So, this is a new project. I fell out with the ideas behind my Harry Potter story, but I've been captured by Mass Effect in a way that surprised me. But, I don't like some of the things I encountered throughout the series. So here we are. Or more specifically, here I am. While the OC in this story will have a very different background from me, he will be loosely based on my personality, or at least a battle-hardened, slightly biased version of my personality. Well, I've written far too much up here. Carry on!
All Mass Effect related content in the following text is the property of Bioware. I own Sam. I think.
Note: Edited as of 20/10/2013
The experience of having my head smashed against a cold, hard metal surface was a deeply painful one, accompanied by a slightly concerning cracking noise as I toppled to a floor that, as far as I was aware, should not have been there. My landing almost squarely on my head does not improve matters, as I end up collapsing to the cold floor from an impromptu, deeply painful handstand position. Deciding just to lie there for a moment, mainly to groan and let the pain fade away, I try to figure out where the hell the floor had come from.
So far as I'm aware, the floor of my student accommodation in London doesn't have any metal surfaces, although the fact that my last memory involved working on an essay concerning nuclear physics with some form of beer on the desk next to my laptop did not bode well for the direction the night had taken. Getting drunk had not been on the agenda for the night, I mentally berate myself, albeit to little effect due to the pain which shows no signs of fading anytime soon.
Groaning at the pain, I crack my eyes open and immediately regret it, as my eyes are instantly flooded with light. Waiting a moment to let the sensation fade and to allow my eyes time to adjust, I move my arms from the spread eagle position they had been in to try and lift myself off the cold floor.
Huh. Odd. Limbs seem to be fully responsive, not something I would normally associate with a hangover. I wasn't complaining though, as I was able to slowly lift myself to the point where I was kneeling, and able to look at my immediate surroundings thanks to the light being out of my eyes.
The floor seemed to be exactly as I had felt, smooth, cold, metallic. Nothing interesting there, but it did add further urgency to the question of where the hell I was. I almost wished I hadn't asked when I looked up and saw the sight of a clear blue sky, dotted with clouds and without a single overly tall glass building in sight.
Maybe I was right about the hangover, and perhaps I should add something less legal to that possibility considering that I seem to be quite some way from where I was last night. I can wonder about getting back later, I suppose. No need to worry about that immediately.
A throbbing pain in my skull brings me back to reality, and I realise I should probably find a slightly better place to recover then a backstreet of somewhere. I look around and see the exit of the backstreet and begin to head towards it. I can see silhouettes of people walking past the exit of the backstreet. Maybe they can tell me where I am.
I clamber to my feet, taking a couple of initially shaky but increasingly confident steps forward towards the exit of the street I'm currently in. There's something off about the silhouettes passing by, but I can't quite make my brain lock onto it through the throbbing of my head.
I stop dead as I get closer to the exit and the silhouettes become clearer to me. I swear that the figure that just walked past was blue. Which does lend weight to the idea that perhaps I may have taken something I wouldn't normally take last night. Blue? Why does that trigger some memories? Huh, that's odd. I swear that I've heard of people with blue skin before. Nonetheless I keep moving, wearier of the throbbing in my skull than anything else at the moment.
I draw closer to the exit of the backstreet, somehow with nobody noticing me, and then stop again before starting to back away as something huge lumbers past the entrance in what seems to be some kind of armour. My head throbs even more painfully as I try and force myself to remember where the memories of this is coming from.
Then, as I back away down the alley and out of any potential sight, the light clears. Just for a brief moment, but it's enough to glimpse what lies beyond the alleyway. And what I see shocks me utterly. A statue, hewn from rock, of a Mass Relay.
Blinking in shock, I back up a little further down the alleyway before slumping against the metal wall of the alley. Did I just see a statue of a Mass Relay? A Mass Relay? I can't have done, surely, I can't possibly have seen a piece of fictional technology from a trilogy of games that I enjoy? Can I? It sure seems like I did, but still.
I sit there for some time contemplating my situation as best I can through the pain in my head. It just doesn't seem possible that I could have been in London fifteen minutes ago in the year 2013 and then be on the Citadel from Mass Effect in the year...I realise that I don't actually know what year it is. Unfortunate.
The throbbing in my head has gotten worse. I should probably see a doctor, but I can barely move through a haze of pain and exhaustion induced by the pain. And anyway, if I sleep then it might turn out that this is just some kind of fever dream, right?
With what little is left of my conscious mind satisfied with my reasoning, I give in to the exhaustion and fade off into sleep.
