Mass Effect 1: It Begins

Chapter 4: Therum

AN: So here is Chapter 4: Therum. Enjoy and remember I don't own Mass Effect otherwise it would have been sooooo much different, you can probably guess one area that would be. ^^

The Normandy swept down across the sky of Therum, the volcanic landscape passing by as the squad approached the drop zone. Thankfully they hadn't come across any of the geth yet so for now they still didn't know that they were here. Shepard sat at the front in the driver's seat of the Mako preparing for when Joker made the drop, to his left sat Garrus who was manning the machine gun and behind them sat Nihlus and Tali. As they approached the coordinates joker reached the commander over comm.

"Making the drop in 3, 2, 1." Then there was a lurch as the Mako was released and went falling down to the surface of Therum. Shepard applied the thrusters to slow the descent as they came closer and as they made contact there was a crash as the Mako bounced and rolled along the surface eventually coming to a stop.

"Everyone ok?" Shepard turned to the rest of the squad.

"Fine." They acknowledged.

"Shepard according to this scan the entrance to the Prothean ruins is north-west of here. No geth signals as of yet." Nihlus held up his Omni-tool, looking at something on the screen.

"We can make our way around the mountain side if we go that way." Garrus pointed out ahead, there was a wide ledge that ran around the side of the mountain next to the flowing lava.

"Shouldn't be difficult." Shepard commented before messing with the controls and the Mako jumped forward as he manoeuvred it around to the side of the mountain. The rocky landscape passed beside them as they sped along, lava flowing below them and the Mako jolted every now and then as it went over the uneven surface. As the land began to widen again they heard a noise overhead and a geth dropship flew past them, it started to eject presumably geth from it up ahead on the more open landscape before it took off again in another direction.

"Didn't take them long to find us." Tali spoke up.

"If we keep moving it won't matter. It only seemed to drop a few geth up ahead and the Mako can deal with that fine." Shepard told her. The Mako drove up over the ridge onto the open landscape, the movement drawing the attention of the geth that had been dispatched. Garrus took fire at a rocket trooper in the distance that was blown to pieces from the Mako's machine gun. Shepard drove around to the side as Garrus picked off a couple of troopers before a geth armature came into sight. Shepard lurched the Mako to the side as the geth armature fired a pulse at them before he crashed it into a rock, another pulse came there way and Shepard activated the thrusters to rise them out of the way of the blast. When they landed again Garrus opened fire on the geth armature as Shepard reversed the Mako, the machine gun weakening its shields before Shepard made another sharp turn to avoid another pulse. As Shepard managed to gain control of the Mako again Garrus had depleted the geth armatures shields completely, before it could take fire again Shepard drove the Mako at full speed straight at the geth armature.

"Shepard what are you doing?" Garrus's voiced called to him alarmed.

"What does it look like?" He replied before they crashed straight into the geth armature. It squealed cries of clicks and mechanical noises before it collapsed under them and shut down completely too damaged by the collision to continue. The squad just turned to Shepard and stared, who then grinned.

"What? I didn't think that was so bad, better than usual anyway."

"Oh Keelah." Tali muttered.

"Maybe try a little less geth ramming in the future Shepard." Garrus quipped, Nihlus agreeing with him.

"It worked didn't it?" Shepard countered before driving the Mako forward again. They moved through a tunnelled area that was filled with more geth, most noticeably the rocket troopers that appeared at the other end of the tunnel. Shepard weaved the Mako back and forth to dodge the rockets coming their way as Garrus took them down with the turret. They emerged from the other side, flying over the ledge and down the ramp as more geth appeared shooting at them from behind cover. One of the geth went down from the turret as Shepard drove over the other two and they were crumpled under the wheels. They continued on mostly undisturbed for the next few minutes as the land rose on both sides of them, however once they rounded a bend a problem became apparent. At the end of the narrow path they were driving down was a building complex, the most noticeable feature however was the two turrets that were planted in front of it and were pointed in their direction. Shepard brought the Mako to a halt by a large boulder as Nihlus addressed him.

"We won't be going that way or those turrets will shred us."

"There seems to be another path over that way." Shepard pointed. "It might lead us around the back of it." He suggested.

