Authors Note: this is my first attempt at a Halo/Mass Effect crossover, though far from my first Halo crossover. This story takes place in the middle of Mass Effect 2 and right after the events from Halo 3. This won't be a standard "Master Chief joins the Normandy crew" or "dimension traveling" story. Instead, this will be a merged history story that explores an alternate universe, where the history of both Mass Effect as Halo took place in the same galaxy.
It was with the exasperated sigh of someone who had reached their daily limit of stress that Lieutenant Commander Jane Shepard stepped away from the Galaxy map of the Normandy¸ pinching the bridge of her nose as she did. "You said there was an urgent message, Kelly?"
"Yes Commander," replied the Yeoman, peering curiously at the console in front of her. "It appears there was a delay in the system. It just arrived, but the console flagged it as half an hour old. Odd."
Great. Just what she needed before embarking on the next mission; more distractions. Jane suppressed the desire to sigh. "Well, obviously that can't wait. Hit me."
Of course, even she couldn't simply get away with what sarcastic comment. Kelly Chambers picked up on her weary undertone immediately and when she replied, her tone was less cheerful and more…well, Yeoman. "Don't worry Shepard," she said with a bit of a smile. "It's not the Illusive Man."
Shepard blinked with surprise. An urgent message that was not her 'mysterious' benefactor? Then this day was already turning for the better. After all, tearing through an entire division of Eclipse mercenaries was something that had to be spread out over a long week and not, as the Eclipse had probably concluded, twice on the same day. They must have missed that particular memo, occupied with the murderous Justicar as they had been.
"Guess he learned his lesson last time. Sure, I'll bite. What do we have?"
She moved towards her personal terminal, wondering who else would contact her in the middle of the Attican Traverse. The time of running errands for the Systems Alliance was long gone now. Only the truly desperate, the truly lost, could reach her here.
*Are you tired of spending your credits on new guns that jam the second you need to pull off that amazing shot? Are you sick of heat sinks that fall out just when you don't need to reload? Then look no further! Here at the Monumentum-*
Shepard pressed the delete button and moved straight back to the galaxy map. "Let's pretend that never happened. If that was all, then I – "
"Oh!" Kelly said with surprise. "I guess you should clear your inbox more often, Shepard. This is the urgent message. It…looks like the Illusive Man wants to speak to you."
Fuck me. The Commander rolled with her eyes and stepped down from the platform again. "I'm on it," she grumbled.
"Good luck Shepard."
The Illusive Man…Jane didn't quite have the Man pegged yet. Just when she was starting to like him, he threw another curveball her way. Like that stunt on Horizon…tricking the Collectors into attacking the colony simply because he didn't want to wait a couple of days. It was almost like he was asking for an ass-kicking.
The Conference room was but a few meters away from the Combat Information Centre, hidden away in a small but significant portion of the ship. The room was dominated by a large, rectangular table that could be retracted to allow for the quantum entanglement-based communications array to kick in. Advanced holographic technology made for conversations much like she had had with the Council, back in the original Normandy.
Too soon the table disappeared into the floor. Moments later, it was almost as if reality itself shifted and changed into the familiar surroundings of the Man's cosy office. in all his holographic glory.
"Hey Tim. Wassup?"
The most enigmatic man to ever be an enigma stood before her in all his holographic glory. He took a whiff of his cigar and observed her for a few moments, hiding his annoyance for his nickname. "Something came up. Something big."
"So was the spam in my inbox yesterday. You're going to have to be more specific than that," remarked Jane.
"Very well. We have finally located the derelict vessel our teams have been searching for."
Jane cocked her head quizzingly.
"You do remember the derelict? We spoke about it last time."
"Err…yeah, must have spaced out then. Can you bring me up to speed? Again?" Shepard asked sheepishly.
If he was annoyed with her antics, he didn't show it. He never showed anything. "It is a derelict vessel that doesn't look like anything we know. It doesn't belong to any Citadel database. This could be an opportunity."
