Thane had lost count how many times he had gone over his life. Each time brought him sorrow and pain, but he couldn't help it. It was his curse to bear for everyone that he killed.
"That sounds difficult. At any moment you could relive the guilt." Shepard answered to me, sitting across the table to me.
"Guilt? No. I've never felt any particular guilt about my contracts. My employers killed them. My body was only the tool they used. If you kill the man with your gun, do you hold the gun responsible?" I answer him.
He shakes his head in disagreement. "My gun can't decide right from wrong. You clearly do." He counters.
Shepard was right and wrong in that case, Thane did not feel any remorse for the contracts he was given, however the killings of his wife's killers were his own sins to bear. Thane paced the hallways of Huerta memorial hospital, eager to find something in the hospital to distract himself from his memories.
"Shepard." I greet him plainly.
"I heard you wanted to speak with me."
I turn to him. "Yes. Now that you are here, though... it seems more difficult to talk about." I answer.
"Are you feeling sick? I could get the doctor." Shepard's concern flatters me, but I feel fine.
"No, no. Though I suppose that is a part of it. My mortality has me... dwelling on things."
That statement, also said in a healthier time, still rang true. Shepard had visited him in the hospital. It gave him hope to see that Shepard was still alive and fighting when he could do nothing.
The Kepler's syndrome was eating away at the inside, and each day Thane felt weaker and weaker. What was once the most skilled assassin in the galaxy was now a reliant on daily medical care. Thane hated it, but he felt that this served as atonement for those that he killed in revenge of Irikah's death. Those men he let suffer before they died, and now here he is suffering before he died as well.
Thane walked by the hospital room of Ashley's room. She was the soldier that was under Shepard when she got hurt. Thane entered the room. Ashley turned her head, previously engaged with staring out the window.
"Hello Thane, nice to see you again." She greeted him.
They had talked previously, before Thane knew that she was tied to Shepard. She had seemed a good soldier.
"I did not know that you knew Shepard." Thane stated.
"And do you know him?" Ashley replied.
"Yes." Thane assumed a business like stance. He paused briefly. "We finished off the Collectors together."
Ashley looked impressed but also wary. "So you were with Cerberus?" She mentioned, glancing away. Her heartbeat monitor increased a small amount.
"Shepard was the one that wielded me, not Cerberus." Thane answered, remaining business-like. "Cerberus did not wield either of us." She seemed against Cerberus. Thane knew that was good, although he could feel the tension rise in the room.
"You don't know Cerberus. They could have been controlling Shepard subtly. Even you could have been." She countered.
Thane knew where she was headed. "Then I find it puzzling that Shepard destroyed the Collector base when the Illusive Man begged Shepard to keep it intact." He replied, shutting down Ashley's trail of thought. "Shepard is an honorable man, he helped me find redemption in my sins and reunite me with my son. He was the one that made sure that you would make it out of this encounter, and that is why he has asked me to keep an eye on you."
Ashley had gotten a little red, it was apparent that she was ashamed of what she had said. Thane knew he should stop, but the memories came flooding in.
I answer Shepard's greeting. "Of course my allotted time has come and gone. Now I exercise because it pleases me. What are you doing here?" I ask him.
"Visiting a friend who got hurt protecting me... Ashley." Shepard replied, a look of guilt runs across his face. "The dark haired human woman in intensive care. She will be starting physical therapy with my class soon." I reply.
"That's her." He comments.
"If she means something to you, then I will help how I can. As long as she is here, consider her under my protection." I promise him.
Shepard approaches closer and pats my shoulder. "I'd appreciate that Thane."
Thane was able to stop the memory there. He looked to see that Ashley had a tear rolling down her cheek, and Thane knew it was him time to go. He turned around and opened the door.
"Wait." Commanded the stern voice of Ashley behind him. Thane turned around and looked into Ashley's crying eyes. "Thank you. I am just so confused with Cerberus rebuilding Shepard..." She whispered out, as if she was betraying her commander's trust.
Thane nodded. "His body might be new, but his spirit is the same." And with that, Thane returned to the hallway.
The next round of medications was an increased dose because Thane's pain was getting worse. Kolyat had visited earlier that day and father and son enjoyed some time together before the inevitable death of Thane's body.
