This is the final chapter. I mean it; there's nothing more of 'Careful what you wish for' after this one. The next story will take some time to get started on, plus I need to take a break from Mass Effect and some work done on 'Bender of the Thu'um', a story I have neglected for too long.
If you are wondering why this wasn't out yesterday, it's because I spent the weekend in Copenhagen, visiting some friends, including the inspiration for Jennifor Nilsdottir.
So, enjoy the final chapter :)
Arcturus Station, Arcturus Stream
Recreational area 5, civilian government sector.
For many of the people walking around the station, the fact that the geth were semi-friendly now was common knowledge. Still, there was not a head unturned as a green-painted geth walked down the corridors, apparently making conversation with two humans, both clearly marines. There were multiple times where people, mostly humans as Quarians had yet to make up a significant portion of the station's inhabitants, who stopped what they were doing, and simply stared at the sight. Thomas was walking next to Roku and Tequila, enjoying a quiet time on the town, or the station, in this case. Ash had gone shopping, and miraculously spared him the horror he knew it was for a guy to be dragged around while the girlfriend shopped. He was going over everything that had happened in the past few days, as well as the events he feared would soon transpire. There had never been given a time-stamp on the mission where the Collectors shot the Normandy to Hell, so he didn't even know if that part had already changed. The geth were apparently semi-friendly now, so maybe there was no need to go mop up holdouts, which meant no mission to Alchera, and no spacing for John or Jane.
He was so caught up in his thoughts, that Tequila had to tap his shoulder, in order to make him realize that they did indeed, have a person following them.
Not a stalker, but rather, it was a very obvious follower, and a rather young one too.
"Um…hi." A Quarian boy. Thomas guessed he had to be around the human equivalent of six or seven, was standing right in front of them now, somehow having slipped past his notice altogether. Children, they had that gift, he thought. The trio stopped, and was about to respond when a slightly panicked outburst came from behind.
"Jonah! Jonah, will you come back here, right now?" A Quarian woman called, obviously addressing the boy, and from the tone of her voice, it was clear she wasn't comfortable with her child being near a geth.
"Mommy! Mommy look! It's a geth!" The boy yelled back with a voice brimming of enthusiasm and glee. The mother ran up and seemed like she wanted nothing more than to flee with her son, her luminescent eyes shining wide open through the opaque visor. Thomas was just about to speak, before he was once more interrupted, this time by Roku. The aspect kneeled in his body, down before the boy and his mother, pedals moving outwards at a slow pace.
"There is no need for concern, Child and Mother Creator. Peace now exists between geth and Creators, no harm will be done." Thomas' own eyes widened at Roku's pretty much perfect imitation of Legion, therefore a perfect imitation of a semi-sentient geth.
"Mum, the geth can talk! Zen said the geth can't talk, but I totally said they could." The boy started out addressing his mother, and then turned mid-speak to address the group instead, to the obvious discomfort of the mother. Thomas understood why too. Quarians were raised in the belief that geth were all about killing and not about mercy or talking. Children were often open to new input, while adults… they tended to be more conservative.
"Don't worry ma'am." Thomas started; "'Roku' is completely harmless. He's a geth representative, made especially for the purpose of synthetic-organic negotiations."
"It… has a name?" The mother said, aghast from what her voice indicated.
"I am Roku." Roku said, his normal voice gone, replaced by one so similar to Legion's, Thomas had to check if the geth was still green, and not wearing N7-armor; "The geth are pleased that the young generations will live without fear of us. This platform serves as companion and advisor to the SSV Normandy."
"Awesome!" The boy, Jonah, exclaimed, then grabbed Roku's metallic hand; "Dad says geth are runtimes, are you runtimes too?" Roku tilted his head slightly, as if considering the question briefly.
"There are currently two-thousand, one hundred and five active runtimes within this platform. So yes, Creator Jonah, I am runtimes too." Despite the sheer oddity of the situation, Thomas noticed that Tequila shared the same spreading grin he himself was struggling to suppress.
"First time he meets a geth?" Thomas asked the mother, seeing how the woman was still wringing her hands at the closeness of a geth to her son. The way she snapped her attention towards him, betrayed that she was still far from calm.
"First… first time anyone, any… first time, yes. I… forgive me, I just…" The mother stuttered, her gaze constantly shifting back to her son, the boy keeping up a conversation with Roku that, to Thomas, bordered on nerd-speak.
"No need to worry." Tequila said; "I've been around this one for a couple of months now, and he's harmless." Technically, it wasn't a lie, seeing how she had been around Roku for a few months.
"I just… it's hard, getting used to the fact that not all the geth are… set on murder." The mother tried; "A lot of my people have been raised in the belief that geth are evil." She chuckled weakly; "Guess this will take some getting used to, won't it?"
"Probably. So, are you living on this station, or are all Quarians going back to Rannoch now?" There was only curiosity in Tequila's question. Not surprising, seeing as she had never been exposed to the people who saw the Quarians like the rest of the galaxy did.
"I don't know. His father is an engineer, and frankly, there's more jobs for him here than back on the Homeworld. Architects, I imagine, will be more in demand than people who build spaceships."
"Civilian fleet. Dorn's probably going to partake in repairing the liveships, upgrade systems…" The mother sighed with a small amount of happiness audible; "The Alliance just… makes so much possible."
"Yep, that's us. Plenty of resources to share, and you bring in the biggest fleet in the galaxy." Tequila chuckled; "I can't imagine the Council looking forward to the thought of your entire Fleet being upgraded to Alliance standards." The mother scoffed at this;
"Hah. The Council can go to whatever hell they prefer. We migrated space in exile for more than three hundred years. Humans were the first to give a damn, so as far as I'm concerned, the Council can… what's the human expression? Right, they can kiss my ass."
"Mom swears!" Jonah laughed.
"Mothers can swear just fine, Jonah. It's young boys who have to mind their language." The mother admonished, then looked back at the marines; "It's been really… surprisingly good, meeting you. We have to go now, but… thanks, for the talk." She said this to both Thomas, Tequila and Roku. The geth nodded and stood again, towering slightly above the organics.
"I am glad to have assisted in the education of Creator Jonah. We wish you a pleasant day." Roku said, still in his robotic voice, causing Thomas to grin as the boy followed his mother, waving at Roku all the time. When they had rounded a corner and were out of sight, Thomas couldn't suppress his chuckles anymore;
"Gods, Roku. You sounded just like Legion! How the hell did you do that?"
"Remember that I can change my voice. Changing it to that of a geth, is nowhere near a challenge… Still, a sweet child."
"Amazing, really. Quarians in the Alliance… doesn't seem real until one of them comes up and plays pat-a-cake with us." Tequila mused, walking with the two others as they continued down the corridors. At Thomas's look of disbelief, she shrugged; "I've been spending a lot of time going over the galactic codex. Had to spend my free-time somehow, seeing how your buddy Nicolai was laid up in hospital for weeks."