Shepard raised a sceptical eyebrow. "A derelict that doesn't look Citadel? Why is this important?"
"That's the catch: we don't know. When I say that it doesn't look like anything we know, I mean it." A pause. "There aren't many things that I don't know, Shepard."
So a wreck that The Illusive Man himself had no clue about? Sounded interesting. It also sounded like the perfect spot for an ambush. Again. "Who else knows about this?"
"The wreckage was found in the Terminus Systems, Shepard. Beyond the Titan Nebula. If we don't salvage it, someone else will. You of all people know the ramifications of human curiosity."
If "Tim" was a way to frustrate the Illusive Man, then "Terminus Systems" was the same for Shepard. It was a literal scum-haven. Slavers, murderers, mercenaries, united only by their mutual hatred for the Council and Citadel politics. There was no law there. No rules, no mercy.
She loathed those people.
Jane clenched her fists. This was typical Cerberus; she could choose to ignore this, but if she did, it would be a missed opportunity. Someone could get their hands on that ship –someone who wasn't supposed to. If it was Collector-related, she really couldn't miss out on it. If it was someone in need of help…she didn't want to miss out on it.
He had her and he knew it. The smugness was there in his eyes. "I'll look into it," she reluctantly said.
"A wise decision, Shepard. Don't forget; just because the Council has no jurisdiction in the Terminus Systems…"
"…doesn't mean that they're not keeping an eye on what happens," Shepard finished his sentence. "I got it."
"You should watch out for…" He hesitated. "Let's safe that for a later conversation. Good luck."
That last part sounded so sincere that Shepard almost hesitated in cutting the link and turning away.
"EDI, tell Joker to set a course for the Terminus Systems," she ordered.
"Affirmative," said the Artificial Intelligence. EDI's unemotional and familiar voice had a soothing effect on Jane's pounding headache, which was slowly starting to subside again. Talking to the Illusive Man was taxing on a whole new level. Until she figured him out, at least.
The journey to the far side of the Terminus Systems would take the Normandy a while. Long enough to catch a few hours of sleep and decide on who to take with her into the derelict. He might be an ass, but The Illusive Man was right. An unknown wreckage that even Cerberus with all their bugs and Operatives did not know about? There had to be something fishy about that.
As Shepard made her way towards her private quarters, she started wondering just what sort of fishy it might be. There was a big chance that the place would be crawling with pirates by the time they got there. There could be dangerous ambushes, maybe even highly-dangerous ordnance on-board.
It might even be the same Collector vessel that had attacked Horizon, disabled by some off chance. If that was the case, she needed someone who could take and dish out some good damage. Someone she could fully trust
It had been a while since she had picked Garrus for the team and this looked like an excellent situation for him to shine. If there were Collectors though...biotics had proven to be very effective against those things. Jack had proven an invaluable ally on Horizon.
Samara. How would the Justicar perform against the Collectors? Jack was amazing in combat, but this operation required delicacy. Perhaps even some diplomacy. And if the situation hit the fan, the squad would have to improvise. Something that Asari were supposedly very good at.
She would see.
Jane sat down on her bed and glanced at her aquarium. Just like that, memories from Horizon rushed back to the front of her thoughts.
You've turned your back on everything we stood for!
Had she? Working with Cerberus was not something that she had ever considered as a part of her future. She had destroyed plenty of their projects, back during her time as a Spectre. It was only because they would help her protect humanity that she tolerated them. Yet that fateful encounter on Horizon stuck with her. The source of her headaches? Maybe.
"Well fuck you too, Ash'," she whispered.
It wouldn't help anyone if she allowed that to get to her. Ashley had made her choice. Perhaps it was for the better. She had rebuilt her life in the two years of absence and stopping the Collectors would be even more dangerous than stopping Saren. A suicide mission, as her new squad called it. In spite of it being the most negative name that Shepard had even heard for an operation since 'Operation Thisisgonnasuck', it stuck.
Suicide mission, the banner that united them all.
