This is my first attempt at writing Fanfiction, so if you could review the hell out of this, that'd be great!
I just want to say thank you to TheSneakyFox as her stories were some of the first I have ever read on this site, and were a great source of inspiration. Also special thanks goes to Calinstel for his ideas and concepts on Quarians and their culture, along with 1054SS325MP for his additional help and advice.
Just to note: my Shepard will have a few twists and turns in regards to his character. I wanted to initially have a story mainly focusing on character development, but I've grown to love writing combat scenes. So expect quite a few of those!
That's enough of me blabbering on... Without further ado, let's begin the story!
'Oh for God's sake. Five more minutes Lucy...'
With an almighty thud, Shepard lurched forward into the sleeper pod cover.
Quickly bolting upright to flinch away from the cold, metallic contact that had just invaded every nerve in his body, Shepard fumbled around for the holo-alarm clock he had set in the sleeper pod. After an extremely lengthy amount of time and a large amount of curse words; enough to have shocked a nun into cardiac arrest, Shepard eventually located the source of his annoyance.
'Stupid piece of shit. I was having the best amount of sleep I've had for a long time. No nightmares; no Akuze; no Elysium; no dead partners...
After dragging himself from his inner rant, Shepard took stock of his surroundings; as he had always done. As he was always going to do.
'Well, at least the sleeper pod is big enough for my bulk. And the Normandy's not that bad... Better than the rest of my assignments. Although, I still have no idea why I'm XO; someone must have screwed up in the allocation of roles.'
The commander's mind went blank for just a moment. The only sound that could be heard was Shepard's light breathing.
Out of nowhere in particular, a sudden thought struck the man, relieving his mind of its silence:
'I should really get up and check the ship. We should be finished with this stupid "shakedown" run soon, and I'd like to be one of the first ones to know what we're actually doing. In that case, I better get my arse out of this pod and into my armour. After all, it's the only thing that fits...'
And that, was no exaggeration.
Shepard was a hulking beast of a man. When he stood tall, he stood at around 6'11; a respectable height. His width, however, was one of the most intimidating parts of his body. The only thing more frightening to look at, were his cold, unnerving hazel eyes.
His general muscle mass was larger than that of any other human that he knew.
He was a living, breathing tank on legs.
Like an Elcor.
And when clad in his Heavy Onyx armor and equipped with his usual assortment of weapons and ammunition, even a Krogan would think twice.
But that wasn't the extent of his skill; yes he could run into a building and crush skulls like the 'Mountain', but when you throw a biotic amp into the mix, and skills that make you as silent as the wind, like a true infiltrator, no wonder the Alliance sent you into the pan, day in and day out.
'Maybe that's why I was put on this ship then?' He thought in amusement.
He couldn't however, forget to acknowledge the recommendation that his new captain and long time friend, David Edward Anderson, must have given him.
'Is it classed as favouritism? I should ask him about it.'
So, to this extent and to come back to Shepard's current problem, none of the traditional alliance marine uniforms that were on the ship, fit his body.
He had only been on the Normandy for a week, but the supplies were not generally made for a man of that size.
Captain Anderson, however, had said that the next time they were on the Citadel for shore leave, proper supplies would be acquired.
At least there was some light at the end of the tunnel.
With a sudden glance outside of his pod, Shepard's face burst into a grin:
'Today's challenge, get down to the armoury and put on my armour as fast as possible without being caught! Good plan, let's do it!'
Stepping out of his sleeper pod once his plan had been established, and one of his sidearms had been comfortably tucked into the back of his shorts, Shepard set off. The coast seemed clear, and so the commander made a mad dash for the elevator, stopping only to collect a shirt from his locker, to wear with his shorts, as an under layer once in his armour.
Once in the elevator, the commander breathed a long sigh of relief, and waited for the maddeningly slow elevator to reach its destination.
The cargo bay was clear.
The armoury looked clear.
'Should be smooth sailing now...'
Silently creeping across the cold metallic bulkhead, which was the floor of the Normandy, Shepard reached out towards the locker that contained his armour, when a sound of surprise startled the commander out of his tunnel-vision.
With instincts that were finely honed, and fuelled by many years of experience, Shepard rolled towards the crates at the side of the lockers.
