Mass Effect; Chronicles of a Soldier
A Friend Indeed...
My standard form of writing applies.
" " - Spoken
' ' - Thoughts, usually in italics, as well.
( ) - Commentary. I'm a smartass. You should know what goes here. My smartass commentary. Usually funny, always interesting. Details and explanations, or my personal opinions, unfiltered.
Italics- Usually things of importence. Flashbacks and certain things are in italics to seperate them from the rest of the story.
Bold!- Things like this are things that just stand out. Usually pretty badass, or just really scary.
Underlined words are oddball parts; anything that stands out, but doesn't fall into the two above categories.
Things in this font are sometimes Author commentary, or truly profound statements.
Those things just below this line, are seperators. They seperate different sections. Simple, yes?
"Man is the ultimate hunter, the apex predator of this world. Pacifism, vegetarianism, such things are unnatural; an abomination, an affront to human nature. They lie, not only to others, but worse, to themselves. You look at me as though you are looking down the barrel of a gun; you call me a psycho, a sociopath, a MONSTER. If that's true... Then we are all monsters. Denying one's nature does not change who, or what they are. Call yourself whatever you like... A wolf wearing a collar and leash may look and act like a dog, but it is still a wolf." -Kramden
"A rabbit isn't virtuous, it just can't do anything except get eaten! That's not virtuous. If you're a monster, and you don't act monstrously, then you're virtuous." -Jordan Peterson
#38 ...And Lightning Rises!
[Life After Anger, by Emphatic]
"GUAH! Hah...Huuh...Hah...Huuh..." Roland heaves in one shaky breath after another as his heart was forcibly restarted, his chest aching with every breath, warnings and diagnostics flashing on his HUD as he blearily stared up into the iron-grey clouds above, blood thundering in his ears.
The battered supersoldier was laid out across the damp grass, beaten and broken, as the rain poured down upon his accursed armor, water streaming down the cracks in its visor, painfully seeping though the breaches and into his aching wounds. Less than ten feet away lay a damaged and smoking Atlas mech, a dead man curled up in the pilot's seat, blood still dripping.
'How many am I up to, now? Fifteen? No... Twenty, at least. I've lost count. Just how many times have I cheated death...?'
"Anything... Everything, but the rain..."
Memories flashed before this unbreakable man's eyes; fighting through the jungles of Vietnam and into the mountains of Korea, the landscape lit by muzzle flashes; his first kill, at eight years old, stabbing a man in the throat with calculated precision, watching the life fade from his eyes; slaughtering his beloved brothers and sisters, a baptism by blood and fire; losing Rachel, and Sarah, and Cub; sharing that last drink with his blood-brother Roy, before losing him to madness; locking away the Wolf, trapping that side of himself in the memories, forsaking the anger that drove him.
His squad of Recon Marines, laughing and cheering as they lounged atop a tank for a team photo; his first jump at a mere twelve years old, leaping out of a plane with his closest friend, both of them grinning from ear to ear; training alongside his brothers and sisters, learning how to fight, how to survive, and how to kill, growing to love one another as family all the while... Before being forced to kill one another.
Shepard's smiling face, curled against his bare chest; their first kiss in the Normandy's cargo hold; the first time they made love.
"All these moments... Lost in time, like tears in rain..."
Tears welled up in the broken man's eyes as a woman kneeled over him, leaning down to stroke the side of his helmet, undaunted by its ferocious, snarling faceplate. "Roland..." She whispered, her hard, commanding voice tempered by concern for the man, the only man to ever make her feel like something more than human. "Are you alright?" She asked, seeing the tears in his eyes.
He shakily forced his remaining arm upward, running bloodied fingers through her matted hair. Roland smiled. "It's... It's dusty in here, is all."
She matched his smile, barely holding back her own tears. "You always get so nostalgic after coming back from the dead. You need to quit dying, being so sappy all the time doesn't suit you at all."
Roland chuckled before groaning in agony. "Ehehehehehaaaagh... Augh, don't make me laugh, my ribs are killing me. Help me up?"
"Sure." The Commander stood, and pulled the wounded supersoldier to his feet, draping his good arm over her shoulders. "Come on, Liara almost has the stasis pod open."
[Unbroken, by Ashes Remain]
"What do you think of him, love?" Shepard asked, her soft, warm hands tracing the scars crisscrossing my back, gently kissing the names tattooed across my shoulders. We were in her quarters aboard the Normandy, recuperating after our mission.
The feeling was beyond ecstacy, making it difficult to maintain the contempt I had for the Prothean, Javik. "I'm not exactly a fan of half-cocked jacklegs with a mere glimmer of telepathic potential, nevermind self-righteous pricks that act as if they know me."
As the pod opened, we were greeted by some sort of biotic shockwave knocking us on our backs as the strange alien stumbled out of his sarcophagus, falling to his knees as he witnessed the surrounding landscape, stunned.
When Shepard stood and approached, trying to introduce herself, he seized her by the arms, and in that instant I stepped in, hauling the bastard into the air by his throat, a beastial growl escaping my own.
