Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Part 1

Warning: May contain foul language and scenes some people may find upsetting. No guarantee can be made that this will change in future chapters of this story. In fact, it will most likely get worse.
This is only the start.

Lt. Mark Thomson was on Earth when they struck. He was looking out across the pretty London skyline from his balcony, an endless horizon of white buildings and bright hologram lights, then all of a sudden a grey mass crashed into the ground, throwing up dust and debris.
There was not a word to describe how huge it was. He was a few miles away from it and he still couldn't see the top. It was roughly shaped like a squid, but clearly made out of metal and extremely large. The casing of it opened, revealing a glowing red circle which contained rotating disks inside.
A metallic groan was audible from the massive machine, then a blast as a thick red line of energy tore up buildings and everything in its path. He staggered away from the bright light, feeling the heat even from such a distance.
The red energy carved a ridge in the ground and several buildings started collapsing, if they had not been instantly annihilated.
"Shit. Reaper!" Thomson yelled at his friend in the room behind him, "Get down!"
Thomson and Lt. Renswick dived on to the floor, down into cover, as the energy tore through the hotel lobby they were in, slicing it in half easily and burning part of Thomson's face. He grunted and stayed on the floor until he was confident the Reaper wouldn't strike again, then leaped to his feet, hands scrambling at the holster on his belt for his M-3 Predator pistol.
The hotel was starting to give away. The lobby was on the twenty sixth floor, and his room was on the forty third. He had to get there. His N7 armour was there, and so were most of his guns. But he wasn't sure he'd get there in time. The hotel was already starting to tip over.
"Come on!" he yelled to Renswick, "I'm going to get my weapons! You get yours unless you want to be killed by a bloody Husk!"
Husks formed the majority of the Reaper invasion force. They were strange to say the least. Grey, armoured creatures which he thought were made by salvaged flesh which was turned into cybernetic materials, or something. He wasn't about the basics but they were... scary. Like zombies but more... scary.
Just scary. And they were also accompanied by Cannibals, Brutes and Marauders. Cannibals ate the flesh of the people they had killed to heal themselves and recover their armour and carried large arm cannons. Brutes were large creatures, heavily armoured and very hard to kill. And Marauders were front-line Reaper soldiers.
None of them were nice.
Thomson and Renswick sprinted across the lobby, jumping the gap the Reaper had created and moving towards the stairs. They had many flights to go, and wouldn't be in time unless they acted.
He had an idea.
"Your room is only on the next floor, right?"
Renswick nodded in response, "Just up a floor."
"Mine is on the forty third. I'll have to use biotics to be able to go that fast. Meet in the lobby again, ok?"
His friend nodded again, "Good luck."
"You too. Don't die when I'm not around."
Renswick grinned, "Never."
Crackles of dark energy appeared in Thomson's hands as a mass effect field gathered beneath him. He pushed it down towards the ground and shot upwards several floors. His arms flailed and he grasped hold of a railing leading to the thirty third floor.
Biotics were a rare ability in humans. Biotics can control mass effect fields using Element Zero implants embedded in body tissues. Most biotics had powers barely of any use, but Thomson was one of the lucky who were considerably powerful. Not the most, and not the least. Somewhere in the middle.
He pushed another mass effect field towards the ground and he was pushed up to the forty third floor. His hand closed around the railing whilst the other one was left dangling at his side. He hissed in pain as his arm felt as if it was being pulled out of its socket but he managed to grab with his other hand too and pull himself up.
Thomson could hear more Reaper blasts from outside. The floor had tilted enough for it to be hard to walk but he was able to make his way relatively quickly. He jogged to his room which thankfully was only a matter of metres away from the stairs.
Unfortunately, however, it seemed that the Reaper attack had taken out the electricity, meaning that the locking mechanism on his door wasn't working. And he definitely wasn't strong enough physically to open the metal hatch.
But his biotics were.
He sent a shockwave out - a blast of mass effect field that would cause damage to anything in its path for about a 10m radius - which tore open the door with the sound of crushing metal. He stepped into his bedroom, immediately throwing the mattress on his bed on to its side, revealing a hidden compartment full of weaponry and black N7 armour.