Sleep was over all too soon. At the very least I can't feel the pain emanating from my skull anymore, which is nice. I don't really want to open my eyes, as I can feel the cool metallic wall against my back which tells me that I've woken up in exactly the same place where I fell asleep. Oh, bloody hell.
I crack my eyes open and try to quickly adjust to the light, trying not to think about the enormity of my situation and failing utterly. I mean, everything that I actually care about is more or less gone. Not only in space, but most likely in time, seeing as how I am currently on the Citadel and not in my place of residence in London. Which is most unfortunate.
I eventually get a hold over my thoughts and breathe in deeply. Right, time to prioritise. First of all, let's get the date. That would certainly be nice and then I can find out just how far removed I am from my life. To this end, I get up and begin to walk, mercifully pain-free towards the exit of the alleyway.
I reach the end of the alleyway and brace myself for what's about to happen mentally. I breathe slowly and then step out of the alleyway and into the light of the Citadel.
The first thing that hits me as the light in my eyes fades is the sweet smell of the air. I must be on the Presidium somewhere, there's no way in hell that the Wards have the sweet smell of flowers in them.
The light soon clears from my eyes and I take a look around. Yeah, this is definitely the Presidium, what with the tall metal buildings with fancy balconies and overhangs, the artificial lake that I'm looking over right now and of course the actual exposure to the sky, which must be a plus. I wonder how it works, living with the sun constantly reflecting off of all this metal. Surely that must get annoying?
Shaking my head clear of this distraction, I move on. It would appear that I'm in the main area of the Presidium from the first game, which means I'm probably here before the Battle of the Citadel, which is nice. I think I'm near the Human Embassy, which means that I'm near an Avina terminal which I can use to determine the date. Actually, since it's most likely that Avina will realise that I'm not from around here, it might be better to try elsewhere first.
Hmm, the Financial District might be a good idea, they must have some form of public timekeeping to better oil the wheels of commerce. Plus, that area values secrecy and therefore C-Sec might be a little less freaked if they notice a completely undocumented human wandering around.
Mind made up, I set off towards the Financial District, continuing to take in the sights of the Presidium through my own eyes, a surreal experience. That Mass Relay statue makes me uneasy, but then again I do know what it actually is. Its presence here does indicate that Sovereign has not yet launched his attack.
I cross a bridge over the artificial lake-that thing is ridiculous, how'd they build it?-and as I do so I come across an Asari and a Salarian having a hushed conversation. I try not to stop and stare when I see them, instead turning away and looking into the fishless water as I cross, but I realise with a start that the two aliens are speaking in completely different languages.
Oh hell, I don't have a bloody translator, do I? This could be quite a serious issue, all things considered. I force myself to keep walking and not stop to dwell on the potential consequences of this new development.
While that gnaws at the back of my mind I arrive at the Financial District and immediately find what I'm looking for. A large, electronic 'billboard' of sorts, covered in a variety of alien languages and other markings, presumably some sort of stock exchange. It concerns me that there's no unified written language, which can only make my life more complicated.
Scattered around the area are a number of people of different species all gazing intently up at the billboard, presumably here for the stock market. I, however, have simpler business at hand. My eyes run over the ever changing array of numbers and statistics in search of a date.
Eventually I find what I'm looking for in a corner of the screen-it's just four numbers, but I have to blink and look again when I see them.
Oh, this is certainly an intriguing development. It would appear that whatever dragged me here just so happened to drop me in just the right time and place to see the action. 2183…the year of Mass Effect 1. If the date is correct, then it's more than possible that Commander Shepard hasn't started the hunt for Saren yet.
This could certainly be exciting. When I was younger I had always hoped against all reasonable hope that I would get an opportunity to be part of Commander Shepard's crew, and now a potential opportunity had been dropped against my will right in my lap. The possibility to be a part of the trilogy…
No. Wait. Priorities! I am not currently in a position to be going off and helping Shepard, certain things need to be resolved first. Most pressingly, my inability to understand a damn word either written or spoken. Now where would I be able to get a translator from? Perhaps I'll be able to find something useful in the Wards markets. I'll just have to hope that I'll be able to communicate with someone.
Mind made up, I set off for the Wards. The elevator shouldn't be far from here, if I recall correctly. I set off in the direction of the Krogan statue in the distance, an incredibly surreal sight to say the least, remembering that the elevator was in that general area.
I do eventually find the elevator and get into an elevator with actual people in it, which is odd considering that in the game every single elevator was unoccupied no matter where you were or how crowded the area was. I suppose real life doesn't use elevators as loading screens, so people actually use them now. Hopefully it also means that they won't be as slow as they were in the games.
