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Mass Effect: A Hero Rises

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We’d been on the Citadel for a day, and I was ready to order us back to the Normandy to move onto the next assignment when my world took a bizarre turn. Chora’s Den didn’t take long to reopen, and as it had proven to be a rather popular place to gather for drinks, and definitely to gain information, our team had chosen to head there for a few drinks. I was surprised the likes of Ashley agreed, though she said that, having been out with her friends from the 212 often enough, the sight of breasts nearby didn’t faze her at all.

It was while we were walking towards the club that my world may have turned upside down, if I gave a shit, that is. Once he called out my name and our eyes met, I remembered him. One of my foot soldiers from when I ran with the Reds back on Earth. Well, not when I ran with. When I ran them. I simply wondered what he wanted, and more importantly, what he was doing on the Citadel.

“They told me it was you, but I didn’t believe it. Shepard grew up and turned into a soldier.”

I didn’t recognise him straight away simply because it had been over a decade at least since I’d seen anyone from that time. Add to that, anyone I did know would now be an adult, and people definitely change over the course of a decade. “Who are you and why are you in my way?”

Leaning against the wall as he was, no doubt my abrupt manner riled him. He probably thought he was important to me. No-one from that time was. They were… a means to an end. Standing straight, he looked me in the eyes at least. “Name’s Finch. Not surprised by the fact you don’t remember me. Doubt you remember anyone. But I do remember that you ran the Tenth Street Reds.” He smirked. “Yeah, doubt you’ll say anything about that now. None of the vids that come out about the ‘Heroic Commander Shepard’ make mention of the fact he ran with a gang back on Earth.”

I shrugged. “Most people, at least those important to me, know my past. I’m not ashamed of what I did. Call it a learning experience. You’re obviously here for a reason, Finch. Spill it.”

“Or I could just shoot him, Shepard,” Wrex stated.

I gestured. “No, we won’t do that just yet, Wrex. Call me intrigued.”

“One of the Reds, Curt Weisman, got picked up by the turians. We’d like you to talk to the turian guard in the bar and get Curt out.”

I’ll admit, I laughed in his face. “What the fuck makes you think I’ll agree to helping you out?”

“Laugh now, Shepard, but don’t forget that, at one time, you were one of us. A Tenth Street Red. You weren’t just one of us, you loved us. You led us. Some of those kids have now grown up and still wear the badge and colours. But now they look at the vids and wonder who you really were.”

“I led you until the day a better opportunity came along.”

“So we were what, a stepping stone?”

I shrugged. “If you want to see it that way.”

“Should have known you were never true. But still, I’m sure there’s an allegiance somewhere within. So what’ll it be, Shepard? You going to help out a brother?”

I glanced back at my team, smirked, before I turned back towards Finch. “Of course, Finch!” I exclaimed, before I clocked him across the jaw. I didn’t quite knock him out, but he certainly went down like a sack of spuds. Crouching down next to him as he spat out some blood, I could only add, “You are seriously fucking stupid for approaching me like this.”

“You’re going down, Shepard. Do your alien friends know what you’re like? Fucking alien lover.”

I hit him again, almost knocked him out before I stood up and dragged him up with me. “Maybe. Maybe not. But the Reds I remember running with didn’t talk like that. Sure, we committed crimes, but we were not hateful. We simply survived, doing the best we could each day. If you’re now involved in other things, then I’m glad I left.”

“You always were a soft cunt,” he exclaimed.

That earned him a headbutt into the face, which definitely knocked him out. As we were near Chora’s Den, I figured that might relate to why Finch was hanging around, so I headed inside, carrying his unconscious body. I was eventually approached by a turian guard, who asked who he was. “Well, I’m Commander Shepard…”

“I know who you are, Commander.”

“Oh, good. Well, in that case, this unconscious gentleman goes by the name of Finch. Before he ended up unconscious, he was trying to bribe me into having someone by the name of Curt Weisman released?”

