A/N: Hey guys! I know it's been a LONG time without any updates, so I'm just going to do the explanation at the end.
So yeah, enjoy! :)
Chapter 18: This is What I Fight For- Part 1
SSV Einstein— 1st Floor— C.I.C.
June 8, 2170
Audio Log 18
We're here. We're just about to touch down on Mindoir and I can already feel the intensity of Jane's wrath coming from here. I'd better get an Ice pack ready for use.
Anyway, the three day trip here was much shorter than I initially anticipated. Maybe it's because I had more things to do this time around, or how I hung out with Hillary and Gavin for most of the time. Oh, right, I forgot to mention that Gavin and I got into a bit of competition shortly after my last Audio Log. He beat me at Target practice, arm wrestling, hell, even rock-paper-scissors! But in the end, it was a sparring match that caused me to take the trophy and claim victory! It felt good to finally win and all, but Richard said he's never gonna offer me a helping hand ever again. Which I can't really blame him for, to be honest.
After the fight, we both had to get treated with some medi-gel, but it was nothing serious; a few bloody noses, headaches, and bruises. The next two days, we just...hung out I guess. I also got to spend some more time with the Commanding Officers of the Ship. I found it a bit strange how neither of them were officers, yet they still held control over the ship, but that's not really my call now is it? Besides, they're alright in my book.
But yeah, as I was saying: I've been hanging out with Gavin and Hillary for the past three days and I've also learned a lot about them. Gavin lost his brother a few years back, which is why he joined the Alliance. What baffled me was how he actually has nothing to fight for, no motivation to keep him going. He...he spoke of how he wants to die, but his time just hasn't come yet...He seems to be a very sad person, but keeps it all locked up inside. I never would have guessed him to be like that. Other than that, he's a huge wise ass; always thinking he can beat me at everything. Ironically, he went to college for a few years too. In general, he's a real stand up guy, though.
As for, Hillary, I had a nice chat with her the same night. She has a small case of insomnia and sometimes can't make herself fall asleep. Now, I don't have insomnia, but I still know what that feels like, thanks to those fucking nightmares. I haven't been getting any of them recently though... So yeah, all I wanted was a late midnight snack and ended up having a two hour conversation. She was born in a military family, going all the way back to the Vietnam War. Which is interesting because that war was almost 200 years ago. She's seen more than enough family members come back in body bags, but it's hardened her and made her stronger because of it. Her favorite weapon to use is the Shuriken Pistol, says that the recoil is far less than the tempest, and she can time her shots better. What interested me most was, not only is she an engineer, but also a biotic. If she hadn't told me herself, I wouldn't have believed it. I've never seen her use biotics, and she explained to me why. She says she doesn't use them too often because she doesn't want to get those shitty L-2 implants, due to the dire consequences that might occur. That's understandable. That's just something I guess I lucked out on...again. She has two siblings: a little sister and an older brother. Her sister is on Earth with her parents and her brother is stationed on Elysium as a Gunnery Sergeant.
Anyway, the doors are about to open, so I guess I'll finish this log here. It'll be great to see Jane again... End recording.
I close my omni-tool and walk over to the air-lock, where a few crew members are standing in line. Some of them are here for shore leave, and the others are planning on helping with the rebuild of the colony, I think. It doesn't really matter to me, now that I think about it. The door opens and we all step through the primary door. The VI's odd but soothing voice announces "Decontamination in progress!"
I haven't told anyone of my arrival, so my coming here is a complete surprise. Seeing as how that's the case, I should probably visit the police station first. I'm not exactly looking forward to facing my old friend just yet. I mean, I dubbed it: "Jane's Wrath" for a reason you know? The VI informs us that the decontamination cycle is over and the door opens as we all stumble out. The heavily scented air hits me at full force as I take a big nostalgic breath. Mindoir always was Eco-friendly. Because of the farming, they kept much of the wilderness around the cities and towns intact, for hunting and gatherings.