A few minutes into the elevator journey, I realise that this is in fact very much not the case. I mean, the elevator doesn't seem to be going that far, so why is it taking so long? It just doesn't seem to be practical to have such a barrier to movement around the Citadel.
I stop thinking about this as soon as the elevator stops and quickly head out into the Wards in search of the Markets.
It's odd seeing the relative grime of the Wards in comparison to the Citadel, with the Wards being dark and shady where the Presidium is bright and open. It's interesting to see that even one hundred and seventy years into the future we still have significant sections of the population, even here, at the heart of galactic civilisation, forced to live in the dark parts of the galaxy. Well, at least it's not Omega, but it still irritates me that the Citadel can't be a haven from the spectre of poverty.
For the moment, I have greater concerns. I force the thoughts of social injustice out of my mind for the moment and press on through the Wards looking for a translator.
Working from memory, I soon find myself amongst the little pseudo-market stalls of the Markets. There must be somebody here who can help me, maybe some kind of tech salesman.
I begin to stroll around the Markets, acting like a curious customer just browsing what's available. I can smell something cooking in the distance, which only lends authenticity to the feeling of being in a proper market. Apart from the various bits of futuristic technology and the copious amounts of metal being used here.
I quickly find what I'm looking for: a Salarian managing a small and otherwise lonely stall covered in various pieces of technology I can barely begin to understand just from looking at them. There must be something that I can use here.
Cautiously, I approach the Salarian, reasoning that his translator will be capable of interpreting my speech and therefore I shall not be forced to resort to hand gestures. With this in my mind, I draw near the Salarian and begin to speak "Uh, excuse me? I need some help."
The Salarian sure seems to understand, his visage assuming a Salarian approximation of something which I've seen many times before, that of a polite, attentive shop clerk. Can't say that I expected that from the Wards. Then again, these are the Upper Markets, so maybe that's why. The Salarian speaks then, in a bizarre language that goes straight in one ear and out the other it's so complex.
After he's finished with whatever he was saying, I speak again, this time somewhat apologetically "Uh, sorry, but I don't have a translator. That's why I'm here. Can you help me?"
He seems slightly taken aback at this, not really surprising considering that I imagine that some form of translation technology must be standard issue from birth at this point. Nonetheless, he thinks for a moment and then nods, before ducking under the counter and then emerging with small metal box, which he passes over the counter to me.
I open the box, which contains four objects, a pair of what look like small metal circles, and a pair of contact lenses. Huh? I look up at the Salarian inquisitively, and he motions for me to pass the box back over.
I do so and he reaches into the box and pulls out one of the metal circles which he holds up to his ear. Oh, so that's what you do with them. Ok, that makes sense. The Salarian passes the circle over and I place it, carefully, inside my ear. I do the same with the other and wait for something to happen.
The Salarian speaks again, but this time I actually understand him "Did that work? I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't, it's an outdated model."
I nod, and respond "It works great, thank you so much." Wow, that's a relief. The ability to actually speak to people is definitely a relief. "So I guess these are for my eyes?" I ask, holding up one of the contact lenses.
The Salarian nods "That's right. Those are to translate written words. It's an outdated and uncomfortable method of doing it, but it gets the job done."
I place the contact I'm holding inside my eye and blink for a couple of seconds, adjusting to the unusual sensation of having something in my eye willingly. I look around for something written and spot a signpost: 'LOWER MARKETS', well, I guess it is working. I place the other contact in my eye and turn back to the Salarian, suddenly realising I don't have any way of paying for this. "Thanks! Now, about payment..."
The Salarian stops me with a hand "No need to worry. That model's so outdated I probably couldn't sell it. You need it, so take it. No cost." Uh, that's generous. Also entirely unexpected, but I'm not exactly going to complain about it.
"Thanks so much. I really needed this." The Salarian nods, and I turn away, slightly surprised at how simple that was. Now, what next? I need to find some way to get in contact with Shepard. Hmm. I sift through my memories of ME1, and remember that Chora's Den isn't far from here. That might be a good place to go, it would give me an opportunity to help Tali out. It sure seems like the best option for the moment, so I set off.
I pass Emily Wong on my way through the Wards. Hopefully she'll get the information she needs from Shepard. It would be a shame to see organised crime remain unreported on the Citadel.
Soon after I pass through the alleyway where Tali will be met by Fist's thugs later on. I take a moment to look around the area and see if I can come up with some sort of plan, but eventually conclude that without the thugs actually standing here I can't do anything, so I move on.
A few minutes later I'm standing outside Chora's Den, the sound of very electronic music blasting out through the shut door in front of me. I never really went in for the whole 'let's all go out and get drunk' thing back home, so this would sure be a new experience.
