Sooooo… hi? Been a while. Life's been crazy, but I never forgot about this story. In fact, a lot of time was spent planning things out and trying to improve for this story and its sequels that I wanna do. Like, I have BIG plans for all of this. Part of the reason I wasn't writing was because I wasn't confident in what I was putting down.
IMPORTANT INFO REGARDING A SEMI-IMPORTANT DETAIL FOR WATCHERS: While planning some things for the eventual sequels to this story, I thought about something that wouldn't fit in if I never brought it up in this story and it would kinda be important, like a connect the dots style thing. Also, reminder: Daniel's biotics change color depending on his mood/mental state.
Also, to the guest that reviewed to chapter 3 saying "pacing too fast, no plot, no character development, just a boring OC insert, not reading anymore"… bruh, it's literally only the third chapter. You would find out I'm slowly building up to a pretty cool plot if you actually read further instead of being a judgey little ass because I didn't make things blatantly obvious for ya in the FIRST THREE CHAPTERS. That's like buying a puzzle and getting annoyed it's not already put together when you open the box…
Anyway, I'll go back and add this detail (THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DETAIL AS WELL) in previous chapters when I can, but Daniel has many self-inflicted scars on his left arm (particularly on the left wrist) but he didn't have them before he arrived to the Mass Effect universe. How he got them during his cross into a different universe is a mystery for you all to eventually find out.
After the mission, I cleaned the armors like my punishment entailed. Wrex said he'd clean his own armor; he was always wearing it anyway. That meant I only had to clean Shepard's, Kaidan's, and my own. Fine by me. While it wasn't a difficult task, it was tedious. I hated tedious tasks. That's why I hated math; it wasn't difficult for me, but it was tedious. Same thing over and over again to find an answer for something unimportant.
Anyway, when I was finished, I found myself sitting at the back of the sleeping pod. This time I had my M1911 with me. My thumb ran over the grooves of the inscription. 'Prime Zero'. It still confused me why the word 'zero' was added to , it was the gun that Rumple shot me with because it would be easier to pull me to another universe if I was dying.
Goddamn fucking piece of shit.
Not only did he put my life at increased risk, he put my friend's lives at risk! That dropship could have killed all of us if Shepard wasn't such an amazing shot. But the point stands; that dropship was not supposed to be there. If we didn't have the Mako, it could have been over for us.
Any other place, I probably would have aimed my gun at the person in front of me out of an undiscovered reflex I had (or gained when coming to this universe). But this was the Normandy and it was Shepard standing right there, so I simply glanced up at her. She looked a bit concerned. That's when I realized I was gripping my pistol almost tight enough to cause my hands to just barely shaking. And my biotics were flared up red just the faintest amount.
"Yeah," I said, taking a breath and let my biotics fade away.
Shepard crossed her arms. "I don't believe you. Now, move your ass to the side a bit."
"Because I'm going to sit down." She kicked my foot. "Scoot. I'll make it an order if I have to."
I stared at her a moment before sighing and making some room. She sat down right after, and the two of us just sat there in silence for a couple minutes; her not knowing what to say, and me simply not wanting to speak. The silence was broken when Shepard glanced over at the pistol in my hand.
"Nice piece," she commented simply. "That's the gun that put you in the hospital before you met us, right?"
"Yeah," I nodded.
"Most people wouldn't want to keep the gun they were shot with. So, why'd you keep it?"
That… I couldn't help but chuckle at that. Only it wasn't out of humor. I thought maybe I wanted the pistol because it was simply my favorite one. Now that she asked, that answer doesn't seem correct anymore. Maybe it was the inscription on the side. Or maybe it was… shit, I wasn't sure.
"I don't know," I replied. That earned me a raised eyebrow from her. I ran a hand over my face, chuckling a little. "Maybe… maybe I want to find the bastard who shot me and return the favor. With the same gun he shot me with. Or maybe it's more simple. Like I feel attached to it or something. I don't know."
Shepard nodded slowly. "I can understand that. Both things, actually. First time getting shot can be a bit… traumatic. Especially if you're not prepared for it. Perhaps this is a sort of way of coping with it."
"Traumatic? Shepard, at this point, do you really think much could cause a traumatic experience for me?"