"Right… bet they didn't have anything about Earthbending in that codex." Thomas chuckled; "Maybe your new call sign should be 'Toph Beifong' or 'The Blind Bandit'."
"Still sore?" Roku asked the Service Chief with just a hint of smugness, causing Tequila to chuckle;
"Yeah, are you, Zuko?" She shot back, causing Thomas to frown. Great, compared to Scarface… and he even did have the scars to match. Still, he couldn't help being a little entertained by it. Damn… outsmarted by an earthbender…
"Laugh it up, Corporal. And just so you know, I am not still sore." The Service Chief said, smirking at the Hispanic corporal; "Turns out Ash is very good at massages, and-"
"Hey! Don't want to hear it, okay?" Tequila stopped him; "Just saying, I was pretty damn sore. Wrex is one hell of a trainer. Fuck, he's worse than my old drill sergeant, and I was convinced Lucifer himself had booted the guy from Hell."
"You are both experiencing the strain caused by utilizing Chi. You are not used to it, hence the soreness of muscles." The geth explained. The fact that it was speaking in such an organic, such a living way, would normally make no sense at all.
Roku though, was not a normal geth.
"Yeah, great." Tequila said in a monotone voice, then threw her hands up; "Yay, look at me, the first human earthbender since cartoons made it cool." Thomas shot her a grin;
"Hey come on. I'd love to swap places with you. I'd erect a mountain-range with my face on it."
"The fact that a simple fireball seems to cause you fatigue, would make me doubt you could accomplish such a thing." Roku said, flapping the pedals around his optical lens, almost as if he was smirking.
"Hey, who saved your physical ass from Nazara?" Thomas exclaimed, jabbing a finger at the metallic torso of the construct.
"I believe it was the same person who-" Roku started, then suddenly fell forward, every function of the platform ceasing instantly. There was not even the synthetic wail when a regular geth died, and the marines only realized the aspect had fallen when they heard his body hit the ground.
"What the…" Thomas muttered, staring wide-eyed at the still geth, all lights out.
Roku found himself in darkness.
It was a familiar darkness, though not a darkness he particularly welcomed. It wasn't the void of his own domain, but rather, the formless, color- and lightless void of the place he hated more than Nazara's presence.
The Council of Many
"What the… where… what?" His words, while understandable, were hardly fit for a divine being. Funny, how he now realized that instead of looking at a pair of synthetic hands, it was the hands of the Fire Nation Avatar, Roku, greeting him. Well, one thing going my way so far…
"Roku. You have been summoned here, for the reasons of events to come."The booming voice of one of the aspects and divinities of the Council, Akatosh, said. Great, he was probably still pissed that Roku had yet to make amends for messing of the timeline of Mundus.
"I guessed as much. Does this mean I get my ethereal form back? Being physical sucks, to use the human terms."
"Your current form was not for the reasons of stopping Nazara. You performed well in this goal however, and so did your wielder of Aura." A new voice said.
"Thomas? Yes, he… seems to be learning well. IF I may ask, for what purpose am I here?"
"Your role in this timeline is not yet ended. Nazara was not the leading figure of the rebellion, and as such, your mission is extended, by decree of the Master." Thát, was Yahweh, smug bugger. How on Terra he ever made humanity view him as the divine creator over all, simply blew Roku's mind. He even used the name 'God' as if he had monopoly on the title.
"I am not sure I understand. My mission was to exterminate Nazara, and it has been done. What do you mean by 'not the leading figure'? Nazara was the one spear-heading the rebellion, was she not?"
"Partially, and visibly. However, there was a being behind the actions of Nazara, a foe we have yet to fully understand, let alone grasp the potential of. It is He, who dictated Nazara's actions." A more feminine voice boomed. There were only a few aspects on the Council who chose to view themselves as the mortal figure of feminism, and as such Roku knew the Speaker to be Isis, the aspect of Maternal protection in the eyes of ancient Egyptian humans. And they had the nerve to accuse him of interfering? Who, if he was to ask, was it that taught the Egyptians the Hieroglyphs, a mocking copy of the divine language?
"The one who dictated Nazara? You speak of… Nazara mentioned a 'Harbinger'. The one who directly controls the dead race of the Protheans, the Collectors?" Roku was starting to put two and two together in his mind, open as it was to the Council.
"Harbinger, that is the meaning he seems to have given himself, or itself, as we yet do not know. If he or it dictated Nazara's actions, you will be handling an opponent much more powerful than Nazara."
"You will most likely require aid in this. Or do you still think yourself strong enough to stand alone, even were you ethereal?"
"…No. I do not harbor any illusions that I alone might defeat this Harbinger. Will I be granted help by the Council?"
"You will. However, the help is by decree of the master, as is the requirement for it to be so." Of course, when the Council offered one hand, the other would go for one's wallet. They wanted Roku to do something, or rather, the Master did.
"What is the Master's bidding then, and if carried out, what type of aid might I expect?"
"The aid you will receive shall be that of me, Aspect of Fire." A distinctly gravely, serious voice spoke. It belonged to Athane, Aspect of change and fluidity; "Your charge shall be this, as decreed by the Master: The timeline must no longer be warped by interference. In the physical realm, in the event of Harbinger striking at your companions, Shepard must die."
Roku felt a slight, mortal chill running down his back, had he had one.
"Shepard? But… we have two Shepards now. Which one, and why?"
"Shepard… must die." The Council now repeated in unison, much to the annoyance of Roku. Seeing as it had been him and Thomas, not Jane or John who killed Saren, and Thomas's sister who destroyed Nazara's primary form, he did not understand why it had to be one of the Shepards. Still, he was forced to bow to the will of the Master.
"Then, it shall be so…".
"Roku? Roku, hey, Roku?" Thomas kicked, rather unceremoniously at that, the geth in the torso, hoping for a reaction. To say he was surprised when Roku had suddenly… shut down, he supposed, was a mild understatement. Fuck, he hasn't just died on me, has he?
"This might be bad. Want me to fetch…" Tequila started, then trailed off as she probably realized, like he himself had, that no one really knew how to fix a geth. Plenty of ways to kill one, but no one had ever really cared to learn repairing them. And was Roku even functioning the same as the normal geth?
"Talos…" Thomas groaned, painfully aware that since Roku had seen fit to collapse in the middle of a populated corridor, they were now attracting a small crowd; "Nothing to see here people. Alliance Affairs, move along."
The crowd began to disperse, though slowly, and with a lot of people dragging it out, hoping to see some sort of reaction from the geth. For many, it was the first time they had ever seen a geth. Thomas scoffed at that, thinking they might be more amazed if they knew just what Roku really was. Tequila offered him a questioning glance at his choice of words.
"Always wanted to say that anyway…" He shrugged, and they both turned their attention back to Roku, just as the geth construct started emitting a series of synthetic growls and stutters, alerting the pair to its reawakening; "Fuck, Roku… you gave me a startle there."