“Weisman? Why the hell… Do you know what he’s in for, Commander?”

“No.”

“He’s a xenophobe of the worst kind. We caught him trying to poison medical supplies that, if we hadn’t caught him, would have ended up killing millions of turians.”

“Where did you catch him?”

“Turian space. One of our colony worlds.”

“Shit, I had no idea they had changed so much.” I flung Finch to the floor. “Though I would dearly love to kill this worthless sack of shit, I think a lifetime behind bars would be better. Put him in one next to Weisman, let them suffer together. Ensure they are never released. I may have run with a gang before but we never stooped to that sort of barbarity.”

“At your word, Commander. And thanks for handing over another, as you call it, sack of shit.”

The guard picked up the unconscious Finch, slapping him until he woke up, before dragging him away. He looked back, yelling all manner of abuse in my direction. I simply returned a sarcastic wave, as whatever he yelled was ignored by all the other patrons. Only when they had disappeared did I turn to my team. “So, anyone have questions?”

“We know your history but only the official parts. Would you mind going into details?” Alenko asked.

I shrugged. “Sure. Let me get a round in and I can give you the nitty-gritty.”

We grabbed a large booth at the back, though privacy wasn’t possible. Once one of the scantily clad waitresses had delivered our drinks, immediately putting in another order so we wouldn’t be thirsty, I opened the floor to questions. I assumed they knew the basics, so the first question Garrus asked was, “Were the Reds anti-alien?”

“When I ran them, no, not at all. We committed what I would call petty crimes. Not victimless, I can look back and say there was always a victim. But I generally ruled that, as long as no-one was physically hurt, we could live with ourselves. Before anyone asks, it was things like pickpocketing, robbery and shoplifting. Basically things that either gained us money or supplies. We generally tried to avoid hurting people.”

“Okay, we know you ended up with the Alliance, but how is that glossed over. What happened?” Ash asked.

I took a sip of beer before nodding. “A fair question. What happened is that someone was eventually killed. An elderly gentleman, think he was in his seventies. Robbery gone wrong. We lived by the rule of no-one got hurt but he fought back, he fell, smacked his head, and that was it. The two committing the crime ran and led the fuzz straight back to our hideout. I knew, then and there, we were done for.

Despite all the crime, we were not armed with weaponry, certainly not guns. When the cops arrived in force, all we had to fight them off were baseball bats and lead pipes. Some of the kids wanted to fight, but I knew a lot of us would just end up dead, so I ordered them to surrender. I was taken in immediately. The cops knew who I was.

To be honest, I was ready to simply take whatever they threw at me. I was guilty as sin. But, for some reason, Anderson walked into the interrogation room and offered me an opportunity. Apparently running my own gang was a good thing in their eyes. They could mould me into what they needed and wanted. Guess it worked because here I am now.

As for the anti-alien stuff, that must have happened later, after I’d been arrested and then joined the Alliance. I honestly thought that would have been the end of the Reds, but I guess enough of them got away to carry on. Guess Finch was one of them and the fact I’ve moved on pissed him off. The fact he thought I’d willingly help out after all this time reflects on him, not me.”

“So you don’t hate aliens?” Tali asked, and I heard the concern.

“I think the fact you guys are with me would suggest that I don’t, Tali. But to ease your concerns, no, I definitely don’t hate your kind, nor any other what we once called aliens. I think we can all learn from each other. Quite frankly, I think all our species are more alike than we’d care to admit.”

“What will you do about Finch?” Garrus wondered.

His tone intrigued me, so I asked, “How do you mean?”

“Well, do you think he was working here alone?"

I leaned back, stroked my chin. “Unlikely. But it makes me wonder how much they’ve changed since I left.”

“Think we should find out?”

I definitely heard his tone. Garrus wanted to find out. Considering this Weisman had been on the verge of possibly killing many of his people, I could understand why. “We’ll find out first thing tomorrow, Garrus. Just us two.”

