This is a one-shot completely unrelated to my other fics. Hopefully this is an enjoyable October experience, as it is horror month! But that being said writing this made me sad… Anyway, Mass Effect is owned by Bioware and this takes place in a canon situation… gone wrong! Enjoy!
Shepard continued to run towards the beam. Garrus and Tali were both behind him, struggling to keep up with Shepard's determined pace. The war would be over today; the galaxy would be saved. Despite the horrors Shepard had seen all over London and the pain of knowing so many were dying each second, he continued on. A Mako began passing Shepard as it barreled towards the beam. Harbinger fired its laser at the Mako, causing a large explosion. Shepard was knocked off of his feet and he banged his head hard on a piece of concrete…
Shepard opened his eyes. Everything was hazy and gray... The earth around him was gray with ash... The sky was gray with looming death in the air... He gripped the pistol in his hands and got up, noticing Harbinger flying off to defeat his friends and allies. He grunted towards the beam at a slow pace, killing off a few Husks. A Marauder appeared and fired at Shepard, but Shepard fired back, knocking the Marauder back. It let out a synthetic noise that sounded like "No, Shepard!" but Shepard didn't care. He fired his pistol again and the Marauder fell to the ground dead. Shepard then took his first step into the beam's light…
Shepard felt like he had been hit with a starship; he felt like his body was barely held together. He looked around the platform he sat on and saw piles of bodies around him. He saw a small control panel on the edge of the platform and he tried to move towards it. He forced himself to get up and hit a button, and he then realized where he was! He was on the Citadel; he had saved everyone! He watched the Citadel arms open and fell to the floor, filled with pride and happiness at the fact he had done it; the war was finally over, and everyone could live in peace…
Shepard felt something begin to lift him. He opened his eyes as he saw the platform he had been laying on get farther and farther from him. He tried to get up but collapsed. Then he heard a voice…
Shepard grunted at the voice; it had the voice of a child, a child he had heard before, on Earth. Shepard opened his eyes and started to stand up with a newly found strength. A holographic child appeared before him... The child looked exactly like the child he had failed to save on Earth; maybe he was his ghost? Shepard decided to speak.
"Where am I and ... who are you?"
"I am the Catalyst, and this is the Citadel, my home."
Shepard looked around the room. He saw Reapers destroying countless ships around him. So much death and destruction... "I need to stop the Reapers ... do you know how I can do that?"
The Catalyst turned towards a pathway, "Perhaps, but only if you can choose correctly."
Shepard looked at the Catalyst with confusion in his eyes, "Choose? What do I have to choose?"
The Catalyst turned to Shepard, "You must make a decision for your entire galaxy, and all of its inhabitants. I am the Catalyst. I embody the collective intelligence of all Reapers, and I have come to help you."
Shepard looked at the Catalyst with the same confused look, "Why would you help me? What would you gain?"
The Catalyst stared at Shepard with a blank look, "Peace. I strive for peace. I have three options for you to achieve this peace, but only you can make them happen."
The Catalyst turned to the pathway, and three paths floated up from the ground, "I know you have thought about destroying us. If you go right, you can destroy all synthetic life, from the Geth to the Reapers. The Crucible would not discriminate. Even you are partly synthetic."
Shepard looked at the power conduit, "But the Reapers would be destroyed?"
The Catalyst turned to Shepard, "Yes, but the peace won't last. You will have to kill all synthetic life, and destroy all of the Mass Relays. The galaxy would be thrown into chaos."
Shepard turned to the Catalyst, "Then what are my other options?"
The Catalyst turned to the left, "You could instead control all Reapers, using them as your tools to shape a galaxy that you have always envisioned. However, you will die and you will lose everything you have."
Shepard grew angry, "No, there is no way I will be like the Illusive Man! I won't search for power, I'm here to save everyone!"
The Catalyst looked towards the middle path, "There is one more option. You can choose to merge all organic and synthetic life. You can perfect both organic and machine, and save everyone in the galaxy. You will know everything, and everything will be beautiful. Everyone will have the strengths of both organic and synthetic and the weaknesses of neither."
Shepard looked at the Catalyst with more confusion, "How would that even work?"
