A/N: And I'm back! Sorry for the delay in getting this chapter out; I've been on two holidays and re-writing this chapter many times! Trying to reveal more details of the crossover over without giving too much away too soon…
I have brought in a few other characters in this chapter as well, since we're getting closer to the start of Mass Effect, so I thought it was about time I started expanding on the number of characters!
A/N1: I also changed the ending at last minute, I'm starting one of the plotlines I have in mind earlier than planned…
The next chapter is going to lead into the start of ME1, it should arrive in a few weeks if all goes to plan.
Prologue Part 4
The training went quite well for a few weeks; Mia was learning the ropes and making good progress; though still a ways from being as good as an N7, Major Kalin thought to herself. Still a little naïve at times, some things she still had a hard time grasping, she was also very forward and said what was on her mind; this made her think back to her conversation with the hybrid a couple of days into her training, something that she was glad the other marines didn't hear.
"You are crazy for doing this, you know." She'd started the conversation in her tent after pulling Mia to one side.
A tilt of the head and a flare in the eyes – which creeped her the fuck out. "I know. But I need to at try to move on, to get an actual life."
"You know that many… people… well, they'd not like that."
"I know I just… just want to figure out where I stand…" The hybrid rubbed her face, clearly unsure what she actually wanted.
"Look, if this isn't for you, you should say now rather than later." Kalin looked her in the – glowing – eye.
A shake of the head, as Mia flailed with one hand. "No, this is what I want. I know it's going to be hard. I've had this conversation with everyone…"
"Okay. I'm warning you though, you fuck up, you get left behind – I meant what I said at the briefing." A nod, it – she - understood. "Tomorrow I'll see what you can do; right now though, do you have any questions?"
A look a surprise, then with crossed arms – not to mention looking uncomfortable – the hybrid nodded again. "Actually I do have a few questions… probably stupid ones, but if you don't mind?"
She waved a hand. "With someone like you, even a stupid question can be an important one – shoot."
"Gods this is likely to be really embarrassing. Right, okay; first question: what if I hurt someone by accident? Will I be sent back to the lab?"
The fear that Mia had in her voice made her blink and pause; she was terrified of being sent away if she did something wrong? "No!" She shook her head. "If it was an accident then it wouldn't be your fault, no reason to do anything."
She looked a little calmer at least. "Well… that is good…"
"You really have a fear of being sent away don't you?"
It was almost like she was trying to set the tent alight, such was the glow of Mia's eyes. "Yes… I don't want to ever go back… I would die before…"
Kalin cut in gently. "I understand, I cannot make any promises – nor will I, I don't know you well enough – but behave well, keep up and we'll see how things go."
Mia gave a smile, weak but a smile. "I have to work to get your and the other marines trust. Part of me looks for to it."
"Ha! You'll have your work cut out that's for sure!" Kalin chuckled. "I have a question for you, while I'm thinking about it." Mia just nodded. "Why do your eyes glow?"
"My biotics – which aren't exactly biotics, it must be said – flow through me all the time. Like biotics though, it's governed by my emotions, when I'm angry or upset they flare. It's the same when I use my abilities." Mia called some energy to her hand, her eyes flared more seemingly in response.
"I see, that's actually simpler than I though it might be." Kalin smiled as the energy flicked out. "You had other questions?"
"I do have another question, though it's… just something that confuses me more than anything." The hybrid crossed her arms again. "I do hope this isn't going to be offensive… I was wondering… wondering if…"
The major frowned whatever this was about was making the hybrid very nervous, so she'd softy asked. "What is it?" She was worried that someone had already upset her enough to make her like this.
"Is it wrong to tell a human that you think they're attractive?" The words spilled out of the hybrid who then clamped a hand to her mouth.
That she'd been surprised by this would have been putting it lightly. "You… what?"
"I find someone attractive… even though I've only known them a few days. Is that wrong? Is something wrong with me? I mean, I'm not even human, not really…"
Kalin's mouth dropped for moment – she was sweet on someone? "I… why not go to Karin or Captain Shepard?"
A small look of fear came over her face and she shook her head vigorously. "That would be far too embarrassing! I couldn't do that…"
"I think its normal, since you consider them your parents." Kalin smiled and continued. "But, since you say that you've only known them a few days, well, you should probably wait a while – get to know them – before saying anything."
"Right, right; I find this awkward since I'm… I'm a hybrid." Mia scratched her neck, it might've been Kalin's imagination but Mia's cheeks looked to be more purple than usual – was she blushing?
"Stop me if this goes to personal but; can you actually fuck a human?" Kalin went with blunt to get her question out of the way, and to test for reactions.
To her credit Mia only blinked and looked shocked for a moment. "I can… but I… I might put some people off – not just my appearance I mean – 'cos I have a…" She stopped then blew air out between her lips. "Fuck it. I have a protective sheath over my genitals."
This made the major cough and splutter – she had not expected that! "W-what?!"
Mia looked terribly unsure of how to continue. "Well… as you know… I was r-raped… in that… that place." She took a deep breath. "My body evolved to make sure it couldn't happen again…"
"My god…" Kalin pinched the bridge of her nose. "So… how does that work?" And then she added quickly. "If that's not too personal I mean."
A small smile greeted her. "It's okay, I guess." Mia took another deep breath, which was followed by her reaching down and subconsciously plucking at her uniform. "Just never really spoken about it, even Karin has mostly avoided the subject. But, I guess talking about it might actually help. You how Turian sheaths work right?" Kalin nodded. "Well, it's the same principle; I get aroused and the sheath softens and pulls back."
The obvious question, Kalin had thought to herself. "What happens if you, you know…"
"I've never been in that… situation… I guess the sheath would close… which would… you know, hurt the other…" The hybrid stopped and put her head in her hands. "Why they hell am I going into this?"
"It's okay, let's avoid this shit then." Kalin sat on her bed and looked up the hybrid. "So, who's the lucky guy?"
It took Mia a few moments to figure out what she meant. "Oh! Well… err… shit. It's just that… she's not a guy…"
Yet another surprise dropped on Kalin. "Oh…"
Before she could say anything intelligible, Mia swore under her breath and spoke up again. "Major, it's you that find attractive."
