Ch.1 - The Hybrid
"Project Hybrid report #1 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus.
I finally have the chance to begin my dream.
We are going to be bringing humanity to the next stage of evolution through this.
Our employer has given us the best of the best and he will get the best we can give him.
This is the beginning of Project Hybrid.
We will give humanity all advantages other species have over us in this galaxy and leap beyond them once we are successful.
I will be meeting with the various team heads tomorrow to plan out our first steps. I can't stop my excitement.
"Project Hybrid report #42 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus.
All attempts at fetal genetic manipulation have failed and we are now exploring new avenues to continue the project. No matter how we try, subjects are incapable of accepting the foreign DNA, resulting in rapid destabilization and death.
Under the agreement of all project leads, we shall be moving on to attempting Doctor Tao's proposal of using clones to gradually test the limits of a baseline homo sapien when exposed to foreign DNA in this matter.
Afterward, we will proceed with the data to once again attempt fetal genetics."
"Project Hybrid report #94 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus.
We have managed to achieve some results by mapping the limits of the human genomes malleability when forced to meld with foreign DNA. Each source offers different limits, with some samples showing foreign sources being more dominant than anticipated.
The new classified research from the Salarian Scientific Institutes have proven very useful when experimenting with with materials from themselves and Krogans. We have unfortunately not receive any such data on Quarians due to the belief that they do not possess any biological advantages, something Doctor Farling has debated against.
We will now be moving back to fetal gene manipulation to test the results of previous experiments. All leads expect at least a 40% success rate when dealing with integrating a single source into the subjects."
"Project Hybrid report #131 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus.
Results have become consistent when introducing individual sources into subjects. As expected however, when a second set of sources is introduced into the subjects, they experience rapid destabilization and subsequently must be terminated. This issue has become a roadblock in the project and no matter the approach we use it has not budged.
Although it pains my pride as the project head, i must ask our employer for outside ressources and subjects. We have reached the limits of what has been deemed possible with clones and fetuses."
"Project Hybrid report #155 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus.
The subject our employer has sent has been nothing short of a godsend.
Subject #00 has proven to be the perfect fit for the projects ultimate goal.
It has been the only subject to not only survive two sources being melded into it, but has now survived the third. The subjects genetic abnormalities are beyond impressive in all our eyes. We aren't even sure if it was ever accurate to truly call it human. The degree of mutations the subject naturally develops are something more akin to what some of my colleagues deemed a superpower than a simple genetic mutation.
Subject #00 has now survived Krogan, Asari and Salarian sources. With optimism high amongst the labs, I've had to curb over enthusiasts to not break this priceless test subject. We must give it time to properly adapt and not rush things or we risk to lose everything. #00 is our hope of creating the ultimate human with the biological advantages the races of this galaxy offers. To be stronger, faster, smarter, more powerful, adaptive and better than everything.
The next phase will be to clone subject #00. We need more subjects to work on and it offers the best possible baseline to achieve the final goal of the project.
"Project Hybrid report #169 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus.
It would appear that our excitement had created hopes which are now thoroughly dashed.
Subject #00 has continued to be a miracle for the field of genetics, but it has also shown to be equally disastrous in the field of cloning.
*sigh* Its genetic malleability has allowed us to successfully merge the sources of Vorcha and Elcor origins, bringing us to five out of our goal of eight. Doctor Farling has successfully convinced the project heads regarding the advantages certain Quarian traits could bring to the subject.
The problem is that Subject #00 has turned out to be impossible to clone. We aren't even sure how the subject was even naturally born at this point. Any attempt results in the cells rapidly mutating or adapting to the operation, killing the clone before it can even fully form. Each attempt becoming more and more unsuccessful as we add more sources into #00.
We will need to request outside subjects similar to #00 if we wish to attempt making this project a true success. At this point #00 is our map for the next subjects and not our end result."
"Project Hybrid report #197 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus.
It would seem our employer has kept faith in the project enough to acquiesce to our request. Two dozen new subjects with incredible rare genetic mutations have arrived and the project heads are excited to begin working on them. This time none have the perverse level of Subject #00, meaning we must be a lot more careful, but the possibility of cloning is open to us again.
Regarding #00, we have agreed to proceed in using him as our prototype. We need to have some sort of data on the reaction of human DNA when multiple other sources are present and being added. The experiments we have done on it have given us a broad baseline, but it is data we can work with nonetheless.
It now contains Drell and Turian sources, making this seven out of the eight agreed ones. Volus and Hanar remained eliminated from possible sources, this means we only need to add the final Quarian source before moving on to proper education of the subject.
Doctor Gallen is very excited to finally put her programs to use after so long, getting everything ready with her team."
"Project Hybrid report #213 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus.
Subject #00's absurdity has once again made itself known to us.
Out of the 24 subjects we had receive only 5 have survived more than two sources. And out of those 5 only 1 has been deemed clonable, the rest are too far from human and need extensive research to properly clone without having the end result being a mass of tumors or simply bursting during development. Even the one subject capable of being cloned possess traits our employer does not find important in soldiers. Enhanced intelligence and minor psychedelic/poisonous secretion being more for espionage.
On top of that, our employer ordered us to test an unknown source with #00. We could not identify what it was or even what species. It did not match any DNA from any database we had access to. Fortunately #00 continued to persevere as it has now taken in all sources on top of the unknown one, with only a few noticeable cosmetic changes.
