Hello! This is my second story, and I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think, reviews=happiness!
"You can choose to destroy the synthetics which will result in the death of all of the Reapers. However, this will also wipe out the geth and all other AIs and will cripple your technology severely."
Roxxane could feel the blood beginning to soak up her hand and drip off of her clothes, but she shrugged it off. She'd faced much, much worse before she had even been a marine, a lack of blood hadn't stopped her before. She didn't have any medigel, she'd emptied the last of it onto Anderson, thinking that the fight was finally over, but it seemed that the galaxy demanded more of her and damned if she wouldn't do all she could to prevent the Reapers from taking over and slaughtering the people of her cycle and she sure as hell wasn't going to let the other cycles go unavenged. Roxxanne knew vengeance like she knew her katana, it was like her very best friend.
Glaring down at the Catalyst hatefully, she holstered her gun and carefully unsheathed her katana, for all the good it would do against a holographic AI, but everything seemed to give pause when she took out the well-worn and well-loved katana, and the Catalyst didn't seem to be any different. "Tell me the other options, I want to know what I can choose."
The Catalyst blinked at her bluntness and carefully eyed the long Japanese sword that she wielded before answering, "You can also choose to control the Reapers. If you take control the Repears will be free to do as you wish."
Roxxanne angrily spat blood off to the side, "I saw what happens to people who want that type of power, or if they are forced into believing that control is the best route. Saren. TIM. They were all indoctrinated and became the poor sods under the control of the Reapers. They go insane and all of their good intentions lead them down the road to hell. No I will not become a pawn, no matter how you put it, I wouldn't be in control an imprint of my mind would be and I will not be manipulated into thinking that that's the best choice."
"You have one last choice then. Synthesis."
Roxxanne's brows furrowed, "Synthesis? What is that exactly?"
"Where organics and synthetics unite, where there is no longer any difference between the two and they can live in harmony. You are an example, you are both synthetic and organic, your essence would be taken apart and spread out all over the galaxy and there will no longer be a divide, no more chaos. "
"But… they already do that now. What about the geth and the quarians? They're getting along just fine! And besides you, forget that there will always be chaos. Synthetics against synthetics, organics against organics and synthetic againast organics. There will always be conflict because there will always be individuals, they will have differing opinions and there will always be disagreements. But they will fade over time and the people will move on. That's how it will always work."
The Catalyst took on a contemplative expression, "But does it really? There was still bad blood between the turians and the humans, the geth and the quarians could barely come together to make a truce and unite under one banner and live on the same planet only because you intervened, had you not there would only be the geth or only the quarians. Your council considers certain species lesser because of history that they didn't wish to forget. The krogans were sterilized for demanding what other races had been granted for hundreds of years. Do you really believe that everyone will simply go back to holding hands and singing songs once the war is over? Tension will arise once again and there won't be any Reapers to blame for the galaxy being torn apart, only their own selfish pride and racism. Do you really think everything will change in such a short amount of time?"
Roxxanne hung her head, she knew better than anyone about this, not even having a race to truly call her own. "No. No I don't think everything will change." Roxxanne took a deep breath and pushed the long curly black strands of her exhausted purple eyes. "So how does this synthesis work? How would this affect all races?"
"The geth and all other AIs will gain organic understanding and the species barrier will fall not only between the synthetics and organics, but also between the other organic races."
Putting the katana back into its case and straightening up her slumped back, the lavender barrier flicking back to life around her as she began to stride towards the green beam of light. The Catalyst blinked curiously, following her. "What are you attempting to do?"
Roxxanne didn't even look his way, "I'm choosing synthesis, however, I'd like to be in the galaxy to see the results."
The barrier became brighter and thicker as she got closer, the Catalyst stopped following and simply watched. "The outcome of the altered variable will be amusing to witness."
Roxxanne ignored the Catalyst and dived into the green beam of light, it didn't feel like dying and yet still all she saw was black.
"All fleets, the crucible is firing. Head through the relays now."
Joker frantically tried to find a way around the powerful green blast but there was no way. Kaidan and Garrus were down in the medbay unconscious and Jane was desperately trying to help manage the systems with what few skills she had down in engineering with Tali and EDI. Liara was desperately trying to get in contact with the remaining contacts she had on Earth. Ashely urgently slapped against Joker's shoulder, "Joker, we have to get out of the Sol system! Didn't you hear Hackett?! We have to go! The beam is getting closer!"