"It was… not my intention to do so." The aspect groaned, his voice back to normal; "I… Aquila, will you proceed without us? I need… to… to converse with Thomas under four eyes."
"But… you don't have any eyes." The Corporal protested.
"It is a figure of speech. In private, then." Roku said, sounding like he was… annoyed? Stressed? Tequila scoffed, blowing a few strands of brown hair from her face, then nodded and started walking down the corridors headed for the bars. Roku turned back to Thomas, and gestured for him to follow; "Something… has come up..."
"I figured as much, seeing how you went from annoyingly snarky to just annoyed." Thomas commented, raising a brow as Roku stopped in a corner, somewhat secluded from the rest of the corridor; "So, what's up?"
"Above us is four more decks before the outer plating, then stars and empty void. However, there is a more pressing matter at hand." The robot said, leaning against the wall. Thomas would never get used to that sight.
"Does it have something to do with you going light's out in the middle of a busy street?" Thomas asked, likewise leaning against the wall, eyes following the passersby while waiting for Roku to answer.
"Technically it is a hallway, but yes… I was… contacted, you could say, by the Council."
"Unless you meant those assholes on the Citadel, I have no idea who you are talking about." Thomas said, full attention now turned to the geth; "Also, I thought you were cut off from anything spiritual, what with being material and all."
"I am unable to contact them, however it seems, that they can contact me at their pleasure…" He said, then paused and did a very human-like hand-to-chin, or in this case flashlight, before speaking again; "The Council… how do I explain this to a mortal… imagine a pantheon, with the collective gods of all of mankind in one eternal and infinite room, yet still gathered close enough to converse." Thomas nodded, then spoke;
"You've lost me… but do go on." Roku just groaned at that.
"Now, add the amount of gods and deities from all other races in existence, even those you might consider fictional."
"That's… a big number." Thomas admitted meekly. Roku nodded.
"I should have instructed you in this before we were separated. They are called the Council of Many or just the lower Council. I was on the higher council, so being summoned by the lower Council is… rather humiliating."
"Wait… all gods… so, you met God, the Christian God, up there?" Thomas asked, having lost it at words like: 'infinite' and 'fictional'.
"Yahweh? Yes, and he is still a smug bastard. However, the point of the matter is, I was… given a task. A mission to fulfill." Thomas leaned slightly back, brows furrowing.
"Somehow that doesn't sound like a 'yay for us all' mission…" Especially since Roku sounded so damned distressed about it.
"It is not… pleasant, and I am in doubts as to how I will see it fulfilled." Roku admitted, then looked straight at Thomas, the flashlight somehow staring straight into his soul. Creepy, and a little uncomfortable to say the least.
"Let's hear it."
"At some point, we will inevitably reach Alchera. The Collectors will attack… I have been ordered to make sure one of the Shepards dies…" There was a small tone of pain in the voice of the geth, though Thomas barely heard it. His world froze over the moment he heard the word 'dies'.
There was no way Thomas could just let that happen. Because, if he wasn't going to stop the event that more than anything wiped clean the warning Shepard gave the galaxy, then what was… no, Why was Roku supposed to do that? It made no sense whatsoever, and it was just cruel. Thomas wished he had already told people about the point where the Collectors attacked, and now cursed himself for the fact that he had postponed it for so long, having wanted to avoid the scene he feared would come up. Now, now he wasn't sure what the hell he was supposed to do.
"I do not enjoy it, believe me… but the Master has decreed that the timeline must continue as planned, for us to be aided against the Reapers..." Roku sounded sad, but… fuck 'sad', he's speaking about letting either Jane or John die!
At that moment, Thomas started realizing he stood at a crossroads. If he agreed with what Roku had been ordered to do in order to get some sort of help, then he would be responsible for the death or one of the people he held the most respect for in the galaxy. If Jane died, there was no guarantee she would be brought back, as she hadn't been the one to start out on the hunt, nor being a Spectre. Kaidan would be shattered too, he knew, and he himself would never outlive the guilt if Jane stayed dead.
If John was the one who died… Thomas knew enough about Quarians and their bonds to realize that Tali might just kill herself over it. Quarians had strong bonds, far stronger than what most humans had with their partners. Cerberus had already had their claws in John once, so there was a chance they would want to bring him back from the dead. If so, there was nothing against Thomas freeing John the moment the man was back to life. On the other hand, being an alien, Cerberus might not even bother, even though John was now Alliance. Both options, Jane or John, involved breaking every kind of moral code and promise Thomas had ever held himself to. The gods themselves would abandon him should he do it, but that was not even his greatest concern. The aftermath, as well as being able to hide the secret knowledge both before and after the attack, could quite literally drive him insane.
And if Ashley found out…She would hate me… more than hate, she would find me the most disgusting person in the galaxy. Letting friends die for the sake of some deity's orders… she would recoil from me, hate me… leave me.
If he didn't agree to it, if he kept both Shepards alive, or just tried to do it, he had no idea what would happen. Would Roku carry out his mission anyway? Would he swat Thomas aside and kill one of the Shepards himself? No, no he would not. Insane as it was to even consider, death by the hands of the Collectors would at least serve a purpose. Roku wouldn't do something like that… he wouldn't.
And what if both Shepards survived? What would happen to the galaxy if the Normandy never went down? If both John and Jane survived to tell the tale? The Collectors might never follow the same plans as in the game, or they could attack much earlier. Even then, would that mean he could change things for the better?
Even with the lack of knowledge, the second option, letting the Shepards live, was clearly the better choice.
"I can't let you do it…" Thomas muttered.
"I expected you to refuse… know this, then. If the Master is refused, so will all help we would be given in the endeavor to stop the Reapers. I alone have little hope of winning against the Harbinger, and you would condemn an entire cycle to its death over that of a single person."
"I…I… Dear Gods, are you serious?"
"This is- it's fucking insane!" Thomas exclaimed, burrowing his face in his hands.
"You do not need to act on it. Just… brace for it when the alarms start going off." Roku said, then pushed out from the wall and left Thomas to think.
Zorya, Faia system
Blue Suns HQ
Magnus breathed in the morning air, his watch just about ending as the sun rose over the headquarters. December seemed to be for this part of Zorya, what somewhat like what the arctic experienced, back on Earth.
Earth… strange, to consider he hadn't been back there since leaving it the very first time.
Still, there were good things to be had in the Terminus, even if they were involved with paramilitary organizations. As he took a deep breath, followed by a long, weary yawn, a pair of hands slipped over his shoulders, and down the sides of his armor. Nimble, three-fingered hands bade him to turn around, and he obeyed.
"Morning'" He breathed, smiling to himself as he came face to helmet with the woman he wanted to spend as much of his time with as humanly possible. Tara was dressed in her civilian clothing, only difference from what she had worn on Illium, being the insignias on her shoulder, as well as the symbol of the Blue Suns marked on her chest, right above the heart on the suit.
