Blasto: Dogs of Tartarus

A Mass Effect fanfiction by Andrew Joshua Talon

Disclaimer: This is a non-profit fan based work of prose. The Mass Effect series is the property of Bioware and EA Games. Please support the official release.

Based off of the "The Airlock is Ajar" snippet thread on Space Battles dot com, this is a oneshot I wrote in concert with Damar.

A wayward rocket hit a stationary aircar, causing it to flip over a dozen times, before landing and exploding in a fireball not proportionate to it's size or fuel capacity. A Mantis gunship on fire sailed overhead, hitting another aircar before spinning out of control and crashing into a Zakera Ward storefront, which exploded. A salarian ran around in circles, screaming about holding the line. Overlooking the chaos that engulfed the Citadel was a lonely hanar, armed to the teeth.

"This one wonders if it has awoken in a theoretical third interplanetary conflict."

Across the Presidium, assault troopers in black and orange armor were landing on jetboots, shooting down random bystanders with unnecessary amounts of gunfire, using M-8 Avengers converted to look like the more rare and expensive Mattocks. A few humans were put against a wall and shot, the NCO in charge loudly calling them 'goddamn species traitors' in a rough Cockney accent and kicked their corpses around a bit. One used his omnitool to have a nearby advert to change from promoting asari funeral robes to chanting that humanity was above everything, and death to all non-humans.

"Charybdis, this one should have known. Only they posses the exterior secondary reproductive organs to attack the Citadel in the sun illuminated hours." Blasto remarked as he watched their progress from afar.

A older model Kodiak painted in Charybdis colours landed, and several more of their troops exited, including the apparent leader as he had an expensive glowly visor instead of a faceless helmet. A trooper saluted him with a stretched out arm. "Hail Charybdis! Remove an apendage and it will regenerate twice! Colonel Conradt, what are your orders?"

The colonel stroked his sandy-coloured beard. "Why, to prove humanity's inherent superior genetics and ethics of course. By killing everyone. Starting with those fools from C-Sec trying to stop our inevitable victory!" He pointed at two C-Sec operatives who had taken cover behind a cafe's counter that inmediatly became under fire.

"Oh this is it, man. Game over man, it's game over!" The ginger-bearded human cried out while holding onto his cap as about every glass and bottle around him exploded in fragments. Next to him, a rightside-scarred turian was similairly whimpering. "Oh the Hierachy! The turian skill for combat is so overrated, if only someone could save us from our own inepitude!"

"This one can." The Charybdis troopers turned around and saw an heavily armed hanar standing on the top of a short staircase looking down on them.

"It's Blasto, the Hanar Spectre! Shoot that stupid jellyfish!" Blasto did not move to cover and instead began descending down the steps, even when six troopers opened fire on full automatic, hitting everything but the hanar himself, who calmly raised his heavy pistols, who's brand logos were visibly displayed and returned fire. Each of the troopers was instantly killed by a single shot to the centre, and were thrown back as if they had been hit by biotic attacks, one flailing around while firing his fake Mattock before throwing himself over a railing.

"This one appreciates the manufacturers of these weapons and ponders why not more are purchased while readily available in every firearm store here on the Citadel."

The cool-sounding pop of a spent thermal clip sounded behind Blasto, and turned to find himself a Charybdis soldier who snuck up behind him, holding a sidearm to Blasto's main nerve cluster. "Any last prayers for the Enkindlers, jellyfish?"

"Yes. This one prays the red dot on your head is not a statement of fashion."

"Wha-" There was a the sound of a shot, and the Charybdis goon's head slumped back while a small geyser of blood erupted from his helmet, before his entire body fell back and through a glass table that fractured into a thousand shards.

"That was close, Blasto. Not as close as you and me have been together of course."

Swaying with her hips and carrying a still-steaming M-98 Widow rifle over her shoulder, fellow Council Spectre Shepard approached Blasto. She wore customized N7 armor, as in most of the bulky armor had been removed to allow for curvier lines and edges, and her midriff and arms were exposed completly.