Joker slumped in defeat and quickly jetted the Normandy out of the beam's way and into the space beyond the Sol system.
Roxxanne felt a splitting pain in her head and her limbs felt like lead, she couldn't move and the back of her head, the part where she pulled out all the biotics was nothing but a bloody mass. She could safely say that she never, while she was alive, ever felt such horrible body shredding pain. And yet as she saw the green light wash over the area she was in, she could also say she never felt prouder. The Reapers wouldn't harvest anymore and there wasn't any barrier between the species. Her legs were still intact so she tried to stand, but her legs were pinned down by the rubble. She wanted to look around but the sharp stinging in her chest turned into arrows launching at her lungs. She felt tired, oh so tired and she wanted to just succumb to the familiar darkness with its peace of mind and calm of heart, to let go of all her earthly ties, but she wasn't quite ready to die yet. Oh how the world seemed so bleak, unable to move, unable to speak, she would just have to wait under the rubble for whoever found her first.
Sometime later, Roxxanne was aware to the movement in her body, only it wasn't her moving her body, and she still hadn't eased the horrible weight that seemed to gather at her chest, her breathing came out shallowly and her eyes hadn't adjusted to the shifting surroundings. Suddenly she was upright, or—what was the proper word one could use when they had suddenly been stretched into an eagle position in the air?—suspended by false gravity and fresh recycled air flooded her once collapsed lungs. Finally her body had stopped moving and she got a good look at her resucer—or was it her captor?—and the ghostly body of the Catalyst came into view.
"Well, this was never a foreseen outcome. Hello, Ursai."
This was never something that Roxxanne could've ever predicted. After all, if the Catalyst had gotten a solution and the war was over. Did that mean he was going to follow through on the previous threats? Perhaps they were Harbringer's words but wasn't the Catalyst at the head of it all?
"I know this hurts you, Shepard."
"You will know pain, Shepard."
"Neutralize Commander Shepard."
"If I must tear you apart Shepard, I will."
"You will regret your resistance, Shepard."
"Flee while you can, Shepard."
"Shepard, you cannot stop us."
"Shepard, you could've been useful."
"You are arrogant, Shepard, you will learn."
"Shepard, your interference has ended."
"You cannot escape your destiny, Shepard."
"You have escaped before, Shepard, not again."
There was a sense of satisfaction that they'd always called her by Shepard, rather than Ursai, the name she'd taken on by her adopted father. Shepard was a name people called her and she hated it, but it was a sense of security, as long as people knew her by a false name they would never know her. Only her close friends and crew knew that name, so why did Catalyst know it all of the sudden? Somehow, Roxxanne didn't think that this was going to end well for her.
Mustering up all the defiance she could, Roxxanne glared at the Catalyst, "What? What are you doing? Come to live up to those threats from before?"
The Catalyst didn't answer just gave her a sort of mysterious grin and Roxxanne's world faded to black and she was tortured with the burden of losing all her senses except for her hearing and her smell. She could tell they were doing something good though because over time, it wasn't so hard to breathe, and her body stopped feeling like it was being put through all levels of hell and back anymore. So she just relaxed and let them work, after all she knew when she'd pushed her body too hard what would happen and the temporary immobility was just one of the side effects. 'So,' Roxxanne though with no small amount of bitterness and anger, 'I guess I'll just have to wait until it's all over.'
EDI was alive, she could feel, what had to be, the blood flowing through her body as her new heart pulsed rythmatically. She could taste the foods that the other members of the crew told her about, she had the capability to feel emotion, not just the ability to copy feelings. Jeff no longer had any problems with his brittle bones, Tali could walk freely without a mask, Javik seemed to relish in the changes and used them to prove how much little he had changed because he was a superior race all along, and then everyone had some sort of green now. Maybe patches of synthetic skin that turned green, small bits of light under the fingertips perhaps, or maybe just small bits and pieces that ran over the body in certain areas. And the Reapers.
They no longer attacked and they greatly helped rebuild the mass relays. Many ships that would've been stranded for months on end in the galaxy were now moving at regular speed and planets that had once been considered inhabitable such as Tiptree, Tuchanka, Earth, Thessia, and Palaven were now being fixed almost as fast as the damage had been done. The geth, now with full AI capability stayed on Rannoch with many of the quarians and began to build a new life together.
