Spoilers regarding the ending of ME3, obviously. I swear, if you haven't finished "Mass Effect 3," stop reading now. As in right now, this goddamn sentence now. Now. Stop.
Much of this story revolves around my "canon" playthrough of the "Mass Effect" series (being a nerd, I have more than one save file). Female/ Paragon/ Engineer/ Sole Survivor / Spacer/ Romanced Liara for all three games/ Saved Ashley/ Saved Wrex/ Saved the Citadel Council/ Destroyed Collector Base/ Cured Genophage/ Re-wrote the Geth/ United the Turians, Krogan, Quarian, Geth/ Saved everyone in ME2/ Chose the "right" path and destroyed the Reapers. This is what happens next. I am of the group that hated the ending. I suppose this is my way of working through the grief, lol
Jane Shepard awoke with a start. Every fiber of her being felt like it were to fall apart with each gasping breath. Looking around, all she could see was rubble. Ash burned her eyes and smoke filled her lungs. She coughed and immediately regretted it, feeling pain within her lungs.
She tried sitting up, but even that felt like a chore. Once her vision cleared she could see it was about midday. Her wounds from her encounter with Harbinger and her vision on the Citadel were both fresh in her mind. Did all her hard work pay off?
Get up, Soldier. This isn't the first time you've been blown up.
Jane wished the universe would give her a break and allow her these few moments of rest. She flexed her arms and moved her legs, relieved that all her limbs were, for the most part, intact and relatively unharmed considering she fell to Earth on the remains a giant orbiting space station several miles wide.
She found he strength to stand up, and started walking in a path that had a gentle, downward slope. Her omni-tool was badly damaged and was hearing nothing but static over her communications link.
"Hello, is there anyone out there?" she yelled. She hoped Joker or anyone else in the Alliance fleet would have seen the Citadel crash and would have good enough sense to investigate.
"HEY, IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE?" Her throat was parched and it was increasingly difficult to move and talk. She staggered to one knee in an attempt to catch her breath.
"I think I heard a human voice. Or it could have been the sounds of a dying pyjack, I can never really tell," said a gruff voice.
Shepard stood up and started walking towards the voice, most likely a krogan. She attempted to clear her throat, but got away with several hacking coughs. "This is Shepard, Systems Alliance, I'm over here!"
Through the fog, Jane could see an outline of a krogan running towards her. She braced for impact as best as she could. The krogan stopped a few feet away from her, and greeted her with a friendly jab to the side. Jane staggered a little, but kept her balance. The krogan was flanked by two others, none of whom she recognized.
"It's good to see you, Commander! Urdnot Darg, remember me?"
Jane could not remember. Truth be told, a lot of Krogan looked the same to her. "Sorry, but you'll have to refresh my memory. I guess this fall was a lot tougher than I thought."
"About a year ago on Tuchanka! I lost all hope, but you talked the fight back into me. I made it back to clan Urdnot and even got myself a woman. When Clan Leader Wrex was building an army to bring to Earth, I had to join."
"It's good to see you made it," Jane replied. "Is Wrex or anyone else around?"
"We've set up base with what's left of an Asari commando unit and a Human platoon about six clicks northwest from here. Wrex sent a couple of fireteams to scout the area in and around the crash site. He'll sure be glad to see you."
"I'm sure the feeling's mutual." Jane was relieved to see a familiar face. She also had quite a bit of questions that needed answering.
"We've got a Tomkah parked on the base of this pile of rubble. None of the other guys will believe you're still alive."
"That's not the first time I've heard that."
They moved down the hill, Shepard trailing a few yards behind. They reached the battered Tomkah, which had a Krogan in the driver's seat.
"So this is Commander Shepard? You're smaller than I imagined," said the driver.
"For your safety, believe everything you've heard about me," replied Shepard.
The krogan laughed, "I didn't plan on doing anything else. Anyone who can survive a thresher maw three times is krogan in my book."
They entered the Tomkah, which was much larger than the Mako Shepard was used to. Darg handed her two packets of medigel, one of which she applied to a large wound at her side. She immediately felt cooling relief and let out a small sigh.
"So, what happened, Shepard? After the Reapers fell apart, we've lost all communications past the sol system."
Shepard explained to the best of her ability, the events that happened at the Citadel control room. The Illusive Man, head of Cerberus, his desire to control the Reapers, ending his life, then meeting with the creator of the Reapers. It seemed all too surreal when she heard herself retelling the events.
"Shit, Shepard. If it weren't coming from you, I'd think you're making it all up1" exclaimed Darg.
"It's what happened. I'm just glad to still be around to tell the tale," she ran her fingers through her short reddish brown hair, a force of habit. "Who knows what you guys would do without me," she added jokingly.
