A/N: HUZZAH! We're getting a DLC for ME 3! Its supposedly due out in April or May, but who cares! The point is that we're actually getting one! I know next to nothing about it, save that it is called "The Truth" and promises to be insanely epic. Maybe it'll have something to do with the screwball ending. *Shrugs* Me, I'm deliberately stalling and trying NOT to finish my copy of the game, as I don't want to see the ending TT_TT
Also, if you have played ME3 feel free to continue. If you haven't, well, needlessly to say, you're going to be hopelessly baffled.
"You're making me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry...
Sur'Kesh was the salarian homeworld.
She, alongside Urdnot Wrex, had come to secure the release of the krogan females. They'd followed the instructions to an STG base, and after a bit of a hassle with landing, a tentatve truce had been formed. Now, having calmed her Krogan companion, commander Shepard, Liara T'soni, and Garrus Vakerian, made their way toward the elevator that would lead them to the surviving females, passing several cells containing all sorts of research subjects.
There were several subject contained within the fields.
One of them was human.
Shepard inquired after him, wondering what one of her own kind was doing here, confined in a containment field. He stood there in the containment field, arms folded, chin resting against his chest, legs shackled. Why his legs? If he was a biotic, she could understand his arms being bound, but his legs? It didn't make any sort of sense. What's more, he looked to be in some sort of cryogenic stasis. She gazed at him, peered at him; taking in the closed eyes, chiseled features, and whiskered cheeks.
Who was this man?
Blackened orange rags clung to his emaciated frame, and yet he exuded power. It drew her in. Like an eerie spectre it loomed over her, promising death and destruction. The feeling grew stronger the closer she came.
The commander winced as a supernova of pain exploded inside her skull.
I sense the taint of my kind within you.
Just now, that voice...
"Who is this?' Shepard asked the salarian scientist manning the console.
"This is Subject Alpha." The scientist explained. "We discovered him on a small planetoid on the verge of your solar system several thousand years ago. We believe him to be associatedwith some form of alien technology." The salarian consulted his omni-tool a moment longer before nodding. "Our top scientists have stuided him for years, and that is the reason he's been kept in stasis since his arrival. The alien adopted a grim look when interrogated further on the matter and would not say more.
"You mean he's from earth?" Shepard asked, choosing a new line of conversation.
"Quite possibly, yes."
"Wait a second...are you telling me he's still alive? That he's a thousand years old?"
"Hardly." The salarian scoffed. "As I said, Subject Alpha has been in stasis since his arrival here." He cast an appraising look at the group. "And I would ask the three of you to refrain from mentioning his existence to anyone outside this facility.
"But he's human!" Liara, god bless her heart, protested. "You can't possibly think its ethical to perform experimentation on him!"
Shepard squared her jaw.
"You're a monster, performing experiments on a living human."
"Commander, I wouldn't call that human anymore that I would call you an impertinent cave monkey." The scientest keyed a few commands into the console and the container slid down and out of sight. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have more important matters to attend to." That had been the end of it. Or so Shepard thought. It was easy to assume that they'd never see him again,
They weren't expecting what came next.
None of them were.
Then again, how could one possibly predict that Mordin Solus had been Wrex's inside source? Barring that, how could they have predicted a Cerberus attack? Mordin was quick to take flight with the female in the pod, leaving it to Shepard to protect the two of them as it ascended through the upper levels. And so they went, fighting their way through wave after wave of Cerberus troops while Wrex took the shuttle and did his best to divert the gunships from firing on the unsuspecting trio.
That should have been the end of it. Only, it wasn't.
Midway through the assault, the stranger reappeared.
"Warning!" A klaxon blared as they passed through a doorway. "Subject Alpha has escaped its container! Warning! Subject Alpha has-
The alarm ended in a strangled scream.
The redhead exchanged a terse glance with her squadmate and lover, Liara T'soni.
"That can't be-
Shepard never did get to hear the rest of that sentence.