"Fuck!" Kalin couldn't help the loudness of her voice, Mia's face dropped and she turned to leave.
"I'm sorry, I'll leave. Sorry."
"Mia wait!" Those glowing eyes had such a bright glow to them, it was unnerving. "I'm sorry Mia, I don't swing that way, and even if I did we've only know each other a few days; I'm not entirely sure of you yet."
"I… understand. I'm just trying to be honest about things…" She swallowed before she continued. "…I should leave now."
Before Kalin could say, or do, anything the hybrid fled the tent swiftly.
It took a few days after that before Mia had spoken to her again – apart from the "yes sirs" or "ma'am" from orders. And even when she did the hybrid seemed to be forcing a smile; which did not go unnoticed by Kalin or others, though no one said anything at the time. She was approached during the evening, however she said nothing was wrong, she'd just chewed the hybrid out to make sure she knew what she getting into.
This answer seemed to be enough for them, currently at least.
Now a few weeks had passed Mia was finding her feet, not exactly making friends – at least not yet, or openly – but she'd gotten over her anger it appeared.
Unfortunately a new problem had popped up – Lieutenant Jameson, a career military man had taken a disliking to Mia, since the hybrid had been the one to break his time on the assault course. It was extremely petty for the man, who was hailed as the best in group by all accounts, as he now didn't let up in antagonising Mia; she'd even caught him actively trying to slow the hybrid down.
After Kalin had called him out on it, he'd shouted – actually shouted – "That fucking thing doesn't deserve to be here! This training is for humans!" The major was going to raise her voice but Mia got there first.
"If you have a problem with me Lieutenant, then take it up with me! Don't go crying to mother because you are to coward to actually tell me to my face!" She'd stepped forward, waving a clawed hand. "Stop fucking around! Do something!"
Kalin was actually proud of Mia, she was standing up for herself – though this had to watched, Steve Jameson was an expert in hand-to-hand, if it came to blows she didn't know who'd have an advantage; the expert, or the carapace-covered hybrid.
"Fuck this! Fine!" Jameson was a tall, wiry marine from Boston, he was quick and very skilled; by one report he'd taken down four asari commandos up close and personal.
Mia on the other hand, was a ball of muscle and rage – and claws. "Make your move then!" She spread her arms wide. "Come on! Show me how a human fights!" An inhuman snarl came from her. "Take down this 'thing'!"
Jameson roared and attacked. Mia had riled him up something fierce, so his first blows were just swipes that Mia stepped back out of the way off with ease. She lashed out, her claws narrowly missed his cheek as he pulled back; his rage curbed as he realised his mistake. Backing off they circled each other, Mia (surprisingly) the calmer of the two, but no where near as experienced.
A few looks came her way, but she shook her head, they both needed to get this out of their system. Jameson his prejudice and Mia the anger at herself; she would step in if need be.
Mia moved first this time, stepping up and throwing a punch the seemed clumsy and easily blocked, but her foot lashed out catching Steve in the side. He grunted as it was a hard and fast kick but not hard enough, his right arm wrapped around the leg and he swung her to the floor. Mia rolled, narrowly avoiding the stomp the Steve tried, tackling him down; they both rolled and a knee struck the hybrid's side as Steve got the upper hand due to his height. It stayed there as he rose up, fists coming down and Mia gasped and grunted in pain as his fists struck her; she was used to the "rent-a-guards" of Prospect it seemed, not a marine in N-training.
However, Mia shoved back, sending the man sprawling backwards, clawed feet leaving some deep scratches on Steve's chest. She followed up by pouncing on him – it was disturbingly predatory in fact, so she started to move forward…
Only for Mia to be toppled once again, with Jameson regaining the upper hand when Mia hesitated to use her claws (which Kalin was thankful for), his fists resuming their pounding on the hybrid's face. He was properly going for it, so she hauled him backwards and threw him to the floor – ignoring his shouts of anger for now.
Mia pushed herself onto her side and spat some purple blood into the dirt… as Steve tried to shove past her to get at her again. She spun him around and yelled at him.
"Enough marine! Get a fucking grip!"
Only to get a punch to the nose for her trouble.
A flare of bluish-purple light and Jameson flew across the clearing, hitting a tree hard. She looked around to see Mia had risen to her feet and was glowing. They all knew about her abilities – the question was why hadn't she used them on Jameson until now?
Two of the marines moved and seized Mia's arms, holding her both back and upright. She was going to have bruises, and one of the plates of carapace looked like it might be cracked.
"Take her to Chakwas and get her patched up." At Karin's name the hybrid actually looked afraid – that was something that she could exploit to keep moods in check, Kalin thought; then she turned to Jameson. "As for you, well you're going to the brig to cool down." She wiped her nose, unsurprised to find it was bleeding, though not broken thankfully. "I'll deal with you later!"
Mia sat on a bio-bed, the grey and blue walls stark even littered as they were with haptic interfaces showing medical information. She gulped as Karin fumed at her, the side of her face had swollen slightly so her grimace made her head hurt. So far the woman hadn't spoken beyond a few a questions about her injuries.
And that was what worried her the most – she hadn't been yelled at, yet.
"What were you thinking?" Karin asked her suddenly, breaking the silence.
"He needed to be taught a lesson…"
"So you thought you'd beat it into him!?" The doctors voice rose slightly but she wasn't yelling. "I see how well that turned out!"
"No! I thought it would be good for him to let his anger out, I thought I might be able to beat him…"
"He's an N7 candidate! You might be powerful but he's a trained killer!" Karin was yelling now. "He could've beaten you to death! What the hell were you thinking!?"
"I wasn't! I wasn't thinking! I just acted!" Mia felt her own anger rise, even though she knew it was unjustified, Karin was just worried about her. "You cannot protect me all the time; I need to fight my own battles sometimes!"
"Maybe I should if this is what is going to happen! You fool!" Karin threw a pack of medi-gel at her. "Clean yourself up!" The human was incredibly furious. "If you don't want me to protect you then I won't!"
