'It would appear humanity has put a substantial amount of effort into building my new commander's ship.
It is impressive.
I wonder what makes this new model special and how it works.' I thought as I looked upon the form of the SSV Normandy.
"Impressive isn't she?" Jane Shepard asked as she gazed at her ship fondly.
"That it is. I am... looking forward to learning about this new ship. The experience should prove to be illuminating." I answered as I looked at the arguably normal human female.
She was shorter than me at 5'10, her sclera was white, her musculature was trained but not enhanced, and she seemed a lot more expressive than myself.
'It would seem I must make some aesthetic adjustments and find a way to express myself better.
I remember the psychology lessons explaining how facial expressions served to help humans connect better, but I do not express myself like that. Another objective to train.' I thought as i apparently kept my gaze on the red headed woman.
"Neo? Is there something wrong?" She asked as she looked up to me with her bright green eyes.
"Nothing commander. I was just observing the differences between myself and another human." I truthfully answered.
"Weren't there only humans in those labs? Surely you've seen them before." Shepard replied as she seemed to doubt my answer slightly.
"I could never see their faces clearly. Always covered, always masked, always blurred through the tanks fluids. I could only glimpse at partial reveals of what a human should look like.
Even then, your face intrigues me. Their complexions are poorer, their eyes less captivating, your hair seems to draw the eyes and the air around you speaks of safety and trustworthiness.
It makes me wonder if this phenomenon is unique to you or if it is a part of humanity those monsters had lost." I answered as I explained my reasoning behind my observation of her.
I am not sure how the commander took my answer. She seemed to be off because she keeps blinking, a sign of shock or surprise, her mouth was slightly parted, an indication of speechlessness, and it seemed like she was experiencing an increase in body heat.
"I apologize if I have over stepped my bounds by performing such observations commander. If it is something you are adverse to, I shall attempt to cease immediately." I decided to say since I did not wish to jeopardize my place on board her crew.
'The psychology lessons taught me that females might have illogical reactions and that apologizing quickly should quell potential dangers.' I thought as I waited and maintained my composure.
"No, no, I didn't take it badly. I was just surprised Neo. I didn't know I caught your interest like that. I thought you were more interested in weapons and tech than people." She quickly explained as she seemed to regain her usual composure.
"It is understandable to think so from our interactions so far, but I do also have an interest in the races of the galaxy as well. I am supposed to be human, but many others are part of me, hence I am curious and compare myself to others in order to understand how I am different or similar. Thus I can understand where I stand in this universe." I explained openly to her since she already knew about me and had the reports and data, so explaining my mentality was of little consequence.
"I guess that's fair coming from someone in your position. Just make sure to explain what you're doing if you start staring at the crew. Wouldn't want them to take it wrongly." She advised rather understandingly.
"A fair point Commander. The feeling of being observed tends not to be pleasant for most species." I acknowledged as I changed a few of my plans to learn.
"Good, now let's get you aboard and all sorted out. After that we'll go for a supply run and continue with the mission." She said with a pat on my shoulder.
I was not sure what the pat signified, but I followed behind her as we entered the ramp up to the ships storage area.
What greeted me was a large area filled with everything the Normandy would need. Various supply crates for food, drinks and miscellaneous needs, parts for emergency repairs, weapons for the crew, a M35 Mako parked and ready for use and a shuttle for when landing is required but neither the Mako nor the Normandy can perform it.
I also noted a few other alien species welcoming the Commander and her team, as well as a some human alliance military members.
'I do believe I spotted a krogan and quarian. The Quarian must be the one they referred to as Tali.' I thought as I approached.
My presence seemed to not be particularly welcomed as I felt immediate hostility from some present. With the krogan even raising his weapon at me.
"What's a Cerberus goon doing here Shepard?" The large and heavily armed alien asked as he growled aggressively.
He was larger than the lessons indicated the average krogan was, which meant he was stronger and would have a higher position in their society. He sported heavy armor which was red in color to match the red coloration of his head plate. The fact that something actually managed to leave a scar on the large krogan's face was surprising to see as what seemed like claw marks marked the left side of his face. And that very large alien was ready to attack me at any moment.
'I have fought many in my lessons, but the presence this one gave off was much more intense than I would have thought. No wonder those scientists stressed the importance of krogan DNA to make their soldiers.' I analyzed as like many things, this was a learning experience. 'I wonder if he would be willing to help me test my physical limits. The other feel too... fragile.'
"Settle down Wrex. He's not Cerberus. His name is Neo and he's a merc that helped us take down this place. His armor got busted to kingdom come, so he took this advanced gear Cerberus generously donated. We were gonna customize it and he agreed to help us take down Saren." Jane Shepard hurriedly explained as she de-escalated the situation. "That means he's going to be with us for while, so try to play nice."
A rather impressive feat to calmly achieve when standing in front of a large and armed krogan.
