World 4: Mass Effect

A Jumper’s Wrath

Previous: Jump #3

Theme Song: Fight Song by Rachel Platten

If I didn’t know what setting I was going into when I woke up the next morning to demands of breakfast from both Zane and the council of Pokemons (and a polar bear and a puffin… the polar bear having learned not to try and eat any of the others), I knew within the first moment as I saw the “RACES” listing and Asari on top. I assume there were other choices, but screw that! Blueskinned lesbianoids? I’m sooo there! Plus, the other choices are all icky. Salarians are too short lived, Turians are all jerks, Krogans… way too many testicals, Quarians… Those suits… Humans… yerg. Been there, done that.

I spun the wheel, ending up a 200 year old Asari from Thessia. Excellent. Always wanted to explore the Asari Homeworld. See all the strippers. But the Asari are so, stuffy… I’d like to be… hmmm… an Outlaw! Yes! Excellent! I work outside the crushing restrictions of tradition and scoff at the annoying “Council”. Is all about the credits baby! Plus, I have a scarf. Time to get my thief on. [100]. Oooo, classes… mmmm… Don’t want to be Biotic. That relies on Element Zero and there’s no guarantee I’d be able to use it outside this jump… plus… not a big fan of implants. So… combat or tech… ooo, Combat and Tech! Infiltrator it is! Totally not playing up the ‘traitor” part. Lessee “Tech-savvy with martial skills, stealth takedowns, specialized ammo, explosives, cloaking… nice. I’m sold. Wait, why can’t I push the button… fuck… fuck… awww… that’s no fun! Frickin Asari can only be Adepts or Sentinels? That’s it? Shit… wasn’t Samara a damned Vanguard? Awww, poo.. Fuck it, what happens if I keep pressing the button….

“You should play by the rules.”

“Don’t wanna.”

“But Asari are all Biotics.”

“So? Two classes? That’s it? Not even all three of the Biotics? Come on, this is lame. It’s like… AD&D 2nd. Humans get all six but the others are all-”

“You’re going to lecture me until I give in, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Fine. Be a damned Infiltrator. But don’t come crying to me because you’ve got no Biotics training.”

“I… ummm… hmmm… okay. I won’t. I still get basic Biotic potential because I’m Asari, right?”

“Yess… but I’m charging you [50] for it… and all the other Asari will think you’re weird for not embracing your Biotics more. They’re going to mock you for being weak.”

“Fine. I can cope.”

Woo! Infiltrator Asari… they’ll never see me coming. Disruptor Ammo, Incinerate, Cryo Ammo, Sabotage, Tactical Cloak, Sticky Grenade, Proficiency with Pistols, Sniper Rifles, SMGs, and Heavy Weapons. Yay! No shotguns! Hate shotguns… damn… which version of the setting am I going into… the infinite Ammo one or the other one. Says Heavy Weapons… shit, that probably means Stupid Mass Effect 2 version. Damn. Maybe I can find some ME1 guns lying about. Let’s see, System says I get one minor biotic ability… Eh… let’s go with “Pull.” I can already blast things away from me with Ice or Fire or Hyperbeam… need some good old fashioned Jedi yanking.

Perk time! Let’s see, how do I more badass myself… Mmmm… Well, Tactical Readiness is discounted for Infiltrators… heh. Nfiltr8rsss… sigh. Zane is infectious… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Tactical Readiness… instinctively keep track of your surroundings, assess situation, find escape routes, be paranoid… naw… too pricy, too mind fuck. Assistant VI? Ooo, yes, she could keep track of my insane number of files and bring up the right audiobook… speaking of, there better be good fiction in this universe because I’ve already read everything I brought with me twice… Even the stuff I picked up in Infamous-Verse. [100]

Hmmm… Tongue of a Shepherd… would literally allow me to talk people into shooting themselves in the head… I did have some problems last couple of worlds with getting people to listen to me. It’s pricy, but… yeah, let’s go with some serious verbal buttkicking. [500] Hah, now I can convince people to jump off bridges! Why would I wanna? Eh. Better to have the skill than not, right?

