Friday, 17 January 2014

Mass Effect Serialisation - Chapter 7

Seek The Enemy of Your Enemy, And You Will Find a Friend

Shepard, Garrus and Kaidan entered the C-Sec Academy and immediately found Wrex with a group of C-Sec officers. His huge frame immediately identifiable amongst the other races walking around and working. He was a huge, hulking beast with no fear to speak of - much like any other krogan, but with the aura of a lifetime of battle and struggle surrounding him.

The C-Sec Academy was a grand huge place, with elevators linking it to the Presidium Embassies and also the Alliance dock where the Normandy was berthed. C-Sec officers and recruits filled the place, it seemed as safe a place as you could be in the Citadel - all but for the giant krogan causing a scene.

Shepard and the others approached Wrex while he was in a...heated discussion with a noticeably smaller human C-Sec officer.

"Witnesses saw you making threats in Fist's bar, Wrex." the officer said, "Stay away from him."

"I don't take orders from you." Wrex said indignantly.

"This is your only warning, Wrex." the officer said, leaning forward in an attempt to assert some kind of authority - which failed.

"You should warn Fist. I will kill him." Wrex said,

"Do you want me to arrest you?!" the officer said, obviously non-the-braver for the other officers flanking Wrex.



"I want you to try." Wrex chuckled as he looked away and saw Shepard waiting nearby for him. He walked away from the officers, to the sound of the one officer who had been talking to him shakily saying "Go on Wrex, get outta here!".

Wrex approached Shepard, recognising him from Chora's Den and went face-to-face with him. He started the ball rolling with him,

"Do I know you, human?"

"I'm Shepard. I'm going after Fist." Shepard replied, showing none of the fear that the C-Sec officer had shown previously. Wrex let out a very guttural sigh,

"Shepard. Commander Shepard. I've heard of you, you're a warrior like me. Out of respect I'll give you fair warning: I'm going to kill Fist." Wrex said,

"Fist knows you're coming," Garrus interjected, "We'll all stand a better chance of getting to Fist if we work together."

Wrex looked at Garrus, not feeling much aside from hatred because he was a turian, but took note of the intelligence of what he was saying, and looked back at Shepard,

"My people have a saying: "Seek the enemy of your enemy, and you shall find a friend."" Wrex said, extending his hand as humans do. Shepard smiled, and took Wrex's hand.

"I think we're going to get along just fine Wrex." he said,

"Well let's go. I'd hate to keep Fist waiting." Wrex replied.

"Kaidan, we'll handle this." Shepard said to Lt Alenko, "I want you to head back to the embassy, make sure Ash isn't losing her temper with the Ambassador."

"Aye, aye Commander." Kaidan said, as he saluted and walked away.

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Shepard, Wrex and Garrus arrived at Chora's Den, and the usual beat of music was no longer present. The club had obviously shut up shop, but that wasn't going to stop them from entering to find Fist.

They approached the front door to find it still unlocked, Shepard drew his rifle and opened the door. Behind the door were about a dozen thugs and hired goons in defensive positions behind tables and the bar, with their guns trained on the front door. Shepard jammed the door open by ramming it with the butt of his rifle, and quickly turned to take cover just outside the bar. Garrus took cover on the other side of the door but Wrex with his strong biotic barrier and heavy armour marched in killing the 2 thugs directly behind the bar with his shotgun, and throwing another across the bar with his biotics. The trio quickly realised that their opponents were by no means trained killers, as their shots frequently missed them by some margin. The only real threat was the krogan bouncer who had been hassling Wrex previously. He slowly advanced towards them, firing his shotgun in precise 2 second intervals, and throwing biotic warps at them.

Garrus realised he was the biggest threat to them and he trained his rifle on the brute's legs, slowing him down and causing him to stumble. This was all the signal Shepard needed to aim for his chest, splitting his armour open with one volley of his chemically enhanced rounds, the second volley tearing through the krogan's thick armour-like skin, dissolving everything inside him, sending him crashing to the floor with a massive thud.

The other thugs dropped like flies to the groups highly honed combat skills. Shepard a Commander in the Alliance Navy, his years of fighting and being in battle making him a perfect killer; Garrus, who spent 5 years in the Turian Military through their version of National Service and years as a crack C-Sec officer and marksman hitting the target with every shot and Wrex - at well over 800 years old, he'd seen more combat that Shepard and Garrus combined, multiplied by 10, battle and fighting was like breathing for him.

After dispensing with the hired muscle, they made their way through to the bar's back rooms, where Fist would no doubt be hiding. They were right.

As they entered Fist's office, he was waiting for them, fully armoured with 2 automatic turrets by the walls. He didn't wait to ask questions, he opened fire on them immediately, as did his turrets. The turrets were slow however, and couldn't keep up with the 3 moving around the office, they concentrated their fire on the turrets, as Fist wasn't much of a better shot than his welcoming committee.

After they'd destroyed his turrets, they all fired on Fist, incapacitating him without killing him - he fell in seconds. They approached him as he held his hands up, wiping the blood from his mouth as he did so. He was injured for sure, but not fatally so.

