Hey, welcome to my first attempt at writing in seven years! I've had some ups and down and, yes, I'm starting something new instead of finishing my old stuff. Sue me. Now, go with the disclaimer!

All characters are based on my own Mass Effect 3 multiplayer characters. Despite having different names, they are in no way associated with any username other than my own. Names have been taken from other sources, but this is not a crossover of any sort. Characters may or may not take on certain attributes of their namesakes, but these characters are entirely separate entities. I claim ownership of these characters under their personalities and images as described in this work only.

Any characters borrowed from another user, if this were to ever occur, will be credited to that person in the first chapter in which they appear and will be used entirely with their permission.

Sentences in italics will be thoughts in a character's mind, rather than spoken out loud. Seems like a minor thing, but I've had some trouble in the past with people recognizing that and I don't want to cause confusion.

Most likely, this will remain M rated, though I don't plan on including anything much worse than what is depicted during combat in the game, though I will make things a bit more realistic. If someone gets hit in the arm with a sword, that arm might come off. That sort of thing. And also some language. All in all, if you've played any Mass Effect game, there shouldn't be anything in here that's too shocking.

Chapter 1 - Snipers

It's… disgusting.

That was the only word she could find to describe what she was watching through the scope of the M-92 Mantis that she held crooked against her shoulder. A thing that appeared a few moments ago had hunkered down over an identical creature and began cannibalizing it. Perhaps that wasn't the word to use, as it didn't exactly eat the dead creature as it vomited over it and melted it into a sort of red goo, which then threaded its way onto the living one and covered it in scab-like skin.

In the scope, the shot was lined up and easy. Less than a hundred meters and a stationary target. Even an academy rookie could make the shot. But she held her breath and stayed her hand. She had but a single shot, no extra clips to speak of, and if that thing had friends, she and her unwitting partner would be dead. As she moved her eyes from the scope, the creature stood up and groaned, and lo and behold, another entity crossed over into her view from behind wrecked vehicles in the street. Then followed three more. Even without the scope, she could tell they were different. Scoping back in, she found them to be familiar, a bit messed up, but still familiar.

That can't be… Turians!?

She knew what Turians looked like, even met a few. She knew them to be hardasses at times, and quite a few had no love for humanity, but an attack on Earth was out of the question for them, not to mention a violation of several Council treaties. These Turians, though, their eyes glowed blue and they seemed to be more machine than living creature, and that was not normal. Then she knew that they weren't actually turian. As they approached the bulbous creature that absorbed the dead one, the group moved on with a garbled grumble. Turians, she knew, would have searched for the attacker before moving, leaving only after making sure the gunman had left or was dead.

She lifted her head from the scope once more and watched them round the corner out of sight. Staying silent, she watched the street like a hawk for five uneventful minutes before hearing a rough groan from behind her. That would be the Alliance sniper behind her, the one that had taken out the creature from before. It had been chasing her over an hour ago while she, being unarmed, was essentially helpless. The guy had been clumsy, taking the first shot recklessly without proper aim, thus attracting its attention to the third story building and becoming the target of a well-placed grenade before finding the mark with a second shot. Having rushed up to the location of the sniper, she found him unconscious in a heap and badly wounded. She was no medic, but applied his suit's medi-gel reserve as best she could, using a bit of her own clothing as bandages. She had then taken his rifle and taken up watch until the injury was stable enough for him to wake up.

And as he was waking up, she knew he would be getting an eyeful. A young girl, in a blue pleated short skirt and white button-up shirt with a pair of half-moon spectacles hanging from the top near the collar, laying prone right in front of him, looking every bit like a school girl fantasy model. She could have planned that situation out better, but it was too late now. Or rather, the situation was too grim at the moment to be worrying about her innocence. One minute she was waiting in line for an event with her best friend, the next, they were separated and she ended up chased by a cannibalistic creature while the city of Vancouver was burning around her.

Sighing, she picked herself up and moved toward the soldier, only to find him with his head turned away from her. At least he's a decent man. He turned back to look at her as she drew near. "Hey, how you feeling… Corporal?" Just noticing his collar insignia for the first time, she realized she must have been too distracted before to see it.

"Like I was just hit by the force of a thousand suns…" He groaned. He looked her over for a minute then his surroundings. "You? But you should have escaped. Why come back for me?"

"I couldn't just leave you," She said quietly. "You'd have probably bled out had I not come up here. Oh, thanks for knocking off that thing. You saved me too, you know."

