The Gift Chapter 1

The Honorata swung down to the icy surface and settled with a crunch of compacted snow. The airlock slowly opened and two Quarians walked out, weapons at the ready. Without a single word they advanced on the Geth outpost, wary of any patrols around the building. They flanked the nearby door and set to work. As they hack into the door, they start talking.

"Why would the Geth be here? They have never left the space around Rannoch since the Migrant Fleet left," the Quarian in the purple environmental suit whispered, her voice barely carrying to her companion.

"I'm not sure, but a facility of this size shouldn't have too many Geth anyways," The blue suited Quarian replied, then grunted as the door finally gave way to their hacking skills.

The two entered the outpost fully ready for confrontation. Instead, they found themselves in a large atrium with an active console near the only other door.

"It's heated in here." The blue Quarian acknowledged.

"This makes even less sense than the Geth being here or having such a small outpost, Keenah'Breizh." The purple Quarian explained, "Check the console for any possible information about this facility."

Keenah moved to the console and accessed it with ease as there were no security measures installed on the console.

"Keelah!" Keenah exclaimed as he read.

"What? What is it?" The female Quarian inquired.

"This place, it is a research facility. They have something they call the Gift locked in the next room and they have tons of encrypted experiment data on it. They also have another prisoner further back."

"Then we have to help them! How many Geth are here?"

"Only three, and this place even has special stealth systems. There is no way that we should have been able to pick up their signals."

"Standing here won't help us, the only way we'll get answers is if we go through this place and destroy those damned Geth."

With a nod of agreement, Keenah gathered the information from the console onto his omni-tool and shut off the console. The two then pulled out their weapons and advanced to the door. They could hear the synthetic noises of Geth behind the door. They made sure they were in position to attack, then activated the door. The Geth were standing around a large tube of green liquid, and turned to the open door. The Quarians gunned down the Geth before the two synthetics could even draw their weapons. They checked the Geth bodies to ensure they were dead, and then looked around the room.

Scanning tools and readouts covered three walls and the final wall had another door. A large medical table covered with surgical tools and implants was in the corner. The largest feature of the room was the tube of green liquid. The tube was large enough to hold a body and they could see a shadow in the liquid.

"Look for a release on the tube Keenah, there's something in there!" The female Quarian ordered, moving closer to the tube and trying to get a better view of whatever was in there. As Keenah searched, the shadow moved through the liquid and the female Quarian backed away as a human body floated into visibility. She backed away from the body. She had never seen a human up close before but she was surprised by this one.

She noticed it was covered with tubes and electrodes and scars filled the remaining space of the human's visible skin. The human appeared male, and had no hair besides the human's trademark eyebrows on its head. The human appeared to be almost of Pilgrimage age and seemed to be either dead or unconscious.

"I found the release!" Keenah's shout snapped her out of her reverie. The tube bubbled and started draining. The human sunk lower in the liquid as the tubes and electrodes retreated from his body and ascended up the tube and out of sight. When the liquid finally drained away, the tube opened and the human fell out and hit the floor with a liquidy thud. The Quarians approached fearing it was too late for the human. He gasped, rolling over to reveal sea-blue eyes filled with innocence.

"Th-Th-Th-Thank you." He said, before carefully standing up. The Quarians did not reply, their shock was so great. The human had spoken to them in perfect Khellish.

*************************ME: The Gift*******************************************

Getting up out of the remaining fluid was easy considering the high-grade boots and leg armor ensured he had a stable way to stand up. After standing up, he wiped his hands on his white shirt and extended his hand.

"Name's Brandon. I don't know who you guys are but you saved me from… whatever this place is. Come to think of it, I don't really remember much more than my name." He said, still speaking Khellish as he seemed eager to share.

"My name is Tali'Zorah nar Rayya. This is Keenah'Breizh vas Honorata." She gestured to Keenah with her other hand as she carefully shook Brandon's extended hand. He stopped shaking her hand and then looked at it carefully.

"You have three fingers. What are you?" He said, looking up at her with a naked look of fear.

"I am a Quarian, and if we are asking questions then how do you know Khellish? And you said you don't remember anything?" She inquired, her hand slipping from his but her glowing eyes still focused on his from behind her visor.

"Quarian…Khellish… Khellish is the spoken language of the Quarians, a mammalian sentient species formerly native to the planet Rannoch. Oh, sorry I don't know what came over me." He smiled even as he apologized, sure he seemed quite the fool.

"Tali'Zorah, the doors are closed and unresponsive to any hacking!" Tali had forgotten that Keenah was in the room until he spoke up.

"I can open the other door. Watch" With total confidence Brandon walked up to the door opposite the one Tali and Keenah had entered through. He stopped within reach of the door and began to speak:

"Keelah Se'lai,

We mourn for days and places gone.

The Morning War gives way to evening,

And night gives way to Brightest Dawn!"

After he finished the recitation, the door opened and revealed a darkened room. Without a glance backward, Brandon stepped through and disappeared into the darkness. Tali looked at Keenah, then followed Brandon. Keenah waited a moment longer, then followed Tali.