I walk in through the door and take a look around. I gotta say, I disagree with Ashley Williams on many things, but I most definitely agree with her that it's sad that at the end of the day, after coming so far in the galaxy, people can still be found in bars drooling over dancing women.
Ah well, it can't be helped. I move to take a seat at the bar, but then I see, out of the corner of my eye, a quarian, mouthpiece blinking as they talk, in the far side of the room nearby to where the entrance to Fist's office is. Well, well, well, what do we have here? Seems like I might be in luck in planning my next step.
I move around the bar, which is unfortunately empty, making my movement look most conspicuous. Well it would if anyone was actually looking at me, and, for various reasons, I'm quite certain that most people's attention is focused away from me.
I take a seat as close as possible to where the conversation is taking place, and wave away the barkeeper when they walk up, instead placing my head on the table and pretending that I'm just trying to sleep. Instead, I start to listen to the conversation taking place behind me. As soon as the Quarian opens their mouth I'm absolutely certain it's Tali. It's hard to misplace that voice.
"So, you're absolutely certain that you can set up a meeting with him?" she doesn't sound good. She sounds scared, panicked. The Galaxy has been mistreating her recently, what with the assassination attempt and the Quarian bias. That would all change soon, if everything goes to plan.
A man responds. Human, must be Fist "Of course, I have good contact with the Broker, and he just happens to be in the area, and he is most willing to be a part of this transaction. He sees the value of what you carry, and recognises the importance it could have. He'll see that it falls into the right hands." Fist, you utter bastard.
Tali still doesn't sound calm, but her voice isn't actually shaking anymore "T-thank you. Where should I meet him?" Oh dear, hook, line and sinker. Then again, she doesn't exactly have any reason to suspect Fist of anything as stupid as betraying the Shadow Broker. It does make me wonder what Saren offered Fist. Or maybe, Fist is just a complete idiot. It's probably the latter.
"There's an alleyway nearby where I conduct business with the Shadow Broker. I'll meet you there in, say, five hours, ok? I should have everything prepared by then." I hear the sound of footsteps behind me and realise that the conversation is over. Hmm, five hours from now? Not bad, I have a bit of time to prepare.
Fist speaks up again just as the footsteps, presumably Tali's, reach me "Listen, there's no need to worry, you'll be safe now. We'll see that this goes well, and that you don't get harmed." Wow, has this guy ever heard of laying it on too thick? Even if I didn't already know that he'd betrayed the Shadow Broker I'd be suspicious of how this guy was talking.
I hear the door of Fist's office open and close, and then the sound of footsteps again, this time moving away from me. Guess that the conversation's really over now. Deciding it would be suspicious if I just suddenly 'wake up' as soon as the conversation between Fist and Tali is over, I resolve keep my head on the table for a while longer as I think about what needs to be done next.
Obviously Tali could do with a little extra help, even though that wasn't really a situation that could go 'wrong' per se, seeing as how Shepard is now human I would rather not have the human margin of error. Plus, every little helps, right? Of course the real question is-how can I help? I've never fired a weapon in my life and having never knowingly been exposed to Element Zero, I've most likely got no biotic talent knocking about. So even if I could get a weapon of some kind, which I doubt could be done without a license and/or credits, neither of which I have, I wouldn't really be any good with the thing.
I have more time to mull over that one, and it doesn't leave out the possibility of acquiring some sort of blunt object. That would be the most effective solution short of a firearm, but I'd still be screwed without the element of surprise. But for the moment, a thought has crossed my mind which requires even more of my attention. That, of Commander Shepard.
The problem with Shepard is the fact that the number of variable is so bloody wide. It's not just a matter of gender, or appearance, it's a fundamental matter of personality and outlook. I could never tolerate Renegade Shepard or their actions, which involved worrying amounts of genocide, and that was in the game. I'm certain that I would find a Renegade Shepard entirely intolerable in real life as well. But then again, Shepard never really got much room to be grey in the games either. I know that if it hadn't resulted in everyone dying on more than one occasion I would have played a Grey Shepard. If that's the case it'll be interesting to see which way Shepard leans on the moral spectrum.
Either way, I'll know soon enough. Hopefully, at least, if I don't get horribly murdered at the hands of Fist's thugs. That would be embarrassing.
I get lost in thought for some time after that, thinking about the various possible Shepard's' that I could be dealing with. Hopefully we get a Paragon leaning one. And one that doesn't hate the Geth too much, that'd be nice.