Because the wall before them abruptly detonated; the pipes spewing fire and flame as a yahg tore through the wall and burst through to freedom. Seconds later a massive red laser lanced across the courtyard and obliterated an incoming squad of Cerberus troops. Then the prisoner, known solely as Subject Alpha, burst through the wall before them, spearing the Yahg and driving it to the ground.
The creature yowled and staggered to its feet, backing away from its attacker. The man lowered his palm, the epidermis still smoldering from the high powered laser he'd just emitted. Strangely enough, Shepard didn't see any sort of weapon on him. And as it turned out, he didn't need one.
The man moved effortlessly and suddenly, bringing his elbow around hard. His first swat knocked the Yahg off its feet. The second tore a gaping furrow in the creature's chest and blew the yahg across the hall, sending it sprawling the length of the floor. The man followed it, weaponless, but with his fingers curled in vicious claws. He raised his hand again, this time for a blow that would rip the behemoth's head off.
And then he saw them.
It was like he was staring through them. Through her. The silence was deafening. It was eerie.
He brought his hand down in a violent side-to-side motion, tearing the yahg's head from its shoulders, spattering himself in black blood. He stood woodenly not taking enough care as he straightened. Too late, Shepard realized that the shackles no longer bound his legs. Too late, she realized why they'd been bound to begin with. He moved with the speed and grace of a dancer. Even as Liara fired the first shot, he was already in motion.
His heel shot out, jarring the side of the asari's jaw with such force that she crumpled to the floor. A heartbeat later and he was gone, vanishing as Garrus brought his rifle to bear upon this new, unprecedented threat.
"Son of a-
Before the turian could bring down his arm, though, the man's hand snaked out and plucked the skin on the back of his neck. With a sharp yank, he hauled him back so hard that Shepard wondered if Garrus's head might separate from his shoulders. Snarling, the turian spun and launched himself at the man instead, rifle at the ready. The stranger brought his free arm around and smacked the turian across his face with enough force to knock him from his feet and into unconciousness.
Scarce had Garrus hit the ground then the blond avatar of destruction turned on Shepard.
At last, Shepard. His words were like thunder in her head; scraping at her mind with deafening their volume, tearing at her soul with flashes of bright intensity. At long last, I behold the killer of my kin. Too late, she felt his icy fingers clamp down across her throat. Too late, she felt herself hurtling backward as he advanced, dragging her across the wall and through the aftermath of his escape.
He barreled into her with all the force of a krogan. Her forehead kissed his with a vicscious headbutt that left black spots speckling before her vision. Her back greeted the wall with earnest enthusiasm as she plowed over it and through it, toppled into a table and finally struck a steel bulkhead. She propped herself onto her hands and knees, her eyes watering as she struggled upright. He was on her in an instant, forcing her upright and back against the wall, slapping the pistol from her fist.
And with that, time ground to a halt.
"Greetings." He spoke, breath warm on her face, his elbow pressed against her throat. "Shepard." His gaze traced the network of scars criss-crossing her face, taking in every inch of her. Sheaprd couldn't believe her eyes. Nor her ears. It ocurred to her, that she could use this opportunitty to strike, to lash out with a biotic charge, but her mind was inexplicably filled with fear as she looked at the him; pinning her against the wall as though she were naught but a helpless babe. Helpless, to do anything other than struggle with futility against her captor. She'd all but forgotten what it was like to face a foe up close and personal. To anyone else it would have been absolutely terrifying. But not her not commander Shepard, not the woman who'd survived the suicide mission against the Collectors with her team intact.
Commander Shepard swallowed her fear whole, ignored the constriction of her throat, and spoke with authority.
"I take it we've met before."
The man blinked at her, his expression blank.
"We have not met, Shepard-Commander."
"Well, clearly you know me." The adept shot back, remembering that scraping sensation in her mind. "How is that? You said I was the killer of your kin?" She expected some flicker of emotion, of recognition, of anger. Anything. All she earned was a slow blink.
"You are, kinslayer." He answered bluntly. "You have already killed two of my kind, and, given the chance, you will likely kill many more."
Well, that one hadn't gotten her anywhere. She struggled against him, but his grip was iron-tight, and she was powerless to resist him. Silently, she prayed Liara and Garrus were alright and stifled the burst of rage that came with it. If he'd killed them, if he'd killed Liara...
