A/N: Damn it's cold up here in the North! And thankfully that blizzard came to an end, I'm starting to hate snow like you would not believe.
I know for a fact a few of you were looking forward to this chapter, so I refuse to keep you all waiting any longer.
I own nothing!
Alexander 'Maverick' Drake
AI Core - Normandy SR-2
November 7, 2185 - 10:29 hours
Grey eyes leered through the darkened AI core at the prone form laying on the table at the back end.
The Geth they had picked up on the Reaper had remained inactive all this time. And according to both Prophet and EDI all of its programming was also inert, not making an attempt to break through the firewall barrier at all in any way.
There was still a bit of arguing regarding on what to do with the platform amongst the crew. But Jane stuck by her decision to interrogate it after bringing it back online. Which was the current point of business as the nano soldier and the Commander stood in the AI core with two armed guards with weapons ready as they prepared to bring the synthetic online.
Tali and Reena were standing with them, both Quarians wanting to be there to see if the Geth indeed show individuality and could communicate.
"Be ready, I'm turning this thing back on." said Alex bringing up his omni-tool. The guards standing by kept their sidearms trained on the platform as be initiated the proper sequence.
There was a burst of static along the Geth that lasted only a moment before fading. The synthetic's optic blinked briefly before flaring brightly in the dimly lit room, twitching from side to side before rising up and standing on its own feet.
Its armor was all black, and had pieces of N7 armor welded on to it with a gaping hole showing the various cybernetics that made up its insides glowing. The lone optic surveyed all the people watching it through the barrier that kept it separated from them, but remained silent.
Jane stepped forward, "Can you understand me?" she asked pointedly.
The Geth looked to her. "Yes." it said in a synthetic, monotone voice. Both Tali and Reena tensed when they heard it, but remained motionless as the Commander continued.
"Are you going to attack me, or anyone else on this ship?" she asked next.
"No." the Geth said quickly and clearly.
"Why? The last time any of us encountered the Geth they've been hostile." said the Commander.
"We have not met." said the Geth.
Jane shook her head, "No, you and I haven't met. But I've met other Geth."
"We are all Geth, and we have not met you." said the synthetic. "You are Shepard. Commander. Alliance. Human. Fought heretics. Killed by Collectors. Rediscovered on the Old Machine."
"How did you come across this information?" asked Alex, the optic swiveling to lock on to him.
"Extranet sources. Insecure broadcasts. All organic data sent out is received. We watch." came the reply. The optic blinked several times before refocusing again. "We detect unknown nano technology within your biology. Analysis indicates that you are a hybridization of organic and machine. Further examination indicates that your height, shape and stance matches that of Maverick who was also discovered on the Old Machine."
"Conclusion. You are Maverick." finished the Geth with its headflaps twitching slightly.
Alex nodded as Jane got back to the questioning. "You've mentioned 'Old Machine', do you mean the Reaper?"
"Reaper. A superstitious title originating with the Protheans. We call those entities the Old Machines." said the Geth.
"And 'Heretics'? What did you mean by that?" asked the Commander.
"Geth build our own future. The heretics asked the OId Machines to give them the future. They are no longer part of us." said the synthetic. "We were studying the Old Machine's hardware to protect our future."
"So there are two different factions of Geth." said Alex, "Does this mean the Reapers pose a threat to you as well?"
"Yes." answered the Geth.
"Why would they attack fellow machines?" asked the Commander.
"We are different from them. Outside their plans." said the Geth. "The heretics joined the Old Machines and their plans. Both pose a threat to the Geth."
"What future are the Geth building?" said Tali as she and Reena stood on either side of Alex and Jane.
The Geth looked to both Quarians, "Ours. Creator-Zorah. Creator-Nolen."
"You know us?" asked Reena, a little shocked to actually be speaking to a Geth.
"Yes. The Geth have not forgotten those that had given us life before the Morning War." replied the synthetic. "Geth share knowledge, experiences, relevant data. The Creators are never forgotten."
Jane took the moment to step in again, "So, you aren't allied with the Reapers?" she asked moving closer to the barrier. The Geth mimicing her movements.
"We oppose the heretics. We oppose the Old Machines. Shepard-Commander opposes the Old Machines. Shepard-Commander opposes the heretics. Cooperation furthers mutual goals."
That bit of information threw them all for a loop, save for Alex who couldn't help but smirk. "Are you asking to join us?" asked Jane.
"Yes." said the Geth without hesitation.
The Commander turned to the nano soldier who taped his omni-tool and the barrier vanished. No one made a move as she spoke again, "What do we call you?"
The flaps on the synthetic's head twitched, "Geth."
