Snapping to attention, the Alliance honor guard stood by silently as the class of Grissom Academy students strode past; their laughter drowning out the sound of their teacher's cane as it cracked against the smooth stone path.
His leg stiff, weak, and tired; the teacher sighed as he leaned his weight against his faithful wooden assistant. Looking around, he grinned at the sight of the Alliance colors flying high over the walls of the Tower of London. His grin was cut short by a fierce pounding in the side of his head causing him to grimace and stop walking.
"Hey, Professor H…you alright?" Joseph Rivers, his star pupil, stopped and placed a comforting hand on his professor's shoulder. "Migraine again?"
"Yes…age and biotics don't mix well, my boy." The old professor said as he continued walking; pointing with his cane at the battlements. "These are the walls where the students and staff of the Colleges of London banded together to fight off the unrelenting waves of Reaper husks, marauders, and cannibals. Those brave individuals are remembered today as the foundation of the London Resistance Movement where Team Hammer tore their way through the ruins of London and mounted the assault on the Citadel beam."
The professor grinned as his students all stopped and stared at the still-blackened walls; missing chunks of stone still. Historians had moved to rebuild it to its former glory, but those who fought on the walls refused; stating it would disgrace the memories of those who paid the ultimate price.
"Professor, weren't you a member of Hammer Team? My father told me he served alongside you in the charge…is that true?"
Turning to face his student, the professor nodded his head, squaring his shoulder at the memory or memories of his time spent in the service.
"Indeed Mr. Alenko, I did, but it was your father who saved my life…I bet he likes to forget that little detail. Which reminds me, he still owes me for introducing him to your mother…I haven't forgotten about that." The professor said as he turned back to the battlements. "You see the scorch marks? Those are from a-
He was interrupted by a hand being waved wildly in the back followed by the high-pitched voice of his youngest student.
"Mr. H, Mr. H! Can you tell us how you meet the Commander again? Please?!" She asked, her small frame jumping on the back of her Quarian counterpart; her dark hair held back in a simple ponytail.
"Young Ms. Zorah, I have told this story more than a dozen times and twice that to you alone…hasn't your mother told you enough?" His voice hitched as he spoke, clearing it with a ragged cough.
"Yes, but you tell it bestest!" The young Quarian squeaked as she smiled from her sister's back.
Sighing, the professor walked slowly to a bench nearby a small fountain. He ran his scarred hand over the plaque placed on the rim of the fountain; the hundreds of names running underneath his fingertips.
"Hmm, where to begin…"
Laughter piped up from his students as they circled around him. Joseph stood at the back, shaking his head with laughter at the way his professor always began the story.
"From the beginning, Professor Hackett…where else?"
Leaning back against the bench, Professor Andrew Hackett smiled and closed his eyes; the wind gently ruffling his greying hair. He quietly hummed to himself before shifting in his seat; bringing his eyes to rest on the students in from of him.
"The beginning…hmm, we'll that's going to take a while." He shifted once more; raising his cane up in the air; pointing off at the distant cloud formation. "I'd say it all started in 2186, the year Commander Shepard was undergoing her court-martial for what happened in Batarian space. I was just a young Gunnery Chief; fresh out of N7 training when I got my orders…"
Gunnery Chief Andrew Hackett,
It has come to my attention that due to the SR-2 Normandy being stationed in Vancouver for retrofits; it is running with only a small skeleton crew. You are hereby ordered to report to Admiral Anderson and are assigned to the Normandy crew as Chief Armorer and shuttle copilot.
Your skills in infiltration and, being an N7, espionage will be put to use. To be blunt, son, we don't know when the Reapers will arrive, but I know you will assist in any way possible. Listen to Admiral Anderson and stay safe.
Sighing, I closed my omni-tool and shouldered my duffle bag; looking through the glass of the elevator as it rose up to the main reception floor of Alliance Command. My shoulder still ached from training; having taken a subsonic round through the bone. I killed the bastard that shot me though and graduated…that's what matters
Grinning, I looked down at the N7 insignia pinned to my lapel. I couldn't be more proud of my accomplishment, only the best become the N7 and I busted my ass to become what I was today.
