bed, asleep as her head rest on his chest.
He smiled and rested his hand on her shoulder, prompting her to wake up. She mumbled something unintelligible and raised her head.
"Hmmm?" she saw that Shepard's eyes were open.
"Everyone! Everyone, he's awake!" she announced.
Everyone else's attention was directed toward Shepard.
"Shepard, you crazy bastard!" announced Garrus.
"How did I get here?" Shepard asked as his friends crowded around him.
"Edi told us where your pod landed." Joker explained, and Edi nodded.
"Well Shepard, you saved the galaxy… again." Ashley commented.
"Actually, Edi's the hero of this story." Shepard replied.
Edi nodded, but James spoke up. "Edi told us about the virus she made; we gave her credit for that."
Edi began to speak. "But without you, it would never have been usable. You assembled the armies. You found the catalyst."
"And your modesty isn't going to get you out of your speech." Tali added with a small giggle.
Garrus cackled before speaking. "You've been out for quite a while. Hackett arranged for you to give a speech after you're released from the hospital."
"I don't do speeches."
"Well, you do now." James said.
Shepard shook his head. He hated speeches. But, it was his duty, he supposed.
After checking his vitals, he was released from the hospital. He was given three days of rest before his speech.
Most of his time was spent with Tali, of course, but he also spent a lot of time thinking of what his 'speech' would be.
What would he possibly have to talk about after defeating reapers? He was drawing a blank. But, after speculating on why the reapers did what they did, and came up with what he thought were the right words.
Then came the day of the speech. Shepard stood at a podium before hundreds of citizens, soldiers, and news casters. In the crowd he could see his friends; all the people who had helped him on his journey.
He stepped forward and spoke. "The reapers were a threat to all life for the longest time. I am here to say that that time period is over!"
people cheered at his words. "The reapers drove a galaxy-wide conquest against organic life under the idea that they had some role to play in the universe; that they were meant to do what they did. They operated under the idea that the universe was in chaos, and that they were meant to bring order by eliminating the cause of it, which they believed to be us. I will tell you now; they were wrong! They were driven by a very old, simple way of thinking. And because of that, they were destroyed. I'm supposed to tell you of my heroics, or my deeds, but I wanted to give you all a better message. The reapers were a powerful force of evil. They were not the first, and certainly won't be the last. No matter how long peace lasts, there will always be another conflict. But do not despair, for as long as there are people like you and I; people who take a stand and unite against threats like the reapers, they can never defeat us! So long as we stand united, nothing can defeat us!"
As Shepard concluded his speech, the crowd continued to cheer. He left the stage to be greeted by Garrus and Tali, as well as other people who had been there to help him. Jacob had even come all the way to earth to stay true to his word; taking everyone for drinks.
Shepard didn't know how long this time of peace would last, but so long as he had his love, Tali, and all of his friends, he knew everything would be alright.
This was perhaps a little weak, but this wasn't really meant to be particularly good, but more to just give me some closure on how terrible the Mass Effect 3 endings were. I like to think that this is how it ended, at least for me.