In this here chapter, we finally get to see just what the flying pancake Saren has gotten from Sovereign. Remember how Nazara is actually a defector god that the Master now wants Roku to kick in the balls? Yeah, that will kinda explain just how Saren can break reality like with the biotic geth, as well as what he pulls off in this chapter.
Virmire, Hoc system
Saren's base of operations, underground.
Saren's attention was pulled from the surveillance feeds to the geth platform standing next to him. He turned, an annoyed and saddened expression on his mostly synthetic face as he regarded the platform. Such a primitive, yet useful piece of equipment. It was almost… alive. But no, it wasn't. It was an expendable piece of hardware, a piece of the massive puzzle he had spent years putting together. Anderson had been the first move from the shadows, denying the Council a Spectre he himself knew would be a good addition. Even Desolas would have agreed on it. But no, it had been the wrong time. If Anderson had become a Spectre, he would have found out what Saren was planning to do. Humans, being so stubborn, would have tried stopping him, unable to see the bigger picture. Sad, that he had to flee the very civilization he wanted to save in order to fulfill his work.
"What is it?"
"Hostile units have entered complex designated One-Five-One-Six. Estimated time between our positions: two minutes. Addendum, two additional shield-generators have been rendered nonfunctional. Orders?" The platform said. It had what could almost be mistaken for a tone of doubt to its voice. No. Saren shook his head again. Geth weren't alive, they were just machines, useful but cold and calculating.
"Be ready to…" He started, feeling the impulses and suggestions Sovereign sent him. He had to defend this place, to make sure the production of needed troops was protected. But… there was another thing too. He was trying to save lives, even the ones belonging to the humans about to storm his retreat; "How many?"
"Estimated number calculated from shared unit data. Enemy forces split into several small units, estimated amount… five hundred in total. Melee forces have engaged most, however one group is close to entering this area." No more emotion in the geth. It had just been his imagination then.
"I know what that group is… send the other platforms and forces to engage and hold the remaining forces in the base. Leave the incoming group to me." He said with the same cold and demanding voice useful when commanding legions of synthetics. His glance went to the display next to the surveillance-feeds, this one showing a freshly bred Krogan being merged with one of the imprisoned Blue Suns Turians he had taken on Daratar. The process was… unpleasant, but the result was needed. The Brute, was needed, to accomplish Sovereigns, no his goals.
"Prophet? We estimate a numerical disadvantage will place you in danger." The platform stated, its head-pedals flapping slightly. Saren sneered, grabbing a hold of its head before turning it into a warped shell of broken metal. He turned to another platform.
"Carry out my orders." He commanded. The geth nodded, then turned without a word. The remaining forces in the room filed out the doors, heading to hold up the rest of the Alliance forces.
Alone, at last, Saren turned from his desk to face the only Asari on the planet, a young neurological doctor, Rana Thanoptis. She was… remarkably brave throughout the entire ordeal, something he would not have expected from an Asari. Of course, he had known Benezia, he knew Asari could be staunch and sturdy. They could be relied upon to aid his vision and goal.
"Miss Thanoptis. It is time for you to leave as well. Take the western tunnel. You will no doubt meet Alliance personnel. Claim to have been my hostage… there is no need for you to be dragged down as well." He said, his tone sad as he ordered the girl to leave.
"But… no, I can't leave now, what about-" She stammered. Saren cut her off;
"I said LEAVE! If the Alliance finds out you have been working with me, you will be killed. Go, live and try to remember what we worked for." He growled, then spoke more softly as he placed his synthetic hand on her shoulder. Once, she had been afraid of him, before she had begun to understand. It was wondrous, that she had come completely by her own will. A more true aid, he hadn't had since Benezia died.
"I… yes sir." She muttered, turning to leave; "…Good luck Saren." She said, then ran for the exit.
Saren sighed, finally able to focus only on the door he knew the Alliance forces would be coming through. He knew what squad it was too. Shepard, the Quarian it had all started with, was leading it. However, the thing that boggled Saren was that Sovereign didn't understand, or didn't feel the need to tell him, why there was a woman by the same name in the group. She was important, he knew that much, but he didn't know who she was.
"So… this is it…" He muttered to himself, taking a breath, trying to calm the nerves. What nerves he still had left, that was. He admitted it, Sovereign's improvements over the years had done much to give him an edge. Yet, when he had seen the feed from Valhalla and just outside the base, he wondered… was there something Sovereign wasn't telling him? A human, but with the same control over fire as he had?
"You must leave this place. It is no longer important." He could feel his guide, trying to make him see reason. The problem just was, he knew already that his current doing was anything but reason. What would he gain by engaging the humans now? Surely, it was more logical to simply leave and destroy all evidence? But then, what about the research? The breeding chambers?
"Leave this place Saren. We will cleanse it and leave none alive to tell. The Cycle can only be stopped by your success."
"I know… I know, but if I can make them see reason, we won't need to attack anyone. Enough lives have been wasted already, and for what? We could have… I don't know, done something differently." He bit back. Immediately, there was the flare of pain he felt when retorting and disobeying the advice of Sovereign.