Gear! Gear, my old friends! Free stuff first… Basic Armor with Kinetic Barrier, Basic Weapon of each type I’m proficient with… have to test this new Sniper Rifle against my old standby… It hasn’t seen that much use over the last ten years… but Monkey Fingers still can pull triggers. Don’t tell anybody, but that’s why Gengar kept fainting all the time. Bang, Headshot. Omni-Tool… cool. Wonder how well it will interface with my Pokegear. Should be interesting. It is Omni, right? Right?

What else? Conflict Materials? Ooo rare elements, massive stash… funds! Yes please. [100], Medi-Gel Kit? 20 Doses doesn’t seem like much, but… MOTHER FUCKING INSTRUCTIONS to make more? Yes please. Fuck, Cerberus didn’t even have instructions on how to make more Medi-Gel! Boyah! [50]… ooooh… speaking of instructions to make more, can I combine my Tracking system with my omni-tool? Must find out. Hmmm… Weapons Locker? Mid to High Grade Weapons… enough to outfit a Battalion? 500 goddamned sets of weaponry? Shiit, [200] Choice in the baaaank!

Crap… Crap… the system is buzzing at me, I’ve overspent. Shit… ummm… let’s see, what’s worth 100… Well, what’s worth more? Reaper’s Eye… ack… that sounds bad. No Takers… haven’t gotten laid in decades… could take that… but damn it! I’m a sexy Asari Babe! I want Lesbonics! What happens on Thessia stays on Thessia, right? Bounty… been there, done that. Rogue AI? Fuck no. That would be worse than Zubats. Red Tape… bleh. Paperwork goes against my criminal Code. What’s this… Shepard’s Flock? Wait… I take this and I get sucked into the whole plotline mess? Well, fuck… that’ll save loads of time tracking her down and making sure someone kicks Reaper Butt. [-100] Wonder if she’ll be a Paragon or a Renegade? Or a dude? Fingers crossed, fingers crossed.

I hit confirm and the world went neon blue. That’s a first. I woke up, head throbbing, naked, memories of a lifetime three times longer than all my other lifetimes combined pouring into my consciousness. I groaned, rolled onto my side… and bumped into something solid. I opened my bleary eyes, wondering what the hell I’d drunk, when I realized I was lying next to the biggest damned Krogan ever. Well, mostly on top of him actually. His eyes opened, twinkling with a familiar gleam “I evolved AGAIN!” I groaned. Zane… the fucking Krogan. Shit… I blinked “Why are you naked?” He grinned “I think we had sexy time! Will you lay an Egg Now?” I shuddered, wincing at the physical discomfort and rapidly healing bruises that informed me that, yes, it seemed highly likely we’d… err…

“It doesn’t count. That’s what these bodies did before we got into them, got it?” He laughed, a deep booming laugh “Sure thing… Fire Monkey. Ooo… Monkey… I understand that word now. Monnnnkeeee… And Puppy! You used to call me Puppy! A small dog. Hah! I’m not small any more!” He set me down as he stood, grinning like a goon, as he flexed “I am Krogaaaan! I am… hmmm… Krogan! Wait, what’s a Shotgun… oooo, that sounds cool! It’s like my Bullet Punch… but longer range! We gotta go shoot something!” I sighed, rolling out of bed and staggering into the bathroom, looking for clues as to where we were. Was this home? No… hotel, I decided, seeing the tiny soaps and monogrammed towels. Decent one too, I thought as I ran my fingers over the fabric. The water was arctic… but that’s cause I set it there, feeling the intense chill soaking into me, filling my reserves. Out of curiosity, I tried to use some of that power to generate fire. It wasn’t easy, but it worked. I opened the shower door and tried to use some stored Icepower to pull the towel over. That worked too, but again, there was a lag. I could shift between internal power pools… but it wasn’t easy. I was going to have to work on this. 3 pools was too much… and if I gained more, I wasn’t going to be able to keep track of everything, even with my intellect.