She smiled gently. "Different things affect people, well, differently than others."
I licked my lips and nodded. Nothing else was said. We just sat there, in silence. I looked over at Shepard, and she looked back at me.
"Why'd you come back here to talk?" I asked. "I mean, I don't mind. I'm just curious."
And there was that damn lip biting from her. Definitely a nervous tick, but why would she be nervous? "I talk with all the crew members. Haven't you noticed?"
"You seem to talk to me a little more than the others."
"Maybe that's because you're a reckless idiot who needs to be watched," she said with a laugh.
I scoffed, smirking. "I'm reckless? Says Miss I'mma-One-Shot-A-Geth-Dropship-While-Dangling-Out-A-Mako? If anyone needs to be watched, it's you."
Shepard narrowed her eyes and Gibbs-slapped me in the head.
"Ow!" I exclaimed, rubbing the back of my head. It didn't hurt, just a natural reaction. "Why'd you do that?"
"For being a smartass," she replied with a cheeky grin.
I rolled my eyes. "Says the meanie who slaps her soldiers."
"I wouldn't have to slap them if they weren't smartasses." She looked at her omni-tool a moment and stood. "Anyway, it's starting to get late, and I have some mission reports to finish up. Talk to you tomorrow, Ironwill."
"You too, m'lady." My eyes widened when I realized what I called her.
She turned around, giving me a curious look. "'M'lady'?"
"Oh, uh, it's just a little thing I would call my close female friends on rare occasion," I hurriedly explained. "You know, as a sort of term of endearment. To a friend, that is"
Shepard hummed in thought, eyeing me suspiciously before smiling. "Alright. Make sure you get some sleep, smartass."
With that, she was around the corner in back into her cabin.
I sighed. 'M'lady'? Really? Only person I called that was an old friend of mine from back home. Now that I thought about it, the Commander kind of reminds me of her; funny, kind, strong-willed, beautiful. Even their eye color and general energy felt similar… You know, I was gonna head to sleep before I let my mind wonder on things for too long.
Standing up, I stretched, some joints popping slightly and made my way down to the cargo bay. Putting my 1911 in my locker was uneventful, and I was right back to the crew deck and into the sleeping pod I went. After typical style by me, I was asleep after a while of trying.
The next day I grabbed myself something quick to eat when I woke up. I wasn't feeling too hungry, so all I had was one of the Alliance protein bars I found. After that, I went down to the cargo bay to chat up Garrus or whoever I could find down there. When I got down there though, I found not only our favorite turian, but Wrex as well. And they were talking. Within arms reach of each other. And they weren't insulting each other. Or killing each other. Or on the verge of killing each other.
"Alright, turian," Wrex started, crossing those trees he calls arms, "what was the most intense mission you've ever had? Minus this Saren hunt."
They were trading battle stories? This never happened in the game. I had to listen in on them. There was only so much detail that Bioware could have placed into their games. Also, Wrex and Garrus didn't seem to mind that I was listening in either.
Garrus hummed in thought as he tried to remember a mission from his military service or during his years at C-Sec that fit Wrex's question. When he apparently picked one out, he did a little snap of his talon. "Here's one. It was during my third year with the military. We had gotten word that a volus freighter had been attacked not far from the border with the Terminus Systems and all communication was lost after that. I was on picked to go on the mission to investigate along with five others."
"Really? A freighter"? Wrex questioned skeptically. "What the hell could make some tin can intense?"
If Garrus was human, he would have rolled his eyes judging by the look he gave Wrex.
"This wasn't a typically freighter," Garrus stated. "It was one of the Dakunna luxury freighters. I'm pretty sure the Normandy could fit snugly in one of those. Since the thing was so large, a large pirate crew had to take it. Fifty batarians or so; I wasn't keeping count though. Now that made things difficult alone because our orders were to rescue the freighter and its crew. We couldn't just blow the thing up.
"Intel said the ship was own by a private volus merchant and his crew of a hundred twenty. This was a large ship, after all. Our shuttle got to the location to investigate. We found the thing without engine power, finding out later that some batarian gunned down a resisting crew member and damaged some sensitive equipment quite badly."
"So, how'd you get in the ship" I questioned. "Did that thing have a small hanger or something?"