The conversation thankfully moved on after that, all of us enjoying a few drinks, one or two girls getting up to dance, before we all headed back to the Normandy. I didn’t go to bed alone that night, though Shiala only wandered in after everyone else had disappeared for the evening. Lying back on my bed, as I was just ready to go to sleep, I found my boxer-briefs pulled down as she kneeled between my legs and she started to suck my cock without hesitation. I could only lean back and groan as, while I don’t think she’d done that before, she’d either read about it or she was naturally gifted.

“Shiala,” I whispered.

“I want you to cum for me, Shepard.”

I couldn’t help chuckle. “Keep going and it’s a guarantee.”

Somehow, she managed to take my entire length, feeling her nose eventually bump into me, and that seemed to excite her quite a bit. Her head was soon bobbing up and down quickly, her eyes looking up into mine. I could barely do anything as she was really bloody good, sending tingles up and down my body, her mouth and tongue pleasing my cock, her hands and fingers caressing my body. Yes, she definitely knew what she was doing.

“Oh god,” I moaned, feeling the inevitable approach.

She didn’t relent. In fact, I’m sure she picked up the pace. I couldn’t help start to gently thrust up into her mouth, though she met my gentle thrusts, almost desperate for me to cum. I groaned a final time before I felt myself erupt, feeing the muscles in my legs tighten as I unloaded into her mouth. I’m sure I heard her audibly gulp down what I emptied into her mouth as she kept sucking me until I relaxed back onto the bed, my mind now completely blank, my body more relaxed than it had been in some time.

Shiala finally released my cock, feeling it flop against my stomach, as she kissed up my chest before resting next to me, wrapping an arm around her. “I’m glad you like us, Shepard,” she whispered.

“Huh?”

“Aliens. I’m glad you like us.”

I chuckled. “Do things like that, and I won’t want humans anymore.” I met her eyes. “But… what was that for?”

“Shepard, you made me cum so hard the other night, you made me cry. I just wanted to return the favour. I hope it was…”

I kissed her before she could continue. “Best blowjob I’ve had in years.” That made the smile on her face broaden, highlighting those gorgeous eyes she had. “Want the favour returned?”

“Nope. I just wanted to do that for you before going to sleep. Do you mind?”

“I don’t. I just… Never mind…”

Waking the next morning, she was still asleep. Able to extricate myself without waking her, I woke her up by pleasuring her with my mouth. She woke up with a gasp, looking to see me licking her beautiful pussy. She didn’t say anything, simply spreading her legs as she reached down to run a hand through my hair. “Shepard,” she breathed.

“I’m going to make you cum hard again, Shiala.” She simply nodded, blinking rapidly. “Can you handle that?”

“Goddess, yes. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

She lasted all of five minutes before I made her cry out my name, hand grabbing my hair to stop me from moving away, basically rubbing her pussy in my face as her body quivered. I simply doubled down what I was doing, flicking her clit fast with my tongue, sending shockwaves up her body. It was obviously too much for her but she didn’t or couldn’t ask me to stop, looking up to see her cheeks were wet. Looking down, she nodded. “Keep going. Please keep going,” she whispered.

So that’s what I did. I lifted her body up until I was resting on my knees, looking down into her eyes. It was a little awkward, but with her legs resting over my shoulders, she was making even more noise. I loved her taste, and knew I’d happily eat her out every morning and night until the day I put a bullet in Saren. I made her cum again a second time, wondering if she would ask me to stop. She eventually whispered that she’d had enough, so I gently lowered her down onto the bed and removed my mouth, though kissed my way up her body before I looked down into her eyes. “Is it always that good?”

I smiled. “Well, I hope it is.”

I laid down beside her, Shiala turned onto her side and hugging me. “And here I thought last night ‘I’m just going go in there, such his cock, and that would be it’. Should have known!”

