Monday, February 27, 2017

Multiverse Desperado: A JumpChain Fiction Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Hunches and Leaps

Jack began standard landing procedure at the Citadel's docking bay roughly a week after our escape from Purgatory Station.
Major vessels always make it easy to travel the galaxy with their advanced engines and engineering crews of several dozen, but between the two of us in our little shuttle it's comparing riding in an exotic muscle car to some banged up POS. The grand silver lining was there were provisions found in the ship for long-term travel, conveniently packaged with dextro-amino acid safe food for Turians and Quarians and levo-amino acid food for everyone else.

Unsurprisingly, C-Sec were there to greet us, complete with the standard party favors of rifles and guns. I did basically paint myself as a hardened criminal with no past, after all. Since I don't like to suffer alone, Jack was out with me to meet the welcoming party.

“You either have to be the dumbest or smartest asari I've ever seen in my life,” the squad leader commented.

“Eh, jury's still out,” I replied with a shrug, “but that's besides the point. Is Garrus Vakarian still an officer at C-Sec?”

“Yes he is, but he's at the Presidium, overlooking security for a Council meeting with an Alliance officer-”

“Let me guess, Commander Shepard?” I interjected.
“I uhh yes.” the officer responded after consulting a datapad, a tone of surprise in his voice. Jack looked at me like I just grew two heads and started singing show tunes.

“Oh, well. If that's the case, feel free to take the two of us in and let the Council and C-Sec know about the attack on Purgatory Station and how we have further evidence of Saren going rogue, something I think they will be greatly interested in.” I proceed to throw out my hands for them to cuff with a smile on my face.

The looks on the C-Sec officers told me everything; this was the first they were hearing about attack on the prison.

“Well, why else would we show up back here in orange jumpsuits? We may be criminals but we're not the Geth.” I added.

“How in the hell do you keep talking me into these situations, blue?” Jack growls, her posture slumped over, her face in her hands.

“Patience, Jack,” I shoot back, flexing my arms and stretching my neck.

“You are so damn lucky there's an entire death squad around this cell right now!” She screamed as she got right back in my personal space, her nose a fraction away from mine.

I really didn't have that much to say to her, C-Sec's guns made a clear enough statement as it was. But they were clearly on edge.

So I booped her on the nose. It was an attempt to release some of the tension.

It backfired. She threw a right hook at my jaw, to which I ducked and struck her in the chest. Open palm, I'm not a savage. Her reaction was to throw herself at me, at which point my vision became a cluttered mess of prison garb, lithe tattooed female body parts, and the face of what can charitably be called a human being going absolutely feral. I heard the C-Sec officers shouting and threatening to use some sort of tranquilizer to knock us out. But Jack didn't care and I was too busy stopping her from giving me another shiner and some broken ribs to say anything.

Our impromptu catfight came to an end after Jack was held at gunpoint through the bars of our cell, right before she was planning on caving my skull in with a fist full of biotic power. I couldn't help but smile at how much of her tactics I've been able to figure out.

“Lovers quarrel?” A familiar Turian voice announced. We both turned to see Garrus Vakarian, looking pretty amused at the situation. He was also carrying my weapons case, thank goodness.

His companions were also a sight for sore eyes. To his left was a woman encased in a hermetically sealed environmental suit covered in a hodgepodge of patches and purple fabric; a Quarian. Their people are effectively immunodeficient after spending hundreds of years stuck on their fleet of ships, driven off their home planet by their creations, the Geth. They're the reason why the galaxy fears the creation of sentient synthetic life, although thanks to their situation they're the best tinkerers and programmers around. 

To his right was Commander Shepard. His appearance was... a sad disappointment. For all of me knowing about this world and the events to come, all of them are either in reaction, in relation, or in direct opposition to the actions taken by this man, but paradoxically his very personality and history is an unknown to me. It doesn't help that when Mass Effect was just a series a video games, Shepard was a player surrogate, a malleable template of various genders, ethnicities, specialties, histories, and personalities. Any and every possibility of this legendary warrior existed.

But this Shepard was, in the simplest terms, just a regular man. A gruff looking white man with a shaved head and a five o' clock shadow. He was wearing bulky heavy armor and seemed comfortable in it, casually holding an assault rifle at the ready position. Judging from that kit alone he had to be a soldier, the absolute best and brightest, courtesy of the human race's N7 program. Imagine what would happen if the Marines, the Navy, and the Army got together and decided to make something even more hardcore He had an N7 logo branded on his breastplate like a badge of honor.