Garrus shook his head. "Unfortunately, no. And the ship the batarians came in was hooked up to the only docking point. The others and I had to go on a little space walk."
"That must have been fun," Wrex commented with a grunt that I guessed was a chuckle.
"Oh, it was the best. One of the guys with us nearly flew off the ship when his mag-boots malfunctioned as he landed. Then we had to search for an access point into the ship. That took around… 20 minutes to do since we couldn't exactly run out there. And of course, there was the task of opening said access point; that was my job, in case you were curious."
"Yeah, yeah," Wrex waved him off. "Get to the good stuff already, Vakarian."
"I would say to be more patient, but you're a krogan after all," Garrus shrugged. "Now, once we got into the ship, emergency light was on throughout it. The part we were in was quiet. It wasn't a hard to assume that they were on the other side of the ship, closer to the docking port. So that's where we went. Halfway there though, we came across the massive cargo bay… filled with—."
At that moment, the elevator opened up. Garrus stopped his story as we all turned to look. Shepard was in it, looking right at us.
"Garrus, Ironwill, get suited up and ready to go," she said, not even coming out of the elevator. "C-Sec contacted me regarding info into our hunt for Saren. I want to be there in fifteen minutes."
Wait, this wasn't in the game; C-Sec never contacted you with info about Saren. Were events about to change drastically because I was here? Shit, I didn't like this. Or perhaps I shouldn't look too much into this. Zaeed being on Therum was minor, so maybe could be like a side mission type deal. God, I hoped at least.
Nevertheless, I did what I was ordered to do. Within six minutes, I was suited up and was waiting by the airlock with Garrus. I didn't bother putting on my helmet just yet. Doubt there was going to be a firefight right outside of the docking tube. But then again, this was the Normandy. We've seen a lot of crazy shit already. Nothing would surprise me at this point.
"Any idea what this could be about?" Garrus asked as he fiddled with his sniper.
I shook my head. "Not a damn clue. Maybe it's something about some of his men here on the Citadel. Beyond that, no idea."
"Hm, fair assumption. The Executor must have thought this pretty serious to contact Shepard, though. You know, with him not being a big fan of Spectres or humans." Garrus let out a low snort. "It's somewhat funny, really."
I raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"Pallin doesn't like Spectres, but he had to call one in. He must be hating not being able to have C-Sec work this one out."
The telltale sound of boots against a metal surfaced grew closer. Shepard was finally here, all armored up. Her hair was in her usual ponytail. Kind of wondered if she wore it any other way. Not that it looked bad or anything. Matter of fact, it looked quite nice… and there I was again.
I had to stop that. She's my CO… then again, this is the Normandy.
Nope, nope. Stop it brain! Just stop.
"Ironwill, you good?"
I blinked. Shepard was staring at like I had two heads and a tail. Fuck, was I staring at her blankly?
"Yeah, fine," I replied with a smile. "We moving out now?"
Shepard simply smiled back and nodded. "Yes, we are. Executor Pallin said he had a troubling development on his hands. So, let's move."
We took an aircar to C-Sec after leaving the ship. Fuck using those slow ass elevators. They must have been deliberately slowed down as subtle way to torture organics when the Reapers built the Citadel before they annihilate us all. Maybe I can have Shepard speed them up when we take out Saren and have control over the whole station. It would be a sort of poetic moment; a final 'fuck you' to Sovereign before he gets blown to Hell.
Anyway, as we entered C-Sec, I realized that where we were wasn't the C-Sec from the first game. We picked up Wrex outside of the C-Sec Academy, and this was not it. I was pretty damned shocked to see the place we were at was the damn Headquarters from Mass Effect 3. My brain apparently still thought some places would only be available to go to when the events called for it. I would have to continue trying to get out of that habit.
The HQ of C-Sec was pretty damn large and just as busy. The moment we walked it, officers were at their desks either doing paperwork or discussing a case. Some were coming or going. A salarian was being brought in by a turian officer. There was a near constant ringing of phones (or whatever they had here. I doubt they used their personal omni-tools to receive 911 calls). It was what you'd expect from a busy police station back home. Also, it was nice seeing this place before Cerberus attacked it a few years from now. Unless I could find a way to prevent that…
"C-Sec Headquarters are a lot more lively than the offices down in the Academy," Shepard noted, taking in the activities around her.