With a small grin, the Commander fell asleep. Her rest was short-lived though; her alarm woke her a few hours later, bringing her back from a dreamless sleep.
Shepard reached for the alarm and briefly remembered what had happened the last time she had disabled it. The techs had promised that the new one would be a lot sturdier, but she didn't have a lot of faith in what looked like a cheap Citadel souvenir. Gently tapping the button, Shepard got up and checked her private terminal for more surprises.
Thankfully, there were none.
"We have almost reached the Titan Nebula, Commander. I would have woken you in twenty minutes and eleven seconds."
Twenty minutes left then. Time enough to visit the crew. It was important to Shepard to check up on her team as much as possible. Some of them, like Tali, didn't have a lot of confidence in the whole Cerberus thing. Others, like Grunt or Jack, didn't have a lot of confidence in the whole being on a team thing. The list went on and Shepard was a patient woman. She had come to depend on a lot on her squad members and in turn, they had depended on her to get them out of hairy situations. Some more than others.
The conflict with Saren had proved one thing in Jane's mind; trusting your team was important. More important than quality rations even. She wasn't intent on dying on this suicide mission of theirs, but there was a big chance that it might happen. That went for all of them. Motivation and trust were the key to keeping her crew alive. And as it turned out, that idea was harder to reach than she had initially thought.
Shepard dropped by Tali first. Tali, it seemed, wasn't very fond of this whole 'suicide mission with Cerberus' either.
"I'm not working with Cerberus," Shepard patiently told Tali. "They are working for me."
The quarrian crossed her arms over her chest and shifted her weight to her hind leg. "Oh really?" she said. "Then I take it you ordered all the bugs and microphones around here?"
Shepard blinked. "Excuse me?"
Tali reached for her desk and retrieved a small, metal object with two pins attached to it. It easily fitted in the palm of her hand. "Here. You can't trust Cerberus, Shepard. You should know this already!"
The Commander reached for the bug and observed it. It looked like it had been attached to the ceiling or the wall or…well, anywhere actually. She knew that the Engineering deck was important, but damn. "Miranda," she growled.
"Do you want me to check the rest of the deck for more?" Tali asked with a playful voice.
"You do that. I'll have a talk with Miss Lawson. Who is supposed to be working for me."
"You do that. Oh, and Shepard?"
The Commander turned around in the opening of the door. "Yeah?"
"Thanks for getting me out of Haelstrom. Alive, I mean."
"Of course," she replied. "Anytime."
Shepard liked to see herself as a patient woman, but seeing how not even the Engineering deck had escaped Miranda's little visit made her want to channel Jack's vocabulary a hell of a lot more than usual. She wouldn't though; she didn't want Grunt to pick up on that. The little Krogan was…sensitive to environmental stimuli.
"Miranda!" Shepard barked a few minutes later, storming into the Operative's office. "What's this?"
Miranda observed the destroyed bug and a hint of frustration played over her features. It was gone the next second though and when she replied, it was in her usual smug and to-the-point tone. "A piece of expensive hardware. Did the Salarian find it?"
"What is your piece of expensive hardware doing on Engineering?" demanded the Commander. "What's it doing anywhere on my ship?"
"Safety measures, Commander. We can't be too careful."
"Safety measures for what? Buy a goddamn condom instead! I don't want you listening in on the team! You don't work for Tim anymore, I thought we went over this?"
Miranda sighed and nodded. "I know, I know. Old habits die hard." She smirked. "But I understand. Crystal, Shepard."
That was easier than expected. Now that that was taken care of, there was something else that she wanted to know. "Good. How is your sister doing?"
Her little smirk turned into a genuine smile. "Better than I expected, really. She's smart. The people taking care of her? They're trustworthy enough. Oriana knows she can't ask too many questions, but…"
Hesitation was one of those emotions that people couldn't reliably hide. "But…?" Repeated Jane.
Lawson leant back in her chair and looked the Commander in her eyes. "Sometimes I wish I could talk to her in earnest. And in person. I know I can't and it's silly, but I want to be absolutely certain."