"Bah! I was just doing my job. Which also tends to include dying in the line of duty," He said, waving her off. He then examined his side, just above the hip, where he found the violet-blue cloth wrapped around him. "Nice patch work, this silk?"

"Actually, yes, it is," She told him. She nodded to the rest of the garment folded on the rubble next to them. "It was a cloak my friend made for me for a costume. Hopefully, she won't be too mad that I tore it up and…"

"Hey…" He muttered, sensing her worry through the trailed off sentence. "I'm sure your friend is fine, if you're here and you were together before, well, there's an evac shelter not far from here. In fact, you should head there too."

"No, I'm fine," She replied sternly. "Just what's going on anyway?"

"Not sure, but it looks like an invasion. Huge ships looking like that Sovereign thing that attacked the Citadel… Oh, you probably don't know what that is… Anyway, they came down shooting. Buildings, aircraft, you name it, military and civilian alike. Then, as we were evacuating, the dropships… those would be shuttles carrying troopers… came leaving Cannibals and Marauders. A Cannibal would be what was chasing you before, and a Marauder is a deformed looking Turian."

She listened to his story, as she moved to look out the hole in the wall she had been watching through earlier with the Mantis. The sound of explosions echoed through the buildings and smoke filled the sky. "…Is it the Reapers?"

"What? How…" The sniper sounded shocked as he cut himself off. "I don't know where you heard that, but… Yeah, it could be. Communications with Alliance bases has been cut off, so we're not sure what we're dealing with exactly."

"Anything's possible then," She thought out loud. "Well, we need to get you actual medical help. Can you walk?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fi- AUGH!" He cried out in pain as he tried to get himself up. "Damn! Maybe I've really bit it this time."

"This time?" She asked as she pulled his arm around her shoulders to help support him.

"Heh, yeah. The name's Conrad, but everyone calls me 'Seven' or just 'Sev'," He grunted. "It was from the Skyllian Blitz. Saw Shepard in action, but I didn't fare as well as he did myself. When reinforcements arrived, they found me in a makeshift sniper nest with seven Batarian harpoons at head level on the back wall. Nearly got myself killed seven times."

"Lucky," She commented as she began half dragging him to a staircase of the apartment building they were holed up in.

"Yeah, luck," He scoffed. She started for the downward flight, but he pulled on her to stop her. "No, we go up. It's too dangerous in the streets."

"But on the ground we have a chance to run into an Alliance patrol," She argued. She sighed at Sev's refusal to move. "Fine, we'll go up. But the only thing up there is a dead end."

Together, they climbed up six flights of stairs slowly, struggling from Sev's inability to walk and the lack of strength she had to carry the man roughly twice her weight, even without the armor. The building was in shambles, steps were nearly falling out from under their feet and the ceilings were beginning to cave in. One spot was so bad that they were forced to crawl through a narrow opening between the wall and debris, not an easy task with Sev's injuries. Though this was an apartment building, any halls open to view were empty. With any luck, the inhabitants had evacuated long ago. Had they not… It wasn't something they wished to think about. Their luck improved, if only slightly, at the top where they found the roof access door blasted clean off.

"Now what we need, ugh, is this," Sev grunted as he was sat down against an air conditioner conduit. He pulled out a small cylinder from a pouch on his belt and handed it to her. "Twist the middle then toss it over there by the corner."

"It's just a flare. Everyone knows how they work," She told him. She twisted the flare between her hands then tossed it to the open area on the roof. The small metal container clinked across the concrete and began to emit a green smoke cloud.

"Great. And now we wait," Sev sighed. And wait they did, for a mostly silent twenty minutes. It was hard to say much of anything while watching the giant machines, Reapers, crunched their way through buildings and blasted apart aircraft and ground defenses. After the wait, their salvation came in the form of an Alliance A-61 Mantis gunship.

"STAY WHERE YOU ARE. YOUR POSITION HAS BEEN MARKED AND A SHUTTLE WILL BE BY SHORTLY TO PICK YOU UP," The pilot barked through an external speaker. Shortly after, it started to gain altitude, most likely to patrol the area to ensure the shuttle's safety. However, it didn't get far as an insectoid creature appeared and blasted its starboard engine off with a cannon on the head attached to a long neck. The pilot managed to turn the ship toward the creature and loosed a volley of rockets straight into its body, though at the same time, one last shot rang from the cannon and smashed the cockpit to pieces. The gunship, now out of control, careened off into a building across the street and the explosion from the impact shook everything around it.