"You WILL leave this planet, or we will find another way. Another to guide." Sovereign's rumbling voice echoed through his mind. Saren nodded, seeing that the god was right.
"Yes, yes I will. But first, I need to at least see if I can't reason with them. If that fails, then they die. Is that acceptable?" He asked, hoping that it was. He wanted to please Sovereign, but at the same time he was tired of all the death he had caused.
"Acceptable." Was the only answer he received. He huffed a breath, leaning back on the desk while finding his footing. He closed his eyes. Now, he only had to wait.
Not that he had to wait long, as the doors, not having been locked, hissed open to the sound of armored boots running inside, rifles and weapons being readied and aimed. Opening his eyes again, Saren faced the humans.
"Freeze you insane fucker!"
Virmire, Hoc system
Saren's base of operations, underground.
"Freeze you insane fucker!" Jane shouted, aiming her rifle straight ahead, at the target she had been dogging for what felt like an entire lifetime.
And he was right there. Standing at a desk with not a care in the world, calm and free from expressions. He didn't even look surprised at their entering. He was just looking at them, as if expecting them to speak. Was he about to surrender?
Nope, not a chance in hell he was. Not after the hell they had been dragged through. Not after Jane had been forced to fight her way across the sands of Virmire for the second time. She didn't have to look to know that, since Saren was the only tango in the room, every gun and grenade was trained on him, ready to unleash the second he even pointed at them funny. What caused Jane to hold her fire, was that One, there wasn't a single geth or husk in the room, and two, the fact that Saren was doing nothing but looking at them, waiting. It wasn't a hologram, was it?
"Do we shoot him?" Vega asked, still slightly winded from having hauled ass through the base to catch up.
Jane hesitated. Odd, seeing how she had been dreaming of putting a Carnifex to his chin and pulling the trigger. There was something… off, about the situation. She held up her fist, signaling that they hold their fire.
"You killed Kirrahe?" If there was something she hadn't been expecting Saren to say, it had to be that. It took her a moment to realize that yes, he had indeed asked that question. Not lowering her gun the slightest, she moved a few steps closer.
"Self-defense. Why?" She demanded, ready to fill his Turian face with tungsten. Saren finally moved, though not like she had expected. He closed his eyes, muttering something she couldn't hear, then looked back at her, those eerie cold eyes somehow holding… sadness?
"I see… he was a good man, a good… companion. I'm sorry to hear-"
"Saren!" A new, Turian voice broke in. From the crowd of armored forms, the other Turian Spectre emerged, his shotgun pointed even harder at Saren, as if the gesture itself could harm the terrorist.
"…Nihlus" Saren said, stating rather than asking, as if he had known the Turian would be there. Of course he had. He probably knew everything that had transpired on the planet by looking with his geth or something. Jane didn't care. She was more interested in being the one to put down Saren, denying Nihlus the honor. God dammit, she had been through hell twice to get at the fucker. Some should-be dead Spectre wasn't going to steal her chance. Besides, she wanted to hear Saren explaining everything before she turned his head into a blue mist. She looked at Nihlus as the Spectre marched all the way up to Saren, pressing the muzzle of his shotgun to the metallic Turian's forehead.
"Do you remember this, huh? Holding a gun to the head of someone who trusted you? Tell me, right now why I shouldn't pull the trigger." If Jane thought she had seen Nihlus Kryik mad before, this would have to put all those times in a "slightly angered" category. Nihlus looked like he could spew flames with each word.
Saren looked at Nihlus for a moment, then looked away.
"I can't…" He said, loud enough that just Jane, John and Nihlus could hear it. Nihlus didn't blink, keeping the gun pressed at the forehead of his mentor.
"What?" There was no emotion in his voice. Only his eyes told of the storm of emotions raging in his soul. Anger, disbelief, sadness, betrayal, rage. Jane could see and recognize it all.
"What I have done… through all this time, is… difficult to explain, impossible to defend. I am trying to save lives, more lives than have ever lived." He said, his voice low and hesitant, as if the mere presence of Nihlus was more intimidating than having a shotgun pressed against his forehead.
"Save lives? You dare… you dare make a mockery of the thousands of dead left in your wake? An entire colony on Eden Prime, almost the entirety of Zhu's Hope, Valhalla!" Nihlus's voice was bereft of anything but rage; "You betrayed the Council, the entire galaxy! You… you betrayed be, and you have the gall to just…"
"Kryik." John said, coming up from the side with his own shotgun at the ready. It was clear that Nihlus wasn't intended to be allowed to just pull the trigger. If anything, that would be Jane's job.
"Look me in the eye, and tell me how you could pull a gun on me back then. Come on, use your noble justice to defend that one!" The white-marked Turian shouted, pressing the barrel hard enough into Saren's forehead that he bodily forced Saren back a step. Not that the latter flinched though, instead just keeping his calm, sad eyes on Nihlus.
"I didn't have a choice. I needed the beacon, and you weren't about to leave me to it… I didn't want to do it."
"S'kak! That's a pile of shit." Nihlus growled.