Pulling out and arming his pistol that he kept on him at all times, he swiftly popped out of cover and raised his arm to aim at his new potential target.
'I'm not going to shoot obviously, but I suppose people will have to learn not to piss me off soon enough.'
"Geez, Commander! Put the gun down, and get some clothes on. You're making the rest of us look bad."
Standing there, with his hands up in mock surrender, and the goofiest grin you have ever seen, was his long time friend and colleague, Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko.
He had known Kaidan from previous service, three years ago, when Kaidan was attached to Shepard's squad as an additional biotic marine.
The squad was sent all over the terminus system, solidifying the hold the Alliance had out there with its colonies, and destroying established pirate bases. It was on these missions, that Kaidan, and ultimately the rest of the Alliance learnt not to mess around with Shepard.
He was simply a loaded gun, waiting to go off on the unfortunate soul in front of it.
"Wow Kaidan, I didn't know you were a stalker, following me down here to see me get changed." Shepard remarked, with an equally goofy grin on his lips; his three-lined scar that traced over his left eye to the left uppermost portion of his mouth, twisted with the grin.
"Yeah, yeah... Like that would ever happen. I only came down to get my kit. Captain says we're nearing the mass relay, so I want to be ready in case anything goes wrong."
"Sounds like a plan Kaidan. I'm sure Anderson would like to know where his XO has got to anyhow..."
"Well commander, that might be helpful. But get dressed first. We do have female crew on the bridge, you know..." Kaidan stated, in a matter of fact tone, with an undercurrent of humour lacing his words.
"Ha! Very observant Lieutenant. It's not my fault the clothes don't fit now, is it?"
"I wonder why that is? Maybe it's because you have more muscle mass than two normal marines combined? That could probably explain the fact that you can get shot a lot, and still keep going. I mean, do your muscles and joints not hurt? Or are you like some sort of superhero?"
Again, with the goofy grin...
"Trust me, they do. I'm just as human as everybody else, just a lot bigger and meaner is all." Shepard stated with a wink at the end, before turning around towards his locker.
"How's Nihlus by the way? I keep noticing he's everywhere I am, at the exact same time, like he's watching me or something..." Shepard asked while reaching for his gauntlets in his locker.
"I have no idea to be honest Commander. Maybe you have a new fan?"
With a bark of laughter from the man at the locker, Kaidan continued on, "I mean, it's weird he's here to start off with. Maybe it's just because the Council has a lot riding on this prototype?"
"Well, I don't care what the Council wants. I just know you don't send a Spectre for a grunt's job... And I would really appreciate it if the 'Shepard fan club' could maybe leave me alone for a couple of hours when I want some privacy."
At this, Kaidan chuckled and walked towards his locker, before he began sorting his equipment. Shepard saw with a cursory glance what he was doing, and smiled at a distant memory that came flooding back:
* "Listen here maggots! By the end of today, you will all learn how to sort your equipment and be prepared for anything. You will learn how to fight like marines, you will learn how to equip yourselves like marines; you will learn how to be goddamn marines! Is that understood?" barked Drill Sergeant Jacobson. *
* "SIR YES SIR!" came the immediate reply of 30 voices, Private Shepard's included.*
* "Your equipment, is your life! You treat it like you would a newborn child. You nurture it; you clean it; but you also have it ready, just in case shit hits the fan. Just like Private Marlowe and his newborn daughter. Ain't that right private?" *
* "SIR YES SIR!" *
* "Damn straight! Now listen up, the first technique I'm going to show you for equipment organisation is favoured primarily by 'Devil Jumpers' and involves having your kit ready to move at a moments notice. So your assault rifle goes first and then..." *
Remembering his training in the Alliance marines was a bitter-sweet feeling for Shepard.
Although he was glad that his life now had a purpose, the costs of making such a discovery were too high in his opinion.
After escaping his orphanage/prison at the age of 11, Shepard had to fight for the rest of his life. Every opportunity was fought for, every day of living was fought for, every scrap of food was fought for...
He was offered a choice by a gang on Earth to join them, and 'learn the ropes'.
But, Shepard refused.
He may be a vagrant now, but crime was not the answer.