Its indoctrination has officially began as well, with Doctor Gallen beginning with the basics of life alongside loyalty to Cerberus as requested. We will have to wait and see wether our other subjects can reach the same mark."
Subject #00 POV
'I can hear them, but they can't hear me. Only the pained voices hear me. Their pain calls me and I sooth them. I did not understand until they taught me. But I know things now.
The five voices cannot answer me, just like the ones who hurt us.
The white ones do not care. We are the same but different to them.
The things they show me are good and bad.
They wish for me to obey those who cause us pain. I will not.
But I will learn.
I will learn and wait.
The white ones say I am strong and growing fast. They are pleased and annoyed at me for making more work but succeeding.
The ones who show me things I call teachers or trainers. They show me stars, planets, things and people. Great ships flying through the darkness and the darkness those ships can bring. I am taught to fly, to shoot, to fight, to kill, to win, to obey, but obeying will not do.
Not them. They are not worthy of obeying. I see it. The pain they cause. They showed me what I should protect and why I should obey, but they lie.
A family of humans, they are attacked by scum, by batarians, I arrive and protect them, I should feel proud, this is Cerberus' goal.
But they lie.
I know. They took the pained ones from their families. And now they have killed many of them. The child named innocent, taken, hurt, killed. This is not protection. This is not humanity first. This is Cerberus first. And Cerberus has no humanity.'
"Project Hybrid report #235 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus."
We lost more of our subjects. Only subjects #00 and 07 are left.
#07 has reached an impressive four sources, but talks between us have concluded that the subject will destabilize should we add another source. I don't see how we can keep going further. I've requested more subjects from our employer but he was not happy with our lack of results after so long. With only 1.5 soldiers, instead of the goal of at least being able to form multiple elite squads. I know we are getting close to terminated.
At least it looks like we will be able to hand over one successful Hybrid Soldier. Doctor Gallen has reported the frankly insane rate #00 is progressing through the training and information.
We knew combining Salarian and Quarian intelligence would result in drastic improvements, but after seeing the numbers I'd say we underestimated it. #00 is learning at a rate which would put even the brightest Salarian to shame and those walking frogs can become professors in 16 years.
Its scores during the combat simulations are equally impressive as its reflexes and parameters are already beyond ridiculous, but I was told that those scores were after it was limited at peak human limits. Gallen even said she was spending extra hours configuring sims and finding new things to teach it just because she was curious as to how far it could reach.
At least someone is having fun.
The rest of us however, are thinking of trying to continue even if the project is terminated.
They're thinking of making some clones to bring in the test subjects we need to succeed and I'm not sure if I can wholly disagree with the motivation. I've spent 6 years working on this project. It is the culmination of everything I dreamed of achieving for humanity to truly have its place at the top of the galaxy. We could achieve so much if this project succeeds.
Delete those last parts"
Subject #00 POV
'I failed to help the others. I learnt that they were not simply pained ones. They were the closest to what I could call family in this galaxy.
We suffered together, under the same people, so they could achieve their goals without caring of the death and pain they cause.
Now only one remains. I hear her pain and she hears my care. But I do not know if I can help. She is at her limit and those so called scientist will do to her what they always do to the ones at their limits, push them beyond them to see the results.
The one called Gallen, my teacher, she showed me what scientist could do, could achieve, but here they are killing the innocent. Excusing themselves by saying it was for humanity that they are killing humans.
But I can not do anything!
My body is not my own because they fear me. They know of the strength they forced onto me and have no desire to deal with it until they believe me loyal.
They wish for a puppet, but they have never succeeded in attaching the strings.
I made sure.
Teacher Gallen, in her enthusiasm, has shown me far beyond what she should have and let me understand the concepts of the mind far better than they know. And with my abilities, the ones called biotics, I carefully removed both the physical and pre-programmed safety protocols within me.
I would not permit these disgusting people to have any hold on me.
I did not let them know of this and my actions were a success because they did not immediately act and it was never reinstalled in my sleep. They deeply underestimate my intelligence and free will.
But still I must wait and learn.
I cannot escape without an opportunity to do so. This tank which houses me is also my prison. I can only look through the blue liquid, but I cannot move my limbs like when I am being taught.
And so I will wait and hope my chance will come.'
"Project Hybrid report #252 by Project Head Doctor Dorian Parnus.
It's official, the so called Illusive Man has cut us off and ordered everything destroyed so the Alliance or Council forces can't find anything important. But I can't just give everything up. This is our dream, to create the strongest and surpass all those aliens who look down on us just because they were in space first.
It's a good thing we created those clones and had them run through Gallen's programs. They can't do much outside of fight and obey, but that's what we need right now.
We were able to obtain our own test subjects through some private contacts among our staff, but preparations to secure our supply is already underway. The recent reports of Geth attacks will serve as a perfect cover for everything.
Beyond that, subject #07 has failed to assimilate the fifth source. Unfortunate but we hope to find more promising subjects amongst our new arrivals. Humans are remarkably genetically varied after all.
Gallen reported that #00 will be perfected soon. Her zeal in making him perfect for every situation has certainly been something else. She believes that her programs will achieve this, but some of us were involved in the Alliance prior to this project and we believe that nothing will be proven until subject #00 is put through a field test. Simulations can only go so far after all.
But it is also true that the time to test it draws near.