"No, it isn't. Nihlus, I have been given a mission to save the galaxy. The Reapers will arrive and if I don't succeed, all organic life will be snuffed out." Saren argued, his voice almost pleading despite the lack of expression his face showed.
"By who, if I might ask?" John demanded, now standing next to Saren as the rest of the marines formed a circle around them, rifles trained on the Turian consisting of the most metal. Saren didn't even seem to acknowledge that he was surrounded and captured. For some reason, thát gave Jane a spine-chilling feeling down her back.
"Sovereign, of course. He has tasked me with proving that mortal life is worth preserving, thus my mission to save all life by accepting the inevitable." He said, for once letting some emotion, pride, seep into his voice. Nihlus looked taken aback, though not enough to lower the shotgun from its position on Saren's forehead.
"Which is?" Jane asked, aiming, not at Saren's head, but rather at his heart. A chicken could keep running without its head, but shoot its heart out, it went dead right away.
"That the Reapers will arrive regardless of our actions, but that when they do, they will spare our lives if I help them arri-" He was cut off when Nihlus sent his curled up fist into Saren's abdomen, knocking the air from the still-organic lungs of the Turian.
"ARE YOU INSANE!" Nihlus screamed, swing the fist back into Saren's lower body, knocking the Turian back against the desk.
"No… well, maybe. I don't know… but I do know that if I succeed, we will all be safe. Organic life will go on and the cycle will end." He panted, still bending over.
"Cycle? What cycle?" Riley asked as she joined the group. Saren looked up at her with more curiosity than malice, blinking.
"The Reapers have come every fifty thousand years, each time demanding that the galaxy accept their rule and truth. Each time though… the galaxy refused. A purge was needed, to give space for a new and better galaxy to flourish. I want this one to be the last they demand of. I want us all to survive." Saren said, straightening up, not even looking like he was angered at the punches.
"Oh so thát was what Eden Prime was all about? Of course, why didn't we realize it? Silly, silly humans." Jane remarked with a voice so dripping with sarcasm even Wrex looked from Saren to her. Just for a short time though, as he was now closer than ever to gaining his price: Saren's skull as a paperweight. Jane looked back at Saren, smiling.
It was a smile that sent shivering chills down the backs of every person who saw it, all except for the Turian it was turned at.
"I know, we really are silly at times. You know, I almost thought three thousand innocent civilians had died on Eden Prime, not to mention Valhalla, all the marines dead in the battles and of course the crew I have lost. Silly, silly, silly me." She drew out the words like she was extracting poison from a snake. Then, the smile vanished and she put a hand to her helmet.
"Admiral Petrovsky? Captain Jane Shepard reporting, we have target Saren Arterius prisoner. Please advice." She said, not bothering with keeping her voice down as the words caused a chorus of low chuckles and cheers to rise from the men.
"Say again Captain, it sounded like you said you had Arterius?" The admiral's voice came back, a little shaken from the distortion coming from the frail connection. They really were going to improve on these things, Jane thought.
"Affirmative. Arterius is unarmed and in our custody. Orders?" Jane asked.
"Take him to the surface. We'll prep a prisoner-escort and haul him to the Citadel for trail. He's a Spectre, they should be the ones to pass judgment." The admiral said. Jane nodded, ending the transmission just in time to meet Saren's cold, sad synthetic eyes.
"You take much for granted, Captain Shepard, if you believe I have the time to return to the Citadel now. I yet have plans to finish for my work to be done. I will let you leave this planet, with no further death stalking you down the hallways. Leave the planet and leave the system, and you too will gain in the end." He said, sounding both pleading but at the same time… disturbingly sure of himself, as if he could leave whenever he wanted. Jane didn't waste a second, slamming the butt of her rifle into his face.
Only to have it melt away in a haze of azure and purple fire, the electronic components sputtering as they were turned into slag. Her eyes widened at the display, hands going for her shotgun at the same time as everyone else who had seen it jumped back. Nihlus, most of all, seemed like he had been hit with a brick.
"What the hell?!" She shouted, pulling the shotgun from her waist and to her hands, taking a straight aim at Saren's head. She didn't get past the first shot, having only sent away the pellets, before the floor itself buckled beneath her, a narrow column of metal shooting from the floor like it had been ripped as it threw her into the opposite wall.
"Open fire! Open fire!" Riley shouted, her shotgun letting loose with one slug after the other, all focused on the metallic Turian who regarded her with a sad face before punching at her, a ball of fire erupting from his fucking hand before it impacted and exploded on her chest, sending her through a crate and across the floor.
Saren didn't even seem to notice it beyond a sad, annoyed expression on his face when Clarke and Kaidan in unison threw warp and throw after throw at him, shockwaves and singularities impacting and dissipating on his form, as if he simply was immune to gravity.
"You are uninterested in listening, in aiding me by simply standing down… I am sorry, but you leave me no choice."Saren's voice was wrong. It reminded Kaidan, as he watched a warp just… vanish on the Turian, of what Thomas's spirit sounded like when angry. Only… so, so much colder. Much more wrathful, and much, much darker. Despite the sadness in the words, there was killing intent in the voice, and nothing else.