"Boring watch?" She asked softly, wrapping her arms around his much more masculine and broad form. He chuckled, returning the gesture with arms longer and thicker than hers, reaching to the small of her back.
"It stopped being boring about a few seconds ago." He said, feeling a warm, pleasant sensation wash over him from being so close to her; "Trouble sleeping?"
"Well… Quarians have longer cycles than humans, and we don't need as much sleep as you do and… maybe." She muttered, ending her own rambling before he would start laughing. When he did, it wasn't at her, but rather because he tended to find the habit of blabbering and rambling far too adorable to keep a straight face. For all the shit he had been through over the years, it was only Tara who made him a 'softy'. Normally, he would punch whomever dared calling him that.
"Maybe?" He teased, rubbing her neck through the hood, the realk, as Tali had told him it was called. Tara emitted a sound of pleasure from the gesture, so he didn't see a reason to stop.
"Well… I… ahhhhhh… Ancestors, that is good…" She purred, visibly struggling to stay standing as waves of pleasure washed over her. Magnus smirked, feeling boredom, weariness and trepidation dissipate from his mind, replaced with the simple desire to be close to Tara; "I… never really got used to sleeping outside the fleet."
"Really?" Magnus asked, cocking a brow.
"I knowaaaahhh… know, it is silly, but I grew up, hearing engines hummmmmmmmm mmmmm mmmm…" She slumped against his chest, forcing him to carry her entire, if light, weight.
"Want me to stop?" He asked with a broad grin on his face.
"Stop and I'll shoot you in the foot." Tara mewled into his chest, the sound muffled even though she had the visor between them.
"Noted, ma'am." He grinned again, gently lowering himself down to sit on the same crate he had sat on when he shared the watch with Sidonis those weeks ago, back when the Turian had revealed to Magnus that Tara was in love with him. Tara didn't offer any protests at all as he positioned her on his lap, then continued the neck-rubbing. Bugger take whomever interrupted, seeing how early it was; "So, you were saying?"
"I grew up with engines. If the ship was silent, it meant something was wrong, like the engines had stopped working, or the filtration systems had failed. So, I still have some trouble sleeping, considering how quiet it is…" She muttered into his chest, resting her head below his. For all the weird stuff that had happened to him in his life, Magnus was fairly sure he had never been this much at peace. He just wasn't sure what exactly to say now.
"Is it that bad?" He finally asked, not stopping the gentle massage.
"Not really. I get the sleep I need to function, but… not much more really. It's also because when I lived on the Qwib qwib, there were always ten other people sleeping in the same room. Shared space, you know." She sighed, closing her eyes behind the visor.
"Let me guess, it's because you sleep all alone?" Magnus asked with a hint of a smirk, a smirk he managed to suppress before Tara looked up.
"Hmm… Maybe." She said in a sleepy voice; "I could really fall asleep like this, you know." Magnus chuckled, looking down at the top of her head, tightening the embrace he held her form in gently; "Mmmm…"
"Why do you sleep alone then?" He asked, out of mere curiosity. He didn't even have any second thoughts or hidden agenda behind the question, such as many other men from both races would have for sure. Still, the question made her stiffen a bit.
"I… because, I'm… an officer. I can't be… doing that sort of thing, or, I mean, I don't know if… you would keep me company?" She asked with a nervous voice, one she only used when around him. It was so different from her commanding tone that it often took him by surprise just how different she could be sometimes. Not stopping the gestures of affection on her neck and back, he nodded.
"I would, if you'd allow it. Just keep you company, you know."
"And sleep with me?" She asked shyly, obviously aware of what those words could mean in human terms. They didn't fail to make Magnus appear a rare, blushing red, as he instantly had images flying through his mind of the implications of the less modest interpretation of her words.
"Sleep, as in just sleep?" He asked, knowing that he should probably step lightly. If the way he remembered Tali having reacted to cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations was any indication, Tara could be appalled if he suggested anything more adult. Tara released a sleepy giggle;
"Why, what else could I possibly be meaning?" She asked with a tone he couldn't identify. It was somewhere between tired, happy and… suggestive? No way, Tara didn't know how to be suggestive and seductive… did she? He blew out a sigh, looking down at Tara. Her hands started moving along his neck, caressing his chin and lower face. It sent jolts of pleasure through him at every touch from her gloved fingers, and he could feel a tightening in his pants beneath the uniform.
"What… exactly did you mean then?" He asked, feeling his voice getting a little hoarse. Dammit, he knew she was attractive as hell, she had forms, curves, personality and the mood, but…but… Really, why was he so nervous then? She was just a woman, right? Not even a goddess or anything.
"Sleep with me. Just sleep. Keep me company, okay?" She asked with a drowsy voice, patting him on the chest of his armor. Magnus sighed and pulled her closer into the embrace, leaning back against the wall behind them.
They sat there for the next hours, and while Tara eventually fell asleep, Magnus stayed awake, watching the sunrise, and pondering his new life yet again.
The crew of the BSV Ashanti was gathered up in the hangar, all as one looking expectantly at Tara as she prepared to give them the briefing on their next mission. Magnus in particular longed to have something to do, having been haunted by nightmares twice the last six days. Both had been with the same, repeating event, even with Tara's presence in his daily life.
Jane would emerge, an aspect of guilt, shame, accusation and sadness. She would verbally attack him, plead with him to love her, or accuse him of having deceived her. Each time had ended the same way, with him putting a bullet into her before she vanished, leaving him shaken to the core of his being.
He was only grateful that Sidonis had not returned until the night after his latest nightmare, allowing him to keep it a secret, if it even was so. He couldn't imagine a gunshot had gone unnoticed when people were sleeping right next doors.
They all stood at attention, hands clasped behind straight backs, waiting for their Quarian captain to brief them. On Tara's signal, Velan Harius, the navigator of the Scorpio, drew up a large holographic image from a small device planted on the floor for the occasion.
It looked like a metallic jellyfish. One side was round, rugged and obviously natural, possibly an asteroid. The other side, the underbelly, was made up of countless spires and protruding towers that stuck down in a straight line. Even with the image being colorless and with few details, Magnus recognized the object.
"This, for those of you lucky enough to have never been there, is Omega. It's a large space-station in the Terminus, ruled by Asari pirate Queen, Aria T'loak. Most of the denizens of the station are poor, destitute and malnourished, kept in an oppressive grip by our two major competitors: Eclipse and the Blood Pack.
We ourselves have a cell on Omega, but since the revolution, it has been besieged on all fronts by people wanting to exploit what they see as a time of chaos in our organization. Jentha Haruno, the commanding officer of the men there, has asked for relief in the form of supplies and manpower. That's where we come in. We'll be escorting a freighter with supplies for our colleagues on the station, then deploy ourselves and provide whatever assistance we can." Tara finished.
