Mass Effect Prime: Fusion Protocol (A Mass Effect/Metroid Crossover)


This is human colony Freedom’s Progress! Batarian slaver ships have been spotted entering the atmosphere! We don’t have any defenses here, and w- a loud explosion silenced the message, presumably a shot fired from orbit. It did not matter. The message had gotten out, and unfortunately for the slavers, it had found a recipient. And this recipient did not like slavers.

The moment his phrygisian class gunship was a suitable distance from the small colony, Rundas ejected himself from the c0ckpit (Seriously TRMK? You censor this?), a steep bridge of ice materializing beneath his feet and carrying him down to the small settlement. He did not know what a batarian was, but the meaning behind slaver was clear. Beings who treated other sentients like an everyday commodity did not deserve to live; and the phrygisian bounty hunter would see to it that these ones suffered their deserved fate.

Carried forth by his cryokinetically generated ice bridge, Rundas quickly reached the outskirts of the settlement. The planet was cold, well below freezing temperatures, a welcome change to the approaching bounty hunter. The frigid environment would only make his job easier. He passed over the outskirts of the colony, fire and smoke streaming upwards from a number of prefabricated buildings, evidence of the raid that had already taken place. He detected no survivors.

Not deterred by the initial readings, he sailed deeper into the colony, heading for the center of the settlement. It was there that he found his target. A large number of humans were crammed into what appeared to be some sort of cargo area and surrounded by a large number of armed soldiers, all a member of another race he could not recognize. It did not matter. They would breathe their last breath like any other immoral criminal.

As he watched, several members of the unknown race stepped forwards, snatching a young girl from the group, and tearing her from the grasp of her pleading mother. Laughing, one of the slavers began to reach downwards, and Rundas had no illusions about what the man intended to do. He would not stand for it. Turning downwards, he sped towards the crowded area.

He heard several shouts of alarm from several of the more observant prisoners below, but paid them no heed. His mind was focused on one target, and that target would die. With barely a thought, a blast of freezing energy was launched forth, the projectile streaking towards the oblivious slaver.


The batarian slavers stood in a circle around their newly acquired merchandise, laughing as they watched their leader retrieve a small girl, no older than eight or nine years, from the group of terrified humans. That was their leader. Always so... generous to his subordinates. They watched as he reached downwards, his hands grasping at the sides of her pants as he prepared to yank downwards. He would get the first go naturally, but they would all get a turn. They cheered as he pulled downwards. They cheered as he announced his intentions. And they cheered a he... froze?

They stared in confusion as they gazed upon their leaders body. He was literally frozen, his entire body encased in a shell of shimmering ice. Confusion turned to panic as shouts began to echo from within their ranks. Looking upwards, they saw a strange creature, a being of blue and silver, bearing down upon them. They stood in shock as several strange objects materialized around it and shot towards their ranks. Shock turned to realization as one of the balls struck a slaver, solidifying the blood in his veins instantly. Realization turned to terror as a hailstorm of shots bolted towards them. There was little to no cover. Resistance had not been expected. There was nothing they could do.

They shot frantically into the air, assault rifles discharging hundreds of mass accelerator rounds at a frantic pace. The weapons did nothing. The strange creatures armour easily deflected the projectiles. An engineer tried to incinerate its hard suit, only to find that what was thought to be armour was polished hoarfrost; that snuffed out the phosphorus projectile in a wisp of steam. He barely had time to shout his discovery before a large chunk of ice smashed into his chest, instantly killing the engineer and bowling over two more slavers that had been standing right behind him. By the time the figure reached the ground, only one slaver remained. Terrified out of his mind, the slaver looked around frantically. Then he saw something. The little girl the boss had picked out just moments ago. As the demon encased in ice set himself down on the ground, the batarian slaver grabbed the girl by the neck and put a gun to her head.


Delash Korst had never wanted to be a slaver. At 17 years and 6 months of age, he was just approaching adulthood. For all his life he had listened as the batarian hegemony inflamed his people against humanity. He had never once believed it. From what he could understand, everything his people blamed on the humans had been their own fault. Their separation from the council, their low status in the galaxy, none of it could be blamed on those who supposedly wronged them. He had always wanted to do something to help his people topple the government that put them in this position, join one of the many resistance movements or something like that. But when the boss came to his family’s small dwelling, recruiting men for a raid on a small human colony, his father had been only too happy to volunteer him for the mission.

When their ships had touched ground on the frigid colony, he had done nothing but spectate. He had watched as his own people mercilessly beat and killed those that had done them no wrong. He did not cheer when his leader tore the young girl from the grasp of her crying mother. He did not fire when the blue demon of frost unleashed his wrath upon them. Yet now, out of fear and desperation, he was holding a pistol to a young girls head. He tried to throw the gun away, but his grip only tightened. He saw the blue being step forward, ready to unleash judgment upon him as well, and tried to throw the gun away once more. His grip tightened.

His mind was a turmoil of mixed emotions. He wanted desperately to just throw his weapon away and let the girl run into the waiting arms of her mother, who he could hear screaming in the background. Yet he couldn’t. The basic, primal portion of his brain told him that this young girl was the only thing standing between him and death. His mind was a warzone. The rational portion locked in a bitter stalemate with the side that screamed for survival, and his body was the host. Then he heard the voice. Quivering with fear and distorted by tears, it rang through his mind, perfectly clear. “A-are you going to h-h-urt me?”


“Commander, we’ve got an incoming transmission from one of those ships,” Joker announced.

Did they understand the message? Shepard wondered. Or is this just a way to acknowledge that they received it? “Open a channel,” the spectre ordered.

“Roger that commander. Opening a channel now.” There was a faint hiss of static as the two channels synced with each other, followed by a voice. “This is the G.F.S. Thomas Knowlton broadcasting to unknown vessel Normandy SR-1. By orders of Fleet Admiral Dane, you are requested to dock with the G.F.S. Olympus. We will escort you to hangar bay 2-7B. Please follow us immediately.

Shepard wore a look of shock. The message had been spoken in perfect english. And the only species in the galaxy that spoke english was-

“Humans!” Joker exclaimed, finishing his thought for him. “Did we seriously just meet other humans?”

“Yes,” the voice on the comm snapped back. “Now follow us. We don’t have much time.”

“Err... Yeah,” Joker cautiously replied. “We’ll do that.” Still recovering from the surprise of their new discovery, neither the pilot nor the spectre noticed as the Thomas Knowlton materialized in front of them. When they moved to follow, they just assumed the ship had drifted ahead of them.

As the Federation stealth cruiser guided them to their destination, Shepard took the time to examine some of the ships they passed by. The largest appeared to be around 1.2 kilometers, their entire hull covered by various types of weapons, all unknown to the Normandy’s scanners, while the smallest were around the same size as the Normandy herself. And just as the long-range scanners had reported, there wasn’t a trace of element zero to be found.

Following behind the Federation ship, the Normandy quickly reached the Olympus, which turned out to be one of the three massive dreadnoughts that dominated the space. On closer inspection they realized it wasn’t actually a dreadnought, but appeared to be some sort of hybrid between a cruiser and a carrier. Their escort guided them to one of the ships massive hanger bays, which, to the amazement of the Normandy’s crew, easily accommodated the Alliance frigate.

Shepard could hear the whispers from various crewmembers, wondering about the size, weapons, and defenses of the ships surrounding them. The spectre didn’t blame them. This was the biggest discovery ever made by humanity, rivaled only by the prothean ruins of Mars... and even that was arguable. If the Alliance and other Citadel races could design their ships without the need for element zero... A sudden shift by the Normandy disrupted his thoughts.

“We’re docked commander,” Joker informed him. “Opening airlock doors. Looks like they’ve sent a greeting party.”
“Did you expect anything less?” Shepard asked, eyeing the display and observing the detachment of soldiers lined up at the Normandy’s airlock doors. They wore a strange form of combat armour; the facial area of their helmets covered almost entirely by an opaque blue visor and the armour itself a dull silver. A few were shifting nervously, but they were obviously well trained. Their weapons were just as unknown as everything else in this fleet, designed in a way that allowed the soldiers to slide their arms right into the guns. He noted that several had strange packs attached to the back of their armour, as well as a different style of armour that easily distinguished them from the rest of the marines. Until new information revealed itself, he would assume that they were the officers of the group.

“Not really... bu-” Shepard cut the pilot off.

“Then don’t complain. Please inform all ground team members that they are to report to the bridge immediately.”

“Err... yes sir.” Joker sighed as he carried out the order. That was his commander all right, switching from friend to hardass in a little under seven seconds.


It took thirty seconds for the elevator to carry the rest of the ground team up, who quickly joined Shepard at the airlock door. He let his gaze rest on each one of them, his comrades in arms against anything the galaxy had to offer.

Urdnot Wrex, krogan warlord. At first glance, he appeared to be no more than a walking tank, yet had the intelligence to compete with the best strategists the Alliance had to offer. At almost a thousand years of age, he had experience to rival an asari matriarch, and his insight into personal matters was surprisingly helpful.

Garrus Vakarian, ex c-sec officer. Despite the general distrust between their two races, the turian had quickly become Shepard’s closest friend and most trusted confidant. He was also a crack shot with a sniper rifle and a tactical genius.

Liara T’soni, asari scientist. Shy and inexperienced at first, she had quickly grown through the heat of battle, revealing herself to be a devastatingly powerful biotic. She also had the historical knowledge to understand and decipher many ancient relics, and had been the key to discovering the conduit of Ilos.

Kaidan Alenko, a fellow Alliance marine. The soldier had been on Shepard’s squad for some time, long before the hunt for Saren began. He was both a skilled biotic and technician and could remain calm in even the most stressful situations, a talent that even Shepard occasionally lacked.

And lastly, Tali’Zorah nar Rayya, the quarian machinist. Shepard’s team had encountered her on her pilgrimage, a rite of passage all quarians went through before being considered full-fledged adults in quarian society. She had possessed the evidence convicting the traitorous spectre Saren. Much like Liara, she had joined the ship timid and anxious, though with a considerable amount of experience beneath her belt. As it turned out, she was the most skilled hacker and engineer Shepard had ever met. Without her technical know-how, their pursuit of Saren would not have gone nearly as far.

Shepard smiled. These were not just his comrades, but also his friends. And now they would be right beside him for one of the biggest discoveries in galactic history.


Rundas watched as the gun was thrown to the side, the slaver who had held it collapsing to his knees and breaking into tears. The batarian youth was speaking frantically, but Rundas’s translator could not decipher the language. Maybe one of the humans could translate for him...

It seemed that one of the not-to-be slaves had the same idea. Stepping forward, a short red-haired woman asked, “Can you understand him?”

“No,” Rundas replied simply. He waited a moment, expecting a reply. When none was forthcoming, he repeated his answer. To his surprise, the woman, and the rest of the humans, just looked at him blankly. Their translators must not be up to date, he realized. Glancing at the area around him non-combatively, he realized that the entire settlement appeared to be hundreds of years out of date. It didn’t matter. He was in a hurry, and analyzing a settlement would be an unnecessary delay to his mission.

Scanning through the various tools and features of his own translating device he discovered an old external translating program. It wouldn’t be pretty, but it would get the job done. Just need to communicate with them and...There.