"Wait! Don't kill me! I surrender!" Fist said with a wimper. Shepard drew his pistol and aimed it at Fists face.

"Then you'd better tell me where the quarian is." Shepard demanded.

"I don't know where she is, that's the truth!" Fist replied,

"He's no use to you now," Wrex said, cocking his shotgun, "Let me kill him."

"Wait! Wait!" Fist shouted, "Okay, I may not know where she is now exactly, but I know where you can find her."

"You'd better be straight with us." Shepard said,

"The quarian came to me with information, looking for protection. Said she'd only deal with the Shadow Broker himself." Fist explained,

"Impossible." Wrex interjected, "Even I was hired through an agent."

"She didn't know that, I told her I'd set a meeting up. But it'll be Saren's men waiting for her. She should be there now." Fist said,



Shepard stormed towards Fist, shoving his gun in his face.

"Tell me where the meeting is before I blow your lying head off!" Shepard said, Fist stepped back and started to stumble over his words, before saying,

"The meeting is here in the wards, down a back alley near the club. She should be there now, if you hurry you should be able to get to her."

That was all the information they needed, and Wrex knew it. He pulled up his shotgun and shot Fist from only feet away, killing him instantly.

"What are you doing!?" Garrus shouted, his C-Sec training kicking in to not kill unarmed felons.

"The Shadow Broker paid me to kill him. I don't leave jobs half done." Wrex said coolly.

"A lot of people died because of him." Shepard said, "He had it coming."

The trio knew time was of the essence now and quickly made their way out of the office back into the main bar. Unfortunately for them, reinforcements had arrived at the bar, these gunmen much better shots than the previous bunch of thugs - these were most likely Saren's men as opposed to Fists.

Shepard knew that they had to cut through them quickly, as he made his way to cover he could feel his adrenaline implants kicking in. Making him more focussed, as though time had slowed down. A rage inside him kicked in as he heard some of them laughing at him, clearly underestimating his skills as a trained killer.

Shepard broke cover and ran for the nearest gunman, cutting him down with a couple of bullets to the skull, the next 2 gunmen rose from cover to find Shepard already on top of them, hitting them both with his rifle before shooting them as they lay on the floor, knocked down by the brute force of the marine. While Shepard was making his way through the thugs on one side of the bar, Garrus and Wrex made their way through the other side, running and gunning, taking down Saren's men with a mixture of gunfire, biotics and Garrus's tech abilities - overloading their shields with a ranged electronic pulse, and sabotaging their weapons with a quick flick from his Omni-Tool. Omni-Tools were widely used by everyone in society, usually as a means to communicate and interact with computers, however in the armed forces, merc groups and the law, they could also be used to devastating effect as weapons in their own right.

After cutting through the small platoon that was waiting for them, they ran from the bar, towards the ward back alley, where the "meeting" between the quarian and Saren's men was taking place. They ran into the alley to see the quarian being leered at by the turian who conducting their discussion.

"Did you bring it?" the turian said, as he walked up to the quarian, looking her shapely body.

"Where's the Shadow Broker? Where's Fist?" the quarian said with obvious anxiety. And naivety. She was young, even through her environmental suit, you could tell she was quite young - probably in her late teens. As she spoke, Shepards sub-dermal translator, translated her voice into a softly spoken Russian accent. The turian she was speaking to stroked her head covering and down her arm.

"They'll be here. Where's the evidence." the turian said, as the quarian brushed him off.

"No way. The deal's off." the young quarian said. The turian stepped back, and nodded to the 2 salarians who were hanging back from the two of them. They acknowledged this and drew their pistols, as they did, the quarian turned to see them, and threw a concealed grenade at them, sending them hurtling to the floor.

Shepard, Wrex and Garrus ran on towards them opening fire on the turian and his salarian comrades. Garrus used his sabotage skill on the 2 salarians, causing their pistols to backfire, exploding in their hands - Wrex then finished them off with a shotgun blast each.

The turian was tougher however, and had already put his shields up before the trio arrived. He actually caused Shepard to pause for breath, but not for long. He crouched behind a large bin, swapping his automatic rifle for a sniper. He knew where the assassin was at the other end of the alley, and took a deep breath. He waited for a pause in fire to break cover and look down his sights, within a couple of seconds he had the turian assassin perfectly lined up. One sharp pull of his trigger, and the turian's skull split wide open.

The air settled, as Shepard, Garrus and Wrex holstered their weapons. They approached the quarian, who was clearly grateful for their timely appearance.

"Fist set me up!" the quarian stated, "I knew I couldn't trust him!"

"I'm Commander Shepard with the Alliance. I'm looking for evidence to prove Saren's a traitor." Shepard said, dispensing with pleasantries.

"I have something that might help you, but what about Fist?" the quarian asked,

"We've taken care of Fist." Shepard said, putting inflection on the right words to imply that he was dead.

