Sorry if this chapter seems a little short, but it is sadly all I could come up with for this point, and I promise the next chapter will have much more within it, I promise.
Also this story has skyrocketed high, I mean I have never had so many people looked at this and liked it. One chapter garnered 46 reviews, 101 followers and 95 favourites, with a viewer count of 1242 in just over a week. That is incredible. Simply incredible, I cannot wait to see what happens when this gets some steam in its engine. Will be awesome I am certain.
Are We Alone?
Chapter 02: Fallout
"Corporal? Can you hear me?"
Shepard felt her bleary eyes open as she heard the voice call, her head was pounding and she felt incredibly stiff. As she sat up she felt something press her down, and as she opened her eyes she saw the face of a medical officer looming over her.
"Where am I?" Shepard wheezed out, her throat dry and sore.
"Arcturus Station, you were found unconscious near a civilian shelter in Illyria on Elysium," The Doctor said soothingly, placating the woman who had just woken up. "You may feel a little weak, you suffered from severe blood loss, but you didn't have any serious wounds, despite this we were able to stabilize you."
Shepard looked around, finding the clean crisp dull grey medical ward of the station. Despite being a bland color it was clean and shining, and had a very strong stale air about it. Letting her head drop back onto the table she tried to ignore the pain in her body and keep awake, but she could barely keep her eyes open for more than a second or two.
"So tired…" Shepard said, slowly drifting off back to sleep.
Captain Anderson's Office
"Reports have yet to be confirmed but we can say that there has been a major assault on Elysium by pirate groups, we have no information other than the attack was repelled." The Reporter said, showing off some images of the city from the sky and streets, cornered off by Marines. "No official statement has been given, and eye witness accounts have been scarce."
David Anderson watched the report with narrowed eyes; he could tell that most of what was being said was true, but also layered with false advertisement. He could see the work of people trying to keep things under wraps; he often was the one who had to do it at times, back when he was a grunt.
"Based on what information has been gathered the SSV Agincourt dealt a huge blow to the invading fleet despite being the only ship in system." The reporter continued. "It was through the efforts of this ship and its crew that helped repel the invading pirates, and the brave men and woman that sacrificed their lives to protect the civilians."
Another lie, he could tell. Reports had come in that the Agincourt had not been able to repel the enemy fleet but only rely on hit and run tactics to wear the enemy down. The ground fight had been a slaughtered; almost every single soldier on the ground had been killed in the fighting. Save for maybe a dozen Marines and soldiers, most of them were recovering from the trauma and wounds.
"Many are calling this a major victory for the Alliance, saying that this is the first step in halting piracy within System Alliance controlled space and the protection of their colonies." The report finished, while Anderson cut the feed and leaned back in his chair.
"I can tell this is mostly fake, so tell me, what happened down there?" Anderson asked, looking across his desk and towards one of his long-time friends.
"The part where the Blitz was broken by our boys is fake, but the fact something took them down is true," Hackett replied, looking at Anderson seriously. "We have no idea what did this, but based on the overwhelming testimony from survivors; I can say we are dealing with something we have never seen before."
"What would that be?" Anderson asked, looking a little unnerved.
He had read the reports given; he had not been privy to the testimonies given by the civilians and the few soldiers. But he knew that whatever did what he did to those pirates was far from human, it tore them to pieces and left their remains scattered across the city.
"All we know is it looks human, but can do inhuman things, and you know what that means for us," Hackett said.
Anderson got an idea what he was talking about.
"So let me ask, he one of ours?" Anderson inquired, looking at his friend in the eye, wanting to make sure he didn't have to lie.
"No, we have absolutely no idea what the hell did this, and I can tell you, I am doubtful even if he was, we didn't make him. We couldn't make him." Hackett replied, unlike Anderson he read the reports, and he knew for certain what this teenager was supposedly capable of was impossible.
The only way they could determine if it was true would be later, they were getting in evidence that would either refute the claims, or make them stand. He was actually dreading what was going to come from that, and he had to make sure that when he did see it, he was ready to act on what he saw.
"Is it that bad?" Anderson asked.
"Very, but I am more worried about the implications of this getting out than it being true," Hackett said, this would shake up the entire totem pole if it got out something did this, someone did this.
"What do you plan on doing?" Anderson inquired.
