A/N: After working for the last three days, having my computer crash and having to wipe the whole damn hard drive...I'M BACK! And with my return I bring you the much anticipated beginning to the next arc of the Crysis Effect series! Now there have been a lot of questions circulating around about how I'm going to go about writing this next part of the story. And those questions will be answered in due time.
As for the story itself, the beginning will be filled with a lot of flashbacks and time skips to fill in certain gaps and make everything fall into place about how everything lead up to a certain point. And with this arc dipping into the ME2 storyline there are going to be a lot of changes. And let me tell you, canon will be thrown for a loop more than once before this part of the story is over.
But I've kept you all waiting long enough. It's time to start this party once again! So with just three words, let's start this thing.
I OWN NOTHING
hey say that the greatest weapon ever to come about was the mind. With a mere thought one could orchestrate the death of millions. The mind can help us create many things, both devious and helpful depending on the context with which it is used. It is through these creations that Humanity has made many great discoveries.
The world itself has changed with each of our discoveries. Advancements in technologies, the mysteries of the planet of which we live in, and even the galaxy that surrounds us. Our evolution was based off of these discoveries and the creations we have made from them.
However, it is through all of this that the creation of physical weapons have been made. A creation that has caused death and destruction for countless millenia for our species, and for many others beyond the stars.
But in the end, the ultimate weapon remains to be the mind...for with it true weapons are made. Knowledge being the ammunition that fuels it.
Knowledge is the true sense of power, but it is also a poison. Because even though it gives one power, it also taints the mind. Making it corrupt and unable to function when it is needed most, causing the so called 'ultimate weapon' to fail.
And when the ultimate weapon fails...what hope is there for the future?
Planet Tarus - Hourglass Nebula
September 30, 2184 - 13:32 hours
Tarus was a small, forest-covered planet in the smallest corner of the Hourglass Nebula. Out of the way for many travelers, and even though it is habitable with the right amount of oxygen for many species and the proper climates no one lives there...as far as anyone was aware.
One final gunshot rang out and the last merc fell dead to the floor. A squad of five Cerberus Assault Troopers and an Engineer stormed the room weapons ready as they cleared the area of hostiles. "All clear." said the lead trooper as two more stepped into the small base with a Centurion leading them.
"Did you find it?" asked the squad leader as their Engineer began going through the nearby terminals with his omni-tool.
"I think I have. Give me a few moments to break this encryption, whoever wrote it made damn sure that no one could see it." said the Engineer as he began hacking the terminal in front of him.
"Just hurry the hell up. We shouldn't be here any longer than we have to and I-" the Centurion was cut off when a loud clatter echoed from the next room. Every Cerberus operative had their weapons up and aiming at the doorway leading out.
"What the hell was that? I thought we killed everyone here." said one of the troopers gripping his Mattock tighter.
"You and you, go check it out." said the Centurion pointing to two of his men. Both troopers nodded before readying their assault rifles and treading toward the room, opening the door and slipping inside.
The room had been a barracks before the Cerberus strike team cleared the base out. It was empty, a few cots and footlockers knocked around when the mercs all sprang into action when they were under attack.
The two troopers scanned the room before splitting off and going in two different directions to cover more ground. Weapons ready incase any surprises greeted them. Completely unaware of the set of cold, calculating eyes watching them closely.
Kicking over a couple of footlockers and opening a few standing ones, the two Cerberus operatives came up with nothing. "Nothing's here, sir." reported one pressing his ear comm.
"I don't want any fuck ups on this mission. The Illusive Man will have all our heads if even the smallest thing goes wrong. So make damn sure that the room is clear!" demanded the squad leader.
The second trooper walked around a moment while his comrade had his back to him. Something out of his peripheral vision made him pause. Moving closer to the corner of the room, he saw a credit chit laying on the ground hidden under an empty duffel bag.
Checking on his partner, the trooper switched his rifle to the other hand and reached down to pick it up.
A shimmer in the air caused him to freeze. He looked up just before his head was grabbed by an unseen force. Fighting feebly against it, the trooper could do nothing as his head was viciously snapped to the side.