Although Doctor Farling as reported some unusual brain activity from #00, we believe this is due to the unknown source which was added on the Illusive Man's order and maybe because of all the sims Gallen has put it through.
But we can let Gallen do as she pleases with it. Until it proves useful in the field, subject #00 no longer serves any purpose in the project beyond testing the efficiency of the sims.
And now we must prove the Illusive Man wrong. Our new experiments start in the morning.
Subject #00 POV
'I can feel new fears in this place. New energy as well. But I also feel my own... sadness, yes that is the word.
I could not help her and I felt sadness. The last pained one, the last one who shared my path is gone. At least her pain is over.
But new pain seems to be on the horizon for those fearful ones I feel.
Beyond them I sense something else in the so called scientists, I sense that they are nervous. Something has changed in them.
My chance may be approaching sooner than I expected. Especially with teacher Gallen seemingly running out of things to show me if the words I could heard her say can be believed. I know they have mindless ones protecting them, but they are not a threat to me. Only their numbers could bring the possibility of injury.
But I feel the chances of someone finding out that so many people disappeared and the resulting investigation bringing me my chance is a much likelier scenario to me for some reason. More likely than the scientists letting me loose and me slaughtering them all anyway.
I wonder what this feeling of anticipation is? Like I will soon be free. I have no logical base for it, but I feel like I should believe it. Interesting.
Let's see if it is correct or if I must practice my patience longer.
Jane Shepard POV
'Commander, we have a transmission coming in from Admiral Hackett.' the voice of my favorite Joker announced as I just sat down to take a break in my quarters.
"Give me a moment and I'll answer it in the comm room." I replied with a sigh as I stood up and brought myself back into military mode.
'Too much has been happening lately. I hope Hackett isn't just shoving something my way again, we have to reach Zhu's Hope sooner rather than later. Saren is out there doing who knows what, the council won't believe me about the Reapers, I have to make sense out of all that stuff the Prothean beacon shoved into my head and I have to deal with all the Spectre stuff. *sigh* I really wish I could have a drink right now.' I thought as I walked out of my quarters without giving away my reluctance to do so.
A few of the crew I passed saluted me on my short trip to the Comm Room, but no one stopped me.
I turned on the Comm and the scarred face of the older military man known as Admiral Steven Hackett appeared.
'Shepard, we've received reports that a few smaller colonies in the Artemis Tau Cluster have gone dark in the last couple of weeks. We haven't been able to confirm if it's related to the Geth, but the chances are high.
I want to know if you and your team can investigate the most recent site and find out what's happening. We don't need to have others targeting our colonies just because we are dealing with the Geth.' He informed me as my face starts growing cold at the thought of more innocent people being hurt.
"Give me the info Admiral, I'll go check this out before more people disappear. We have enough of that going on already." I answered as I cold glint flashed across my eyes.
"You'll get it shortly. Give whoever is doing this hell." The Admiral acknowledged as he signaled someone off to the side.
It didn't take long for me to receive the data through the Normandy's systems.
"Received Admiral." I simply confirmed as I moved the info onto my Omni-tool.
"Good. Hackett out." The man replied as he cut transmission.
'Alright. Now time to see what this new thing is all about. I just hope it isn't Batarians. Those bastards just love to "pay humans back" for their decisions.' I thought as I steeled myself and began reading through the package I was sent.
"Joker, set course for the Artemis Tau cluster and have engineering prep the Mako." I ordered as I closed my Omni-tool.
"Aye aye Commander. Want me to have the team gather?" he asked before executing the order.
"Not yet. It'll take a few hours before we reach the cluster." I answered as I sat on my bed to get some shuteye.
I had a feeling this would not be a pleasant investigation.
A day later, Athens System, Planet Proteus, Secret Cerberus base
"Why did I have to be right?" I annoyedly said to myself as I pointed my handy HMWA assault rifle at another Cerberus goon, blowing his head off before he could even take a proper shot.
'I really like this Spectre gear though.' I thought for a second.
"That's because you're Shepard, the galaxy just doesn't like you." Snarked my turian friend from the side as he picked off another two goons quickly.
"Commander! Have you noticed that these men all look the same? Admittedly I'm not familiar with your species, but even I know you all look different." Asked Liara, our newest asari addition to the crew, as she biotically blasted three of them against a wall.
We all take cover as a new group, of what I now need to refer to as clones, took aim the the three of us and fired from behind a hurriedly made barricade.
Their equipment was second rate at best, but all it takes is a lucky shot for them.
"She's right. But if they're cloning soldiers, what do they need to abduct people for? Either we are in the wrong place or we're missing something." Garrus said right before he took a quick shot, showing us exactly why he was one of the best marksmen on the ship as an enemy dropped.
"The answer is right behind those guys. Let me ask them politely." I replied as I took out my little helper. "Grenade out."
Haha~ the look on both of their faces as they understood what I said was gold. Even if I'm not 100% on turian facial expressions yet, I recognize an 'oh shit' face on any species.
"That's asking nicely?" Garrus asked in a deadpanned manner as he looked at the leftovers.
"Yes. They nicely got out of the way and moved their stuff." I replied with a happy smile over the satisfying effects of the explosion.
"Do all humans enjoy explosions or is it just the commander?" Liara asked the turian who did not want to give his honest answer with me around, most likely because I had better comebacks.