"Die. You. Monster!" Vega shouted as he belched fire from his Revenant, pressing Kaidan aside to get some room. The machinegun, usually meant for suppressing masses of enemy soldiers, focused on the single target in front of it as it let a storm of tungsten fly forth.
"Monster? My dear soldier, the monster is not me. I am the savior of the galaxy, and I will drag it into ascension whether it wants to or not."Saren replied, ignoring the stream of slugs, burning away in front of his head as he made a sweeping motion over the floor. Not a second later, a large peel of the metal came clean off, slamming into the Staff Sergeant before crumbling like tinfoil around him. With a new motion, the metallic prison was then sent straight through a steel container, ripping the side open as Vega was sent straight through. For reasons it would take him a while to figure out, he was somewhat unscathed by the impact.
Saren then turned his attention to the marines, all firing at him with vigor, trying to take down the helper of a God. He scoffed, not even acknowledging that they were hitting. Instead, he tore through the air and the ground followed his command, the command of Sovereign's boon. Whole sections of the floor folded up, crushing or throwing the marines against the walls and debris of the room. Of the thirty marines who were subjected to his powers, only a few had the life force to moan in pain and agony afterwards. Not that it mattered much, as spikes rose from the floor, twisted metal impaling multiple of them within moments, sharp cries of pain signaling their deaths.
Wrex roared, the minigun in his hands already spinning up as Vega was sent flying. With a mechanical roar, the gun accompanied its master in a song of destruction, spitting out thousands of slugs per minute as it opted to simply try and replace every cell in Saren's body with lead. With the storm of metal hitting his unnatural barrier, Saren actually winced, if only a little as he turned his attention to the old Krogan.
"How does it feel, Battlemaster, to be fought with the very gifts your people once unleashed upon the galaxy?"The sad face was gone, replaced with a smirk as he sent a shockwave through the ground, throwing Wrex off his feet for a moment, causing the gun to spray the ceiling instead of Saren. The old battlemaster growled, stomping his feet into the ground hard enough to cause the floor itself to grip into his feet, holding him in place. He brought the gun back down, the barrels glowing red-hot as he belched out fire.
"I don't care how you do it, I'll have your skull as a trophy Saren!" Wrex bellowed over the sound of the gun. As the heat sinks reached their limit, the gun beeped and signaled a need to cool down. Discarding the massive weapon on the floor, Wrex instead ripped his feet from the floor before he hurled himself through the air in a biotic haze, appearing before Saren in the same moment he started the blue-shifting.
Instead of being hurled backwards, Saren slammed both hands into Wrex, effectively halting the massive Krogan in his tracks. Wrex just blinked, then brought both fists crashing inwards for a haymaker, intent on flattening Saren's head, even if it would ruin the skull-prize. Biotic energy flared and Saren's own hands went up, swatting away Wrex's massive fists as if they were little more than air. The next movement, a kick that flared with biotic energy, saw Wrex hurled through the air. Saren didn't stop there, following it up with tearing a spike of wrought steel from the floor, which he then hurled at the old Krogan.
"Rrrraaaaaaa!" Wrex bellowed in rage and pain as the pike impaled his abdomen, ripping straight through armor and skin before nailing him to the wall. Orange blood ran from the wound, as well as fluids showing evidence of ruptured organs.
"Wrex!" John shouted, letting his rifle rip in unison with Ashley's against Saren. This was going badly, to say the least. How the hell one single Turian could do this, the Quarian had no idea. The fact that he reminded him so much of whenever Roku took over Thomas's body, just brought the fear to a new level. Saren seemed to harness whatever kind of fire it was that he used, but he could also use the floor against them as well! You couldn't go into cover because he could fold it over you, crushing you like he had a marine who's only visible limbs were his feet, the rest of him mangled to a bloody pulp beneath the desk.
"We can't get through!" Ashley shouted, firing her rifle in bursts to avoid it overheating. Saren was ripping through whatever they threw at him, and even Wrex had just been sent to the wall, nailed like a fly on a needle. Not to say he was dead though, which just gave the Chief that much more respect for Krogan hardiness.
"I don't get it, what the hell is he?" One of the few remaining marines shouted, firing his avenger on full-auto against Saren, hoping to get through where shotguns and biotics had failed. Of course, with normal barriers that would have been a fine strategy, whittling down the enemy's barriers. But with Saren, that just wasn't working.
"Keep shooting!" Ashley shouted back, silently wondering just how much ammo she had dispensed already. Saren was soaking up far too much ammunition. If one tried getting close up, he would burn you, and if you stayed away, he could throw the floor at you. What would be next, that he could shoot lasers from his mouth?
Tequila wasn't fairing much better, her pulse rifle wasting away ammunition faster than she could count. She had already changed the mag once, the firing having stopped in just a few seconds. Despite the former evidence to the contrary, her bullets couldn't bite through the shields on the enemy in front of her.