“Oh, I love a blowjob as much as the next man. Next time, you blow me and I’ll eat you out at the same time. That’s always good fun.”

We lay together until our stomachs grumbled and we needed breakfast. After dressing, we headed out together, this time no-one making any comment as we took our seats with our trays of food. Conversations between everyone continued, Shiala immediately offering her opinion on something being discussed between Liara and Ashley, both listening without making any mention of the fact she’d walked out of my quarters. After breakfast, I told the team that Garrus and I would be speaking with Finch, so they would be free for the day, but that we would be departing the next morning.

The mess eventually ended so that only Garrus and I were left. We didn’t really need to say anything, simply rising to our feet and heading out into the Citadel. Wandering toward C-Sec, I asked Garrus if they’d play ball. “You’re a Spectre, Shepard.”

“Ah, yeah. I just don’t want to rub them up the wrong way.”

“Considering what they’ve done, as long as you don’t ask for their release, they probably wouldn’t mind you shooting them.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

Walking down to the cells, I asked for Weisman and Finch. They were in separate, isolated cells, both earmarked for transportation back to turian space. I could only assume the Alliance was aware and hadn’t made a fuss. Considering they were criminals, I certainly wouldn’t stop them facing justice. And I knew turian justice was harsh.

I asked for Weisman first, having never met the man. Once he was placed in an interrogation room, I suggested to Garrus we play good cop, bad cop. He was surprised when I said I’d like to play bad cop, as he didn’t know me. If he did from the old days, he didn’t know me now.

I’ll admit, I beat him black and blue during interrogation, particularly after he admitted to his crimes. He would have been responsible for mass murder. Thousands if not millions of turians could have died had he been successful. The Reds I knew would never had done that. Whoever ran them now, and that was one thing he’d never confess, deserved a bullet.

Calling the guards in, they carried his bloodied, battered body back to his cell. He’d get rudimentary medical care but I doubted they’d give a shit. As I said, they probably expected me to kill him.

When Finch was brought in, Garrus and I swapped roles. I took a seat opposite Finch and questioned him, Garrus gave him a slap whenever he refused to answer or gave us one we didn’t like. I’ll admit that, by the end, we might have got carried away and, to be honest, he was lucky to walk out of the room alive. Did I feel bad about it? No, not at all. We got the information I wanted, handing that straight to C-Sec while also sending it to the Alliance. The Reds would hopefully cease to exist once they figured out how to handle them.

That left us the rest of the day to fill in and I thought I’d help out who I already considered a friend. “So, have you spoken to Chloe lately?” I wondered.

“What?”

“Well, as I said, Garrus, it was obvious she thought highly of you.”

“That doesn’t mean…”

“There’s no harm in trying,” I stated, interrupting him, “All you need to be is a little bit brave.”

He sighed, I think already in defeat, and it didn’t take much effort me to lead us towards her office. Striding in with Garrus a step behind, Chloe was definitely surprised to see us. “Commander, what brings you here?”

“We just wanted to see how you were doing after everything that went down before?”

“Oh, I’m fine, Commander. I wasn’t harmed and, while it was scary, it was a minor incident in the grand scheme of things.”

I gave Garrus an elbow. Probably noticed, but it woke him up. “Oh,” he cleared his throat, “I’m glad to hear you’re okay, Chloe.”

She immediately blushed and I nearly burst out laughing. They were as bad as each other. So I needed to get crafty, basically stepping aside and faking a message arriving. Garrus was making awkward small talk, or perhaps it was the other way around, but I made my omni-tool ping a couple of minutes later. “Well, damn, I’ve got to go deal with something.”

“Do you need my help?” Garrus asked.

“No, Spectre level only, Garrus. Sorry about that. Why don’t you just stay here with Chloe and keep her company? I’m sure she’d love that.”

“Oh, I don’t…”

“I would like that,” Garrus stated straight away. Finally found that spine he had.

“You would?”

Garrus turned to her, took a step closer. “I would, if you’d like my company.”