Just as the woman was about to reiterate the question, Rundas answered. “Yes,” his native tongue converted into standard english. He saw the prisoners glance up in shock at his rough use of their language. Holding back a laugh, he tapped his head and said, “translator.”

The woman recovered first, and was quick to thank him for his help in saving their colony. She started to explain what had happened, but Rundas held up his hand, halting her. “I have to deal with him,” the bounty hunter pointed at the still kneeling batarian, “before my job is done. But since I know nothing about his race, I’ll let you handle it.”

“I... He said he didn’t want to be here, and no one saw him fire his weapon...” she paused as the batarian said something. “He says he wants to help rebuild the colony, and as long as we keep an eye on him and don’t give him any weapons I don’t think he’d be able to cause any damage...”

“Then I’m done here.” Glancing at the still frozen batarian leader, Rundas saw a strange pistol lying on the ground beside him. That’ll do, the phrygisian thought as he scooped up his latest trophy. Just as he was about to leave, he turned around to face the colonists once more and said, “But if I ever show up here again, you all owe me one.” Hopefully they didn’t think it was a threat...

The colonists watched as Rundas propelled himself up an ice ramp before hopping off, his ship decloaking right in front of their suddenly wide eyes. As the bounty hunter’s ship sped off, the woman he had conversed with whispered, “He came down upon them like the Archangel itself.”



Shepard stepped out of the airlock, and onto the small bridge leading to the floor of the hanger bay. As he took in his surroundings he saw the marine unit in front of them stiffen, before snapping into a salute. “Commander Shepard?” one of the marines asked, stepping forward.

“Yes,” the spectre easily replied.

“Lt. Kyle Jefferson. Admiral Dane wants us to escort you to the briefing room.”

“Then lead on lieutenant, there is no need for the formalities though.”

“You’re a commander, I’m an ell-tee,” the marine explained, as the marine detachment started moving. “Us marines always show respect to a non-hostile superior officer, regardless of race.”

“True.” They walked onwards for a few minutes, Shepard’s team trying to take in every detail of the new technology, and occasionally asking a question, to which the marines would reply, ‘ask Admiral Dane,’ or ‘Ask 242.’ When asked what 242 was, they called it the ships Aurora unit, and refused to elaborate. Eventually, Shepard heard a few of the marines casually discussing the new aliens aboard their ship, prompting Shepard to wonder, Why aren’t they nervous, or at least surprised, by the non-humans? When the spectre asked, the lieutenant just laughed.

“Commander,” the marine chuckled. “We’ve seen species far stranger than your entourage wandering the galaxies.” He paused for a second, and his voice turned dark. “Not all of them friendly either.”

They’ve already met other races? Shepard asked himself, shocked. And did he say galaxies... plural? The spectre was about to ask when the marines stopped.

“Take this elevator up three floors,” the lieutenant ordered. “When you get off, just follow the blinking lights on the floor. We’ve got to get back to our station.”

Stepping into the indicated elevator Shepard mentally shrugged. Much of the galaxy was unexplored, and these new humans could have easily met other races in similarly unexplored areas. For all he knew, they could have had their own version of the rachni war. And he had probably just misheard the marine when he said galaxies. They could not have developed extra-galactic travel... could they? Even the reapers didn’t have that level of technology.
Shepard tapped an icon on the elevator control panel, and the elevator lurched upwards, traveling the distance in a little under seven seconds. A feat to which Garrus remarked, “Of course the other humans develop a decent shipboard elevator.”

“Garrus...” the spectre growled.

“How come the Alliance doesn’t have this tech commander?”

“This really isn’t the ti-”

“Hey, maybe we can buy it from them!” his turian friend exclaimed. “I’m sure they’d gift it to us out of pity if they saw what you’ve got installed on the Normandy.”

Throwing his hands in the air in surrender, Shepard heaved a sigh. It was all in good humour. Besides, a faster elevator would be nice... “C’mon. We really shouldn’t keep a fleet admiral waiting.”

As they followed the floor lights, Shepard saw Tali speed up and start walking alongside him. “Shepard,” the quarian began. “I was running some scans over those marines that greeted us, and while most were normal, there were a few, the ones in the special armour, that were different. Those packs they were carrying, there’s something inside them, and it’s a material unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s extremely radioactive, and It seems almost... alive... in a way.”

“One more thing to ask the Admiral about then,” Shepard acknowledged. “Did you discover anything else interesting?”

“This entire ship is interesting Shepard,” the engineer said sarcastically. “Even the metals that create its armour are different from anything in our records. Everything about this fleet... it screams of a technology level far superior to our own.”

Far superior to our own... That was something to think about. Could the marine’s statement about galaxies be true? It struck Shepard that it was entirely possible these humans were from completely different galaxy. The council will love this...

Shepard and his team soon reached what he assumed was the briefing room. When he approached the door, it slid open, revealing a single man standing on a platform overlooking a massive holo-projector. The man wore rather... interesting attire. Instead of the fancy suits most admirals favoured, Dane wore a reinforced set of armour, light by marine standards, but imposing nonetheless. A large, crown like hat rested atop his head, giving the man an appearance similar to that of an ancient monarch. Shepard heard Wrex give a grunt of approval, and wasn’t surprised. He was similarly impressed. Seeing a naval officer geared up for combat was a welcome change of pace to the battle-hardened spectre.

Stepping into the room, Shepard snapped into a salute, a display mirrored by all in his squad. Even Wrex made a half-hearted attempt at the gesture. They held it for a moment before the admiral said, “at ease, soldiers. We’re hear as friends for the moment, not military officials.”

Shepard eased up a little, and lowered his salute. “Admiral Dane, I presume?” the spectre asked.

“Correct,” the admiral confirmed. “I take it you are Commander Shepard?”


“I would have the rest of your crew introduce themselves, but I doubt our translators will understand their languages. So instead we’re going to get straight to the point. You, commander, picked a terrible time to show up. We’ve got a space pirate fleet, larger than any we’ve ever seen, expected to arrive in-system in less than fifteen minutes.”

Maybe it was the mission to take down Saren, or maybe it was the fact that he was standing in the flagship of an armada 500 strong, but for whatever reason, this news really didn’t surprise him. So instead of panicking, like so many others would in his situation, the spectre took charge. “The Normandy and her crew stand ready to assist Admiral,” Shepard boldly announced. “From what we’ve seen, I doubt our ship can hold up in a fight, but the six of us,” he gestured at his comrades behind him, “have plenty of combat experience. We can help you hold off any boarding parties that try and take over.”

The admiral grinned. “I’m not one to turn down the assistance, especially from what’s obviously a special operations group. Now we’ve got about ten minutes until the pirates are expected to arrive, so you should probably meet the Olympus’ most important crew member.” Seemingly on cue, the holographic projector behind the Admiral flared to life, revealing a very lifelike projection of... a giant brain? Dane must have noticed the shocked look on his face, as he quickly explained. “This is Aurora 242, the Olympus’ shipboard aurora unit.”

Shepard saw Tali stiffen at the sight of the hologram, and he understood her apprehension. What else could this be... but an AI? The hologram was far too... real... to be that of a virtual intelligence. Then again, these humans were highly advanced. It could be something entirely different.

Suddenly, the aurora unit spoke, a feminine, almost mystical voice echoing through the room’s speakers. “We are Aurora 242, shipboard Aurora unit for the G.F.S. Olympus. It is our pleasure to meet you.”

It was at that moment that Tali finally decided to voice her opinion. “Is that an... AI?!” the quarian exclaimed.

Dane turned to the engineer, and though he didn’t seem bothered by the outburst, there was a very confused look plastered on his features.

Right, his translator wouldn’t understand khellish, Shepard realized. He was about to translate when the aurora unit spoke.

“We are not an artificial intelligence platform,” the aurora unit explained, somehow understanding the quarian, “but an organic supercomputer, constructed by the Galactic Federation to help manage affairs of all purposes.”

“Organic supercomputer?” Shepard asked, baffled. How could a computer be... organic? If anyone in citadel space were to even suggest such an idea they’d be deemed a lunatic.

Admiral Dane was apparently expecting his confusion, because he did not hesitate to answer. “The first Aurora unit was born a little under twenty years ago,” the admiral explained. “A product of some science project or another. Since then, we’ve created thousands. We use them in science, government, the military, and a whole lot of other areas as well. I’d give you a Federation history lesson, but we really don’t have the time.”

“I’ll hold you on that offer once the battle is over,” Shepard said, actually quite serious. “Until then, we’re going to need some equipment. If what we’ve seen is any indication, our weapons probably won’t do much.”

“That they won’t,” Dane agreed. “You’ll want to head down to the armoury. 242 will tap into your communications and guide you there, as well as give you the proper clearance to get what you need. When battle starts, she’ll direct you to where ever you’re needed. She’s already downloaded your languages into her database, so there’s no need to worry about communication barriers.”

Shepard could tell that his team was nervous at the prospect of the aurora unit guiding them, Tali especially, but if this Federation had worked with thousands for almost twenty years, his team could work with this one for a few hours. “We’ll do what we can admiral,” the spectre assured him.

“You’re efforts are much appreciated commander,” Dane acknowledged. “Now I must get back to the bridge before the pirate fleet arrives. Good luck.”

After letting the admiral pass, Shepard led his team back out of the briefing room, the Olympus’ aurora unit guiding them to the ships armoury. As they hastily made their way across the battlecarrier, Shepard pondered Dane’s last words. Good luck…

In a situation like this, fighting an unknown and technologically superior foe, they were going to need much more than luck.

Much, much, more.


Somewhere deep in the Pangaea Expanse...

This world would do for now. It was isolated, and once the transfer was complete, it would be there’s. The first stage of their conquest. The light would be abandoned, and they would rise superior once more. And this time, neither the ancients nor the hunter would be there to stop them.

The day of reckoning would be soon to come.


So it turns out I'm only a day behind schedule. Hope you guys like this next chapter. I'm going to go write an update for Escaping Hell now.
This chapter was filled with action and was greatly detailed as usual. Keep up this well planned story Toxic :)
Here you go guys, the longest chapter in this story so far. I apologize for the delay, as a combination of the Christmas season, my brother getting minecraft, and a brand new 3DS kept me away from the computer for a while. Updates won't be taking three weeks any longer (at least I hope not). Now, time for Chapter Three! In which the Normandy crew get cool new stuff and a bunch of gunshots and explosion happen. Enjoy!


When Shepard had stepped through the door of the ships armory as indicated by 242, he had expected something akin to the Normandy's own, maybe a little larger, with a few rows of weapons displayed along the walls. Instead, he found himself in a soldier's dreamland. The room was massive, gun racks dividing the room into a plethora of miniature hallways. They were noticeably devoid of weapons, but that was to be expected, what with the impending invasion and all. The room was, for the most part, unoccupied, the soldiers having left for their stations well before Shepard's crew arrived. The only people in the area were Shepard's team, and a single marine polishing what appeared to be a rifle.

Upon their entrance, the marine glanced up from his task before snapping to attention. "Staff Sergeant Brian Bae, reporting for duty sir!" the man proudly announced.

"At ease sergeant," Shepard requested. "I'm not your superior officer."

