Thursday, 27 February 2014

Mass Effect Serialisation – Chapter 11

Mass Effect Serialisation – Chapter 11

They Have Flashlight Head's

Shepard walked over to Ash, she was checking over the weapons that had been used in Chora’s Den, ensuring they were ready for any potential combat that they could encounter in the Artemis Tau Cluster when looking for Dr Liara T’Soni. Ashley saw Shepard approach, stopped checking over an assault rifle, stroked back her hair, and turned to face him.

“Commander.” Ash said with slight smile. Shepard looked back at her and kept his steely demeanour.

“How are you feeling about Eden Prime?” he asked, knowing that she was the only survivor from her unit.

“No offence Commander, I appreciate the rescue but…” Ash said,

“We got there as fast as we could Ash. Even with the fastest ship in the fleet.” Shepard replied, wanting her to know that she was lucky.

“It’s not that Commander. I feel like it’s my fault. If I’d have been more alert, we wouldn't have been cut down by an ambush.” Ash said remorsefully.

“The geth are perfect ambusher’s Ash.” Shepard said, wanting to help her, “They don’t move. They don’t make noise, they don’t even breathe.”

“They have flashlight head’s Shepard.” Ash said, matter-of-factly and her grin turning into a full smile. “It won’t happen again.”

Shepard smiled back at her, and with a nod of his head, dismissed her to return to her duties. Shepard then walked down towards the aft of the ship, to the engine room where his last recruit, Tali was helping out Chief Engineer Adams.

Tali was at a console, examining the details of the drive core for the Normandy, when she spotted Shepard in the peripheral vision of her mask. She turned to face him, hopping slightly with a giddy charm.

“This ship is amazing Shepard!” she beamed, “The drive core is fantastic, I’m surprised you were able to fit it into a ship so small! I’m starting to understand why the Alliance has been so successful, I had no idea Alliance vessels were this advanced!”

Shepard wanted to be quick to dispel that myth, “This ship is a prototype – cutting edge technology. Alliance vessels aren’t usually this advanced.”

“Still…a month ago I was patching a make shift fuel line into a converted tug ship in the flotilla. Now, I’m standing on the most advanced ship in Citadel space. I have to thank you again for giving me this opportunity. Travelling on a ship like this is a dream come true for me.” Tali replied,

“I had no idea you were into ship technology like this.” Shepard said, surprised that someone as young as Tali would be into something seemingly dry like this.

“Are you kidding? Ships are our most vital resource. We depend on the ships we have for survival, but we usually make do with cast off’s and second hand vessels, we have nothing like this! Some of our ships date all the way back to our original flight away from the geth.” Tali explained,

“I can’t believe you have ships that are 3 centuries old!” Shepard remarked, shocked by this seemingly innocuous revelation.

“They are constantly being repaired, modified and refitted. We try to make ourselves as independent as possible on the flotilla, we grow our own food, mine, and even process our own fuel. But there are some things that we can’t do for ourselves. A patch to repair the hull integrity requires raw materials that we just don’t have. That’s why our pilgrimages are so important.” Tali explained further.

“I’d like to know more about the geth.” Shepard said, knowing that if Saren had an army of geth at his disposal, he’d need to know more about them.

“I doubt I can tell you anything that you don’t already know.” Tali said tentatively, “I only know what they were 3 centuries ago, when we first built them, and how they turned on us.”

“Interesting.” Shepard replied.

“Well, the geth were first created in order to be an automotive manual labour force, who had minimal intelligence, maybe along the same line as a Virtual Intelligence, or VI. Over time, we made small modifications to their programming in order for them to perform more varied and complex tasks, bringing them closer and closer to true AI status.” Tali said,

“Didn’t the Council step in to stop you? How come you were allowed to do this?” Shepard asked, knowing that the Council had explicitly banned all AI research due to how dangerous the risks of them were.

“We didn’t exactly do anything illegal. We may have skirted the boundaries of the law, but the changes were so minute and seemingly insignificant we were able to control them. At least that’s what we thought, we underestimated the power of the neural network. A million geth thinking simultaneously created an inherently unstable matrix.”

“So the geth share intelligence?” Shepard said, slightly confused.

“In a way yes. Many of the geth’s logic systems were designed to work in concert with other nearby geth. Basically, the more of them you have in a group, the smarter they are.” Tali said,

“So why did the geth rebel?” Shepard asked,

“As the geth started to develop further and have more abstract thoughts, they started to question their quarian masters as to the nature of their existence. What is my purpose? Why are we here? And perhaps the most poignant – Does this unit have a soul?” Tali said sadly, “As you could expect, a near-panic among our people.”