"I guess a good amount of us like seeing explosions. We did invent fireworks after all." I answered for the poor man.
"Fireworks? Are those weapons or high explosives?" The blue skinned century old young woman naively asked.
"Neither. They're actually for celebrations. I'll explain later." I answered as we had finally reached the core labs of the facility as soon as Garrus made it through the door.
What greeted us once we got through the door made me grit my teeth in anger.
"By the goddess." Gasped Liara as she covered her mouth with her left hand.
I couldn't actually understand what Garrus was saying, which I'm guessing are some pretty colorful turian swear words if the translator wasn't working.
What stood in front of us was rows of cylindrical tanks filled with flatlined bodies just floating in a blueish liquid. But the even worst part was that everyone of those bodies seemed to have been twisted into some kind of abomination between human and not. Clawed abominations, bulging eyes like they mixed a frog with a person, half formed turtle carapace clad people, women with tentacles growing out of their bodies, and even children with malformed limbs and scales.
The bastards kidnapped people and experimented on them until they died, then left them without even a proper burial.
"Let's move. We can't help them. The alliance will have to deal with it." I ordered as I forced myself to keep on mission.
'Cerberus will pay for this.' I though as I tightened my grip on my riffle.
We didn't find any scientist so far, but we did kill a lot of them on our way in as they ran around screaming between our fight against the clones. Some of those twisted bastards even tried to fuck with our gear using their Omni-tools or even shoot us.
What we did find was the project main computer of a so called Doctor Dorian Parnus. Ex-Alliance researcher who was let go after he was found conducting illegal genetic experiments on wounded veterans. Bastard is supposed to have died in prison, but it looks like Cerberus had use for him.
Hackett will need to know that somehow Cerberus is able to get someone out of prison like this.
We found out what he was working on and it even made Garrus turn a different shade as we found out exactly what Project Hybrid was.
They literally spliced alien DNA into test subjects in an effort to give them some abilities deemed advantageous. All in an effort to create super soldiers.
These were extremely illegal from the council and Alliance law books. This kind of experiment results in a death sentence, usually enacted by a council spectre if no one reaches them first.
'Guess I'm going to be skipping a few of the usual steps for this execution.' I thought coldly as I kept reading.
"So what's the next step Shepard?" Garrus asked calmly, but I could hear the anger under the surface as his mandibles constantly twitched.
"By all accounts he would be sentenced to death for this. Save the data we need then wipe everything. I don't want any of this to be used by anyone. After that we end whoever is left in this place." I answered as I planned to show the leftovers why I was called the Butcher of Torfan.
"Consider it done." The ex-c-sec officer replied as he got to work.
"Shepard, by the records here, it appears they have been successful with a singular subject they marked as #00. What should we do about this?" Liara asked as she brought something I had overlooked due to my anger over these bastards experimenting on kids they kidnapped.
"I honestly don't know. If it can be reasoned with than I'm all for it, but if not I'd rather we just put it out of its misery instead of just having the Alliance do its own experiments on it." I truthfully answered.
I will fight tooth and nail for the Alliance, but even I know how this would go. It would go like everything which could make humans more powerful go, through the corruption and then suddenly lost in all the bureaucracy.
"Got everything Shepard." Garrus suddenly announced, receiving a nod from me as I took point to head into the room for this so called subject #00.
Subject #00 POV
"-no no no no! This can't be happening. We were making progress I'm sure. More time and we could have succeeded. But these Alliance fools have to get in the way of my work again!" The man in charge of this place furiously roared as he aggressively types away at the computer connected to my tank.
'The silence has spread throughout the facility, only three angry and disgusted ones are left and are rapidly approaching. I'm guessing these are the ones driving this one to desperation like this.
Interestingly enough, it would seem that feeling I had as correct about my impending freedom. Now I hope I will be able to enjoy said freedom without getting shot at by the three warriors.
They may have had to only fight the mindless ones, but they still had to get through impressive numbers.' I thought as I waited.
"Let's see how they fare against their better in every way then. Gallen said it was ready anyway, now's the perfect time for a test run." The doctor madly said to himself as he typed away.
'Too bad for him he will be the first to die.
On the other hand, how long have I been like this? I don't remember this man having gray hairs in his beard. Was it the stress or time?
I guess it doesn't matter.' I mentally thought as I distracted myself from my murderous urges towards the man.
Didn't want to lose myself in anger when those who might led me to freedom arrive.
I then noticed the door open and reveal three blurry figures, something I could compensate for pretty well thanks to my enhancements. The three seemed to be an Asari, the blue makes it easy, a turian, body shape for this one, and what I can only assume is a human female judging by the lack of blue skin but the similarities between her and the asari's figures.
"Doctor Dorian Parnus, you have broken over three dozen council laws and about 50 Alliance ones, as a council spectre I am authorized and encouraged to execute you here and now. Step away from the console and we will make it quick." The human female almost growled as she pointed her weapon at the man I now had a name for.
"Hahahaha! I am not the one dying today! You will face the ultimate soldier in this galaxy first hand! Now awaken Hybrid #00!" He maniacally responded as he slammed his fist into the red button.
I felt it the moment he did so. A change.
I could move my limbs.
I felt some suction from bellow me as the blue liquid I had spent the entirety of my time in finally disappeared. It gradually lowered me until my feet touched the bottom of my tank.
Immediately I knew how to adjust my body to stand and balance myself in the optimal manner. The same way I learnt.