"Ma'am?" Sidonis was the first to ask. Tara nodded; "Is this an extraction, a full-scale invasion or a reinforcement of our current numbers on the station?"
"For the moment, it is a reinforcement. When we arrive, ultimate command goes to Commander Haruno, who will assign you positions, duties and so forth. Beyond that, plans are still being made."
"Ma'am?" Magnus asked, keeping his tone as professional as he could. When Tara was armored up, professionalism was in charge, not familiarity. Sad, because she did look rather striking in her armor. Her visor was showing the same as the civilian did, for now. When combat ensued, he had seen Tara use some sort of armor to place over her visor, giving her the appearance of one of the Death helmets he had seen marines use in the Alliance.
"Does this mean we won't be taking orders from you then?" If so, it made him slightly pissed. Tara, he trusted. He had no real idea of how skilled a commander Jentha Haruno was, only that she had been Tara's fist real friend outside the fleet.
"You'll still be taking orders from me. I will just be taking orders from Jentha, which means my orders often come from her." She said, then looked around; "Any more questions?"
None raised their hands.
"Good. Prepare your gear and equipment then, we set out in five hours, then rendezvous with the freighter at the Relay, before we go through. Dismissed." Tara said. Magnus nodded, and briefly considered going over to her, then thought better of it and instead went to see Sidonis. Lantar had been oddly and uncharacteristically quiet since he returned from Palavan.
Magnus caught up with him in one of the hallways, both headed for the mess to get something to eat.
"Sidonis?" Magnus called, slowing to a walk just behind the Turian. He didn't respond, so Magnus tried again; "Lantar?"
"Yes, what?" He said, sounding a little annoyed at the prospect of social interactions.
"You've been even less social than me since you came back… wanna talk about it?" Magnus asked, now walking next to his Turian friend as they passed other troopers and ensigns, and just plain simple janitors, techs and assorted non-military personnel. Magnus took note of the fact that there seemed to have been an increase in Quarian members since the last time he walked around here. Wonder why…
"Just… leave it, okay? I lost a good friend, died on the Citadel when Saren attacked."
"The guy you wanted to send a paper on human religions to?" Magnus asked, remembering how Sidonis had inquired to the most odd aspects of human faiths.
"Yes… he served on a human Alliance frigate, the SSV Normandy." Sidonis said. Magnus felt his legs turn to stone as he heard that. Without stopping to consider the fact that his Turian friend knew nothing of his real past, Magnus stared right at Sidonis;
"Who?" He feared for the answer, as all logic dictated it had to be a Turian.
"His name was Garrus… Garrus Vakarian, if you really want to know." Sidonis muttered, seemingly not noticing how Magnus had stopped dead in his tracks, eyes wide and hands trembling.
"Wha… wha… n… how?" Magnus pressed out. This caused the Turian to finally turn and look at him. Lantar's eyes widened a little as he noticed the expression on the face of his human friend. Pale skin, droplets of sweat starting to appear, five-fingered hands shaking as if hit by a disease.
"…Saren killed him. Magnus… are you okay?"
"I… I…" He swallowed. Enough people, meaning one person, already knew of his past, and there was nothing gained by spreading the secret around; "I… was it a good ceremony?"
Lantar nodded, to which Magnus heaved a breath and clenched his fists. Damn! Damn! Damn it all to Hel! One dimension takes me, another takes Garrus!
Who the hell is running this shithole of a universe?!
"Good…" Was all he managed to say. What could he say? 'Are you telling me one of my best friends from the Normandy is dead?', 'why wasn't I invited to the ceremony?' or 'was there a speech about that time on Feros where Garrus shot the ExoGeni foreman in the kneecap?'. There was no way Magnus could say any of those things, and so, he simply remained silent after that.
SSV Normandy, Arcturus Station
Deck 3. Gym, Crew quarters, brig.
Nicolai Tengberg, while not yet fully up for a new mission, which would include undoubtedly a whole lot of jumping, rolling and taking fire, hard regained enough of his former stamina to realize a problem he had, and one he could deal with now.
During his time in the hospital, and as Thomas himself had pointed out, he had lost a lot of muscle mass. What had once been thick muscled arms and a six-pack to boot, was now just fit arms and a thin outline on his stomach. Hence, a solution had been needed… and found, luckily. Ten…Eleven…
He pulled himself up again, breathing hard as he kept doing bench-presses, determined to have something to show in case he ever managed to get into an activity with Teresa that would involve dropping his shirt. Maybe a round of strip-poker? Fifteen…sixteen…
He wasn't just muscle though, and kept his mind focused on things to come. Events, he knew, would soon take place that would no doubt mean a shitstorm of bad luck raining down on them. He didn't know as much about the original timeline as Thomas did, but he did know one thing though.
He knew how the next game started, and hence what would likely happen soon. Twenty…my belly hurts… twenty-one…
The Collectors would be coming for their asses, is what was going to happen soon. He didn't remember what system it was in, but the planet in it, Alchera, was one he remembered quite clearly. Hard not to, really, considering that he had gone all out on DLC and gotten the pack with the Normandy Crash Site. He was not looking forward to that. Twenty-five…
Then there was the issue of just what would happen. If the Collectors attacked, would it be John or Jane who died? He wasn't friends with either of them, but he liked both of them well enough that he didn't want to see one of them spaced, or disintegrated by a Collector-beam if it came to it. What if John was the one who died? Cerberus wasn't going to waste money reviving a Quarian, he was sure. And if Jane died, only a few people even really knew about her. Far as he knew, she didn't have any record, seeing how she wasn't from this dimension, odd as the thought was.
So in either case, chance was both would stay dead. Not exactly a pleasant scenario, and John's death would leave Tali a ruined person, he knew. Funny… Nicolai had once held a massive crush on Tali, and even now he often caught himself looking at her when she wasn't aware. Still, he wasn't intending on getting between them. Thirty-eight…
He then became aware of a person next to him. His first thought, and hope, was that the person was Teresa. The hope that the Hispanic corporal had even come down there to throw herself at him, was dashed as he realized two important things.
First, the person was a man, and it was Thomas.
Second, Thomas didn't look anywhere near wanting to throw himself at anyone, maybe except for Ashley Williams. How the hell he had landed that woman, Nicolai still had some difficulties guessing. Breathing out, he released his legs from the edge of the bench, and shifted his attention to his friend. Yep, those scars would have scared the fuck out of anyone back home. He chuckled to himself.
"Hey there" He said, seeing as Thomas was looking around with obvious unease; "Wanna join me?"
"Not… right now." Thomas sighed, though he did sit down on the bench next to Nicolai's own, organic hand pulling through his hair. Nicolai could quickly see, both from the eyes and the way Thomas sat, that something was wrong; "Can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Sure, t'is what I am here for." He replied, trying to prompt a smile from his friend. Odd, how Thomas was now his superior and he had no intentions of bowing to rank and regulations in their conversations. Just didn't seem right. He waited as Thomas blew out a long sigh, the outgoing air itself etched with troubled thoughts.