The elevator stopped and the doors dinged open revealing a horde of Alliance personnel rushing around like chickens with their heads cut off. I stumbled when a corporal ran smack into me; causing my duffle to fall to the ground.
"Corporal, what's going on?" I shouted after the young man, but he continued on. "Dammit…"
Reaching down for my duffle, I found myself staring at a pair of combat boots. My eyes traveled up slowly and I found myself looking up into the eyes of a petite redhead…Shepard.
"Need a hand, Chief?" She asked, holding my duffle bag in her hand.
Snapping to attention, I stuttered as spoke, mentally kicking myself. "No, ma'am. Thank you, Commander."
Chuckling, she handed my duffle over before crossing her arms.
"I'm not a commander anymore, Shepard will do." Shepard said before staring behind me. "So, what're you here for?"
Straightening up, I set my bag by my feet; bringing up my omni-tool. "I've actually been assigned to the Normandy, Commander…Wish I could be serving with you, but Admiral Anderson is pretty nice as well."
Shepard smiled at my crack, but folded her arms. "Treat her well and watch out for Joker; he likes to mess with the new guys…actually everyone."
Nodding my head, I agreed with her. I had read up on the Flight Lieutenant; brash and cocky, but by far the best pilot the Alliance has. I hadn't gotten to view his record, but I was looking forward to meeting the man.
"You'll be fine, just don't…Admiral Anderson, they ready?" Shepard looked past me; causing me to turn and I found myself meeting the gaze of Admiral freaking Anderson…my CO…Oh, shit!
"Admiral, sir!" I nearly shouted, my back feeling like a steel rod. "Gunnery Chief Andrew Hackett, reporting as ordered, sir."
Smirking, Shepard slipped past me; patting me on the shoulder. "Anderson, the Defense Committee ready for us?"
"They are now; Chief, come with us." Anderson said, pulling Shepard along with him.
"Sir? I was told to report to the Normandy."
Glancing behind him, Anderson waved me forward. "You'll be briefed as soon as possible, but right now you need to just stick with us."
I nodded, shouldering my bag and walking through the threshold into the Committee chamber and I whistled to myself at the sight of the Committees massive desk…I mean seriously; is that necessary?
"Sirs! We've lost communication with Luna Base!"
I blinked, realizing I had zoned out and. How did we lose comms with Luna; they were right out our proverbial front door. Anderson voiced my concerns by stepping forward.
"Why haven't we from Admiral Hackett?"
Great, haven't heard from the Admiral which means something has certainly hit the fan.
"London has a visual!" An ensign shouted from her station.
I turned to the large view screen and was shocked to see a dark object fill the screen and then nothing but fire filled it. I could hear screams, explosions, and ear-splitting screech that would put nails on a chalkboard to shame.
"Goddammit!" I muttered, clamping my hands over my ears.
Seems like the rest of the room had the same idea except Shepard who simply strode forward and pointed at the screen.
"See? The Reapers are here!"
The lone woman on the council leaned forward. "What…what do we do?"
Squaring her shoulders, Shepard fixed her eyes on the Committee.
"We fight or we die!"
The council began shouting all at once; one thing after another. Do this, fight like this; they couldn't agree on what to do. Shepard raised her hands as if trying to calm them down when a shadow filled the room and I mean literally filled it; I couldn't see out the…window…oh, shit!
"Admiral, get down!" I rushed forward grabbing the Admiral and shoved him backward when the window exploded and sent the committee and those near them flying forward. The smell of burned flesh and black smoke filled my nostrils as I felt something soft fly straight into me and send me reeling back.
Opening my eyes slowly, I rolled off my back, hissing as I felt my ribs burn.
"Yeah, those are broken…"
Struggling to my feet, I scanned the now obliterated chamber. Nothing remained of the council and I could see Admiral Anderson and Shepard rising to their feet. Groaning loudly, I limped forward; searching for my duffle.