"What do you want?"
"Want?" The blond entity replied, leaning toward her. "I want nothing. I am nothing. Given the channce, I will become nothing. You cannot comprehend the magnitude of my prescence, nor my existence. I am above and beyond you. I have but one purpose and that purpose involves you. You will hear me, human. You will listen, to what I have to say and when I am done, I will have an answer from you."
"I take it you aren't going to release me until then?"
The being narrowed its eyes at her.
"If I were to release you, would you be inclined to listen?"
"Probably not, no."
"Then until you have heard me, I shall not release you.
"You are Commander Shepard." The man continued, the words echoing, sounding strange on his lips. Hollow. The man gazed at her, then glanced to her prone squadmates in turn. "Asari. Turian." A series of rapid blinks, punctuated by a tilting of the head. "I do not know these species," He turned his gaze back to her. "But I know you, commander Shepard." A pause, his eyes sliding shut. "Harbinger speaks of you, even now." When they reopened they were a cool, winter blue. "He has told me much, while I slumbered."
His words were like ice water in Shepard's veins. They chilled her to the very core. They plucked at her. Tore at her heartstrings. Filled her with despair. Harbinger. Either this man was indoctrinated or...or...or what? She didn't want to believe it. Couldn't believe it. How could she possibly conceive that this man standing before her, this creature with powers unknown could actually be a...a...a...
Shepard couldn't believe her eyes or ears.
"He's a reaper."
Reapers were gigantic, malevolent machines of destruction. And that was just it. They were machines. Sovereign itself had been more than two kilometers wide. How could it be possible; how could she she possibly accept that the human standing before her with eyes as deep and dark as the ocean blue, was a reaper? If not for the wires, he could be as human as any other man.
"Who or what are you?"
He glared bright, bloody red daggers at her.
"I...This fleshy form had a name, once." It paused, as if in recollection. "Naruto." Another blink and a shake of the head. "That is irrelevant now." He pinnioned her with a gaze and held her fast, his tone tumbling to a whisper. "The only matter of relevance is the one I am about to share with you, human. Listen cosely."
There was a silence. Then:
"I am the sentinel of my race." He began slowly, struggling with their language, gaining in confidence with each syllable spoken. "I was sent to watch, to ensure that you and your kind developed along the paths we desired." He gazed down at himself, flexing the fingers of his free hand. "In order to ensure this I shed my true form and took on the guise of this willing flesh in order to guide you, to ensure, to make it a certainty." A blank look crossed his face, punctuated by...sadness. "But my mission failed. I have come to find you and your race...intriguing. That intrigue led to my capture. And now," He gestured to the skies overhead, "I wake to find myself in a war which my bretheren have perpetuated for the sake of preserving order. Do you understand this, Commander?"
"So, let me get this straight...you're a reaper."
His scathing glare as the first expression of emotion she'd seen and quite frankly, it scared the hell out of her.
"Do you understand, commander?"
Shepard managed a nod. It was a bit much to wrap her mind around in the chaos, but she understood the gist of it. She was used to killing reapers. Not talking to them. That one could meld itself with human flesh and take control of a willing host was...disconcerting,to say the least. She could see the intelligence burning behind those bright, baby blue eyes; the spark of an entity greater than the galaxy itself.
One thing struck her as odd, though.
"Why did you fail?" She asked.
"I did not anticipate the risks this fleshy form would take." The form that was Naruto answered, slowly. "His views became my views, his goals, my goals. I am a shell of my former self. I am nothing, but recently part of me wants to be something. I can no longer influence others with my mind as I once could, though I can sway them to my will. Telepathy alone is a strain as you know, but I am able to commune with you." The abomination that was both human and reaper paused, and for a moment, she thought he had finally finished speaking.
"Human." It said suddenly, its voice little more than a metallic sigh. "You have killed two of my kind. The entity that you called 'Sovereign' and the reaper that was to be. That you have done so is unforgivable and warrants death. However," And here he stepped backward, releasing her, "Exenuating circumstances in my protcol suggest that I should spare you my wrath for the moment." He allowed her to sink to the floor and regain her bearings, and for this, the commander was grateful.