N7 was a Systems Alliance code for the highest possible grade of Special Forces. The Systems Alliance were the representatives of Earth in Council space and formed a large portion of the military of the Citadel. It marked Thomson out as one of special abilities and granted him a large amount of respect. To gain N7 status he had to train in varying combat situations from zero gravity to parachute dropping and taking a small team into some of the most hostile environments in the galaxy with little supplies. He managed to bring them all back alive and excelled in fields of combat.
He was rather proud, and the silver and red N7 logo on his armour made a sprout of pride grow in the pit of his stomach every time he put it on.
Thomson quickly put on his armour and booted up the mass effect shield generator built inside, which provided additional protection from small incoming projectiles such as the rounds from weapons. He fitted on his breather helmet - a cool-looking protective helmet which fastened on to his suit. It provided fresh oxygen for him in hostile environments and vacuums.
He loaded his M-8 Avenger rifle and fastened other equipment to his belt - several fragmentation grenades, spare magazines and a communicator. He held the rifle near his back and it folded up and clicked in place for ease of transport.
When the compartment underneath his bed was empty, he raced back out of the door. Instead of using biotics, he simply vaulted over the railing and landed in a crouch on the stairs beneath, then turned and leaped over the other side of the stairs which made him land on the flight below.
Thomson made his way down the stairs flight by flight, each time landing in a crouch before continuing his path to the bottom. When he was two floors above the lobby, he simply jumped down, his knees absorbing all the impact and sending vibrations through his armour.
Renswick was waiting for him, wearing similar armour - but without the N7 logo. Renswick was only N1 and had not passed most of the tests yet - but was working on it.
The lobby was at a forty five degree angle, meaning that they had to hold on to a railing and shuffle along it slowly to prevent themselves falling. Unlike when the Reapers had first landed, there was not a single person in the lobby, but far below them they could see a pile of corpses. They must have fallen as the lobby tilted. Thomson felt an immediate hate for the Reapers for committing such an attack, where innocents were killed. They had no right to wipe out all organic life, just on a far fetched theory which, as far as he was aware, had no proof.
His arms started hurting from the strain of holding on to the railing. Still the hotel tilted, making holding on harder and harder by the moment. The muscles on his forearm were swelled and protesting as he tried to keep himself from falling. He noticed a similar effect happening with Renswick, he was sweating and was grimacing from the effort. But still they kept shuffling along the narrow railing.
Then the floor tilted in such a way that meant holding on was impossible. They looked down and saw a complete and utter vertical drop to the pile of corpses below.
"What are we going to do?" yelled Renswick above the scraping and scattering noises from the rapidly crumbling hotel, and the loud groaning noises from the Reapers outside as they fired yet more red energy blasts and destroyed anything in their path.
"I have an idea!" Thomson shouted back, a plan forming in his mind. It wasn't perfect, but it'd have to do. He let go of the railing with his right hand, making the left strain even further and hurt so much he couldn't help but grimacing and grumbling. He reached for a small lever to his right. He hoped that it was what he thought it was... otherwise they'd be in trouble.
All the hotels, in an emergency, had a kind of cushion that activated on the turning of a certain lever. The cushion would coat the walls and roof as a kind of protective bunker against a building collapse.
He pulled the lever. The lobby started falling towards the ground, breaking off from the lower part of the hotel. He shouted in fright as it raced towards the floor.
"Let go!" he shouted to Renswick.
"Let the fuck go! Do it!"
Thomson pushed himself off from the wall, throwing himself in line with the wall of the lobby as it tilted in the air. Renswick was less than a metre behind. He quickly prayed in his mind that the lever was the right one, or they would end up no better then the corpses rushing up to meet them.
"Oh god no!" Thomson shouted as the ground was only a matter of metres away. He could see each individual detail of the corpses, and the ways they were injured.
The cushion activated as the lobby hit the ground, crumbling and crushing on impact. The cushion was the only thing that prevented them from being killed from the fall damage. All the breath was knocked out of his lungs, despite the armour which coated his body. Metal and plenty of dust were thrown up on the impact.
Thomson gasped for breath as the debris settled around him and Renswick. He rolled over to check Renswick was alright - he seemed fine and had landed on his side so wasn't winded like he was.
He recovered from being winded and stood up, immediately checking the bodies for any survivors.
There were none. No movements at all. But something didn't seem right... he couldn't put his finger on it, but something about the scene of people killed by falling out of the lobby was odd.
The injuries, he realised. There were no broken bones like you'd expect from falling from a large height. They were all either torn in half or had been punctured. Not injuries from fall damage. Injuries from claws.