The blush turned into a smile. The sort of smile that told me everything she felt about him. She was smitten. “I’d definitely like that.” He didn’t smile, but the gentle grab of her hand… well, I’m sure you can imagine.

I don’t think either of them even noticed me leave. I’d definitely have to ask Garrus the next morning how everything went. I wouldn’t ask for the details, but if he got laid, good for him. He needed the release of tension.

Heading back to the Normandy, I spent most of the day at work, liaising with Pressly regarding a number of assignments we had to complete in addition to dealing with Saren. Noveria was still top of the list but there were a few matters that were listed urgent. I’m not sure what was more urgent than the impending destruction of the galaxy, but I was assuming that Saren still hadn’t found what he needed, as the Reapers hadn’t arrived yet, so we still had time.

Nearly everyone returned to the Normandy that evening. Everyone except Garrus, that is. It was noticed as we ate dinner. Wrex asked me where he was, I simply shrugged and said I didn’t know. The krogan figured I was telling a white lie but didn’t push me. There were one or two subtle digs at me about what I’d been up to that afternoon, admitting that I’d been rather boring and just got on with work.

I slept alone that night, not that I minded. I thought Shiala might have wandered in again, but she disappeared to bed before most of us, figuring she was just tired. I actually ended up spending most of my time chatting with Ashley. Despite being human, she’d rarely been to Earth, having been born and grown up on a colony world and only visiting Earth when she was in training. She spent some time comparing her military career to mine and we definitively agreed that it was completely bullshit that she hadn’t been promoted. I gave her a solemn vow I’d help her progress after the mission.

Getting up to go to bed, she said, “Just a way for you to get into my pants, Shepard. Get on my good side.”

“I don’t do favours just to have sex with women, Ash. You deserve…”

“I’m yanking your chain, Shepard.”

I couldn’t help grin. “I figured, but…”

She took a step closer. “Would you like to though?” she asked, her tone softer, even… sultry.

“What, sleep with you?” She nodded. I smiled again before leaning closer to her ear. “I wouldn’t mind fucking your brains out, Ash. Get you on all fours then just make you beg for more.”

I heard her gasp but she didn’t move away. “What else?” she breathed into my ear.

“What else would you like?” I retorted quietly.

“I’d love you to eat my pussy, Shepard. All night, just your mouth between my legs. Would you like that?”

“I’d love it, Ash.” She met my eyes and I could read them easily. “But not tonight. We have a lot to do.”

She nodded, understanding immediately. “Of course, Shepard. But, maybe one day…”

“You’ve… changed…”

“I’ve been listening to Shiala, Shepard. I’m missing out. I don’t want to miss out. I’m not after commitment. I have my career to think about. But I miss the… intimacy that comes with being with someone. And I look at you and… I want…”

I stepped forward so our bodies were almost touching, leaning down so I nearly kissed her. “You want me, Ash? I want to hear you say it.”

“God yes, Shepard. I want you. Your hands on my body. Your lips on mine. Naked beneath you as you’re inside me.” She smirked. “Descriptive enough?”

I couldn’t help smile again. I tried not to make it look triumphant. “That feeling is mutual.” The smile that formed lit up her face, made her look ten times more beautiful in an instant. “And you’re beautiful when you smile.” That made her blush immediately. “Sorry, just…”

“No, I’ll take the compliment, Shepard.” She took a deep breath and stepped back. “I’d better go. Part of me doesn’t want to, but…”

“Good night, Chief.”

Another smile, recognising what I was doing. “Good night, Commander. I’ll see you at breakfast.”

“That you will. Couple of big days coming up.”

I decided we’d have breakfast before departing the next morning, also needing to wait for Garrus to show up. He came strolling into the mess just as we were about to finish, definitely looking pleased with himself. Taking a seat next to Wrex, the krogan just stated, “Someone got lucky last night. And, for once, it wasn’t Shepard.”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, Wrex.”