"Certain that your father won't give up?" asked Shepard. "Or certain that her new family will treat her well?"
"Both, actually. I know that her family will treat her well – I looked them up - but my father is a very persistent man."
Shepard nodded, seeing what Miranda was getting at. "When the time comes and we need to relocate her again, we'll be ready."
Another smile. This time genuine. "I appreciate it, Commander. I take it that the Illusive Man debriefed you about the derelict again?"
"He did. I'm about to head out. Why?"
"Well…Cerberus has an extensive intelligence network, even in the Terminus Systems. If there is a vessel out there that doesn't match any of the known profiles, it's almost certain to be trouble. In fact, people are getting antsy out there. Important people. The Illusive Man thinks other groups know about the ship as well."
"Then it's one important derelict," mused Jane. "Only one way to find out. I should go – Joker's almost there."
"Be careful Commander."
Again, it sounded so sincere that Shepard was starting to wonder if this wasn't another ambush. Whatever. She'd pull through.
After her visit to Miranda, Shepard returned to the Combat Information Centre and headed towards the cockpit. It looked like they were almost at their destination; Joker seemed to be preparing to drop from FTL.
"Hey Commander," he said. "I have to give it to Cerberus; finding a wreck in the middle of a war-torn, pirate-infested wasteland? That's a real rare find!"
"It's not that simple, Joker," replied Shepard. She brushed a strand of red hair out of her face and added. "Apparently it's a magical derelict. It doesn't match any known ships."
Joker snorted. "So we do the most logical thing we can think of and insert a small three-man team into it? Shepard, what happened the last few times we entered a derelict vessel?"
The Commander shrugged. "We got ambushed, jumped by dozens of enemies and had to fight our way home."
"And the time before that?"
"Ambushed, jumped by dozens of enemies, fought our way home."
"The list goes on. Don't you think we should, you know, do something else instead?"
"What do you suggest? That we do the jumping this time?"
"Ehm…well…we could always probe it?"
Shepard stared at the pilot. "You want to probe the derelict?"
Joker looked away and awkwardly scratched his neck. "Yeah, I know it's a stupid idea."
"Joker, in case you didn't notice, those ambushes never work. I'm still here, in any case."
Mister Moreau didn't have a response to that. The cockpit grew quiet once more, with the only interruptions being EDI occasionally chiming in with situational updates.
The Normandy dropped out of FTL eventually. The ship began its silent course towards the destination.
"Alright, look at that!" Joker then exclaimed, his voice cutting through the silence. "One Titan Nebula, one derelict…huh, that's weird."
"What is it?" asked Shepard.
"Tim said that he didn't know what ship it was? Well, take a look."
The Commander frowned and leant towards the console Joker was pointing at, taking in the data and numbers that it displayed. "That's an Asari frigate."
"In all its unfortunately-designed glory! Not very derelict, is it?"
"Get us in visual range."
EDI's holographic image popped up as well. "Scans indicate two vessels. One low-tonnage Asari Frigate and one unknown vessel, a higher tonnage than the Asari ship."
"Our magical derelict," muttered Shepard. "Where's our visual contact?"
"A moment." Both the Asari Frigate as the derelict appeared on-screen, but there was something glaringly wrong.
"EDI…where's the second half of the ship?"
The wreckage was there alright, but it couldn't be an entire ship. Not possible. It appeared to have been neatly severed in half along its width, right in the centre. Several decks were visible from the outside, where some sort of beam or laser had completely gutted the ship. What destructive power could do something like that?
"Looks like the Collectors were here," remarked Shepard. "That's a very clean cut."
Joker readjusted the image and zoomed in on the two ships. "Yeah, but look at the size of that thing! It's frikkin' huge!"
The asari ship was connected to the wreckage via a docking tube. White and blue steel met grey and black metal. Comparing the two vessels put the Frigate to shame. Even carved in half, the derelict dwarfed the Frigate. Though the asari vessel was rather small for its tonnage, it was only half the size of the ship it had connected to.