"This one still doubts the protective value of your armor, Shepard, but appreciates the aethestic appeal."

"Always the smooth talker, but we have bigger issues at hand. Charybdis is overruning the entire Citadel, and they being led by Colonel Conradt, a N7 commando who went rogue after they caught him dealing red sand. He's one mean sick son of a bitch."

"This one isn't interested in that one's military record or parentage, this one merely seeks to apply physical force to his lower behind."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Help civillian bystanders to safety while this one educates Charybdis on why it does not attempt sexual reproduction with Spectres."

Blasto took on a pose that his former partner would have called 'Badassfully' and remained so, until a dark-haired human in Alliance armor walked over with a strange constipated look and said "Thank you…Blasto…we are saved?"

"Very angry, CUT!" The elcor director roared. "This is the fourth take you've ruined Mr. Alenko. Sarcastically, are you intentionally trying to destroy this movie?"

Kaidan looked up to the director with sad eyes "I'm sorry, it's just, acting is really hard…"

"Sarcastically, no doubt. Mildly angry, and you Mr. Massani, stop kicking the extras when they're down!"

"Old habits die I suppose. While in a war zone, you make goddamn sure the bastard you put down stays down, no breathing being can fake being a corpse while he's getting kicked in the chest."

"Mildly angry, this is not a war zone, this is a movie set. Regretfully, I moved away from sixteen-hour theatre for this?"

"Could we wrap this up? Playing a redshirt is fun and all, but I'm getting sugarglass in my ears."

"At least you don't have to dress up as a military themed stripper, Joker. I mean, I know it's just a two minute cameo with me playing Blasto's sidekick, but what's the point of this armor if they can just gut shot me?"

"Cynical, Marketing came up with it, believing the design would appeal to larger audiences."

At least that was what the volus studio bosses told him. They also told him not to mention to Shepard that they planned to shoot a five minute shower scène, involving a different actress named Christina, but with the same pale skin and distinctive red hair as the Spectre, only with larger 'assets' as the volus told the director in between some very heavy breathing. Legal suits would be avoided by never referring to the actress as 'Shepard' and claim this is just a random pale redhaired woman taking a very long shower. Just like how Charybdis was ony vaguely implied to be the real-life organisation Cerberus.

The elcor had agreed to the scène, but planned to take a vacation immediately after the premiere and shoot nature documentaries somewhere nice and quiet.

Like Tuchanka.

"Tense but Professional, Blasto and Shepard, you will crash through the holo display with guns blazing. Lost in fantasy, the asari council woman will wish to thank you both."

"And then proceed from there?" Shepard asked over the radio.

"This one is satisfied with the script, this one insists this one's water be at a higher temperature to avoid shrinking this one's vocal emitters," Blasto said.

"Relieved, yes Shepard. Slightly annoyed, yes Blasto," the director said. "Tense but anticipatory, quiet on the set."

The camera crew maneuvered the camera drones into position, as Shepard and Blasto finished securing themselves to the descent lines and a bottle of water respectively.

"Tense with anticipation, action!" The director called. Shepard and Blasto swung off the hover platform, right through the window of the office. The glass shattered, sending shards every which way for dramatic effect. The Charybdis goons within turned and gasped.

"IT'S BLASTO!" Shouted the asari councilor, in a grateful tone. Shepard could swear she'd seen her before but wasn't quite sure where.

Something involving Jacob's Shadow Broker file maybe...?

"And his sexy sidekick, Spectre Shepard!" Cried a Charybdis agent.

"This one believes you are tardy for a scheduled appointment with my pseudopod going right up your posterior waste vent," Blasto said.

"Get down!" Shepard shouted at the asari. It was ad-libbed, but it was a natural thing to say as they all opened fire.

It wasn't exactly necessary though. The Charybdis thugs returned fire valiantly, and all missed wildly as they tried to get to their marks as blood packs exploded from their armor.

The asari councilor got up and rushed over to Blasto with a grateful smile. "Oh, thank you Blasto! Is there any way I could... Repay you?" She ran a finger over Blasto's... Nose, Shepard guessed. The hanar shook his head.