Mia groaned inwardly, her anger had gotten the best of again, so she stood. "I should leave; I've fucked things up enough already." Without waiting for a reply she left the med-bay, ignoring the looks from a group of marines by the door – who had to heard the yelling – she stormed by them heading off into the man-made jungle to try and calm down.
She walked until the throbbing of her forced her to stop and apply the medi-gel, the cooling burn was enough to distract her for a moment; and then the enormity of what had just occurred struck her.
She'd just had a fight with a career military man; whose mother and father were very high-ranking – Admiral and Fleet Master respectively. Groaning she put her head into her hands, she'd just signed her death warrant!
It took Kalin about an hour to find Mia, Commander Evets had found her and told of the argument in the med-bay and how the hybrid had stormed off with fire (literally) in her eyes.
She approached the hybrid from the front, not wanting to startle her and have those claws – or not-quite-biotics – come her way. "Mia?" She spoke softly but loud enough (she hoped) to be heard.
Hair tendrils flared as the woman looked up, eyes full of tears and regret. "Major?"
The tone of her voice was one of fear; why the hell was she… of course! Jameson's parents! "Are you alright?" Getting a little closer she saw that while she had a couple purple-green bruises, she seemed unharmed otherwise, she also caught sight of an empty packet of medi-gel.
"No. I've just fucked up all chance I had at even a remotely normal life."
Kalin could not help the snort of laughter; knowing Admiral Ellen Jameson Mia would be more likely to get a pat on the back. "I doubt that. Jameson is a little shit – a good little shit admittedly, but still a shit." Seeing the look of confusion on Mia's face… "By which I mean his parents might actually thank you for calling him out on his bullshit. He seems to think that he's entitled to things just because of who they are."
"But I could've killed him…"
"No offense, but if I hadn't pulled him off you, he would have pounded you into shit." Kalin smiled and crossed her arms; she was surprised when Mia chuckled lightly.
"Yeah, I did underestimate him, didn't I?" Mia brushed her tendrils away, still not convinced it seemed. "How long until they come for me?"
"His parents are coming to see him, not you." She decided to let her know – and Nihlus wasn't here to stop her either. "I told them what happened." Seeing an odd look from Mia, she added. "They know about you, Carl Jameson is the Fleet Master. He approved your request to join this little foray."
"Because, like Admiral Hackett – who's a good friend of his, by the way – he actually believes that you could amount to something, given time and training." Kalin uncrossed her arms and sat beside the hybrid. "Plus he told me it's about time someone beat some sense into Steven."
Mia blinked. "He said that?" Kalin nodded. "W-why?"
"'Cos he thinks his son has gotten too much on platter thanks to who he is." Kalin flicked a pebble away. "Even though you lost, you stood up to him; most people don't as they think he'd sick dad on them."
"I think I understand…" Mia shook her head. "Will he come to speak to me?"
The major shrugged. "No idea, that's up to him really."
Another flare of tendrils occurred as Mia looked away. "I need to control my anger, I hurt Karin." Kalin stiffened and Mia seemed to notice even though she was looking away. "Not physically, I shouted at her. Hurt her feelings."
"Then you need to go and apologise." Kalin said, looking at the hybrid sideways. "Even if you think you're in the right, Karin is not a woman you want to piss off."
"Ha!" A light chuckle greeted her statement. "That is very true."
"Look, I don't think anything will happen the whole group knows that he was raining on you; he could've killed you." She shrugged. "But I cannot promise anything."
"I know. I know. I just wish I had some certainty in my life." She stopped and sighed. "Now I sound like angst-ridden teenager…"
"Come on, let's get the scary shit of talking to Karin over with; and then we'll deal with the rest of this shit." She stood and held out a hand; Mia took it after grabbing the empty packet of medi-gel.
"Karin, or Hannah, is going to kill me."
Lieutenant David Anderson was beyond tired, beyond exhausted. He'd been fighting alongside Nihlus for god knows how long – 18 hours? More?
What was supposed to be the first of many missions together, to assess his suitability to be risen to the rank of Spectre – the first human Spectre? If he could pass the trials, well, it would be the biggest coup for humanity since gaining a leg up on the Treaty of Farixen for there help routing out several dangerous bands of pirates.
Of course right now, on only the second of many missions with the Turian, Anderson was only thinking of survival. The merc gang that they'd been sent to deal with was better equipped – not to mention dug in – than Intel had lead them to believe. It had supposed to have been a quick smash and grab mission, get the hostages' and get out.
Well, that plan had gone to shit in a hand-basket.
Almost as soon as they'd landed snipers had picked off 3 of their group; leaving them with just 21 men and women, which after a day of fighting was down to just 12. They all had wounds; Nihlus was the slightly better off of them all but that wasn't saying much.
After such a long battle, their relief force had turned up (10 hours late) and sent shuttles down to retrieve them. He'd then spent a few hours in the med-bay getting patched up. Nihlus had been with him for a while getting his own wounds patched up, now the Turian was reporting in to the Council in another room.
As it turned out the merc group had been hired by Cerberus. To what end, he had no fucking clue.
It was also clear that several… issues… might arise from this mission.
They'd found evidence that the merc group was collecting samples of both Protoss and Zerg DNA; the live kind.
Stuffed into cages, with no food or water, were about a dozen or so Protoss of various ages and gender. They were all close to death, some had died a terrible, slow death; it had made him feel sick and his rage had nearly overwhelmed him, it had taken a massive effort. Nihlus had contacted someone high up within the Turian military when the fighting had ended, soon after he reported that the Protoss were sending a few vessels to pick up the survivors and dead.
This was in itself unheard of to his knowledge, for hundreds of years the Protoss had been isolated out of choice; to leave their space was something they never did. In the past a massive civil war had torn them in two, their dozens of planets and many billions of people had been reduced to just planets and perhaps a billion people at the most; and this was split between the two sides of the war. No one knew what had caused the rift; the only sure facts were that it occurred less than a decade after they'd waged a massive war against the Zerg, and that now only the so-called Dark Templar's interacted with the outside world. The other planet – who were known as either Light Templar's, or The Deceived by the Dark Templar's – was out of the way, not hidden, but no one had reason to go there.