Odd. The design was completely alien to Shepard; it was large and cumbersome, much more solid than normal ships. Higher and wider, too. Right now, it looked like a solid cube of metal fitted with several decks. As wide as it was broad, in any case.
Really different from the asari ship.
"Did you hail that Frigate?" Asked Jane.
"I did. Guess they didn't feel like answering."
"And they haven't hailed us yet," said the Commander. "You didn't accidentally engage the stealth system, did you?"
Joker huffed. "Commander, that happened once! And it was the early days as well!"
Right. "Open a comm channel."
"Affirmative. Communications are open, Shepard."
"This is Commander Shepard of the Normandy SR-2. Requesting permission to board the derelict, over?"
No response. Either they hadn't heard her, or they were actively blocking the signal.
Joker shot her an amused look.
Jane rolled with her eyes. "Asari Frigate, this is Commander Shepard of the Normandy SR-2. Requesting permission to board the derelict wreckage, how copy? Do you read me?"
Joker leant back in his chair and eyed one of the screens above him with mild interest. "I don't think they are listening," he replied. "Do they think-?"
A burst of static came over the channel and Shepard gestured at Joker, who immediately fell quiet. "Commander Shepard of the - under attack form an unknown hostile – "Another burst of static interfered with an already bad signal. "Need assis-"
"EDI, can you filter that out?"
"Negative. The issue lies with the asari vessel."
"I read you!" Shepard replied to the Frigate. "What's your status? Do you need reinforcements?"
"-just tearing through us. Disrupting comms –need reinforcements!"
That was clear enough for Jane. "Prep two shuttles for launch. I want Mordin, Zaeed and Tali on the derelict ten minutes ago, recon only. Garrus and Samara are coming with me."
"Prepping shuttles for launch. Commander, the asari vessel is undergoing full system lockdown. All transmissions have ceased, all systems have been aborted."
"We'll blast our way in. Joker, get us close."
Having given her orders, Shepard hurried towards the armoury to gear up. Carnifex handgun, Tempest SMG and a large handful of heat sinks for what was turning into a hot entry. Samara and Garrus were already waiting for her at the shuttle, both of them wielding Vindicator Battle Rifles. Of course, Garrus had a Mantis Sniper Rifle with him as well. No rifle without a scope, as he himself put it.
"We have a situation," Shepard said as soon as she stepped into the shuttle. "An asari Frigate discovered the derelict before we did. They found something in that wreck and now it's killing their people. We're going to bail them out."
"What manner of creature did they find?" Samara asked as the shuttle launched.
"Sounds like synthetics. Do you think its Husks?" asked Garrus.
"If the wreck is part Reaper, yeah. Just wouldn't make any sense."
There were so many different explanations, one even more farfetched than the other, that Shepard wasn't sure what to think. Collectors, Reapers, mercenaries, Geth…it was all possible. None of it was particularly welcome.
As the shuttle rapidly approached the asari Frigate, rushing past the dead wreckage and making its way towards the launch bays, it became increasingly sure that they would not be welcomed with a red carpet. Hell, it looked like they wouldn't be welcomed at all.
"System-wide shutdown has locked the hangar bay, Commander," Joker chimed in through the comm-channel of the shuttle. "I've got weapon systems at the ready- "
Several seconds later, the Normandy opened fire. The precision-annihilation aimed at the sealed-off shuttle bay wouldn't be close to damaging the rest of the ship, but it was enough to blast through the tough plating that covered the hangar.
Despite the rough entry and uncertain odds, both Samara as Garrus kept their cool. Samara in particular had this serene calmness around her that was just a bit too dissonant. Detached, yet strangely involved.
Jane wasn't sure how to feel about that yet. "Keep your eyes peeled and your weapons at the ready. We don't want any surprises."
"Rules of engagement?" asked Garrus.
"Verify hostile before engaging," Shepard replied as she raised her SMG. "Check your targets, there will be friendlies."