So... Shepard snuck away on an Alliance freighter one day, when life was becoming unbearable; the hunger was too much; the thirst was excruciatingly painful, and the constant struggle for survival against other vagrants left him weak.
Weak and pitiful.
It was then, that Shepard vowed to better himself. He was going to try and change his life around, so that he would never suffer again at the hands of others.
At the age of 13; not realising where he was going to end up, Shepard journeyed away from his 'home' of Earth.
Of course, as luck would have it, Shepard would then later be found by one of the crew on the ship. But, instead of the crewman harshly reprimanding him, one look at the weak and dishevelled frame that slept soundly on top of a cargo crate told him all he needed to know.
This boy was homeless, and it was his duty as a decent human being to give him one.
He wouldn't tell the others, they would just send him back to Earth when they had the chance. Rather, he would see that he would be given a home on Arcturus.
When Shepard arrived and was woken by the crewman, he was escorted to the local authorities on the station, to which he was officially registered as a citizen of Arcturus Station.
Finally, Shepard had a home.
However, it may have appeared to be a home, but Shepard had no family, no parents.
He was an orphan. Always would be.
Therefore, Shepard grew up on Arcturus without someone guiding his every decision.
But, Shepard did something with his new life. He did not waste away his new found freedom.
He had attended one of the 4 schools on the station; Arcturus High School for an education, for a purpose. For the entire period, Shepard was allocated a tiny room of his own, and a small allowance of credits to sustain himself on. Of course, Shepard got a part time job to earn extra funds, as well as doing as many activities as possible to occupy his time, to drive away his isolation.
Although he was surrounded by people on a day to day basis, Shepard was alone.
But still, he worked hard at school, and took a great passion to learning 'Ancient Earth History', where he learnt of battles and wars that divided the people, similar to his previous life.
At the age of 16, Shepard knew that his only avenue for the future was to join the Alliance, to repay his debt, and so, he worked harder than ever, honing his mental and physical bodies in preparation for his 18th birthday.
When he did join the marines, on the 11th April 2162, only then did he fully blossom into the person he is now; the person he always wanted to be.
Private Shepard rose through the ranks quickly to reach Corporal, along with other leadership awards. He met every challenge head-on, with a determination his superiors had never seen before.
Because of his outstanding record over a period of 4 years in the Alliance marines service, Shepard was sent with 49 other hand-picked marines and a scientific convoy on a special mission, to a planet that was being colonized, but had recently fallen out of radio contact in 2176.
The horrors Shepard would experience on Akuze would haunt him for the rest of his life...
The screams of dying soldiers and dying friends, the putrid smell of singed flesh and fresh blood that permeated the air, the screeches of monsters feeding... They would stay with him for as long as he lived.
But the worst of it all, was the destruction he witnessed: the mangled corpses of his fellow soldiers, limbs strewn about, lying next to sizzling acid patches in the sand, the screams for help, the screams for loved ones, that went unheard.
Thresher Maws, the apex predators of the galaxy, similar to extremely large earthworms, but with extra pincers and the ability to spit acid.
On the topic of acid, Shepard remembered when he got his first major wound in battle. He had an acid burn on his lower left leg, that required extremely painful skin grafting surgery to repair and give the appearance of normality.
'Well, as normal as an acid burn can be to your entire lower left leg...' Shepard thought with a grimace.
Akuze would have broken any normal man, but Shepard had suffered enough in his life already. That was saying a lot, as he was only 22.
Because Shepard was the only survivor found, it was believed that he still retained his senses and skills; especially seeing as he retained his mental faculties to escape in the squads shuttle. He could therefore still fight for the Alliance. He was still valuable. Corporal Shepard was then deemed 'medically fit for service' by the collective group of medical examiners.
However, he was still sent to the garden world of Elysium out in the Terminus, for rest and relaxation after the traumatic experience.
'How wrong I was, to believe I would be allowed to rest...'
Elysium was to become a hell in the galaxy during the Skyllian Blitz of 2177.
Endless hordes of Batarian slavers and pirates, wishing for an easy haul of human slaves, no matter their age, race or gender, descended upon the human colony.
At 0634 GST (Galactic Standard Time) the first Batarian frigates broke through the then disintegrating Alliance blockade, and darted straight for Elysium. Straight into the recovering Shepard's AOE (Area of Operations).