Neither of them had an embassy on the Citadel, didn't appear to be bothered by that either, as they rarely ventured out of their own space. They had a fleet – at least the dark templar's did, they had no idea of the capabilities of the light – though it was estimated to be at less strength than that of the Volus. Enough to protect their planet from pirates and slavers, but not from a full attack – unless they had vessels stationed elsewhere, which Anderson wouldn't put past them.
And, true to form, once the wounded and the dead had been passed over, the dark templar vessels had left; no word of thanks to his ear – that said, they did only talk to Nihlus and he wasn't privy to what was actually said. Not that he actually minded this. He hadn't seen a Protoss in the flesh before and the fact that they seemed to have no mouths, yet spoke very clearly it… well, it freaked him out if he was honest. This made him slightly annoyed with himself, since he was freaking out because they were alien, they probably thought that he was just a strange!
Even so they'd kept the fact that they had live Zerg to deal with.
They didn't want them to suddenly turn around and start killing them, Nihlus had told him, these Zerg might help us learn more about them.
He saw Nihlus's reasoning, but still felt a pang of guilt since he could never reveal any of this to Mia; even if she might understand… no, no she wouldn't; these were her kin just as much as he was. Fuck, probably more so given that her DNA was – in Karin's words – roughly 60 to 65 percent of Mia being Zerg.
He didn't like concealing things from her, and not because of the whole pheromone fiasco, he had genuinely come to love the hybrid like a daughter. It was her anger that he was worried about, if she found out that Cerberus appeared, given the evidence of live Zerg, to be continuing on experimenting on them…
Anderson shuddered at the thought.
Of course they now had the problem of the Zerg themselves to deal with.
There were about 30 of them, all Zerglings, apart from 2 Hydralisks that had been sealed in massively thick containers.
Again, it was the first time for him to see the in the flesh – he didn't count Mia really, since she was a hybrid – and it was… unnerving to say the least.
They had some similarities to Mia that frightened him, even though he understood why. The bony carapace we exactly the same as Mia's, he bet if he touched it, it would feel the same. Their leathery looking skin was just like the skin around the growths on Mia's back, her heating vents. Their eyes were different; they did glow like Mia's though unlike hers they were a pale yellow or green.
He knew that they'd be killed and taken away for "scientific reason" (possibly not even killed, some might be taken to for observation in a controlled environment). Even if this wasn't the case; who the hell could they contact to collect them – Mia? He snorted to himself at this thought, whilst she might like to meet some of her other kin, he didn't think she was quite ready to make the connection to the Swarm's hive mind yet.
Thinking about this, he didn't know exactly how the hive mind worked – Mia would know by instinct, so he could ask her he guessed – so could they even go back? Had they been away too long; could they even be integrated back if they had?
It was all moot really, they wouldn't be going back and it was another thing that he was going to have to hide from Mia.
Whilst he didn't like lying to her, he knew that sometimes had had to; something's she just could not be allowed to know, even if she got through her training and became a marine – she was just not… human.
The mood in the training camp was almost, what was that complex word, jovial? Yes, that was it, Mia smiled to herself – though her cheek was still a little sore – as the Fleet Master himself had made an appearance and had "ordered" them to have a break (read: massive piss-up, going by the behaviour of the marines). She was quite surprised when he approached her separately to invite her, and to tell her not to worry about the incident with his son. Which he seemed rather… happy, if that was the right word, about the outcome of it.
In fact when she had asked about it, he'd laughed and almost repeated Kalin word for word! It made her feel a little better, even if he did go on to mention that this incident had gotten the attention of others, and to be on her best behaviour for a few months.
She wasn't the happiest she could've been, thanks to her argument with Karin the other day – they had made-up, but things were still touchy between them. Hannah had also told her off when she heard about what happened. Things were better with Hannah at the moment than Karin, and she hoped that she hadn't damaged their relationship; this was something that she truly feared. Other than being sent back to the lab, it was probably her biggest fear, actually.
The party had stepped up in activity as more people came off duty and joined in; it was getting quite loud to be honest.
Frankly, she didn't understand parties. They were quite foreign to her, that said, said did like it so far. Yes the hybrid did feel a bit like an outsider – which she was, in a way – and she didn't drink that much, but the atmosphere was very welcoming.
It seemed to help that Steven Jameson had been removed from this training programme. He had not been expelled from the N-training, he'd just been transferred away from Mia – and sworn into silence by his father, under the threat of actually being forced out.
Music had been playing and one of the marines asked her to dance, she tried but failed quite miserably; tripping over her own feet trying to keep up. In the end she'd waved off his attempts to teach her and sat down on the edge to watch and drink by herself.
Mia did really appreciate their efforts to include her, even if they didn't fully trust her yet, and planned to thank them all in the morning.
Kalin noticed her self-exile of the group and came to sit by her, the strong (and not to mention beautiful) woman had warmed up to her – though Mia's attraction to her was one-sided, and she'd started to accept that even though it hurt – and though not truly friends (yet, she hoped), they respected each other. And for Mia this was good enough.
Six months later…
Hannah Shepard stared at her "daughter" Mia, who was getting her first proper uniform complete with rank insignia. She was so damn proud of the hybrid, who had weathered many storms to get here; and now she had the potential to get the life that she wanted so much.
They were in the space normally occupied by the assault course, which had been removed for this occasion – the graduation ceremony. The families of the other marines, who had already been given their N-rank pips, had been briefed on Mia – and had signed a secrets act to be here.
She also knew that one of the marines had, with Mia's help, developed a set of goggles to cover the glow of her eyes during night, or infiltration missions. Mia had shown them to her, they had a HUD to help her out, which was nice; though due to her "hair" tendrils they clipped to these in lieu of a head-strap.
"Mia Sal Shepard, I hereby entitle you with the rank of Lieutenant and all the rights and privileges this entails." Admiral Hackett was speaking, to his left was a marine in full dress-whites (including the redundant sabre), who passed the bundle of the uniform to Mia – who looked to be barely containing her tears. "You will be given your assignment within a few days." He saluted, which Mia returned after holding the bundle of cloth under her left arm; then she turned on her "heel" and left the raised platform briskly.