"Commander," Samara said as the doors of the shuttle opened. "Something is off."
"What do you mean?"
The doors opened before the Justicar could reply and the three of them quickly exited the shuttle, hurrying to seek cover. Shepard didn't get more than a few feet before she noticed that there was a gratifying lack of enemy fire. As Garrus and Samara took up positions to her left and right respectively, she took a look around. "Clear."
"Clear?" Said Garrus. "This place is completely empty.'
The hangar bay hadn't sustained much damage during Joker's break-in. It was devoid of hostiles and friendlies alike, which also made the hangar irrelevant.
"Move out," Shepard told her squad. She kept trying to raise the soldiers on the ship on the comm's channel, but there was nothing. Not even static; just utter silence.
It was unnerving. What had happened here? Who locked the ship down?
"Shepard," EDI came through. "I managed to establish a private connection with you. There is something in the system. I cannot override it."
Alarm flared through Shepard's mind. "You can't? Why not?"
EDI was a first-class AI. One of a kind. Why couldn't she get in the systems? What was happening here? "Alright then. Do you have any good news for me today?"
"I found the schematics for this particular vessel. I will patch them through to your Omni-tool."
"Shepard," said Samara. "There is something on this ship. I feel…it is a strange presence. Stained with blood and death. I do not recognize it."
Jane nodded. They would move carefully then. "Stay vigilant. Garrus? Open that door."
Garrus marched towards the door that led towards the route leading to the bridge, activating his own Omni-tool. "A moment."
"Samara," Shepard called her other squad mate. "What do you mean, feel?"
"Some asari are well-tuned to the aura of other creatures," the Justicar calmly replied. "Stronger to Biotics than normal beings. It is hard to bring in words in your language."
Well-tuned to biotics? Could Samara sense her too? Either way, it wasn't relevant for now. "Vakarian, are you gonna open the door today or what?"
The turian slammed his fist against the door. "Damn thing is locked tight. I can't get it open."
I should have brought Tali, Shepard grimly thought. "Step back."
Garrus must have realized what she was planning, because he hastily scrambled backwards when she strode towards the door and enveloped herself in a corona of bright, blue energy. She channelled the mass effect fields that surrounded her body and lashed out at the metal frame of the door, tearing through the thick hinges and annihilating the fabric surrounding them. The cost of the biotic attack was very much noticeable, but she ignored it. Only when she had torn the door free from its frame did she allow the power to dissipate.
"That's one way of opening a door," remarked Garrus.
"Come on," said Shepard. "No time to waste."
The three of them quickly left the hangar bay through their newly-created exit, moving deeper into the ship. The Frigate remained in utter lockdown and the squad was forced to take several lengthy detours before finally encountering the first signs of life.
Which, ironically, consisted out of a whole mess of dead bodies. They entered what appeared to be a mess hall, with several rooms directly connected without doors. Nothing to lock down, anyway.
"Clear!" signalled Garrus. "Apart from…you know."
"Shit," muttered Jane. Someone wrecked home. The walls were riddled with bullet holes, most tables were overturned and the lamps were flickering, damaged by Biotic detonations. At least half a dozen bodies lay scattered around the ground. Broken, mercilessly torn asunder.
Asari and turian alike, it seemed. Soldiers ripped apart by some unseen force. Only two of them were killed by gunfire. Holes had been punched through their helmets, splattering the deck with blood and bits of bone. Blood was splattered across the walls as well. One patch of the floor was slick with gore; pieces of meat and dark tissue, thick and wet. One turian wore the suit of a Blue Sun and several of the asari were Eclipse, but…
Shepard gritted her teeth. She was thankful for her helmet's filters; massacres like these always reeked. It never got easier. The bodies, the carnage, the stench of death. Sights like these were the ones that made her vow to become a soldier all the way back on Mindoir..
"Spread out," she ordered. "Check for survivors."