Zane stepped in “Did you use up all the hot water?” He asked, then grinned “You’re sooo tiny!” I punched him, making him double over “But… but not weak.” He groaned.

“Right. Remember that. I’m still… fuck… what the hell is my name here.” I concentrated, my migraine easing… “Ah… I am Sara Jo’Nas. That’s almost human. Okay. and you’re?”

Zane pouted “I’m Zane! How could you forget?”

I sighed “Right. I was just wondering if you’d gotten a new name in this world, you big lunk.” Zane Grinned “I may be a lunk, but I’m also a Hunk!” I groaned “Shut up and get clean. I’m starving and we need to figure out how to get to the Citadel and become a Spectre. Preferably before Shepard and Saren start tearing up… orrr… we could get the jump on things and head right for… no… better not. Let things come to us. Let’s see.” I plucked up an Omni-tool, but it was Zanes. I dropped it and grabbed the other one, pulling it onto my arm. “According to my memories, it’s… damn… VI, what year is this in the Human Calendar?”

“It is the Human Year 2181 of Christ.” I almost asked who the fuck Christ was, before I actually remembered. Spend ten years as Pokemon, and then get 212 years of Asari Memories… okay, 203… couldn’t remember much for the first 9 years of this lifetime, despite my perfect memory… and you begin having trouble with Earth Cultural References. Jesus Christ was as alien to my consciousness at this point as… as… Arceus. No, even vaguer, since even when I’d been human I’d never worshipped JC, and I’d actually spent 10 years believing Arceus was, in fact, God the Creator. Was Arceus Yahweh? Huh. Maybe. But that wasn’t important.

“We’ve got two years to become Spectres… well.. 18 months. Can’t be that hard, right?”

“I have faith in you, babe!”

“Great.”

Turns out that, yes, when you can convince people of practically anything and can throw a fully armored Krogan Battlemaster around with ease, convincing the Council to make you a Spectre is, in fact, relatively easy. In fact, the only real challenge I faced in this period was from some of the hardcore traditionalists among the Asari who claimed my tactics were “Unorthodox” and my family line was “Unimportant” and my past was “Unsavory”. I could have made a joke about how they needed to vary their vocabulary, but it wouldn’t work in the dominant Asari languages. Okay, I had one other minor problem… Zane. You know how Krogan have four… well… you know? They have a sex drive to match… and Zane wasn’t picky. At all. Or genetically near-sterile, something I had to keep very quiet. Every damned time he got near a female Krogan I’d have to spend half a day hunting him down and he’d always just give me that shit-eating grin and shrug. Same with practically any Asari who showed the slightest interest… or any human who seemed like she’d like to ride the Krogan Warpony… yes, he really called it that. Of course, sometimes he’d transform back into his Lucario form and pretend to be a member of an unknown alien race called the Primordials on a mission to experience “Human” (and by Human, read Quarian, Turian, Salarian, or Asari) Lovemaking. I cannot believe how many females fell for that one.

I, of course, used my Infernape form for more… sensible things. Like infiltration, grand theft, and sabotage. Also for playing a near unending series of pranks on Saren. Little jerk, totally deserved it. Considered killing him more than once, but decided that would throw too much of a butterfly into the works, and driving him batshit crazy with my jokes… and the occasional flaming poo (flaming monkey, flaming poo)… was sooo worth it.

I also considered looking up Shepard, just to see what he or she was like in this universe, but I decided to be surprised. I did hunt down all, and I do mean, all, of Shepard’s eventual companions and get to know them as well as can be expected. Okay, not all, not EDI or Legion who don’t strictly speaking exist yet, but the rest… yeah. Even Jack and Javik. Finding them was trickier than I’d thought it would be, since neither Pragia nor Eden Prime are exactly small planets… but… I have a way of making people talk, and knew what I was looking for. Jack was easy to convince to join me. This was 3 years earlier in her timeline and she wasn’t quite as… angry, but the promise of revenge against Cerberus was all it took. Javik was more interesting, but, giant git that he is, convincing him to get revenge on the Reapers wasn’t exactly hard. Zaeed and Kasumi and Thane weren’t hard to find in my line of work. Can’t say as I was friends with any of them, aside from maybe Grunt. He’s fun to party with. He and Zane got along pretty good… after the fist fight. Though Zane is bigger, Grunt is… mean.