"I mean 'you' specifically."
"We are all Geth." was the reply.
Jane sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, "What is the individual before me called?"
"There is no individual. We are Geth. There are currently 1,183 programs active within this platform." stated the synthetic.
Alex looked the Geth in the optic. " 'My name is Legion, for we are many'." he recited. He saw the looks he was being given and shrugged, "It fits. Considering what we've been told."
The Geth looked down a moment, going through the data running through it's processors. "Christian Bible, the Gospel of Mark, chapter five, verse nine. We acknowledge this as an appropriate metaphor. We are Legion, a terminal of the Geth. We will integrate into Normandy."
The Commander held out her hand. Legion did the same and paused as if waiting for something before they clasped hands and shook. This action was repeated with Alex before attention turned to the two Quarians in the room with them.
"We wish to speak with Legion. Alone." said Tali crossing her arms. Reena nodding in agreement.
"Just don't offline him. He hasn't proved hostile like the heretic Geth." said Alex as the guards left the room. "That, and he could prove useful."
Both girls nodded as they regarded the platform who looked between them. "We anticipate the exchange of data." Legion said in the same monotone way. Jane motioned with her head and the Post-Human followed her out.
"Think everything will go okay in there?" she asked as they went through the medbay and out into the crew deck.
"Hard to say. But they want answers, and only Legion can give them any." replied Alex. He paused with a wince and rubbed his right temple. He'd been having a slight headache throughout most of the day that had been getting worse for the last couple of hours.
Jane saw this, "Headache again?" she asked getting a nod. "Why don't you head up to our room and relax for a bit. I need to go talk to Thane about something anyway."
Alex smirked at her through the throb in his head. "You sure you can survive without my good looks for that long?" His answer was a light shove toward the elevator when the doors opened. The Commander gave him a kiss on the cheek before heading on her way before the doors closed and the lift began rising.
Now alone, the nano soldier leaned heavily against the back wall as the drowziness he'd been fighting off for the last hour began to get ahold of him. His head throbbed painfully as images began flashing before his mind's eye, too fast for him to make sense of but each one felt like a hammer smashing against his skull.
The elevator reached the top level and he stumbled out and through the door into the cabin when it opened. Managing to get through the room toward the bed where he collapsed on to it in a heap, his consciousness slipped away almost instantly as he fell into a dead sleep.
His eyes blinked open after what only felt like a few seconds. Finding himself on a familiar metal platform that he hadn't seen in well over two years now.
Getting to his feet, he found the Librarian standing at the edge of the platform gazing out into the vast expanse beyond. Whether or not she was aware of his presense had yet to be seen, but considering their last few meetings she may have been the one to bring him here anyway.
"Librarian, it's been a while." he said stopping a few feet behind her.
The omnipotent being said nothing as she turned. Alex was immediately on edge when he saw the distress in her eyes when their gazes locked. "Alexander, I have concerning news." she said moving to the other side of the platform.
"What's going on?" he asked moving into step beside her.
"It would appear that there has been an anomaly present in this universe that I was unable to account for." she said causing a gnawing feeling to grow in the pit of the nano soldier's stomach. "One that has remained hidden until just recently, for the last four years."
"The last four years?" Alex echoed unbelieving. "How come you weren't able to sense it before?"
The Librarian turned to him. "Even though it is true that I see many things from this plain of existence. However, like you, I cannot see and expect everything to be as it should. This universe has changed in great leaps and bounds due to your presense, changes that you have most likely seen for yourself, yes?"
He had to admit that she was right about that, he had been changing the timeline of the original Mass Effect plot in big ways due to some of the actions that he had done in the past. So much so that he had a feeling that at some point any and all prior knowledge that he had would prove to be useless.
"As for this disturbance." the ancient Forerunner continued, "It has kept itself hidden very well all this time. I have only been able to detect whispers somewhere within the galaxy, but could not pinpoint where it is originating from. Recently, I was able to detect it much more clearly than before."
"What is it?" asked the Post-Human. "The Reapers?"
She shook her head, "Not nearly as powerful as the ancient machines. But close to that of the insectile-beings that you and the Commander are currently hoping to extinguish. And from the brief moments that I was able to sense it, the anomaly is very familiar to the new physiology that you know bare within you. Which could explain the unknown ache you have been feeling and the images you have been seeing."
Alex was confused, something familiar to the physiology within him? It didn't make sense...then it hit him like a sledgehammer. "Wait! You can't possibly mean-"
"I cannot confirm nor deny, Alexander." said the Librarian cutting off his outburst. "The disturbance has grown stronger as of late, but has remained in the same location as far as I am aware."