"This one is a solitary being, councilor. However, this one feels Shepard would be more appreciative of your gratitude."

"Hey wait a min-MMPH!" Shepard fell back as the asari pounced, her lips melded to hers. "MMNGH HMMPH!" She dropped her gun and waved her arms frantically.

"Annoyed, cut!" The elcor director rumbled. "In disbelief, Shepard, have you never made out with an asari before?"

"Bwah!" Shepard managed to disengage her lips from the very eager asari, who didn't look at all disturbed. "How was I supposed to know that was going to happen?!"

"Strained patience, it adds to the realism if you are unaware. Exasperated, why must I work with such amateurs?"

"Oh, don't worry Director," the asari said with a lascivious smile. "I'm sure Commander Shepard and I can get it right. I've got some vids that might help her appreciate my... Talents," she said as she raised her brows.

"What are you-"

"Oh my God, Runia Yee'Ha?!" Gasped Joker. He staggered over, a datapad and a stylus in his hands. "Huge fan, seen all your vids, can I have your autograph?"

"Well, sure!" Runia said happily.

Shepard turned her eyes to Joker, a dangerous glint in her eyes.

"Joker, what sort of vids?"

"Ah... Er... Well..." Joker began, withering under the Commander's glare.

"Why, the Busty Blues series of course!" Runia said with a smile. "This is a really big break for me, I've gotta say! And a dream come true!" She licked her lips and looked Shepard up and down. "In more ways than one."

Shepard groaned.

After first preforming recon to make sure Runia wasn't on the set, the asari actress was becoming disturbingly dedicated to her role to the point of ruining the experimental appeal of making out with an professional, Shepard walked over to her second-in-command who was overlooking the set decorators putting the last finishes to scorch marks and bullet holes to the background.

"Garrus, the director wants you to play a C-Sec cop..."

"A true victory over type-casting!" The scarred turian called out, and Shepard had to chuckle.

"And he wants you to get shot in the next scene, mention you only had three days left before retirement, and die in Blasto's arms as you ask him to-"

"No." The turian said with no mistake in how much of a fact that was.

"Garrus, I know it's one hell of a cliché but-"

"No. And I mean it Shepard. I'm not getting any closer to that hanar than I have to." And with that said, he sat down on the walkbridge that in the upcoming scene will be where Shepard, Blasto and Garrus are supposed to be retreating from four Charybdis troopsers, right after they already killed fifty of them and destroyed three Ares mechs in the previous scene. They would be firing at the actors with the usual level of markmanship until Garrus is shot and Blasto makes use of some very unsafe construction work and blows the whole thing up, The writer, a salarian who definitely was on something other than creative inspiration, just screamed at Shepard when asked why while he wiped away the imaginery rachni off his suit.

Shepard sat down next to him, and smiled when Garrus however subtly, tried to peek a look at the latest redesign of her suit, removing most of the chest armor and prominently showing off her cleavage and throat. "You know Garrus, at this rate the only thing I'll be wearing at the movie's ending will be bodypaint."

"An artistic commitment that many many fans will be grateful for at the premiere."

"Including you?"

"Hell, I'm going to bootleg it."

Shepard chuckled, while sneaking closer to the appreciative turian "But seriously, why you dislike Blasto?"

"It all happened way before we ever met, just a few years in C-Sec and already having gained a reputation as something of a wildcard, when Executor Pallin called me over to his office and-"

"-With all due respect, sir, are you fucking with me?" Garrus said, as he stood in the executor's office that overlooked the Presidium.

"Watch that tone, Vakarian. And I'm dead serious. A hanar actor from Kahje will arrive shortly, and I expect you to guide him around and advise on how C-Sec operates to prepare for his role in a upcoming film which he will write and direct too, featuring the first hanar security officer on the Citadel."