Her words were apparently received by those present as I heard a few weapons being put away and the hostility I had felt shifted to curiosity.
"Hmph. At least he looks tougher than Vakarian." The krogan I can now identify as Wrex grunted as he lowered his weapon.
"At least I can actually hit my targets instead of shooting enough rounds and hoping for the best." Shot back Garrus as it seems both had their own issues with one another.
While the two started to go at it and the commander sighed whilst massaging her forehead at the two, a different human female approached me with at least positive feelings.
She was obviously a soldier going by her walk, attire and the fact that she was one of the ones to instinctively raise her weapon at me earlier. This one had dark brown hair tied up in a tight bun, brown eyes and skin darker than Shepard's but lighter than my own. She wore the standard Alliance Navy outfit of navy blue shirt and pants with a pair of combat boots, and a standard issue Alliance pistol at her waist. Her appearance was new, a bit younger than Shepard and lacking the same feeling of strength the commander could exude, with some aggressive traits detected, but she was at least welcoming at the moment.
"Hey there, I'm Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams, good to have you aboard Neo." She said with a polite smile and holding her hand out for a shake.
With the same act with Shepard still fresh, I did my best to adjust my grip as to not harm her as I grasp her hand.
"Thank you Gunnery Chief. I hope my presence can be beneficial to the mission." I replied as I let go of her hand with success seeing as she wasn't visibly feeling any pain.
"No need to be so up tight. We have Alenko for that. You can just call me Ashley since you aren't part of the Alliance." She said with a smirk on her face, most likely due to something I was not in the know about.
"Understood Ashley. But might I inquire as to who this Alenko is?" I asked since knowing the crew sooner was better.
"Ah. You see that guy over there with the short black hair, wide jaw, butt chin and a rod up his ass? That's Staff Lieutenant Kaiden Alenko. Kinda of a hard ass and a stickler for rank, but he's good to have on the field." She said to me as she introduced the man who seemed to be coming our way.
"Talking about me already Ash?" The man said as he looked at the woman like a disapproving elder.
'I can feel pain from him. His mind is torn. An obsolete biotic generation. Poor man.' I thought as I was momentarily distracted from the two bickering.
"Anyway, like you were probably told, I'm Staff Lieutenant Kaiden Alenko and since you're going to be joining us on ops, I'll be the guy in charge of making sure you're prepped for it." He straightforwardly said as he introduced himself. "Now, the commander told me you want to check over your gear for any kind of Cerberus bugs?"
"Yes Lieutenant. My weapons need a proper check, but this armor is too advanced for a standard check hence the commander suggested involving the 'tech guys and gals', with a mention of a Quarian named Tali." I replied as I readied myself to hand my weapons over. "M-96 Mattock, M-22 Eviscerator, M-98 Widow, and M-358 Talon."
After I handed everything to the Lieutenant he looked a bit awkward holding the small pile in his arms.
impressed whistle*"Well you certainly came prepared." Commented Ashley from the side. "Pretty sure one of those isn't strictly legal and the sniper shouldn't even be humanly possible to use."
"It is only illegal for military wide use and I received the proper enhancement to wield the Widow." I replied to the impressed woman.
"Anything else then? Some explosives? Pocket rocket launcher perhaps?" Alenko half-jokingly asked as he balanced all my dangerous gear.
"That's is all Lieutenant. Anything else will be looked over by the tech experts." I answered simply.
This seemed to satisfy the man as he left us with a nod.
"So what else you got that needs the eggheads to look over beside that spiffy armor?" Ashley curiously asked after his departure.
"Advanced looking Omni-tool and biotic amp. I do not wish to use something in combat only for it to betray me in a moment of need, and the thought of implanting something Cerberus made into my head without properly checking it is not a reassuring one." I answered since it wasn't a secret.
"Wait, you're biotic?" She questioned as she understood the implications of using a biotic amp.
"Yes. I am also adept in technology and firearms. I have tried to be ready for any situation." I said to her.
"Uh. We have a good number of biotics it seems. First the commander and Kaiden. Then we got Liara and our lumbering krogan. And now you. At least we got it covered." She commented as she told me a rather surprising bit of information.
"The krogan is biotic? Now that makes for quite the combination." I said as the alien's threat level rose exponentially in my mind.
"Yeah, he's a beast on the battlefield. Says he's here cause he felt like the commander was going to be in a big battle with Saren." Ashley informed me as I nod at the krogan like reason. "Anyway, let's get you to meet some of the crew."
"Before that, I want to bring our new member to see Doctor Chakwas. Don't want some weird bug to be introduced to the crew when a check up could prevent it." Announced Shepard as she approached us.
"Good call skipper. Let me know if I need a trip to the doc too." Ashley said as she walked towards a weapon maintenance area if I recognized the supplies and the workbench.
"I see you're already meeting some of the crew. Seeing Alenko try to balance those guns in his arms was a good show." The commander said with an amused tone.