The citadel had even remained intact and many of the people who hadn't initially been killed in the first wave had managed to survive. However there was a question that had been on many people's minds; where was Shepard? The Reapers had reported her to be alive and well and yet they had 'no further information' when asked about her whereabouts. Garrus had had to live without his mate for nearly three weeks and he was becoming quite frustrated. After all, they had talked to the Catalyst and it had told him that she'd just through a beam that was supposed to disintegrate and destroy her and any remains that she left behind, but she had survived the beam and yet, for some reason the Catalyst had told them that they didn't know where she was. A lie if Garrus had ever heard one and he wasn't the only one upset. The Normandy crew and her family were all almost just as upset as Garrus was.
James gave Garrus a reassuring pat on the back after another long day of interrogating the Catalyst for answers. "Don't worry Scars, I'm sure Lola's fine probably just passed out somewhere with a giant beer mug in one hand and her sword in the other waiting for us somewhere on the Citadel so she can cuss us out."
Garrus rubbed the back of his head, an admittedly human gesture he had picked up over the years. "Yeah, I'm sure you're right, it's just that Roxy would always made sure that someone knew where she would be before she decided to hit the bottle."
The joking was just to clear the air so they didn't worry as badly as they had been. Everyone was on edge because, assassin or not, Roxxanne had never been able to keep a very good low profile unless she was about to assassinate somebody, and raised hell and high water every other minute, whether she meant to or not.
"Just, I mean there are so many places to check, Scars. And it seems the Alliance forgot about her again and all of our contacts are searching just…" James threw his arms up in frustration.
"I understand James, but I think I just got a lead on where she might be."
James eyes widened, "What, really? Shit, no way you've gotta tell me!"
Garrus put a finger to his lips and subtly nodded to the keeper nearby, James nodded and they began to walk in the other direction. "However, we need to get away from prying eyes, and seeing as how the Catalyst pretty much runs the Citadel, we'd better do this on the ship."
"Right, right. Gotcha."
"So, I've gathered you all here because you all want to know where Roxxanne is, despite the galaxy's attempts to erase her. Again." Garrus said calmly, he didn't shout and yet his voice rang out in the room with clear authority.
There was most of Roxxanne's old crew here; Miranda, Grunt, Liara, Tali, Legion, Kasumi, Zaeed, James, Kaidan, Ashley, her sister Jane, EDI, and Javik. Thane wasn't at the meeting because his condition had gotten worse, Wrex had to steer his people in the right direction, Samara was with Falere, Jacob was with Brynn, and Jack was with her students, despite rage at not being able to help find Roxxanne.
"Well, get on with it, Garrus. I'd like to find my sister before she's nothing but a damn rottin' husk!" Jane exclaimed determinedly. It'd never struck Garrus before how much alike Roxxanne and her sister Jane were alike, despite their wildly different appearances. Roxxanne was short, had long, curly ebony hair, hardened violet eyes and dark skin. Jane was a tall woman, short ginger hair, pale freckled skin and emerald eyes. And yet they both had that determination, that similar fiery attitude, and foul mouth. It was amazing how two people could differ in method and choices but have the very same traits as the other that made them admirable.
"Alright, what I've been seeing is that around the Zakera wards the cameras have been shutting down in certain areas and things have been popping up moved or missing. Normally, I'd think it was nothing but there has been large skidmarks on the ground, as if something heavy was been hastily moved from one area to the other. And a bit was caught on camera before it was shut down." Garrus showed the clip up on the CIC where the map normally was. There were three keepers all walking out of the small area in the corner of the Citadel and they were carrying a large container, filled with some kind of thick liquid and a bit of black snuck in at the top, before the tape was cut.
"Wait," Miranda interjected, "That container looks like what we originally put Roxxanne in during the Lazarus project not only to preserve her but to sedate her. You don't think that the Reapers are trying to conserve her in some way, do you?"
"Well," Grunt rumbled, "When we were taking down the Collecters, Harbringer seemed to think that they were going to take Shepard's body and turn it into a weapon. After all the Collecters did want her body after she died, so perhaps it isn't that big of a stretch."
Jane remembered that, how after Roxxanne had confessing to having been terrified when the Reapers had started to say her name in the battle, that they knew her by her name. It was a false one sure, but the fact that they even took notice at all was a terrifying thought in itself.
"Well, primitives, are we going to sit around and discuss, or are we going to do something about it?" Javik snarked.
Garrus nodded, "Everyone split up into groups of three. I have a feeling this is going to get really bad really fast."