"Sorry sir," Bae apologized. "It's a bit unusual, meeting another race of humans, and protocol demands that we show respect to a superior of any race, as long as they're not hostile that is."

"Don't worry about it sergeant," Shepard replied. "We have similar ideals in the Alliance."

"Thanks sir. Anyway, I assume you're here to get outfitted with some new equipment for the expected attack? No offense to your "Alliance", but your equipment is grossly out of date."

"Compared to what you seem to have? I'm inclined to agree," the spectre admitted. "So yes, we're going to need some new weapons and armour."

"Sure thing sir," Brian acknowledged. "We won't have armour for your friends though..."

While the sergeant was attempting to come up with a solution, 242 took that moment to intervene. "Staff Sergeant," the aurora unit began, it's disembodied voice echoing through the room. "Fleet Admiral Dane has authorized the use of prototype equipment for the commander and his crew. Adaptive armour has already been tested extensively, and its safety has been confirmed."

For a moment, Bae just stood there, an expression of disbelief likely hidden behind his opaque visor. When he spoke, shock was evident in his voice. "I... Of course," the marine acknowledged. "The admiral's really going all out on this one," Shepard heard him mutter softly. "Right this way Commander."

His team behind him, Shepard followed the marine to the far side of the armoury, where the marine was tapping at a few places on an inconspicuous looking wall. Shepard was about to ask exactly what the sergeant was doing when, suddenly, he yanked off his helmet and a blue laser scanned the mans face. Then after a brief moment of waiting, a synthesized voice announced, "Access to prototype Chozodian Adaptive Armour confirmed," and the wall slid open revealing another room, though minuscule in comparison to the area outside.

Bae briefly entered the room, grabbing items off the walls before reemerging with several... things... under his arms. Whatever they were, they certainly didn't look like suits of armour. From the excited look on Bae's face however, Shepard could tell that these were very valuable. Still, it was hard to suppress the negative emotions directed towards the unremarkable packages.

The staff sergeant apparently read his mind, because he immediately addressed the spectre's concerns. "They don't look like much, I know, but you're looking at the most expensive sets of armour in the Federation. The tech is based on Samus Aran's Varia suit, with some advanced Federation equipment mixed in."

"Samus Aran?" Shepard asked confusion about the unfamiliar name readily apparent.

"Right, you wouldn't know of her. She's one of the Bounty Hunters we regularly employ, and she's a hero to the Federation. I think she's killed the space pirate's leader about... three times now? Anyway, I'm getting off track here. If you four..." the marine gestured towards Wrex, Garrus, Tali, and Liara, "could please step forward?"

Shepard gave each a quick nod and they moved to comply.

"Thank you," Bae acknowledged. "Now what I've got here are four Chozodian Adaptive Armour sets. Because the Olympus is a human vessel, we don't carry too many sets of armour for other races, and for obvious reasons, none for races we haven't met. This prototype armour counters that little drawback. The armour material is contained within this package," the marine held out one of the oddly shaped devices for Shepard's team to see, "in a highly compressed state. All you do is attach it to an exposed area of skin, or plating, or whatever covers your body, and the suit will memorize every aspect of your biology and form around you. It's not the most powerful armour in our inventory, but we had to sacrifice power for adaption. Even if we hadn't, it couldn't compare to the armour such as Samus' Varia suit anyway. Any questions?"

Garrus and Wrex remained silent, respecting the need for haste due to the upcoming battle. Even Liara was able to contain her normally insatiable curiosity. Tali however, had to ask, "What if you can't expose your skin?"

When Shepard reiterated her question in English, he left the staff sergeant very confused. "Why can't you attach it an exposed area of skin?" the marine asked. "You're no-" he was interrupted, as 242 decided once more to intervene.

"As a member of the quarian race, Miss Zorah's immune system functions at less than optimal rates, and as a result, is forced to wear a protective environmental suit at all times," she explained. "To remove a section of her suit in a non-sterile environment would be very dangerous and possibly fatal. Use of a sterile field generator is recommended."

Taken aback by that revelation, the sergeant really didn't know what to say. "I'm sorry." It was the best he could come up with. "I'll go grab one of the generators from the medical cabinet." He handed one device each to Wrex, Garrus, and Liara. "You three can put those on now," he explained. "And don't worry about taking off your armour. The suit will merge itself with the armour you're currently wearing. Just grab the device with a bare hand, claw, or any other appendage and watch the magic happen." With that, Bae walked off, presumably to grab the generator mentioned prior.

At the same time, Garrus was reaching for one of the adaptive armour sets with an armour free hand. "So we just grab one," he began, somewhat doubtfully, as his fingers closed around the device, "and it forms all aroun- Spirits!"

At the sound of his friend's exclamation, Shepard spun around, his gaze locking onto the turian's hand. He uttered a similar gasp when he saw what had caused it. The device in his hand was steadily shrinking, while simultaneously, a strange black coating spread across his friend's body. "Garrus!" Shepard shouted.

"This... This is amazing!" Garrus exclaimed, not hearing the spectre.

"Are you okay?" Shepard demanded, his tone worried.

"What?" He noticed the concerned expression on Shepard's face. "Oh, don't worry about me, I'm fine," the turian reassured him, alleviating the spectres fears as the suit completed itself around him. "It's just -spirits- this thing just formed right on top of me! I've never seen anything like it!" Around the room, Shepard heard similar exclamations of awe from the rest of his team.

"So no negative effects?" As amazing as it was, he had to be sure there were no dangers to his squad.

"None," Garrus assured him. "In fact, I think I feel better than normal."

"That would be the result of Chozodian amplification properties," Bae explained, choosing that moment to re-enter the conversation. The marine was holding a small device, that Shepard assumed was the generator he had mentioned prior to his departure. "We couldn't make sense of Samus' morphing device, so we modified it to amplify the users natural physique instead. It's only a marginal increase, but noticeable nonetheless."

Morphing capabilities? Shepard thought to himself. And the Federation, as advanced as they are, couldn't make sense of the technology? Just who is this "Samus?"
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"Is there anything this suit doesn't do?" Shepard had to ask.

"Quite a lot actually," the staff sergeant admitted, "and as I mentioned before, the armour itself is only a little stronger than your normal marine getup. Durability had to be sacrificed to obtain the adaptive processes." Finishing his explanation, Bae then asked, "Now if the quarian could please come here?"

After a momentary hesitation, Tali moved to comply.

"Good. Now before we start, 242 updated the Federation databases with information on your various races, including translators. That should make communication easier. Now what I've got in my hand is a Federation sterile field generator. Press a button, and it keeps a small area sterile as long as it has power. It should allow you to safely remove a portion of your suit while the armour activates."


"Before you ask," Bae continued, interrupting the engineer, "yes you can keep it. 242 also gave me authorization to hand over the schematics after the battle." Before she could respond, the marine sergeant turned towards Shepard. "Now if you and your fellow human could follow me, we'll get you suited up with some Federation special operations armour. 242 will help them get set up with weapons."



As it turns out, donning the Federation armour was a task easier said than done. The separate pieces had to be fitted together in a very precise manner, else the suits systems would be unable to properly synchronize and, as a result, cause critical systems to malfunction. Putting it together was like assembling a three dimensional puzzle, with the added catch that if you didn't build it right, you might die. According to Bae there were normally machines to assist with this process, but those would take some time to activate. For obvious reasons, that option was highly impractical. After all, an incoming enemy fleet tended to impose certain time constraints upon the defenders.

This reasoning was accentuated by the loud warning klaxon that suddenly blared throughout the ship. Space pirate fleet as arrived in system, a synthetic voice announced over the ships speakers. All forces prepare for immediate engagement.

Unfortunately, while Kaidan had gotten his suit properly put together, Shepard was still struggling with the last few pieces. "****," he heard the marine sergeant swear loudly. "Commander, we've got thirty seconds to get this on. You..." he pointed at Kaidan. "Get whatever weapons you and the Commander will need, grab your friends, and get the hell back over here." Acknowledging the orders with a nod, Kaidan ran off to do as the marine requested.

Turning back towards Shepard, Bae said, "Now let's get these last few pieces on." Then, under his breath, "I hate this spec-ops armour..."

Kaidan arrived, the rest of Shepard's team following just as he and Bae got the last piece of armour snapped into place. Shepard could easily tell that several members were holding back laughter at the sight of their Commander being helped into his armour, but a harsh glare silenced them for the moment... though he fully expected to see a photo the extra-net within the next week. Too damn easy to take a photo these days... He also saw that Kaidan was holding several strange objects, and was offering a couple to him.

Unsure of exactly what he was supposed to do with them, the Shepard gave him a confused look, to which the lieutenant replied, "Apparently, these are weapons. A shotgun and an assault rifle specifically."

"Indeed they are," Bae confirmed. "And you've already have a pistol attached to your hip. You don't, however, have time to mess around with them at the moment. Admiral Dane wants you on the command bridge immediately. Take the tram located just opposite the armoury door and 242 will give you instructions on how to operate those weapons while you wait."

Shepard gave the marine a nod of thanks, before turning around and wordlessly leaving the room.



Meanwhile, in the infinite void of space, combat had already been joined. Federation frigates darted through space, exchanging fire with their space pirate counterparts. Heavy cruisers blasted away at anything that moved, while massive dreadnoughts lumbered throughout the battlefield, their main cannons obliterating anything that was unfortunate enough to find itself within their sights. During the chaos of battle, nobody really noticed the small vessel that dropped into space nearby, an attack shuttle recently 'liberated' from the clutches of an Illium mercenary group.

The pilot of the vessel was fine with this lack of attention. After all, a hunter worked best when her prey was unaware of her presence. And to Samus Aran, the space pirates were most definitely her prey. She knew it would be impossible to reach any of the Federation battlecarriers. In the heat of a battle like this, an unknown ship like hers would be shot down the moment it tried to dock. Therefore, she needed to go on the offensive. And she knew exactly where to strike.

In the middle of the space pirate fleet lurked a massive dreadnought, larger than any other ship on the battlefield. To her trained eye, it appeared a little over three kilometers in length, its height somewhere between 400 and 500 meters. From her viewpoint, it was impossible to measure the width, but it was not necessary to confirm the importance of what was obviously the fleet's flagship. The loss of such as ship would be a crippling blow to the space pirate armada.

A grim smile forming beneath her helmet, Samus adjusted her course to take her straight towards the enemy dreadnought. Anyone else would call her tactics insane, but after everything she'd seen and done on Zebes, Tallon IV, and Aether... there wasn't much left in the universe that could frighten Samus Aran. Taking out the flagship of a fleet many hundreds strong with only an obsolete attack shuttle for support? It was all in a days work, and recently, suicidal seemed to be a crucial part the huntress' job description.

300 kilometers... 250 kilometers... 200 kilometers... Her vessel quickly closed the distance, the pirate flagship looming ever larger before her. 150 kilometers... Several pirate fighters noticed her approaching and moved to intercept. 100 kilometers... Several beams of energy lanced out from the enemy fighters, just missing the attack shuttle as Samus pulled the ship into a desperate roll. 50 kilometers... a beam grazed the side of the shuttle, immediately disabling the obsolete kinetic barriers. 25 kilometers... A pirate fighter swooped in from the side, streaking towards the huntress' vessel, about to deliver the killing blow. Samus prepared to swerve to the side once more only to see the enemy ship... shatter? In the space once occupied by the pirate fighter, only fragments of ice remained. Then a transmission came through her communications panel, the speaker's raspy voice instantly familiar.