After enjoying the nice fresh air for a few seconds, I walked out of the terminal until I reached the directory. Of course I already know where everything is, but this is a good spot to stop and think of my first destination. Maybe I will start with the Police station; but I need to make sure I have enough time to see Jane, that Mad scientist's lab, and most importantly, Lunar. Alright, the fastest way to the station would be through the Agriculture district. I put my hands in the pockets of my cargo's and begin my walk over.
It's not too long before I end up in the agriculture district and notice just how much damage had been done to most of the land. I remember how fucked up Jane's ranch turned out after the raid, which is understandable, seeing as how there was a big battle going on there. Much of the farm animals died too, either from the attack or the atmosphere of the situation. That god awful smell from the burning carcasses were almost unbearable. I shiver at the memory and shake it off as Jane's house seems to come into view.
I stop in place, unable to get myself to move. Damn it, Michael, man up! Talk to her for crying out loud, it won't kill you! Well, actually, now that I think about...No! Go talk to her!
Taking a deep breath, my legs slowly begin to move towards her house.
After what feels like an hour of forcing myself to walk, I reach her front door and knock on it. The sound of construction hasn't changed since I was last here, but it's obvious they wouldn't be done with the rebuilding in only a few months. Though I'll admit that they got a lot done during that time. Modern technology can be a real wonder. My daze is broken by the sound of footsteps coming closer from behind the door. Okay, let's see how this goes... I'm fully prepared to see her frowning face, but when the door opens, it's someone else who appears in front of me.
"Oh, Hello Mr. Shepard," I greet him. He looks smaller than I remember, but not too small. "Is Jane home?"
"Michael?" He asked, obviously shocked to see me, "Why do you want to speak with her? After what you said to her in Arcturus, I figured she'd be the last one you'd wanna talk to."
I scratch my head as it gets lowered a bit out of shame, "Well, it's actually a bit of a long story. I'm not exactly surprised that she told you."
His facial expression becomes sour, "You know, I may not have liked you much, even now I still don't, but she would always be worried about you everyday."
"Look, I know I acted mean to her, but I did it to keep her safe."
He rolls his eyes and scoffs, "Oh really?" I nod my head, "Then what were you trying to keep her safe from?"
A cold glare forms in my eyes, "If I told you, it would ruin the purpose of trying to keep her safe you idiot." His nose scrunches up, "Besides, if something were to happen to you, it would hurt her even more; so telling you would be a very stupid idea. Besides—"
He looks me up and down, "Listen, she doesn't want to see you anymore. So why don't you just run away like the little vagrant you are, and piss off!"
Fuck it. I've had just about enough of this, "Run away like you were gonna do before the invasion?" He remains still, "You were about ready to leave thousands of people here, and not even give a damn about what happens to them. Well, I'll tell you one thing: Karma's a mean bitch, because if it wasn't for me, those batarians would've ripped you a new ass-hole." Again, his expression remains unaltered. I get closer to him, "So seeing as how I saved your ass, why don't you start showing me a bit of respect." My tone gets darker, "Or are you too much of a pussy to admit that a, 'vagrant', was the one who saved you and your daughter?"
We stare each other down for a good thirty seconds before he breaks eye contact. I smirk for a slight millisecond before doing an about-face and walking off the porch, "Have a nice day, Mr. Shepard."
"Wait!" His voice calls out from behind me.
I turn back around as I see him running up to me, "What? Another insult?"
He waves his hand at me, "No, I apologize for...that. I owe you big time, and I practically just spat in your face. Not that you didn't deserve it, since you did make my little-J more depressed than I had ever seen." I clench my fist, repressing myself from things I'd like to say, but I think one out-cry is enough. "It's just...it's easy to forget what you did, looking back to the different things you did in the past. Nobody believed Brannigan when he told everyone what you had done."
I stayed quite and waited patiently for him to continue speaking, "Everyone thought he was trying to get them to sympathize for you because your sister died." A picture of Lunar's body dead in my arms flashes across my eyes, but I shake it off. "By the way, I'm really sorry about that. I didn't know her, but Jane would talk about her all the time, said she was like her little sister."