"I did not mean to cause the Lieutenant any trouble. He had requested the items I wished to submit for inspection and so I submitted them. As for the crew, it will apparently have to wait until I meet this Doctor Chakwas." I responded as it seemed my direct actions might have embarrassed the poor man.
"I'll even introduce you to everyone after we get you out of that Cerberus armor. It'll make things a lot easier and I don't have to make a ship wide announcement about it." The woman said as she grabbed my arm and led me to the elevator at the back of the storage area.
We received a few curious looks from people as we passed, but I felt no negativity from them. I did feel some excitement coming from Wrex the krogan however, not sure what it is for.
The most surprising thing was the speed of the elevator. It was so slow.
I mean, I could understand not wanting to have any supplies in it being rattled, but it was surprising that such a ship had a slow elevator.
"Look, I know. This thing sucks. I get complaints about it all the time. Mostly from Wrex." Jane said as she noticed me looking around and explained as her emotions took a dip.
"I do not pity the burden of command." I simply said as I avoided the topic.
"Anyway, you do understand that I'll need to tell Doctor Chakwas about your enhancements? She won't be able to properly treat you or perform check ups without knowing." The commander informed me as she looked at me with an expression I read as apologetics.
"I understand Commander. But I will have to request for everything to stay off Alliance records. I do not wish for them to know of me." I replied sternly.
"I'm sure the good doctor will understand. She's great and knows when to bend some rules." Shepard said as her emotions told me of the trust she felt towards the doctor.
It was odd that she was going so far for me, a person she had just met, but I felt... grateful for it. Someone helping me also felt good.
Fortunately the elevator reached the intended floor shortly after that little exchange and I was guided to the medical room.
The med room seemed to be fairly standard for a vessel of this size. No overly complicated machines, but there were a few medical beds to the left which served as all purpose scanners, operation table and monitors. There's was a door at the back of the room for supplies, a room I was informed that Liara T'soni had occupied as her quarters/laboratory. And near said door rested the desk of this vessel's medical officier.
"Doctor, I bring you Neo, our newest addition to the team. He has a few special circumstances, but I need you to run a full check up." Shepard said as she walked to a grey haired woman.
Doctor Chakwas was a dignified looking women. She stood shorter than the commander by a few inches, had about ear length grey hair, green eyes and barely looked older than 50. She seemed to have been a military doctor for much of her career going by her demeanor and the fact that she was not being intimidated by my imposing stature at all. And if none of the different aliens present on this ship had any noticeable injuries as they run through the galaxy getting into combat, then it meant that either each of them was capable of treating themselves or she was capable of correctly working with a wide range of xenobiology. I had a feeling it was the latter.
While i was observing the doctor, Shepard had already approached her and was speaking to her about my situation no doubt. She also used her Omni-tool to send some data, most likely my own. And only after a bit more back and forth between the two did Shepard have a satisfied smirk and the doctor sighed in acceptance.
"I'll leave you in her very capable hands. She'll sort you out." The commander said with a grin as she patted my shoulder and walked out of the med room.
As soon as the door closed behind her I could hear a voice from behind me.
"Well don't just stand there. Strip to your undies and lay on the table so I can see what I'm really dealing with." The doctor's accented voice ordered as she continued to read from her tablet.
With no other option, i obeyed the order and began by removing my helmet.
"Where should I put down my gear Doctor?" I asked as I was unsure over if I was to simply pile it up on the floor or not.
"Just put everything on the chair over there. No one will steal it." She offhandedly answered without even looking up from her tablet.
So with the answer giving, I continued to strip until only my underwear remained as ordered.
"I am ready Doctor. Which bed should I use?" I asked, but this time the doctor decided to look up and her eyes widened as she looked at me.
"My goodness. They really went all out on you didn't they? What remarkable musculature. But I wonder what made your hair such a color." She began to say to herself as she hovered around, displaying great curiosity.
I felt nothing negative coming from her. Nothing like the obsession of the scientist. So I simply let her be.
"Right, middle bed. Head on the pillow and try to to move too much." She finally said as I moved to do just that.
Without much in the way of talking, Chakwas activated her medical devices and got to work while I patiently waited using some meditation techniques I had been taught.
The examination lasted no more than 30 minutes. After which I was permitted to dress myself so we could discuss the results with some decency.
However used to the human body she was, even the doctor felt it was a bit much to discuss her findings when the patient was in his underwear and he didn't have to be. It didn't take long to re-equip my new armor, but I kept my helmet off for the conversation. She had already seen my obvious differences anyway.
"Alright Neo. I've looked over the data the commander brought back on you. What do you know about all of it?" She questioned, which surprised me due to my expectations being subverted.
"As far as I know, they were trying to create a line of super soldiers by adding the DNA of aliens species deemed beneficial. They then wanted to clone said super soldiers to create an unstoppable army to take humanity to the peak of the galaxy." I answered truthfully since that is about all I've been able to learn.