The Catalyst turned back to Shepard, "Organics seek perfection through technology, and synthetics seek perfection through understanding. Organics will be perfected by integrating fully with synthetic technology, and synthetics will be perfected by gaining full understanding of organics. The galaxy would be filled with peace, and every man, woman, and child will be safe. We will take care of them. It is the ideal solution."
Shepard began to smile a faint smile. The Catalyst promised protection; it promised peace. It promised an end to all of the fighting. He wouldn't have to struggle anymore, and everything would be alright, "Ok, I'll make my choice."
Shepard began to move towards the 3 lanes. Synthesis ... it almost seemed too good to be true. But no, it was true; everything the Catalyst said was true. This war was because of the difference between synthetics and organics, and only by making them one could they ever hope for peace; it was the only way to make everything in the galaxy right. It would make everything beautiful...
He began to think about what a future a galaxy with only one order of life had. Anyone could be with anyone, everyone would be happy, and all could hope. They could hope for anything because conflict would be over and the peace would last; the peace would save everyone, and they might even go beyond mortality itself, living forever because of the right choice that he made. He would be the greatest of heroes, and all people would know him as the one to save all life from itself. All would rejoice and sing praise to his name for all of time. Everything would be perfect…
Shepard began to run and jumped into the beam. He felt his body change, become perfected. He smiled as the synthetic parts were added and he closed his eyes. Everything would be all right now. He had fought for so long and had finally gotten the ending he desired. He would save everyone in the galaxy and everyone in the galaxy would be perfect…
Garrus and Tali saw Shepard begin to stir. He had been hit in the head badly, and they had had to move him out of the line of fire. They were currently hiding between two damaged Makos, trying to keep people from seeing the Commander in such a state. Shepard then opened his eyes to his two best friends.
Shepard sat up and looked at the two of them, "Hi guys… What happened ... my head kind of hurts a little."
Garrus just smiled a little and shook his head. "It hurts a little Shepard? You just banged your head on a piece of concrete, hell you could have died. Luckily Tali and I were right behind you and found this little safe zone. Now get up carefully, we don't want you to die out here."
Shepard looked at his two friends. They would be next. They would soon join him in the perfect order. He remembered a time when Tali had tried to be with him; he had been right to tell her no, she had Garrus now. He had been right to spare the Collector Base and kill the Council. He had done everything right, and soon he would be repaid. He imagined Tali and Garrus would have great lives in the new order, where the lines between them would be gone forever. What he wanted to do now was right and perfect…
Garrus lifted his rifle and started watching the perimeter. Tali let out her hand for Shepard to grab and Shepard stood up.
"Can I have my rifle Tali?" Shepard asked calmly.
Tali picked up Shepard's rifle and handed it to him, "Here you go, Shepard."
Tali then turned to Garrus, asking him if he was alright. It was so cute that they had found each other. They would truly be an example of how great the new perfect galaxy could be! Their love would be perfected by what he was about to do. Shepard lifted his rifle up to the back of her head, and he pulled the trigger…
At the last second Garrus saw Shepard pointing the gun at Tali, but he was too late. The bullet blasted through the back of her suit and blood spattered into the inside of her face shield. Her body fell to the ground as Shepard turned the gun towards Garrus.
Garrus pointed his own gun at Shepard. "What did you just do!?"
Shepard just smiled, "Don't worry Garrus, everything is perfect now. We'll all be perfected now."
Garrus just kept his gun on Shepard, but he couldn't pull the trigger. He looked in Shepard's eyes, pleading with them to try and bring the hero he knew back. But there was nothing left; his eyes were empty, "Don't do this Shepard!"
"You cannot resist perfection." Shepard fired the rifle and Garrus fell back. The bullet hit him in the gut and Garrus dropped his weapon.
Garrus held his side and looked at Shepard, "Shepard, stop! It's me, Garrus! It's me, your friend!"
Shepard's smile grew. "You're my best friend Garrus, and now I'm perfecting you. You of all people deserve perfection."
Garrus looked at the barrel of the gun pointing directly between his eyes. He once again pleaded with his eyes to Shepard, to get him to come back. But he was again gone completely, and the rifle fired. Garrus's body fell limp onto the ground.
Shepard turned on his comm. There were more people he needed to perfect, more people who deserved to be perfected. Everyone had to be, but he had to perfect one at a time until he could perfect all. But to do that he needed one ship; one very special ship, a ship so close to perfection it deserved to be perfected as soon as Shepard could do it.