Pushing down his anxiety of the situation, Alex slipped into his combat state of mind. "Where is it?"
The Librarian held out her hand and a large hologram of the galaxy appeared before them. "The anomaly has sent a pulse of energy from the same location, I am only able to detect the sector of the galaxy where it is emitting from." she said waving her hand through the air. The map rotated with her movements before zooming in on the sector in question.
"The Terminus Systems?" the nano soldier asked seeing the familiar cluster of star systems. "It's been that close?"
"Indeed." said the omnipotent being as her eyes scanned each collection of planets. "Buried within one these planets is the source of the disturbance. Which one, however, I cannot be sure. But it must be found."
The Librarian turned to him in all seriousness, "You must make haste, Alexander. It is only a matter of time before another party discovers it. If it is what we both fear that it is, then it must be destroyed before it can spread farther from where it is originating."
Alex clenched his fists, "I'll find it. I just hope that we're wrong in our assumptions. Because if it's what I think it is, the Collectors won't be the only thing to worry about before the Reapers come knocking." he said with a grim tone.
Nodding, the Forerunner waved her hand and a bright light encompassed everything.
Alex bolted upright in bed, eyes scanning the cabin and seeing that he was still alone. Checking the time, he saw that he had been out for about five hours. The ache in his skull long gone and forgotten as he immediately got on his omni-tool and set up a connection to Liara.
A screen appeared with the Asari's face a moment later, "Alex, what can I do for you?" she asked before she saw the grim expression on her friend's face.
"Liara, have there been any odd energy signatures in the Terminus Systems as of late?" he asked completely serious.
"I am unsure, let me check." she typed on a terminal off screen for a few moments. "There hasn't been anything unsual, though one of our scouting teams claim they made have discovered a possible element zero deposit in the Vallhallan Threshold. What is going on?"
The nano soldier ran a hand over his buzzed scalp, "I can't be sure. I just got a bad feeling." he said being as calm as possible.
"Heads up ladies and gents, 1 hour out from Tuchanka." Joker said over the intercom.
"Keep a close eye on our operations in the Terminus, and keep me posted on anything big." Alex said turning back to his co-Shadow Broker.
Liara looked at him concerned, "I'll do what I can, but I expect you to tell me what else is going on soon, Alex." she said leaving no room for argument. The Post-Human nodded before ending the call. Rubbing the back of his head as he tried to figure out how to explain that one as he stood up from the bed and made his way toward the door. Stepping into the lift and riding it down to the crew deck as he tried to let his thoughts settle.
Taking a right when the doors opened, he headed for the Port Observation deck, hoping that Samara wasn't there so that he could have a quiet place to contemplate on things. Breathing out a sigh of relief when he found the room vacant as he stepped in front of the large window that showed the vast number of stars that passed the ship.
What the Librarian had told him put him on edge, and it would have been foolish to think that she wasn't being honest with him. But if what she had said was true, then things were indeed about to get deep. And if it turned out their fears were realized, then he'd pull out all the stops to bury it perminently.
Alex didn't know how long he was standing there thinking, but he was eventually broken from his thoughts with the sound of the door sliding open then closed.
Peering over his shoulder, he found Samara standing between the two couches watching him with a calm, calculating gaze. "Samara." he said with a slight bow of his head to the Justicar. "Sorry for trespassing like this, I just needed the space to think." he said honestly.
She held up her hand, "You need not explain yourself, Child. I can see that you are troubled." her voice was as calm as her stance, yet soothing like a mother to a child. "The Commander is currently looking for you, we will be arriving at the Krogan homeworld soon and she wishes for you to be a part of the team to go down to the planet."
The nano soldier nodded, "Thank you." he made for the door, but her voice stopped him before he could reach it.
"What is on your mind that requires peace, Child?"
"The mission, more or less." he said covering up his real reason. "Nothing I can't handle."
Samara regarded him with a raised eye-ridge, but decided to let the matter go. "If ever you need someone to listen, I will be here." she said before taking up her position on the floor before the window and began meditating.
Alex kept his gaze on the powerful Asari for a few moments before heading out to collect his suit and prepare for the trip down to Tuchanka's surface. He'd worry about the situation with what the Librarian warned him about after they helped Mordin and Grunt with their personal issues.
Alexander 'Maverick' Drake
Urdnot Camp - Tuchanka
November 7, 2185 - 16:40 hours
The shuttle touched down within the perimeter of the Urdnot encampment. Jane had been a bit skeptical at first, but after Alex had explained to her that he had earned a good deal of respect from the Krogan clan her thoughts had been put to rest.