The first trooper spun around hearing a loud crack and saw his partner fall to the floor dead. "What the fuc-" Something cloaked shot out of the corner, grabbing him by the head as a knife was driven into the neck piece of his armor.
"Report! What the hell's going on in there!" demanded the squad leader.
The trooper gurgled as the blade drove farther into his throat. Blood gushing down the front of his bone-white armor as he choked for air. The air shifted and a large black and silver armored man stood before him.
Having only a moment to register shock, the attacker twisted the blade and slashed the rest of his throat. Blood splattering against the wall and floor as he fell dead.
The assailant looked down at the Cerberus operative before stepping over him. Heading toward the door with bloody knife in hand.
The Centruion tried to get ahold of the men he sent into the next room but couldn't reach them. Looking to one of his other operatives, he pointed to the door. "Go find those two assholes and find out what the hell's going on!"
Nodding, the trooper walked up to the door and reached for the green holo-panel.
The door suddenly sprung open, a large armored foot connected with the operative's head with a sickening crunch. The body being thrown back and crashing into two of his comrades and knocking them all over.
Every Cerberus agent still standing had their weapons ready as a large suit of black and silver armor stepped into the server room. "SHIT IT'S HIM! OPEN FIRE!" ordered as the operatives all fired at the lone man.
He was moving even before the rounds were fired. His knife slashing through the throat of the closest trooper, snatching the Evicerator shotgun from the dying man's hands and blasting a hole through the chest of the one behind him.
Turning on his heel, he fired another shot that took another trooper off his feet and laid him out on the floor before tossing the spent shotgun away.
Another trooper emptied a whole thermal clip from his Mattock but didn't seem to cause any damage. The assailant was on him just as he finished reloading. Pointing the rifle down and forcing the agent to shoot himself in the foot before head butting him hard enough to dent his helmet and causing his head to snap back.
He stood still a moment before his body collapsed to the floor from a broken neck.
Taking the single-shot rifle. The attacker fired a direct headshot to the remaining trooper and blowing their brains out the back of their skull before turning on the Centrurion who leapt behind cover as the rounds tore through the terminal he got behind.
The Engineer also got into cover, bringing up his omni-tool and firing an incinerate in the hopes of slowing the man down as he tore through their ranks.
The assailant saw the attack coming and fired a shot that went straight through it and caused the flaming attack to disperse before it got within range. He kept his aim steady and fired two more shots. Both hitting home as the tech specialist fell dead with two holes through his cover and his helmet.
Looking at the bodies of his dead men, the Centurion got on the radio and immediately called for backup. "This is Alpha Team! We're under attack and have suffered heavy losses! He's here! The primary target is here! Send reinforc-ARGH!"
He was cut off when when his head was grabbed and smashed against the terminal he was behind. 'How did he get behind me!' he thought as the attacker's grip on his helmet tightened before it was smashed against the computer again and again.
The attacker dropped the lifeless corpse to the floor before turning to the terminal the Cerberus team was trying to hack into.
Bringing up a blood red omni-tool, he hacked the encryption in seconds as he started downloading all the data that he had come here to get. All the while listening to the radio traffic along the local Cerberus bands. More were coming, and they were bringing in the big guns to take him down.
Good...let them try.
When the download completed he shut down his omni-tool and headed for the exit. "Your...fucked..." he paused and looked to the Assault Trooper he shot with the Evicerator. His chest wound almost gushing through the jagged pieces of twist armor.
"There are...a lot more of us...than you think..." he wheezed out. "...even if the...stories are true...you can't kill us all..."
The attacker walked across the room and stood over the dying man, "Well see about that." he said in an emotionless and synthetically filtered voice that would send chills down anyone's back.
The the last think the trooper saw was a large foot coming down on his head. And his reflection in the crimson visor above it.
A group of three Kodiac dropships flew through the air in an arrow formation toward the distress signal they had just received. Passing over the dense foliage that made up Tarus' surface as they approached the location marked on their map.
Each ship containing a squad of eight Cerberus operatives, each squad with five Assault Troopers, two Guardians and lead by a lone Centurion. All of them armed to the teeth when they got confirmation of the target they were now searching for.