'That didn't end too well for them did it?' Shepard thought with a vicious grin on his lips, whilst he subconsciously reached up to graze over the scar over his left eye, another trophy from another battle.
Shepard could still see Kaidan, working away now at the terminal next to the Mako Infantry Vehicle, looking deeply engrossed into whatever that techno mumbo jumbo stuff was.
Elysium may have been crucial in eliminating some pirate factions, but the cost of the battle was too high for Shepard.
With a shake of his head to dispel the depressing thoughts that threatened to overwhelm him, Shepard recalled how his life had changed from there:
Elysium had become the changing point in Shepard's career.
Because of his 'heroic' defence of one of the major cities in his AOE, and the saving of 400 innocents from the Batarians, Shepard had been skyrocketed up the chain of command.
He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and accepted into N Special forces training, with the reward of his own squad at the end of it. He would become one of the famous 'Delta' marines.
Along with being awarded the Star of Terra, Shepard, with his new orders to hunt down the pirate leaders that had gone into hiding in the Terminus, set out on his new mission with his new squad.
Kaidan had joined Shepard's squad back then, in 2180 when Shepard had become an N7 Operative.
His squad had eliminated a large number of pirate bases and were known to the Alliance Command officially as Delta 1-1. To their enemies, they were spoken about silently as the 'wolf-pack'. The name stuck, but the members had to go their separate ways once Arcturus had deemed the mission a success and the promotions had been awarded; such as Shepard becoming a Lieutenant-Commander.
And that was why he was now on the Normandy, after being recently reassigned and, luckily, being reacquainted with 2 old friends again.
After his thoughts had dragged on long enough, and his armor had been fully fitted and his weapons put into place, the commander noticed the Lieutenant had already left.
'Always was eager I suppose.'
With a grin plastered on his face, Shepard moved towards the elevator.
As soon as the elevator had reached its destination, the commander, now seething in annoyance, strode with a purpose up the stairs and towards his destination; the bridge.
'I swear, I am going to fix the damn elevator myself one of these days... The thing is so damn slow!'
As Shepard was wrestling with his thoughts on how crappy Alliance elevators were, he failed to notice that all hands on the bridge were braced and ready for the approaching jump in the Mass Relay.
Shepard continued his walk towards the head of the bridge; the cockpit.
Respectful salutes were thrown here and there by the bridge crew, who, although they had not known the man for a long time, all knew of his exploits, and the respect he commanded.
Shepard was used to that crap by now, 'It's like I'm some sort of God to them or something... It's kinda weird.'
With that thought in mind, Shepard stopped at the boundary of the cockpit to the corridor, listening on the conversation between Nihlus, the Turian Spectre, and the Pilot.
'I should really ask the guy what his name is. I have been kinda rude I guess...'
"The board is green. Approach run has begun." blared out the internal comm system.
As Shepard watched the view of the cockpit, he could only stare in amazement at the sight before him.
Just ahead, a solitary Mass Relay lay, suspended in space, and yet it emanated a lightning-like blue energy which quickly wrapped around the Normandy once it got close to it.
'Space travel. I will never understand it. And I really don't want to ruin the magic of it'. With a newfound sense of joy, Shepard watched as the Normandy lurched into FTL travel, and rocketed through.
"Thrusters... Check. Navigation... Check. Internal emissions sink... Engaged. All systems online. Drift... Just under 1500K." stated the Pilot, in a matter-of-fact tone, that may have been laced with pride if Shepard could tell.
A deep, reverberating sound rang through the cockpit, and the Turian Spectre spoke up, "1500 is good. Your captain should be pleased."
And with that poor attempt at congratulations, Nihlus turned about face, and walked past Shepard, offering a small nod in acknowledgement to the Human.
Without waiting a moment after Nihlus had left, the Pilot muttered, "I hate that guy..."
Kaidan, who had been seated on the Pilot's right-hand side, decided it was best to throw his 2 cents in, "Nihlus gave you a compliment... So you hate him?"
With a snort of amusement and without looking away from his controls, the Pilot responded in a humorous, if slightly pissed off tone, "You remember to zip up your jumpsuit on the way out of the bathroom? That's good. I just jumped us half-way across the Galaxy, and hit a target the size of a pin-head. So that's incredible! Besides, Spectre's are trouble. I don't like having him on board. Call me paranoid."