Garrus chuckled. "This is the HQ, after all. Even on slow days, it was busy around here."
Movement from what I assumed was the front desk caught my attention. A turian officer with purple facepaint had moved up to the desk, mandibles out wide in what I'd assume was a grin. He slapped his talons on the desk's surface.
"Garrus!" He exclaimed. "Good to you, man! I was wondering if you'd stop by ever again."
"Good to see you too, Cestus," Garrus replied, although looking a bit awkward of having his presence being announced so loudly. "Unfortunately, this visit is all business. We're here to Pallin."
A look of understanding washed over this 'Cestus'. "Ah, that's right. The Executor said he needed to speak to a Spectre and for someone to show them to the meeting room." He looked over to Shepard. "And you must be the Spectre, and the first human one at that. Pleasure to meet you!"
Shepard nodded with a smile. "Likewise, officer."
Cestus gestured for us to follow. "Come on. I'll take you to the meeting room."
As Cestus showed us the way, I noticed at least a few C-Sec officers observing us. Not the kind of curious observation either. I remember reading C-Sec and Spectres were always at odds; one followed the law, the other made the law into whatever they needed it to be. Having a fully armed Spectre at that walking through their Headquarters probably wasn't ideal for them either. And I wasn't helping with possibly easing them a bit. My armor was black and dark red like some kind of mercenary!
Hmm, maybe I should have Avitus tweak the paintjob a bit. Just plain black and red without the digital camo pattern. Eh, that can be for another time.
Cestus led us inside the meeting room where Pallin and two other members of C-Sec sat at a 'U' shaped assortment of tables. The room could fit around fifteen to twenty people. Weird that we were using this room and not a smaller one. Oh! It looked like a projector was on the ceiling facing down to the center of the table arrangement. Perhaps they would be using that.
"Commander Shepard," Pallin acknowledged our arrival as he stood. "Good, you're finally here. The situation is delicate, so I'm going to get right into it." He nodded to one of the officers who were already in here, a turian. The turian tapped on his omni-tool a moment before the lights dimmed and the projector came to life to show a holographic image of… a warehouse? It seemed to be. Two floors, a ground level loading door in front, and a possible side entrance. "Several days ago, one of my men in the lower wards noticed strange activity coming for this warehouse. He reported it back to HQ, and a small surveillance team was tasked to look over at it."
Shepard braced herself on the table with her hands as she leaned in. "What did they find?"
"The team recorded several individuals of varying species coming and going from there," Pallin explained as he had his officer change the projector. This time it was to a video recording. Two lightly armored and armed individuals, a turian and salarian, were seen taking some packages into the warehouse. It was paused as the turian looked behind him a moment before he would enter the side door of the place. "Illegal ownership of firearms would have been enough to go in, but before we took thataction, we looked into who owned the building."
"I'm guessing it belongs to Saren," I said from the spot next to the door I was leaning against.
"Not in name, but the alias used is from a known associate of his." Pallin got a serious look in his eyes as he turned to Shepard. "An associate known to work with explosive devices."
Wait, wait, wait… is he implying bombs? Saren might be having bombs made on the Citadel? This wasn't good in the slightest. Not only were the bombs a threat, but I had no idea what would happen. Bombs being planted by Saren's goons was never in the game. And what purpose would he have to do so? To cause more panic when Sovereign attacks? It was possible…
"Where's the location of this warehouse?" Shepard practically demanded, pushing off of the table. Oh, she was taking his implication quite seriously. As we all should. Honestly, I wanted to get there as soon as possible too.
Pallin gave a single nod. "I'll have one of my men take you there immediately."
A shady area of the one of the Wards was were this warehouse was located. It took us around ten minutes in a C-Sec patrol car to get there. Well, near there. Shepard had the officer land almost 2 blocks awayto approach on foot. Logical move. A C-Sec patrol car landing right in front of the damn place would have been a dead giveaway. We do the same thing with the Mako all the time. At least until the thing gets destroyed. Or maybe it's because Shepard is always driving. That actually seems much more logical.