"Joker, do you read me? I'm hurt and I need an evac right now."
Joker returned quickly. "We're on our way, Commander."
Shepard's smile grew even more at the sight of the Normandy. Its crew had been his family, his life. They deserved to be perfected. Everyone deserved to be perfected…
The Normandy opened its cargo bay doors and Shepard ran inside. James was providing him with cover fire as he ran, and he stopped Shepard when he came back to the Normandy alone.
"Loco, where's Scars and Sparks? Weren't they with you?"
Shepard just looked at James, "Don't worry, they're fine. They wanted to go ahead, and I let them."
Shepard turned from James and continued towards the elevator. Liara came rushing up to him and gave him a hug.
"Shepard, what happened!? Are you hurt?"
Shepard just smiled at Liara, "Liara, my love, everything is all right. We're all going to be ok. I just need to see Joker quickly and then have this bump looked at, and then I'll fix everything."
Liara looked at him with a suspicious glace, "Ok Shepard, now you be careful and make sure you get that bump looked at."
Shepard put his arm around her and gave her a kiss, "Alright Liara, but soon everything will be ok. Soon, everything will be perfect."
Shepard walked into the elevator and the door closed behind him. Liara was full of relief that he was ok and still a little angry and jealous she hadn't been chosen for this last mission, but she forgave him. He was just under stress, she shouldn't worry; he's just trying to keep up moral.
Shepard pressed the button for the CIC and watched the button as it slowly rose up. He began to think about how slow the elevator was. 'EDI and the Normandy are one aren't they? That means if I perfect EDI, I perfect the Normandy, and this slow elevator will become much faster.'
Shepard put another smile on his face from his words. He was right; if he could perfect EDI he could perfect everything else about his ship. The Normandy would become so beautiful, so right. Everyone would be able to have fun parties and he might even be able to learn how to dance. Now that Garrus was perfected, he could probably ask him for a few tips later.
The elevator's door opened to the CIC. Samantha Traynor turned towards him and saluted, "Commander, how is everything down there? I've heard it's bad, and that it's getting worse."
Shepard just smiled at Samantha Traynor, "Traynor, don't worry yourself too much. Pretty soon we'll win this and everything will be perfect. Everything will be alright, and we'll all be able to celebrate."
Samantha smiled at Shepard, "You seem very enthusiastic about our chances, Commander, but I believe in you, as does everyone else. I'm sure you'll defeat the Reapers and give everyone a great future, but I don't know if it will be perfect afterwards."
Shepard just shook his head, "You're still worrying, Traynor, but don't worry! It's me, Commander Shepard. I've never let any of you down, and I don't plan on starting to. Everything will be alright and perfect."
Traynor saluted Shepard, "Of course, Commander, and I'll stop worrying. I know you'll do what's right for everyone."
Shepard began to walk towards the helm. He had done the right thing; he always did the right thing. He had saved all life in the galaxy three times now, and now they would never need saving again. Everything would be alright now; everything would be good. His crew would thank him for giving them perfection and would party every day. Joker would be able to walk without difficulty, and his love for EDI could shine brightly. All of his friends, past and present, would become perfect. Everything was going to be perfect, and all would remember him; he would save everyone. What a beautiful future they would all have...
Shepard walked into the helm and began moving towards Joker, rifle still in his hands. Joker spun around in his chair.
"Hey Commander, you know there's no Reaper forces in here right? You know I'm not a big fan of your guns and all."
Shepard just kept his stance, "I'm sorry Joker, I didn't mean to scare you. EDI, give me full control of the ship will you, don't let anyone else access the controls but me."
EDI did what he said. It had been right for him to force her to follow his commands no matter what. She could have resisted if he hadn't done so, and everything wouldn't have been perfect. And everything had to be perfect. Perfection was the only way anyone could continue.
Shepard then raised his gun and fired at Joker, killing him instantly. Joker had deserved to be perfected faster than the others. Shepard grabbed Joker's corpse and threw it off of the seat and took the controls. Shepard heard several gasps from behind him.
"EDI, close the emergency blast doors; no one else gets in the helm but me."
"Yes, Shepard." The door was closed instantly and Shepard began to maneuver the ship. "May I suggest that what you're doing is wrong, Shepard?"