Shepard rubbed at her throat and gasped in a breath. Beside her, she could see Liara and Garrus beginning to stir as time marched ever onward. Whatever Naruto had used it was fading, and fast. She remembered why she was here, what she had to do. She had to find Mordin. Had to protect the pod. She'd wasted too much time already. But when the reaper extended a hand to her, she inexplicably stiffened.
"I understand that the shaking of hands is used to signify trust." Naruto stated, holding his hand out. "Yours would be appreciated."
"Just to be clear...why are you letting me go?"
"We, as a whole, believe that we must cleanse the galaxy of life in order to preserve order. My recent...viewpont conflicts with theirs. I no longer believe all life need be wiped from the face of the galaxy. Sentient life must be monitored, of course, but I deem eradication unecessary."
"Lying to you would decrease productivity." He had a point there. The Reapers were already invading. They were wiping everyone and everything out, system by system. The Allience needed all the allies they could get. Even if one of them, was a disillusioned former reaper. They needed him. Even if she doubted his motivations, it couldn't possibly hurt to have another advanced AI hybrid on board.
"You want to join us?"
The Reaper that was once Naruto blinked, slowly.
"I wish to reeducate my kind, to change their opinion, to prove that they are wrong." The entity clarified flatly. "Joining your forces will help to facilitate that change." Briefly, Shepard was struck by him. He reminded her of Legion. Just a little bit. Minus the flashlight head and consistently referring to itself in the plural. Oh and the fact that he was one of the deadliest synthetic-human hybrids in the galaxy. Seriously though...
What the fuck!
A reaper wanted to join their team. A human reaper! Briefly, she thought back on the monstrosity that she'd destroyed inside the Collector Base. Was this, what that creature would have become? When she looked at him now, she could see the wires, threaded beneath his skin, visible in some places. And yet he was a living, breathing human, with the ability to breathe, bleed, and most likely all other human functions.
"I'll have to call you something...
"Naruto." The reaper answered immediately. "I would prefer that name to the title of sentinel."
"How did you...?"
For the first time since they'd met, the reaper offered a grim parody of a smile.
"Right." Shepard berated herself. "Telepathy."
"Well then, I suppose I should call you Naruto."
"I accept this title." The reaper nodded his thanks.
"In exchange for this alliance, I will remove all traces of the reaper indoctrination from you." Naruto held out both hands, palms up, in offering. Warily, and not knowing why, Shepard accepted and placed her hands in them. Almost immediately, a jolt ran the length of her arms and reverberated into her toes. Her vision began to swim. To blur as she looked on, swimming with strange colors and hues.
"Indoctrination?" She barely managed to force the word out. "I'm not-
"You have multiple signs of malware in your system." The reaper replied calmly. "Mental degradation is evident. It is more than likely, that the Prothean Beacon and Cipher have delayed the effect. Given enough time however, you would succumb to dementia and hallucinations. Only one such as myself can safely remove influence and restore your brain to full capacity. The process will be brief, and during that time, I will provide assistance to your salarian companion." By this time Liara and Garrus had begun to stir, Naruto gave them no notice and gripped her hands tightly, evoking another spark of brilliant colors across the length of her vision.
"I get the feeling that this is going to be painful." Shepard winced as another jolt coursed down her spine.
For the first time, the reaper sounded contrite.
"It will be."
A terrible sound filled her head, and then there was blackness.
A/N: DUN-DUN-DUN! Naruto is...a reaper? It's heavily implied that he became one through some means or another, seeing as the time of the ninja and the shinobi preceded, that is, came LONG before the Mass Relays and such. Also, it is implied that Shepard is in a relationship with Liara, which I totally ship XD. But is Naruto...really Naruto? Or is he merely a shell, possessed by reaper technology? Yeah, I'm one of the indoctrination theorists on the game *shrug* hence the reason I took the chance to remove it as soon as I could...
Stay tuned to find out!