"I… Nicolai, you know the timeline, the original one, just as well as me, right?" Thomas started. Nicolai nodded;
"I'd say I do, yeah. Well, the second game that is. Never played the first one, and I kinda died before the third one came out. Shame really, I bet it would have been awesome."
"So… so what… what do you… Talos, I'm not even sure how to ask… Listen, a few days ago, Roku sort of… got an order from his boss."
"I thought Roku was a god. Does a god have a boss?" He asked; "That's… cool, I guess. So, what was the order?" Nicolai asked, keeping the voice happy even though he had a feeling he wouldn't like the answer.
"Roku's boss, something or someone he calls 'The Master'… wants him to ensure either John or Jane dies when the Collectors attack." The last words were forced out with clear pain, a pain Nicolai understood, nevertheless still caught him off guard.
"That's… why? I mean, You killed Saren, and Anna killed Sovereign, from what I heard. Shepard didn't do it, and even then, Cerberus wouldn't bring back either of them… so why?" He asked, watching as Thomas slumped down on the padded bench, hand pressed over his face in an expression of defeat.
"I don't know. Neither does Roku, but apparently, whenever his fucktards of a master gives an order, the 'forces of the universe' bends to his will."
"Sounds like a load of crap to me. I mean, what… right, no reason. Still, it's probably because someone's trying to restore the timeline." Nicolai tried. Thomas scoffed;
"Fuck the timeline."
"Yeah, that seems to be what we've been doing for the past months, doesn't it?" He tried with a weak chuckle; "Did Roku say what would happen if we, I dunno, warned the Shepards of the Collectors?"
"Something about help being restricted if we didn't, and that he can't take on the Harbinger without help." Thomas groaned, an angry expression on his face. Nicolai sighed at that;
"So… we're basically fucked either way. One just fucks us over soon, the other in a few years?" He muttered; "Great, just great…and here I was hoping for a vacation."
"You got to spend a couple of weeks in the hospital, lying on your comatose ass. I was out there getting my face ripped off." Thomas growled. Though annoyed by the outburst of anger, Nicolai knew it wasn't directed at him on purpose, but just caused by the stress placed on his friend; "Sorry… I…"
"Is ok. Besides, you're right. I did spend a fair amount of time in a coma. And look what came from it…" He said, pointing at his arms and stomach; "I lost my buffness"
"Can we get back to the matter of deciding whether we let the Normandy get shot to shit or not?" Thomas growled, clearly not interested in Nicolai's physical form right now. Understandable, he supposed, seeing how Thomas was the one who would likely take a lot of the blame if it was found out. Nicolai didn't envy him that role.
"Sorry… so, what are you going to do?"
"I don't know… what if I tell them, and Roku decides he has to follow his master, and kills one of them himself?"
"Dude… you honestly think he'd do that?" Nicolai asked, himself doubting it. Thomas groaned and sat up, weary eyes looking at him.
"I don't know. I wish… sometimes… I wish I didn't know any of them, of the crew, so it wouldn't hurt so much." Thomas groaned, his voice close to breaking.
"No you don't, and you know it. If you didn't know Ashley, and you've said this yourself, you'd have snapped long ago. I'm sort of guessing you haven't talked to her about this?" He asked. Thomas slowly shook his head, looking down at the floor. Great, this is going to fuck up his love-life, I'm kicking Roku in his metal ass.
"Even though she's repeatedly said you could tell her about your problems?"
"I… no… I mean, this isn't my problem. This is about the whole ship, good people besides one of the Shepards could die as well. We might die as well."
"Then, do you want my advice?" He asked, hoping to somehow get his friend out of the bad mood. Thomas hesitated for a moment, then slowly nodded and looked up. Tears were gathering in his eyes, ready to burst. Aw fuck… I am so much kicking Roku over the shin later.
"Fuck the "master", fuck the Collectors and fuck the timeline. Tell the crew, and then make sure Roku doesn't fuck shit up afterwards. Rather be fucked over in four years than in a month or so. Who knows, maybe your sis will come up with some new weapon that can castrate Reapers even better than that bigass ship she's already got. We might not even need that help."
"You… do realize we're talking about that fleet of Reapers we saw at the end of the cut scene, right?" Thomas asked, a brow raised in disbelief. Yeah, Nicolai remembered it all too well. Especially now that aforementioned fleet of Reapers was actually real, and could kill him and everyone he loved.
"I do, but… you didn't see the battle between the fleets, did you?"
"I saw some of it, mostly from the outside of the elevator to the tower." Thomas admitted.
"Riiiiight. Okay, so your sis, Anna, she opens up a fleet-wide comms that can be heard even in the Medbay. So, I got out of bed and made it to the cockpit… Joker didn't want to be disturbed, but… what I saw… Thomas, Sovereign landed on Anna's ship, and couldn't blast through the armor."
"…Serious?" Thomas asked, looking at Nicolai with what was now clear disbelief; "Nazara landed on the Hammer, and couldn't put a dent in it?" To which Nicolai shrugged;
"Well, shields died pretty fast, but the armor held. It was surreal, watching while Joker was dodging those between those smaller beams, just… it looked like a bird trying… no, you know what? Best comparison; A giant squid trying to kill a sperm whale. Only the whale shoots lasers on the squid… get what I'm saying?"
"Not… really. Unless you are trying to tell me whales have laser-eyes." Thomas offered in a weak chuckle. Well, got his mood improved… that's something. Nicolai still slapped his own forehead at Thomas' attempt at a joke;
"I'm saying that if they build a fuck-ton more of those ships, we can kick the Reapers right in the balls without needing any of that 'do-or-die' help Roku's master wants us to use." Thomas was starting to brighten up now.
"And with Anna in a leading role…"
"We will have a fuck-ton of those ships. 'Sides, don't you think they'll invent those Thanix-guns soon? I mean, they're bound to figure it out from Sovereign's body, right?"
"Yeah, I guess they are. Alright, so we go for the 'fuck the timeline' option?" Thomas asked, now almost smiling. Yep, that's me. Mister feel-good. Wish I was the love Guru though, get Teresa to soften up, but oh well…
"I vote yes." Nicolai grinned, raising his hand. Thomas mirrored the gesture, and for once in the time they had been dragged through the hell of actual warfare, they carried out the youthful action of high-fiving; "Vote passed."
"Now…" Thomas said, obviously in a much better mood; "I'm going to go see if I can't shop for a present for Ash." Nicolai just shook his head at that, grinning broadly. It was great knowing that, even while he had missed out on the climatic final battle, he could still help out with the aftermath.
Now, what would Teresa like for Christmas?