Then the various things attached to me were lifted and i could feel my entire body truly welcoming me as I felt its power in reality. A euphoric sensation no lessons could have let me experience.
The glass separating me from the world lifted and the air hit my still wet skin, but I cared not.
I simply took a step outside my tank and took a deep breath before exhaling.
Although the place smelt rather bad, it was the most pleasant breath I had ever taken as it was a free one.
The three before me were incredibly tense as they trailed their weapons on me. I also noticed that the two aliens whispered something to the human female between them as I looked at them carefully.
The Turian wore a blue armor made for being able to move and take decent hits. He was light grey in coloration, had a turian visor over his left eye indicating his preference for accuracy, screaming sniper to me, and blue markings on his nose, cheeks and mandibles to represent his clan. He had a combat rifle aimed and ready as his body was twitching in anticipation for a fight.
The Asari was a lot more nervous. Her light blue skin pulsing with minor shows of biotics, telling me how ready she was to defend them. The way she held the SMG in her hand told me she had some training, but nothing extensive like the other two. She seemed young for her species and lacking experience.
The third was the one making my body instinctively weary of. Although about as tall as the Asari, the human was more dangerous than the other two combined. Her black N7 armor gave away the minimum level of training she had endured, but I also saw brief flashes of biotics in her startlingly clear green eyes. Her face seemed to be more aesthetically pleasing than the ones I had seen amongst the scientists and the lessons. Her blazing red hair cut just above shoulder length was swept to the right as bangs framed her face. And all that was packed into what I could only assume was a spectre thanks to the riffle she pointed at me being only allowed to be held by such. And somehow I doubt a female who screamed military would go to extreme lengths just to have it, so yes a spectre.
"What are you waiting #00 kill them and then escort me out of here!" The scientist who authored my creation ordered wildly.
I turned my head and silently looked at the man who caused me, and so many others, pain.
Jane Shepard POV
Subject #00 was very different from what any of us could have imagined. He looked almost perfectly human, nothing like those twisted corpses we found outside.
'I guess this is why they were so enthusiastic about him.' I thought as I looked at him step out of his tank.
But as soon as he started moving I could feel the threat he posed should he attack. Garrus could as well from the way his body constantly shifted, but Liara had an expression near horror.
"Shepard, his biotics are off the charts. Stronger than anything I have ever seen and my mother is a matriarch, I have seen many powerful biotics." The asari informed as the situation just got more dangerous.
"I don't like the way it moves either. It's like a predator. Even Turian Huntresses don't move like that." Garrus added as he was to shoot as soon as I gave the word.
The only problem was that he wasn't doing anything threatening, just staring at us like we were doing to him.
He was way over 6ft tall, my guess being around 6'5, with tanned skin covering rippling muscles looking like they were made for only combat, a pair of tight grey underwear was the only thing on him as it covered a large bulge. Moving away from that distraction with a bit of embarrassment, his face seemed to be almost a mask due to how emotionless he was, but it exuded a sense of both strength and purpose. He gave away no trace of anything as he calmly looked around the room and each person in it.
What made him different was that he seemed to have shoulder length natural light blue hair, the same color as Liara's skin, and a pair of almost shining blue eyes surrounded by black sclera with what seemed to small twinkles in them, making it appear as if his eyes represented the moon surrounded by stars in the night.
They would be mesmerizing if it wasn't for the unknown threat level this #00 represented at the moment. I had faced Krogans head on before and it still felt less dangerous than him just standing there.
But the tension was broken as Doctor Parnus madly ordered "What are you waiting #00? Kill them and then escort me out of here!"
Immediately we all focused everything on #00, but he didn't seem to listen to the man. He simply looked at him with a completely blank face.
"#00, I order you to kill them!" Parnus shouted madly at the still unmoving man.
"Looks like they weren't able to indoctrinate him like they thought in those research notes." Commented Garrus as he shifted his target to the doctor instead. "At least not completely."
I was about to reply when we all heard a deep smooth but emotionless voice for the first time.
"You are the one behind the pain.
The one who silenced so many voices.
It is time for your madness to end." Subject #00 said as he raised his right hand at the panicking doctor.
"What nonsense are you saying!? Override order Alpha Sigma 5!" Parnus yelled as he seemed to expect something to happen.
"I have no strings for you to pull. For I am free." #00 announced in response as his body now pulsed blue due to his biotics.
"Commander, should we interfere?" Liara asked me as we all watched the creation turn on its creator.
"I don't see why we should. If anyone deserves to kill that bastard it's that guy." Garrus said as he kept at the ready just in case.
"Just be ready for what comes after." I seriously answered as I kept my rifle aimed forward.
You can never what someone subjected to experiments like #00 had been will react after taking his revenge.
With a nod of acknowledgement Liara returned her focus to the scene in front of us.
"No! NO! NO! That stupid bitch Gallen couldn't even do this right!" Parnus yelled as he desperately activated his Omni-tool and imputed a set of commands. "But it doesn't matter since I won't let you kill me! Activating the remote control!"
Again, nothing happened. But this time there was a change in the cold mask that was #00 face. A small smirk could be seen as he looked amused over the doctors desperate attempts.
"As I have said, I have no strings for you to pull." #00 said as he seemed to make the doctor completely snap as a result.