“Bullshit, turian. You just strolled in here, looking all sorts of smug, the look of a man who had his balls emptied last night.”

“Wrex!” Tali exclaimed, though giggling away.

“Get used to it, little one. It appears it’s not only the Commander that is getting some action now.” Wrex looked around the table before stopping at someone. “What about you, doc? Think you could handle a krogan?” I think Liara definitely turned a paler shade of blue, which only made him laugh harder. “Only kidding, doc. I know who you have the hots for.” He made an obvious glance in another direction. “Same with you, Ash. And you, Chakwas. I have all of you picked.”

I just burst into laughter. “Can’t get anything past you, can we?”

“I’m old enough to have seen this sort of shit happen before. Garrus now has a girlfriend.”

“Wait, what?”

“Oh, you definitely have a girlfriend now, turian. And as for you, Shepard, you just appear to be a magnet. Can understand why. Shiala has already let slip how… gifted you are.”

I glanced down the table. Shiala couldn’t meet my eyes, definitely blushing. “Gifted how?” Tali wondered.

“He has a big cock, little one. From what Shiala said, up to eight inches but also nice and thick.”

“Keelah,” Tali whispered, “They can get that big?”

“Krogan have bigger, but this isn’t a dick measuring contest. Let’s just say our Commander is well above average for his species.”

I met the eyes of Ashley. Hearing what I had definitely surprised her, and there was now a look in her eyes that suggested she didn’t want to wait much longer. Liara was simply blushing, the conversation probably too much for her. “Does it hurt?” Tali asked Shiala.

“Goddess, no. It’s perfect. I’m just amazed I managed to swallow his whole cock when I blew him.”

Wrex burst into laughter, slamming the table with his palm. Alenko couldn’t help burst into laughter too. “Well, this has turned into quite the breakfast conversation.”

“You want some action, LT?” Ashley joked.

“Ah, well, um…” He trailed off, looking embarrassed.

“Alenko, you can admit it. I’ve seen your file. No-one is going to judge. We don’t live in that world anymore,” I stated.

He shrugged, looking around the table. “Guess I hide it well, not that I do it in on purpose, but you can never be too sure of how people would react, even in todays world.” He cleared his throat before adding, “I prefer the company of men, Ash.”

“Oh, I had no idea.”

“I just don’t talk about my private life all that much. But I realised I preferred men after hooking up with this one girl I really liked. Realised I liked her as a friend rather than lover, then realised I was actually attracted to someone else in the same group, my feelings being all mixed up as I didn’t comprehend them at the time. He felt the same way and… well, that’s been my life since.” He sighed. “Being single does suck though.”

Wrex leaned forward. “Ever had krogan before?”

This made me laugh even harder, Tali even giggled. “Seriously?” Alenko asked.

Wrex shrugged. “Krogan don’t have what you were term sexual preferences. We’ll have sex with anyone. We do have sex with females for procreation but, other than that, it’s just for fun.”

Alenko looked around the table. “You’re being serious here?”

Wrex shrugged again. “I’m prepared to do a colleague a favour. I do warn you though, Alenko. I’m what you humans call well hung.”

“Um, maybe we should discuss this in private…”

“Well, looks like everyone is getting laid,” I joked, before a couple of people look at me, “Well, nearly everyone.”

Thankfully, we split up quickly as we did need to move. Once we’d departed the Citadel, I had the Normandy head to the Voyager Cluster, in particular a planet by the name of Binthu. One of the urgent assignments involved a message I’d received from Admiral Kahoku, who had continued his investigation into the activities of Cerberus. Having located one of their facilities, he was personally investigating the plan but asked for my immediate back up.

In orbit around the planet, I tried to contact him below, but received no response. As usual, I would have the entire team on the ground with me, not prepared to leave any of them behind for the time being. With all of us having particular skills, we would be using overwhelming force against any opposition.