Without ever seeing the data, any other knowledge over what was done during the project was only guessing.
"That is correct." Replied the Doctor as she moved forward. "Now do you know what species were integrated into you?"
"From my knowledge and deductions: Asari, Krogan, Salarian, Vorcha and Turian. I know there are more, but i am not sure which they were." I replied honestly.
"All correct. But you were also given Quarian, Drell, Elcor and an unknown DNA." Chakwas added as she illuminated me on some of the sources for a few abilities I was never sure about.
"An unknown DNA?" I questioned this time as that sounded problematic.
"Not even those working on the project knew what it was. My guess is that only this Illusive Man knew where it came from." She answered with a sigh as she most likely felt this might be a future annoyance as well. "Well, let's move on to what I found from both your data and this check up shall we?
First, while you appear human outwardly, your insides are actually closer to that of a krogan's. You seem to possess multiple back up organs including a second heart and an extra pair of lungs. You also have a slightly modified secondary nervous system which induces extreme calm and focus instead of a human version of a krogan's blood rage. Thank god for that." The last comment I agreed with, becoming a berserker was not an appealing thought to me.
"Next is that your bones have been vastly strengthened compared to human standards. I am not even sure if you being hit by a sky car would break you bones at this point. This is the result of them being fortified by the Elcor and Krogan DNA working in conjunction. And as a bonus, your neck and skull are particularly reinforced to a level where I believe you could out headbutt a krogan. But do not come to me should you find yourself concussed over trying that out with Wrex." Right, Krogans headbutt each other in combat or shows of dominance. No immediate desires to follow along with that.
"Following the bones are your muscles. The biggest influence on your muscles was the Elcor DNA, making your muscles incredibly dense and powerful. Then they added Krogan here as well to increase your raw power and endurance, following that up with Drell DNA for you to maintain muscular elasticity and suppleness. You are at the same time a walking wall of muscle capable of stopping even some assault rifles from truly harming you and someone who could probably do some gymnastics.
Covering all that up is your skin, something that ruined a few of my needles until I brought out the ones for Krogans and Turians, which alongside Drell is actually what influenced it. Your skin has been toughened to be resistant to blunt forces, stabs, cuts, and pretty much all smaller scale guns. You are also very well protected against strong UV lights, radiation, heat and cold. Your tanned appearance is actually a result of the Drell DNA helping you keep a human appearance as it blended with your base DNA and the Turian one. The Drell influence as also seemed to have given you the ability to secrete a mild venom or psychedelic substance depending on your choice, something even they could not do. You'll be the life of the party with that last one I'm sure.
Moving along are your regenerative abilities. This one was even more of a surprise, mostly because by current estimates you are almost guaranteed to live until you are at least 500 years old. The only thing to fear would be if you were spaced or turned into a smear or ash. Bullet wounds will heal in a matter of hours at worst, minutes at best if no major organ is damaged. Burns or shocks will start to fade as soon as you stop being affected by them. And the most ridiculous part is that your resistance to any of it will improve as you get injured thanks to the ridiculous combination of Krogan regenerative abilities and Vorcha adaptability. Please don't start shooting yourself to become bullet proof." Although that would be efficient, harming myself in such a way is wholly unappealing.
"And now for your brain. This is where pretty much all the uses of Asari, Salarian, Quarian and the unknown DNA were added. This mix as resulted in an incredibly strengthened learning ability and synaptic activity, showing you've obtained an even better memory than Salarians. Your reflexes and thought process have been pushed far beyond human, which makes me wonder how you are so well timed with the rest of us. The part responsible for your biotics has developed in a way I've never seen before, but from all accounts i can expect your biotics to be ridiculous like the rest of you. And you seem to have some interesting brain activity which I can only guess has something to do with our mystery DNA.
As for your unique outer features, they seems to be the result of a few things. Your eyes are as they are because of the mix of Drell, Quarian, Asari and Turian DNA. It increases your visual clarity and even helps you pick up on more subtle physical queues. While I found out that your hair isn't truly hair at all. Each strand is actually an incredibly thin asari tentacle, which explains the blue coloration and your records indicating that you were never given a haircut since it just stopped growing."
That was a lot to take in.
I knew I was strong and durable, but to this degree? No.
I would need to thoroughly train myself to control this strength of mine and master myself. I would accept nothing less.
A request to access knowledge will also have to be put through so that I may capitalize on my other gifts as well, and asking the other biotics on board for ideas on how to train my abilities will also prove fruitful I'm sure.
But before that.
"Doctor, while all of that is... frankly more than I anticipated, there is one ability of mine that appears to be missing from your diagnosis." I informed as it bothered me slightly, but it might be related to my odd brain activity.
"Oh? You have even more ridiculousness stuffed in you? Let's hear it then." She said as she gestured for me to speak.