The medication would take some time before it would kick in, and Thane prayed to the gods in the meantime.
"One moment. Prayers for the wicked must not be forsaken." I tell him. The body of Nassana Dantius lies before me on a console, her arms cris-crossing over her body.
"Do you really think she deserves it?" Shepard replies back to me.
I continue my prayer. Upon finishing I shake my head and look up at him. "Not for her. For me." Is my reply. "The measure of an individual can be difficult to discern by actions alone. Take you, for instance. All this destruction... chaos." I tell Shepard, walking along the console and trailing my hand on it. He eyes me, and then the body. "I was curious to see how far you'd go to find me. Well... here I am."
Thane had read the prayers of forgiveness thousands of times, he knew that he was as prepared as he would ever be.
But he was scared of the death of his body.
He would die and leave the universe to deal with the Reapers. There was nothing he could do, and being the drell of action that he was, he could not sit by and just watch. But he was forced to as there was nothing he could do. Such thoughts brought tears to Thane's eyes, and he huddled in a corner of the hospital. Thane just wished that he could die instead of suffering as he did.
His reflection time was interrupted by the sounds of an explosion and fighting. The hospital shook and he could hear the screams of people. Thane looked out the window of the hospital to see the rest of the citadel in chaos. It was almost as if the gods had answered Thane's prayers. Thane took in a deep breath. He was at peace for his body's death. He would die today.
I am sitting in the life support area of the ship. Contemplating, thinking about my redemption with Kolyat. Grateful to Shepard to have it all right, but angry for making me running the risk of losing it all again. Realizing not much time is left before the sickness takes me anyway. I turn to my desk, and begin to write a letter to Kolyat. The data pad hums as I type, but I cant seem to write anything right. I put the pad away.
Shepard would certainly come to the citadel to fight off the assailants. Upon remembering Shepard, Thane remembered his promise to watch over Ashley. He said his prayer as preparation for what would come.
"Amonkira. Lord of Hunters, grant that my hands be steady, my aim be true, and my feet swift. And should the worst come to pass, grant me forgiveness."
And with that having been said, he immediately ran to her hospital room.
Thane got to Ashley's room to see two Cerberus soldiers outside the door. One held a shotgun while the other carried an assault rifle. A crowd of doctors stood in a circle around them, held back by the shotgun aimed in their direction. Thane knew he had to act, and act fast before something happened to the doctors. Weaving between doctors, Thane punctured the empty inner circle and charged at the two soldiers.
The shotgun soldier did not act until it was too late. Thane knocked the shotgun up into the air, and sequentially dealt a death blow. The second soldier turned to fire on Thane; however a doctor from the crowd launched himself at the soldier. The momentary distraction gave Thane the extra moment to make it to the soldier. As he threw the doctor off, Thane snapped his neck.
He opened the door to be greeted to the phalanx pistol of Ashley Williams. Upon seeing who it was and the dead Cerberus operatives at his feet, she backed off.
"Are you ok?" Thane asked.
"Yeah I'm fine." She replied. "You don't look too hot though."
It was true; Thane's innards ached from the exertion. His spirit however felt as good as the days he spent with Shepard. He was ready to fight an impossible fight against his weakened body and meet his death.
"My spirit soars at the chance to meet my death with honor." He replied, turning to run off to meet the battle.
"Godammit… at least take a gun." Ashley replied, throwing him her pistol. He took it, nodded and was off.
The citadel was in chaos; C-sec forces were locked in battle with the Cerberus forces. Thane helped where he could, but he could not help much due to the condition his body was. He kept his eyes out for Shepard.
Thane finally eyed Shepard. He was with that Dr. T'soni that he admired as well as Garrus his comrade against the Collectors. Shepard was weaving through a section of the shops fighting off a great multitude of Cerberus forces. Thane attempted to make his way over to them.
Shepard moved fast. As he approached Shepard's last known location, Thane lost sight of Shepard. At least he left a trail of destruction in his wake. Thane marvelled at the effectiveness of Shepard's work. In so little time he was able to murder a great score of Cerberus operatives. Thane feared the punishment that the gods would give Shepard for all the lives that he has taken.