"Just fucking die already!" She growled, keeping the finger squeezed down on the trigger. The tell-tale sound of the rifle producing kinetic death was the only sound reaching her ears. Seeing how the bullets didn't bite, she changed the firing-type, pulling back the lower barrel on the rifle before pulling the trigger again. One, then two grenades sailed through the air, slamming into Saren before engulfing most of his frame in flame and smoke.
Instead of dying through, he simply turned to look at her, ice cold synthetic eyes staring into her soul, through her soul, like it was a monster from hell itself. Considering the presence of gods in this place, she didn't even deem that part all thát unlikely. With fast-paced steps, Saren crossed the distance between them, even as she kept up firing at him, back-tracking until she hit the wall and her rifle clicked empty. She looked from the counter to Saren, and only managed to brace herself halfway when Saren's metal hand shot up, grabbing her throat and lifting her up.
"So… it would seem fragments of the gift have reached humans as well?" He asked, causing her blood to freeze with the coldness in his voice. Tequila didn't understand. What gift? Why fragments, humans as well? Who had it reached other than her? Or, well other than Thomas that was. She knew he had what could be called a gift, but she had never seen him rip the floor open.
"Surprised? Oh, but of course. You humans have forgotten about your ancestry, your legacy. The Krogans seem to have shared theirs though." He continued, tightening the grip. She started, weapon dropped to the ground, to kick and claw at him, wanting to escape the death-sentence this position was.
Oddly enough, that was just what she did, when her desperate fingers came down on Saren's arm. As she clawed for him, she ripped through the metal in his synthetic arm, ripping open wires and plating that was meant to survive heavy caliber bullets. Both of them stared at the damaged in surprise. Tequila, because she still had no idea what she had done or how. Saren, because Sovereign himself had granted him the arm, making sure that no amount of firing could harm it. So how was it that Tequila had ruined it with a single strike of her fingers?
As the wires sputtered, he threw her away, whirling up a concentrated storm of purple fire around him that ate through all near it. And the flames instantly ate the volley of rounds sent in by the Captain, back on her feet after the meeting with the wall.
Jane's eyes were burning with rage as she surveyed the damage, how many had met their ends from the spikes impaling them or the fire that had eaten through their bodies. Wrex was still hanging from the wall, yanking at the steel pike without visible signs of being in an amount of trauma that being impaled would normally bring. With a scream of fury, she hurled herself through the air, intent on pummeling Saren to a pulp.
Stopping just short of the purple inferno, she slammed her fist into the ground, calling up a detonation of her own, flash-generated warp bobble. The gravimetric energy didn't harm Saren from what she could see, but it washed away the fires surrounding him, leaving him bare to her next attack. One-armed now, he wasn't able to deflect the next warped fist she threw at him, instead only capable of bringing up the other arm, the organic one. The warped first made contact with the organic arm, fire meeting biotics. The result threw them both back, landing her in a pile of spare-parts for machinery, while Saren turned in the air, landing on his feet.
"Do you not see? The only way to survive is to embrace what the Reapers can offer us. Sovereign's gifts can be given to all, and we can forge a better galaxy." Saren argued as he walked towards her, fire flowing from his hand and form. Jane wiped blood from her visor, getting to a knee before standing, if wavering. It didn't do anything to her spirit though.
"The Reapers will kill us all! You are either insane or incredibly naïve if you think they will let us live!" She shouted, picking up the metal around her before she sent it, powered by her biotics, screaming through the air only to meet with fire that turned it into molten slag.
Not that she let that deter her, as she threw up a singularity between them. Saren stopped where he was, looking with amusement at her, probably wondering why she had missed her aim so much. Only she hadn't. The gravimetric disturbance started lifting random objects from the ground, and Jane flared a bright purple as she started punching the objects, encasing them in warping spheres before she sent them flying with horrifying speed at the Turian. Next to her, the ground shook as Wrex, bleeding from the stomach, dropped to the ground with an annoyed growl, clutching the wound with one hand while holding the Claymore with the other.
"Wrex." She replied, not looking away from what she was doing. Saren was doing an annoyingly well job defying her attacks as he walked towards her, once more encased in fires of unnatural colors. She growled, picking up the remains of the desk plus the dead marine warped inside it, before she flung it at the Turian. He would not be able to burn that one, for sure.
How much more severe her dismay, when he kicked the ground, tearing up a spike that caught the desk, tearing it in half and sent it past Saren on both sides.
"Why won't you die?!" She shouted, her voice accompanied by the blasts of Wrex's oversized shotgun. Williams joined in the fray, her own rifle belching out shots while Clarke joined in with Jane, flinging up warps and stasis attacks. For a wonder, this time Saren actually stumbled when the engineer threw the freeze-attacks at him. Should too, as the attacks were straining what the Tier four biotic could muster without collapsing on the floor.
"You cannot hope to prevail."
"Yeah? Well, I've already headbutted death once, so how about you shut up!" Jane retorted, flinging the last piece, a metal pole she had ripped from the wall, at the Turian. She looked around as the object sailed through the air; "Where's Nihlus?!"