"You're Paranoid. The Council helped fund this project. They have a right to send someone to protect their investment." Kaidan argued.
Without realising the Commander was stood there listening, in clear amusement the Pilot retorted back, "Why would we need two N7 Operatives, one who became the first N7, and the other is the most famous, badass killing machine that's ever been created? I mean, have you seen the guy?! He could scare away the enemies by just looking at 'em! So don't tell me we need some Council Spectre to protect the ship on a shake-down run."
Shepard decided it was time to reveal himself. "You're too kind. My fist could probably knock them out first, and then I would stare if that didn't work."
"GEEZ! HOW THE?! C-Commander! I d-didn't know you were there." the Pilot stuttered in shock, while relaxing back into his chair after the sudden jolt.
"Well I wouldn't be that badass if people could hear me now, would I?" Shepard replied, with a massive grin on his lips.
Kaidan just chuckled.
Captain Anderson's voice rang out over the Comm system in the cockpit, "Joker! Status report."
'So that's his name! HAH! Nailed it!' Shepard thought with sudden amusement at the revelation.
Without a moment of hesitation, Joker responded, "Just cleared the Mass Relay, Captain. Stealth systems engaged. Everything looks solid."
The captain responded in a slightly stressed out tone. "Good. Find a comm buoy and link us into the network. I want mission reports relayed back to Alliance brass before we reach Eden Prime."
"Aye aye Captain. Better brace yourself sir, I think Nihlus is headed your way."
A warning that dripped with sarcasm...
In an irritated tone, the captain replied, "He's already here Lieutenant. Tell the Commander to meet me in the comm room, Anderson out."
"Did you get that Commander?"
There was no reply.
Again, there was no reply.
With a sigh of exasperation, Joker simply muttered to himself instead, "Of course he's left already."
Kaidan, however, heard what Joker had said. The lieutenant let a small silence settle in for a moment, before responding jovially, "Of course he has. You should have seen him when we got to this pirate camp this time a couple of years ago. You couldn't have known where he was if you tried..."
Shepard simply journeyed to the comm room.
As the commander neared the comm room, Corporal Jenkins and Doctor Chakwas were stood talking nearby. Once Shepard was close enough, the corporal suddenly snapped of an enthusiastic, and crisp salute to his Commander.
The commander acknowledged the man as he moved to get past but found the corporal in his way. Doctor Chakwas chuckled softly at the sight in front of her: the beast of a man had suddenly been cut off by the corporal; questions poised and ready for a verbal bombardment.
"Commander! We won't be too long on Eden Prime will we? I'm itching for some real action!" Jenkins exclaimed with an enthusiasm that was strangely infectious.
Still chuckling, Doctor Chakwas tried to respond in as serious a tone as she could manage, "I do sincerely hope you are kidding Corporal. Whenever someone gets 'an itch for action', I end up having to patch them up."
Now it was the commander's turn to reply, "Don't worry Corporal. Just keep calm and collected, and everything will go just fine."
"I know! It's just you don't have to prove yourself Commander. You survived Akuze, and the Thresher Maw attack, as well as saving all of those civilians on Elysium during the Blitz!"
The Commander could understand the enthusiasm, as it reminded himself of what he was like when he first started, "You're young Corporal. You've got your whole career ahead of you. Keep calm and collected, and make sure you live to fight another day. Got it?"
"Okay, Commander." Jenkins' tone wasn't dejected, if anything, it became even more enthusiastic.
Doctor Chakwas decided to ask the commander if he needed anything more, "Anything else we can help you with Commander?"
"I should go."
'Well, I've done something useful, I guess.' Shepard thought, as he walked through the rapidly opening doors of the Comm Room.
He was slightly disturbed to find Nihlus the only occupant of the room; the Turian was facing away from the door and staring at a diagram of a garden planet.
As the Commander was preparing himself to leave, Nihlus spun around to face the Commander.
With mandibles splayed, Nihlus began, "Commander Shepard. I was hoping you'd get here first. It will give us a chance to talk."