"That's another one you owe me now," the phrygisian bounty hunter on the other end informed her, the familiar outline of his gunship pulling into view.

Samus just grinned, though no one would be able to see it through her helmet... or the ship for that matter. She'd ask him exactly how he knew it was her in this ship later. For now though, she had a dreadnought to take down. 10 kilometers... the capital ship was immediately in front of her, no entrance in sight. Of course, that was the plan... the huntress thought to herself, somewhat sadistically. 500 meters... Raising her arm cannon, she blew a hole through the top of the shuttle with a missile, allowing the vacuum to suck her armoured form out along with the rest of the ships atmosphere. She watched as the stolen shuttle continued to streak towards the pirate dreadnought. If no entrance is readily available... the shuttle impacted against the side of the flagship. ...Then you make your own. The vessel exploded, a result of its suddenly destabilized element zero core, the force of the impact enough to rip a hole in the plating of the space pirate warship and begin venting atmosphere, debris, and space pirate bodies into the void.

Of course, this was nowhere near a fatal strike. A powerful energy shield was quick to deploy, almost immediately sealing off the puncture. Unfortunately, 'almost immediately' was not fast quite fast enough, as two humanoid forms shot through the impromptu entrance, light radiating from one, an aura of cold projecting from the other. The space pirates aboard the mighty dreadnought were about to have a very bad day.



When the shuttle tore into the Pirate flagship, Samus had immediately activated her gravity boost, believing that it would be much faster in the vacuum of space than the water for which it was originally designed. Her hypothesis had been quickly proven correct, and the luminoth device shot her towards the ragged opening, quickly covering the hundreds of meters between her and her destination. Yet it wasn't fast enough. She saw the edges of the opening begin to glow, and knew that the shield would be up before she could reach the entrance. Then, just before the energy field took effect, an external force pushed her forward, carrying the bounty hunter through the entrance just as the dreadnought was once more sealed.

She didn't have to look at the ice encased arms carrying her to know who had come to her rescue... again. Glancing upwards, she saw the ice encased head of her saviour, and knew the phrygisian was grinning.

"Rundas," the huntress demanded. "Don't say it."

To her immense relief, the cryomancer complied with her wishes, setting her down upon the floor of the ship and instead asking, "Just like old times Samus?"
KT-557, LS-128, Valkyrie Station... She thought back to some of her past missions, specifically those done in the company of the frosty hunter beside her. Those were the days, before this whole mess with phazon began. "The two of us raising hell on a space pirate fortress world? Similar enough," Samus agreed.

"Then we best get moving," Rundas said decisively. "As much as I would like to know where you got that fancy new equipment, or that obsolete gunship you just sacrificed, our reminiscing won't help the Federation combat this fleet. Any ideas?"

"The easiest solution would be to overload the ships power core," Samus supplied. "The resulting detonation would easily destroy this vessel."

"Sounds simple," Rundas agreed. "But something tells me you something a bit more... fun in mind."

"Possibly," Samus admitted. "We could also fight our way to the command bridge, space every pirate on board, and then start running into every pirate ship in sight with their own dreadnought."

"Sounds... not so simple. Do we have an idea of where the bridge might be?" Rundas questioned, the phrygisian equivalent of a grin forming on his face.

"None at all," the huntress replied, not missing a beat.

"Like old times indeed Samus," Rundas said with a chuckle. "Running around a hostile fortress without so much as a map."

"But isn't that how we always operate?" Samus asked, a grin spreading beneath her visor as well. Suddenly, she raised her arm cannon, pointing it towards what appeared to be nothing but air. "First though, we'll have to take care of the dozen or so pirates busy stalking us. Intruding on a private conversation like this... no manners at all." To emphasize her point, the huntress fired off a missile, the projectile suddenly detonating midflight and revealing the now dead body of a shadow pirate. And with that explosion, the entire room turned into hell.

A chorus of war cries reverberated through the room, as the 11 remaining cloaked pirates dropped from their hiding places, determined to eliminate the two person boarding party. Samus' dark visor, however, easily tracked the shadow pirates, the sensitive device seeing right through the cloaking fields they projected. Power beam shots leaped from the barrel of her arm cannon, the energy blasts making short work of her lightly armoured assailants. Aiming upwards, the huntress released a powerful beam of light, the fiery stream incinerating a pirate as it dropped down on her from above.

Rundas, though he had no dark visor, was not impaired by the cloaking technology either. Due to his homeworld's, or more accurately, homemoon's distance from the sun, light was far dimmer than it was in most other livable planets. To compensate for this, phrygisian's had far keener senses than most other races. So while a cloaked shadow pirate might be invisible to the human eye, it was far from that to a phrygisian. Now aware of their presence, he could easily see the blurred movements of the attacking pirates, and though he could not target a precise area, such precision was unnecessary when you could simply freeze your opponent to the core.

Twin beams of icy energy shot forth from his claws, blasting two of his opponents backwards into walls and freezing them in place. Spinning around, the cryomancer raised a pillar of ice from the ground, smashing another of his attackers into the rooms ceiling. Then, with barely a thought, impaled another against a wall, a spear of ice having materialized and embedded itself in the creature's chest.

It wasn't long before the room was cleared of threats, the two defenders making short work of the shadow pirates. With their ineffective stealth systems, the lightly armed and armoured troopers were no match for the powerful attacks of the two bounty hunters.

"Is this the best they can do?" Rundas demanded, staring down at the frozen body of one of their now dead adversaries. "I often wonder how they manage to give the Federation the trouble they do."

"The average marine isn't a cryomancer," Samus was quick to point out. "And the Federation doesn't augment its troops with chozo blood and technology either. I'd say we have a slight advantage when it comes to combat."

"True," the phrygisian bounty hunter agreed. "But now, I believe our discussion must wait. We have a dreadnought to steal, do we not?"

"Indeed," the huntress confirmed. "We don't know where the bridge is, but if we explore the ship and kill every pirate we see, then I'm sure we'll find it eventually."

Rundas laughed, a deep rumbling sound that seemed to emanate from his chest area. "I always did love your plans Samus. Lead on."



Shepard ducked back into cover, energy bolts streaking over his head as the pirates once again directed their fire towards him. They had just exited the command bridge when a boarding craft rammed its way through the walls and ten strange figures hopped out, weapons already ablaze with fire. The creature's aim was erratic, and they left their bodies completely exposed as they fired their weapons. Normally, Shepard's team would have slaughtered them in seconds. Unfortunately, Shepard was still trying to figure out how to fire his damn rifle properly. In fact, Tali was currently the only person on his team who had figured that mystery out. Probably her engineer's mind at work.

He just couldn't aim properly with a weapon that had no recoil. His first few shots would hit their mark, but the rest went sprayed in every which direction, as he subconsciously attempted to counterbalance for a kickback that was no longer there. Eventually, the hostiles, apparently a militia force of conscripted space pirate slaves and convicts from what he'd learned so far, were finished off, everyone except Shepard having gained control of their weapons. For a moment, as the rest of his team moved to join up with him, the spectre just glared at his Federation assault rifle, directing a litany of curses towards the energy weapon underneath his breath.

A warbling laugh snapped him out of his reverie, and the soldier spun a sharp 180 degrees around, bringing himself face to visor with a laughing quarian. "Err... Tali?" Shepard asked, unsure of the quarians intentions. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," she answered, laughter dieing as the quarian calmed herself down. "But I'm not so sure about you Shepard. I don't think I've seen anyone shoot that badly..." Suddenly, Tali gasped, as if realizing what she'd just said. "Not to say you're a bad shot though," she quickly apologized, "because you're not. You just seemed to-"

Shepard quickly raised a hand into the air, stemming the flow of unneeded apologies that he knew was sure to come. "Don't worry Tali," he reassured her, mentally chuckling at the engineers abrupt shift from soldier to nervous wreck. "When someone shoots that badly, it's okay to poke a bit of fun at them, even if it's your commanding officer. Now if you don't mind me asking, how did you manage to adjust to the lack of recoil so quickly? You were firing straight seconds after the battle started."

Upon hearing his question, the Tali burst into laughter once more. "Check the... left side of your... rifle please Shepard," the quarian managed to gasp out as she attempted to regain control of herself. Following her instructions, Shepard glanced at the indicated area, his eyes widening at what he saw. A small dial of sorts, currently set to zero, sat on the exterior of the weapon. Resting above the dial, the words artificial recoil adjustment was printed in small font.

"And that, Shepard," Garrus explained, his mandibles spread in the turian equivalent of a grin as he stepped forward, "is why we actually read the instructions sent to us by the giant floating brain thing."

Shepard sighed, annoyed but relieved by the new information as he adjust the dial, firing off a few test shots as he attempted to reach a level similar to that of his Avenger. A few adjustments later, the now satisfied spectre explained their current objective once more.

"Now that we've figured out how these weapons work," Shepard began, earning a quick objection from Garrus. "Okay, now that I've figured out how these weapons work," stressing the I as he shot the turian a glare, "we will proceed to our first objective. According to Admiral Dane, the pirate's first objective will be to remove the ships power core, leaving us dead in the water. Apparently, a pirate strike team managed to sneak through Federation lines, and is enroute to the core room as we speak. As the closest specialty unit in the area," he silently wondered exactly what Dane meant by specialty unit, "it is our job to eliminate them. Follow behind me, and shoot at any pirates you see." A chorus of acknowledgements answered him.
Sprinting to their destination, it did not take them long to reach the area marked "core room" on their maps. However, it seemed the pirates had been just a bit faster, as one of them had already finished removing a strange capsule from a large pillar, immediately causing the lights and terminals within the room to flicker and die, coating the room in a momentary blackness before emergency lighting managed to activate. The pirate force did not appear too large, consisting of eight militia troops, though several were coated in some sort of heavy armour. They did not appear to have noticed Shepard's squad, but that could change at a moments notice, especially given the close quarters of the area.

Shepard briefly raised his hand signaling the team to halt, before pointing to several different locations within the area. Instantly grasping the meaning, his squadmates maneuvered themselves to the indicated areas, forming a rough semicircle around the pirate infiltration force. Slowly they raised their weapons and aimed towards the pirate infiltration team, still unnoticed. Then, when everyone was ready and in position, Shepard gave the order.

Energy bolts streaked towards the raiders from multiple angles, briefly confusing the pirate troops, concentrated fire cutting down several militiamen immediately. By the time they could respond, half their number was already down, leaving four troops left; the two armoured ones, and two of the standard militia troops. They hastily returned fire, their own energy bolts streaking towards several of Shepard's team's positions, forcing both Garrus and Liara down, and providing the pirates with a moment to prepare. Then, they did something Shepard could not have expected. They jumped towards him, crossing the entire distance between his team and their own positions in one leap. The entire twenty-meter distance, in one. Single. Leap.