"I can feel the emotions of others around me. I can tell where they are, what they are feeling, sometimes a bit more such as things like physical pain. And I can also send them some of my feelings. Things such as peace or calm." I explained as best as I could.
"My word. You are an empath. That might explain the oddness in your brain activity." She said mostly to herself before turning to me. "Is this an ability you control or is it always present?"
"I believe it is always there, but unless I focus on it I cannot clearly hear or send out feelings." I answered with only a little thought.
"Fascinating. Would you be open to helping me test your ability at a later date? I believe you could be very helpful." Chakwas asked me to my confusion.
"My ability could help you?" I asked back to receive some form of clarification on the matter.
'I have never been able to help others with this ability, only sooth them. How could I help?' I thought with some curiosity at the possibility of helping others outside of physical protection.
"Yes. You see, this is a Navy Vessel as you have undoubtedly noticed, which means it is filled with soldiers and military personnel. Some of whom suffer from some psychological conditions or need help in that sector. But I can only do so much without understanding what they feel, and I certainly can't do much beyond prescribing some drugs to help them or listening to them. So I wish to ascertain the usefulness of your ability regarding this dilemma of mine. Are you willing to try?" She asked once again after explaining things properly.
The dedication this woman had for her charges impressed me greatly. She would ask for the help of someone she barely knew to cure he patients if they had the ability.
"It would be my... honor to assist a doctor such as yourself if possible." I respectfully answered over her offer.
I truly wish to be able to help others. If I can do so even off the battlefield, I would jump at the chance.
But before anything else could occur, the door suddenly opened to reveal the very same commander who had left before the start of my check up.
"So how is he doc? Any issues?" The red headed woman asked with some expectations in her voice.
sigh*" I don't know how you manage to find this one or convince him to join you, but I doubt there is much in this universe which would ever stop him from being good to go. He'd either shrug it of or heal from it too quickly to care." Chakwas responded as she pointed at me.
"Really? No joke?" The surprised commander asked.
"You'd need to explode him from the inside to have solid chance at outright killing him Shepard. I'm not even sure a bullet through the head would end him." The Doctor seriously answered this time.
"Damn. I guess you really are a super soldier. Well super anyway. I'll find out if you're a soldier soon enough." The commander said to me with both an appreciative gaze and an analytical one.
"I will do my best to impress commander." I told her as she met my gaze to glimpse at my will.
Seemingly satisfied, she gave a pleased nod before displaying something I hadn't noticed before.
"Here. This should fit you. We only had a few uniforms that big, but it should do before you can get some clothes of your own and we can repaint your armor.
I also brought a visor so people won't see your eyes. It's an older model Delumcore Overlay, but it'll do the trick for now. You just have to say that you're eyes are too sensitive and that this thing helps you manage it." Shepard said as she introduced the clothing and headgear.
"Thank you, commander. For your thoughtfulness." I sincerely say as I look at her directly.
"It's no problem Neo. Plus I'm sure Doctor Chakwas will be able to get you some contacts so you don't have to wear this thing all the time." She replied as she attempted to divert my attention away from herself and onto the doctor.
'Did I express my gratitude in an incorrect manner? Or is it because of her increase in body again?' I thought for a moment, but decided to respect her decision and did not push to thank her.
"The commander is right. I should be able to have some cosmetic contact lenses on board the next time we dock somewhere semi-decent." The Doctor said as she confirmed it.
"Then I must express my gratitude to you as well Doctor. Thank you." I responded as I tried to display my sincerity properly.
"Think nothing of it. Now get dressed and get going. I have other things to do besides deal with you all day. But I will contact you later or have someone inform you about those tests I mentioned." She replied, but she had a pleased smile on her face so at least I know I didn't do it wrong.
"Of course Doctor. Thank you for your time and support." I simply said as I began to dress myself with the clothing I was provided.
The shirt was a bit tight as it hugged my body almost completely, but it fit nonetheless and my movements did not tear it, the pants were comfortable enough and did not fall with the belt on, the boots were good as well, and the visor was adjusted to fit on my face for the time being.
The result was that I looked the part of an alliance navy member, but with headgear and a non regulation haircut.
"Looks good on you at least. But that visor is pretty distracting. Good thing it's only temporary and you won't have to wear it during missions." Commented Shepard with an expression I believe means self-congratulatory. "Now come on, we'll drop off your armor and I can introduce you to some of the crew before it's chow time."
What came next was slightly repetitive as the commander introduced me to some key figures amongst the crew. Chief Navigator Presley being the most important as the executive officer, meaning when Jane Shepard wasn't aboard the ship he was in charge. He was an older balding man with gray hair, brown eyes, a short beard growing near his jaw and an equally short mustache. He did not give me any sort of special reaction, but seemed like a... reliable man.