Landing groundside in the Mako, we’d already pinged the three facilities that we’d located before landing. Driving us towards the first one, we found ourselves under fire from what I could only assume were human terrorists the closer I drove.

“Light them up, Garrus,” I ordered, immediately hearing the machine gun above our heads do just that.

One of them had a rocket launcher, managing to fire one straight at us before Garrus riddled him with bullets. The rest were armed with rifles, stupidly thinking they’d do anything to our shielded and armoured machine. Killing them all didn’t take too long, and after we climbed out, Alenko did ask for orders.

“Like with ExoGeni, we’ll see if we can take prisoners and find out more about this Cerberus.”

Everyone agreed, even Wrex, and after checking armours and weapons, we headed inside. It was another facility dug into the ground, and it they were filled with terrorists. Those armed with weapons, we returned fire, shot and killed where they stood. The researchers and scientists we tried to shoot in the leg or arm. If they were stupid enough to pull a weapon, they joined others on the floor. But that isn’t what grabbed our attention.

“Creepers,” I muttered as I approached the force field. “Tali, can you get it down?”

“Of course, Shepard.”

“Shotguns out, people. Soon as it disappears, we kill them all.”

It didn’t take Tali long to get the shields down. As soon as it blinked out, we opened fire. The noise was deafening. The creepers didn’t stand a chance, their bodies simply piling on the floor. Ashley had cuffed and collared the lone scientist, and after a final check to make sure we’d collected all the data possible, and left no-one behind, we left the facility.

“The hell are we going to find at the second one?” Garrus muttered.

“Just what are these people up to?” Alenko asked himself.

Both were good questions as we boarded the Mako, now even more cramped with our prisoner. The second facility was like the first, the outside patrolled by terrorists, the inside full of them as well. But what lurked behind the force field this time… If you looked up monster in the dictionary, something like that would appear.

“The fuck are those?” I wondered.

Wrex sniffed the air. “They smell wrong, Shepard. Very wrong.”

“Know what it is?”

“I might, but then it doesn’t make sense.” He sniffed again. “I could be wrong.”

What we did was release them and kill them immediately. Everyone from Cerberus was dead, even the scientists taking out weapons as soon as we entered the large room where they seemed to be waiting for us. We grabbed more data, though nothing told us what the monsters were, simply saying they were experiments on sample letters and numbers. Would have liked the name of whatever it was, but I guess we’d find out later.

Heading to the third facility, I was worried about the fact we hadn’t seen nor heard from Admiral Kahoku. If he was being held prisoner, so be it, we could rescue him. But surely Cerberus would try and negotiate terms. The fact they hadn’t… I didn’t share the bad feeling I had settling in my stomach, simply steeling myself for whatever came next.

Cerberus, now aware we were on the planet, fought like fanatics. One had even strapped explosives to their chest and ran towards out vehicle, only quick thinking from Garrus stopping them from really causing some damage. That just pissed me off, so I may have run a couple of the bastards over in return. Gathering at the entrance, I suggested we were beyond taking prisoners at this point, the one we had tied up in the Mako enough. No-one disagreed with the order.

We slaughtered the bastards, that’s all I can really say about what happened. Biotics, tech and bullets rained down on anyone from Cerberus in the lab. They fought for as long and hard as possible but they never stood a chance against the overwhelming force at my disposal. Once they were all dead within a few minutes, our group approached the force field, a similar looking monster behind it. This one was aggressive, slamming into the barrier to try and get at us.

“Tali, take the barrier down. The rest of you, in cover. Soon as it goes down, Shiala and Liara, biotics. The rest of you, open fire.”

We realised it was weak to biotics, and with as many bullets as we put into it, the fight lasted all of thirty seconds before the monster was dead on the ground. Standing out of cover, Wrex wandered over, kicking it with his foot, sniffing the air. I ignored that as I found something I had expected for a while, but it was still a kick in the guts.