With two pirates suddenly beside him, Shepard yanked his arm out of the assault rifle, tossing it to the side as he grabbed the Federation shotgun off his back. Unlike the rifle he had just discarded, the shotgun was held like the mass accelerator variant he was used to carrying, likely due to the "personal defense weapon" classification the Federation had stuck on to it. It was a semi automatic weapon, the E17 "Barricade" PDS (personal defense shotgun). The weapon released seventeen powerful energy bolts when fired, apparently with enough power to slice through flesh and all but the strongest armour at close range. It took a little over one second for the energy core to recharge between shots, very slow compared to the firing rate of Shepard's old Katana shotgun, but tended to kill anything up close in one shot anyway, plus the weapon never overheated, so it was a very acceptable compromise. Now he just had to see if it would work on the pirates.

He pressed down on the trigger, pointing the weapon at the unarmoured pirate next to him, which had just started to swing down at him with the vicious blade attached to its arm. The gun blew a gaping hole in the things chest, the interior of the pirate's body immediately cauterized by the heat of the energy burst. Yep. It definitely worked. The pirate uttered a single agony filled shriek, its hands desperately grasping at the area its torso used to occupy. Another shot removed its head from existence, putting the creature out of its misery.

With the first pirate dealt with, Shepard spun to deal with the armoured one, snapping 180 degrees around just in time to feel a flurry of shots impact against his shields. Checking his HUD, which was quite similar to that provided by his own N7, Shepard saw that his armour's energy meters had dropped to 74, down from the 99 it normally displayed. A solid 25 points of damage. He did not hesitate to return fire.

Another energy burst leaped forth from the barrel of his shotgun, striking the pirate in the center of its body and shattering the chest piece of the armour it was encased in, though the pirate itself was unharmed. Apparently sensing its disadvantage, the pirate wasted no time in charging towards him, confident in its close quarters abilities. Swinging viciously, it attempted to impale the spectre with its blade, which Shepard now saw was surgically attached to its arm, replacing the claw that would normally rest there. Shepard however, was no rookie when it came to CQB warfare, as evidenced by the shotgun he carried, and the vanguard classification placed on him by the Alliance.

Dodging to the side, he easily evaded the serrated blade, the weapon cutting through nothing but air. Then, with his adversary off-balance and vulnerable, he gathered his energy and threw the pirate biotically, smashing the creature into the wall behind it and shattering the rest of is armour with the force of impact. A shotgun blast followed, clipping the pirate's shoulder, the kinetic force of the impact tearing off the limb and knocking the pirate to the ground. A second blast ripped through the pirate's leg, tearing off that limb as well and extracting another pain-filled cry from the crippled pirate. A third and final blast put the alien, which was even now attempting to raise its weapon, out of its misery.

Sparing the mutilated corpse a glance, Shepard grimaced. These things were a whole lot tougher than the mercenaries and geth units they were used to fighting and seemed to have less regard for their lives than the husks deployed by geth, if that was even possible. Noticing that the sounds of combat had all died down, in the immediate vicinity at least, Shepard opened up the team-wide comms. "Give me a headcount," the spectre ordered. "Who's not dead?"

A series of "aye's" and other acknowledgements confirmed that none of his team had suffered any noticeable injuries... not that he had expected them to. It would take more than a few militia troops to take down his squad, even with their reckless and unpredictable attacks. Shepard just hoped that the higher level troops appreciated their lives a bit more than the militia they were currently deploying. If properly armed and armoured soldiers engaged in such desperate tactics than even his squad would be hard pressed to remain casualty free.

Fortunately, he didn't have time to dwell on such thoughts as 242 almost immediately reappeared in front of him, her brain-thing hologram displayed in the top-right corner of his visor. Shepard, the construct began. We need you to re-insert the Olympus' power core. Our weapons are disabled, and emergency shielding is decaying at an alarming rate. Retrieve the glowing cylinder from the pirate corpse beside you and place it back into the energy tower.

Shepard blinked. He had been focused on fighting the pirates and hadn't even noticed that one of his adversaries had been carrying the critical device. Good thing I didn't shoot it... If he had known the pirate was carrying the mission objective, he certainly wouldn't have used a shotgun, of all things. I have to pay better attention to the battlefield, the spectre reprimanded himself.

Shoving the thoughts aside, he yanked the power cell off the back of the destroyed pirate corpse, paying the corpse little heed as he retrieved the cylinder. Respect for the dead could wait until after the mission, if a race of pirates and thieves could even deserve any. Sprinting the short distance to what 242 identified as an energy tower he followed the steps displayed by the intelligence; twisting, pulling, and pushing until the cylinder locked into place and a subtle humming started up, the relieving sound providing the soldier with a momentary respite as the Olympus' systems came back online.

Excellent work Shepard, 242 congratulated, it's image once more appearing on his visor. Admiral Dane sends his thanks. You and your team are doing a commendable job. However, we've had a major breach within one of the Olympus' primary docking bays. A space pirate frigate rammed through the doors, and while the ship was destroyed, its husk has jammed the emergency seals and is allowing multiple drop ships to make their way in. All available marines are being deployed to fend off the intruders.

"They rammed into the Olympus?" Shepard asked incredulously. Sacrificing a frigate just to breach a hangar bay... It's like someone took world war two Japan and gave them starships.

Yes, the aurora unit relied calmly. Please make your way to Hangar 2-7A as quick as possible. I have marked the location on your HUD's map. There isn't much time.

Before Shepard could respond, he heard Tali exclaim, "Shepard! The Normandy's docked in 2-7B! If they take A, than they have a clear shot at the ship!"
That was all the information his team needed. They took off at a sprint, relying on 242's map to guide them as the sounds of warfare grew nearer. Ahead, muffled cries could be heard, although none seemed human, the screeches almost drowned out by the constant noise of gunfire reverberating through the halls. Finally, they reached the entrance to the hangar, the door sliding open as they approached it and revealing a body ridden hangar bay. A gaping hole was present in the hangar doors, evidently caused by the wrecked frigate that was jammed between the two emergency shutters. An energy field appeared to be keeping the Olympus' atmosphere inside, but it didn't seem to actually stop anything from entering.

Currently, about twenty Federation marines were firing upon an approaching swarm of pirate militia, the hordes size at least three times the Federation's number. The pirates however, though large in quantity, were unorganized and sloppy, firing blindly at the defenders above, their shots rarely hitting their marks. The Federation defenders meanwhile, had the high ground, standing on the catwalks rimming the hangar and shooting down at the pirate raiders. Their level of training was leagues above that of the invaders, and their defense, unlike the offense of the militia scurrying below, was well organized and thought out, their positions allowing them to catch the pirate troops in a deadly crossfire. In this case, massacre was not an inappropriate adjective.

Still, 242 had requested that they lend their support, and Shepard wasn't about to question the organic supercomputer when it came to dealing with an unknown race. Taking up positions along the catwalk, he and his team loaned their weapons to the battles, energy bolts cutting through the pirate boarding party. It wasn't long before every space pirate in the hangar was dead.

With the slaughter over, one of the marines turned to the new arrivals and said, "Fancy seeing you again commander. I take it 242 sent you as reinforcements?"

"Lt. Kyle?" Shepard asked, remembering the voice of the lieutenant who had greeted them upon entering the ship. "You're in charge here I take it?"

"Yep," Kyle confirmed. "I hope you're ready to hold out here for a while, because we'll be defending this position until either the pirate fleets retreats, we get the emergency doors closed, or we all die."

Sounds a lot like Elysium... Shepard didn't say. Instead, "we've got experience when it comes to fighting overwhelming numbers." He frowned, though no one could see it. "But after seeing that last slaughter... do you even need the extra reinforcements?"

"We will soon," Kyle said, his voice darkening. "Those were just militia troops. Cannon fodder. They send 'em in after every few waves of real troops, testing the waters and attempting to wear us down a little, than, wh-"

"Aerotroopers!" a marine shouted, interrupting the lieutenant. "Eight of them!" From his vantage point Shepard could see eight forms shoot in under the wrecked hull of the jammed frigate before pulling up, bringing themselves level with the surrounding catwalks. Kept aloft by some sort of propulsion device, it was obvious that these "aerotroopers" were a far cry away from the militia they had fought before.

Kyle didn't hesitate to take control of the situation. "Everyone concentrate fire!" he ordered, his voice calm and collected despite the suddenness of the attack. "I want two to three guns on each target! Remember, keep moving and stay in cover!"

Following the instructions of the lieutenant, Shepard moved from cover to cover, firing his rifle in conjunction with Kaidan and Garrus as they worked to take down one of the airborne menaces. It was difficult. The aerotrooper did not make itself an easy target, propelling itself in all directions as it worked to avoid the fire directed its way. It's own energy blasters were very powerful as well. A single bolt dropped his suits energy reserves from 74 to 63, and more were directed towards him every time he dared step out of cover. He remembered Kyle's warning about the necessity of always moving and had a nagging suspicion that if he stayed pinned down much longer than something very bad was likely to happen.

His thesis was quickly proven correct, as the pirate aerotrooper suddenly unleashed a barrage of missiles upon his position. This day just keeps getting better... Even with a biotic barrier he wasn't likely to survive such a strike, and Shepard knew it. But maybe... A memory flashed through his mind, Admiral Hacket talking about a new biotic technique taught to the latest generation of Alliance vanguards. A charge? Shepard had not the slightest idea how to do such a thing, though he had a pretty good picture of what the result would be. So he took a gamble. If he won, the pirate aerotrooper died. If he lost, he died. It was a game he was intimately familiar with, and in all is life, his luck hadn't run out yet.

Narrowing his eyes, Shepard focused on one thing, and one thing only. The hovering pirate before him. He stepped out of cover, eyes still focused on the pirate aerotrooper as the missiles streaked his way. Then, almost without warning, he felt biotic energy flow through him and he moved. Moved fast. Impossibly fast. For a split second, the world was a purple blur, and then... impact. One thousand newtons of human flesh and biotic force slammed into the pirate, slamming it backwards into the hangar bay wall, enough force present in the blow to detonate the pirates propulsion pack and vaporize it's aerotrooper wielder. Then, with time seemingly slowing down around him, Shepard yanked out his federation pistol, firing three shots into the head of another pirate as he fell twenty feet to the ground.

The fall did not hurt him. It didn't even stun him for a moment, the biotic field around him taking the brunt of the impact. Fight. Wait, what was that? Shaking his head, he dismissed the thoughts. He had a battle to win. Shepard took a moment to register that three of the pirates were now dead, two killed by him. However, it seemed that the five remaining enemies had taken notice of his biotic display as every one of them started firing his way.

Kill. What? That wasn't him. Something was wrong. Once more he charged, nothing more than a blue blur as he cut through the hailstorm of green energy directed his way. He was vaguely aware of a new energy flowing through him, steadily growing and amplifying his abilities. The next pirate he collided with had prepared for the attack, it's propulsion pack stabilizing it as it flew through the air, and saving it from the fate of his comrade before him. This did not bother Shepard.

Annihilate. No! That's not me! He panicked, but he couldn't stop. He wanted to fight... kill... annihilate... With inhuman reflexes, enhanced by this newfound power, he grabbed onto the leg of his target with one hand and let the aerotrooper keep him aloft. Then, raising his other hand, which was now occupied by his Barricade shotgun, he fired the weapon at an aerotrooper moving to assist, the burst ripping through one of the thrusters on the pirates propulsion pack and sending it on an explosive crash course for the hangar floor. He grinned wickedly as he fired towards the pirate holding him aloft, unable to stop the transformation within him.