I do give myself a special mission around the year mark. I steal the plans for the Normandy. Take them to some underworld connections, calling on Spectre status, and get not one, not two, but five of them made. Asari VI, Turian Shields, Salarian sensors, Krogan Weaponry. While that’s going on, I work on Miranda, trying to get closer to the workings of Cerberus… or at least in a position to be able to do so in a few more years.

Still, things were ticking along like clockwork until that idiot Shepard shows up. Small minded, rockjawed, git. Imagine if Mass Effect was played by the biggest Bro in the universe. Ramp that up higher and you’ve got it. Cross the worst possible Renegade Shepard with Duke Nukem and you’ve got him pegged. Soldier, Marine, Sole Survivor straight down the line. Creativity of a rock. Total Murderhobo. Acts like his controller is on a goddamned speed run. Watching him work is like… watching a machine. I’ve seen Geth with more involvement… but he’s death incarnate to anything standing in the way of his objective.

Zane and I join the fray, not really part of Shepard’s team, but close enough to steer him, and close enough to clean up his messes. Good thing about this not being a game? No party size limit. Second best thing about this not being a damned game? Being able to rescue Ashley when Signore Rockjaw goes to save Kaidan. Sure, she’s a racist, but I figure I can bring her around. Bad thing about this not being a game? The concept of “Take your Time” doesn’t exist. Events keep unfolding, and unfolding fast. I have to cover for Shepard on Feros while he’s off saving X57 from hijackers, and while the game makes it seem easy to deal with, Thorians are anything but, especially not with the Geth running around. Still, can’t say it wasn’t fun in an utterly terrifying kind of way.

Still, the best part of the first attack on the Citadel? Laying in wait for Saren as he came through from Ilos… and knowing that, together Shepard and I had managed to convince the council to set a trap for Sovereign. I wasn’t there to witness it, as I was busy shooting Saren in the head over and over again, but the videos of 6 Normandy’s absolutely shredding Sovereign had me chuckling for days. I don’t think the Geth fleet knew what hit them.

But then began the racing clock. 2 more years until Mass Effect 2’s events. I had to be in place before then. My successes (and my ability to convince people to do insane things) allowed me to authorize a totally black shipyard. We were laying down foundations left, right, and center, and I was using my contacts (Okay, mostly Zane’s contacts) within the Krogan community, promising them that if they helped crew my secret Black Fleet, they’d get the cure they’d been desperate for. Toss in as many Asari, Quarians, and even Humans as I could pull in, and the fleet was soon growing as fast as I could crew the damned ships. Getting a few of the older Asari Admirals to sign on was the hard part, but I managed. I wanted to teach the Reapers just how bad an idea facing actually prepared forces was going to be. I have a thing against genocidal assholes and this time I wasn’t going to just run and hide.

But doing all this would be meaningless if I couldn’t deal with Cerberus, and so, with the fleet well begun, I went after Jack Harper, aka The Illusive Man. Finding him was a challenge, but taking him out would have been too easy. I needed him alive… for now. But that didn’t stop me from beginning to undermine his control of his organization from within. I introduced Ashley… whom I’d gotten to know quite well by now… to Miranda, and convinced the two that they might enjoy a working relationship that could benefit both. I arranged for the Illusive Man to hire my friends Tali and Kasumi in various positions. I needed my pawns all lined up.