Crouching by the body, I checked for a pulse, but it had been a long time since blood had flowed through his body. Alenko and Ashley knelt down next to me. “He’s dead?” Ash asked quietly.

“He is, but…” I checked his body. Considering he was inside the containment area with that monster, his appeared fine. No wounds anywhere. So I checked his neck and then his arms, and that’s when I found the track marks. Alenko and Ashley noticed too. “Bastards. They didn’t even give him the dignity…”

Tali reported she’d found more data, for which I thanked her for. We managed to make a rudimentary stretcher out of supplies we found, Alenko and I carrying the body of Admiral Kahoku out of the facility, before placing it in the Mako. I dragged the scientist out, putting him on his knees, putting the barrel of my pistol to his head. “Why?” I growled.

Shaking as much as he was, little wonder his voice quivered. “He was getting too close. We were ordered…”

“You know who I am?” He nodded. “You know I’m a Spectre?”

“But you can’t…”

“Already have the data we need. Taking you won’t add anything. Prepared to tell me what I want?”

“I can’t. They’ll kill me.”

I smirked. “Wrong answer.”

I pulled the trigger, sending the bullet through his head, watching his body slump to the ground. The shot appeared to echo around us as I holstered the weapon and turned around. While there were one or two surprised looks, no-one said anything to start with. “Bastard deserved it,” Ashley muttered.

“Guess that changes things regarding Cerberus,” Garrus stated.

“Tali will get us the data we need. Unless we get our hands on someone senior, and I don’t think that piece of shit was much of anything, then we’re going to simply wipe the bastards out. No negotiating with terrorists.”

Calling in Joker, we were soon back on the Normandy, where we placed the body of Admiral Kahoku in a coffin, and I reported in what we’d discovered. Admiral Hackett, who by now was my main means of communication with the Alliance, ordered me to return his body to the Citadel immediately, where it would then be taken to Arcturus for a funeral. Being a member of the Alliance Navy, he would not be buried on land. His coffin would be released into space, where it would float for eternity. I suggested that, instead of the Citadel, we just deliver it to Arcturus as I wished to attend.  Hackett agreed, so I had Joker take us to Arcturus.

I hadn’t been there in quite a while, always amazed at the sheer size of the place. Docking the Normandy, the coffin could basically levitate off the ground thanks to mass effect fields, Ashley, Alenko and I flanking it as we walked off the ship, his coffin draped in the flag of the Alliance. Alliance personnel were lined up to either side, saluting as we walked forward slowly, Admiral Hackett one of at least greeting us.

His coffin taken away, the admirals wanted to hear my report. Dismissing everyone for now, only Wrex getting unwanted attention considering few people had probably met krogan, I was whisked away to a large office, where I told them everything that had happened since my first meet with the admiral. They wanted to hear details about what happened on Binthu, and I held nothing back, including the summary execution of the scientist. I wanted them to know what I would do for both the Citadel and humanity.

“His funeral will be tomorrow, Shepard. Anyone from ship, Alliance or not, is invited to attend,” Hackett stated.

“Thank you, sir.”

The funeral was a solemn affair. Being a hero of the Skyllian Blitz, Admiral Kahoku was fondly thought of in Alliance circles. Word of his murder spread quickly, and the hall was packed to the rafters during the service. Hackett spoke warmly of his friend and colleague, and many were saddened when it was mentioned the admiral had left behind a wife and three children. That just pissed me off even further, knowing my personal war against Cerberus had only just begun.

The service over, I met my group outside, suggesting we would depart the Citadel within a couple of hours. After sharing a few words with Hackett again, I also introduced myself to Kahoku’s family. They knew me, coming as no real surprise. They simply thanked me for bringing his body home so they could say goodbye.

Once all of us were back on the Normandy, I put our next destination into the galaxy map. Joker did query it, wondering why we were not going to Noveria. I suggested we had one or two other matters to deal with first before that but not to worry. Noveria was next on the list.