"Seems to be the best option." Nihlus nodded. Shepard started the Mako again and drove off to the side down the new path. It turned sharply back on itself which was a good sign as it took them back in the direction of the complex from the back and there was no turret in sight. Shepard drove the Mako to the open door, leaving it sideways to the opening. The squad exited from the left so that they had cover if there was any geth waiting to jump out on them and they approached the door cautiously. The squad took up position by the door before Shepard entered first, the room was clearly used for storage as it was filled with various crates and Shepard motioned for the others to enter. As they made their way around the side a geth trooper came into sight. Shepard pulled it crashing into the floor in front of them with his biotics and Tali finished it with her shotgun. They made their way to the door into the courtyard complex and looked out onto the landscape, they could see geth taking up positions waiting for them to exit.

"We need to find the gate controls if we want to continue on with the Mako." Tali spoke up. "That building over there next to the main gate is probably the best bet." Tali gestured at the building opposite them over the courtyard.

"We could do with a distraction right about now." Shepard mused. He focused his attention on a selection of gas canisters, grasping a few with his biotics and made a sweeping motion. The canisters went flying over the courtyard to where a group of the geth were hiding and exploded on impact, pieces of geth flying over the place. Garrus and Nihlus moved forward into opposite covers just outside of the door, drawing sniper rifles to pick off the geth with as they appeared from their hiding places in response to the explosion. Tali drew a pistol and sent out a combat drone to ferret out the geth into her sight and Shepard pulled out his pistol and fired at the geth closest. Tali overloaded the shields on two geth across from her allowing Garrus and Nihlus to take them down with a well placed shot each. Shepard pushed a geth back into the wall behind it and fired at it until the light went out. Then turning his attention to two geth taking cover behind a crate he raised both arms and the crate shuddered before his biotics took hold fully and he lifted it, tossing it to the side exposing the geth. Tali hacked one of the geth which turned and gunned down the other before she finished the other one off with her pistol. After the courtyard was clear they made their way to the building that held the gate controls and entered. Other than a lone geth that went down rather quickly between them nothing else stood in the way. Shepard approached the controls and pushed the button, the mechanical sound of the gate lowering could be heard as they made their way back outside and to the Mako. Shepard drove it through the courtyard and out the other side continuing on the path to the evacuation site. Nothing much else happened for awhile other than Shepard managing to crash the Mako again into a rocky wall as he misjudged a turning, claiming that the wheel slipped as he did and the others made an internal vow never to go with Shepard again if he used the Mako.

As they started to go up a rise they noticed that up ahead the rocky walls began to narrow greatly and came to a small opening that was too small for the Mako to fit through. Shepard looked up, even with the thrusters the height of the wall was too much to try and get the Mako over. Before he could say anything Garrus followed his gaze and shook his head at him.

"Don't even think about it Shepard." He said as Shepard opened his mouth.

"I was just going to say that we're going to have to go on foot from here." He quirked his eyebrow at Garrus.

"Good." He sighed. Shepard suppressed a grin at the looks of relief on the other twos faces, imaging that Tali probably looked the same under the mask. The squad exited the Mako and made their way through the gap and continued up the rise. Coming up to a level section they heard approaching footsteps, the squad took up position behind some boulders and readied themselves. Geth appeared from around the corner and Shepard launched a singularity at them dragging them into the air as Tali sent a incinerate their way and the geth burst into flame. Shepard finished them off with a warp and the remains of the geth went flying into the ground. A few more geth appeared from around the corner which Nihlus and Garrus made quick work of with the combined fire from their assault rifles. The squad moved up with their weapons drawn as they turned around the corner the geth appeared from, pieces of machinery and other bits and pieces of equipment being revealed to them. Buildings could be seen in the distance at the top of a hill, the geth were moving between them as they approached their position.

"We must be getting close now, the entrance to the ruins will most likely be up there among those buildings." Nihlus suggested.

"The geth seem to be doing whatever they can to stop us from getting there." Tali spoke up as the geth came closer, some almost at firing range.