They barreled along the countryside in the tomkah. Jane did not recognize her surroundings, though one thing was clear: there would be a lot of rebuilding needed to be done. Scattered throughout the land was rubble of buildings, both late 20th century and 22nd century brick and metal strewn about. Along the way, some humans, civilian and military, were sifting through the debris, taking what they could use, barely looking up as they rolled by.
"So Shepard, did you know anyone from Earth?" asked one of the Krogan.
Other than Anderson? Not really. Growing up in space left very little room or time to sightsee on Earth. "A few acquaintances and one very good friend. Other than that, I haven't lived on earth long enough. It's still tough to see it like this."
"Tuchanka has been like this for centuries. If your people are anything like you, there's still a chance," the krogan said halfheartedly before folding his arms and looking away.."
The tomkah stopped at a security checkpoint. Two alliance soldiers and an Asari approached the vehicle.
"Find anything new, Darg?" the Asari asked.
"You would believe me unless I laid eyes on the legend myself. We found Commander Shepard in the remains of the Citadel." The driver opened the side door and light entered the vehicle. The Asari, who's face filled with a mixture of surprise and awe, scanned Shepard with her omni-tool.
"Crap, it really is you!" the Asari exclaimed. She stepped off the tomkah. "Well, get in there and meet with Wrex. There's an entire shitstorm of intel you need to get caught up on. Goddess only knows how long he'll bear it until he kills someone," she said.
The Universe can't ever stay saved, can it? "Sure thing," Shepard answered. She felt stronger with the medi-gel's repairs to her wounds and hopped out of the tomkah effortlessly.
"Shepard, I've got repairs to do on this thing, so just follow the tower to Wrex…and wait," Darg walked over to Jane and handed her an omni-tool and a phalanx heavy pistol. "You wouldn't seem legendary unless you were armed."
"Thanks, Darg. I owe you one," Shepard replied.
"You owe me nothing Shepard."
A small part of Jane felt guilty for not immediately remembering Darg, but based on the Asari's response on seeing her, it would be the least of her worries. Jane broke into a slight jog towards the tower. On the way, a few soldiers saluted her, but most were busy gathering whatever they could from what was left behind from the attacks. Eventually, she reached the tower, was scanned by two more krogan guards, and once the initial shock and awe was over and done with, she finally reached Wrex.
"It's good to see you cheat death again, Shepard," said Wrex, standing up from his seat. Surrounding him was a sea of flashing computer monitors, all with scenes from what Shepard assumed was around Earth, A VI drone, which seemed to be partially damaged was floating in the corner of the room, moving it what seemed to be aimless circles. On another end of the room, an Asari and four alliance officers were at separate computers. The officers stood up in salute. The Asari gave a knowing nod.
Shepard looked towards the soldiers, "At ease, gentleman." She stepped toward Wrex to shake his hand. "Good to see you too, Wrex. This environment…doesn't really suit you…"
"You got that right, Shepard. Your Admiral Hackett convinced me to run a separate base of operations south of what you Humans call 'London.' I still can't remember the name of this place. Brightly? It sure as hell aint that."
One of the soldiers, a female with a slight Dutch accent responded, "I believe we are in Brighton."
"Yeah. That." Wrex replied gruffly.
"I still can't believe Admiral Hackett got you to do something you didn't want, Wrex."
"I figured there'd be a good chance of finding you down here. I wasn't not gonna have some incompetent team of scouts mess this up. This terrain? It's an easy stroll for all krogan."
"Well, I'm glad you're still here. What's the sit-rep?"
"You've probably heard, but communications past the Sol system are down. About a third of the alliance fleet and one half of the turian fleet was decimated. Surprisingly, the Destiny Ascension made it out, along with 75% of the Quarian fleet, including the live ships." Wrex sifted through screens, which showed the various ships remaining. Most were still orbiting Earth.
"What about the Normandy?"
"For that," Wrex took a deep breath, "You'll have to talk to Admiral Hackett. I have a direct line to him in the next room." Wrex led Shepard into a smaller dimly lit room. He pulled up a chair for Shepard.
"Thanks, Wrex," Shepard said.
"We'll see," He responded before shutting the door.
Jane pressed a few buttons and the image of Admiral Hackett game into view. He was looking down at something off screen. "What is it now, Urdnot Wrex?"
"Commander Shepard! You certainly are a sight for sore eyes. Things have been a mess these past few days."
"So I've heard. What has happened?" Shepard could not help but feel that despite all her best efforts, she would always be one step behind large scale galactic problems.
"It's been almost five days since the Reapers were destroyed. In those five days we have lost all communications with our outer colonies. Anything outside of the Sol system has been lost to us. For now, the Turian and Quarian are being very patient, but I feel it will only be a matter of time before things fall apart."
Shepard slowly rubbed at her temples. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.
"What about the Normandy. My crew?" she asked.
Admiral Hackett shifted in his stance, looking uncharacteristically anxious. He folded his arms and said, "The Normandy is missing."