"Whatever I need to," Hackett replied. "Be sure to make sure we have no reports of this guy on file, omit everything, we can't let this get out."
"I understand," Anderson replied, nodding his head as he watched the Admiral leave his office.
He signed; it would seem that he was going to have a lot of bad days ahead of him. With whatever happened on Elysium he had to make sure that nothing came out from it, reports would need to be altered and changed and he had that job. Luckily he had a few people that could go about that, he just needed to make sure everything was done right otherwise they may leave a trail someone may try to find.
Two Days Later
Shepard groaned as she woke up, it was another day stuck in this room while she waited for whomever to come by and tell her she was ready to be discharged. After being cleared she had been escorted to a nice little room where she could stay for a while, mainly to relax and wait till someone called on her.
Her report had been filled out and from there she had been told to remain where she was. She had no idea what was going on but it would seem that she was getting shafted for some reason, and she had no idea why.
But at least being trapped in this room gave her time to think, it seemed to be the only thing she could do in the very Spartan abode she had been given. She thought about a few things, but oddly enough all were of her past and her future. Looking back at her life and wondering where it would go from here.
But when she looked back she could feel the pain and misery of it all, there was nothing back there that she wanted to look back on and remember. Everything on Earth was a nightmare for her, fighting to survive and usually that involved killing other survivors. So why dwell on things back then? When she had a chance now? Because it was never meant to be.
"Why the hell am I even still here?" Shepard sighed, running a hand through her ebony hair, she shouldn't be thinking like this.
Home was where she was meant to go back to, despite it being the most unlivable hell hole in the entire Sol System. But yet right now she felt like doing something else, forgetting about going back and actually doing something more for herself. Call it selfish, and you wouldn't be wrong, but her entire life had been one massive shit stain and she wanted to have something else.
"Corporal," Shepard turned to the door to see someone standing there, hands clasped behind his back and staring at her expectantly. "We are ready for you."
Shepard got off her cot and stretched, feeling her muscles strain slightly and her bones crack back into place. With a sigh she followed the man out of the room, and she idly noted that this guy wasn't normal brass, he was clearly different. His uniform looked the same yet the lining and stripes were different, he also did not show any signs of rank or station of authority.
"Who are you?" Shepard asked, strolling beside the man.
"None of your concern at the moment, now through here," The man said, and Shepard got the idea this guy was some kind of spook.
Shepard grumbled before she stepped forward and into an office, and to her surprise she found three people waiting for her. One was an unknown man with a similar uniform to the one that had escorted her here; all that she could distinguish was his neutral appearance and combed back grey hair.
But the two others took her by surprise. The first was Captain Anderson, a damn legend from what she had heard at the Academy and bother to listen to. One of the First N7's and a damn good soldier, said to be one of the best that had even been made. His grizzled features were cast in a frown as he stared at Shepard and stood beside another man who was older by a decade or two.
"Glad you could make it Shepard, we have been expecting you, sorry for the long wait." Admiral Hackett said, motioning her forward. "Take a seat."
Shepard moved forward, a little uneasy about being in the same room as two of the biggest dogs in the Alliance Navy, she felt overwhelmed. She took her seat and sat uncomfortably, she did not know what was going on but it had to be big if they were both here, along with another spook. She just hoped that this was going to end with something other than her being stonewalled by some kind of B.S.
"Corporal Jessica Shepard, born in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Born in 2154, no specific date known or residence confirmed. No known family or relatives, you are a mystery Shepard," Hackett said aloud, looking over the report before placing it down on the table. "I don't think I need to ask why you join the Alliance Navy."
Shepard was concerned now, more than likely they knew about her past or enough that they could potentially lock her up. Most of the time they did not care for this, they often let it slide as they wanted good soldiers. But if she had the intention of leaving after she served her time she would become a liability that they couldn't have.
"We know that you are part of the Tenth's Street Reds, quite a big gang in that state, in fact they almost run the entire underworld there." Hackett said aloud. "We have had some of their people come through here at time, looking to get some combat experience before returning, giving their gang a fighter that can actually fight. Do you see where we have a problem here?"
Shepard did not answer, she felt a bead of sweat role down her neck, she was done for, and there was no way around this or out of this.
"Now I am going to give you two choices here, the first is simple, you can cooperate with us and we will ensure there is no jail time, or we can skip the formalities and haul you off, somewhere other than Earth." Hackett replied.