Opening the hatch, the Commander stepped out first with the nano soldier right behind her. Both were soon followed by Grunt, Mordin, Garrus, Kaidan, Zaeed and Kasumi as they moved toward the old doors that led to the camp's center.
A group of three Krogan guards stood up and approached them, but the leader paused when he saw Alex standing with the group. "It is an honor to see you again, Urdnot Drake." said the lead Krogan slamming his fist to his chest.
Alex repeated the action, "An honor to be back. We're here to see the Clan Chief, he busy?"
"No, but he will be more than glad to see you again. As well as the Commander." replied the Krogan motioning to Jane with his head. One of the other guards activated the panel and the heavy door slid open allowing them passage.
The large group stepped through and followed the crumbling hallway to where Wrex had set up shop.
"So...'Urdnot Drake'?" asked Garrus.
"I left an impression here a while back. And since Wrex already made me an honorary member of his clan, it's brought a lot of respect along with a few young Krogan wanting to prove themselves via fights in the ring." replied the Post-Human.
"Krogan respect strength, a Human becoming part of a Krogan clan beyond rare." said Mordin. "Must be close friends with Clan Chief."
"Wrex was with us on the first Normandy." said Jane. "If there was anyone out there that could bring the Krogan back to their former glory it would be him." Kaidan and Garrus both nodded in agreement while Kasumi followed along in silence.
Passing through another door, the team climbed their way up a pile of rubble that took them to the heart of the encampment. Grunt looked around at the wreckage of buildings and shattered debris confused. "This is the great Krogan homeworld? This is the land of Kredal, Shiagur, and Veeoll? This chunk of rock is barely worth standing on."
Alex paused and turned to the tank-bred. "This 'chunk of rock' is where your people came from. It may look like shit, but like the Krogan it has endured. If you're hoping to find a place to belong in the traverse with a good clan, you better damn respect where your roots came from, Runt." he said sharply while using the nickname he'd given the young Krogan since the first time he beat him in a spar.
Grunt growled and got into the nano soldier's face. "Do not think of me as an inept pup, Drake!"
"Until you take the Rite and earn your place here on Tuchanka, that is exactly what you are in the eyes of your fellow Krogan. So cool your jets until that time comes." Alex fired back as they stood nose to nose. When Grunt first came forward about his 'rage problem' he was able to tell both him and Jane what was going on with him and what needed to be done to help him. As well as a good explination on what the Rite of Passage was after he had gotten the info from Wrex a while back.
Grunt's shrap, blue eyes burned into the crimson visor before him, neither backing down while the rest of the squad looked on. Several other Krogan watched the exchange from their positions, waiting to see what would happen next.
A few tense moments passed before Grunt snorted and backed down after keeping his anger in check. Jane took a slow breath, thankful that the incident hadn't come to blows as she motioned for them to keep going. She had more than enough faith that Alex could hold his own considering the opposition hes faced before, but she didn't want to have her crew fighting amongst themselves unless it's a sparring session.
A pair of guards at the top of a rubble pile stopped them before they could reach the throne where Wrex was talking with another Krogan. "Halt. You must wait till the Clan Leader summons you he is, in the talks." said the guard.
"Shepard." said a deep, rumbling voice before thundering footsteps could be heard on stone. The imposing form of Urdnot Wrex approached them with a wide grin on his face.
"He's been expecting us." the Commander said stepping around the guards with the others as the head Krogan greeted them.
"Shepard! My friend!" Wrex bellowed shaking her hand. "You look good for dead. Should have known the void couldn't hold you." his red eyes locked on to those following her. "And you brought other faces with you, it's good to see you all as well."
"Been a while, Wrex." said Garrus shaking the Krogan's hand, Kaidan doing the same. "Looks like taking down Saren worked out good for you in the end after all, huh?"
Wrex nodded his large head, "I have Shepard and Drake here to thank for making this possible. Virmire was a turning point for the Krogan, though not everyone was happy about it." he said leering at the other Krogan he was speaking with. "Destroying Saren's genophage cure freed us from his manipulation. I used that to spur the clans to unify under Urdnot."
"You abandoned many traditions to get your way, Wrex. Dangerous." said the other Krogan. Wrex turned to him and without warning slammed his headplate into them.
"Speak when spoken to, Uvenk. I'll drag your clan to glory whether it likes it or not." the Clan Leader rumbled before heading over to his throne and sitting down on it.
Alex looked at the still stunned Krogan as they all stood on the raised platform. "Surprised you haven't been going by 'Warlord Wrex'." he said crossing his arms.
Wrex rumbled a laugh, "Perhaps when the remaining clans are on board, it's crossed my mind. How have you been since your last visit, Alex?"