"Let's take them out." Shepard responded motioning to the others to take cover as he moved forward. Tali joined him beside the crate he took cover behind as Garrus and Nihlus swapped out for their sniper rifles, looking to take out geth in the distance that were above them on a walkway. Shepard gathered his strength, his biotics flared and he threw a shockwave of continuous energy forward scattering the geth that were making their way to them. Tali summoned her combat drone to keep them distracted as she fired with her pistol at the geth that were thrown to the floor. Shepard sent two geth that were just picking themselves up crashing into each other again and they crashed back into the ground, finishing them off with his pistol. Garrus and Nihlus continued to pick off geth on the walkway, the geth bodies falling from the walkway into the ground with each echoing shot. Loud clicking and whirring noises could be heard as two geth destroyers appeared, charging at the group with their weapons drawn. Shepard stopped one with a stasis and the other continued their way, Tali and Garrus managed to disabled its shielding with a combined overload in a burst of static. With a forceful warp from Shepard and well placed shots from Nihlus they managed to get it to collapse into the ground. The other destroyer started moving again as the stasis lost its hold, resuming its charge at the squad. Shepard raised his arms, biotics glowing as the air around the geth shimmered before its feet left the ground and it was suspended in thin air. Garrus took shots at it before finishing its shields off with an overload, Tali then sent a incinerate towards it and as it began eating through its armour Nihlus finished it off with his assault rifle. Shepard dropped the biotics and the geth destroyer crashed back down in pieces.

"That's the last of them." Garrus's voice called out from behind Shepard.

"Lets move on up before reinforcements arrive." Shepard replied. The squad holstered their weapons and hurried forward. As they moved up the hill all was quiet, the buildings were seemingly deserted of any other life and the people that had been here before were long gone now with the appearance of the geth that had invaded the site. They moved slowly through the few buildings on guard for any geth ambushes that may lay in wait. As they approached a open space the squad noticed to their right was a series of steps that led to a circular door in the face of the rock, it was at an angle that suggested it went down steeply.

"That must be the way in to the ruins." Shepard said as they approached. As they crossed the space between them and the door, a small click clack of something moving on metal could be heard and in the quiet the sound seemed magnified. The squad drew their weapons and looked at the area around them looking for the culprit. Something jumped across Shepard's vision and he swung around to follow it, on an opposing wall was a geth that looked lither than the others and it quickly moved again from its position to somewhere else out of sight. Before the squad could do much more the sound of a ship could be heard approaching overhead, as it came into view it was revealed to be another geth drop ship and along with more geth something large seemed to be expelled from it as well. It crashed into the ground before it shook and picked itself up, planting four large feet into the ground and raising its head up over the squad as it came online.

"Geth Armature!" Nihlus shouted and the squad took to cover before the Armature could take aim. The other geth began talking up positions around the Armature and began to advance on the Squad. The geth hopper appeared again on the underside of a walkway, before it could jump again to another position Shepard reached forward and grasped it with his biotics wrenching it off the walkway towards them, Tali took aim with her shotgun and managed to take its head clean off as it crashed into the dirt in a heap. The Armature launched a blast of plasma at Shepard and Garrus, the duo ducked into cover to avoid it and the earth shook when it landed. Tali overloaded the shields on the geth troopers and Nihlus took them down with sniper shots. Shepard leaned out of cover and launched a warp at another geth hopper, when it impacted the geth it was thrown off the wall as it was shredded into pieces. Soon enough all that was left was the Geth Armature, it stood alone out in the open and continued to fire periodically at their position. The earth was thrown up again as another blast fell in front of them, Tali and Garrus combined their overloads to deplete its shields and Shepard attacked it with a warp. The Armature's shields flickered before they collapsed with as shattering sound, it seemed to flinch back and made a groaning sound. The Squad fired continuously at the Armature and dodged its fire as it moved about on its feet. Shepard saw a highly damaged piece of its armour, he used his biotics to tear it off and exposed the inner wiring. Taking the opportunity Nihlus threw a grenade at the opening in the Armature, it collided with its side and exploded in a ball of fire. The Armature made a high pitched squealing sound as it was knocked off its feet, set a flame by the grenade and collapsed on the ground. Then there was another explosion and pieces of the armature were thrown in different directions, then there was no more and the Armature ceased to make a sound. The squad made their way over to the wreckage.

"Finally, that thing was stubborn." Garrus commented.

"Let's move, we haven't got any time to lose." Shepard turned to the entrance to the ruins and moved up the stairs, the others quickly moved to join him as they approached the door.