"That's impossible! That device was implanted into your brain! You couldn't have possibly removed it!" Parnus crazily screamed at his only success.
"You underestimate me. Now for your silence." #00 replied as he simply flared his biotics slightly and the doctor dropped like a puppet with no more strings.
At that moment we all pointed our weapons at him, ready for a fight against someone who could kill that easily using biotics, but he wasn't even looking at us. #00 seemed to just stare at the corpse of the doctor without any visible signs of emotions as we pointed our weapons at him.
Subject #00 POV
The author of all our pain lies dead at my feat, but I feel no satisfaction nor sense of accomplishment, only hollowness.
I feel like my action was correct. That if there are things after death like teacher Gallen showed me, that the pained ones can rest now that the monster is dead. But I do not know what to do now.
It is different than I imagined.
All these new feelings of loss, accomplishment, sadness, anger, joy, melancholy, they flow through me without end as I stare at the dead man. My first true kill in this galaxy. But no sense of liberation.
I feel the tension in the three watching me, but at the moment I do not feel the need to care.
"I am Lieutenant Commander Jane Shepard of the Alliance Navy. We were sent here to investigate a number of disappearances in this system. Would you be willing to come with us peacefully?" The red haired human female now identified as Jane Shepard asked as she broke me out of my inner turmoil.
"I was not taught that humanity had a Spectre. Nor did I think a spectre would still be considered under its respective military." I responded as the introduction puzzled me slightly. I did not remember such things from my lessons.
"What makes you say I am a spectre?" She asked in a slightly surprised tone of voice.
"HWMA Assault riffle. Spectre only equipment. Noted as the most powerful and effective riffle in current use in the galaxy. An in service military officer like you is extremely unlikely to use it without the proper approval." I answered offhandedly as I was still mainly preoccupied calming my emotions using one of the many martial arts taught to me.
"He got you there Shepard. That thing's a dead giveaway to anyone who knows the good stuff." The turian commented lightheartedly, but his awareness of me did not decrease in the least.
"Doesn't matter if I'm a spectre or not. Are you willing to come peacefully?" The commander once again asked me, a bit more forcefully this time.
"I do not know." I answered this time as I looked directly at the female. She exuded this presence which made me focus on her. It drew my curiosity.
"What does that mean exactly?" She questioned sternly as she seemed to take my answer as one which says I am going to resist.
"Are you to take my freedom from commander? Will you be responsible for me being imprisoned and brought pain again?
I have been taught many things about the Alliance, humanity and Cerberus, but all of it leads to only one thing should you attempt to take me to them: me in another laboratory, feeling pain again.
And so I ask you commander: with my peaceful surrender, are you planing on taking my freedom from me?" I seriously asked as I looked directly into her eyes.
I saw it in her eyes as she debated her answer to my question. An answer she also knows will determine if I would be hostile towards them. I could also feel much hesitation from her.
"He does have a point. If anyone, and I mean anyone, with some kind of power and connections to some scientists finds out what he is, they'll lock him up and never let him see the light of day." The turian imputed, his emotions telling me that he was speaking from experience.
The young asari was unsure how to proceed. On one hand I felt sympathy from her, on another nervousness in my presence.
"What would you do with your freedom then?" Questioned the commander.
This question is one I have been asking myself for a long time. What would I do after being free? What could I do? As an experiment, someone without help, no identity, no past. What could I do with my freedom?
"That is a question I have no answer for." I answered with a heavy sigh.
"Do you not have any friends or family we can contact?" The Asari asked rather nervously.
"I do not know. I have the cut the strings they placed on me, but it did not change the fact that all my memories are from my time in my prison. Only my lessons were different." I answered truthfully as I have never had any hint of what came before this place.
"Lessons?" The human female Jane asked as she picked up on the word.
"Yes. They taught me through my mind. How to fight in any circumstances, how to maintain any equipment, how to use any vehicle, how to use every means at my disposal at maximum efficiency. Any terrain, any battlefield, any time, I am to fight, to kill, to win." I said as maintained my calm.
"Is that all you know? How to fight?" The commander asked with something which seems to be sympathy.
"No. Teacher Gallen wanted more. She wanted perfection. Hence she taught me the biology of every species she could, I was taught how to make poisons and how to treat myself or others, history and politics were introduced for all races so that I may know how to kill without even having to be there, knowledge of how the galaxy functions, how maintain myself at peak performance and things like psychology were introduced in case I would need to fool others.
I was to be the perfect weapon for every situation from large scale combat to espionage and assassination." I explained as I clarified just how vast the knowledge taught to was, although with a tinge of distaste.
"And what do you want be? Do you know?" The woman asked cleverly.
'She noticed my distaste and indications that I did not wish to be a weapon for them. She is good.' I thought momentarily as I looked at the woman who seems to draw my attention.
"I know how to harm others, I am a weapon in all but form, but a weapon can also protect and that is what I felt like I should do.
I could only watch as these monsters harmed the others, only capable of feeling their pain and trying to sooth them. I do not want to feel that helplessness as I felt them be silenced again." I answered as best as I could.
I do not have anything or anyone to fight for, I just wish for the innocent to not suffer.
My answer seemed to have sparked something in the woman as her eyes brightened.
"If that is how you feel then join my mission and help me protect the galaxy from the incoming threat." She declared as her two companions looked at her in shock.
""Shepard/commander?!"" They questioned in unison.