"Don't know! Haven't seen him!" Tequila shouted as she opened fire with a scavenged Avenger, her own rifle dry, a disadvantage when everyone else had infinite ammo. Not that she was useless with anything else though, as was evident with her precise and controlled sprays of tungsten. Sure the Avenger might be a crappy rifle, but it got the job done… most of the time.
This time though, seemed to be one of those where the Avenger didn't cut it, as Saren just glanced at the corporal before repeating the dreaded tearing motion through the air, sending the halfway wrecked floor buckling upwards towards them. Sharp spikes shot from the ground, only just falling short of spearing the legs and bodies of the remaining Alliance personnel in the room, though still throwing them enough off balance that all firing ended abruptly.
"Now do you see? I wield the power of gods, you cannot even fathom the awesomeness of Sovereign"Saren's mood had taken an odd and frustrating turn since the fighting started, as he was now taunting them with each failed attack they launched. Even the blasts from Wrex's shotgun did little to halt the advancing Turian, who hadn't seemed interested in defending himself until now. Taking advantage of the marines already being off balance, Saren spun and delivered a new tearing of the air, this time blasting away the Alliance forces with a ring of intense fire, the flames seemingly having their own mass as they threw the marines through the air.
Jane landed with a painful jarring of bones as she impacted the floor, her back ending up against one of the raised and twisted sections of the thick metal. Fuck, this was going nowhere good. A sharp bolt of pain shot through her leg, causing her to look down at her right thigh. Blood was seeping from the leg as a result of the jagged piece of metal that had penetrated her armor through one of the weak-points, spearing her leg. Only the administered painkillers in the Medigel kept her from screaming out in agony as she watched the pulsing blood flow from beneath the armor. The worst part was that she couldn't even move, nailed to the spot akin to what Wrex had just gone through. Pissing shame that humans didn't have the regenerative abilities of Krogans.
"Fuck… fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!" She growled, pulling at the leg to get the metal out. Even with the heavy sedation of the nerves, she could feel the electric jolts of pain as the metal tore at tendons and nerves, scraping against the bone.
As she looked back up from her leg, Saren was standing right above her, an emotionless expression on his face. Her hand went for her sidearm, but fell short when the Turian grabbed her by the armpit, hauling her from the floor with little care as to whether it hurt when the flesh was cut and bone was etched by the metal. Painkillers or not, this hurt like the seven hells of Dante.
"Do you understand what happens now Shepard? Because of your ignorance and stubbornness, everyone you came here with will die. Everyone who trusted you will die, and everyone who followed you, worked under you, will die as well."
"The- gaah!- fuck are you talking about?" She managed to press out between clenched teeth, intent on not screaming as the pain overpowered the administered gel. She could hardly breathe as Saren's fingers closed around her throat, cutting off her air-supply while the searing metal was burning into her skin, through the synthetic weave supposed to protect the gap between the helmet and the torso. A small part of her mind noted another thing they were going to have to change with this armor. However, the main part of her consciousness was directed at getting free from the iron-grip of the Turian.
"The time of their arrival is coming, Shepard. Their numbers will darken the sky on every world, and only I know how to save the galaxy."He growled, eyes shining a haunting white, like it wasn't the bastardly Turian who was speaking anymore.
"B-bull…" She croaked, her voice all but silenced from the lack of air that was quickly amounting to a massive migraine. The spasms of her leg didn't make things better, and she could feel how not even Medigel was going to keep her running if this dragged out.
"I have wasted enough time on you… Sovereign… tells me you are not from here. Well, let us see if your soul will last a second meeting with death."And with that, his fingers squeezed even tighter, ending all airflow to her lungs. Jane's vision became blurred as she punched and kicked at the Turian, to no real avail. With one last attempt at breaking his hold, Jane's vision went black.
Lieutenant Lee Riley was, to put it mildly, royally pissed the fuck off. The men Sasha Tokev had put her in charge of, her men, were dead or dying on the ground, nailed to the walls or crushed beneath a floor that should not have been able to move or buckle upwards at the command of a synthetic Turian. He had used some sort of fucked up space-magic or something to turn the entire room against her soldiers, flinging spikes and crates around with waves of his hands. The fact that they couldn't seem to kill him no matter what they fired at him only made matters worse, plus the fact that the frontal section of her armor had been burned away, revealing a blistering undersuit beneath as the fabled metal had boiled away.
"Fucking shit!" She growled, pushing herself up from the ground, briefly resting on a knee before she returned to her feet in earnest, trying to get a sitrep of the situation. Not that it made her mood any better though, as what she saw was Saren hoisting the Captain in the air, choking her while going off about his bullshit with saving the galaxy by letting the Reapers through. Not on my fucking watch you maniac!
Walking hurt, and she reckoned she had broken something, although the pain was so general she didn't know where. Fuck, there were days when she hated being a career soldier. Had she been a regular soldier, serving her period in the armed forces, she could at least have bitched about how she had a life to go home to, or how her parents would freak out when they saw her injuries. Bit of a problem on that account though, as they had lived on Eden Prime.