Hackett had already approached her about the assignment; Mia was to be attached to David for a few missions, once they'd seen how she could perform in real combat situations her position would be assessed once again, reassignments made as needed.
Already Major Kalin had talked about her being good for the N-program. Her natural combat abilities – now they'd harnessed them – were perfect for either infiltration or direct assault. Kalin had, however, been the one to suggest the so-called "trail-period" – though she understood the reasoning perfectly. Mia was a hybrid, they still didn't entirely know how she would perform in a real fight – if her Zerg-side would come out and force her to do… unpleasant things.
Something's would come to a head sooner or later though. After all, Mia and David had not spoken for a while; something had happened between them that had caused them to have a huge argument. While Hannah did not know the whole story, she knew that it involved Zerg since she'd caught the tail-end of the fight.
"You think I wouldn't smell or sense them on you Anderson!?" Mia was nearly screaming. "I can smell their blood on you!" What the hell? – Hannah had thought. "What have you done?"
"My duty Mia; I'm a marine. I follow orders."
"You killed my kin!" Mia had moved across the room, her anger and confusion clear. "I don't know why I care so much…" She had yelled wordlessly in frustration.
"I didn't want you to know, I know that you feel a connection to them and I didn't want to upset you." David was trying to diffuse the situation.
"Didn't want to upset… not telling me is worse!" The hybrid spun on the spot, tendrils wide, and her eyes blazing. "Why'd you kill them?"
"I cannot tell you…"
"Fuck that! I need to know why!" Mia raked her claws across a table, she had left deep lines when she was finished.
"They were starved and being held for experimentation, it was kinder to end their suffering." She knew that saying that was almost too much information.
"End their suffering…" This did not placate her, as anger had flared again. "I want to know more; who was it? Was it Cerberus?"
David sighed, he could not say anything. "I cannot… cannot tell you; it's classified."
This made Mia explode into a series of expletives; though Hannah knew that Mia understood why he not allowed to tell her, that didn't mean that she had to like it.
"Fuck. This." Mia spat, leaving without saying another word.
Hannah knew she'd missed a lot of their argument, Mia and David knew she had been there as well, but quite frankly she didn't dare ask.
She didn't know whether or not they'd be able to work together – though she was mostly worried about Mia's reaction than David's; he had tried to talk to the hybrid, who had rebuffed his attempts.
Hopefully the two of them would work things out.
Two years later…
Mia was getting frustrated, she had been waiting for Anderson (sorry, Captain Anderson, she corrected herself) and Nihlus for several hours now. She was trapped, for want of a better word, onboard the SSV Obama as she was not allowed to go onto the Citadel.
She understood the reasons, she was still not publicly known and all that, and even agreed with it (though she would be lying if she said it didn't hurt her a little). The hybrid really wanted to got out and explore.
Unfortunately all she had for company was the rotation of crew for maintenance and her omni-tool.
It had taken her almost a year to forgive Anderson. It was hard to be in the same room as him for quite a while, not knowing if she would end up shouting at him again. She truly did understand why he could not tell her; but in a way, this made it worse for her. The hybrid now knew that things were being kept from her, that she was only being allowed to see what the Alliance – and possibly The Council – wanted her to see.
Mia did not like this either, but she kept telling herself that she was better off now than in a lab; which she truly believed, and would believe until she died.
She had finally found it within herself to speak to him, to try and get past their – well, mostly her, if she was honest – problems. It was not immediate, but they were now nearly back to their previous level of friendship.
As for the reason that they were docked with the massive Prothean structure, well, David had reached the end of his last mission with Nihlus – now all results of the Turian's observations were been presented to the Council and to several Spectres.
One name stood out to her – Saren.
That bastard had insulted her and Anderson when he'd come aboard to meet with Nihlus (who was an old friend it seemed). She' been called worse before though, so wasn't bothered by it – letting the hurt out only in private was common-place for her now.
It was the way Saren spoke to Anderson (and about humans in general) that riled her most. He had been so dismissive of everything about Anderson, saying that he wasn't impressed at all; that humans would never be ready for the responsibility of the position ("you apes are nothing more than glorified brutes", or, "I don't know why you fumble around in the dark human, your kind are not worthy of respect, let alone entry to the Spectres").
Anderson had been so surprised by the words that he had not been able to react – which was probably a good thing really. She had been on the end of her tether; thankfully Saren had left before she had snapped.
Even Nihlus seemed shocked. He explained that whilst Saren did not like humans – due to his brother being killed in The First Contact War – he normally respected ability like Anderson clearly had. He felt off to him, his sub-harmonics were different, he was angrier. It worried the Turian.
Mia had been put of by him when he first came met her, his eyes were just so distant, so cold. It was like he was just going through the motions; like he had somewhere else he'd rather be. When Nihlus mentioned his sub-harmonics she realised that this was something that she had noticed, but not quite understood.
That and something about him just rubbed her the wrong way.
Perhaps a little sneakily, she'd taken up a seat almost next to airlock, that way she could greet them when they arrived – glad that after a few months of awkwardness, her and David were back to being friends again.
She heard them before they entered the ship and it didn't sound good.
"What the fuck happened? Saren steps in and all of a sudden I'm not worthy?" It was Anderson and it really didn't sound good.
"I don't know David, I really don't." Nihlus sounded so damn confused by it all, compared to his normal self-confidence (born out being seriously amazing in a fight), it sounded very off-putting.
It was also clear that Saren had stepped in and somehow made sure that David did not get into the Spectres.
Their conversation stopped as they entered the Obama, David saw her waiting for them and gave a weak smile – nothing really needed to be said as she hugged him.
A few hours later and Mia had gone to bed, it was time for her night-cycle but she didn't think she'd get much sleep. Not after how Anderson had been fucked over.
It had angered her more than she thought it might, but her anger was under control (and was directed at Saren). It wouldn't allow her to sleep though; that and the fact that she was going to be dropped off for N-training soon.
Today should have a happy one, she mused, gaining entry to N-program and Anderson becoming a Spectre.
Not that she could do anything; the Council didn't listen to Nihlus so why the hell would they listen to her?
Her emotions were in turmoil and she did not know what to do.
Sleep was a long time coming.