'I do not like the sound of that...' Taking on a guarded tone, the Commander replied, "What about?"
Not noticing the defensiveness the Commander held in his tone, the Turian stated, "I'm interested about this place we're going to, Eden Prime. I've heard it's quite beautiful."
'What kind of thought is that?!' Not thinking before he spoke, Shepard said, "I've never been. Apparently it's supposed to be a paradise."
"Yes... A paradise. Serene, tranquil, a safe haven. Eden Prime has become something of a symbol of your people, hasn't it? Proof that Humanity can not only establish colonies across the Galaxy, but also protect them. But how safe is it really?"
'What the fuck does that mean?!'
"Do you have something to say, Nihlus?" Anger laced Shepard's words.
"Your people are still newcomers Shepard. The Galaxy can be a dangerous place if one isn't careful." A condescending tone, for the condescending Turian.
Nihlus crossed his arms over his chest plate and continued to eye the Commander, "Is the Alliance truly ready for this?"
Shepard's curse-filled answer was abruptly cut off as Captain Anderson entered the room.
Before either the Turian or the Human could say anything, the Captain cut in, "I think it's time we tell the Commander what's really going on."
Nihlus dropped his arms, and approached Shepard slowly, voice muted, "This mission is far more than a simple shake-down run."
'And the prize for most obvious, goes to...' Shepard held his tongue to Nihlus, but turned to face his Captain instead, voicing his thoughts, "I knew there was something you weren't telling me, sir."
Captain Anderson continued on his journey to the hologram, before turning around to face Shepard, "We're making a covert pick-up on Eden Prime. That's why we needed the stealth systems operational."
'Why couldn't you just tell me that?!' Again, Shepard held his tongue, quashing the surging feeling of annoyance in his gut before locking it up deep inside himself.
With a slightly cooler frame of mind in position, the commander replied neutrally, "What's the package, sir?"
"A research team on Eden Prime has unearthed a beacon of some kind. They believe it to be Prothean in origin."
'Protheans... I remember learning about them. Wait, aren't they supposed to be missing?'
"I thought they disappeared 50,000 years ago?" Shepard asked with a hint of confusion in his voice.
Nihlus, who had previously been silent in the background, spoke up, "Their legacy still remains. The Mass Relays, the Citadel, our ship drives... It's all based off of Prothean technology."
Now it was Anderson's turn to speak up, "This is big, Shepard. The last time Humanity made a discovery like this, it jumped our technology forward 200 years. But Eden Prime doesn't have the facilities capable to handle something like this. We have to bring back the Beacon, to the Citadel, for proper study."
Again, Nihlus contributed to the shocking revelation; "Obviously this goes further beyond mere Human interests, Commander. This discovery could affect every species in Council Space."
'Wait, if it's just a Beacon, why is there a Spectre, and 2 N7 Operatives being sent to pick it up?' Still confused, the Commander just had to ask:
"Are we going to be expecting trouble of any kind?"
Nihlus was the one to answer in a cryptic tone, "I always expect trouble."
Anderson continued on from the Spectre, "There's more Shepard. Nihlus isn't just here for the Beacon, he's here to evaluate you."
'Ah crap. What have I done?' Almost hesitantly, as if not wanting to hear the answer, Shepard ventured his question, "What's going on, Captain?"
With a smile on his face, which soothed Shepard's fears, Anderson answered as best as he could, "The Alliance has been pushing for this, for a long time. Humanity wants a larger role in Galactic Politics and interstellar Galactic Policy. We want more say with the Council. Spectre's represent the power the Council wields. If a Human can get into those ranks, it will show what the Alliance, and Humanity can do."
Shepard nodded his head slightly, before Nihlus' voice interjected in the explanation:
"Your file is extremely impressive Commander Shepard. If I had not seen you in person, I would have dismissed the claims immediately. I would never have believed them. Your valiant service during the Blitz is commendable. Along with the focus of protecting the civilians and eliminating hostile forces, you put down an extremely large number of forces on your own, which is impressive in itself. In addition, your ability to survive, as seen after the Thresher Maw attack on Akuze, is a remarkable trait that not many have. It will serve you well in combat. Not to mention that you have some training with your slightly manifested biotics; stealth technology, and you are proficient with all types of firearms. You would make the perfect Spectre. That's why I put you forward myself."