"Then I guess I have a chance to repay you for 2 things then. But not here. We need to go somewhere safe." the quarian said,

"Shepard, we should take her to your human embassy. She'll be safe there and your Ambassador will want to see this anyway." Garrus suggested.

"Come on, let's go." Shepard said, as they left the Ward and went back to the Human Embassy in the Presidium.

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Shepard, Garrus, Wrex and the Quarian entered the Human Embassy. Ambassador Udina was waiting for them, and was clearly angry at Shepard for what he had been doing.

"You're not making my life easy Shepard. Firefights in the wards? An all-out assault on Chora's Den? Do you know how many-", Udina stopped mid sentence as he turned to see Shepards new associates, he was particularly startled by the presence of the quarian. Udina, like many others, held quarians in very low regard. "Who's this?" he asked, gesturing towards the quarian, "A quarian? What are you up to Shepard?"

"You wanted evidence that Saren is a traitor. She can help." Shepard said,

"I apologise. Could you please start at the beginning, Miss...?" Udina asked the quarian.

"My name is Tali. Tali'Zorah nar Rayya." Tali said,

"We don't see many quarians here. Why did you leave the Flotilla?" Udina asked, his ambassadorial ways kicking in with polite conversation.

"I'm on my Pilgrimage. My rite of passage into adulthood." Tali replied, happy to explain. "It's a tradition among my people. When we reach maturity, we leave the ships of our parents and our people behind. Alone, we search the stars, only returning to the Flotilla once we have discovered something of value. In this way, we prove ourselves worthy of adulthood."

"What kind of things do you look for?" Shepard asked, clearly intrigued. He had never really thought about the traditions and customs of the other races. Always keeping them at arms length usually.

"It could be resources like food or fuel. Or some type of useful technology. Or even knowledge that will make life easier on the flotilla. Through our Pilgrimage, we prove that we will contribute to the community, rather than being a burden on our limited resources." Tali explained.

"What kind of evidence did you find?" Shepard asked.

"During my travels I began hearing reports of geth. Since they drove my people into exile, the geth have never ventured beyond the Veil. I was curious." Tali explained, "I tracked a patrol of geth to an uncharted world. I waited for one to become separated from its unit. Then I disabled it and removed its memory core."

"I thought the geth fried their memory core when they died. Some kind of defence mechanism." Captain Anderson queried,

"What did you find?" Shepard asked,

"Most of the memory core was wiped, but I managed to salvage something from its audio banks." Tali said, as she activated her omni-tool, a familiar voice started to speak.

Eden Prime was a major victory.The beacon has brought us one step closer to finding the Conduit.




"That's Saren's voice! This proves he's a traitor!" Anderson said, almost giddy at the thought he had been found out. "The Conduit must be some kind of prothean technology...like a weapon!"

"Wait, there's more on here." Tali said and she played the recording again.

Saren: Eden Prime was a major victory.The beacon has brought us one step closer to finding the Conduit.

Second Voice: And one step closer to the return of the Reapers.

"I don't recognise that second voice. The one talking about Reapers." Udina said. Shepard looked slightly uneasy,

"Reapers, I feel like I've heard that name somewhere before..." he said.

"From what I salvaged from the geth memory core, the Reapers were a hyper-advanced machine race who appeared 50,000 years ago. They hunted the protheans to total extinction and then vanished...at least that's what the geth believe." Tali explained,

"Sound's a little far-fetched to me." Udina said, immediately dismissing the idea.

"It's not far-fetched." Shepard said, "The vision on Eden Prime. I think I understand it now. I saw the protheans being wiped out by Reapers."

"The geth revere the Reapers as gods - the pinnacle of non-organic life. And they believe Saren knows how to bring the Reapers back." Tali elaborated further.

"The Council's just going to love this." Udina said sarcastically.

"The Reapers are a threat to every species in Citadel space. We have to tell them!" Shepard said,

"No matter what the Council thinks of the rest of this, they have to see that this proves that Saren is a traitor." Anderson stepped in,

"The captain's right. We need to present this to the Council right away." Udina said,

"What about her? The quarian." Wrex asked,



"My name is Tali." she said, "Shepard, you saw me in that alley. You've seen what I can do. Let me come with you."

"I thought you were on your Pilgramage?" Shepard asked,

"The Pilgrimage proves that we are willing to give of ourselves for the greater good. What would it say about me if I turned my back on this." Tali said, showing wisdom beyond her years, "Saren is a threat to the entire galaxy - my Pilgrimage can wait."

"Anderson and I will get things set up with the Council. Take a few minutes to collect yourself and meet us in the Tower." Udina said, as he left the Embassy with Captain Anderson.

Garrus left as well, in order to report back to C-Sec, and Shepard told Ash and Kaidan to report to the Normandy. Shepard decided to take Wrex and Tali to the Citadel Tower, for the showing of the new evidence against Saren. Wrex was keen to stay with Shepard, he knew things were just beginning and Tali was determined to see her evidence put to good use.

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Bit of a long one this. But I'm absolutely loving writing this. I just hope some people are enjoying reading it.

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