That's when he finally spoke, his voice deep and razor-sharp, with what almost sounded like a Jamaican accent. "A man...? No, a weapon, aptly named for his primitive and brutal nature, an outcast whose purpose and very existence have been lost to time. Equal parts machine and beast; an abomination created to destroy other abominations. Your strength stems from your will, from your insurmountable rage, but your will has already been subverted. You think you love her... But you are not sure. There are doubts. Suspicions, clouding your judgment. You accept the emotions forced upon you, not because they are real, but because she reminds you of one you lost... And you have nothing left to live for."
The dead-hard certainty with which he spoke rattled me to my core, but that familiar burning fury rising within me overpowered the hesitaton, the doubts. "Choose your next words carefully, or they will be your last."
Just as the omniblade began to take form over my gauntlet, Shepard layed a hand upon my shoulder. "Stand down. We need to get out of here before Cerberus sends in reinforcements." Despite her gentle, tired tone of voice, her words were iron-hard, and brokered no argument.
Shepard's touch brought me out of the unpleasant memory, her breasts pressed into my back. "It's alright, Roland. He was just trying to unsettle you. From our conversation while Chakwas was seeing to your injuries, Protheans can experience the memories and feelings of others by touch, some sort of DNA-based sensory function of their skin. They're not mind readers."
"That isn't what bothers me. There have been so damn many motherfuckers screwing around with my head, I just..."
My Commander paused in her minstrations, the slightest hesitation to phrase her next sentence revealing that the alien's words had left her just as uneasy as I was. "...You're wondering whether or not you love me?"
The question did not surprise me as much as it should have, but it hurt a lot more than I expected it to. "No. What I keep asking myself, is why do I love you, what it is about you that I find so irresistable. You're beautiful, courageous, selfless, intelligent, witty, and bear an uncanny strength in your own right. But I cannot answer the question... Why? Looking like Rachel, either of them, shouldn't have such an effect on me. So more and more, I find myself wondering... Which facets of this attraction are natural, and which ones are nothing more than a fabrication...?" Putting those thoughts into words finally solidified the amorphous fear that I'd been trying to avoid. I... I didn't want to think about it. I wanted to get up, to run, to fight.
Anything but deal with this, with her, because for some reason... It hurt. I knew that saying this would hurt her, and hurting her awakened this unfathomable pain in my chest, like my heart was in a vise. But I needed to say it, to get these demons out of my mind, before they drove me to madness.
For the longest time, Shepard didn't say a word. Minutes ticked away, dragging on and on, feeling like ages.
When she finally spoke, even with her expression hidden behind me, she couldn't hide the trembling in her voice. "What is it about me that you love? Things that you know are really you."
This was shockingly easy to answer. "I- When I feel you next to me... I feel alive again. I feel as though I'm more than an animal, a monster, a killing machine. A weapon. I... I feel human again. I know this must sound ridiculous to you, but-"
Shepard cut me off, pulling herself around to press her lips to mine, and by God I swear, I could've kissed her until the end of time, if such were possible. When we finally parted, I could see the unshed tears in her emerald-green eyes. "I know exactly how you feel. I don't know if it's you, or if it's what Cerberus did to you, but I- I don't care which it is, you make me feel like I'm more than a soldier, more than just Commander Shepard. With you, I'm... I'm Sarah again."
I couldn't help my eyes shooting wide, memories returning, unbidden, from when I was still one of Cerberus' Fallen Angels, from the mission to the colony Mindoir. "Sarah... You can't be-"
My Commander- No, Sarah, kissed me again. "Yes... It's me. The same little girl you saved all those years ago."
This... This doesn't make any sense. Why? "But- But how? Why? How long have you known?!"
Shepard ran her fingers through my hair again, resting her head against my chest. "Since we went back to the SR1 crash site, where I found the same tags you gave me. I had my suspicions before then, when you mentioned Mindoir, but finding those tags was when I became sure of it."
I had no idea what to say to that, and I still felt a little unsettled after the revelation. "I was in cryo for a long time... Longer than I thought. Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"I didn't know how you'd react. I thought you might take it that I was angry with you, or you might feel guilt over it, or, or- I don't know. I was afraid and angry, not at you, but at the Illusive Man for what he did to me, and to you." This was the first time I'd ever heard Shepard sound so upset, probably the first time anyone has heard her like this in years, if not more than a decade.
"It's alright, I'm not pissed off, just... Overwhelmed. I can take bullets, blades, bombs, anything the enemy can throw at me, but I've never been any good at dealing with my own personal problems, let alone anyone else's. This is just a lot to take in at once."
Sarah actually managed to sound sheepish after wiping her eyes. "I'm sorry for dropping all that on you. But, do you..." She trailed off, uncertain of how to phrase her question, though I had a pretty good idea what she was going to ask.
"Still want to be with you? Of course I do."
Shepard smiled, relieved. "No, doofus. Do you want to bang?"
Referneces include, but are not limited to: Creen, House MD, Bleach the anime, Blade Runner, and many, many more which I cannot be arsed to track down.
That Cheech and Chong looking sumbitch Elon Musk is branching out from self-driving electric cars, and into cybernetics. He's applying to the FDA for human trials. We may see actual no-shit cybernetic augmentation in the next thirty years. Just in time for my wrinkled old ass to get an implant to fix my alzheimers so I can keep working another twenty years until I drop dead...
"It's all fun and games until you get transferred to tech support in Mumbai because you keep shitting yourself whenever the microwave is turned on." -Collector Rob