"Chief, you alright?" Shepard asked, rushing to my side, placing a bloodied hand on my shoulder. "You're a little beat up."
Waving her off, I pulled the body of some poor private off what remained of my bag. His body had protected it mostly from the blast and saved my personal items. Grimacing as I reached inside; pulling out my sidearm, spare thermals, and my father's journal.
Slipping the book into my waistband, I walked forward to the Admiral. "Sir, I think we may have company. Orders?"
Anderson waved Shepard and I forward; leading us to the window and jumping down. Looking at Shepard, I shrugged and followed. Today was going to be interesting.
We made our way down the building, leaping over destroyed walkways and watching as more and more Reapers made their way onto Earth. The sounds of gunfire and explosions drowned out the screams of the wounded and dying.
"Dammit, I'm out!" I cursed as my thermal clip ejected from my pistol and the husk kept coming for me. Springing off my back leg, I sent my fist straight into the skeletal cyborgs face and winced as I felt the machinery crunch underneath my fist.
I leapt back again and shouted out in surprise as an omni-blade swung over my head and sliced through the husk; splitting it in half and sending synthetic blood spraying everywhere. Rolling to my feet, I roared as I focused my biotics and sent it spiraling forward straight into the remaining husks; shredding them apart.
"Damn, Chief, nice work." Shepard said as she patted me on the back. "Come on, the door's open."
Following the two officers, I ignored their discussion about what to do with the Reapers now here. I was a grunt so I'd just be sent into the fight like it should be. I shifted through the debris as Shepard took care of another husk trying to squeeze through the door; her omni-blade burying itself into its chest.
"You alright, Commander?" I asked, my biotics flaring.
She waved me off and slipped through the doorway followed by Anderson. I moved to follow when I heard a rumbling in the shaft next to me.
Slowly crossing over, I knelt beside the opening and found myself looking at the wide-eyes of a small boy. His clothes were torn and covered in what I hoped was only soot. Reaching out, I smiled despite the pain in my chest. No idea what this kid had been through.
"Hey, bud, it's gonna be alright. You need to come with me…"
The boy shook his head, pushing backwards. "It's not safe…nowhere is."
I nodded my head, reaching out again, my biotics tingling slightly. "I know that, bud, but I'm a big bad marine and those monsters aren't that bad. I'll protect you."
The boy shook his head again, shuffling father back.
Shanking my head as well, I reached forward gently, my biotics enveloping him and pulling him towards me.
"Oh, no you don't." I said as he struggled. "I told you I would protect you and that's what I plan to do."
The boy began to cry as I pulled him in close. Poor kid couldn't have been more than ten and he was forced to see all of this. Standing, I turned to see Shepard leaning against the doorway with her arms crossed.
"Found a friend?"
Nodding, I pushed my way past her and found the Admiral waiting for us. I followed him with the sobbing boy on my shoulder and I could feel eyes on my back as Shepard watched my back.
The building shuddered as another explosion rocked it. Sending debris falling down from the ceiling and Shepard staggering forward.
I reached out, grabbing the Commander by her collar and pulled her back.
"Thanks, Chief, owe you one."
Nodding my head, I pushed forward, ducking underneath a beam and wincing as the sunlight filled my eyes.
I hope to never see such destruction again.
"Look out! They're taking out the frigate!"
My eyes widened as the Reaper fired a single beam which sliced through the armor of the frigate like a hot knife through butter. Sensing the impending explosion, I tightened my hold on the boy before the shockwave reached us. The whole building rocked as the wave hit us; throwing us all off our feet and sending us sliding down a ramp toward what looked like a downed gunship.
Course I didn't get to see much after that because of the large-ass piece of metal jutting out in front of me. At least the boy didn't get hit.
Well, that's that. Hope you enjoyed my rendition of the first chapter of Mass Effect. It's gonna be slightly off-canon cuz hey, why not. So read, review and send me some constructive criticism or just say ya like it!