The squad moved quickly down the tunnel, eventually coming to an elevator that went down to a series of walkways and stairs going down into the dirt. In front of them was a big structure, pale in colour and the openings in it were covered in some form of blue shimmering shield. There was various excavation equipment lying about below them and a giant laser drill was set up near the base of the structure. The squad exited the elevator on alert for more geth, they walked down the walkways approaching the big structure. A geth rocket trooper popped up across from them, Shepard yanked it up into the air keeping it suspended in a field and Garrus shot it through the head with his sniper. Shepard dropped it back into the floor and they moved onwards, more geth appearing to attempt to halt them which they managed to put down effectively between them. Nearing the structure, they went up in another elevator and heard a voice call out as they moved from the elevator onto the front of the structure. Walking along the structure they came to once of the open spaces in it that led into its interior. Suspended in a ball that seemed to be of the same type of shielding that was on the front of the structure was an Asari. She was a pale blue and seemed to be in a panic at her situation, she wore a white and green outfit that revealed her to be a scientist.

"Who are you? Do you work with Saren?" She eyed the assembled group.

"I'm Commander Shepard, this is Garrus Vakarian, Tali'Zorah nar Rayya and Nihlus Kryik." Shepard gestured to each of them as he spoke their name. "We sent by the Council to stop Saren after his treachery was uncovered. Are you Liara T'Soni?" He asked her.

"Thank the goddess, yes that is me. Can you help me? I trapped myself in here trying to get away from the geth, I think I triggered some security feature when I engaged the barriers." Liara spoke rapidly.

"Why is Saren interested in you?"

"I've been studying the Protheans for the last fifty years, whatever he wants has something to do with them and I imagine he thinks I'd be able to help him." She gave Shepard a hard look. "He contacted me, I refused to help him, he sent the geth after me and a Krogan mercenary on top of that."

Shepard took a moment to reply. "I believe you, but how do we get you out of there? Is there no way you can turn off this security field?"

"There is but its all behind here and I can't get to it trapped like this. The geth have been trying to get in here for hours."

"So we need to find a way to get behind this shielding to be able to shut it off?" Shepard asked, wondering what the hell they were going to do. The walls were pretty thick, the shielding was doing its job keeping them out.

"There is a mining laser on the lower level and some places in the wall are weak with their age, you might be able make opening for yourself." Liara offered.

Shepard thought it was as good a suggestion as any, not being able to come up with any immediate solution himself and they needed to move fast before the geth showed up. "Hold tight Liara will get you out of there."

"Thank you." She replied.

The squad moved back to the elevator and back down to the lower level. They made their way over to the mining laser where Tali studied it, she said that they needed to find a code to be able to fire the laser. After looking around they managed to find it on a datapad, Tali inputted the code and configured the laser. The mining laser came to life as Tali worked at the controls, it shook as the position was changed slightly and with a 'here we go' from Tali it fired. The red light streaked across the air and struck the wall at the base of the structure. There was a boom and the earth shook, dust and dirt could be seem being thrown up into the air and as the shaking settled the squad could see that the mining laser had succeeded. Now there was a big opening in the base of the wall, easily big enough for them all to pass through and it went all the way through to the other side. Shepard congratulated Tali and they all made their way back over into the inside of the structure. The squad made their way to the upper level that Liara was located on and approached her from behind. She turned her head to them as they approached.

"You made it!" She exclaimed.

"It worked thankfully. Now how do we disable this shield?" He asked her.

Liara turned her head again and looked at a console to her left just below her. "This console here, it was what I used to enable the shield and hopefully it will turn it off as well."

Shepard approached it cautiously, not wanting to make things worse by pressing the wrong thing. He surveyed the console and pressed a couple of buttons that hopefully would disable the shield. With a humming noise the shielding flickered before it vanished completely, Liara fell to the floor on one knee.

"Are you ok?" Shepard asked, approaching her. Liara stood and turned to face Shepard.

"I'm fine thank you Shepard. I don't want to be here when the geth turn up, now the shields down they'll come back." Liara told Shepard and he nodded his head to her.

"Then lets get out of here."

They all made their way to the inner chamber onto a circular disk. Liara approached a console in the middle of it.

"This is an elevator, we can take it to the top and there is an exit to the outside up there." She spoke as she looked down at the console and then pressed a few buttons. The elevator lit up and rose up at a steady speed, as it moved there was a rumbling sound that shook them all.