“I don’t see what’s so bad about those questions.” Shepard said,

“The geth started to develop signs of self-awareness and independent thought. The tasks they were made to do were fine for machines – mundane, repetitive or dangerous manual labour. If they developed a self-aware consciousness, then we would essentially be using them as slaves. It would be inevitable that they would rise against us in response to the situation they were in. So we acted first. A general order was put out to all quarian controlled systems to permanently deactivate all geth. The geth responded to this order violently.” Tali said,

“I can’t say I blame them. They were defending themselves in order to survive.” Shepard said, unexpectedly even to himself.

“The geth were on the verge of revolution anyway. The hope was that if we acted quickly enough, we could stop the war before it even began. The hope was that most geth were still little more than machines. But they had progressed, or even evolved I suppose, more than we had expected. The war was long and bloody, millions of quarians died at the hands of the geth. It got to the point that we had to evacuate our own home planet of Rannoch. As we fled, we feared the geth would pursue us, but they never followed us past the Veil. Now we drift through space, as exiles, searching for a way to reclaim what was once ours.” Tali said,

“It’s hard to feel sorry for you. You tried to wipe out another species.” Shepard said, again surprising himself in the process.

“It was a mistake to create the geth, but it was not a mistake to go to war with them. If we hadn’t done what we had, they would have wiped us out. They are a synthetic life form, they have no need for organics. Why do you think they cut themselves off from the rest of the galaxy? Why do you think they have killed every organic life form that have ventured into their space?” Tali said, somewhat heatedly.

“They didn’t kill Saren.” Shepard responded, wanting to prove a point,

“And look how that’s worked out! The geth are not innocent in all this, they chose to follow Saren. They’re the enemy. They want to destroy us. Not just the quarians – all organic life. That’s why they’ve joined up with Saren. And that’s why we have to stop him.” Tali told Shepard, holding her ground against the more experienced Commander. Shepard may not have completely agreed with her, but he respected her immensely for her strength of character and resolve in this issue. He nodded his head, and told her he should go, he knew it wouldn’t be long before they reached the Artemis Tau Cluster.


Mass Effect Serialisation – Chapter 10

Mass Effect Serialisation – Chapter 10

Let’s Get This Bird In The Air

Shepard got out of his armour and into his navy blue uniform, and headed up to the bridge to see Joker. As he walked through the Normandy, from what is now his Captain’s Cabin, everyone saluted, and nodded approval towards him. They knew the score, they knew that Captain Anderson had sacrificed his own ambition to be the CO of the Alliance’s most advanced warship in order to give Shepard the best chance of finding and taking down Saren.

As Shepard approached the cockpit where Joker was conducting his final pre-flight checks, Joker spoke up.

“I heard what happened to Captain Anderson. Survives a hundred battles and gets taken down by back-room politics.” Joker said, with his usual candour, Shepard knew if anyone was going to tell it like it is, it would be Joker, “Just be careful out there Commander, if this goes belly-up, it could be you on the chopping block next.”

“Saren’s out there somewhere. And we’re going to find him.” Shepard said, giving Joker the same level of frankness that he just gave him.

“Well everyone on this ship is behind you Commander. One hundred percent.” Joker replied, as his board lit green ready for take-off. “Intercom’s open. If you’ve got anything you want to say to the crew, now’s the time.”

Shepard leaned over and activated the intercom, his steely look made that much harder by the large scar running from his forehead across his eye and down his right cheek.

“Listen up Normandy. This is your Commander speaking. Our orders are clear: find Saren before he finds the Conduit. And I refuse to let anything get in the way of that mission.” He said firmly, “We all saw what Saren did on Eden Prime. We saw the bodies, saw the destruction. And I intend to make him pay. Wherever he searches for the Conduit, we’ll be there. We will hunt him to the very end of the galaxy and bring him down. This is the most important mission any of us have ever been on. The fate of the entire galaxy is at stake. We will stop Saren, no matter what the cost.” Shepard turned off the intercom and stood up straight again, Joker was smiling, not out of humour or joy, but out of determination that they were part of something massive, and that they would have to pull everything out of the bag to get it done.

 “Well said Commander. Captain Anderson would be proud.” Joker said to the Commander.