Destroy. Yes...



Lt. Kyle Jefferson watched in stunned amazement as the thing that was Commander Shepard massacred the pirate aerotroopers that were so feared by federation marines. By the time they had brought the first one down, four marines had been killed or grievously injured. Then, entirely without warning, the Commander did... whatever he was doing. Kyle had never seen anything before like it. What was once a human commander was now a glowing blue meteor, blasting through the most feared of space pirate special forces with terrifying ease. But as long as it was on his side... Kyle was a fan.

His marines had stopped firing, probably worried about hitting the commander, the way he was moving around out there. Or maybe they were just frozen by the scene in front of them. He wouldn't blame them. Suddenly, the voice of his second in command interrupted his musing.

"Sir!" the marine exclaimed. "I was scanning the pirate's weaponry, and they're phazon based!"

"You mean like P.E.D. technology?" Kyle asked, suddenly worried.

"No, nothing like that," the marine reassured him. "But the aerotroopers have enhanced their weapons with phazon to increase the power output. It doesn't come close to the firepower of a weapon in hypermode, but it does make the weapons more dangerous. But that's not what scaring me. That soldier, commander Shepard, when he came in there was no phazon readings on him."

Kyle frowned behind his visor. "Most people have zero phazon readings on them. I'd be more worried if he did."

"That's not the point," Kyle's second in command explained. "I scanned him again. Look at the results."

Taking the scanner from the marine's hand, the lieutenant examined the results. What he saw made his heart freeze up.


Assimilate. He slammed into another aerotrooper, the biotic blast killing it instantly. He didn't need to slam them into walls anymore. 2700 newtons of force was enough to shatter every bone in a their bodies. They thought they could compete with him? He would make them suffer. He would make them pay.

Convert. The remaining two pirates fired desperately at him with their weapons, his barriers absorbing the green bolts, as his power grew further. Grinning sadistically, he surrounded an aerotrooper with a biotic bubble, trapping the pirate inside. Then he crushed it, compressing the pirate into a ball of flesh and armour, it's death instantaneous.

Absorb. He let the last one fire away at him, floating in front of it as he savoured the delicious substance within the shots. It couldn't harm him. It could only make him grow. Faster. Stronger. He raised his pistol, energy from within flowing into the weapon, the handgun glowing blue with power. He fired, a burst of energy, glowing blue from this new energy within him striking the pirate in the chest. Then he fired again. And again. Twelve more shots struck the helpless aerotrooper, leaving only a charred and melted corpse behind.

Consume. A roar from behind made the spectre turn his head, just in time to see a cybernetic dragon rip its way through the hangar doors. Shepard stared at it, grinning viciously as he confronted his newest assailant. This one would give him power. He could see the energy flowing through it, energy he would rip from its body.

Corrupt. It thought it could compete with him?

He would consume it all.

He was corruption.

He was phazon.


Heh, cliffhanger much? Hope you all enjoyed it. Your continued feedback makes this all worthwhile.

For like... the fifth time now, thanks to LawrenceSnake for being an awesome beta-reader.

Now... How was that? I'm pretty happy with the result. It's the longest chapter yet in this story, clocking in at over 8000 words. Be sure to leave a comment.

Also, if you're unfamiliar with something in the story, such as phazon, mass effect powered devices, or locations I may mention, don't hesitate to make an inquiry. Now... onto writing the next chapter!
No comments on the last chapter. This saddens me. Maybe I'll get a better turnout on this one. It's a shorter chapter, but I still think it's pretty good.


“Aha! This should lead straight to the command bridge,” Samus enlightened the phrygisian beside her; she prepared to blow her way through yet another reinforced door.

The two of them had spent a solid half-hour making their way through the space pirate flagship, searching for the bridge of the vessel and blasting away all of the assault teams sent to stop them, the end result was a detailed map of the ship they currently occupied, and a steadily growing pile of space pirate corpses for a good mile.

“How can you tell?” Rundas asked curiously.

“It says “Command Bridge” above the door Rundas,” she deadpanned.

“Right.” There was a moment of silence as each waited for the other to speak. Rundas broached the gap once more, asking: “So... Stealthy entrance? Or dramatic?” A powerful explosion, followed by a trio of what could only be power beam shots, answered him. Guttural shouts and snarls could be heard from within, evidently produced by the space pirates that manned the vessel as Samus dived inside.

“Dramatic it is,” he chuckled, dashing through the new entrance crafted by Samus’ arm cannon.


A similar explosion was present within hangar 2-7B of the Olympus, as the mechanical beast that was Ridley tore it’s way into the battlecarrier, immediately turning to look down at the being that had pulverized so many of its minions. The phazon filled entity that was Commander Shepard.

Shepard glared right back as its eyes locked with his own, the beasts malicious orbs no doubt as hate filled as his own. It opened its jaws, orange energy charging deep within its maw. Shepard did not move. There was a flash, a beam of heat discharged from its mouth, blazing towards him at blinding speeds. He heard a cry from somewhere above. He ignored it. Then, without a sound, he projected an unstoppable phazon-biotic barrier before him. He vaguely noticed a stinging sensation within his head, but ignored it as he forced his barrier forwards, locked in a deadly struggle of reverse tug-o-war with the dragon before him.

Seconds passed, and then the beam stopped. He took advantage of this opportunity. With a roar, he charged forwards, impacting against the creature with a force of 3700 newtons. Though the attack lacked the same devastating effects it had on the aerotroopers, it was enough force to knock the beast back a number of meters, a feat no single man had ever before achieved. But the cyborg was far from finished, it swiped at him with powerful claws, yet it raked nothing but air as the spectre easily evaded the attacks.

Whipping out his shotgun, Shepard fired several bursts at the chest of the creature, overcharging the weapon and releasing a devastating phazon pulse. A shrill metallic cry emanated from the cybernetic dragon, and it leaped into the air, wings keeping it aloft as it hovered above him. A barrage of energy beams, projected from various appendages, assaulted his position, none making contact as he danced around the deadly weapons. Then, when his assailant ceased its attack, he charged it again, smashing through the hangar walls and dragging the fiend with him into the endless void of space.


“33 percent!” Kyle exclaimed in shock, recoiling from the datapad.

“And still growing,” the soldier who had handed him the display said quietly.

“But... How can someone absorb that much phazon?” Kyle demanded. “And so fast?”

“I don’t know sir, but I’ve never seen anything like it.”

A sudden roar caught both their attention. Kyle snapped his head around, just in time to see a cybernetic dragon tear its way through the Olympus’ hull. “Meta-Ridley,” he gasped. This day just keeps getting better... He was about to give the order to fire when something caught his eye. The thing that was Shepard embroiled in an all out brawl with the space pirate’s infamous leader.

He watched as the spectre repulsed the dragon’s deadly energy rays with his mind, before charging in to engage Ridley in close quarters. The rest was just a blur, the intense battle almost impossible to follow, culminating with the two combatants crashing through the walls of the ship and sailing out into empty space. He stared at the Olympus’ latest hull breach for a few moments before collecting himself and shouting, “Can anybody who’s with the commander please tell me what the **** just happened?”

There was a brief moment of silence before one of the commander’s friends, clad in a strange black armour that he now realized must be the prototype adaptive sets that were in development, stepped forth to explain. “What you just saw,” it began, in a distinctly female voice, “was something we call biotics. It’s a rare condition for all races but my own, the asari, brought about by exposure to element zero. It basically allows people to do... well... what you just saw.”

“So it’s like... some form of telekinesis?” Kyle asked. It wasn’t too difficult to swallow, as many races had natural abilities as strange as these “biotics.” Jovian’s could morph their entire bodies, and phrygisians could create and manipulate ice whenever the hell they wanted.

“That is... accurate enough,” the asari replied, answering his question. To emphasize her point, she waved her hand, lifting a nearby piece of debris off the floor and hurling it across the hangar. “But what Shepard did down there... A biotic display such as that has never been heard of before, even among my species’ matriarchs. For a human, that kind of power should be impossible.”

So the scanner didn’t lie... Kyle sighed. If that display was beyond even the most powerful of these “biotics,” then only one substance could be at work to make it possible. “Phazon.”

“Phazon?” the asari in front of him asked, evidently confused by the unfamiliar term.

“It’s a semi-sentient substance that can infect and enhance just about anything, whether it be machine or organic,” Kyle explained, already dreading the outcome of this conversation. “PED troopers use it to temporarily enhance their weapons on occasion, greatly enhancing power. Space pirates infect their people and equipment with it to make them stronger. Your commander appears to have absorbed it from space pirate weapons fire.”

“Is it dangerous?” the worry in her voice was readily apparent.

“In small quantities it’s only physically harmful, but in large quantities...” his voice was filled with trepidation as he attempted to explain the fate of her commander. “In large quantities it overpowers the recipient, mutating them entirely and taking complete control over their body and mind.”

Silence. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, the asari asked, “How much is he infected with?”

There it was. The one question that no one wanted to answer. He was going to have to tell these people that their friend and commanding officer was now nothing more than a corrupted husk, a thrall of the phazon that had consumed him, and that they would most likely have to kill him if they ever saw him again.

How the hell do you tell that to someone? He sighed. “First, you should probably know that it’s not unheard of for someone to overpower corruption. There are a few cases o-”

“How. Much?” A towering creature had walked up to the scene, clad in the same adaptive armour as the asari. Its voice was harsh, demanding an answer.

Straight to the ****ing point then. He sighed. Here goes... something. Kyle took a breath, and then said, “It’s not entirely accurate, but our phazon scanners placed his body composition at 33.7 percent phazon.”


Shepard fired his pistol repeatedly, each bolt striking Ridley’s gaping maw. The phazon bursts disrupted the upcoming beam attack, and the dragon’s head snapped back, giving the corrupted soldier the opportunity he needed to slam it with yet another biotic charge. In the zero gravity conditions of space, the force of the blow was enough to send both hurtling kilometers through the void, tearing through a space pirate frigate before being stopped by the hull of a large pirate dreadnought. Not even stunned by the blow, the slave to Phaaze threw out a biotic warp, the hyper-charged blast disintegrating a section of Ridley’s wing.

An earsplitting mechanical cry tore from the beast’s throat, unheard in the shadowy void of space, before the dragon began its furious assault anew. Talon and tail mixed with deadly energy rays to form a barrage certain to kill any mortal being. But Shepard was no longer a mortal being. He was phazon. Blindingly fast movements, accelerated with biotics, kept the disciple of The Great Poison away from the dragon’s attacks, Ridley’s swipes caught nothing but empty space, and its energy barrages only seared the hull of the dreadnought it hovered next to. Then, when it checked to see the devastation it had wrought, the lost man struck once more, a furious biotic throw plowing the mechanical monster through the hull of the ship it fought by, it’s body cutting through the interior before coming to a rest near the entrance to the command bridge. Phazon followed soon after, setting itself down near the head of the incapacitated space pirate leader.