Suddenly, about half an hour later, and alarming thought that I had entirely repressed until this point erupted inside my minds: What had become of me back home? Had I ceased to exist? Were there now two of me, across two different universes? Had I, and this was the most sobering possibility, been erased from history entirely? I had never made much of a mark on the world, or indeed any mark whatsoever, but I was getting there, and I had had hopes and dreams and people I cared about and…
Stop. No use getting hung up on it. It doesn't matter. I'm here now, there are new goals, new hopes, new dreams, and new people to be forced to coexist with. Concentrate on that, worry about other matters when they need to be worried about. That would be best, and would probably also be the option that avoids insanity.
As I'm lost in my thoughts on this matter, I manage to completely miss the arrival of a huge being in dark red armour. Ah, Wrex, you have at last arrived on the scene. The huge Krogan stomps up towards the entrance of Fist's Office where he is promptly halted by a pair of bouncers. Looking over my shoulder, I see…oh the bouncers would be Turian wouldn't they, perfect.
Wrex grunts "Let me through." There is a dangerous edge to his voice, backed up by the oversized shotgun that he's got slung around his waist. Hopefully that doesn't have to be used yet, I'd rather not be in the room when that happens.
The two bouncers look at each other, and then the unlucky one on the right speaks "Look, Wrex, back off. You're not getting in." Ok, Turian, you might be working for scum but apparently the scum hires the bravest of them. Not many would dare to stand up to Urdnot Wrex.
"I've been hired. I'll do my job. Tell Fist the Shadow Broker knows what he's done, and maybe he'll actually come out and we can get it over with." That would be nice, but it would also be premature. Hold off for a bit, Wrex, and your job will be done soon.
The Turian sighs and shakes his head "Wrex, Fist isn't coming out. Now leave before things get ugly."
The ancient Krogan nods "Very well, I'll go for now. But I never leave without getting the job done, as Fist will soon learn. Tell him that."
Wrex begins to turn around and I quickly spin around to my original position so as not to raise suspicion of my eavesdropping. Wrex thunders past me, presumably soon to get picked up by C-Sec, where he will hopefully get picked up by Shepard in turn. That would be optimal, and would probably end in Fist dying. Don't know why that appeals to me so much, slightly concerning that it does.
There's a clock on the wall. There's little left to be done for the next few hours, I suppose. Guess all I can do now is wait for the moment of my great reckoning with three thugs in a back alley. That seems a lot less dramatic than it could have been.
Four and a half hours later, I glance at the clock on the wall and sigh in realisation that it's time to go. I get up from my chair at the bar, my legs nearly collapsing in on themselves as they realise the sudden necessity of walking is again present.
I begin to move casually, really, really praying that none of Fist's thugs are intelligent enough to recognise that the time of my leaving just so happens to be at this particular moment.
If things do go horribly wrong, hopefully Shepard will be in the area to help out, with what I do hope is more than two squad mates in tow. Then again, it wouldn't overly surprise me if Alliance regulations forbid the use of actual force in a combat situation, which would result in two squad mates. Ah well, the cavalry, should they be needed, should certainly be strong enough no matter how many people are involved in said cavalry.
I stop by the door for a moment as the full absurdity of my plan hits me. I mean, who the hell do I think I am, being capable of this? It's absurd, but I can't laugh. The consequences of failure…but at this stage, seeing as how Shepard has not arrived to destroy Chora's Den, they probably won't arrive in time to save Tali if I back out now. Plus, this is my only opportunity to gain a real place in this Galaxy that I know anything about. At this stage, I can't not do this.
I'm on a schedule. Time to move on. I take the turns around the open area outside Chora's Den and then begin to climb the stairs up towards the back alley where the next fateful confrontation shall pan out. Just as I reach the top, however, I notice a piece of metal piping seems to have fallen from the ceiling. Huh, hopefully that isn't anything important. Doubtless the Keepers shall be along shortly to fix that. They'll need some new piping though, as I lean over and grab the piping. I lift the cold metal in my hand and feel the weight. Something tells me this would hurt if you were to be smacked with it.
I feel slightly reassured by my acquisition of a large metal object to hit people with, but then I remember to my dismay that I'm fighting people armed with guns. Nevertheless, it makes me feel better to have something useful in my hands.
I open the door and realise in horror that I'm late. Not disastrously so, but sufficiently that the thugs have already arrived. This whole mission just got a lot more interesting. I move, very quietly, over to a jutting out of the wall. From there, I listen to the conversation and plan my next move. It would seem that there's a single Salarian guarding each staircase, but at the bottom, which makes my life easier. Hopefully Salarians can be shocked.