I lick my lips, "She was the most purest living being I'd ever seen. Sometimes, I couldn't believe I was related to something so...good."
A moment of silence comes between us before he breaks the ice again, "What did you wanna speak to my daughter about anyway?"
I sent a small glare at him, "Well if you had let me finish, before calling me a vagrant, you would have learned that I was going to say I was sorry, and that I wanted to patch things up with her."
He nods his head, "Okay then...She told me she was headed for the police station, Chief Brannigan has been teaching her some martial arts, along with some weapon training."
Oh yeah, she told me Brannigan was teaching her how to use the sniper that day. I guess she requested a few more lessons... "And you allowed it?"
"Your damn right I allowed it!" he responded, "After everything that happened here, I'd rather keep her prepared for anything than to have her feel helpless."
I silently snort to myself. Jane...feeling helpless? I never knew such a thing existed... I take another look at my surroundings before saying, "Considering all the damage it caused us, that might not actually be a bad idea..."
He frowns a little, "I guess we can agree on some things after all..."
I lean back on the heel of my foot, "I guess so..." The silence between us returns as the only sound to occupy the air are that of the construction sights. Alright, I can't stay here like this forever. "Well, I'm gonna get going. See ya later, Mr. Shepard." With this, I spin myself around and start walking to the police station. He doesn't say anything in return, or rather, if he did, I didn't hear him. In the end, it doesn't matter really.
But I have to say, that was the first time I've ever actually spoken to the guy. Well, without people shooting at us that is.
It could've gone worse.
It didn't take long for me to get to the police station, because in a few minutes, I found myself in the front office, staring at how busy this place is. The police are a big part of the rebuild effort, so there's no doubt almost all the lines would be busy. My eyes travel around the white cubicles until they rest upon the sight of a woman sitting at the front desk. I guess I've got to talk to her about seeing Brannigan.
I walk over to the front desk and greet the lady with a smile. She returns my gesture with one of her own.
"How can I help you sir?" she asks in a kind voice.
I put my arms on the desk, "Yes, um, I'd like to see Chief Brannigan?"
"Well, he's currently very busy right now, can I take a message?"
I shake my head, "No that's fine, but if you could just tell him I need to speak with him, I'm sure he'll make the time."
She gives me a questioning look, while I just continue to look as polite as possible. She sighs before replying, "Very well then, but don't say I didn't warn you." She activates her omni-tool and presses a few buttons, "Chief Brannigan, sir? I have someone here that is requesting to speak with you."
"Who is it?" he asked.
She looks to me with her eyebrow raised. Oh, I guess she's asking for my name... I lean forward, keeping my voice low at nothing more than a whisper, "Sanders."
She clears her throat, "A mister: Sanders, sir."
I can practically feel his eyes widen from the screen, "Sanders...? Clarice, send him to my office, immediately." His voice got a tiny bit happier all of a sudden.
"Yes sir!" She says back, before closing the chat. She looks at me, yet again, with another smile and points to a direction with her hand, "His office is down the hall, after that first corner."
I pass by her, walking towards the corner she pointed to, "Thank you."
I reach the corner and turn on it, seeing the hallway she mentioned. You know, she was actually pretty nice, more so than most of the people around here. Then again, I don't look like I did a few months ago... Ah well. I wonder if she is new to the station, because I haven't seen her once since I was last here, and I've found myself ending up here quite a few times. Whatever, there's no point in dwelling on it. After walking through the hallway for what seemed like an eternity, I reach the door to his office. I wonder if Jane is around here... Well, if anything, Brannigan will know where she is.
Should I knock? Eh, might as well...
The pounding of my fist on the metal door echoes through a short distance. I hear his muffled voice respond in what I think was a: 'come in'. I press the green panel on the door and it whooshes open as I walk inside. My mouth immediately takes the form of a grin, "Well, if it isn't Police Chief Henry Brannigan!"