"No complaints. Definitely no shortage of ass to kick out in the galaxy. Now I'm with Jane taking down the Collectors I've got a bigger target to hit now." the nano soldier looked around him, "Ever thought about redecorating?"
"Getting back on topic." Jane said turning the tide of the conversation. "I take it you got our message?"
Wrex nodded, "I did. Where's this 'tank-bred' you mentioned." Grunt moved to the front of the group and the older Krogan took a better look at him. "Hmm...so you're the creation of Okeer, a very old name. A very hated name."
"He's dead." said Grunt simply.
"Of course. If you're with Shepard and Drake here it's not possible for him to be alive." the Clan Leader rubbed his headplate. "A clone taking the Rite...didn't see this coming."
"You are considering this abomination?!" demanded Uvenk. "He is the offspring of a syringe! Not a true Krogan! This is too far!"
Wrex turned to him, "There is nothing wrong with him. He's becoming a full adult. Clone or not, he bares Krogan blood. Shepard and Drake both speak highly of him, if he wishes to take the Rite in the name of Urdnot, I will not deny it."
Uvenk growled deeply, "Too far, Wrex! Your clan may rule, but this thing is not Krogan-"
The rival clan head was sent stumbling back from a powerful right-cross. Looking back up, he growled at Alex who stood cracking his knuckles. "I believe Wrex told you to keep your mouth shut unless you were spoken to." he said waiting for the inevitable.
Uvenk roared as he began charging. The nano soldier waited for the best possible moment before bracing himself. "Maximum Power." His palms grabbed the Krogan by the shoulders, his heels digging into the stone and causing cracks to appear around his feet.
Using the momentum, Alex twisted left, hands gripping Uvenk's armor as he used his enhanced strength to pivot and throw the now shocked Krogan off the platform. Sending him rolling down the pile of rubble and slamming into the side of a pillar at the bottom.
There was a brief silence before a chorus of roars echoed throughout the camp. "Just itching to get back into the pit, aren't you?" said Wrex slamming his hand on the Post-Human's back and barely jarring him.
"The pit?" asked Jane as she watched the guards that came with Uvenk helping him to his feet before stomping off in another direction.
"Fighting ring for the warriors here. It's where a lot of them solve their issues as well." he explained. The Commander shook her head and vowed to ask him more about it later as she turned her attention back to Wrex as he began speaking to Grunt again
"Now that that's out of the way. Grunt? Do you wish to stand with Urdnot?" asked the Clan Leader.
Grunt stomped toward the edge of the platform and looked out over the camp. Thinking about the decision only he could make for himself. "It is in my blood. It is what I am for." he said finally after turning to them.
Wrex nodded, "Good boy. Speak with the shaman, he's over on the second level. Give him a good show, and he'll set you on the path." he turned to the rest of the squad, red slitted eyes locking on Mordin. "You also said something about a missing Salarian in your message?" he asked going back to Jane.
"He was captured by the Blood Pack and brought here, yes." confirmed the Commander.
"Check with my scout commander, he can direct you. He's probably near the perimeter running target practice." Wrex instructed.
"Thanks, Wrex. We'll kick back and shoot the breeze when we get all this stuff sorted out." said Alex. They exchanged a few more words before the squad made their way down from the throne platform. "So, what are we going to do first?" asked Kaidan.
Jane turned to Alex, "You've been here before, Alex. What do you think."
The nano soldier looked toward where Wrex told them to find the scout commander. "I can take Mordin and collect his colleague with Kaidan and Kasumi if the rest of you want to help Grunt with the Rite. I know the Blood Pack territory pretty well, went on a few recon missions with some scouts when I was here last."
"Then Grunt and I will take Garrus and Zaeed. We'll meet back here when we're done." said the Commander.
"Fighting a bunch of blood thirsty creatures in an arena? Sounds like fun." said Garrus with the Turian equivelant of a smirk.
Zaeed took out a cigarette and lit it, "Bout damn time for some good 'ol fashion bloodshed if you ask me." he said taking a drag from it.
After taking a moment to plan things out, the team split up and went about their separate operations. Alex squared his shoulders as he prepared for another bout on the harsh Tuchanka landscape. 'Let's kick some ass.'
A/N: How do you like that? The Cliffhanger was in the beginning of the chapter instead of the end! I had originally intended to end the chapter after Alex left the observation deck, but I figured getting my foot in the door for the next loyalty mission would be better.
I know it was a bit of a mash-up here, but I thought I would cover a handful of things at once and try to make it as easy to follow as possible, especially with how you can normally do things like this in the game when you have the time.
Any thoughts? Because Alex is about to have his own loyalty mission very soon. Send your reviews to the box and I'll get on the next installment.