Now, we scouted out the warehouse for close to ten minutes from the safety of several buildings away. We each spotted a few cameras. Way more than was necessary. Something was definitely being hidden in that place, and I hoped it wasn't of the giant explosion type. If Saren is hiding a bomb in there, he would have some highly trained goons guarding it too. Definitely some turians and salarians; probably a krogan or two, and maybe some asari commandos. I made sure to voice my thoughts to Shepard on this as well.
Noticing a possible blind spot in the cameras to hide our approach, Shepard led the way through a back alley that ran right behind the warehouse. My fingers drummed the grip of my M16 lightly as we hugged the right of the alley. This was going to be uncharted territory. I didn't know what was going to be in there or how this was going to end. To be honest, it was not knowing how this would end that worried me; I was confident the three of us could handle whatever was in there just fine, though. I mean, we had Commander Shepard.
Crossing a path, we braced ourselves against a the building right next door. Shepard pulled up her omni-tool and began typing away, taking the occasional glance up at the cameras. Was she hacking into the security systems? Had to be. Most likely going to loop the footage as a precaution even if this blind spot isn't as blind as we thought.
I turned to Garrus and gave him a slight tilt of me head. He shrugged. Not much we could do besides keep an eye out. Luckily, Shepard turned off her omni-tool and waved us to follow, so we didn't have to be on lookout long.
We crossed the last little bit of distance and braced by the backdoor. Garrus held position on the right, Vindicator rifle in his talons. I faced him from the other side while Shepard was behind me. She looked over to Garrus and nodded to the door. The turian nodded back and readied his omni-tool to breach the door.
"On go," Shepard stated quietly. "One..."
My biotics flared a deep blue around my left hand faintly.
Garrus shuffled slightly from foot to foot.
Garrus immediately opened the door, and the three of us rush in. An armored turian tinkering at a workbench ahead jumped, reaching for his sidearm. Garrus put a burst into him while I fired two shots myself. He hit the ground hard.
We rounded the short corner, instantly diving for cover as bullets flew at us. I pressed my back against a metal crate. Shit, that was a lot of gunfire at one time. Maybe eight shooters, at least. It was hard to tell from my spot, but I gathered the interior of his place was big enough to fit two trucks side-by-side in here. In fact, there was a truck in here. And… wait, was that a—?
"Shepard, they got a bomb here!" Garrus shouted over the gunfire.
I popped out of cover (taking note that the bomb was practically dead center of the loading bay), quickly locating taking aim at a salarian on a catwalk that surround the upper area of the loading bay. He went down easily, falling over the rail to ground level. Did these guys not have shield on? They must have been really confident no one would find them. Serves them right.
The back of the truck slides up with an echoing clang as four asari in black light armor jumped out, biotics already flowing around them as the last one slammed the back of the truck closed. Asari commandos. Couldn't say I was surprised, but that didn't mean I was going to take them being here lightly. They were damn commandos.
Said commandos got right into action as well. One of them threw a biotic attack at me that had me ducking behind me. Oh, I wasn't going to take that lightly. Peeking over my cover again, I let loose a hail of bullets at the commando. She was an agile one though. Only enough bullets hit her to break her barrier before she got into cover.
The heat sink in my rifle sizzled as I dipped into cover again. Slapping a fresh thermal clip into the thing, I decided to swap it out for the Phalanx. Shepard and Garrus had… Christ, they already took out four of these bastards!
I winced as a bullet ricocheted off the ground way too close to the bomb. We had to push up. Saren's goons might set off the bomb as a last ditch effort to take us out, and who knows how strong that thing was. I couldn't risk the possibility of an entire street being leveled.
"Shepard!" I shouted, taking a blind shot over my cover that I knew wouldn't hit the bomb. "I got an idea on how to keep that bomb safe!"
"Do it!" She yelled back without missing a beat, forcing a turian back into cover. Alrighty, here we go…
With biotics flaring bright and orange, I rose out of cover and threw my hand forward. Focusing, I formed a biotic shield a few feet in front of me and pushed forward. Bullets and biotic attacks pinged the barrier as Garrus and Shepard moved in next to me. Man, using biotics like this took a lot of effort. It felt like I was trying to move a wall each time a bullet or a Warp hit the damn thing. This shit was easier on Feros when Liara was helping.