He gets up from his chair with the same grin I have. He shakes my hand and sort of pulls me into a half hug, where he's shaking my hand and patting me on the back with the other. This goes on for not even a few seconds before he speaks, "How you doin' kid? Alliance been treating you nice?"
I take a seat in his office as he sits back down behind his desk, "Well, seeing as how I look much better than I used to, I think you can take a guess."
He laughs, "So...what brings you back here?"
"After finishing my training test, I was rewarded with some shore leave. Admiral Hackett asked me where I wanted to use it, and I chose to spend it here," I say, with a smile plastered on my face.
His laughing continues as his smile gets bigger, "Oh yeah? Congratulations on passing your test then." I nod to him, and he continues talking, "So from what you have seen on your way here, what do you think of how Mindoir's been coming along, eh?"
I nod my head in approval, "Well the colony looked like shit before and after the raid. But now? It almost seems like I'm on a different planet completely! You've been serving these people better than any Governor ever could."
He laughs at my statement, his chest moving up and down with each chuckle, "Thanks kid, that means a lot coming from you, but you were the one who saved these people in the first place, gave them a chance for a future. If anyone, that title should be given to you."
You know, I myself still find it hard to believe what I did on that awful night, even if it wasn't my intention to do it. Everyone who knows what I did believes that I'm a hero. Because of it, I got training from the Alliance, became a soldier, made some friends, and...also lost one... Anyway, it changed my life for the better. Besides, I may have saved them, but that doesn't mean I care about them... I vigorously shake my head, "Sure, I saved them from imminent death and gave them a chance for a future, but you're the one shaping it and molding it for them. This colony would be lost without you."
He laughs a bit more until the room becomes awkwardly silent and his facial expression changes dramatically, but yet, also somehow stays the same? I can't put my finger on it...
Leaning back on his chair, he heaves out a small sigh, "I take it your not here just to visit an old geezer like me, huh?"
My fingers begin to play with each other and a great weight gets dropped on my shoulders. His eyes stare into mine awaiting my answer. He does know what happened then... "An old geezer? Come on, you're not that old!"
He raises an eyebrow unfazed by the light humor I intended to use to break the tension. Ah, screw it. I never was good at making jokes and I guess I could use some advice... "Alright, there's no point in hiding it anyway. You know about what happened on the station?" He nods his head. "I didn't mean to hurt her, I just didn't want to get her in any danger.
"What kind of danger?" he asks, leaning closer to his coffee.
Damn. I can't tell him either, it might compromise him and his family. "I...uh...That's not important! The point is, I didn't want her getting involved. I couldn't risk the chance of losing her!"
His eyes widen with a cocky grin.
I correct myself two seconds afterwards just as I feel the heat go to my face, "Losing someone because of me..." I close my eyes and the memories of the raid flood back into my head. The bodies in the rain, burnt, shot, or beaten to death all around me. Then there's the one that stands out from all the rest... "It's happened numerous times to me before and I can't have it happen to me again, not while I'm still breathing."
The Chief of Police nods his head in sympathy, "I know how you feel..." I look up and find him with a sour look in his eyes, "That night was all kinds of something. I've been around for a good forty-six years now, and I had never seen anything quite like that, well, not in person anyway." He licks his lips and his eyes tighten at the painful memory. "I remember when it first started, it was nothing but silence. I was still here at the office and my wife had come over with the kids for us to go out for lunch together. My second-in-command was about to take over my shift for me, until suddenly my daughter runs up to me saying: 'daddy, daddy! There's a big ship outside!' At first I thought it was nothing, her imagination. But then the other officers at the front started to get real busy." His shoulders droop down in shame. "The station was receiving over 400 calls at each phone requesting for assistance, all of which seemed to drop in 3 minutes... *sigh* There were so many of them... A team of the pirates came through the front doors of the station, but we got rid of them and barricaded all of the entrances in time."
I was so fixated on his story that I barely noticed him clutching his hands together. I had no idea he felt this way, I never bothered to ask him...