Thane finally saw what Shepard's intention was; the Salarian councilor was in danger. His two salarian body guards were killed, and the councilor himself made a desperate and futile attempt to cloak himself. However the cloak failed and human assassin appeared to kill him. The assassin was heavily augmented with elegant machine parts prevalent all over his body. A Cerberus insignia was emblazoned on his chest. Thane debated if killing him would count as murder or destruction of property.
By this time Shepard had broken through the glass barring him from rescuing the councilor and dropped down to confront the attacker. The assassin got to the other side of the councilor with a graceful leap. A laser revealed itself in the palm of the assassin.
"Don't even think about it." Shepard stated.
A moment of extreme tension was held, as the councilor told Shepard of the human councilor's betrayal. Thane knew that the situation would only get worse, and moved down to intervene.
The two squad mates rushed into the room as well.
"Three on one pal, its over." Shepard stated.
But the assassin showed no signs of retreat.
"No... now it's fun." He answered Shepard.
Thane approached the scene rather quickly, ignoring the pain of his body. Shepard and his squad were on the wrong side of the councilor, the assassin was in control of the situation and Thane knew it was up to him to turn the tables.
The salarian councilor cowered in front of the assassin. Thane pulled his pistol out and aimed it at the assassin's head.
The assassin turned and attempted to knock the pistol out of Thane's hands. Both attempted to punch the other and get the upper hand. Thane's body protested but he could not give up, not when an innocent life needed saving. In a moment of intense pain the assassin gained the upper hand. He grappled Thane and attempted to throw him to the ground. Thane easily rolled off the impact and was back on his feet. He fired his pistol but the assassin had cloaked himself.
Using his senses and experience he searched the area for the assassin. Where would I go if I was the assassin, he thought. Thane's body protested in the reprieve, the pain was becoming unbearable and it began to hurt to even think.
The assassin revealed himself on the other side of the a desk. He had taken the momentary reprieve in battle to produce a sword. He charged at Thane. Thane fired several shots, but the pain was too much. He couldn't get in a good shot. It seems that the gods were forsaking him. The assassin swung his blade, and Thane dodged under it and knocked the blade away with his pistol. But the impact knocked the pistol out of Thane's already weak grip. He managed to get in a few kicks, and knocked the assassin away onto the ground with a punch charged with biotics. The assassin skidded across the floor. Thane picked up his pistol, reloaded another thermal clip and attempted to take aim. The assassin got back onto his feet and attempted another charge with his blade. Thane ran to meet him, knocking the assassins hand weapon out of the way.
He saw the blade coming for his chest. The metal gleaned in the artificial light, and Thane tried to bring his pistol to block it. But something held him back, his muscles did not react. He watched as the blade pierced his skin and broke through the other side of his body. His body went limp, but he felt an overwhelming sense of peace fill his spirit. The gods had decided to end his suffering honorably after all.
The assassin retreated, and Shepard ran after him. But Thane would not leave the fight just yet, not when he will be leaving the universe's fight against the Reapers. His body shaking, Thane used the nearby desk to bring himself up. With a great leap that took all his strength he jumped over a rail onto the stairs, following Shepard after the assassin. He had gotten to the door when he saw the assassin getting away. Thane used the threshold to support him as he fired. But his aim was gone, he was just firing randomly. His body went limp again and he sagged to the ground against the threshold.
Shepard came back to him.
"How bad is it?" He asked.
"I have time." Thane answered. Thane realized that he was useless even in this fight. "Catch him" He added.
A voice spoke on Shepard's comm, located on his omni tool. Shepard got back to work and went to the nearby shuttle to go after the assassin.
Thane knew it was Shepard's duty, but he feared for his spirit. It was all about where to go for the next fight, not caring for those who need the help to him. He used people and discarded them as he saw fit. Thane watched helplessly as the shuttle took off. He closed his eyes, preparing himself for the death that would come. He regretted those thoughts. Shepard was a beacon of light and hope, it was his duty to stop the assassin, not to tend to an old useless drell like him. Then medical personnel appeared and took Thane away to give him medical attention.
Thane woke up in a hospital room in Huerta. Kolyat was by his bedside. He exchanged glances, neither of them wanting to say anything to disrupt the peace. Thane needed to break it however, as his spirit was in turmoil again.
"Did Shepard save the council?" He asked Kolyat.