And the next morning her head ached something fierce, in fact it was throbbing.
Unsure whether she was mutating subconsciously or whether something was wrong, or if it was just a normal headache, she decided to go see Karin – who had been transferred to the SSV Obama with her and Anderson.
Nihlus was going to remain onboard for their journey back to Prospect, where she'd disembark and get a shuttle to Earth for the start of her training, and she passed him in the corridor (though he was so engrossed in his datapad that he didn't appear to notice her). The moody Turian would be coming with her, on a separate shuttle than her, to avoid any "spies" as he'd said; she didn't know if he was joking or not.
Wandering towards the med-bay she also went by a few bridge crew coming off-shift, they knew about her of course (some had even come to her to talk; about her and other random things), and she greeted them after they said hello first. It did slightly worry her, if she was honest, that more and more people were learning of her; but, at the same time, she knew that eventually her existence would come to light.
It was only a matter of time.
She hoped that she could convince people to trust her.
The med-bay was almost empty when she got there; Karin was off to one side "treating" someone to a physical by the looks of it. Nurse Hia, a petite woman of Chinese descent, was the on-call nurse who met her at the door.
"Mia, it's good to see you! Are you okay?" Already a look of concern was on the humans face.
"I'm mostly okay Hia, just got a massive headache that I cannot seem to get rid of." She gestured at the side of her head. "Feels like I've head-butted a Krogan."
Hia chuckled and shook her head. "That is never a good thing to do!" She signalled for Mia to head to the closest bio-bed. "Sit down and I'll take some scans, just in case."
Following the instructions, she lightly hops onto the bed, swinging her legs up carefully – mindful (as always) of her claws. "Hopefully is it just stress, from you know, new posting and training."
"Ah, yes, I heard about that!" Hia fiddles with the scanner for a moment, before it springs to life and sends a blue light over her head a few times. "Congratulations are in order I think!"
Mia smiled; Hia seemed to always be extremely cheerful. "Thanks. Hopefully I can live up to it." A series of beeps told her that the scan was finished; she waited patiently while Hia checked the haptic screens over.
"Well, I cannot see anything different from the last check up. It might be worth waiting for Karin though, she would know better than me." Hia looked around at her with a smile. "I think it seems that you have nothing to worry about."
She slid off the bed and returned the smile. "Thanks, I'll hang around for Karin." The room was empty but… "Do you need any help while I wait?"
Hia thought for a moment and then activated her omni-tool. "Actually yes, it's a little boring but you help me arrange the latest deliveries. The asari that delivered it said that some of the crates had been mixed up, and to contact her if anything was missing." The woman moved to Mia's side and lifted her arm, connecting their omni-tools and she proceeded to transfer a scanning program across. "This will help you, all you need to do is scan the Huerta symbol and it will log it in the system. When we've finished it should automatically tell me if anything is missing – god bless auto-searches!"
This had the affect of making Mia laugh out loud.
Flight Lieutenant Jeff "Joker" Moreau might have been in a fair amount of pain, but he didn't care, he was top of the damn class!
The fucking cripple was top of his class!
If he wasn't worried about snapping his damn legs in half, he might've jumped up and down. Then again, probably not. Too much effort for such a little reward.
His crutches didn't feel like hindrances right now, they felt like badges of honour.
Thanks to his scores he'd earned an automatic promotion to FL and had gained attention from the Fleet Master himself!
He was so damned happy that he barely noticed a few of his conspiracy feeds blaring messages about the Zerg leaving Turian space.
His eye snapped back to his haptic screens.
Since when did Zerg leave anything?
He plonked down on his bed-come-chair in his tiny apartment on The Arc – or Arcturus Station. Though he was careful not do it too hard, lest he break anything.
Flicking on a haptic keyboard and page scroller, he read the article carefully. It appeared that the Zerg might have attacked for reason, going by what people were saying. According to various "sources" both of the colony worlds invaded had classified research stations – which he reasoned (along with others on the forums) was why the Zerg had attacked.
The Turians had probably done something to piss them off.
Ha, 'bout time someone kicked them to curb!
Still feeling elated, he hit the link to other Zerg-related pages and saw something very new. And very cool sounding.
Evidence of human/Zerg hybrid experiments?
What the shit?!
Clicking on the link he was greeted by a surprisingly short article, only a few paragraphs. He only really took notice of a few things.
"Overheard people saying… blah, blah… raid on illegal research station… fucking always on space stations… possible rescue of survivor… blah-di-fucking-blah… survivor might've been a hybrid…" He snorted. "Well that's all well and good, I want bloody pictures!"
Entering the forum-link – which was only two pages long – he saw a grainy picture of what might be someone with big hair.
Or it might a hybrid. It was such a shite picture that no one could be sure.
The person standing next to this grainy figure was quite clear to him however; since she was his gods-damned CO – Captain Hannah Shepard.
If anyone would know, it would the woman with the ear of the most decorated marine in the whole sodding Alliance; Captain David Anderson.
With a flick of his wrist he called up a message bar and typed out a quick message.
Hey Scott, it's me again. Heard anything about this supposed Zerg hybrid who's been hanging with my CO?
He doubted that he'd actually get a reply – at least not for a few days – and going by the lack of details he reckoned that it was a load of bullshit anyway.
Doctor Liara T'Soni was slightly worried and was trying her hardest not to become absolutely terrified.
The young asari was very carefully extracting a 50,000 year old skull fragment, which she assumed was Prothean. If it was it would about the hundredth amazing find on this dig alone!
Liara was with her Salarian assistant, down a subtly sloping tunnel that ran about 300 meters into the rock. They had come down to the end of it, from a large circular chamber about 200 feet across and half that high, a prefab building had been dropped in the right edge of clearing through a gap in the roof; dozens of support pillars, some which were crumbled after the years of neglect, lined the room. This was their living space and lab.
She just wished that the Salarian would stop fussing and give her more light – if she dropped this…
The light flickered and she froze, looking up slightly. "Please keep the light still! This fragment is very fragile!"