"What was that?" Nihlus looked around.

"The mining laser must of started off a seismic event, we need to get out of here before everything collapses." Liara answered him as she too looked around at the walls. The elevator eventually reached the top and the group tried to make their way over to the corridor that led away from it. Before they got far a group of geth approached them, leading them was a large Krogan that looked like trouble. He strode forward towards them, staying at a distance.

"That's far enough, hand over the doctor." He said gruffly. Liara stepped back slightly and Shepard moved to stand in front of her.

"That's not going to happen, walk away." He said shortly, not backing down from the Krogan.

"Good I was hoping you'd say that." He grinned.

"Don't you see this place? Its falling about we need to get out now or we will all die." Shepard tried to explain, exasperated.

"Just makes it all the more exciting, don't you think? Kill them, leave the Asari alive." The Krogan gestured to the squad and the geth moved forward. Shepard threw his palm forward, collecting biotic energy and pushed it at the Krogan. It slammed into the Krogan knocking him off his feet and flying backwards. The geth raised their weapons at the Squad, Shepard raised a biotic barrier as the geth fired and then dispersed it outwards confusing the geth as some of them were knocked to the ground and disorientated. Liara moved behind the elevator console taking cover from the fight as the others pulled out their weapons. Tali incinerated one geth before blowing it into pieces with her shotgun and Nihlus threw a grenade at a group of geth sending them flying as it exploded, before he took aim with his assault rifle and finished them off. Garrus was taking out geth quickly with his sniper rifle and Shepard was taking shots with his pistol. The Krogan had got back on his feet by this point, with an angry shout he charged forward throwing a mass of biotic energy there way. Shepard blocked it with a warp as the squad rounded on the Krogan, Shepard took out his barrier with a biotic attack and Tali overloaded the shields. The Krogan continued to charge, heading for Shepard when he then started to be ridden with bullets courtesy of Nihlus and a sniper round to the head dropped him from Garrus.

The group weren't given any time as the ground shook violently again, Shepard yelled for them to move and they all ran down the corridor. Shepard managed to contact the Normandy, telling them that they needed an emergency evac from their position. They emerged into a place similar to the entrance, there was various walkways leading away from the top level of the structure on this side and they were attached to the rock wall. In the distance was a great hole in the rock, a manmade tunnel running up towards the surface and to safety. The group moved forward at a fast pace, the place around them shaking more frequently and violently as they moved forward. Lava started to explode out of various rocky surfaces behind them and the walkways began to collapse. Liara stumbled and Shepard turned to help her up, he pulled her to her feet and pushed her forwards as the walkway around them began to collapse. The ground shook violently and Shepard was thrown off balance, tumbling backwards off the platform.

"Shepard!" A three taloned hand grasped his arm pulling him forwards before he fell to the earth below. Garrus held his arm in a vice grip as he pulled him forwards towards him as they ran, Shepard continued to run forwards along the walkway which was began to shake even more. They thankfully made it into the tunnel and ran up towards the surface as fast as they could, wanting to stay ahead of the lava that was no doubt going to be behind them. The group emerged from the tunnel into glaring sunlight, running along the platform before them. There was the sound of a ship overhead and the Normandy came into view, flying over them before lowering and turning to the side. The door opened and the group jumped for it, collapsing into the entrance of the Normandy trying to catch their breath. The Normandy rose and began to speed away, before the door closed Shepard saw lava spew forth from the tunnel entrance below them. Shepard sat back looking to Garrus next to him who was still holding his arm, Shepard placed his hand over his.

"Close one." Garrus breathed out, Shepard nodded slightly.

"Thanks Garrus." He said sincerely.

AN: Done finally, sorry this update was so long but with proper work to do, getting ready for Christmas and then Christmas itself I haven't had loads of time to write. Hope you all had a great Christmas, I always love Christmas and this one was no exception. I think this chapter went well, wasn't sure at first but then I got into it and I quite like where it ended up. We will be going to Feros next after a little down time next chapter and I already have some semblance of a plot for it. I'll be writing it in the order that I usually play the game, Therum, Feros, Virmire, Noveria and some in-between bits. Garrus mission will come up as well obviously. Anyway until next time, enjoy the holidays!

Next Chapter: Poor Mako.