"Fuck. Renswick, we have Husks. Get your bloody weapon ready."
Thomson pulled the M-8 from his back. It immediately folded back out to its normal size. He scanned the area quickly for movement of potential threats, aiming down the sight on his weapon.
There were no movements. But there were footprints.
"There only looks to be three of them," he told Renswick after glancing at the marks on the ground, "No prisoners. They must have climbed up into the lobby and killed the people there. They're heading towards the Reaper again, it seems. Let's go."
"Where are we going?"
"To follow them. Create an ambush, and blast them to hell."
"... You said they were heading towards the Reaper. No offence and all, but the further away we get from that thing, the safer we are. We don't want, nor need, to get closer. Not for some stupid suicidal revenge mission."
"Hey, they killed that receptionist you liked. What was here name?"
"Her name was Samantha. And I know they bloody killed her! Don't you think I know? Don't you think I care? I'm not getting closer to that bloody Reaper. If you want to, fine. But you'll face endless waves of bloody Husks and Cannibals and god knows what else. We don't know what the fuck they do to people, but I'm sure I don't want to bloody find out first hand. This is not a mission. This is suicide, and to be honest I don't want to die today. You might have nothing to lose. You might have lost all your family, but that doesn't mean you should throw away your life to get revenge on some bloody mindless-robot-zombies. Ok?"
"I'm going to get them. If you want to wait here, or go back to the shuttle, fine. You know where we parked, but it will be a long walk. And we don't know where the Husks are. They may be waiting at the landing pad to kill any survivors who want to escape. At least getting closer to the Reaper, we'll be able to shoot the Husks and down there is the Thames, right? I say we lure as many Husks as possible near the Thames Barrier and catch them in the open. And you're right, I have nothing to lose. But running somewhere where it's all closed in and there could be an ambush at any moment doesn't make sense to me. I understand why you think an escape would be good, but did you see how many shuttles it took down when it landed? We'd be blown to smithereens by the time we got out of the atmosphere. We don't know their full strength yet. They might still be landing. It will be better to wait and assess the situation before blundering into the path of one of their energy beams."
An Alliance dreadnought exploded as they spoke. Taken out by the energy beam from the first Reaper that had landed. The lifeless corpse of the large spacecraft drifted back down to the ground. Thomson realised how many Reaper ships there were. Harvesters by the thousands, more and more Reapers were landing. The entire sky was coated in synthetic organisms.
Thomson changed his mind. "You're right. Hell, you're right. Going into that would definitely be suicide. We have a better chance going to the shuttle and retreating back to the ship. We should go to the Citadel. Hopefully we'll get through their defences and fly to the Mass Relay so we can jump. They might not target us in the small shuttle."
"So we walk, shoot everything non-organic in our path and escape?" Renswick questioned, then turned his head as another Alliance ship was blasted out of the sky.
"That's the plan. I dread to think how many people have died here today. There must have been a thousand on the dreadnought. And then there's the Husks to think about... I think a hundred thousand dead. At the least. We need to get out of here."
"We should get moving. There's no time to lose. The more time we spend here, the higher chance we'll get indoctrinated or killed."
Indoctrination was a weapon used by the Reapers. Rumoured to be more powerful than an entire army, the Reapers would slowly take control of your mind if you were close to them or one of their artefacts, leaving you a mindless slave. They would make you turn against your friends, your family, and do things you would never do before. A sign of first being indoctrinated was the fact you felt unsure of yourself. But Thomson was sure that they had to escape, so at least as of yet he wasn't feeling the effects.
They turned so they were facing down the remains of the street. Thomson began climbing over the debris and broken walls of the hotel, a massive mound on the ground. He saw blood, concrete, wiring and all the insides of the building. Crushed and crumbled without any hesitation. Without any effort.
Damn Reapers.
"So how far is it to the landing pad?" Renswick asked curiously, looking at something where they had just come from.
"A few miles, maybe five. Why?" Thomson replied, turning in the same direction but not stopping moving.
"Because we need to hurry up. They are coming."
The street behind them was flooded with Husks and other ground forces used by the Reapers.
"Oh shit," was the response from Thomson.

Thanks for reading the first part of my Mass Effect Fanfiction. Any feedback would be appreciated so please comment. If there's anything you don't understand or anything you want to ask, just do so in the comment section and I will reply ASAP.