The three shuttles came upon a large break in the trees where a cluster of small buildings were set up. The merc base that Alpha Team was sent to infiltrate. "We're at the target location, everyone prepare to drop!" called the pilot of the lead shuttle as they hovered fifteen feet above the ground.
Sliding the doors open, the Cerberus personnel leapt out of the openings. Activating the small thrusters in their boots to slow their decent as they touched down on the tall grass. When they all touched down they had their weapons up instantly. "Remember, the target is here. Fan out! Find him!" ordered one of the Centurions as the twenty-four men all spread out to search the surrounding buildings.
"Watch your spacing!" ordered another getting confirmation from everyone as they all tried to stay close together.
One Assault Trooper entered a supply shed with his Vindicator battle rifle up and searching for any targets. The shed was dark, only the light from the open doorway he entered being the only thing illuminating the space beyond.
He walked past the door and lowered his weapon slightly when he saw nothing of importance when someone materialized out of the air behind him. Yanking his head back and slitting his throat hard before grabbing his rifle as he dropped to the floor dead.
The attacker activated his cloak and ran out into the open. Finding another trooper patrolling, he raised the rifle and fired two three-round bursts that quickly put the man down before he knew what was happening.
Every operative in the area heard the disturbance and were converging on the location.
Running up behind another trooper with his cloak still activated, the assailant pulled the man's head back and drove his knife into his throat with a loud crunch. He picked up the agent's Scimitar shotgun as his cloak went down and shot another trooper that was running up gun blazing.
"We're taking losses! Find this fucker!" shouted one of the Centurions as they tried to regroup.
The assailant vaulted over a deactivated land rover and blasted a Guardian with the shotgun before they could get their shield up in time. Spinning on his heel, he fired another round that took out a Centuion's shields. Another blast followed that blew chunks out of the agent's armor and dropping them to the ground.
He racked the shotgun, injecting a fresh thermal clip as he switched to the battle rifle and began sprinting toward a nearby building. Leaping into the air and landing on to the roof before firing several bursts into the trooper that had been standing overwatch.
Half of the remaining Cerberus operatives gathered around the area beneath the building and taking cover among a group of crates as they fired on the rooftop. "Take him out!" shouted one of them as they kept up the assault.
Scooping up the dead operative's Revenant machine gun. The assailant rained a salvo of rounds down on to the agents below. A Guardian and a trooper falling in the assault before the weapon's large thermal clip ran empty.
Tossing the weapon aside the man leapt from rooftop, fist cocked back as a surge of energy coursed through him.
Slamming the fist into the ground of the center of the group of operatives sending them all falling back in several directions and killing one of them. He took out the battle rifle and emptied the thermal clip into two more troopers before reloading.
A Centurion saw what happened and got behind his shield as he fired his Tempest SMG at the attacker.
Seeing the lone operative, the assailant got behind a nearby crate. Kicking it with all his strength and sending it flying across the ground and crushing the Centurion against the wall of a nearby building.
The surviving members of the large squad regrouped and stayed close together as they continued the search.
From his hiding spot, the assailant cloaked before moving out into the open again. Taking out a trooper with a three round burst to the head before changing targets to an explosive barrel that detonated when the rounds struck it and taking another operative with it.
He moved quickly through the grass and into the space between two buildings were he found another trooper close to where the explosion went off and took him down with a few controlled bursts from the rifle. With him dead, the weapon started beeping and ejected the used thermal clip to avoid overheating.
"Ammunition Depleted." spoke a deep monotone voice in his ear as he walked out into the open again where the remaining seven Cerberus operatives had him surrounded. "There he is! Whose got him!" said the Centurion as they all started to close in.
"Maverick drop your weapons!" ordered one of the troopers.
"Don't let him move!" said the Guardian
"Drop. Your. Weapons." demanded the Centurion as they sealed off any chance of escape.
Maverick stood unmoving in his nano suit as he observed his odds. Tagging all seven men as he planned his next attack. "Tactical Options Available."he started chuckling humorlessly as he dropped the spent rifle to the ground. "Welcome to hell assholes." he said quickly drawing the bow that was on his back and firing an arrow.