Yep, walking definitely hurt. Didn't matter though, because a psychotic Turian was strangling the captain, and from what Riley could see, she was the only person still standing… more or less standing that was, since her walk consisted of dragging one leg across the floor, trying to bite down on the pain it caused her. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck… oh fucking God it hurts! It hurts!
Her weapons were gone, probably blown to shit or molten to shit in the fighting. Seemed to be a rather common thing right about now, that things melted or burned… or blew up, as seen by how the C5 on the hip of one of the marines had blown up from the heat earlier, killing the surrounding marines and had sent her into the wall. Where the fuck is Clarke? Bastard better not be dead or I'll kill the fucking shit out of him…
Closer… she was getting closer to Saren. Her hands went to her own breaching-charge, the one she had meant to use to enter the very room they were now fighting for their lives in. How it had not yet blown her up, she didn't know. Not that she complained though. She knew what she was about to do was damn dangerous, but she had to do it. Saren would kill them all if not.
Certain death by Turian with magic, or uncertain death by explosives…
Not thát hard a choice…and miracle of miracles, the Turian still seemed oblivious to her presence. Odd, really, seeing as it was difficult being stealthy while limping forward with a few kilos of high-ex.
"I have wasted enough time on you… Sovereign… tells me you are not from here. Well, let us see if your soul will last a second meeting with death." Yeah, she really didn't care much for the Turian's bragging. Lee's eyes widened as Captain Shepard went slack in Saren's hand, her legs stopping their frantic kicking, her hands ceasing all clawing and punching.
This was bad. She had to act now, or they were so royally buttfucked that not even Clarke could make a joke about it. Mostly because he would be dead then, if he wasn't already a corpse. Hoisting up in the satchel of explosives, she set off from where she stood, only a few meters behind Saren. Even while in the air, she saw how Saren turned, looking at her with vague surprise in his eyes.
"Catch you cunt!" She growled, pulling the string from the satchel before rolling past him, hissing in pain as her blistered skin came into contact with the floor and the plates of armor still clinging to her body. The satchel landed in Saren's arms, the Turian catching it with a surprised expression before looking after Riley as she grabbed Shepard and jumped away shielding the captain with her own body.
"What is this? A-"Whatever Saren was about to say was cut off as the C5 detonated, creating an explosion sufficient to take down a reinforced wall of concrete or steel. Saren, despite his god-like powers, was thrown through the air by the explosion, finding for himself what Roku had explained to Thomas only hours earlier, that fire was still subject to gravity. Saren, in anger as he regained his footing, seemed to have lost his patience. Bringing both arms up, the one without a hand included, he made a slow, trembling motion downwards through the air, then tore through it in a snap.
As he finished, the ceiling started caving in.
Riley clutched the Captain to her chest, feeling as the explosives burned away at her armor, the heat overwhelming the internal temperature-stabilizers, heating her skin to the point where painful blisters appeared and popped all over her body while the rubbery material started melting, either onto her small clothing under the undersuit, or directly onto her skin. She screamed in pain as the armor failed to deploy painkillers, and she felt everything with a hundred percent intensity. Beneath her, the captain was still, but at least unburned.
There was that much, at least, for her to take heart in as she lost consciousness from the pain.
Deck 2. Mess Hall, Med-bay and Captain's quarters.
"It's been a long time…" Thomas stated, feeling his body itch with worry. He just knew that something was wrong when the last thing he had heard was the team engaged in strained firefight, and then… nothing. He tried not letting it show, as Chakwas would probably just give him something sedating, to calm him down. Needles… ugh, he hated needles, and the old woman was so fond of them.
"I know, but combat situations rarely allow for regular contact. You must trust that the Captain and the Commander will keep Ashley safe… being locked up in fear isn't as productive as they say, you know." Chakwas said with a small, warm smile. Humor, it never seemed to leave that woman, something Thomas had a hard time comprehending. Still…
"I'm really that easy to read?" He muttered, not taking his eyes off the Omnitool as it sat, contact pending, on the bedside table. In the second it opened a connection, he would grab it. What happened after that, he still wasn't entirely certain.
"Well, that, and a long life of experiencing what grief and fear looks like. Although to be fair, it's mostly because they are afraid I'll have to remove a limb. Your worry is… different. Worry for loved ones always is." She mused, her voice not unlike that of a mother's. And to be fair, she was in a way a sort of surrogate mother to the people on the Normandy. In the short time she had known them, especially the commando-team had bonded to her. Scorch, in particular had been stuck in or near the Medbay almost constantly.
Thomas didn't answer at first, instead opting to stare at the Omnitool as if that would cause a connection to establish. As it didn't, he turned his eyes first to Chakwas as she was writing out a report on her computer, then back to the Omnitool.
"It's just… when I'm not there, I can't help but think about every possible shit sto… every possible way the mission could go wrong. What if they find Saren and he's just too strong? Or, what if they walk straight into an ambush?" He growled, then looked down when he noticed it. It wasn't Chakwas's fault he was here now. If anything, he was only awake because of her.