"Things are going to get bad now!" Sev shouted over the chaos as his companion took cover next to him. Growling sounds could be heard from the direction of the downed creature. "There's gonna be Husks coming up those walls. Stay down, I'll cover you."

As Sev pulled out his sidearm, an M-3 Predator, four Husks, deformed humans that were more machine than flesh, scrambled over the side of the wall. Immediately, they began to charge at the two of them. Sev pointed the pistol toward them with one hand, flinching as he tried to bring the other hand up to steady his aim thus tugging at his torn side. He pulled the trigger four times, causing two shots to nail the first Husk in the chest and two shots to miss entirely.

"Oh, give me that!" The girl told him and snatched the gun away from him. Sev tried to protest, but she held the gun in her right hand with her left on the bottom of the grip. Her head cocked slightly as her eyes darted over the top of the gun to her target, the forward most Husk. She squeezed the trigger once, shifted the gun down and to the side, pulled it again, then slid to the other side, and pulled once more. The result was three Husk bodies slumping to the ground, their heads blown clean off. She moved once more to the fourth target, but it was too late. Its arms flailed against hers and the Predator flew and clattered across the ground.

"Not this time, you bastard!" Sev cried out and tackled the Husk away from her, wrestling with it and no doubt compounding his injuries. He finally pinned it down, his left arm pressed across where its collar bones would be. He pulled his right hand back and made a fist, as if to punch the creature in its disfigured face. In that instant, a holographic image appeared around his gauntlet, an Omni-Tool, which generated a two pronged blade that looked like a tuning fork. Sev roared as he brought the blade down in a straight punch motion right to the creature's face. The orange fork slammed through the Husk's head like a hot knife through melting butter and the flailing arms and legs fell limp as the creature's life ended.

"You idiot, I could have handled it!" She told Sev as she pulled him carefully up and laying him down before placing pressure on the profusely bleeding wound of his.

"Couldn't… Let you… Have… All the fun," Sev grunted out. He had lost a lot of blood, it was a wonder he hadn't passed out from the pain yet.

"Save your strength, you'll get through this," She told him. Even as she did she heard a familiar sound. Grunting and grumbling, two Cannibals came climbing over the side of the building. They leveled their cannon arm stumps at her and Sev and were about to open fire, when a rat-a-tat of gunfire came from overhead. Looking up, she saw a Kodiak shuttle descending toward her, its side panel door open and an Alliance trooper showering the Cannibals with shots from an M-8 Avenger assault rifle. The Cannibals staggered backwards and fell back off to where they climbed up from.

"Come on! Let's go!" The trooper called to her as the shuttle approached her level, waving her over intently. She waved her arms and looked toward Sev on the ground. As she did, two more troopers jumped out and moved towards her. They nudged her toward the shuttle as they gathered up the man and hauled him over as well.

She slumped into a seat and sighed a sigh of actual relief for the first time in the last few hours.

It was a quick ride to their destination, only taking five minutes to get to a spot near the harbor. It was a fairly small, hastily thrown together military fortification. The attack had come so suddenly, so that was no surprise. Sev was quickly taken away by medics, while she was ushered off by two armed troopers. Or that's what they tried to do.

"Take me to your superior," She demanded.

"Uh… He's a little busy right now," One of the soldiers told her. "I'm sure someone at the evacuee rally point can-"

"No. Take me to your superior officer," She spoke slowly and glared at him intensely. The two guards looked at each other, taken aback at the sudden demand. Clearly, they hadn't evacuated any civilians that weren't scared to death and glad to submit to their guardians.

"Alright, alright. We'll take you to see him, but it has to be quick," The second guard relented finally. "He's trying to make sense of all this and get a plan of action together."

"We'll see how quick it will be then," She told him.

The two guards nodded to each other and led her through the encampment. She felt the awkward stares of other soldiers as they hurried about their tasks, but she paid it no mind. They came upon a middle-aged man in Alliance dress blues giving out orders over a makeshift comm relay. As the equipment sparked and failed, seemingly not for the first time, she approached him and snapped a perfect military salute.

"Admiral Anderson, sir! Lieutenant Sinon, N5 Sniper Division, reporting in!"

Author Notes: If you have already read this first chapter, I do apologize. It was brought to my attention that this chapter seemed rather unfinished. In fact, it WAS unfinished. It seems that my computer didn't save the original file properly and cut off the end of it. Sorry! Also, kudos to anyone that can figure out who Sinon was dressed as.