A hint of pride filtered into the end of the Turian's explanation.
'Huh. Not as bad as I thought.'
And then, Nihlus' words sunk in.
'I'm being nominated to be a Spectre! Humanities first!'
At that moment, if it wasn't for the fact that his Captain and his Spectre nominator were present, Shepard would have attempted a cartwheel in the Comm Room.
Shepard suppressed the urge to scream and shout, and tried to keep his face as neutral as possible.
With as close to neutral as possible, the Commander addressed his Captain, "I assume this is good for the Alliance?"
With the hint of a smile on his face, and his tone taking on a sense of pride, Anderson replied, "Earth needs this Shepard. We're counting on you."
Nihlus nodded with the statement and added, "I need to see your skills for myself, Commander. Eden Prime will be the first of several missions together."
"You'll keep your role as Ground Team Commander, Shepard." Anderson said, "Get to the Beacon, secure it, and the Normandy will come in for extraction. Nihlus will be observing you."
This was it.
Another big opportunity for Shepard.
'I'm going to grab and hold onto this one with both hands!'
"Just give the word, Captain." Shepard said, voice swelling with his own pride.
'First Human Spectre!'
"That's the spirit! We should be approaching Eden-"
"Captain! We've got a problem!" buzzed Joker in the Comm.
Panic filled the Captain's response, "What's wrong, Joker?"
"Transmission from Eden Prime Sir! You better see this!"
"Put it on the screen Joker!" bellowed Anderson.
Immediately, video footage was being played in the previous place of the hologram of Eden Prime.
The footage was shaky at best, and heavy breathing could be heard quite profoundly.
Shepard realised it was someone's helmet feed. The breathing stopped for a second, while a large cacophony of gunfire rang out. The camera looked upwards to see 2 marines being blown apart by a rocket impact blast, shredding limbs and opening gushing wounds. They wouldn't make it.
The breathing continued; the person was running again.
Then there was a loud slam, as armour impacted rock.
The marine peered upwards from his makeshift cover to make out a distinct image, a massive dreadnought of epic proportions, shaped like -an Earth squid?- With appendages snaking off from the sides of the purple metallic hull.
A massive flash of crimson light shot out from one of the ends of an appendage. The marine ducked down, swearing and praying for help. Another explosion rocketed the screen and the marine was flung backwards.
Suddenly an Alliance marine, clad in white and pink Phoenix armor stood over the marine, firing shots off at an unknown enemy.
The marine got back up to assist, but a grenade bounced nearby.
All that was heard in the video was the shout of 'Get down!' by the marine and then the strangled grunts of a dying man, along with the high pitched warnings of multiple wounds by the on-board medical VI. Finally, the escaping of air from the man's lungs could be heard.
The marine was dead.
After that the video cut out and loud static replaced the video.
Joker cut through the static via the Comm, "Everything cuts out after that. No Comm traffic at all. It just dies, there's nothing."
Anderson with his head tilted to the side, in an expression of curiosity said, "Reverse and hold at 38.5."
The ship, of massive proportions appeared on the screen again, its metallic purple hull, gleaming in Eden Prime's evening sunlight. Red electricity crackled around the gigantic ship.
'Oh God... What the fuck is that?!'
It was Anderson who suddenly brought Shepard out of his thoughts with his usual gruff tone, "Status report."
"Seventeen minutes out Captain. No other Alliance ships in the area."
"Take us in, Joker. Fast and quiet. This mission just got a lot more complicated."
Anderson rounded on Shepard now, "Get Jenkins and Alenko to suit-up Commander. Be prepared for anything."
Shepard's reply was but a whisper as he stood, staring at the image of the massive dreadnought, in a mixture of fear and awe, "Aye aye, Captain."
So there you have it! Chapter 1 all done and dusted. If anybody is wondering, yes I did switch the dates of Akuze and Elysium round to make them fit into Shepard's background. And yes, he doesn't fit into any of the clothes, he's a tank, and has only been on the Normandy for a week, and they didn't have sufficient supplies. Don't like it?
Tell me in the Reviews! Or feel free to PM me about anything.
Not sure about release schedule. I'll try and get out as many as possible when I can.