Listening in to Tali's conversation with the Turian, I realise that the time to fight is almost imminent. I hear Tali declare that the deal's off, and quickly breathe in and out before hefting the piping and leaping around the corner, charging headlong, piping raised, at the Salarian at my end of the alleyway. He doesn't even have time to raise his weapon, as I get close enough to swing down on his skull, which caves in with a sickening cracking noise and a brief spurt of blood, causing him to collapse to the floor, still.
I force myself not to dwell on the fact that I may have just attacked another sentient being in anger, and look away from the piping which is now dotted in blood. Instead, I charge forward at the Turian, who has turned away from Tali in confusion. I move quickly and swing the piping, but at the end of the day it's a damn Turian, which means that he went through boot camp when he was fifteen. And it shows in the deft way that he grabs the piping and rips it out of my hands. Oh, shit.
Recovering quickly, I brace myself for a fight which is apparently going to be slightly longer than I thought it was going to be. The Turian quickly jabs at me with a fist, getting me right in the stomach and causing me to nearly keel over. I manage to stay upright however, and using my stronger right hand I manage grab his arm, already coming around for another swing.
Barely even blinking, the Turian quickly switches tactics and kicks me in the shin, this time succeeding in sending me toppling to the floor in pain. Well, this is going about as well as I expected it to go. I roll over and find the Turian looming over me, snarling. He grabs me by the collar of the shirt I'm wearing and lifts me up, dragging me over to the wall and shoving me roughly against it. My head has started throbbing again, you bastard.
Bringing an arm back, the Turian hits me again. Ouch, that one's going to leave quite the bruise tomorrow. Assuming there's going to be a tomorrow. I do, however, manage to realise something thought the haze of pain. The fabric of the Turian's clothing appeared to be soft, it must be some form of civilian wear. And if I recall correctly, Turians have a not dissimilar anatomy to humans. That could definitely be used to my advantage.
The Turian hits me again, and since it's quite likely the next blow will knock me out of the fight it's worth trying my idea. I bring my knee up and meet with a material that is most definitely soft. Oh dear, judging by the very un-Turian scream of pain that he suddenly lets out, I'm guessing that my assumptions about Turian anatomy were correct. Well, I'm not complaining.
I stumble as I'm dropped and the Turian continues to howl in pain-serves him right for bringing soft clothes to a fight. I get the best of it though, as the Turian soon falls to the ground clutching his groin. I recover a lot faster than him, and reach over to grab the piping. Feeling the cold metal in my hand actually manages to reassure me about what I'm already resolved to doing.
I walk over to where the Turian is lying, and heft the piping over my shoulders. I think he realises what's about to happen before I swing down. One, and he stops squirming. Two, I hear the first cracking sound as the piping breaches the skull. Three, the first blood spurts as the bridge of his 'nose' collapses and on the fourth and final blow the skull itself caves in, leaving the messy remnants of a very dead Turian lying a atop a steadily spreading pool of blood.
I drop the piping where I stand and try very hard not to be sick as the adrenaline fades and the horror at what I've just done sets in. I can feel the bile in my throat, but the fight isn't over yet. Beating back my emotions, I turn to see about this other Salarian, only to discover that there isn't really a problem with him anymore. There is, however, quite a serious problem with the gun Tali has suddenly decided to point in my face. That's just not nice, considering what I just did.
I briefly consider raising my hands, but screw it, if she's going to kill me even after what I've just done for her then I'm not going to be able to reason with her. Plus, I don't truly believe that Tali is capable of killing an organic being like that. "Look, miss, could you please but the damn gun down? I just saved your life here!" My words come out angrier than I had expected, but I really don't care at this point. The adrenaline has deserted me, leaving me utterly exhausted from the fight, and I just don't give a damn now.
Tali does not lower the gun, presumably in paranoia. Understandable, doesn't mean I have to like it. When she speaks, it is slowly and with a slight shake to her voice which indicates to me that she is still scared "Who are you? Why are you here? Are you working for Saren?" Gee, thanks, accusing the guy who just saved you of trying to kill you.
Actually, considering what I just did to that Turian, that doesn't really seem overly surprising. I sigh and begin to speak "My name is Sam. I overheard your conversation with Fist. Heard you wanted to meet with the Shadow Broker. Soon after you leave, a Krogan bounty hunter walks in and starts talking about Fist betraying the Shadow Broker. Realised you were in danger, and here I am. No, I do not work for any 'Saren', and I have never heard of anyone called that. Now will you please lower your weapon?"
Slowly, and with suspicion still rife in the way she moves, she does as I ask. She doesn't seem to be happy about it, but I'm beyond caring. She speaks again "So, Fist has betrayed the Broker?"