Once all three were in the other room, the lights turned on, revealing a treasure trove of gear. Shotguns, pistols, assault rifles, weapon attachments, and much more covered the walls. On a table in the center of the room, the other half of Brandon's armor sat amongst other clutter. Tali and Keenah grabbed mods for their weapons while Brandon re-donned his armor. He stopped short of putting on his helmet, then grabbed two pistols, two shotguns, and an assault rifle that was painted the same as his armor. Brandon looked at the clutter as the two Quarians looted the room for everything it had. He grabbed a canvas bag and filled it with everything on the table, trusting that his instincts wouldn't fail him. With the canvas bag loaded, He slung it over his shoulder, ensuring it didn't block his access to his weapons.

He signaled the two Quarians by waving his pistol, then pulled on his helmet and left the room through yet another corridor. The trio stopped at an intersection when they heard more Geth around the corner.

"Keenah, I thought you said there was only one other Geth and some other prisoner." Tali whispered angrily, turning to Keenah so the sound wouldn't carry to the Geth.

"I don't know, that's what the console told me. Let's just destroy them and find this other prisoner." Keenah replied, indignant that he had been told off.

The trio then swung around the corner, weapons ready to deal with the possible threat.

*********************** ME: The Gift*******************************************

"Keelah!" they exclaimed at the impossible sight. At the end of the corridor was a cell, containing a clearly enraged Geth unit. They walked up to it and the Geth could only beat uselessly on the glass.

"Why would the Geth lock up one of their own?" Tali asked, confusion evident in her tone.

"I don't know, but I'm killing it," Brandon pulled his pistol up, aiming it at the lit "face" of the prisoner Geth.

"Wait!" Tali smacked down the gun, "I can get data off of it if I'm quick enough. Keenah, open the cell. Brandon, stand down."

The two grudgingly did as they were told. The Geth unit attacked as soon as the cell door opened. Tali disabled it and extracted its memory core. She activated her omni-tool, taking the data from the Geth hardware. They all listened as the data turned into audio. They listened, rapt with shock.

"Keenah, we have to go to Illium and let the authorities know about this. If we don't do something, this could only escalate." Tali said, panic clear in her tone.

"Okay, Tali. But what about him?" Keenah inquired, pointing to Brandon.

"I owe you both a life-debt for freeing me, so I will travel with you. Unless you guys plan on getting yourselves nearly killed, I'm going to be around for a while." Brandon replied, shrugging his shoulders.

The group left the facility and found a second ship had landed opposite the facility from the Honorata. They could see a small group departing from the other vessel. Brandon pulled out his assault rifle, aiming at the new group. Tali and Keenah waited, uncertain of the group's intentions. The group revealed themselves to be a turian and several humans. When the group saw the Quarians and Brandon they opened fire. Brandon returned fire as Tali and Keenah fled towards the Honorata. The humans fell, but the turian's shields were strong and he advanced, blasting through Brandon's shields. Brandon turned and finally fled to the Honorata. The ship left before the turian came close enough to damage the ship.

**************************** ME: The Gift **********************************************

Tali, Keenah, and Brandon sat around the Honorata's dining table, sorting through the canvas bag's contents. So far they had found: unlabeled food paste, random Geth parts, 20,000 credits in chits, a broken omni-tool, one universal translator that Brandon now wore, and an OSD filled with encrypted files on the Gift Project. They currently were trying to decrypt the OSD and had left the rest of the bag unsorted. So far they had unlocked four reports but their combined skills weren't enough to crack through the other's encryptions. They sat and read the four files:

Report 1: The Gift was received today. The first procedure done was an electrical biochemical cleanse of his brain, removing all memories, instincts, and other brain functions other than those required to keep his body physically running. His mind's capacity suffered no loss and is now ready for the next stage.

Report 485: The Gift was neurally implanted with an understanding of the Creators' language and culture. The Gift has responded well to the physical implants and is steadily progressing to readiness.

Report 956: Today the omni-tool was implanted in the Gift's left arm, allowing him to carry it discreetly and still have constant access to it. His training with it has shown him capable of nearly Creator level mastery of engineering and technology.

Report 3,729: The Gift has completed his final combat training, bringing an end to the Project. Tomorrow we implant the control chip and the Gift is completed.

"Keelah!" Tali exclaimed as she finished the final decrypted report, "That report was dated today. Any later and you might have been…" Her voice trailed off, melancholy weighing the three down.

"If these reports are true, I have absolutely no way to recover who I was. They didn't block or suppress my memories, they completely removed them. Those bosh'tets!" Brandon yelled, slamming his fist onto the table.

"It's okay Brandon. If the worst comes to pass, you may join us on the Migrant Fleet. It will take some convincing, but if the Geth reports are true, you might as well as be just another Quarian. Although you'll still have those weird extra fingers." Keenah rambled, his attempt at consoling the human failing.

"All I know is, the first thing I'm doing on Illium is eating. It feels like I haven't eaten inforever!" Brandon's light hearted comment carried their spirits out of sadness and let them rest easily as they left the table for their assigned quarters.