My first fanfiction in YEARS...
IMPORTANT SPECIAL THANKS THING
Special thanks to TheRev28 for being awesome. Read his things.
Special thanks also to Iyrsiiea for indirectly inspiring me to start this. Read her things too.
And a really, really big special thanks to everyone at the Aria's Afterlife forum. Read the things of everyone there while you're at it.
Just don't tell them I sent you.
I disclaim Mass Effect and all other stuffs that go along with it. I also disclaim any other registered stuffs referred to in this work of nonprofit fanfiction. I simply love Mass Effect so much that I wish to insert a dude vaguely based off of myself into its universe so that he can have radical adventures. Is that too much to ask? Please don't eat my face off for it!
Somewhere, a universe stands marked by burning twinkles and entities that swallow light. In its folds, a galaxy turns in a swirling pattern and awaits the day when a greater force will tear it apart. Until that fateful event, life sustains itself within the galaxy's trappings. Moving about between two and four hundred billion stars via an intricate system of objects known as Mass Relays, races of tiny, insignificant beings dither about in hopes of placating their desires as civilizations. They live, they love, they war, they pay, and they die.
Such is the wheel of life.
In this galaxy, known as the Milky Way to some, the better part of the inhabitants bases its association out of the Citadel. An enormous relic left behind by those that came before, the Citadel serves as a center of government and cultural hub for most of the galaxy's races. These races have come together to form the Citadel Council and its member races. At the beginning of our story, the Council is comprised the three most dominant races, guiding the other races by controlling the galactic economy and enforcing laws for the supposed betterment of all existence.
All races willing to follow the Council's way are welcome on the Citadel, a fact bolstered by the station's population of approximately thirteen million. This massive population is kept in line by the local police operation, known as Citadel Security Services, or C-Sec. With over two hundred thousand constables patrolling the station in search of threats to public safety, C-Sec is renowned for its abilities in keep the station safe for all of its citizens, and being assigned to its ranks is indeed a feat of prestige.
Alas, it was one such prestigious man, a balding human with the unfortunate job of patrolling a beat through of some of the deepest and most unsavory alleys on the entire station, who became the first person to see a boy standing frozen with a look of pure terror on his face.
The boy was blond with blue eyes, the former a dye job and latter a paternal trait. The former could be told by the black roots clearly evident at the base of the boy's hairline. The latter wasn't actually evident at all. I only know it because I was the boy.
Chapter 1 – Hold Your Breath, Count to One
"Hey, kid," the C-Sec cop said in my direction. His boots clapped on the cold metal tract that comprised the floor beneath us. He eventually made it all the way up to me, and yet I hadn't budged. My eyes, along with every other fiber of my being, were too busy being fixated on what was above me. The cop followed my gaze, probably expecting to see something to aptly explain my petrified expression. Instead, he just found the typical grayish-thistle colored expanse that typically served as the Citadel's sky. Along it sat four enormous arms, each one holding what amounted to a city. These, along with the fifth arm that the boy and the cop were standing on, made up what were known as the Wards. Each ward arm held what basically amounted to a city. There were five in total, Zakera, Tayseri, Kithoi, Bachjret, and a fifth that was somehow able to be both Shalta and Aroch Ward at the same time.
Anyway, the cop failed to see anything that really impressed him, so he looked back down to me. I, being the moron I was, hadn't strayed an inch from where I'd been. My eyes were drying out by this point, but I was too afraid to blink. Thoughts and possibilities were tumbling through my head at speeds that boggle my mind to this day. I was frazzled, no doubt. You'd have been frazzled too if you'd just popped up on the Citadel with no rhyme or reason.
…What do I mean by that? It's pretty self-explanatory, honestly.
"Kid? You alright?" the man continued to try and get my attention. He snapped next to my ear, waved his hand in front of my face, and even gave a high-pitched whistle. Nothing could stir me from gazing up at the rest of the Citadel like it was telling me the darkest secrets of existence.
Eventually, after about a minute of wondering what the world he could do, the cop finally decided to man up and do the reasonable thing. He poked me in the side. Now, call me ticklish, but poking me in the side is a sure-fire way to get me to react. I jumped back a good two feet and readied myself for anything. Until this point, I had been ignoring the man. I hadn't actually known if he was a human or a turian or whatever. Seeing him, however, made me relax just a little.
"Take it easy," he said in a calm fashion as he put his hands out to show that he wasn't holding anything threatening. "What's your name?"
"John," I told him without overthinking it.
"John, my name's Greg," he said, probably in some attempt to make me feel like he was my friend. "What're you doing out here?"
That was one hell of a question and, as you might expect, I didn't have a real answer. Thus, I was really only left with one good option.
"Standing," I gave the most basic and obvious riposte I could think of. Yeah… Not gonna say that I was the brightest crayon in the box, if you know what I mean.
The cop almost laughed, I think, either having liked the joke or having been expecting something more meaningful. Either way, he seemed to accept it. "Well, listen, you should probably be getting home. This isn't the best place to hang around."
"Uh…" I had been about say something dim-witted and suspicious, but was interrupted when the cop suddenly felt the need to lean out and look past me. I turned in tune with his looking, only finding the eventual end of the alley we were standing in. Nonetheless, he passed by and broke into a silent run down the corridor, only stopping to check around the corner before proceeding. Once he'd disappeared, it occurred to me that staying in this place probably wasn't the best idea. If there are beat cops running around and telling kids to go home, then the logical idea would be to make like an Egbert and abscond.
I left the alley via the same way the cop had entered, thinking that it would do me the best in avoiding whatever trouble he had just run off to solve. Unfortunately, before I could so much as mumble "Cool absconding, bro!" to myself, something came stampeding out from the next alley up and noticed me. It was a man in black clothes and a bandana across his face, giving the firm impression that I really was in the wrong place. I thought about taking off, but the guy was on me before I could get my head out of my ass. How he did it was a haze of motion in my mind, but he somehow got me in a choke hold with a gun to my head before I could properly react.