I nod "Seems that way, yeah. Would certainly explain why his guys tried to kill us both. Maybe he's started working for this Saren character you're so afraid of."
She thinks about this for a moment, and then nods "That must be it. Saren would be very interested in making sure the information I have never gets known."
I hold up a hand to stop her "What's so important about this information?" I know the answer, of course, but for reasons of keeping cover I decide to ask the question.
Tali looks at me for a few moments, as if deciding how much she can actually trust me, before finally speaking "I have information which connects Saren to the Geth attack on the human colony of Eden Prime. I tried to get the information to the Council, but before I could I was attacked by Saren's assassins and I had to run."
I nod "It seems like this information is pretty important. Have you tried going to C-Sec?"
Tali sighs in irritation, although at what I don't know "I did try, but I was brushed off. They ordered me to get off the station by the end of the day. It's annoying, but anti-Quarian bias is nothing new to me."
I ponder this for a moment "Perhaps they'll listen to you with a member of a less, uh, disliked species there" I offer. Hopefully that won't cause offence. Can't see why it would.
Before Tali can respond, however, I hear the sound of the door open behind me. Hah, seems like the cavalry has arrived! I turn towards the door and, sure enough, there stand five people-three humans, a Turian and a Krogan. Wonderful, Shepard has recruited them all.
It's at this point that I suddenly realise they all have their weapons levelled at me. I quickly throw my hands up, quite certain that at least Wrex will have fewer qualms about killing me then Tali will. "Woah, woah, there's no need for that! I'm not with Fist, I'm not here to kill her!"
We stand there for a few moments, and just as the beads of sweat begin to form on my forehead the woman in the middle, presumably Shepard, motions to the rest of the squad, who all lower their weapons. Wonderful. I breathe a sigh of relief "Thank you."
Shepard steps forward "What happened here?" All right, all right, no need to sound so demanding, Shepard.
I shrug "My name is Sam. I heard the conversation between Fist and this Quarian, talking about how she was prepared to give information to the Shadow Broker in exchange for protection. Nothing wrong with that, but some time later he" I point to Wrex "comes in and asks for Fist, talking about how he betrayed the Shadow Broker. Then I knew that she was in danger, so here I am."
Shepard looks at the broken skull of the Turian, and then at the piping lying next to him. I do not look at either of these things. After a few moments surveying the corpse, Shepard looks back up at me and asks, rather sceptically "So you came without a weapon?"
I shrug "The piping proved rather effective." Shepard nods, and I suddenly realise I'm not being anywhere near belligerent enough considering they just came in here and nearly shot me after helping the person they're trying to help "So why are you here, anyway?"
Shepard looks at me for a moment, then speaks "My name is Commander Shepard, Alliance Navy. With me are Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko, Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams, Garrus Vakarian of C-Sec and Urdnot Wrex. We're looking for information tying Saren to the Geth, and Fist told us he set up a Quarian to be killed by Saren because she had information. We came as quickly as we could." She sounds almost apologetic as she finishes speaking. Well, that's probably a good indicator of a Paragon Shepard. The fact that I'm alive also counts as a good indicator of a Paragon Shepard.
At this point, Tali steps forward. "I'm the one you're looking for, Commander. My name is Tali'Zorah nar Rayya, and yes Commander, I have the information you're looking for. I tried to take it to the Council, but I was blocked."
Garrus lets out a grim chuckle at this "That sounds fairly normal. All my time at C-Sec, and I was never even allowed in the Chambers while a meeting was taking place."
Shepard speaks to Tali "We can get that information to the Council, but we're going to need you to come with us."
Tali nods "Of course, Commander."
Just before they turn to leave, Shepard turns to me. She looks down at the body of the Turian again, and then back up to me. She stares at me for a few moments, and then says "Well, I guess you'd best come with us as well."
Oh. Ok, that's fine with me. I nod, and we head off back through the Wards to the Human Embassy.
I like politics, I recognise its importance and generally I respect the fact that at any given time, a politician is under enormous pressure from many different areas. The fact that many of them cave to such pressures is unfortunate but understandable. Ambassador Donnell Udina, however, does not get that same understanding. While I understand being annoyed with Shepard for practically destroying Chora's Den and judging from the fact that Wrex is in the squad, killed its owner, he could at least try to tone down the xenophobia.
"You're not making life easy for me, Shepard! First, the fire fights in the Wards! Then, an all-out assault on Chora's Den! I do hope that you've got good reason for all of this!"
To her credit, Shepard doesn't respond with hostility, which is good. Instead, she simply steps forward calmly and speaks "We found what we were looking for, Ambassador. This Quarian was nearly killed by Saren's men because of the information she holds linking Saren to the Geth."