"No, EDI, you may not. I'm saving us all, including you. Everything's going to be perfect now."
There was only one thing he had to do now, and everything would be perfect. Everything had to be perfect. He began flying the Normandy out of the Earth's atmosphere and towards the combined fleets of the galaxy. In the middle of it all was the one thing that could stop the perfection from happening; the one thing he hated. The Crucible…
Samantha Traynor had seen it all. She saw Shepard just raise his rifle and fire right at Joker, then take control of the ship. She tried to rush towards the helm but the emergency blast doors closed. No one could get to him now.
She tried to call him via omnitool. Shepard answered immediately, "Yes?"
Samantha was filled with confusion and anger, "What are you doing!? What did you do to Joker!?"
Shepard just smiled a little, "Don't worry, Samantha, everything is going to be ok now. Joker's fine, he's perfect now."
"Perfect? PERFECT!? You just shot him!"
Shepard smiled even more, "In ten seconds you'll realize I saved him, and that he's perfect now."
Samantha looked at the galaxy map. The Normandy was headed straight for the Crucible's main power supply, near the engines! She had less than 7 seconds to do something. She tried to call engineering, to tell them to kill the engines, but it was too late. She looked up to a gigantic explosion, and everything became bright. Everything looked … perfect…
Shepard watched as the Crucible filled the entirety of the Normandy's windows. He smiled as he sent the Normandy full speed towards the power supply of the Crucible. Everything would be perfect now. He would save everyone again. He was doing everything right. He was so glad he knew about the Crucible's weak point, and proud he had studied it's design for such a long time. His determination had saved everyone. He watched as the explosion engulfed him, and everything became bright. Everything looked … perfect…
James and Liara were both in the cargo bay, asking each other about Shepard's strange comments when he came on board. They didn't see the explosion until it engulfed them fully, and everything became bright. Everything looked … perfect…
Admiral Hackett stood in the CIC of the Crucible, watching the battle unfold. He had noted that the Normandy had returned to battle, but had looked on towards a flank that was breaking almost immediately after. He then noticed a proximity warning. He looked over to see the Normandy speeding towards the Crucible's engines. He sounded the alarm but it was too late. The engines exploded and the Crucible began to split apart. Hackett looked towards the blast, filled with regret. He had put all of his hopes on one man, and that one man had betrayed them all. He watched as the explosion engulfed him fully, and everything became bright. Everything looked … perfect…
The combined fleets of the galaxy continued their fight to save themselves and each other. The war was brutal, but the Crucible was nearing the Citadel, and everyone was guarding it with their lives. Then every Turian, Human, Asari, Salarian, Geth, Quarian, Volus, Elcor, Hanar, Drell, Korgan, Rachni, Leviathan, Vorcha and Batarian watched as their last hope, the Crucible, exploded in a fiery mushroom of heat and metal. Many just stopped fighting, and watched as the Reaper lasers engulfed them fully, and everything became bright. Everything looked … perfect…
And perfection is what they all received; the perfection of the Reapers.
Author's endnote: So … wow. That was sad. Everyone died. I'm a horrible person for writing this. *Goes into a corner and starts crying* *Comes back ten minutes later* Ok … So this was supposed to be what could have happened if the Indoctrination Theory was true and you chose Synthesis. Moral of the story? DON'T CHOOSE SYNTHESIS. I just gave you a great reason, the perfection a REAPER AI would talk about is itself; it thinks it is the perfect one, and in doing synthesis you just do what the Catalyst wants. Never do what the Catalyst wants. You should say 'Screw you Catalyst!' Then shoot a million times at the power conduit because the only ending that makes any sense at all for the Mass Effect Universe is Destroy. Or you should read some fanfiction like you are now (my other story :D) and get a better ending that actually logically follows the rest of the game. Or the MEHEM... Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope I didn't make anyone too sad. I made myself pretty sad though, and I actually creeped myself out as well. Of course, you could think this was just bad and complain… Also acceptable I suppose, it's your opinion. But seriously Shepard has been through quite a lot of Reaper things, and he could have easily been influenced by them. Despite his strong will I think it's totally possible he could have been indoctrinated slowly but surely. Anyway, hope to see you reading my other, less horribly sad fics! :D