"Don't move, fucker," he cursed at me as his forearm pressed against my throat and his pistol found its place pointed at temple. My body froze, relaxing while at the same time steeling. If self-defense classes and watching too many Hollywood action movies had taught me anything, it was that tensing up or struggling like an idiot never helped anybody being held hostage. Doubly so when the hostage-taker was armed. I needed a clear head and a deep breath.
Not a whole five seconds later, Greg the C-Sec cop came sliding out of the same alley my assailant had. As I did my best to avoid giving the man a reason to shoot me, Greg pulled his own pistol and pointed it our way like a damn cop might.
"C-Sec!" he declared himself loudly with the gun pointed squarely forward. "Don't do it, you moron!"
"Shut up!" my assailant took a step back, which I had to match. "They wanna hang me out to dry? I ain't going down without making a statement!"
"It ain't worth it!" Greg argued, either buying time or genuinely trying to talk the character down. "You didn't even have a reason for me to detain you until you grabbed the kid."
"Yeah? Then why were you following me?"
This was the part where my face slid into a scowl. I'm not sure why, but the prospect of listening to a criminal and a cop argue semantics bored the hell out of me. Definitely took away the adrenaline rush of being taken hostage.
"It's my job. Civilians aren't allowed in this district," Greg informed us. That explained why he told me to move on. "Probably why your boss told you to come out here. Get yourself arrested or killed and he won't have to dispose of the body."
"Man, shut the fuck up!" my assailant turned the gun away from me and towards Greg. That had escalated quickly, but, if anything, it gave me a chance to strike.
It was all a matter of moving while the thug was distracted. I raised my knee, held out my arm, and slumped my head forward. Greg opened his mouth to shout something, but it was too late. All at once, I brought my heel down on top of the thug's foot, jabbed my elbow into his side, and jerked my head back into his face. I did it fast and I did it hard. The thug reeled back, his arm swinging wide just before the pistol went off in a moment of shock.
Still, he was jolted and I had a shot at freedom. I pushed off of the man with my foot and pulled forward, having the luck of him not having grabbed my jacket or anything. Surprisingly, it didn't take a whole lot of effort to break entirely free of his arm, as he pulled it back to his face as things progressed. With my neck free of potential choking, I reached up, got my hands on his pistol, and delivered a roundhouse kick to the side of his head. Just like that, he was on the ground, I had the gun, and Greg moved in.
"Don't move, dirtbag!" Greg enforced as he kept his gun trained on the firmly grounded asshole. I, on the other hand, just kind of slumped off the side and leaned against the wall. That was the first time I'd ever had to do that to someone who wasn't just helping me learn. Even then, I'd never actually pulled all of those hits at once. It was kind of disorienting.
As Greg proceeded to call in backup through his omni-tool, I went about composing myself. I had a special routine for helping me get by whenever I got shaken up by something. It was simple. Hold your breath, count to one, and get the fuck over it. Now breathe out. Profit!
With that out of the way, I went back to looking up. There was the Citadel sky, just as hazy and sci-fi as it had been five minutes ago. This time there was a ship flying overhead. Ships overhead, the Citadel, C-Sec, guns…
I'm in Mass Effect, my brain finally got around to spelling it out for me. If there were ever a thought that could singlehandedly bring one's sanity into question, then there it was. I couldn't help but hold my breath and count to one again.
Goddammit, I scowled to myself when it didn't work.
The call came from behind where Greg was, and I looked to find a turian jogging over. He wasn't armored, like most C-Sec turians I could remember seeing in the source material. No, he just had on some basic blue and black clothes that would be normal for his race.
"Nice takedown," the turian noted once he'd made it up to where Greg was standing. "Is he unconscious?"
"Not sure," Greg shook his head. "You bring cuffs? I had to use mine on that salarian dealer earlier."
"Of course," the alien reached onto his belt and pulled up what I could only assume were the Mass Effect version of handcuffs. He wasted no time applying them to the thug's wrists, not getting any resistance. In spite of what Greg thought, that guy was definitely knocked out. I didn't kick him in the head because I'm sadistic. I did it to put him down for the count.
"Yeah, this guy's dead weight," the turian noted as he tried to haul the thug up. Placing him back down, the alien looked up to Greg. "Since when do you go for knock-outs?"
"I didn't," the human jerked a thumb at me. The turian perked up, apparently not having noticed me as he was running up. "There should be a car here any minute. I'm gonna have a chat with the kid."
The turian nodded and, with that said, Greg approached me. Biting my lip, I looked away and silently wished that I had something to drink. I could feel it in my bones that this was not going to be a pleasant day. Not by any means.
"Any particular reason you're still hanging around here?" he asked, looking at me like I'm a total idiot. I definitely wouldn't have argued against that idea. Not that I really had anywhere to go if I had run off, that is.
"I dunno," I grimaced, not looking him in the eye. "Aren't you supposed to take my statement or something?"
"Actually, I have you for trespassing on private property, but I wasn't about to chase a kid a stupefied as you for that," he tells me with a suppressed grin. "Also, if you don't hand over that gun, I'll have you for possession of an unregistered firearm as well."
I looked down at the pistol I'd taken from the thug, slightly shocked that I'd forgotten I was holding it. Not saying a word, I handed it to him. I can't forget how awkward that felt. Not only was I stuck in what was supposed to be a completely fictional place, but I was in trouble with the cops as well. My mom would have had a goddamn cow if she'd found out about this.
"So, uh… Do I get to go now?" I asked sheepishly.
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