"After a big fuss between officers, most decided to go out for their families, despite my trying to persuade them, though I know would have done the same thing in their position. Anywho, the rest decided to stay until it was safe enough to go outside."
"A bit cowardice of you, don't ya think?" I mention with a small frown.
He glares at me before continuing, "Once we decided it was safe, we made a few small scout teams to search for any survivors that might have been in hiding from the Batarians, or gotten caught under the debris of bombed buildings. My wife wasn't too happy about it, neither were my kids, but I knew it needed to be done; these were my people after all..." He scratches the stubble under his chin before continuing, "So, I split fifteen officers, including myself, into five teams and we each took a different sector. After responding to a distress call in the ass ends of the colony, we came up with nothing. On our way back, we ran into you. The rest as you know is history."
Hmm. So that's how they wound up where I was... "I was locked into a private lab in the outskirts of the farmers market. I was out cold after trying to run away from some Cobra members and I woke up a few days later to an immense explosion. Once I stepped out of my captivity, that's when I realized that we were being invaded." I massage my temple and shake my head, "The first thing I remember is...the bodies...The smell of burning flesh and death everywhere."
"I know how hard it was to bear with everything, and I can't imagine how hard it must have been for someone your age." He smiles, "But look at it this way, think about how much you've experienced these past couple of months; I mean so far, you and Shepard are the only teenagers I've seen to take in so much."
My face brightens for whatever reason. Just the fact that I'm being compared to Jane like we're normal again makes me a bit happier. It's true though, I think if any other teen we're to go through what we've been through, they'd go clinically insane. "Yeah, and to think that if the Cobras never chased me off, my life would no doubt be much different than it is today."
"Oh, so you did say Cobras..." He murmurs.
My head immediately jerks up, "Yeah, so what?"
He stands up, an empty coffee mug in his hand and moves towards the window where some construction seems to be taking place. "A couple of weeks after you left, the local thugs began to join Alliances with The Cobras, expanding their group since a lot of members from each gang lost their lives during the invasion. Eventually that's what they ended up calling themselves."
I cross my arms with a squint of my eyes, "There were numerous gangs, especially around this part of the colony. You mean to tell me that they all stopped hating each other and joined up?"
He turns his body away from the window, now facing my direction, "No. Not all of them joined together. In fact, according to the intel we've gathered, some actually tried to fight against the damn 'snakes'. Though seeing as how much men, weapons, and salvage they've gathered since the attack, they might as well have ignored them like a fly on the wall."
"How many weapons would you say they've collected exactly?"
His head bows down a little in thought, "Well nothing as big as a rover, but enough fire-arms for a small army. No way to know for sure though."
I can see where they got the salvage from, but how did they get the guns? Not everybody who lives in here carries a weapon in the house, so they couldn't have stolen them... Raiding supply shipments maybe? No, the Alliance takes care of that. I doubt they'd be able to stand against them.
"Anywho," he says breaking my train of thought, "they're being taken cared of at the moment, so once this is over I can finally put my main focus on rebuilding...I hope."
"What do you mean: I hope?"
After putting down his coffee mug, he opens his omni-tool, looking through his data files for something. He finds what he was looking for and brings it up for me to see. It's a geographic hologram of sector 12 on Mindoir. "I sent a team to go investigate a possible location on where they could be hiding: a cargo facility. They arrived there approximately 5 hours ago." A red highlighter marks the front entrance and he continues speaking, "Officer Salmon informed me they would be in radio silence upon entering the complex, at least until they found a safe spot. There hasn't been a transmission since."
"Quiyona is a part of that team?" He nods his head, "Fuck. Alright, I'll go over there and check it out, but whatever you do, don't tell Jane."
He frowns, but in a more professional manner, "Jane was part of the team I sent with Salmon."
My hand turns into a tightening fist, "She what?"