Shepard could see that the Ultimatum had only one avenue she could take, whatever they wanted to know they wanted. Likely they wanted something on her gang, people that she had lived with and been a part of since she was a kid. Any other time she would simply tell them to go to hell, say that she doesn't rat out people she works with, after all that would likely end with her getting killed later.
But instead she felt herself holding back on that, wanting to defend them, why? She didn't know why she was having these doubts but what she was feeling now was simply her trying to come to terms with the fact she had no idea where her life was going. Should she stay with what she knows or go with something else, and as she thought about it, defending those people, despite being the closest people she could call friends was not worth it.
"What do you want to know?" Shepard asked, looking at Hackett right in the eye.
"Information," Hackett replied, passing her a small data pad, showing off a small report on the incident on Elysium.
Shepard was confused; didn't they want to know about the Tenth Street Reds? She looked up at them for a moment, not understanding what was going on.
"Tell me, did you come into contact with anything strange on the planet?" Hackett inquired, and again Shepard was confused, she had no idea what the hell was going on.
"Sir… I don't understand…" Shepard started, obviously confused.
"Tell me Shepard, do you know what actually happened on Elysium?" Hackett replied.
"No sir, I was part of a small squad that held off some Pirates, my team got cut off and I was ordered to cover their retreat, so I held them off, after that I was shot." Shepard replied. "When I passed out I assumed they were driven off by the Fleet."
"Yes, we read into that, you suffered based on the report as punctured Kidney, something that would have killed you in minutes. Yet here you are." Anderson answered for Hackett. "But, did you see anything else, your report mentioned you were treated by someone."
Shepard was silent for a moment, thinking back to that life and death moment where she was about to die. The feeling was terrifying now that she thought about it, she had nearly bitten the bullet and ended up meeting her maker. It scared her.
Yet he came and saved her, not some crappy medic and shouted her that she would be alright and everything was right in the world. No, he came to her and gave her comfort, he did not lie or shout or become frantic, he soothed her, made her feel at peace. It was different, it was a kindness.
"Shepard," Hackett drew her out of her revere.
"Sorry… sir, I did come into contact with someone, he treated me and I passed out." Shepard replied, wondering for a moment what was going on here.
"Can you describe him?" Anderson asked, and again Shepard was caught by surprise by the question, what was going on here?
"Tall, Asian I think, orange hair – very bright orange – and he wore all black." Shepard said, listing off what she could remember. "He was young too, maybe eighteen or nineteen. Oh, he… I think he may have had swords, for some reason."
Hackett and Anderson looked at one another for a moment, an understanding glance passing between them. Shepard caught onto this, there was definitely something going on. It would seem that they knew who this guy was, or at least that what she thought, they were not asking for any certainties. That meant they knew this guy, or of him, but why were they so interested?
"Now Shepard, we are about to make you a deal, one that you have only two options." Hackett said. "The first is that your report will be altered to omit the presence of this individual and that you are sworn to secrecy, his presence is not to be known. Is that clear."
Shepard looked a little put off by this, were they trying to cover up this man's existence? Why, he had saved her.
"Yes sir," Shepard replied, not willing to risk her chance of freedom by speaking out of turn.
"Good, and for that you will be awarded for your brave action on Elysium for repelling a major enemy force and also saving countless lives as well as your team. The Star of Terra." Hackett stated.
Shepard felt her eyes widening, she was being awarded? No, that was not right; this was a bribe to keep her silence, so that she wouldn't rat out anything. But this was huge, there was not telling what she could do with this reward, it would set her up.
"Remember, that you are still obligated to remain silent in regards to Elysium, are we clear," Hackett warned, and was met with a response. "Good, you may see yourself out."
Shepard got to her feet and moved for the door, glad she was safe from possible reprisal. No, that wasn't the right word, she was ecstatic, she had gotten off virtually scot free and was going to be getting a medal for it. How could she be anything but happy about this?
She was getting a second chance.
'You're going to be alright.'
Shepard froze for a moment, and remembered that moment where she was basically given a chance to survive and continue on with her life. And now that she had it what was she going to do? She had been awarded, but did she deserve it? Of course not.