Arcturus Station, Arcturus Stream
Office of Admiral Anna Fisher
"Admiral, the Alliance board is getting annoyed with the string of vessels we're losing in the Omega Nebula." Price said, popping into view on Anna's desk. Anna herself was taking a break, feet on the table with Beethoven going through her earphones. One eye opened to look at Price as the AI repeated his message again, this time with more volume to overpower her music. In response, she turned the music up higher, not wanting to deal with anything that required an IQ above 80 right now. Sure, her own was 172, but she was not going to use a fraction of it to deal with anything. Not when she finally had a moment of peace.
"Admiral!" Price shut off her music remotely, then turned his own voice up even higher. Anna scoffed and yanked her headphones off, slamming them on the desk while looking indignantly at the AI.
"WHAT? I was listening to that."
"I said the brass is annoyed that we've lost three patrols in the Amada system so far, all without a trace or call for help. That's ten ships, Anna."
"Fine… fine… so, what happened to them?"
"No idea, they just dropped out of contact. They want a scouting party, as small as possible, to go check it out. See if there's any concealed turrets or pirates lying in wait." Price responded, back to his more calm voice.
"Do we have any stealth-capable vessels available for tasking?"
"The Alliance only built two of those, as far as I know. The Frigate SSV Normandy, and the Frigate SSV Hastings. Hastings was destroyed in the battle-"
"Of the Citadel, I know. Seems we lost a lot of useful stuff that day…" Anna grumbled; "Fine. Send a message to Jane Shepard. The Normandy is to go stealth into the Amada system, and last time I checked, it's fast enough to get away from any pirates I've ever heard of. It's a recon only, so go in, check for wreckage, survivors, that sort of shit, then head back here and report. Avoid all contact with anyone not Alliance in the system. I don't care if it's a Hanar kindergarten stranded on an asteroid, this is close-file material. That'll be all… Can I go back to my music now?" She said, sitting back down in her chair. Her hand was already on the headphones, waiting for Price to buzz off.
"Yes ma'am." And with that, Price was gone.
SSV Normandy, Arcturus station
Deck 4. Cargo bay, hangar and engines.
Shore leave was a great thing, in Thomas's opinion. Of course, it was sort of darkened with the prospect of the coming conflict. He was going to warn the crew of what could happen in the Amada system, and Roku was most likely not going to like it.
There was of course, the fact that this would prompt questions like 'how long have you known this?' and 'Why are you first telling us this now?'. Still, he hoped the warning in and of itself would be enough to dissipate any negative feelings towards him. He knew it was low, but he would be okay if it meant people distrusting Roku from that point on, as long as his own position was held firm. Yes, I know… but what if he starts trying to do something desperate?
Of course, no one answered his thoughts, as Roku was physical and currently somewhere else on the ship. Thomas sighed, deciding to nuke that bridge when he got to it, and not before. He picked up his Lancer again, removing the barrel before setting to clean the rifled cylinder with a rag.
"Attention. Shore leave is canceled. All hands report back to the Normandy within ten minutes sharp." He almost jumped in place when the speakers went loud with Jane's voice. Great, and he hadn't found anything for Ash yet. Figures… maybe some massage could count for a present. She had claimed he was good at it. Sighing, he assembled his gun and placed it back in his locker before heading for the lift. Tali exited the engine-room at the same time as him, waiting for the lift to come down. Funny, he would have thought she would return to the fleet when… oh right, the fleet was disbanded now. More or less, that was. The ships remained, but now a lot of civilian Quarians were settling down on Rannoch, so… what would their all favorite engineer do now?
"Hey Tali, didn't know you were still on the ship." He said, managing to smile at her, despite the growing sense of trepidation he was feeling, caused by the new mission. She gave him an odd look as they both stepped into the lift;
"Of course I am. My Pilgrimage isn't over yet, and… well I guess John's is, but…" He nodded;
"I get it, he doesn't want to leave you, plus it must be nice being in command of a ship. But, what does it take for a Pilgrimage to end?" He asked, purely out of curiosity, as well as wanting to take his mind off the unknown mission.
"Oh, that varies." She said with a much more happy tone; "Some bring back ships, you know. Others information or new technology. Even money is accepted."
"I didn't think the Quarians used credits. I thought your economic was based on equal trade, like 'you get my spade, I get your shovel'?" Thomas asked with a small grin. He wasn't making fun of their system, but rather, he found it intriguing.
"Yeah but we still need money. When we stop somewhere, like over a planet, we…" She trailed off as the lift opened again, and revealed the rest of the ground crew standing at attention, all looking at John and Jane; "we need to buy stuff." Tali quickly finished. It made sense, so Thomas nodded instead of prodding more.
"Alright people. Alliance brass wants us to check out some missing ships in the Omega Nebula, more precisely, the Amada system." Thomas felt his brain melt down and freeze at the same time as Jane continued; "This is a stealth recon, so weapons ready, but focus on keeping the stealth drive running at all times. Joker, take us out as soon as the last members of the crew have arrived."
"Captain? All hands accounted for. We're ready now." Pressley said, tapping an option on his datapad while looking at the redhead. Figures… Jane did a small 'oh' and shook her head;
"Well then, take us out. All hands man your stations and keep vigilant. Something stole away ten ships, nine of them military, and I don't intend on losing this one to them too. Dismissed."
As the crew went to their positions, Thomas saw Nicolai looking at him, nodding his head towards Jane, currently bracing at the railing above the galaxy map, while John was talking to Pressley. Great… so this is it then?
Again, no inner conscience to advise him, which was all good, seeing how Roku wanted one of the Shepards dead. Okay, so not 'wants', but he needs one of them dead…
"Captain, can I… have a word in private?" Thomas asked, walking up to Jane alone. He didn't want to disturb John, seeing how that could make Pressley ask questions. Or, really he just wanted to break it to only one person at a time. Easier that way.
"You can. Briefing room?" She asked, gesturing for him to lead the way. Instead of saying anything, Thomas nodded, walking ahead of Jane into the circular room. As Jane entered behind him, he locked the door, causing her to raise brow.
"Cap… Jane, how much of my background do you know?" He started. Jane scratched her head;
"You're from a dimension where this is… a game, I think? Then you started at Eden Prime, joined-" Thomas stopped her.
"Yes, but… Oh Divines help me… the reason I know those games, is that a guy named Hudson went here and served on the Normandy. He then made two games with it, with maybe a third to come, I don't know. Thing is… thing is… okay." He was starting to have trouble breathing properly. Fuck, not now.
"You feeling okay, Chief?"
"…Not really… But… the second game… the first game ends after the Battle of the Citadel. The second game starts… we're going to the Amada system, right?"
"And in that system is a planet named Alchera?" He forced each word out, feeling his heart hammer away in his chest. Still, he had to do this. If he let someone die because he didn't spill some secrets, it would make him the same as a murderer.
"Last time I had astrology, there was… you going somewhere with this? And for God's sake, calm down, okay?" She almost ordered upon seeing his clearly distressed expression; "What's the matter?"
"When we get to the Amada system… have you ever heard of a species called 'the Collectors'?" No way back now.