The Guardian fell dead as the bolt flew through the slot in his shield an pierced his forehead.
All the other operatives opened fire as the bow reloaded itself via the clip attached to the side as he drew the string back again. "Maximum Armor." the rounds bounced off of the hardened weave of the nano suit as he fired another arrow and took down a trooper.
He rushed the squad, fist cocked back as he slammed it against the nearest trooper's face and sending him crashing into a nearby wall where he remained motionless. Drawing his knife, he spun around and rammed the blade into the right eyepiece of a third trooper trying to flank him.
Using the dead soldier as a shield, he grabbed the heavy pistol of his belt and shot the remaining two Assault Troopers dead before turning to the Centurion who found himself all alone. The agent sprayed gunfire in his direction with his assault rifle, but the nano soldier ducked behind the cover of a nearby crate at the last minute.
"Cloak Engaged." no longer visible. Maverick treaded around the lone Centurion as he searched for the nano soldier.
"You think you've won here?" the man called out sweeping with his weapon. "You have no idea who you've pissed off. The Illusive Man won't stop until he finds you. And when he does...you'll be begging to die." the operative fired into a nearby building when he saw a shadow move.
"WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU!" he roared searching left and right for the Post-Human.
"Here." The man spun around only for a heavy foot to connect with his chest plate. Denting the hard metal of the armor and sending him skidding across the dirt, dropping his rifle in the process.
Maverick reappeared and stalked toward the downed man as he tried to breath with the crushed metal squeezing down on his chest and lungs. "Go ahead...kill me. Won't do you any good..." wheezed the operative.
"I will." said the nano soldier as he stood over the struggling man. "But first your going to send a message to your boss." he reached down and grabbed the Centurion by the throat and brought him up to eye level. "I know that each of your suits has a video and audio feature that The Illusive Man can tap into at a moments notice."
He took the pistol he had grabbed off of the Assault Trooper from before as he spoke, "Listen up Jack, I'm sick of your dogs sticking their noses where they don't belong. So take this as my last message." he pressed the barrel to the man's head as he started to struggle in the nano soldier's grasp. "Stay the fuck out of my way." the gun went off, splattering the Centurion's brains across the ground.
Tossing the gun and the dead man aside, Maverick turned and headed into the dense jungle that surrounded the now empty merc base. "More Cerberus Personnel Inbound." said the AI in the suit.
"Doesn't matter, we got what we came for." replied Maverick as he approached a small clearing. Waving his omni-tool in the air, a pitch black Kodiac shuttle appeared. The two front sides of the craft hefting two heavy machine guns and the overall body looking sleeker in design compared to a normal Kodiac.
Opening the doors, the Post-Human got inside and sat in the pilot's chair. Starting up the engines and lifting off from the planet's surface as he headed toward the atmosphere.
Once in orbit, he saw two Cerberus ships sitting idle. Obviously waiting for a response from the surface team that they wouldn't be getting.
He hit a few buttons on the console. "Stealth Systems Engaged." said Prophet as the small ship vanished from sight and from sensors as it flew past the larger vessels at a safe distance. No one even knowing what had happened or that their target had slipped away completely unnoticed as the small ship activated its FTL drive and shot off into space.
Once far enough away, the nano soldier switched the Kodiac to auto pilot before leaning back in the seat and removing his helmet.
Alex Drake had changed a lot in the last year. His once shaved head was now down to his ears, his scarred face now sported a dark five o'clock shadow that to many almost seemed permanent.
But the biggest change of all was his eyes. The grey orbs that held determination, courage and a bit of a humoress side were now the color of steel. Sharp, calculating, and in many cases...cold. Dark purple bruises under both of them signifying that he hadn't been sleeping well in a long time.
His life had never been easy. Even more so when he died in his world and was catapulted across time and space to a universe he believed to be fiction by an omnipotent and omnipresent being he also thought was fiction.
The Crysis universe was his first stop. It was there he gained the nano suit, and all the powers it grants the wearer with almost none of the drawbacks. With it he fought CELL, the Ceph, and managed to save New York City like a true hero.