Yet that was not what stopped her from walking out the door and ending this conversation and feeling like she had no other obligation than to take this golden goose and run. The reason she stopped was because she had no real reason to do anything anymore, she didn't want to go home, back to Wyoming. Back to that hellhole where her gang rules and did what they wanted without regard, where she was a simple grunt doing the hard work.
She was never treated right there, bad things always happened to her there, and in a way she joined up to stop that. Not to get away, but when she did go back she couldn't be pushed around again, kicked down, forced down, kept down.
'It's okay; you are going to be alright. You don't have to be afraid anymore.'
She didn't want to go back there, to live in that fear again.
"Admiral Hackett," Shepard asked, turning and looking at the older man, who raised a brow at the young woman that stood before him.
"Yes Corporal." Hackett inquired.
"I wish to remain in service," Shepard replied, and noted with only the barest hint of amusement that the three were surprised, but she did not show that she thought as such.
The three shared a quick glance with one another, they thought that she would have likely left the service and returned to the Tenth Street Reds and gone on with her life. But instead she wanted to remain here and continue her service.
"Can I ask why?" Hackett asked.
"Because I was saved down there, and I am not going back to who I was, I want to actually use this second chance for something better than what I had." Shepard replied, not needing to explain any further why she wanted to remain in service.
Shepard was tired of living in the life she had, and now that she had an actual future ahead of her, despite it being a lie. She would make sure that the lie wasn't lost, and to do that, she would fight to make sure she earned it. If that meant she needed to become someone different, than she would do that. She was not going to be a gang banger again; she was going to be an actual hero.
Three Hours Later
"Has everything been suppressed?"
Hackett turned to the man as he entered the room; his uniform was an exact likeness to his own. It would be expected, both shared the same rank, Admirals, yet their assignments took them to different Fleets.
Ines Lindholm, the current Commander of the First Fleet and Head of the Alliance Navy, he was someone that held as much conviction as Hackett, only with greater years under his belt. One hundred, medical technology these days had gone a long way.
"Everything has been suppressed, although we can't expect the Terminus to be quiet, this will spread soon, so we need to be quick." Hackett replied, standing at a small table where six others stood in wait.
"And therein lies the problem, we have so little data, we got all we could from the helm-cams and the planetary local security but even then it is impossible to narrow down what did this." Ines replied, pulling up some displays that showed off the carnage, the recordings were mostly incomplete and corrupted.
Only a few had actual recordings, others were live broadcasts with no storage mediums that recorded anything useful. Basically they had almost little physical evidence to support the testimonies of hundreds of thousands of people on the planet what happened.
"Three thousand eight hundred, that is the estimates we are getting here, one man, a kid no less. Wiped out, an entire army." Ines said, looking at the other Admirals around the table with a grim frown. "What are we dealing with here?"
"No idea, whatever this thing is, it's powerful and damn near invincible." Hackett answered, the Seventh Fleet admiral pulled up a few stilled images to see the boy, almost matching perfectly to Shepard's description.
"It killed nearly four thousand slavers and pirates on that planet, we can't even get a correct number because not a single one of them was in one piece to get a proper head count." Kastanie Drescher said, looking as some of the reports on the deceased. "These people were torn apart, how could something that looks humans do something as if it was an animal?"
That was true; most of the bodies had been cut to ribbons. They couldn't even identify any form of blade capable of doing such a thing nor could they find any traces of metal of said weapon. All they could go on was the size and design they had been able to see from the footage.
"It is not human," Ines said, firmly and without an ounce of restraint as he made it clear this thing is never to be considered as such. "Humans can't do this, a human couldn't do this."
"But we can't deny that some kind of human entity, some random kid shows up and massacres an entire army of Pirates with nothing but swords, what does that say?" Castanet asked, she didn't need to raise her voice to convey the seriousness of this situation.
"That he is an experiment made by the Alliance I guess, but for once I have to ask, is it true?" Mariah Heighton inquired, crossing her arms and looking at the images of this kid cutting down a Krogan and then seemingly disappearing.
"We don't know, but based on the images we have here, it is faster, stronger and capable of superhuman and inhuman feats." Admiral Hackett replied, looking at the many images that played out before them all.
Of that there was no doubts, speed that defied anything short of a damn Starship Fighter, something that was virtually impossible. Have the strength allowing him to toss around gunships and APC's with ease, another thing that was beyond physically possible. Along with the ability to supposedly fly, unaided by any form of technology they could see.