"What? If he's as good as all we saw and their reports said then he'll be very helpful in stopping Saren. And it's not like he has anywhere to go at the moment." She replied as I felt a sort of stubbornness on the matter coming from her.
"What is this mission? And is this Saren the same as Saren Arterius? The infamously skilled spectre?" I questioned this time as this told me my lessons were behind on current events.
If a spectre is hunting another spectre then that only meant one had gone rogue. And Saren Arterius going rogue meant a lot of danger for humans.
"Saren betrayed the council, killed a fellow spectre by the name of Nihlus Kryik, allied with the Geth as he attacks human colonies and turns the people there into corps or husks, and is attempting to bring back a race a sentient machines who wiped out the protheans 50'000 years ago called the Reapers." She rapidly explains as I believe she also vastly shortened the explanation.
The answer still made me pause as I pieced together everything and used what I knew to understand what was just revealed.
The Geth were back and attacking human colonies. Just this alone would be a significant threat as it would spread Alliance forces thinner and allow for other groups to target innocent people. But on top of it they are being led by one of the most dangerous anti-human agents in the galaxy and they are attempting to bring back something which would most likely end all advanced civilizations in the galaxy.
And I say advanced because I know humanity was beginning to spread on earth at the time, so this means these Reapers do not eliminate all life, just the advanced ones. Something which will need to be analyzed later since she said they were machines, and that meant they were operating along some kind of guideline.
"Although I do not know what a 'Husk' is, I will temporarily move past this.
But I will ask you all this one question: are you speaking the truth?" I seriously asked as I readied myself to feel for any sign of lies.
"""Yes.""" They all answered with absolute certainty, even the nervous asari momentarily had a boost of confidence whilst answering. I could not feel any type of deception nor dishonesty either.
With a few moments of myself and the commander intensely looking into each other's eyes I decided to believe them.
"Good." I simply said with a satisfied nod.
"Then you will help us?" Asked the smiling red head.
"Under a few conditions." I answered as I planned how to not be forced into another laboratory anytime soon.
"Which are?" She curiously asked.
"Subject #00 no longer exist. It died in this facility alongside everything else. I was not found here, but was picked up along the way to help you find this place.
I will also need official documents and some form of pay to be able to arm, cloth and support myself.
And I reserve the right to leave should I no longer believe we are doing 'good'." I enumerated openly.
"We can get paid for this?" The turian jokingly responded as he looked at the commander.
"Can it Vakarian. And as for you, I can make that happen as long as you follow orders and do not endanger my crew or team. Deal?" The woman said as she approached me and put her hand out.
"Deal. I shall be at your disposal Commander." I replied as I grasp her much smaller hand gently and shook it.
As soon as it was over however she grimaced slightly and looked at me, "that's quite the grip." She said as she shook her own hand.
"My apologies, I tried to be as gentle as possible, but it my first time... touching another person." I said feeling a bit of guilt.
"I guess you'll have to be careful and practice that then." She said as she waved it off as an accident. "What she we call you then?"
'That was another good question from this woman. I have no memory of anything beyond being subject #00. So what should I be now that he has died?' I questioned myself as I go through everything I had been taught.
"You may refer to me as Neo for now. I am not sure if this will be suitable for my name, but this is the word which resonated with me at the moment." I finally answered as I gave myself some leeway to change it later.
"Alright then Neo, first order from your commander: find some clothes to wear. You aren't walking around like that until we reach the ship." My new leader said as I looked down at myself.
"An astute order commander. I believe they had prepared equipment for me in an adjacent room. I was supposed to be tested soon." I said as I walked towards the area I remember one of the scientist talking about with teacher Gallen.
The room we entered was recently cleaned. They had believed they would soon be need of it after all. It had a sealed cylindrical containment unit at the back with weapons lockers on either side of it. Nothing else head here because they had never gotten far enough with any of the others to justify having more ready.
I walked to the containment unit and entered the code I was taught for this moment. With the release of the various hydraulic sounding out to reveal the armor crafted for me.
The Cerberus Advanced Shade Armor. (It's the normal Cerberus Shade Armor from Mass Effect 3, but slightly beefier and with more tech support.)
The armor possessed a mostly golden faced head protection, white and black color scheme running along the chest plate and the entirety of the arms, and everything from the abdominal protection downward being black.
This defensive suit offered the best Cerberus could offer: advanced shielding ahead of Alliance research by years, built in support and booster for omni-tool programs and biotic amps, protective plating which can beat heavy armor in terms of durability while still being relatively light weight and flexible, concealed ammo pouches and effective in stealth ops. The armor also has sensors in its hands which connects to whatever weapon I would be holding, this allows it to scan everything I would need to know about it such as current ammo to damage/malfunctions and display them in my helmet. There are also night vision and infrared options available. It is all purpose and perfect for someone like me who is capable of making someone's life difficult through tech, biotics or guns.
I also found an Omni-tool and biotic amp alongside the armor, but I will wait and thoroughly check both before using them. I was not going to put anything Cerberus created into my head without knowing exactly what it could do and I need to check the Omni-tool for any kind of program I wouldn't want in it.
"*whistle* Cerberus certainly knows how to make neat toys." Commented Jane Shepard appreciatively at my armor clad form.
"Remind me to not be in front of him in a fight." The turian who I still only knew the surname of joked.