Whatever Samara had on her mind would have to wait. This ship was under attack, that much was clear. But the way these bodies had been killed…it didn't make sense. It might have looked like the mercs had killed the others, but Shepard could see that it wasn't like that. All of the bodies, intact or not, were positioned away from the door. The same door that the three of them had just entered. They had been working together to take out invaders…yet there had been no return fire. The only bullet holes were those around the entry-point and the adjacent walls. A crossfire from the fireteam.
Five of them had been killed with blunt force…torn limbs, shattered chest cavities. The turians had had it worse than the asari from the looks of it; the blue-skinned maidens had been killed with a chilling precision. Snapped necks, crushed throats…single strikes with lethal results.
"Nasty work," commented Garrus. "No survivors, lots of blood. One rifle missing. Whatever did this stole it and moved on."
No bullet holes on the back wall. No initial return-fire. Only turian and asari blood, nothing else. No bodies, nothing. An unarmed opponent taking on three turian soldiers and four asari commandos? On their own?
"This slaughter is wrong," Samara quietly added. Unshaken, monotone…yet her eyes betrayed a sorrow that was new to Shepard. "The Code demands the death of the one responsible."
Not a threat, not a vow. A statement; Samara was going to take the life of the murderer. Unless Shepard beat her to it, of course. And this massacre…there was a big chance that she would.
"No human could have done this," Shepard said as she took in the finer details of the firefight. "Looks more like a krogan. No biotic damage, anyway. Almost all of this was done in close quarters combat."
Garrus shook his head. "One thing doesn't add up; the asari went out a lot more peacefully. No loose limbs and…ah, sorry." He fell quiet as he saw Shepard glare at him.
"The killer engaged five in close combat and killed the last three with a stolen rifle," the Commander then said. "Precision headshots. One Blue Son, three Eclipse. Garrus, penny for your thoughts?"
Shepard sighed. "Human saying. What do you think?"
"Right. The attackers took no casualties. The crossfire moved from the initial opening to deeper into the mess hall. The defenders had the initiative, but lost it quickly."
Slowly, the course of the fight started to unravel in Shepard's mind. The lonely attacker – a krogan warlord in her mind - entered the mess hall and ran into an ambush. The soldiers opened fire, but there was no sign of the characteristic krogan blood. Must have been a pretty powerful barrier, or ridiculous armor. The attacker then initiated close combat with the defenders, violently tearing through their ranks and stealing one of the assault rifles, scoring two headshots with it.
But it was so unlikely. And why were there mercenaries here as well? The other asari and turians didn't look like mercs. More like actual soldiers. Navy personnel. What had done this?"
"Commander?" Samara's voice rang forth from one of the rooms back in the hallway. "I think you should see this."
"Copy." Her thoughts still working overtime to churn out more details about the fight, Jane marched over to the Justicar, taking care to fully clear the rooms she passed by once more. It never hurt to be careful. "What's the matter?"
Samara pointed at an object that had been stashed away in what looked more like a research lab than anything else. The object, set down in the centre of the room, looked suspiciously like the tank Grunt had been stored in by Okeer..
A cryogenic tube. Great.
"Commander - "
"I see it."
At one point, the cryo-tube had been protected by a thick sheet of plastic or glass, most likely to allow for documentation. Not anymore. Something had smashed a hole in the thick plating, torn away the plates. Now it was completely empty.
"The aura comes from here," said the Justicar. Her voice was calm, yet she spoke the words like a whisper. A Justicar wasn't easily awed. "This object is drenched in it."
Though Jane was nowhere near as good with biotics as Samara was, even she could feel that this thing was completely alien. The sight of it was just wrong, which didn't make any sense. She recognized the object, saw what it was meant for, yet she couldn't help but feel like it was completely alien to her.
More than that, she had the feeling that whatever had slaughtered the soldiers and caused the shipwide-lockdown had come from inside that cryogenic chamber. The worst part of it? The contortions of the bed were undoubtedly human.
So much for her krogan-theory.
A chill ran down Shepard's spine. What are you? She thought.
AN: so what did you think? Please leave a review and don't hesitate to be critical!