“Fancy speeches won’t bring Saren down. Our actions will. Now let’s get this bird in the air.” Shepard told Joker,

“Yes, Sir!” Joker said with a grin as he leaned forward in his chair and started to pull the Normandy away from the dock.

“Joker, send us to the Artemis Tau Cluster. Once we get there, maybe we’ll have a better idea as to where Dr T’Soni is.” Shepard gave his orders and turned to walk away. He wanted to check back in with Joker later on, but wanted to ensure his new recruits – Garrus, Wrex and Tali were settling into the Normandy. He knew it was going to be quite a while before they reached their destination, so he thought it would be the best time to interact with his new squad.

“Aye, aye, Commander.” Joker said as he punched in the co-ordinates and the Normandy advanced away from the Citadel.

Shepard walked through the ship again, to head down to the garage where Garrus was tinkering with the Mako – the Normandy’s ground exploration vehicle, essentially an all-terrain armoured truck with a mounted turret and machine gun – Tali was introducing herself to Engineer Adams in the engine room adjoining the garage and Wrex was stood by his equipment being Wrex.

Shepard entered the garage from the elevator, and approached Garrus. Garrus saw him coming and turned to face him,

“Thanks for bringing me on-board Shepard. I knew working with a Spectre would be better than life in C-Sec.” Garrus said.

“Have you worked with a Spectre before?” Shepard asked, wanting to know his new squad a fair bit better before going on any high-risk missions with them.

“Well… no. But I know what Spectres are like. You make your own rules. You’re free to go about your business however you see fit. In C-Sec, you’re buried by rules. The damn bureaucrats are always on your back.” He replied, obviously unimpressed by the red-tape of C-Sec.

“That is a perk to being a Spectre. I’m going to be doing things my way to get to Saren.” Shepard said,

“Exactly. It’s like, it shouldn’t matter how I take down a suspect, as long as I take him down. But C-Sec want things done their way. Policy and procedure come first. That’s why I left.” Garrus said,

“That was why you left?” Shepard asked, wondering if Garrus had made the right decision for himself.

“There’s more to it than that. It didn’t start out that bad, but as I rose through the ranks, I got saddled with more and more red tape. C-Sec’s handling of Saren was typical. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I hate leaving…” he replied, showing some remorse for leaving.

“Garrus, I hope you made the right decision. I’d hate for you to regret it later on.” Shepard said, his officer training kicking in.

“Well that’s sort of why I teamed up with you Shepard. I need to see how things are done outside of C-Sec. And maybe without them breathing down my neck every 5 minutes, I’ll get a chance to do things my way for a change.” Garrus replied, his remorseful tone replaced with a resolute one.

“As long as you do your job well, you’re free to go about your business how you see fit.” Shepard said, giving Garrus a green light to flourish.

“Thank you Commander.” Garrus said simply, as he returned to his work on the Mako.

Shepard knew that those he’d picked up on the Citadel and Eden Prime would be with him for a while, their presence around him and on the Normandy felt right, it felt as though fate had intertwined in events and brought them all together. And he just knew that to find Saren and stop the Reapers returning, he’d need them by his side. He looked over to the other side of the Normandy’s garage and saw the big krogan, Wrex, just standing. Watching. Shepard approached him, wanting to get to know him better, and earn his trust. Perhaps his respect. Shepard knew that it would be hard, especially as he had had very little contact with krogans, and that contact usually involved staring down the barrel of a gun. As Shepard approached Wrex, what appeared as a smile crept across the krogan’s face.

“Nice ship you got here Shepard. What can I do for you?” he asked, plainly.

“What’s your story Wrex?” Shepard asked,

“There’s no story. If you want a story, go talk to the quarian.” Wrex answered, obviously not used to opening up.

“Come on Wrex, you krogan live for centuries. Don’t tell me you haven’t had a few interesting adventures!” Shepard said,

“Well…there was this one time when the turians almost wiped out our entire race. That was fun.” He said with a heaped spoon of sarcasm, referring to the genetic bioweapon developed by the salarians and deployed by the turians to put down the krogan around 2,000 years ago to end the Krogan Rebellions called the genophage.

“Yeah, I heard about that.” Shepard said, “You know, they tried to do the same thing to us.” Shepard said, not fully grasping the severity of the genophage.

“It’s not the same.” Wrex said bluntly

“So the turians infected you with a genetic mutation? One that means only a few in a thousand babies survive birth? And I suppose it’s destroying your entire species?” Wrex said aggressively.