But the real kicker was in a firefight.
"He was shrugging off bullets, even cannon fire, what the hell is this thing?" Urakov Denisovich asked, the Russian Admiral jabbed at the image while looking at the closest Admiral beside him.
It was true, heavy arms fire from tanks and soldiers did nothing to him, in fact he didn't even flinch when he was hit. He even took a carnage shot to the back of the head without even blinking before cutting the one who shot him in half.
"It can't be human, it definitely can't be human, augmentation has its limits, but this is simply impossible," Jaro Saban said, watching surveillance cameras that showed him seemingly teleporting around the battlefield and cutting apart dozens of people in seconds.
The video material was limited, but they got enough. Enough to see what this person was capable of, what he could do on the battlefield when he was pushed. That amount of push however, was far greater than anything they had ever seen before.
"Wait, pause there," Nitesh Singh ordered, before stepping forward and manipulating the terminal.
Moving in closer of the swordsman and watching the events play out slowly. Her eyes focusing on the faded images, it had been damaged when the Gunship crashed, but enough could be seen. As she passed it frame by frame she noticed it again.
"There, look at the sword."
They watched as the sword pulsed with a blue light and appeared to be surrounded by a powerful biotic field. He then slashed his sword forward and towards a Gunship, cutting it in half and even exploding on contact. Which was a shock, the ability to use Biotics to such a level, even channeling it through an object was impossible.
"Biotics?" Ines inquired, it was likely, biotic fields could do thing similar.
"No, there isn't any distortion to show that there was a dark energy formation along the blade, also there is no way something that small could generate a wave of biotic energy that could carve through a ship like that. Biotics are not that refined, even if the sword could focus it to a molecular level it still would not retain cohesion and form after being released." Nitesh said, looking over the images, before turning her head and watching as the man again, releasing another wave just as the first.
"We are dealing with something that defies anything we have come across, I have no doubt that this thing is not human," Jaro said, looking over the different images and he sighed. "But I am doubtful the rest of the Galaxy will be so believing."
"That is why we suppressed all information, we can't stop the flow but we can delay it, we need to figure this out quickly." Ines said. "We find out where this thing came from and we prove it is not one of ours."
"So what do we do?" Nitesh asked.
"Everything is classified, nothing is to be revealed on this guy, and all data is to be sealed and for our eyes only. We are to begin investigating who this man is, where comes from and exactly what he is." Hackett said, looking at everyone, his eyes locking with each and every one of them for a moment. "We need to find him and figure out what he wants and why he was on Elysium."
"Rules of engagement?" Urakov asked, everyone knew what he was asking, but they all needed to know if they should consider him a threat or not.
"I don't think I need to tell you," Hackett said, watching as the boy raised his sword and sent a wave of energy towards a Batarian troop transport, cutting it right in half and letting it fall towards the ground before exploding. "If he is found, try to bring him in peacefully, if not, let him leave and do not attempt to detain him."
Everyone agreed with the idea, after all they could not risk being attacked and engaged by this thing. If it could decimate an entire army singlehandedly than there was no telling how much damage it could do if they tried to fight it.
Worse, they had to deal with something much more unsettling, the Council catching wind of this would end in a disaster that could spell the doom of the Alliance. Best case scenario the Council puts them in the dog house for the rest of the millennium, worst case, War.
The Council did not like changes in the status quo; if they saw something like this they would immediately put pressure on the System Alliance. Forcing compliance and then making demands of them that would likely involve proving the existence of these beings and slandering the Alliance in turn. It would be a disaster; the Alliance could simply crumble if they got on the Council's bad side.
"Has the cover stories been made?" Ines asked.
"Yes, Jessica Shepard will be given the spotlight, and it may work in our favor since she has decided to remain on active duty." Hackett replied.
"Good, make sure to keep the spotlight on her, don't care if she doesn't like it, get her a nickname and make a few appearances, we need to keep the attention off Elysium for now and what did this." Ines ordered, they couldn't change what happened in Illyria but they could make a hero for people to concentrate on.
"What if he comes back? Like, in a more public setting?" Castanet inquired, looking at the First Fleet Admiral.
"We pray to god that doesn't happen," Ines said.
"Who knows, maybe this kid is God." Urakov replied, looking at the scowling face of the young teen.