After Jack calmed down and everyone put down their weapons, I got up and brushed myself off.

“Well then Garrus, if I was a lesser person I'd be giving you a big fat cup of I Told You So,” I look over at Commander Shepard to gauge his reaction. Face of stone. Great, no nonsense type.

“But time is of the essence so first thing's first,” I dropped into a deep bow in the direction of Commander Shepard. Dipped low, flourish with the hand, right leg back. “allow me to greet the arrival of the galaxy's first human Spectre, congratulations.” I looked up with a smile, Shepard looked confused.

“Now that that's out of the way-”

“Tali, can you tell if this Asari has any bugs or tracking devices on her person?” Shepard sharply interrupted, turning to the Quarian woman. She opened up her Omni-Tool and hit a couple buttons.

“No. Nothing at all. But that's not possible. That meeting with the Council was private.” she replied in shock, her alien accent sounding something close to English-speaking Polish.

“As you can tell, Shepard, I am a ma-” I caught myself with a cough. Even two years in this body and it's still surreal. “I'm a woman of my reputation. I know things, and I know just how big of a threat Saren and the Reapers pose to the galaxy. I also know that you need all the help you can get. So might I suggest an alliance?”

The woman known as Tali and Garrus turned to Shepard waiting for his response. Even when I'm not controlling him they still look to him for guidance, thank goodness for constants. He put down his rifle and got closer to the cell's bars so that we were face to face.

“Give me one good reason why I should trust a confessed criminal and her serial killing friend to help me save the galaxy.”

“Because without what I know, thousands of people will die.”

“Explain. I need evidence. Tali provided audio of Saren confessing to his actions through information salvaged from a Geth memory core. That was hard evidence, and it's what got the Council to trust me. So, I'm asking the same from you.”

I stepped back and sat down on the bench next to Jack. She was watching me intently the entire time, though I noticed her posture tensed when I deflated in front of him. I had to think, Shepard had put me on the spot and actually called me out. I can't just say I'm from another universe where his adventures were just trivial interactive entertainment, he'd have me locked up; I'd be a sitting duck for what would come next.

“Eden Prime. The Prothean artifact you came in contact with. The images and feelings that assaulted your mind. What did you see?” I asked, giving him the coldest stare I could.

“I saw... death,” Shepard responded, breaking eye contact. The imagery clearly unsettled him but he continued, “countless thousands dying by...something. Screams, destruction, then... nothing.”

“You believe this to be the Reapers based on what you have seen? You genuinely believe they threaten us?”

You could hear a pin drop with the level of silence there was between us before he finally responded,


“Then where's your proof of that? Even the Council dismissed your visions as testimony, am I wrong?”

“No, they didn't consider it at all,” Garrus commented as he crossed his arms and watched intrigued. Tali on the other hand just...looked on. Hard to read faces when they have masks on all the time.

“I just... know that I'm right. I know what I saw to be real. And I'd rather be out there doing everything in my power to prevent them from coming than sit around and pray it isn't true.”

“Then you and I are in the same boat Shepard.” I got up and reached out to him. I had to get him to trust me.

“You're taking a huge leap of faith with what you've seen, Shepard. I'm asking you to make another with me,” I placed a hand on his shoulder, C-Sec officer's twitch reflexes be damned, “because I'm in the same boat as you. I've...seen visions as well. All revolving around what you will do in the galaxy and whether or not they will stop the Reapers. Some play out one way, some another. I know I can't promise you proof, but if you bring me and Jack along, I can promise you will have help.”

His expression seemed to soften, just for a little bit. I don't know Shepard's past but it looks like what I said struck a chord with him. He turned to the C-Sec officer to open the cell and motioned to Garrus to give me my things.

Everything from here moved by at an almost dreamlike pace. Due to testimony by Jack and my interaction and cooperation by Garrus Vakarian, and a vote of confidence by Shepard no less, I was absolved of my charge of attempted murder of rogue Spectre, Saren. As for the other charges I blindly plead guilty to, those were still on the table. However, thanks to my claim of tactical knowledge to help with Shepard's mission, along with my odd ability to keep Jack in check, we were directly put under his command with the grand prize for success being absolution of our criminal records. Jack made a stink about it, but thankfully the carrot was big enough for her to start running.

We moved into the cargo hold of Shepard's recently acquired ship, the Alliance vessel known as the SSV Normandy. Our shuttle went into the docking bay alongside their Mako rover and within a few short hours, we were away from the Citadel and off into the vastness of space.

Next Chapter

Previous Chapters:
Chapter 3

Chapter 2

Chapter 1


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