“I suppose it isn’t all the same.” Shepard said, rather sheepishly – not a trait he was used to showing.

“I don’t expect you to understand, but don’t compare humanity’s fate with that of the krogan.” Wrex said, making his point.

“I’m sorry Wrex. I didn’t mean to get you upset.” Shepard said,

“Your ignorance doesn’t upset me Shepard.” Wrex said, knowing that the human in-front of him wasn’t to blame, “As for the krogan… I gave up on them long ago. The genophage infected us, but it’s not what’s killing us.”

“Are your people really dying Wrex?” Shepard asked, wanting to know more.

“We’re sure not getting any stronger.” Wrex said, with a hint of dark humour, “We’re too spread out. There aren’t enough of my people interested in staying in our own system.”

“So? Lots of species have left their home systems and prospered.” Shepard said,

“Yeah, but they leave to colonise new worlds, Shepard. We’re not settlers. We’re warriors. We live to fight. So that’s what we do. So we leave. We sell ourselves to the highest bidder. Most of us never return.” Wrex said – seemingly ending that line of conversation.

“What can you tell me about the genophage?” Shepard asked,

“Ask the salarians if you want details. They made it. All I know is that it makes breeding nearly impossible. Thousands die in still-birth, more don’t make it that far. Every krogan is infected – every one. And nobody’s rushing to find a cure.” Wrex lamented,

“Why don’t the krogan try to find a cure?” Shepard probed,

“When was the last time you saw a krogan scientist?” Wrex asked, “If you asked a krogan, would he rather find a cure for the genophage or fight for credits? He’d choose fighting every time. It’s just who we are Shepard. I can’t change that. Nobody can.” He said forlornly. Shepard knew he’d touched a nerve, and decided to end it there before the big krogan got really upset – he didn’t know how he’d react if pushed on the subject.

“So long Wrex.” Shepard said,

“Shepard.” Wrex simply replied, as he got back to watching Garrus across the garage. Shepard wanted to chat with Ash and Tali before reaching the Artemis Tau Cluster.

Shepard walked towards Ash, who was stood by the crew’s equipment, ensuring every piece was battle ready from the go.


Mass Effect Serialisation – Chapter 9

Mass Effect Serialisation – Chapter 9

I’ll Stop Him

Shortly after walking down from the Council platform from the successful damnation of Saren and his induction as a Spectre, Commander Shepard, Tali and Wrex came across an Alliance Rear Admiral, trying to get through to the right people about the disappearance of one of his elite squads. He saw Shepard, and knowing the no-limits access of Spectres, decided to approach him.

“Congratulations on becoming the first human Spectre, Commander. I’m sure you’ll be up to the challenge.” The Rear Admiral said, saluting his lesser ranking officer in a sign of respect. He exuded authority, his grey beard just about covering his weathered face, but his Hawaiian ethnicity shining through a youthful exuberance to get things done.

“I appreciate that, sir.” Shepard said, firmly shaking the Rear Admiral’s hand,

“I’m Admiral Kahoku. It’s about time we got one of our own in with the Spectres. We need people like you to deal with our… problems.” Kahoku said,

“Having some difficulties Admiral?” Shepard enquired.

“Just being stonewalled by bureaucratic assholes. So nothing new there.” Kahoku said, cleared pissed off by the situation he found himself in. “One of my teams was out in the Traverse, investigating some disturbances. They dropped out of contact yesterday and now suddenly it’s a restricted area – I can’t get anything from anyone. But those rules don’t apply to you, Shepard. You’re a Spectre, you can go where you want. You could find out why my team dropped out of contact.”

“I’ll be out in the Traverse Admiral, I’ll look into it.” Shepard said,

“I appreciate that Shepard, despite my gut telling me otherwise, I’ll try and find out what I can through the official channels.” He said with a slight chuckle, knowing it would be futile. He nodded to Shepard, and returned to his console, trying to get information that he knew only Shepard could retrieve.

Shepard, Tali and Wrex left the Citadel Tower and returned to the Presidium below, as they walked through it to reach the C-Sec Academy and the Alliance Docking Bay where Udina and Anderson would be waiting, they passed a large krogan statue, Wrex stopped and sighed,

“This statue represents what the krogan used to be – a proud, noble, warrior race. Responsible for saving the galaxy from the rachni. Now look at us. Reduced to mercs and killers only available to the highest bidder.” He said remorsefully, knowing it wasn’t quite the time or the place, they moved on to the Alliance docking bay where Udina and Anderson were talking beside the Normandy. Udina saw Shepard coming and turned to face him.