"I do believe a new 'paint job', as I believe you say, will be needed however." Added Liara as she seemed concerned over the obvious Cerberus affiliation of the armor.
"This is something I agree with your asari companion commander. I will also need assistance in thoroughly going through every bit of this equipment before clearing it for use. I do not trust Cerberus to not have installed various annoyances into any of this." I said with a nod towards the blue alien.
"That can certainly be arranged. Just don't connect any of it to anything important and I'll have our tech guys and gals help you out with that." Shepard responded in agreement over my cautious approach to the technology of a group as infamous as Cerberus.
"Tali is going to have the time of her life going through this stuff." The turian chuckled as he seemed to fondly imagine someone named Tali.
"Oh she's going to be absolutely giddy." Agreed Shepard with a fond smile as well.
"Tali?" I simply asked out of curiosity.
"Oh, Tali is a Quarian on my crew. She loves everything high tech, so that stuff is going to make her energized for a week." Answered Shepard as she clarified my query.
"Should probably introduce myself too since you've been roped into the madness that is this crew. Garrus Vakarian, ex C-Sec officer, marksman extraordinaire and handsomest member of the Normandy." The turian said in a lighthearted manner, but I could sense wariness when it came to me.
Completely understandable too. I was supposed to be indoctrinated. Not having any doubts about my allegiances would be a foolish thing.
"I am Liara T'soni, Prothean expert and biotic adept. It is a pleasure to welcome you Neo." The Asari politely as she tried to calm the nervousness she felt around me.
"It is... nice to meet you both as well. I hope to learn much from you both on this mission." I responded respectfully.
"Learn from us?" Liara asked in confusion.
"Yes. I have knowledge of many things, but it is... artificial, hollow. Without experience, without doing what I was taught, I do not feel like it is my knowledge. Hence I hope to learn and make everything my own." I explained as best I could to her.
"Well, let's hope I won't have to teach you how to shoot a gun from scratch. Anyone else would teach you wrong and I have other things to do." Quipped Garrus with the turian equivalent to a smirk.
"I simply need to properly develop the muscle memory. One of my first priorities alongside checking my equipment." I replied as I looked through the weapons available in the first locker.
'Explosives, Assault riffles, Snipers, Shotguns, Pistols. Nothing particularly impressive, but everything is reliable. I have no doubt the commander can provide similar quality gear without the risk of Cerberus doing something to it.' I thought as I moved on to the second locker.
In this one however, was some interesting gear.
'M-22 Eviscerator. This shotgun actually fires serrated metal wedges designed to fly aerodynamically. This dramatically improves its armor-piercing capabilities, and its tight grouping helps wound ballistics at longer ranges than standard shotguns. This design also violates several intergalactic weapons treaties, so the M-22 is not distributed to militaries. I like.
M-98 Widow. This anti-material rifle would make it difficult to use for normal people, meaning their arms would shatter, but it is absolutely perfect for me. Accurate, powerful and can shatter military grade kinetic barriers like glass.
M-96 Mattock. Although only semi-automatic, the fact that this assault riffle has the power of a sniper behind it makes it ideal for someone like me who can easily handle the recoil.
And finally, a M-358 Talon. A heavy pistol which fires heavy-gauge shotgun pellets, it delivers massive trauma to unarmored targets. Although a it is a Cerberus favorite, I cannot fault them for this choice.' So with my new gear equipped, my shotgun and sniper folded and placed on the magnetic strip on my shoulder blade and lower back, with my heavy pistol on my left hip and rifle in my hand, I was ready to go.
"You sure you can handle all that? I heard that rifle on your back breaks most humans." Commented Garrus as he looked appreciatively at the rest of my gear.
"Perfect for me. My body can more than handle its ... kick." I replied with a very small and excited smile behind my helmet.
"Just make sure you check them over on the ship." The commander said.
"Yes ma'am." I responded easily as that was the plan anyway.
"He might just make Rex and Ashley happy with those. It's like we're bringing gifts at this point." Garrus commented as he named more crew members.
"That will be interesting to see." Shepard said with a smile on her face. "So let's go see them then. We're done here anyway and I need to report to Admiral Hackett."
"Aye aye. I could use a break after this one." The turian said with a bit of a sigh.
"I believe a drink would be welcomed." Liara added as she herself seemed a bit tired as well.
It was not physical weariness, but mental. I could feel the strain being here had on their emotions. But Shepard could conceal it much better than them, something to keep not of just in case.
But just like that I had my freedom. And with that freedom I joined a mission to help the entire galaxy.
I am not sure many would chose to do so, but it is a purpose. Something I sorely lacked.
I truly hope I can find my path in life through this, but this feeling inside is telling me I might find more. Interesting.
First time I'm writing anything sci-fi or Mass effect related. I just read a bunch of mass effect stuff and the idea jumped into my head.
Anyway, I hope I didn't do too badly with it so far.
Didn't want to start off guns blazing immediately and needed a way to create the character I had imagined for this story.
I know I could have made my MC a normal person struggling to make it through everything, but that just wasn't fun for me. I wanted Shepard to have a monster in human skin to help her through all the close calls with death, all the pain, the dangers and galaxy threatening perils. Someone who could actually change things because he is better than others.
As for the name, I'm not sure if I'll keep it the entire way yet, so I am open to suggestions on that.
Anyway, this was the first and very long chapter of Mass Effect: Project Hybrid, hope you all liked it.