From there he was transported to here. The Mass Effect universe, were he was destined to help Commander Shepard put an end to the Reapers and save the galaxy from complete genocide.
With his skills, his abilities, and even his knowledge of this universe he helped the crew of the Normandy overcome everything that got into their path. Saving lives were they should have died in the regular timeline while secretly gathering evidence to prove the Reaper's existence.
On his journey, Alex made a lot of good friends. Good allies. And even found love.
He had fallen for Jane Shepard. And she for him. The two connected on a level that left many in a state of awe. They fit together so perfectly that it almost seemed natural, and the two of them were happy. Happier than anyone else could be in the verse.
"Incoming Transmission." chimed Prophet.
Alex activated the vid-screen as a female Quarian wearing a black and red enviro-suit appeared. "Alex, were you successful?" she asked a little hesitantly.
The Post-Human held up the OSD he had made from the files he ripped from the terminal planet-side. "Got everything right here, Reena. Prophet hacked it with no problem and we now have everything we need." he said with a ghost of a smile.
Reena let out a breath in relief. "Thank Keelah. When we picked up several Cerberus IFFs in the area we started to get nervious."
"Everything's fine. Tell Zen and Chellick to cool it until I get back to base. I should be there in about four days." replied Alex.
The Quarian nodded, "Should I tell our friend that we have what she was looking for?" she asked.
"Yeah, let her know and set up a time where she wants to meet. It would be a breath of fresh air seeing her again." Alex said as his voice started to go hollow toward the end of the sentence.
His long time friend picked up the change immediately, "You okay?" she asked concerned.
The nano soldier didn't reply. The same answer any of them got when they asked him that question when he got like this. "It's been a year...hasn't it?" Reena asked after a moment.
Alex nodded slowly, "A year to the day..." he said barely above a whisper.
Reena's heart ached seeing her friend like this. It had been this way for a whole year. Every passing month things seemed to have gotten easier, but she and the others knew that the pain went so deep that he could cover it all too well.
"It wasn't your fault, Alex." the Quarian said after a long silence. "I know you get sick of hearing it all the time, but it's the truth. Me and everyone else knows that you did everything you could to-"
"I don't want to talk about it Reena." Alex said sharply cutting her off.
Reena threw her arms up, "That's just it Alex! You never want to talk about it! You may try to hide your pain and suffering but we all see it! Everyday we watch as our friend dies more and more inside. You barely sleep anymore, barely eat, you throw yourself into increasingly dangerous missions weekly!"
She took a breath after her rant and continued, "I know your hurting. And we're here for you. But you have to let us help you...is this what she would have wanted?"
Alex was silent, eyes staring blankly at the shuttle controls before him. When he spoke his voice was dead and hollow. "I'll be there in four days. See you then." he said shutting down the transmission. He didn't want to talk about what happened that day. The day that he regretted more than anything in his entire life, no matter what universe he was in.
Reaching into his suit, he pulled out a set of dog tags. The metal dented and scratched by the events of the past but still very much readable.
'Cmdr Jane Shepard'
Alex ran his gloved fingers over the name delicately. His heart clenching the longer her looked at the tags. His mind drifting back to better times. Back when things were at their happiest despite what had happened not long before.
Letting the tags fall to his chest, the Post-Human leaned back in the pilot's seat and put his head back as his thoughts went through his head like a parade from hell. Remembering how things went from happy and carefree...to a nightmare that he couldn't wake up from.
Reena was wrong. She just didn't know it.
He was at fault for what happened. His inactions had cost him the one thing in the galaxy that brought him peace and love. He truly was to blame for what had happened. And his penance was to suffer via guilt and regret.
As his eyes slowly drifted closed, Alex thought back to when it all began. Shortly after Sovereign's defeat, before things went horribly wrong.
A/N: It has officially begun. And with Alex's mind and heart in turmoil I know that you all will want answers fast. The next chapter or two will be one big flashback that will go into detail about what he was talking about. And you all know me, my updates are damn good when it comes to this stuff!
Let the Reviews come forth, and thou shalt be rewarded with a quick update.