The second was the chief helmsman, flight lieutenant Jeff Moreau, or 'Joker'. I was told his nickname stuck because of his sarcastic remarks and sense of humor, but his emotions felt more complicated. Unlike most crew members I had seen, Jeff wore an alliance cap and also grew out his facial hair, with some sort of pride apparently. But although his skills were more than spoken for, he was a fragile man and I could feel a flash of envy as he gave me a once over. But this feeling was squashed by his pride. He interested me more than most others aboard so far.
The other humans so far have been... bland to me after meeting Shepard. They do not seem as interesting to me and so far the only exceptions have been our pilot, Executive Officer, Ashley and Kaiden. The rest feel inconsequential to me for some reason. Something to understand later.
Meeting the final members of Shepard's personal team as been far more interesting overall.
The Quarian Tali, who's full name I learnt was Tali'Zorah Nar Rayya, was quite young to be involved in such mission and for her species in general. Barely an adult by their cultural standards as she was currently undertaking her Pilgrimage. Her environmental suit was comprised of mainly purple coloring with Quarian patterns decorating the hood and waist area. And although she was nervous about meeting me, it was based on a fear of rejection due to her people's negative stereotypes, but talking about technology related topics and the 'goodies' I had brought as Shepard phrased it, relaxed her greatly and I was impressed by her knowledge and ideas on the matter. She felt like a nice person and I looked forward to working and learning with her.
We agreed to start working on my armor tonight even. Her enthusiasm was... endearing.
I met Lt. Greg Adams, the chief engineer of this ship at the same time as Tali'Zorah. He was a calm and steady man, experienced in his craft and rather progressive on his views of other species for an alliance member. He had short buzzed dark hair, dark green eyes and was starting to develop some wrinkles due to his age. A good man from both Shepard's and Tali'Zorah's accounts, one whom I believe would prove beneficial to learn from if possible.
And last on the list was Urdbot Wrex, the large red biotic krogan.
"Saved the best for last Shepard?" The beast of the krogan asked with a smirk.
"Just making sure he can actually meet the others before you try to fight him. I saw the look you gave Neo earlier." The commander replied as she gave him a light glare.
Haha! Guilty." He said heartily before turning his gaze to me. "So tank bred, you want to have a little brawl?
Jane stiffened from that sentence.
"It would seem krogan senses are better than I believed." I replied calmly.
If I was being honest, i did not believe the krogan cared much. His feelings were provocative but not hostile. He cared not about me, only craved a challenge.
"Yeah, you smell too fresh. Nothing even close to a real mercenary. No battlefield or blood, more like one of those salarian doctors." Wrex explained with a prideful smirk. "Or like a strong whelp."
"I'd like for you to keep the tank bred thing to yourself Wrex. Neo deserves a chance to live his life." Shepard said seriously.
"Yeah Yeah. Doesn't matter to me." He dismissively said with a wave of his hand. "But, I want to have a go at the whelp."
""No way/I agree."" Jane and I said at the same time which made her look at me in surprise, then dismay, finally settling for a glare.
"Neo, are you crazy? Even I know better and I fight krogans almost every other day of the week at this point." She heatedly asked me, but I felt concern instead of anger.
"Commander, I need to test myself and the others so far have all felt too... fragile to do so. He is willing and I wish to fight him as well." I responded in an effort to not be seen as insane.
"The kid's got good instinct at least. You know it too Shepard, he's too dangerous for any of you squishier types. When no one has guns to make things fairer anyway." Wrex added as he supported me.
"And without being able to push myself, we will not know what I am truly capable of until a moment of crisis. This seems like a much better way of understanding some of what I can offer. The worst that happens is one of us visiting Doctor Chakwas should we fight." I rationally explained further in my bid to convince the woman.
"You've confidence in yourself if you think I have a chance at having to see her." The krogan commented at with some heightening of his excitement.
"A simple acknowledgement of possibilities. The good doctor declared me 'a krogan in human form' for a reason after all." I calmly responded as I readied myself for any sudden attack should the alien lose himself in his desire.
"Alright enough!" The commander authoritatively ordered as her biotics flared. "You two are not fighting without me being able to guarantee no one gets hurt or you two accidentally break something on my ship.
sigh* I'll organize it since I can see the both of you are dead set on this, but it's going to be on my terms. Go it?"
""Yes ma'am"" we both subconsciously answered at her display of authority and just not finding this worth disagreeing with her for.
"Good. Now since Wrex is so excited to get to know you, he can show you the mess hall." Jane said with a huff as she turned around and marched away, I could feel her frustration and worry as she left.
"Looks like we'll get to fight later kid." Wrex said as he roughly patted my shoulder. "It's going to be a good one. None of these other Alliance guys can even make me flinch, so I've been bored when I'm stuck onboard lately."
"I look forward to our spar as well. But I would like to stress the matter of not wanting to reveal my true origins. I have only just received my freedom, being hunted down for what Cerberus has done to me is unwanted." I said to the large red battle master.
"Like i said, not a big deal. Just give me a good time and I won't care if they somehow made you come out of a hanar." He jokingly replied with a smirk as he began to walk towards the elevator. "Now let's get some grub. It's shit, but at least it'll fill you."