Before I could shout at him, he begins to explain himself, "I've been training her for a good amount of time now and she volunteered. I said it was okay if it was alright with her father. She made a phone call and he said yes." He shrugged before continuing, "I was actually surprised when he agreed to it. I mean to train her is one thing, but to put her in danger like that?"
I shake my head, "There's no way he agreed to that, she probably just pulled up an old voice recording or something." Brannigan raised an eyebrow, "I stopped by her house just before I got here. He told me she went to the police station to train with you. He never said anything about her going on a mission for you."
His eyes widen and then immediately go back to his omni-tool. He clicks a few things and soon enough, a phone call is being made. "Hello? ? This is Chief Brannigan of the Mindoir Police Department." I move into the view of the camera so that I can be seen as well.
"Hello sir!" he greets back with a smile. His gaze focuses on me, "I see Michael has arrived at the station..." His smile becomes crooked before speaking again, "So how is Jane's training coming along? Is she going to be coming home soon?"
Brannigan turns to me with a worried look on his face, "No, I'm afraid she's not here at the moment."
He looks at us through the video chat with a puzzled expression smeared on his face. "What are you talking about? Where is she if she's not there...?"
The Chief doesn't waste five seconds before replying truthfully, "I sent her on an assignment with some officers of mine. She claimed she had gotten your permission to do so. Unfortunately, we suspect they may have been captured by The Cobras."
His worrying intensifies, "Captured? Well...Do you know where they are? We have to get her back!"
"I WILL." I assure him firmly. "I'm going to get her back, I promise you." I turn to Brannigan, "I'm going to get them all back."
He eyes me for a second before nodding his head. "I'll assemble a team to go with you."
I shake my head sideways, "No. No teams. I'll move faster and quieter on my own, and this way I'd only have to worry about myself."
Jane's father's voice cuts in, "How are you going to get them out? You're just one person!"
"Because I've already saved them before!" I retort back, "Didn't I make that clear in our conversation earlier? Besides, I've gotten much stronger now."
He bites his lower lip in consideration, "...Alright, fine. Just please, make sure you get her back to me."
I nod my head and he turns off the video chat.
The Chief of Police turns to me, "If you're going to be doing this, take the pistol in the locker over there, as well as the shield generator with it," He says, pointing to a box in the corner of the room. "There should be some disruptor rounds in there as well; it'll cut right through there shields." I walk over to the locker and take what's inside, strapping on the shield generator and holstering the pistol in it. I put the disruptor modification inside one of the pouches.
As I face the door ready to leave, my old friend stops me, "Michael! Don't mess this up. If you fail, then I'll have to deal with it myself and that will cause panic in the streets. We can't have that."
I look down before staring him in the eye, "I won't fail, you can count on that."
He nods his head one last time before I walk out the door and head for the exit.
Alright you god damn Cobras, you picked a wrong day to fuck with my friends. And now...
I'll make sure this is the last time you ever do...
A/N: Alright, so this marks the beginning of the end for part 1 of Say Hello to The Galaxy. The Next chapter is going to be action packed and it's going to be a long one. I'm not sure when it'll be out, so I can't make any promises and I can explain why.
The reason I haven't updated in nearly 7 months is because of the one thing many adolescents my age seem to hate nowadays: School. Now, it hasn't only been that though. I got a job at a tire shop, so I've had less time to write, and I also make videos on youtube now as well. For months now it's just been one project after another and It's pretty tiring :P
Originally I was supposed to have this chapter out in DECEMBER! (I know right?) But I was unhappy with how I did it, so I ended up redoing the whole thing, and I'm very proud about what the result was, though I wish I could have released it sooner :/ That being said, I have no idea when the next chapter will be released, so I apologize in advance. I will be working on it, that much is without a doubt.
Okay, now that we have all of that out of the way, I really hope you can forgive me :)
Anyway, until next time, Laterz!
P.S: If you want to check out my Youtube channel, my user name is Marcus Redfeild. It's the same as my user name here :P I'm still an amateur so I'm sorry if you find them lame. But hey, at least you get to see me scream like a little girl right? ;)