It was still alive, but barely, the occasional twitches of its head or wings were the only indications of the life left within. That would be remedied soon enough. Tendrils of energy leapt forth from Phazon’s body, burrowing their way through the space dragons incapacitated form. He felt the phazon course through his veins, energizing every aspect of his corrupted body as the tendrils drained Ridley of life and expedited its decomposition. Soon, the once fearsome cyborg was nothing but an empty mechanical shell.

Then, staring contemptuously at the metallic corpse, he laughed. It was a cruel and inhuman sound, accentuated by the anger and helplessness of its host as he fought against the corruption within. After a few moments, the corrupted soldier stopped, slowly turning to face the lone figure that had just entered the room. It would take this one as well, another pawn in its soon to be numerous legion.

Blue energy cloaked his body once more, shrouding him in a protective phazon-biotic barrier. Phazon tendrils sprouted once more, hovering menacingly in the air. But now they had a new purpose. Assimilation.


“He’ll be fine,” the towering figure, identified by Kyle’s scanners as a krogan, asserted.

“Look, I kn- wait, what?” Kyle had expected rage or maybe resignation when he explained to them their commander’s fate, and had prepared his responses accordingly. Yet the person in front of him, despite knowing the dangers of phazon and the minuscule chances of surviving corruption, seemed perfectly assured that the commander would be fine. It wasn't even denial. The krogan knew that Shepard would survive, and had no doubts whatsoever.

“You could send him to the galactic core and he’d come out fine,” the krogan continued. “Hell, if you killed him he’d be back two years later shooting some new threat the politicians are too stupid to acknowledge. So I don’t think a fancy infection is going to beat him.”

“”I agree with Wrex,” another adaptive armour clad alien, this one identified as a turian, interjected. “We can’t help Shepard until he decides to take a break from brawling with a space dragon, so I guess we’ll just pass the time shooting stuff. That’s always fun.”

“Well there is a chance he could take back control,” Kyle admitted. “But it’s minuscule at best, a scenario that’s been repeated few enough times, I could count the number of incidents on one hand.”

“You could probably count the number of sentient life-harvesting starships you’ve killed on one hand as well,” the turian shot back. “Shepard doesn’t just play with the odds; he eats them, and chews them up until everyone else can eat them as well. You don’t doubt Shepard.” He said flatly.

“I hope you’re right,” Kyle replied. “Because if he comes back in his corrupted state... I doubt many of us will be leaving this hangar alive.”


He could see everything. He witnessed every act of brutality he had ever committed, but was helpless to change any of it as the presence within locked him out of his own mind. Even now it was trying to crush what remained and shatter the last bastion of Commander J. Shepard’s existence. Shepard... It was one of the few things he had left, one of the few memories that he could cling on to. It helped him resist... for now.

Even as he struggled he could feel more of himself slipping from his grasp. Little fragments of what was once Commander Shepard embraced the corruption inside. Geth... pirates... reapers... He knew they were important, but he could not understand why. This phazon was winning, and both combatants knew it. He watched as it leeched more of its sustenance from its latest victim, just in time for another figure to dash into the room, it’s body encased entirely within lustrous silver armour.

Suddenly, something sparked inside him. Didn’t he know someone else whose body was enclosed within a suit? Ta- A wall of pain slammed into the frail remnants of what was once a spectre once more; nearly crushing what little control he had left. Shepard welcomed this pain. It meant he had discovered something that the phazon did not want found.

Defiantly, he focused all of what little energy he could muster on the elusive memory, screaming internally as the phazon mercilessly continued its assault on his mind, stripping away every aspect of his being, piece by piece.

Environmental suit...... shy pilgrim… technical genius... his conscience burned, set ablaze as the phazon tortured what little of Shepard remained, desperately attempting to halt his progress.

Veiled... beautiful... brave and selfless... Suddenly, he could sense a new emotion from his assailant. Desperation? Fear? Was he winning? The phazon was mercilessly employing every brutal tactic within its repertoire, and Shepard could feel every fiber of his being unraveling before it, his mind falling apart at the seams. But he pushed through it. He could feel his target within his grasp, and Johnathon Shepard would not be deterred.

Anything... anything in her power... she’d do for me, I’d do for her… TALI! With that one word, he knew he had found it. He yanked it from the phazon’s grasp, cradling the memory close as he struck at the phazon one last time.

He had weakened himself irreparably in his drive to retrieve this one memory, and didn’t have the strength to last any longer. The blow was nothing but a futile gesture... or at least, he thought it was. For reasons he couldn’t comprehend, the phazon recoiled from the blow, temporarily pulling away from the mind it had laid siege to.

It was a hideously brief lapse, but it was all the time Shepard needed. Every memory associated with the name he had uncovered came surging back, surrounding his tortured mind in a soothing, liberating sense of absolution. He knew who Tali was, what she had done, and most importantly, who and what she was to him.

And now, equipped with his sword of recollection and his shield of remembrance, he could fight back against the corruption within. He could not...would not fail. He stabbed forth once more, the attack no longer a futile gesture, and began his own desperate assault to regain the identity he had lost.

The fate of John Shepard would be decided here, and though the odds were stacked against him, Shepard would fight tooth and nail for every cell in his body; for he had a promise to keep, and evil incarnate would not stand in the face of his pledge.


So... There you go. Memory combat. That's something you don't see every day.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it, and please be sure to leave some sort of comment or review this time. Please.
I'm sorry it took me forever to read this but hot damn was it worth it. The action was flawless and the details of every scene was perfection. Of course them cliffhangers are gonna keep me coming back for more :-D

I think its safe to say that this is the best non-mk crossover fanfic on this site :)
Hmm... Haven't posted here in a while. Better give you all those four chapters I wrote in my absence.
Samus stared in shock as tendrils of blue energy leapt out from the marine, twisting about in the air before diving at the incapacitated space dragon that stood before him. They worked rapidly, burrowing through the pirate leader and draining him of all remaining life. Soon, nothing was left of the dragon but an empty husk, leached of all energy by the intruding cords. Then the marine turned to her, it’s armour encased in a cocoon of intertwining veins of phazon, laughing a dark laugh that the huntress was intimately familiar with. The twisted laugh of her doppelganger from Aether, the physical incarnation of phazon energy that had plagued the world for so long.

Slowly, she raised her weapon, emotions taking control over the logical portions of her mind. This thing had taken her form, committed countless atrocities in a twisted mockery of her image. It had stripped her of her weapons, trapped her on a dying world, and attempted to kill her at every opportunity. It forced a corrupting plague on a peaceful race so akin to her adopted family of before, and didn’t even have the decency to stay dead when she killed it. And now, even when she’d ended all it had tried to achieve, it was back again, latching onto another.

Samus had done much in her life, and knew that few things in the universe were certain. But now, deep within the flagship of a pirate fleet, she’d have her doppelgangers fate written in stone. Today it died... No matter the cost. Without so much as a word to her adversary, she released a beam of supercharged light from her cannon before rolling to the side, not expecting the single shot to have much effect.

She could never have been more wrong.

The fight was over before it even began, the single burst of light impacting the corrupted marine center mass and initiating a chain of events that none could have anticipated. With a strangled cry, the phazon-imbued soldier stumbled to his knees, its phazon coating sinking into the special operations armour it bore. Slowly, the swirling tendrils of phazon energy retracted, reluctantly retreating to the shelter of their host. She briefly noticed Rundas entering the room, but paid the phrygisian hunter no notice. Her attention was focused solely on the enigma before her, her canon charged and ready to fire at a moments notice.

The logical portion of her mind told her to fire, to end the phazon threat right that moment. But her instincts gave her a much different set of instructions. Something was different this time around, they told her. Wait to see what happens next. With a sigh, she powered down her canon. For better or for worse, the huntress always trusted her instincts.

“Samus?” A familiar raspy voice began. “Did you kill him... again?”

“No.” She gave a quick shake of her head, before pointing her arm cannon at the mysterious Federation marine who was even now struggling to his feet. “He did.”

“Oh?” There was silence for a moment, as the two hunters pondered the latest turn of events. It was finally broken when Rundas asked the question, “so who the hell is he?”


He felt... different. As though something about him had been irreparably altered. His memories were for the most part vivid, only the past hour or so obscured by a thick and impenetrable haze. He wasn’t certain, but something told him that what was behind that smoke was best left forgotten, so he put the matter aside for the moment. There were currently much bigger issues, predominantly the two armor-clad aliens observing him from across the room. A sudden flare of pain in his temple told him that he was likely to need some kind of help, and he attempted to climb to his feet. He had to hope that these aliens were friendly. They certainly didn’t look like any of the other pirates he had so far encountered.

The silver-clad alien however, didn’t think much of his sudden movement, raising its arm... gun... thing and pointing the barrel his way. Okay... Maybe looks aren’t everything, the wounded soldier thought to himself, ceasing movement. The silver-clad alien, apparently satisfied with his compliance, decided to speak.

“Who the hell are you?” it demanded, in a decidedly feminine voice.

“That would depend on who’s asking,” the crippled soldier easily replied.

“Who’s asking,” the silver-armoured alien began, “is not information freely divulged. If you must, you may call me the hunter.” She appeared to hesitate for a moment, before continuing and pointing to the crystalline figure beside her. “That’s Rundas.” An indignant rumble followed the explanation, ‘Rundas’ apparently unhappy with his partner’s revelation.

“I suppose then,” the wounded soldier replied, “that you can call me the vanguard.” He paused for a moment, and then continued, pointing at the crystalline alien himself. “That’s Rundas.”

The comment earned a barely-stifled laugh from the self-proclaimed hunter, and another indignant rumble from the target of the human’s jabs. “I like you ‘vanguard,’” the silver-clad hunter replied lightly, “and I don’t like killing people I like.”

Heh, nothing like a bit of humour to defuse a situation, the wounded marine thought to himself.

“But unfortunately,” the hunter continued, her voice darkening considerably, “without your name, I’ll have to do so anyway.” She paused to let the revelation sink in. “Compliance is in your best interests.”

There was a brief and tense silence, interrupted only by the glow of a charging cannon followed the threat. Finally, the marine relented.

“The name is Shepard,” the soldier finally admitted. “Jonathan Shepard.”

“Well then Shepard, my friend and I have to go finish a few things, so you’re going to sit tight and wait for us to get back.” She motioned something at her companion, and very suddenly, Shepard felt an icy coating lock his legs to the ground. “Sit tight,” she finished, her and her companion exiting the room.

What in the hell? Shepard thought, as he tugged against his icy bonds. How does that even- Any further thoughts were cut off as the distinct form of a space pirate burst through one of the many glass panels that made up the ceiling. For a moment, the two enemies simply locked gazes, taking in the features of their newest foe.

Then the pirate raised its weapon.

Shepard stared at the alien weapon, now pointed his way. “You’ve got to be-”

The gun fired.

“So...” Rundas began, tossing a limp space pirate corpse out of the pilots seat. “Next step?”

Samus pointed her arm cannon at the open door behind them. “You go check up on our new friend. Make sure he’s okay, but don’t let him out. I don’t know if we can trust him.”

“Easy enough,” the phrygisian acknowledged. “What about you?”

The huntress merely sat down in the unoccupied helmseat, plugging herself in wirelessly to the dreadnought’s electronic systems.

“Do you know how to fly that thing?”

“No,” Samus replied simply. “But I’ll figure it out.”