To his credit, Udina says nothing further about the fighting in the Wards "Very well then, let's hear it, miss…?"
Tali steps forward "My name is Tali. Tali'Zorah nar Rayya."
Anderson speaks, having been silent until now "How did you get this information? I thought Quarians generally stay away from Geth space?"
Tali shakes her head "That's the thing, I didn't get any of this from Geth space. When I was on my Pilgrimage,"
Shepard interrupts "Sorry, Pilgrimage?"
"It's a Quarian tradition where we leave the Migrant Fleet and find something of worth to the Fleet out in the Galaxy, to prove our worth to the Fleet. Anyway, I started hearing reports of Geth outside the Perseus Veil for the first time since they rose up against my people. I was curious, so I went to investigate. I found a group of Geth on an uninhabited world and waited for one to get separated from the group. When one did so, I ambushed it and removed its memory core."
Anderson speaks again "I thought that the Geth memory core self-destructed when they were killed."
Tali nods "They do. But my people built the Geth, and if you know how then it's possible to preserve small amounts of the memory core's data. When I realised what I had found, I knew it had to be brought to the Council immediately. When I got here though, Saren's assassins attacked me and I had to run. That's how I ended up with Fist."
Udina nods "You did well coming here. Now let's here this evidence." Simultaneously pulling off grateful and impatient at the same time. Impressive.
Tali nods and activates her Omni-Tool. Those things are odd, it can quite obviously be interacted with simply, but it also shows no sign of actually being solid. It will be quite interesting to see how those work.
I'm brought out of my musings on the Omni-Tool by the voice of Saren Arterius "Eden Prime was a major victory! The Beacon has brought us one step closer to finding the Conduit!" Ah yes, the Conduit.
Anderson seems pleased with this "That's definitely Saren's voice!"
Udina nods "This is excellent. We can present this to the Council immediately, it will leave no doubt about Saren's guilt!"
Tali interrupts "Wait, the recording isn't finished yet. There's more."
"Eden Prime was a major victory! The Beacon has brought us one step closer to finding the Conduit!"
"And one step closer to the return of the Reapers" Oh, yes, Matriarch Benezia. Doubtless you shall prove to be very, very annoying. Also, first time the Reapers are mentioned. Must hope that they'll be taken a lot more seriously than they were in the games. Not holding out much hope though.
"Who is that?" asks Shepard. Nobody knows anything, of course. Except for me, but technically I don't know anything. As far as these guys know, anyway.
Anderson speaks "And what about these…Reapers, the second voice mentions?" Oh, if only you knew, if only you knew.
Tali responds "According to the memory core, the Reapers were and advanced machine race that lived 50,000 years ago. The Geth worship them as gods." Well, the Heretics do, but I'll forgive you because I'm the only non-Geth who knows anything about that for the moment.
Udina rests his head in the palm of his hand "Oh, the Council's just going to love this" he mutters sarcastically.
I decide to speak, for some bizarre reason. "Reapers or no Reapers, this still links Saren to the Geth. You've got your evidence." No shit, Sam.
Udina gives me a strange look, and then turns to Shepard "And who is this?"
I'll speak for myself, thank you very much! "I'm the reason you got this evidence in the first place." Udina promptly falls silent. Right, that's good, I like him when he's like that.
Anderson comes to my aid "He's right. The Council can believe what they like about these Reapers, but they have to believe us about Saren now!"
Udina nods "Yes. I'll go and arrange a meeting immediately. Shepard, you come up soon. Anderson, come with me, we need to prepare for this."
The two of them leave, and all of a sudden the throbbing in my head reappears suddenly, and I nearly collapse to the floor in agony, my vision nearly fading away entirely. When it clears, the others are looking at me in concern. Except for Wrex, of course, but I'm not convinced that he actually can look concerned.
"You okay Sam?" asks the Commander.
"Yeah, yeah I'm fine. I think that Turian managed to hit me a little harder than I thought he did. I should probably go see a doctor or something…"
Shepard looks at me, both concerned and thoughtful, and then she turns to Kaidan "Lieutenant, take Sam here up to the Normandy and take him to Doctor Chakwas. Don't let him go anywhere, understood?"
Wait, so all I need to do to get onto the Normandy was get injured? I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, and my head is really starting to hurt again.
To his credit, Kaidan's facial expression doesn't change, he just accepts the Commanders order and motions for me to follow him.
Well that was surprisingly successful.
Hope you enjoyed. More to come soon. Don't forget to leave your opinion, and please point out anything I got wrong.