I stopped right next to the bomb, taking one-handed shots at the enemies. Only a salarian and four asari commandos were left. At least fighting them will be a good warm-up before the Benezia fight.
"Here," Garrus said, pulling over a nearby metal crate to protect the bomb.
I smirked. "I suggest you two get to cover."
Shepard looked like she was going to say something but turned and slid into cover instead. I pulled back my hand, dark energy wreathing around it, and thrusted it forward. The biotic shield flew forward in a Shockwave, hurling random tools and even some heavier objects all over the warehouse. The lone salarian was hit hard in the chest, impacting a wall headfirst. It sounded like a watermelon being dropped.
A commando was hit just enough to stumble out of cover. The next thing that asari heard was the 'boom' of a charge followed immediately by my fist being slammed into her doubled over as the air was knocked out of her. I placed the barrel of my gun to her head and splattered the floor in bluish-purple blood.
Oh, shit. Her one friend apparently didn't like that. The closest commando shouted out in anger and pulled back her arm as biotic energy swirled heavily around it, and I didn't have enough time to get into cover. Her head jerked violently to the side before she could attack, the deafening crack of a sniper following suit milliseconds after. I got behind a steel pillar and spotted Shepard holding her smoking sniper. I gave her a lazy salute for the assist.
Another commando decided to rush towards Shepard as she was in the middle of letting her rifle cool. Garrus and I both fired shots at the asari, but she used her biotics like I did a few moments ago but in a smaller and more controlled manner. The other survivor even started firing at Garrus to pin him down.
Shepard stood, leaning back to avoid a biotic-fueled left hook from the asari. The stock of her rifle slammed into the commando's cheek. Grabbing her pistol with her free hand, Shepard took fired. The asari knocked the pistol out of her hands, the round impacting the ground harmlessly. Shepard curled the now pistol-less hand into a fist and drove it into the underside of the commando's chin. She dropped backwards. With a deep exhale, Shepard leveled her rifle at the downed asari and fired.
That left the three of us against one asari commando. She stood in the center of the warehouse, looking to each one of us like a cornered animal. I could see the anger in her eyes. The hate for killing her comrades. I had to admit,it was somewhat intimidating.
"Are you going to surrender?" Shepard asked, raising and eyebrow.
The last commando flared up in biotics and was about to let loose some kind of attack. Well, she would have if she didn't get riddled with bullets the moment she made a move. It was the most anti-climatic thing I have seen so far.
"That went well," Garrus quipped, holstering his gun and walking over to nearby table cluttered with datapads and what looked to be similar items.
Walking over to pick up her pistol, Shepard let out a sigh. "I was worried the bomb was going to get hit. They didn't seem to care where their bullets might hit." She turned to me with a smile. "Good work protecting the bomb though, Ironwill."
"Just making sure we didn't become scorch marks on the floor," I said with a smirk and a lazy salute. "We should probably call someone to deal with that thing though.
"Don't celebrate just yet," Garrus said ominously from the table. "Shepard, you should see this."
Oh, this didn't sound good. I followed right behind Shepard as she went over. The contents of the table were much more then datapads. There were lists components. Several addresses. One was the address of this very warehouse with a second address written underneath it that I didn't recognize. I wasn't getting a bad feeling about this.
There was some maps also. Each one of certain area of the Wards with one being in the Presidium? And each map had an 'X' marking a specific point with the word 'TARGET' written in big red letters next to it. There were four maps in total…
"Are you telling me…," Shepard muttered.
Garrus sighed. "That there are three other bombs? Yeah, I am."
I could only say one thing to finding that out:
A/N: So this chapter was a bitch. So much writer's block, which is funny because I had wrote a draft of an idea for this chapter when I first started this story and wanted to use that as a base because I loved how it turned out but I couldn't find it so I had to try to make write something with equal quality.
Anyway, next chapter should be a fun one. Might be in two parts, might be just one chapter. Shouldn't take me as long as this one did. This chapter was the obstacle I had to get over.
I just hope this chapter is good enough. There's so much in it, and there was so much time between each time I actually had an idea of how to continue writing.
lPriime, signing out.