“I’ve got big news for you Shepard. Captain Anderson is stepping down as Commanding Officer of the Normandy. The ship, is yours now.” He said, as Anderson crossed his arms and gave Shepard a determined look, he was stepping down to give Shepard the best chance of hunting down Saren.

“She’s quick and quiet, and you know the crew. Perfect ship for a Spectre.” Anderson added.

“This isn’t right, the Normandy is your ship. It belongs to you.” Shepard replied, knowing that Anderson had been coerced into it.

“You needed your own ship. You answer directly to the Council now. And it’s time for me to step down.” Anderson said, looking down with a slight glint of disappointment, the words he said were clearly well rehearsed.

“Come clean with me Captain, you owe me that much.” Shepard said, wanting the truth from Anderson.

“I was in your shoes 20 years ago Shepard. The Council were considering me for the Spectres.” Anderson said reluctantly. “Ask me later and I’ll tell you the whole story. All you need to know for now is that the Council sent me on a mission with Saren, and he made damn sure that I wouldn’t succeed. I had my shot. It came and went. Now you have a chance to make up for my mistakes.” Shepard nodded thoughtfully, and respected Anderson enough to leave well enough alone for the time being.

“Saren won’t get away this time.” He said,

“Saren’s gone. Don’t even try looking for him.” Anderson said, pointedly, “But we know what he’s after: The Conduit. And he has his geth scouring the Traverse looking for clues as to its whereabouts.”

“There have been reports of geth in the Feros system, and sightings around Noveria.” Udina added,

“Find out what Saren was after on Feros and Noveria. Maybe you can figure out where the Conduit is before he does.” Anderson said,

“I’m more concerned about the Reapers. They’re the real threat.” Shepard said, reminding them of what was said in the audio recording.

“I’m with the Council on this one Shepard.” Udina said, holding his chin, “I’m not sure the Reapers even exist.”

“But if the Reapers do exist, the Conduit is the key to bringing them back. Stop Saren from reaching the Conduit, and it will stop the Reapers from returning.” Anderson added, clearly not on the same wavelength as Udina and the Council, and much more thinking the same as Shepard.

Shepard looked back at Anderson as though he was staring down the sight on his rifle, and sternly but simply said, “I’ll stop him.” Anderson nodded in agreement.

“Oh… there is one more lead. Matriarch Benezia; the other voice on the recording. She has a daughter, a scientist who specialises in the protheans. We don’t know what her role is in all this yet, and she may not even be involved. Her name is Liara, Dr Liara T’Soni. We have reports that she was exploring one of the archaeological digs on one of the uncharted worlds in the Artemis Tau Cluster.” Udina said.

“I think I’ll start there then.” Shepard thought aloud.

“It’s your call Shepard, you don’t answer to us anymore.” Anderson reminded Shepard,

“But your actions reflect on humanity as a whole,” Udina aggressively pointed out, “You make a mess out there, and I’m stuck cleaning it up.”

“I’ll worry about Saren. You worry about any political fallout.” Shepard said, clearly not giving a crap about Udina’s worries.

“Not exactly the answer I was looking for. Remember, you were a human long before you were a Spectre, Shepard. I have a meeting to get to, Captain Anderson will answer any questions you might have.” Udina spat as he walked away. Shepard looked over his shoulder to see Udina descend in the elevator, then he turned to face Anderson.

“Yes, Shepard?” Anderson asked,

“How are you holding up?” Shepard asked, knowing that it had been a big day for himself, but also had been a big day in a different way for Anderson.

“Honestly?” Anderson asked, “This isn’t how I imagined my career coming to an end. Pushing papers really isn’t my thing. But you’re the one who can stop Saren. I believe in you, Shepard. If that means I have to step aside, the so be it.”

“Tell me what happened between you and Saren.” Shepard said, wanting to know the full picture from Anderson.

“It’s getting on for 20 years now. I was sent on a mission by the Council, and they sent Saren along with me to evaluate my performance. Much in the same way that they sent Nihlus along to check you out.” Anderson said,

“I want the full story Anderson, tell me what happened.” Shepard insisted.