"Uhm… not… apart from ghost stories, no. Why?"
"Listen… Gods help me… in the Amada system, if what I remember is still the same here, there is a Collector vessel lying in wait. I don't know if it is the same ship that's made all the others disappear, but if we go there… they will attack the Normandy." He finished, looking at Jane, waiting for a horrified reaction.
"This is knowledge from Hudson's game, right?" She finally asked, hand curled in front of her mouth. Thomas nodded; "So… if the Normandy was attacked, what happened then?"
"You died." He groaned; "A lot of crew-members died, but the Collectors were after the person who killed Saren, Commander Shepard." Jane widened her eyes at this, then instantly narrowed them again;
"Two major problems with that. First, You killed Saren, and Nazara… okay, Roku killed Nazara, but you helped. I didn't get one significant shot at the bastard. Second, so much has changed from your original timeline, this might not even be the Collectors. Maybe it's one of the Destroyer-class Reapers, or just pirates, though I did shut down that last one." She explained, then added as Thomas processed the information; "Also, I am Captain Shepard. I'm worried about John now though…"
"Still… I just needed you to know. I don't know what will happen now that you or John's deaths can be avoided, but… I don't care. I just don't want to put anyone through that." Thomas said, feeling a small part of a burden lift from his heart. Jane put a hand on his shoulder, and he saw a flash of gratitude appear on her face before it returned to being completely professional once more.
"Service Chief… Thomas… Thank you." She said, smiling through the calm and collected mask of command. Thomas nodded, feeling the same smile starting to appear on his own face. There were still problems he had to deal with, mainly stopping Roku from ensuring the death of John or Jane, as well as trying to figure out what Jane had said, namely him being the more likely candidate for the Collectors to be gunning for. It was not the most comforting of thoughts, to put it mildly. Still… he had told Jane about the impending attack. The Normandy wasn't going to be caught unaware...
Now, there nothing to do but wait...Gods, I hate waiting...
END OF BOOK ONE
Thandosí, I actually did it!
I actually wrote the final chapter of my first story!
Damn... feels like I should be more proud, but I guess this means I know I can do better in the future... way to go, shoot myself down...
Still, this has been one ride to Hel getting through more than a year of writing, sometimes with a whole month where I didnt get any writing done, mostly due to writers blocks or rediscovering Minecraft (yeah, I know, old game, but still gold). Now, I am going to mark this story done when I've been through some chapters, such as 18-21, seeing as there are some plotholes in those ones. So, the "book" is done, but some correctional work still needs to be carried out.
Thanks to all the people who made it possible for me to begin this story:
TheRev28 - whose story made me cry like a little girl, and forced me to stand the Hel up and write what I envisioned to be a happier, if not better, version of a Self-Insert story, since I AM a sucker for Romances with a happy ending.
CuHnadian - for being a harsh critic from early on. Even though the reviews from him made me stop writing for a while, they also made me realize the severe plotholes and inconsistensies in the early chapters.
Mags360 - who created the character John'Shepard, and allowed me to make use of him when the story 'Born Quarian' wasn't continued. A shame, the introduction to John's life really was both cringing and rage-inducing (and part of why I keep bashing Cerberus)
Exar Kun - for being an unwavering reader and supporter almost from the first chapter. His reviews have made more than one of my days brighter, and honestly I don't think I'd still be writing if it wasn't for him.
Gilmaxter - another reader who's been with me for some time, and who continously made me smile with his reviews, as well as allowing me to delve into Stephen Hackett's life by providing the old Admiral with a granddaughter and said granddaughter's husband ;)
KhazintheDark - for being a badass reader, reviewer and giver of great ideas, his is the name that made the SSV Hammer of Vengeance, the biggest, baddest and most hardcore warship ever to have sailed from an Alliance dock.
CriticalRift - this reviewer has been my de facto beta-reader on both lore, grammar, and going over my chapters for sections that were just plain wrong. On top of that, this is a really great person to know and write with :) On a side-note, this is also the creator of Tuara 'Tatra' Akair, the first documented lesbian Turian ever XD
Magnus Olafsson - the template and basket-case insane mate behind Magnus Olaffur. Anyone saying that the Magnus of my story is cynical, crazy or insane... you know nothing of the real guy XD The scene with the ass-tattoo was made especially for him, and by the gods, I have no regrets, and neither does he ;)
Septon - a valued reviewer, and a constant source of support for the story.
Madman123456 - A GERMAN REVIEWER! Fuck yeah, since Germany is awesome. Also, love the way this guy has commented on my chapters have made me laugh harder than it should be legal "I'd be pretty confused if my first time turned out to be a threesome with a ghost." - from chapter 48.
tmroc725 - a surprisingly funny reviewer, this guy also has a story that, and hang on, goes on in the same universe as this one! 'Into the Terminus' is about a marine from our world who ends up with Cerberus Mjolnir-six, and even gets to the point of residing on Thomas's shit-list. GO. READ. HIS. STORY.
Lady Amiee - I think a lot of us know why she's on here. Amiee has been a great supporter of my story, and is directly responsible for the fact that I learned to write sexual scenes. Also, she's a damnable fun girl to hang with over the net, and her story 'Mass Illusion' is the epitome of what an SI should be. Not even overstating it, it IS that badass. (Plus it has Vega-fluff and 'rocket to the boob' comments) ;)
Kaiya Smith - for being an eternal source of tech, lore, sci-fi and knowledge of all stuff fictional. Also, for a lot of long, great conversations on the web.
Palladius - for being another awesome reviewer, this guy also has a list of stories I have found great entertainment in.
1054ss321054ss325MP5MP - Now this guy here, this guy here is a writer with the label 'badass' pressed firmly on his story and profile. A lot of the inspiration I used for Jane Shepard was drawn from 'Warrior Ethos', which simply is one of the best twin-shep stories I have ever read on this site. And all that is on top of the dude being in the army, serving both on the pages and in real life. Respect.
General-Joseph-Dickson - His reviews may tend to be short, but damn if he hasn't been with me right from the start. His reviews get the point across whether a chapter is great, or just overdid it. Mistakes have been found thanks to this guy :)
The Stone Tiger - started reviewing by the same time I was in Spain with nothing to do. This guy gave me a blast reading his long reviews. Especially his reactions to "little Jack" were just priceless to read through.
JohnP87 - a long-time reviewer, his comments and reactions were great to go over time and time again.
OnkelJo - created Gregory 'Bunny' Hayfield, a Blue Suns operator for the BSV Scorpio.
Dekuton - created Brian Kittles, nicknamed 'kettle' another Blue Suns operator for the BSV Scorpio, this one handles his own HAS-mech. Also created Corus Voluntus, Turian recon on the BSV Scorpio.
1138 - For being one of the supportive forces that kept me going through the start of this story. Thanks :)
SlySenran0408 - Being a new reviewer, it is extremely entertaining watching as this mate progresses through the story.