They just hoped that nothing else turned up while they were fighting off these pirates.
Soft padded feet moved through the desolate streets of the small colony, finding not a single soul – be it living or dead – present. Even the one who walked through the streets was not among those who lived, only present to see if the dead had remained.
Her eyes roamed over the different buildings, finding them completely barren and devoid of any life. But there appeared to be no major damage, there did seem to be some signs of struggle, but nothing else. Something had happened to the souls here and it was her job to find them and relocate them back to the Soul Society, yet their bodies were not present.
Without a means for them to travel to the Soul Society from this world she was forced to collect them and relocate them through the Wakuseimon (Planet Crossing Gate). It was the only means to return to the Soul Society from another world. Leaving humans on spiritually undeveloped worlds is never a good idea, they usually get absorbed into it when the world continues it development.
"Where are they? Reports said they died, but none are here." She said, glancing around with a calm expression, until she felt something.
Her senses picking up a subtle sensation of movement beneath her feet, had she been human it would have been unnoticed. But she was more than that, she was a Shinigami.
"What is this?" She asked, and to answer her something shot up out of the ground to her right, ploughing through a small building.
She turned to see a large worm-like creature, long pincers and a tube shaped mouth. It let out a roar before lunging at the petite Shinigami, who looked on with disinterest. A second later she vanished from sight and onto another building, away from the creature and observing it for a moment.
"A Thrasher Maw, odd, the guys in the Twelfth did not cite this place as a nesting ground, unless they screwed up you shouldn't be here." She said, reaching for her Zanpakuto.
Another explosion of dirt erupted behind her, revealing a second Thrasher Maw, leering down at the Shinigami with hungry eyes.
"A second one, now I know someone is behind this," She said aloud, before she narrowed her eyes. "Wonder if it was him."
Then six more shot through the ground, appearing around her in a circular pattern, and then more came with it. She counted twenty in total, a nice round number, she did not find that coincidental, more like purposely placed.
"It would seem I would need to find out where you came from," She said aloud, drawing her sword and bathing it in a white glow. "Dance: Sode no Shirayuki."
Freedom Guard, Leapinglemur, Sovereign X22, zrocker119, maxdelrio14, XxGodOfWar13xX, mpire, reader1010, Altar312, Krazyfanfiction1, Cade Mistral, Six Samurai of Dragon Order, HijiriKishi, Rake1810, Guest #1, Guest #2, AbigailFetchWalker-NeonReaper, Zealswordmen, GeneralStargate. I would like to thank you all for your praise.
Impstar: Yes, I made one for the Compendium, which is what this is based off, this one is much more refined than that one. This is a take on an actual story rather than a concept idea.
Jmspikey: Yeah, Anime characters play by different rules and are often considered to be simply gods in their own rights. And technically that is what Shinigami are, gods.
Jack the Stalker: I cannot wait for that moment either, I can say what happens in this story will surprise you.
Nargus: I decided to change Shepard from that overly used great character and instead make her more of a hero that she wasn't meant to be. It is different, basically she is not someone who was going to be the Lion of Elysium, and she was just going to be a grunt that never wanted to be part of the military.
Blindluck92: That it does, reminds me when I first read your story. That is true, this chapter conveys that lie, and Shepard took it up but wanted to actually do something with it to improve her standing and positon.
Beta-Reader: I think the last scene says it all.
Harbringer of Kaos: I will remember that, and see what I can do.
KINGREADER: I will try, but I never really get to do romances and I would like to test my skills at it.
JJN37: I will include small snippets that allude to the Shinigami and their goals, but really it is about the Mass Effect universe and the effect of the beings appearing and what changes as a result. I can tell you it will be cool.
LINK TO YOU: Very true, they will be fighting for the title.
LL: Yeah, in the next chapter I will actually be exploring the events of the Akuze Mission and some events that happened there.
Struggle is Real: Yeah, we often get stories where we focus on the big good guy, but what about the weaker good guys? What about them and their point of view on the situations? That doesn't seem fair, so I thought, why not show the world through the eyes of the mortals. And here it is.
The Civilians that survived were not taken prisoner, they were freed by Ichigo and left in the city after he cleared out the Pirates. Shepard was among the few soldiers that survived. Also thank you for the praise.
There we are, thank you all and it has been great.