“We had intel on a rogue scientist being funded by batarian interests. He was trying to set up a facility to develop illegal AI technology out in the Verge.” Anderson started to explain, “Alliance intel had done all the work, but the Council wanted a Spectre involved. We compromised: I was assigned to help Saren in his investigation. We tracked the scientist to a refining facility on Camala. He was hidden away somewhere inside, protected by an army of batarian mercenaries. The plan was simple. We sneak into the plant, capture the scientist and sneak back out. Quick, quiet and a minimum of bloodshed.”

“I assume things didn’t go as planned?” Shepard asked,

“Saren and I split up to cover more ground. Then, about halfway through the mission, there was a massive explosion in the refinery core.” Anderson started, “Officially, it was ruled an accident. But I think Saren detonated it on purpose to draw off the enemy guards.”

“That’s smart. Create a diversion to distract the guards.” Shepard said,

“This went much further than a simple diversion Shepard. The explosion tore the refinery apart, killing everyone inside. Black chemical smoke poured out of it. There was a small settlement, not far from the refinery. Between the explosion and the chemicals spilling out into the atmosphere, the death-toll was well over 500 – mostly civilians.” Anderson started to explain, “But Saren didn’t care. The target was eliminated. Job done. And I got the blame.”

“But the explosion was Saren’s fault!” Shepard exclaimed,

“In his report. He blamed me for blowing his cover, said it was my fault the guards were ready for us. He claimed that’s why it turned into a massacre. Saren’s report was all the proof the Council needed to kill my chances of becoming a Spectre.”

“Why’d you let him get away with it?” Shepard asked,

“Who do you think the Council was going to listen to? Me? Or their best agent? I had a bad feeling about him right from the start. I should’ve been more careful. Maybe I could have stopped things before they go out of hand.” Anderson told Shepard,

“Don’t blame yourself Captain.” Shepard replied,

“I don’t. I blame Saren. I think he wanted things to go bad. He was looking for an excuse to blow that refinery. Maybe he just likes the violence. Maybe he was just trying to make me look bad to keep human’s out of the Spectres. If so, he pulled it off.” Anderson concluded. Shepard nodded his head one in acknowledgement,

“Well, the only thing I care about now is stopping Saren.” He said, “I should go.”

Shepard saluted Anderson and he reciprocated, as Shepard, Tali and Wrex boarded the Normandy.


Mass Effect Serialisation – Chapter 8

Mass Effect Serialisation – Chapter 8

There's been a bit of a break, but I have been writing, so make way for 4 chapters at once! :)


I’ve Earned This

Shepard, Tali and Wrex arrived at the Citadel Tower where Ambassador Udina was presenting the new evidence against Saren. Anderson was waiting in the wings for Shepard and the others to arrive. The atmosphere was palpable in the Tower as Udina passionately gave the evidence proving Saren’s guilt. He may have been a bastard, but you couldn’t deny his passion for humanity.

As Shepard and the others reached the platform that Udina was on and Anderson was waiting at the base of, Anderson beckoned them over and they walked up onto the platform behind Udina.

Udina was stood before the Council already half way through his presentation, the audio of Saren was being played out for all to hear.

“You wanted proof. There it is.” Udina said, pointing towards the Council, making his point and enjoying every second of it.

“This evidence is irrefutable ambassador. Saren will be stripped of his Spectre status, and all efforts made to bring him in to answer for his crimes.” The turian Councillor, Sparatus said.

“The other voice on the recording, speaking with Saren, I recognise it. Matriarch Benezia.” The asari Councillor, Tevos said.

“Who’s she?” Shepard asked,

“Matriarchs are wise and powerful asari who have entered the final stage of their lives. They are revered for their wisdom and experience. Benezia is a powerful biotic, who has many followers. She will be a formidable ally for Saren.” Tevos replied.

“I’m more interested in these Reapers. What do we know about them?” Valern, the salarian Councillor enquired,

“Only what was extracted from the geth’s memory core. They were an advanced race of machines that wiped the protheans out. Then they vanished.” Anderson replied.

“The geth believe the Reapers are gods, and Saren is the prophet for their return.” Shepard added,

“We think the Conduit is the key to bringing them back. Saren’s searching for it. That’s why he attacked Eden Prime.” Anderson said,

“Do we even know what the Conduit is?” Valern asked, his salarian want to know as much as possible about any conceivable threat shining through.