Pallin considered this to be a major PR boost for C-Sec, and the diplomats thought it also a move for accepting other species, because if people can believe a hanar being a cop, than it could lead to the new human recruits being more accepted by the public. Many wards still have trouble adapting to human C-Sec officers, some residents having spent their entire lives without even knowing humans existed, and now one was ordering them to move their car or giving them a fine for littering. The asari had the least difficulty adapting to humans, with especially the females resembling their own species so much, which in turn lead to resentment from other races with one salarian reporter going as far as saying 'The humans are stealing our blue-skinned women!'.

In short, they could use any PR they could, and if Officer Vakarian didn't like it, that was his problem. "You'll fulfill the assignment or be forced to find a new job on Omega. Dismissed!"

Garrus's mandibles clicked for a moment, before saluting and making a sharp heel turn for the door. He planned to make Pallin regret this, one way or another.

The next day, the sight of infamous loose cannon Garrus was enough to make storekeepers and fruitstand sellers nervous. But the sight of an hanar, decked in C-Sec tactical gear and holding an arsenal of weapons in each of his tentacles, was even more unsettling.

"This one is honored by the trust the C-Sec officer has placed in him, but this one cannot help but wonder, would holding a weapon in every single appendage not interfere with accuracy?"

"Oh no, it improves it actually, as this many guns fired at once means by the laws of chance the thing you want to hit gets hit."

"...This one can observe the logic, but is still not sure if it can vocalize the language you recommended to use along with the shooting."

"Look, it's not about how you say it, it's about the intent you want to make clear. Like, for example 'Gimme the perp's hideout or I'll scoop out your eyes and skullfuck you with my piece!'. Now you try it."

"...Release the information on the suspected individual's residence or this one will remove your ocular organs and preform sexual reproduction on your cranium with this large firearm."

"Good. Now listen because it's important, you can't be a regular C-Sec beat cop. No, someone of standing and respect in the law enforcement community would be a Spectre."

"Forgive this one for questioning, but are Spectres not appointed by the Council and deployed for covert missions outside legal boundaries?"

"That's just a small part of their duties, and you make them sound like a bunch of black ops douchebags who don't have to justify their illegate actions to anyone. No, their real main task is to preserve the peace on the Citadel, and are widely respected as your character should be."

The hanar stopped in his tracks. "This one cannot thank you enough for the information. There is so much that this one did not expect, and may help to create a movie completely altered from original script. This one is even thinking about having the writers changing the title to this one's false face name to reflect the importance of this one's character to the people of the Citadel."

"I'm glad I'm able to help. What was your character's name again?"

"This cannot reveal it's fake soul name, but the intended face name this one will use is Balloon."

"Balloon? No, I'm sorry, but in these parts that name makes you sound like a violent psychopath. How about something more dignified and respected, like Snake Mankill or Crush Breaklots, or what about Blasto the Jellyfish?"

"...This one is interested, but thought 'jellyfish' was a word other species use in a derogatory manner to refer to hanar?"

"Only in a sarcastic way, like saying an ineffective leader is a great one. But you, you can reclaim Jellyfish as a title of honour in name of all hanar everywhere and give the name respect again!"

"This...this one is not worthy to bask in the wealth of the wisdom that is Garrus Vakarian! Not worthy!"

Shepard had a look of dumbfounded shock as Garrus finished his story.

"So it was you who created Blasto? I'll be damned, you sneaky sonuvabitch. But I still don't see how it led you to hating him."

"Never received a single damned credit from the royalties, and he ended up forgetting my name and gave the screen credit for story advisor to Saren fucking Arterius because it was the only turian name that 'this one' could be bothered to recall. I personally think he eventually found out that 'jellyfish' was really a slang insult, so what he called himself in the movie was would be the same as for example people calling Jacob the Ni-"

"Stop right there! How the hell do you even know that word?"

"Joker told me. Apparently calling a biotic a 'Ni' is a very grave insult among your species."

"This one is unsure if the amount of explosives is appropriate given the scene," Blasto said to the director. The elcor seemed almost fidgety, though Shepard could have just been imagining things.

"Patience strained, the explosives are adequate and we're already over budget for them."

"This one does not want to disappoint the fanbase. This one thinks that perhaps your sexual organs are inadequately sized for the undertaking."