"Not the best recommendation for my first actual meal, but it is not like I'll have anything to compare it to." I shot back thinking of this gap in my lessons.
'I do know how to obtain my necessary nutrition, but food seems to be a blank area of my knowledge. I wonder if I could learn to cook from someone?' I thought to myself as I pieced whatever knowledge I had regarding food in my mind. 'Yes, learning this craft will carry almost exclusively beneficial results. I will add it to my list.'
What followed was some new discoveries about myself during dinner.
It would seem that I would need to eat about as much as an actual krogan, but I unfortunately did not possess the water and nutrient storing hump they did, making me costlier to maintain. A minor demerit to my abilities.
Although I did find out over the next few days that without any kind of truly strenuous physical activity, I did not need to consume anything else and did not feel any sort of hunger or thirst. What I lacked in storage, my body made up in efficiency. Truly a marvel this body of mine.
I brought this up to Doctor Chakwas and after some testing, we calculated that with proper planing I could operate continuously for about a week when outside combat and about three days of nonstop fighting before I begin to have decreases in performance. This is all theoretical mind you, but it is good to at least have some guesses on the matter. Because of my bodies adaptability this could change however, so we agreed that I would do my best to keep track of any changes just in case it starts to affect me in a negative manner.
Back to the present however, I noticed that the commander had not joined us to eat. In fact, the majority of her ground team did not join in.
Wrex came today because of me and his need to 'fill up a bit', I could see Ashley at another table as she happily talked to other alliance members, and Liara sat at a table covered with various data pads and notes on her own.
"Why are the rest of the ground team and the commander not here?" I asked Wrex out of curiosity.
"Well, Vakarian and the Quarian kid can't eat any of this slop without it either pass right through them or it killing them. My money's on it killing the Quarian.
That human biotic, Alenko, well he just doesn't do well with crowds. And as for Shepard, that's because none of these guys have the quads to actually talk around her, much less relax, so she eats in her cabin." He answered without a care at the look he got for insulting some of the crew.
"I forgot about Quarian and Turian biology. Seeing as they are the only two dextro-protein based individuals on this ship, it makes sense that they might either later. But I do feel some... pity for the commander." I commented in enlightenment.
"Meh, she's a big girl. This kind of thing won't bother her." The krogan dismissively responded, but it bothered me for some reason.
With that thought at the back of my mind, I continued to eat until I had my fill. The nutritional rations provided were not pleasant to eat, but I felt my stomach fill itself for the first time, a pleasant sensation over being fed intravenously.
Wrex had actually finished eating some time ago and decided to head back to his area of the ship for the evening. But as I was finishing my meal, I noticed Tali'Zorah and Garrus coming in for theirs.
"Oh, Neo. Are you done with your introductions yet? I am looking forward to seeing what Cerberus tech can do without it trying to kill me." The excited Quarian said to me.
"I believe I am. The commander left after introducing me to Wrex, making me free. I hope you haven't started without me down there." I answered with the small trace of a smile at her enthusiasm.
"Nah. She's held herself back out of respect that it is your stuff, but I don't think that'll last long." Commented Garrus with a teasing look at Tali'Zorah.
"Garrus, you didn't have to tell him that!" Complained the young woman.
"It is alright Tali'Zorah. I am looking forward to working on what I brought in as well." I calmly informed her to assuage her embarrassment.
"Ah, yes. Me too. Just let me get this out of the way and we can start." Tali said as she immediately began to consume a sort of paste developed so Quarians could eat without taking their suits off.
'The lessons told me of Quarian limitations, but having to live as they do does not sound... fulfilling. I wonder if anything could be done to improve their lifestyle?' I momentarily thought as a new idea to look into was introduced.
It would certainly not be something I could work on anytime soon, but it was something beneficial to an entire race, making it a good thing to look into for me.
"Alright let's go!" Tali'Zorah suddenly declared as she stood up.
"Understood." I simply replied with a small smile at her excitement.
"Try not to blow anything up somehow." Garrus commented with a Turian smile on his face.
"Bosh'tet!" She simply called out to him without malice as I followed her to the elevator.
I was starting to understand why Wrex was so annoyed with it, but it was manageable.
As soon as we reached the hold Tali'Zorah excitedly dragged me to where they had setup my armor for its check, with the omni-tool and biotic amp.
We would begin with the armor since it was what I would need the most at the moment.
This is how we began the next few hours as Tali excitedly scanned and probed the suit, whilst I manned the analysis computer and went through the suits codes. I had received training and knew full well how Cerberus programs worked, but even then I frequently asked for Tali's opinions and thoughts on various pieces.
I found our time working... pleasant. With myself learning much from the Quarian as she had a more unorthodox view of things than my very structured thought process.
"I can't believe they managed to integrate so much into the helmet's display systems. I have to find a way to integrate the night vision into my own systems." She said in an animated manner.