“Your call Samus. Do try not to break everything. I’d hate to play cleanup again.”

“Relax. We’ve already got the ship. What could go wrong?” The statement was punctuated with the sound of a not-so-distant energy bolt.

“Anything else?” the phrygisian inquired sarcastically.

“Go deal with it.”

“Try not to crash,” the phrygisian shot back as he turned to exit the command bridge.


Shepard glanced at the pirate in shock, as the ice restraining him cracked and fell away. Slowly, he got to his feet, suddenly noticing that whatever weapons he had carried before were long gone. At least, all the ones that I carry, he reassured himself. Being one of the rare human biotics was a condition he was often thankful for. Eyeing the pirate carefully, he reached within himself, ready to lash out at a moments notice. He was once more surprised however, as the pirate opted to speak instead of fire.

“There is no need for hostilities human,” the insectoid hissed, a distinct raspy tone colouring its words. “I come to you with an offer.”

“I’m listening,” Shepard carefully replied, guard still up.

“Then listen well,” it warned, “for we do not make this offer lightly. You would give your allegiance to the Federation, and advise all the other races you know to do the same. That would be a mistake.”

“And throwing our lot in with pirates wouldn’t?” Shepard shot back.

“Pirates?” The creature laughed. “The Federation calls us pirates, to aid with their propaganda, but they lie! We are the Zebesians, the progressors!”

“Funny that,” Shepard chuckled. “I imagine the Federation would have something similar to say about you.”

“They would limit you, halt progress for the sake of mere ethics considerations! You have seen the power of phazon, and you know of your reapers. Would you allow the lives of a few million to stand in the way of protecting billions?”

Shepard felt a very uneasy feeling overtake him. How did this creature know of the reapers? Were they agents of the sentient machines? Survivors of a past cycle? “How do you know of the reapers?” the spectre demanded.

“That all depends on you, human. A starship is not the best place for a conversation.” Suddenly, it tossed a small datapad his way. He caught it easily. “We will converse more at that location,” the pirate rasped. “You may bring the quarian as well, if that is your wish. She might enjoy what I have to say.”

Shepard didn’t have a chance to reply, though the alien’s knowledge of him and the people around him disturbed him. A bright light flared suddenly, and the pirate vanished. A few moments later, a door slid open, ‘Rundas’ bursting into the room. The alien took one long look around the room, before glancing back at the newly freed human. “How’d you get free?” He demanded. “And what the hell happened to the dead dragon?”

“I... what?”

“I restrained you myself human,” the alien elaborated with a growl, “and the mechanical dragon corpse didn’t fly off on it’s own.”

“Oh...” Shepard chose his words carefully. “I don’t know what happened to... that, but I suppose you could say that I was released by a... diplomatic emissary?”

“A diplomatic emissary?” Rundas asked disbelievingly. “Alright human, I’ll play your game. Pray tell who sent an emissary to greet you in the center of a space pirate battleship?”

Shepard gave the alien before him a long look, considering his options. There really was no point in lying, he realized, and the truth would probably make cooperation a much easier task. Besides, it’s not like he couldn’t lie to the space pirates after all this was done.

“Called themselves the Zebesians, and the Progressors among other things,” Shepard explained without hesitating.

“Space Pirate diplomacy?”

“Seemed like it. Came to me proposing an allegiance to save all life in the galaxy from some sentient starships hell bent on the extermination of organic life.”

For a long moment, the alien before him was silent. Finally, he spoke, and the response wasn’t quite what the spectre had expected. “Given the state of things out there,” he gestured at the starry void of space visible through the energy barrier sealing off the room from vacuum, “that actually sounds somewhat plausible.”

Shepard opened his mouth to speak again, but the alien raised a finger... claw… talon? to cut him off.

“Now in normal times,” Rundas continued. “I would call you insane and either shoot you, or ship you off to a mental institute after collecting whatever bounty on your head was available... But these aren’t normal times. On my way here, I encountered a human colony not on any of the charts. Their technology was severely out of date, and they were under assault by a race of aliens I’ve never once encountered... also out of date. Four eyes... humanoid... brownish skin? Sound familiar?”

Shepard let out a low growl at that. “Batarians,” he whispered.

“I had a hunch you might know of them,” the phrygisian continued. “You see, once I dealt with those... batarians... I found that none of those humans could understand a word I spoke, without my helmet translating.” He paused for effect. “Neither could you.”

“Well funny that...” Shepard began weakly, scratching at the back of his helmet.

The phrygisian didn’t give him the opportunity to continue. “You’re not a Federation human, Commander Shepard, but you wear armour given to only their best operatives. Who, or what are you?”

“That’s... a bit of a long story, so I’ll make you a deal. As soon as I can get back to the Olympus and make sure my ship and crew are okay, we’ll talk on one condition.”

“And what’s that?” Rundas inquired cautiously.

“You tell me how the hell you froze my legs solid.”

The phrygisian chuckled. “I think I’ll take you up on that offer Commander... I expect we’ll be docking with the Olympus very shortly.” He looked out the energy barrier once more. “Very, very shortly... SAMUS!!!!”

Spurred by the phrygisian’s shout of surprise, Shepard glanced out the energy barrier currently functioning as a window, and saw to his horror, the broadside of a Federation Battlecarrier... One growing ever larger as their hijacked vessel closed the distance. Whoever was piloting their ship had the dreadnought on a direct collision course with the Federation vessel, and violent impact seemed like a highly probable resolution.

They could not have been more than a kilometer away from the looming battlecarrier, nowhere near enough distance to come to a complete stop before impact, so Shepard did the only thing he could do. He wreathed himself in biotic energy and braced for impact. With a groan, the ship lurched to a halt, flinging both him and Rundas into the bulkhead of the ship and leaving both warriors a dazed and confused mess on the floor. It actually took Shepard several minutes to get to his feet and realize that they had not, in fact, gutted their allies with the bow of a dreadnought and that, by some miracle of science, the ship had managed to halt itself but a few hundred meters from the Federation flagship.

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed his phrygisian companion also climbing back to his feet, shaking his head as he did so. “It’s times like this,” the phrygisian groaned, “that I wish I’d never left the ice mines.”

“It’s times likes this,” Shepard responded in kind, “that I regret dropping out of med school.”

“But the thrill of the hunt, of the adventure, that makes it all worth it, does it not?”

Shepard thought back to the hunt for Saren, and the memories that came with the monumental adventure, good and bad alike. He thought about the people he’d met, the worlds he’d saved, and the experiences he wouldn’t trade for the galaxy. “It certainly does,” the spectre whispered.
The two of them were silent for several more minutes, simply standing and reminiscing on journeys gone by, until Rundas finally broke the silence. “Well if nothing else, it’s certainly been... interesting to meet you Shepard. But if you’ll excuse me, I have to go exchange a few words with our pilot.”

“I don’t suppose I can follow you? I kind of came in through the wall, so...” he hesitated for a moment before continuing. He always had hated asking for directions. “I really don’t know my way around the ship too well, and getting lost in a space pirate dreadnought doesn’t seem too appealing at the moment.”

“It’s actually probably for the best that you come,” the phrygisian admitted. “I imagine that Samus will be rather interested in your origins story as well.”

“Samus?” Shepard inquired.

“Right,” Rundas sighed. “She gave you that stupid moniker the space pirates gave her when she blew up Zebes the first time.”

“The first time?”

“You don’t get my stories until I get yours,” the phrygisian shot back. “Point is, her name, if you hadn’t figure this out already, isn’t actually ‘The Hunter.’ It’s Samus.”

“There was a marine talking about a Samus Aran back on the Olympus,” Shepard stated. “I’m sensing a connection.”

The phrygisian chuckled. “Samus might be a little popular with the Federation right now. Deadliest thing in space... Excepting me, of course... and she’s on their side. It usually costs them, but the people tend to overlook her bounty hunter status when she’s saving them from Space Pirate abduction.”

“Wait, so the two of you are bounty hunters?” Shepard asked, surprised.

“Most all the elite operatives in Federation space are bounty hunters,” Rundas chuckles. “Maintaining a gunship and advanced personal equipment is expensive, and being a third party pays more. Besides, when you’re as good as me, you’re on the ‘call first list’ anyway.”

“Call first list?”

“Whenever they’ve got a suicide mission, they call me, or one of several other hunters first. I’ve taken on several lifetimes’ worth. We might be elite, but in the eyes of the government high-ups, we’re expendable as well,” Rundas noted with more than a little distaste.

Shepard didn’t have a chance to respond, as they’d already arrived at their destination, and Rundas was already marching through the sliding doors.

“Space Pirates overloaded the control systems,” Shepard heard a female voice coolly explain. “I had to override the forward engine servos to stop us in time.”

“You’ve already used that one Samus... Twice.”

“I thought I told you not to let him out,” the sudden change in conversation caught Shepard off card, and the venomous edge in Samus’ voice sent a chill up his spine.

“I didn’t let him out,” Rundas explained. “Space Pirate diplomatic team did it apparently, now stop changing the subject.”

“There’s no subject to change,” the silver armoured hunter pointedly stated. “I prevented a Space Pirate sabotage attempt from crashing this dreadnought into the Olympus.”

“The lack of a chozoid control interface had nothing to do with our latest near death experience?”


Shepard watched from the sidelines as the two hunters stared each other down, not entirely certain as to what their disagreement stemmed from in the first place. Finally, Rundas backed down, muttering something about ‘blasted expressionless helmets,’ and Samus turned her full attention to him.

“Now then Shepard... The Olympus’ Aurora unit managed to contact me not to long ago, it also helped me override the space pirate control lockdown.” Rundas gave a snort of derision at that. “At which point it told me a few rather, interesting, things about you. I have to say now Commander, that I am quite looking forward to working with you.”

Shepard took a moment to let that sink in. “Do I even want to ask?” the spectre questioned, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, it’s nothing major,” the female hunter reassured him. “Just a few - more than a few - for you and your crew, free passage through Federation space, and the opportunity to ‘introduce the Galactic Federation to your part of the galaxy’.”

“So... I pulled escort duty?”

“We both did. I’d try to break it to your crew slowly,” Samus advised. “You don’t want a mutiny when you start bringing the politicians aboard.”

“They’ve dealt with out ambassador before,” Shepard chuckled. “They’re already veterans.”

“Good. The Olympus already sent a shuttle to pick us up from one of the hangar bays so we can get the hell of this ship. I think that you,” she pointed her arm cannon at Shepard, “Have a lot of things to explain to a great deal of people.”

Shepard thought back to his latest brush with death, and the lingering feelings it brought to head. He thought of his crew, still aboard the Olympus and likely unaware of his situation. He thought of things unsaid, things that should have been said far too long ago.

“I think I do,” he finally voiced.


I'll put the next chapter up in a few days. Thoughts?
Damn man no wonder you got the hall of fame for this fic.
It's perfect really: the conversation aspects of Mass Effect and the action pieces from Metroid blend very well together.

This was so worth the wait :)
Damn man no wonder you got the hall of fame for this fic.
It's perfect really: the conversation aspects of Mass Effect and the action pieces from Metroid blend very well together.

This was so worth the wait :)

Well there's three more coming, so feel free to quiver in anticipation.