"He did, and he wouldn't have done it without your help father." Kolyat replied. His voice was hoarse as if he had done much crying. Both knew that Thane's time had come. "Father I'm proud of you, you saved the Salarian councilor's life, and yet you didn't kill anyone." Thane smiled.
"I guess the gods do care about my redemption after all." He mentioned. Kolyat put out an unconvincing smile. Together they prayed. Thane then closed his eyes to rest.
He opened them again, noting the new staff on duty. He must have shut his eyes for a while. Kolyat was still on his side.
"Take my oxygen mask off son." Thane told him.
"But then you'll die father. I just donated blood to keep you alive." Kolyat answered.
"No matter what, death is inevitable. I am ready for it Kolyat, let me die now lest I get second thoughts." Thane answered. "I want to die in the fragile peace that I have created for myself." Kolyat turned away as tears began to flow down his face. But momentarily Thane felt the mask come off his face.
"I see Shepard outside." Kolyat told him motioning outside. "He's talking with your doctor."
"I fear for him, Kolyat." Thane confessed. "He does so much good, and yet kills so many. I want to redeem him in some way as he has redeemed me with you."
Kolyat nodded, nothing needed to be said, he knew exactly what to do. He began to say the last rites over his father's barely alive body.
The door opened to Shepard a few minutes later. Kolyat turned to Shepard and began his introduction.
"Commander Shepard, my father mentioned how you were no longer incarcerated. I dont know if you remember me, I'm Kolyat Krios." He looked away from Shepard's face for a moment. This man was a man that knew all about his past. But this man was a good man and Kolyat again looked into the eyes of the man. "I came to donate blood... and well..." Kolyat fought back the tears. "... He asked me to take off his oxygen mask so he could..." Again he fought back a second wave of tears. "... be comfortable..." He gulped. "I don't think it will be very long."
Kolyat looked into Shepard's eyes and saw the compassion and empathy for Kolyat. He must have been feeling the same way about Thane, worse due to the amount of death that surrounded the man.
"Your father helped me save a lot of lives." Shepard said. "I'd like to be here."
Kolyat accepted him. "Of course." He replied.
Shepard approached Thane. Thane turned his head to face his friend and brother in arms.
"Commander..." He began, fighting off a cough. "I'm afraid I won't be joining you again."
Shepard beheld his broken and fallen comrade. "You've done enough Thane." He answered him.
"That assassin should be embarrassed a terminally ill drell managed to stop him from reaching his target." Thane got out, all the while grasping for air. The end was coming, Thane knew it.
"I'll pass the word along." Shepard said, attempting to keep the mood light.
"There is something I must do before it gets worse I must..." Thane sounded almost desperate. But time was getting short. Again he coughed and wheezed. He looked to Kolyat for help. Kolyat began to pray.
Thane looked up to the ceiling.
"Kalihira, mistress of inscrutable depths I ask forgiveness. Kalihira, whose waves wear down stone and turn it to sand..." Thane was hindered by more coughing. Kolyat, looking away took up his father's place. All the while Thane's coughing grew worse. "Kalihira wash the sins from this one and set him on the distant shore of the infinite spirits."
Thane turned to his son. "Kolyat, you speak as the priests do. You have been spending time with them." The look of pride on his face was easily recognizable. Kolyat merely nodded, too distraught to say anything. Instead he walked over to Shepard.
"I brought a prayer book. Commander, would you care to join me?" Kolyat asked, producing the book and turning the pages. Shepard nodded as his answer.
"Kalihira, this one's heart is pure but beset by wickedness and contention." He passed the book to Shepard.
"Guide this one where the traveler never tires, the lover never leaves, and the hungry never starve. Guide this one, Kalihira, and he will be a companion to you as he was to me." Shepard read.
"I had no idea you had planned to die in there" Shepard remarked.
"It wasn't a plan. My body had accepted its death. My mind had been dead a long time. Your mission gave me a purpose. A cause to die for. A chance to atone… I was able to speak to my son again. I can leave my body in peace." I replied.
"Thank you Shepard. Accept this prayer as my gratitude to you." He whispered. Only he could hear it.
Both looked up upon completing the prayer. They saw Thane's body, empty of the spirit it once housed. A happy smile on his face told both that he was finally at peace with himself, finally able to face death with open arms.