"Don't Quarians already see more than other races already?" I questioned as I thought they didn't actually need something like this.
"Yes, we do see deeper into ultraviolet lights than others, but that doesn't help much when there are no lights at all." She countered without looking away from her Omni-tool.
"A fair point. But is any of this compatible with your suit systems? Cerberus tech is pretty human centric." I followed up as I typed away at my terminal, carefully combing for any sort of malware.
"Yes and no. I can't just plug this code in, but after some modification and buying a few components to make a compatible night vision sensor for my suit, it should be good to go." She explained as she no doubt already developed an idea of how to achieve this.
"If possible I would like to witness this process." I said to her as I began removing yet another annoyance in the suit's system.
"I'd love to have you helping. You're a lot better than I thought you'd be at this Neo. And you learn so fast that you never repeat your mistakes too! I thought you'd be more like those other large humans who liked to bully people. Not that you've done anything like like that." Tali hurriedly said as she began slightly panicking at the end, "oh Keelah, why can't I say it right?"
"It is alright Tali'Zorah. I understand that my stature can be intimidating. I thank you for the complement and find that you have been a good teacher so far. It as been quite pleasant spending this time with you." I calmly said to her as I sent some thoughts of peace to the panicked young woman.
"Really? You liked spending time with me?" She asked in surprise. "But most humans beside Chief Engineer Adams barely want to talk to me."
"That is unfortunate for them then. I personally find you a delightful young woman as well as a font of knowledge and insights." I truthfully replied as this is what I've felt about the young Quarian during the last few hours spending time with her.
"Oh, um, thank you Neo." Tali replied as I felt a myriad of emotions such as happiness, relief, embarrassment, shock, etc. It was a lot to feel and it gave me some understanding as to why the psychology lessons stated that females generally experience emotions more, whichever species it might be.
"It is simply my honest opinion." I said as I returned to my work.
After a few moments Tali joined me, but she seemed a bit more quiet than before which mildly confused me. I had thought she felt good from what I had said, but this is behavior was described for someone who was upset. She did not stop answering my questions or clearing up my doubts however, hence I simply continued working.
Time passed and I emerged from a particularly focused trance of malware destruction to find Tali asleep over the armor as she sat on a small stool. Looking up to see that according to the ship's time it was 3am, it made sense that she would be tired after she had worked so so long. No matter how enthusiastic one is, rest is still necessary.
Knowing that Tali'Zorah had her quarters set up in the engine room itself, something she requested due to the long term presence of the sounds of engines aboard the Quarian Flotilla she grew up with being reassuring, I did my best to gently pick up the young woman and carried her to her bed.
I was not surprised to find many broken pieces of technology, spaceship parts, VI interfaces and more surrounding her bed. She told me of her habit of fixing or playing with technology. It is also in Quarian nature to fix instead of replace due to the limited ressources aboard their ships.
Luckily I managed to successfully deposit her in her bed, cover her with a blanket and leave without accidentally activating anything. But now I found myself in a dilemma I did not think about, not knowing where my own quarters would be.
I do not remember the commander telling me about anywhere, Wrex made no mention of it either and I have been so engaged in my work that most of those who could help me are now sleeping.
"I guess I'll use the chair I was using earlier. I just need to lean it against a wall and it will do for tonight." I said to myself with some self-admonishment.
It is not like I need to actually rest, or would feel any sort of hot or cold, but I wish to be able to experience some minimal forms of comfort and one should rest as much as allowed when not in combat. So although not ideal, my quarters can wait until morning.
"I must say that it has been an interesting first day in this galaxy. I look what comes next." I said aloud as I settled myself in for some sleep.
It did not take long to let myself drift away.
This chapter was pretty much the meeting of the crew and setting up how relationships would develop between Neo and the others.
My thoughts about it are for Wrex to pretty much treat him like a Krogan and for Tali to actually hit it off with Neo, making a friend with the same interests.
And I wanted to get his specs out of the way.
Now before anyone bitches or complains about his opness, you have to remember that this is only in ground combat. Against soldiers, mechs or aliens he will be a dominating force, but that's not all that battles are in this universe. We have heavy artillery, those Geth Armature and Colossus, airships, spaceships and a bunch of stuff that hits a lot harder than a ground unit could, meaning they are capable of killing Neo. And my last point is that the actual bosses of this reality are enormous living spaceships, not exactly something you can go man to man against.
So yes Neo will be pretty boss as a soldier, but his abilities can only take him so far. I made him more to be Shepard's Spear and Shield more than anything.
Now that this is out of the way, I'm hoping I'm doing these characters justice so far. Ashley being welcoming to a 'human', Wrex knowing something was up and just wanting a good fight, a tali being nervous but good girl.
Hope everyone can enjoy.
I think I'll cut back a bit on the word count per chapter so that I can write and not feel daunted by having to create colossi.