"Angry resignation, fine. You will have your explosives."

"This one thanks you."

Blasto strode over to Shepard. "This one apologizes. This one feels that realism is preferable to computer generated effects."

"Well yeah, but even I don't mess with explosives. Are you sure this is wise?" Shepard asked.

"This one has been doing this a long time. This one is confident. Besides, this one feels that Shepard is more than up to the task."

"Well, yeah," Shepard said wryly. "This time I'm getting paid to be blown up."

"Uh, Commander, we do get paid to get blown up," Joker pointed out.

"No, we get paid for our service, getting blown up isn't in the contract," Shepard said, resting a hand on her hip. Joker nodded.

"Fair enough, boss lady..."

"Filled with terror, action!"

Shepard and Blasto burst into the room, guns out as they scanned the Council chambers. There was Garrus, dressed as a turian C-Sec officer, tied to a chair in the middle of it. Shepard rushed up and tore off the tape over his mouth.

"Ah! Ow," the turian grumbled. "Didn't have to do it so hard..."

"I thought you liked it hard," Shepard teased.

"This one, while enjoying your banter, wishes to know where Colonel Conradt is," said Blasto. "Does this one have to get pre-industrial revolution on your posterior?"

"No, no, I swear. I don't know where he is. He just left me this," Garrus said almost boredly, pointing his face at the package in his lap. Shepard took it up and opened the package. She blinked.

"Playing cards?" She said aloud.

"This one requests them," Blasto said. He took them in a biotic grip and shuffled through them.

"Ten... Nine... Eight... Seven..." Blasto read. "Six... Five... Four... Three... Two..."

"Wait Blasto! Don't-!" Shepard tried.

"One," Garrus deadpanned.

The entire building began to rock.

"This one feels we should strike feet," Blasto said. He took the turian over his back and ran for the window, as did Shepard. They smashed through, falling for the street far below as explosions followed them down, erupting from the building's windows. At about thirty meters up, they hit their mass effect belts and descended like feathers.

Unfortunately the turian fell and smacked into the pavement with a groan. The two stars landed as the building continued to explode behind them.

"This one feels the excrement has just become fully realized," Blasto said.

"Tell me about it," Shepard said. She looked back. "Uh, Blasto? We should run."

"This one does not think that's in the scri-"

"RUN!" Shepard shouted, grabbing the hanar and Garrus and sprinting for cover as the entire building collapsed into a heap of rubble behind them.

The elcor scrutinized this event.

"... Surprisingly satisfied, cut."

Some time later, Shepard, Blasto and Garrus were resting by a fountain as C-Sec officers surrounded the area. Fortunately the neighborhood in question had been abandoned due to damage from Sovereign's attack, but if you brought down a skyscraper in the Citadel it was something C-Sec was interested in.

"Maybe I should just go by 'luggage' in the credits," Garrus said dryly. He looked up at Blasto. "And you can go by 'Guy who doesn't get how powerful two hundred tons of explosives are.'"

"This one is not sorry. This one was taught to never settle for anything less than the best," Blasto said. "Do you not agree, Officer Takarian?"

Garrus stared at him. "... You actually remember me?"

"Of course this one does. This one would never have gotten where this one is now without you."

"You have a funny way of showing it, considering I never got called about the rights to the story," Garrus said flatly.

"This one is sorry. This one did not know. This one's agent handled all the arrangements." Blasto handed Garrus a card as an air limo drove up. The hatch opened and the hanar crawled into it, soon caressed by two women. "This one believes we should do lunch. Ciao." The air limo flew off.

Garrus stared after him, as did Shepard. Shepard stared at her turian comrade and raised her eyebrow.

"You said you asked him about it," Shepard stated. "That you confronted him."

"... Yes, well, a few knocks to the head does things to your memory. For instance, I forgot what you look like naked."

Shepard laughed and shook her head. "Well, I could always... Remind you."

"Much appreciated..."

Hope you enjoyed this additional Mass Effect fanfiction of mine.