"I was in a situation not unlike yours once. Not too long ago either, actually. Well, while I didn't love him like you do Ashley, Richard Jenkins was… dear to me. He was always coming back from action with scrapes and bruises and broken bones and whatnot. I ended up actually having a gurney reserved especially for him." She said, her voice soft and happy as she recounted the memories. Jenkins… Jenkins? Wasn't that the marine who had been killed just before John had found him and Ashley on Eden Prime?
"Jenkins… he was on Commander Dawson's team, right?" Thomas asked, looking back at the doctor. Chakwas nodded, looking into the distance.
"Yes, he was. I think you would have liked him, actually. Always getting up to trouble, shenanigans and the likes. I can tell you a funny story about him, if you'd like." The old woman said, looking back at Thomas. Having nothing better to do, and desperately wanting to take his mind off of the fact that he was sure to receive a heart attack with worry over Ashley, Thomas nodded idly, not sure if he really wanted to hear about a dead person. Still, if it would make the doctor happy, he would try to listen while being torn with concern. Come on Ash, pick up the fucking phone!
Virmire, Hoc system
Saren's base of operations
"Hey, I've got something!" A marine with a pair of flashlights activated on his helmet called out, lifting away the bar of metal, bent and warped as it was from some sort of explosion. The marine had spotted the ruined scrap of metal that was colored with a halfway burned-off Alliance symbol, meaning he had found a shoulder plate. Now he just had to find the owner. He picked up the piece of armor, handing it to the lieutenant in charge of the search.
It had been more than three hours since they had started the search, and so far they had found nothing but debris for the last two hours. The surviving teams they had retrieved from the ruins of the caved-in base, all told of fights with horrendous monsters the size of tanks, with claws for hands and soulless eyes like the ones the Husks had. Still, the commanders of the SSV Normandy were still missing, and survival-chances in these ruins dropped by the minute.
"Well this is just great… how the fuck are we supposed…" He started, but stopped himself when he heard an odd straining, like the metal itself was buckling upwards. After a few moments, his doubts were gone. The entire area he stood on was raising itself like a volcano ready to erupt, some unseen force pushing it upwards.
"Fuck… fuck! Get clear! Get clear!" He had been meaning to shout something like that, however more people had noticed the same event and were beating him to it, running away from the rising pile of debris and scrap.
The raised area suddenly exploded outwards, showering the men with metal and rock, but by a miracle, not leaving a single man wounded by it. At the center of the eruption, now a clear area, stood a Krogan. Having seen Krogan before, that in itself wasn't all thát unusual. What was unusual though, was the fact that the Krogan was standing in small circle of still marines, the bodies stacked up to his chest-level. Even as the marines started rushing towards the Krogan, the old battlemaster collapsed with a grunt, causing the unconscious soldiers around him to fall from the pile and to the ground.
"Doctor Chakwas to medical, Doctor Chakwas to medical." Joker's voice came in over the comms. Chakwas, already being in the Medbay, started donning gloves and activating equipment. Someone had been wounded too much for a field-operation to be enough.
Next to her, still halfway sitting on his gurney, Thomas felt the pit of familiar dread in his body grow as he went through who could have been injured, and how. He tightened his fists, praying to whatever deity would listen that it wasn't Ashley. Anyone but her, anyone and anything could have died, but he wanted the Divines to at least have kept his love out of harm's way. He could already hear the sound of people rushing to and from their posts, as well as a gurney being prepared for the elevator. They were already sending people down to the hangar. And he still had no idea if Ashley was among the wounded or… the dead.
Bam bam baaam!
Well fuck, Saren kicked their asses... figures, since Nazara is helping him. Or, well using him is more correct I suppose. Still, a fuckton of dirty tricks used by the guy who believed all the way till the end that the Reapers were the right choice. Kinda felt sorry for him later on, when I learned more about his backstory... anyway.
I'm a little concerned with this one, if I added too much power to one character, and if I generally didn't do a good enough job at portraying just how the flying pancake he got those powers, as well as the "lore" behind them. The last part we'll let Roku clarify later on, but... yeah, I'm not good at gauging if the chapters were just outright silly, or if I did something worthy of being excited about. I'll let you be the judges of that one.
I'm sorry that you won't get the next chapter right away, but after this one I'm going to either clean up the first ten chapters, or write a new chapter to the Avatar fic. So, you'll have to forgive me for a semi-cliffhanger here. And just to put it out there to maybe give some anxiousness: I have no issues with killing off main characters, even those scripted to survive the entire franchise.
Alright, I'll see you later.
Finally, I have a treat for you people, if you want it that is. Seeing as we have a pretty clean slate on who is on the BSV Scorpio, you now get a chance to bury me in OC-suggestions for names, ranks and the likes pertaining to the crew of the Blue Suns Frigate. Only rules are as follow:
There are ten humans on the ship in total, Magnus, Tremaine, Boris, Nassir and Aresh included. This leaves you with five OC's to spare.
The rest of the crew is Tara as the single Quarian, plus Turians making up the rest. Here both Sidonis and Navigator Velan Harius make up two of the Turians. Other than that, feel free to give me your two-cents on OC's so diverse and interesting that it will make the Normandy SR2 look dull in comparison :)