"Sorry Doctor. Trying to keep still. But also need to get back to repairing the generator. No sensors or communications. Not good if we run into trouble." His reply was even more hyper than most of his kind. But Doctor Velan was very good at his jobs, which was equally her assistant and site technician, without him this troublesome (yet very fruitful) expedition would have ground to halt weeks ago.
"I understand, and I shouldn't be much longer with your time; Goddess knows I need a rest myself."
After the light steadied she ever so carefully slipped the bone out of the dry earth and placed into a small stasis tube. Tapping a sequence of numbers into a haptic display on the side to log it into the system, and then she slowly stood holding her tools and the tube carefully. Velan tapped on his omni-tool and a shield sprung to life over the exposed ground to protect it from any stray elements.
"Lets get back to the buildings, and then we can figure out caused our power to go." Liara put the tube in a pocket of her Serrice University uniform, leaving her a hand free if she needed it. Walking in companionable silence, Liara realised how tired she was, and how much she wanted to shower.
They were almost back to the main site when Velan suddenly cut his the light on his omni-tool.
She was about to ask him why when she heard it; a chittering noise coming from the direction of their campsite. Following Velan's signal to crouch, they moved slowly up the tunnels incline.
The sight that greeted them was quite… terrifying.
About a score of Zerglings were hopping around the site, a few sniffing around the door to the prefab. She was aware that the Zerg had been spotted in the system a few years ago, but no evidence had placed them here…
One of the Zerglings screeched and darted away from the building as a shape lumbered around the side.
It was unlike anything she'd seen in her studies of the Zerg, it had six stubby legs, green mottled armour with spikes protruding from the top of it; a pair of bladed limbs rose up near its large, drooling maw. This thing was about twice the size of Zergling and quite frankly it was even more scare-inducing then them.
Liara regretted leaving her pistol by her bedside, not that it would make much difference if they swarmed them; there was simply too many of them.
Even her biotics and Velan's pistol wouldn't mean much against such numbers.
Looking at Velan he seemed just as afraid as she was, they couldn't get to their shuttle as things stood and trying to get away on foot was likely to not be a good idea. He signalled for them to move to the side, behind a support pillar.
He typed a message on his omni. Unsure how to proceed. Need to find a way to get to shuttle or drive them off.
Liara frowned; she didn't know what to do either! I'm at a loss as to what to do as well. We could wait them out, but they might not leave and more may even on their way.
She watched him about to type a reply when he froze, looking behind her, eyes wider than she thought possible.
A soft growl got her attention.
That larger unknown to her Zerg had ambled around the pillar right next to her!
It clearly saw them but it didn't seem… bothered.
In fact it tilted its head and walked right up to them; neither of them dared move lest they provoke it. Though from what Liara knew of Zerg they should be under attack already…
This Zerg, for whatever reason, didn't seem to care about them. It sniffed her, snorted and turned and walked away; making a few grunting sounds as it did so. Velan let out an audible breath of relief, which she nearly echoed only for the green armour to stop and turn back to face them. It did not come closer though.
Out of the corner of her eye she noticed the Salarian lifting his pistol. She waved at him to lower it, they weren't considered a threat at the moment, and whilst she had no idea if they would recognise a weapon, she did not want to chance it.
It did react to her movement, lowering its head and roaring at them – she could hear the Zerglings take notice; their noises changing.
Liara knew it was crazy but she held her hands out to the Zerg looking at them. "We are not a threat." She did not know if they understood speech either, but was willing to try. "We just want to leave you in peace but we need to get our shuttle."
The thing just cocked its head at her.
A cool feminine voice cut across the air. "He doesn't understand the meaning of your words."
Liara started and looked around in surprise, only for utter horror to rear up at the sight that greeted her.
Mia was thankful that when Karin was able to take a look at her scans that she just had a stress headache. She gave her a few painkillers – that she admitted might not actually do anything due to her Zerg physiology – and told her to try and relax for a few hours.
Helping Hia did help; it was actually a little relaxing to help with such a mundane task.
She had met the human when she'd transferred aboard, the similarity of their names confused Mia at first (much to Hia's amusement). It also took her quite a few attempts to understand the accent she had, the lilt on her words was quite different to everything she'd heard before; Hia (thankfully) understood and was patient with her; which Mia was in turn very grateful for.
Karin had almost expected them to not get on, but the hybrid found Hia to be a very fun person to be around, she always had a few stories to tell; little facts to give. The young Chinese woman loved to gossip for hours. Mia found it a little hard to keep up with, but the tid-bits of information she found out was enough to keep her listening.
They were almost finished stowing things away when the PA pinged, a monotone VI stating that mass relay transit had completed and travel time to Earth was estimated to be 46 minutes.
Within three days she would be moving to a training facility in Brazil to start her N-training. It was nerve-wracking. Yet also dreadfully, incredibly – she was not sure which – making her really happy. To be granted such an honour!
The hybrid knew that she might not pass the training, it would be the hardest thing she'd ever done; even though she had trained with N-candidates, they had worked a regime for her to follow that was tougher (if that was even possible) than she'd gone through. Knowing the reason why as well; thanks to her Zerg DNA the course that she had been part of had "forced" her to evolve – to mutate – to meet the needs placed on her; they were going to see just what the hell she was actually capable of achieving. Part of her wanted to find this out as well.
Upon arrival in Earth's orbit she was going to meet up with Kalin again – which pleased her, though they weren't exactly friends they had a mutual respect of each other.
She just hoped that Kalin had finally forgiven her for confessing that she found her attractive…
Still they need to get things moved to the shuttle bay, the SSV Obama would only be stopping long enough to let 3 shuttles off (and 3 on as replacements, with replacement crew and marines onboard as well), before it was headed out to join a battle group on anti-pirate missions.
It took a couple of trips to get all of the medical equipment loaded – Mia's surprising strength helping out greatly in that regard – onto the shuttle. In fact Mia's strength seemed to frighten on of the loaders, who almost fled once the shuttle was loaded, much to her amusement.
After that, Mia was incredibly surprised when a group of people turned up to say goodbye. In fact she started to cry as she was hugged. It was very new to her; and she liked it. She knew that she'd be welcome back in the Prospect, which gave her a curtain of security if things went wrong.