“Only that it could bring back the Reapers. That’s bad enough.” Shepard said,

“Listen to what you’re saying!” Sparatus snapped, “Saren wants to bring back machines that wiped out all life in the galaxy 50,000 years ago. Impossible, it has to be. Where did they go? Why have we found no trace of their existence? If they were real, we’d have found something.”

“I tried to warn you about Saren and you refused to face the truth. Don’t make the same mistake again.” Shepard stated,

“This is different,” Tevos said, “You proved Saren is a traitor, and we all agree he is using the geth to search for the Conduit, but we really don’t know the reasons why.”

“The Reapers are obviously a myth, Commander. A convenient lie to cover Saren’s true purpose. A legend he is using the bend the geth to his will.” Valern said,

“50,000 years ago the Reapers wiped out all galactic civilisation. If Saren gets to the Conduit, it will happen again.” Shepard said with conviction,

“Saren is a rogue agent on the run for his life. He no longer has the privileges or resources of a Spectre agent, the Council has stripped him of his position.” Sparatus said with authority, Udina obviously getting pent up at the situation exploded,

“That is not good enough!” he shouted, “You know he’s hiding somewhere in the Traverse – send your fleets in!”

“A fleet cannot track down one man.” Valern said knowing he was right,

“Maybe not, but a Citadel fleet in the Traverse could secure the entire region – stop Saren from attacking any more of our colonies!” Udina immediately replied,

“Or it could trigger a war with the Terminus systems.” Sparatus said, obviously losing patience with the human’s in front of him, “We won’t be dragged into a galaxy wide conflict over the loss of a few dozen human colonies.” He said with added disdain on the word “human”.

“Every time humanity asks for help the Council ignores us!” Shepard said, rising along with pretty much everyone else to the heated tensions,

“Shepard’s right!” Udina said, “I’m sick of this Council and all of its anti-human bull—“ he was cut off by Tevos,

“Ambassador!” she blurted out, “There is a way that we could resolve this that wouldn’t require fleets or armies.” As she spoke, she looked over at Councillor Sparatus,

“No! It’s too soon. Humanity isn’t ready for the responsibilities of joining the Spectres.” Sparatus spat back,

“It was a turian Spectre who betrayed this Council, and it was a human who exposed him. I’ve earned this!” Shepard fought back,

The 3 Councillors spoke quietly among themselves, Tevos and Valern nodded in agreement, while Sparatus nodded with reluctance.

“Commander Shepard – step forward.” Tevos said,

Shepard looked over at Anderson, his mentor, and he smiled back at him and ushered him forward. Shepard took the centre stage from Udina, who stepped to the side. Crowds started to gather in the viewing platforms around them, people began whispering between themselves, and dozens of omni-tools could be seen as people began to record this famous moment.

“It is the decision of the Council that you be granted all of the powers and privileges of the Special Tactics and Reconnaissance branch of the Citadel.” Tevos said in this history making moment,

“Spectres are not trained, but chosen. Individuals forged in the fire of service and battle; those whose actions elevate them above the rank and file.” Valern said,

“Spectres are an ideal, a symbol. The embodiment of courage, determination and self-reliance. They are the right hand of the Council, instruments of our will.” Tevos said,

“Spectres bare a great burden. They are protectors of galactic peace, both our first and last line of defence. The safety of the galaxy is theirs to uphold.” Sparatus added,

“You are the first human Spectre, Commander. This is a great accomplishment for you and your entire species.” Tevos said, wrapping things up.

“I’ve been ready for this since Eden Prime.” Shepard said, indignantly.

“We’re sending you into the Traverse after Saren. He’s a fugitive from justice, so you are authorised to use any means necessary to apprehend or eliminate them.” Valern said,

“I’ll find him.” Shepard said with a nod,

“Then this meeting of the Council is adjourned.” Tevos said as the 3 Councillors retired to the Council Chambers.

Shepard exhaled deeply, knowing that he had been granted a massive honour. Anderson was the first to walk up to him, shaking his hand strongly.

“Congratulations, Shepard.” He said with a broad smile, he was so proud. Anderson didn’t have any children of his own, and he had come to see Shepard as his own.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do Shepard. You’re going to need a ship, a crew, supplies…” Udina said, holding his chin while he spoke. “Anderson, come with me. I’ll need your help to set all this up.”

Anderson nodded, then smiled at Shepard again as the two walked away.

“Hmph,” Wrex muttered, “Bastard didn’t even thank you.”

“What do you expect from a politician? Come on, let’s go.” Shepard said as he along with Wrex and Tali walked away.