I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that things played out differently in the end. Mass Effect Relays were… tampered with, their exit points into key systems carefully calibrated for ships in certain mass ranges tweaked, and mine fields constructed. Large numbers of Geth were liberated and turned against their former masters… And the Black Fleet was lying in wait as the Reapers came out of jump near Earth, believing they’d destroyed the First Fleet at Charon Relay. Did you know that these people had never even dreamed up the concept of the self contained missile pod? Load a few hundred thousand contact nukes into 10th generation spaceborne IPBMS and slave them all to a small nimble frigate loaded with fire control. Shields? What Shields? Energy barriers powerful enough to tank a thousand 5-gigaton contact nukes just don’t exist in this universe. The devastation was brutal, sudden, and merciless. Cerberus, taken down from within months earlier, had been absorbed into the Shadowbroker’s network and Krogan and Geth assault pods were waiting for the Reapers near Thessia and Palaven. The Reapers never knew what hit them as their dreadnaughts began exploding one by one.

Organic Lifeforms are a virus. What did you expect, you stupid machines. We adapt, we grow. You are static. And uncreative. Say hello to Vivian. Oh. Right. Vivian. Know what happens when you give a VI access to all of recorded fiction, not just Human, but Asari, Krogan, Salarian, Batarian, Turian… and a dozen minor species? They become a massive geek. And know what happens when you plug that VI into a nearly unlimited amount of Omni-Gel? And then tell it that a bunch of evil psychotic Machine Intelligences want to destroy all the nice people who make all her favorite vids, comics, books, stories… etc? Yeah. She gets really, really angry. Know what happens when you plug a giant technorganic brain obsessed with the popular culture of a couple hundred worlds into the Reaper Neural network? Imagine plugging Spock into endless reruns of Sailor Moon. I swore, in that moment, I could hear the BDS of the remaining Reapers echoing across the Galaxy.

The next few years were… clean up. They weren’t pretty. The Batarians had been hit hard, as had some of the other races, and liberating them from the few remaining Reapers who had managed to isolate their systems from the constant barrage of Entertainment Warfare was no picnic. And of course the Mass Relay system and Citadel had to be completely dismantled and rebuilt, free of the Reaper’s control.

Still, it was nice to save the day for once, and not in a setting like Pokemon where no one could really die… except when they did… never understood that. But this time the Universe was ready for the Space-nazis… and I got to gloat as they burned. And gloat in style. In my downtime I’d upgraded my battery farm, my appliances, my personal vehicles… my freezers. AC & Heating? Taken care of. Swimming Pool installed. Atmospheric processing and a force shield plus turrets install over the main doors. Robotic sorting system installed. Shelves upgraded. Storage systems upgraded. 22nd century Rombas… acquired. Tech shop upgraded with really snazzy tools I still had almost no idea how to use. But I’d done ALL the shopping and it was finally time to go.

Finding a beach wasn’t hard. I picked Virmire. It’s a lovely planet. Really. Based on some Thai islands I think… Zane and I watched the sunset and I smirked at him “So… you’ve lived two lives now. Which did you enjoy more?” He considered, then smirked back “Had a lot more sex in this one. Got shot a lot more too. This was fun. But more complicated. We should go someplace calmer next time. Less Genocidal Maniacs.” I just laughed “I don’t control these things… but so far, every life I’ve lived except the one you’re from… all of those worlds had Genocidal Maniacs.”

So yeah, the Pillars came, and yada yada yada. No big surprises this time. Vivian had spun off a daughter program to live within my Omni-Gear (Omni-Tool / Pokegear / Pokedex hybrid) and I’d named her Victoria, because I like themes. Got to keep them, one on my arm, one as the brain of the Warehouse. Asked if I could keep one of the Blackstars (fourth generation heavy combat Normandies that I’d had constructed for the Black Fleet and named in honor of Babylon 5’s Whitestars.) Was told the request wasn’t unusual. Wasn’t much of an answer, but… I wasn’t expecting much. Still, snagged a Mako. Love those things. Mine has improved jump thrusters… and a rollbar.

Oh, and apparently we get to keep our new forms as well, so now Zane and I each have three. Excellent. Can’t wait to explain to Legolas that a Krogan is not an Orc.

Next: Docking & Housing

Resources: Build, Document

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