After a tearful goodbye, Mia climbed into the passenger compartment of the shuttle – which was oversized to be able to carry medical equipment to and from earth – and sat next to a window. She waved out the window at the group, though they did wave first.
When the shuttle door closed, it was very claustrophobic to her, to begin with anyway. They lifted off moments later, the group leaving her sight quickly so she sunk down onto her seat. One clawed toe tapping the floor as nerves crept back.
She quickly settled down, watching the stars whip by out the window was very relaxing (not to mention fascinating).
The trip was going to be a short one but without anything to do she quickly got bored. Karin and Hia were sleeping and no one else was on board – other than the pilots who'd come to fetch them – so she took to pacing for a bit. Then she took to counting the lines on the carapace on her hands.
She was bored!
She knew that it was partly because of her nerves, but also partly because – as Karin had explained – she was still quite childlike. Her attention span was getting better but she still lost interest in some things quickly.
Which is why knocked on the door to the cockpit, after it slid open the female pilot greeted her. "Hey Mia, everything okay?"
She took a step in before stopping. "Just bored."
"Not been on a shuttle ride before?" The woman glanced at her.
"Not openly, no." She tilted her head. "I passed out when rescued and my other trips have been in secret."
"Right, I see. Don't worry we won't be much longer." The pilot pointed out the window. "See that blue dot?"
"Why's it blue?"
"Really, you don't know?" The pilot was really surprised.
"I've seen pictures…"
"Crikey… Well, it looks blue because most of earth is water."
Mia blinked at that, giving a cheeky grin. "I though earth was, you know, dirt."
The pilot looked around at her, and then saw her grin. "Haha, very funny."
"Sorry, couldn't resist that!" The male co-pilot chuckled to himself, which cut off with a 'hey!' when the woman slapped his arm.
"There was me thinking you actually didn't know." The woman did laugh now.
"What can I say; I'm trying to grasp humour." Mia leaned on an empty chair. "How did I do?"
"Well, that was more deceptive than humorous… but you're making progress." She gestured at the chair Mia was leaning on. "Sit down, stay with us if you want; just please don't touch anything."
"Karin's sleeping, so I'll stay for bit." She sat down carefully, avoiding leaning the console next to seat.
She spent the next hour chatting with them, watching the blue dot get larger and larger. Soon it was massive, filling the entire view screen.
"It's beautiful…" She stood and leaned closer to the screen, staring at the blues and greens.
"You wait to you see the place where you're going. It's right the jungle, looking down over a valley; it's amazing."
The pilot wasn't lying.
The view was stunning.
Mia was still on the shuttle, as per Admiral Hackett's instructions she was waiting until the landing pad was clear; she was be signalled when it was, since she didn't have an omni-tool of her own, nor was able to see the pad (she was safety out of sight in the cockpit).
Karin had gone ahead to supervise the equipment being unloaded and set up. She'd also heard Nihlus's voice outside, greeting Karin, but wouldn't see him until tonight; when they moved into the tent set aside for her. She didn't know where Hia had gone.
She was now getting bored again; the hybrid was learning patience the hard way today she mused to herself.
It was starting to get dark – about 3 hours later – when Nihlus opened the cockpit door. "Hello again Mia."
She was actually glad to see him. "Nihlus! About time, I'm going stir crazy here!" She smiled at him and he chuckled, mandibles flaring in amusement.
"Well, the pad is clear now; follow me." He stood back and gestured for her to follow.
She looked out the door of the shuttle, pausing when the burst of hot air hit her again; it was even more beautiful with the red sky thanks to the sunset.
Her first step onto actual dirt (not the man-made stuff on Prospect) made her stop and wiggle her clawed toes, a moan of surprised pleasure coming from; making Nihlus look at her, surprise on his face.
"What is it?" He asked.
"My first real dirt…"
The Turian blinked in surprise but understood quickly. "I'm sorry, we must move quickly. You'll have to time later to… explore later."
She knew she must look disappointed but she nodded and followed; all while enjoying the feeling of dirt on her feet.
The sight that greeted Liara was something that might have been a human, at some point.
Now though the former human woman had sickening growths all over her naked form, pulsing with bioluminescence they broke her flesh in many places.
Red hair that graced her head the only part of her that remained fully human.
She had to force bile back down her throat – this poor woman had been infested with the Zerg-virus.
The Zerg Hyper-Evolutionary Virus, to give it its full name, was an intelligent virus that could corrupt any being that it came across. It affected all species the same way, the victims' nervous system was overwhelmed by the attack, rendering them open to control the queens of The Swarm and it also kick-started the various growths she could see now. No one had been able to study the virus in any great detail, since only a few infested people had been taken alive; so the purpose of the growths was not known.
And by all reports none of them could talk.
Much to her amazement the figure seemed to read her surprise. "Yes, I can still talk, unlike most people like me. I think I'm different. You best leave now, more are coming and I cannot control myself for much longer."
Liara felt Velan pulling at her arm, hauling her towards the shuttle, she spoke anyway. "Do we have time gather our things?"
The thing looked at her without any emotion. "Only if you leave within the next few minutes."
Liara allowed herself to dragged along by Velan, the Zerglings parting to let them through as they entered their prefab. Knowing they had only moments, they both took only the most important items before fleeing to the shuttle.
As Velan started it up and the Zerg started to get riled up, Liara looked at the poor woman again. "Do you remember your name?"
"My name?" Confusion was clear even on her mutating features. "I think it was Sarah. Sarah Kerrigan."
A/N2: Cliff-hanger ending surprise! Several major characters introduced! Whoop!
I made Joker more of a conspiracy theorist than in the games (he's more just paranoid, I feel, than a conspiracy theorist in the games). I felt that several years have passed since Mia was "rescued", leaks are bound to happen and where this goes… tune-in next time!
For the ending, I debated with myself who to use for the cliff-hanger. I settled on Liara as Tali had not yet left the Flotilla, Ashley is stuck on shit missions, Kaiden is busy elsewhere, and Garrus is on the Citadel. It didn't feel right making someone up just for that scene, so who better than someone who know is away from home!
And Kerrigan, she is different from the games (since Mia is technically her). To say more would be, as River Song says, spoilers!