Tweet of the Day: a character can live a lie, an author can’t
This is Part 4 of my Mass Effect 3 ending fic. Follow the links above for part 1-3.
One hundred solar years after the Battle of Earth
Dr. Liara T’Soni, archaeologist, information broker, and mother of three, ran her hand across the top of the railing. This had been center of the fight against the Reapers. A dozen Alliance personnel collected data, updated reports and watched as the Reapers tore the galaxy apart. Most of the holographic displays were off. The one in the center displayed an abbreviated history of the war. A history already shaped by the social and political needs of those who came after. Everything she touched brought back memories of those who worked and fought for the survival of galactic civilization. She took the elevator to engineering. Before her the last crew of the Normandy boarded a one of the shuttles. Each one glanced at the flag draped coffin as they filed past, all of them too young to remember the spirit that once inhabited that body.
How wrong she was. From the moment she saw him, she knew she wanted to be by his side. Although she was loathed to admit it then. She went into engineering. It was more cramped than the SR1, a reminder that this ship, for all his history, was a copy.
He might have missed it, but even Liara, who preferred Prothean artifacts over people caught her excitement in her voice, and not simply about the Normandy. She went back to the elevator. The doors opened on the second level. Before her stood two dark plaques. Her eyes wondered up to the upper right corner: Alenko, Kaidan.
After that everything was a blur, even her first night with her husband. The thought brought a smile to her face. He comforted her in the worst of moments. Before Illos, before the Omega Relay and before the Battle of Earth. Every time the universe threatened to pull them apart, they managed, somehow, to come back together. If only for moment. How many hours did she spent on Miranda’s former office? After the war Miranda joined her sister relocating the homeless masses in new colony worlds. The Lawson sisters had a knack for putting back together the lives others had shattered. She once asked Shepard about her. He admitted that Miranda was a formidable woman. Someone he respected.
Is that it?
He said not to worry. He was a one Asari man. She continued her tour of the ship. The med bay still had a faint smell of antiseptic. So many names attached to this place: Dr. Chakwas, Legion, Mordin, Eve. So many lives saved in this tiny space. As true for the med bay as for every millimeter of the Normandy. The doors opened behind her.
“The last shuttle is ready, Dr. T’Soni,” said an Asari in Alliance uniform.
“Don’t Doctor me, Hannah. I’m still your mother,” said Liara. She tucked at the hem of her daughters jacket. Hannah wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and the Alliance agreed that any Asari with a human parent could serve in the human military. “I’ll be there in a minute, okay?”
She saw her depart for the shuttle bay. She was as much a warrior as her father. Benny, the middle child, was a wild spirit that preferred singing over rifles. Miri, named after woman that brought Shepard back from the dead, was more serious, spiritual even, but had her grandfather’s quirky sense of humor.
Her final stop was the the CIC. She avoided the Captain’s cabin. She knew that if she went there, a part of her would never return. It contained too many memories. She stepped in front of the galaxy map. The holographic display came to life. The war had not ended on Earth. Instead, galactic civilization shuddered as it fought off the Reapers infection. Thousands of them went to ground. In their place millions of indoctrinated rose to continue the fight. Then the Yahg Invasion. It didn’t took long for her to ferret out the truth behind this new enemy: the Reapers. A handful of them took refuge on Parnack and through indoctrinated agents uplifted them into space faring race. In turn, the Yahg used vat grown Vorcha as shock troops. A decades long war spread through the galaxy. To add fuel to the fire, the pirate clans of the Terminus systems went on massive raids deep into Citadel space motivated by witch’s brew of Batarian/Hanar apocalyptic prophecies. Had it not been Grunt’s leadership of the Krogan the weaken Council races would fallen.
Wars never end, do they?
She knew better. Only the Krogan could bring the Yagh to the negotiating table by threatening to terraform their home world one massive comet at a time. After that the Council welcomed the Krogan into the fold, along side the Quarians, Hanar, Elcor and Volus. The Geth were invited, but they chose to be represented by the Quarians instead.
On the bridge EDI adjusted Joker’s uniform. It was hard to recognize him under the white beard.
“Ready to go Joker,” she asked.
“Please, don’t tell me you’re staying, Jeff,” she turned to EDI.
“It’s what we both want. Our daughters, for a lack of a better term, have our collective memories and are serving the galactic community as best they can,” said EDI.
Joker shrugged, “I’m so proud of my girls. One is running Citadel, the other one is teaching at the BioMechanical College in Rannoch. Who knew we could copy EDI’s code and beget children that way. With the Council’s permission of course.”
“Of course,” said Liara.
Liara fled the deck as quickly as her dignity allowed. She fought back the tears as she boarded the last shuttle. A part of her wanted to stay, but seeing the Alliance flag on Hannah’s lap steeled her resolve. The shuttle bay doors opened. The glare of Sol’s fusion fires bathed the bay in bright light.
“Shuttle clear. Mass effect core at 110%,” said EDI beside Joker. “You can still leave if you want to Jeff.”
“No. I lived too long and this is the only I’ve ever been good that,” he said. “Besides, he was my captain and I was his pilot. I failed him once, I won’t do it again.”
EDI nodded. Joker’s gnarled hand trembled over the FTL activation button. EDI covered it with hers. Jeff “Joker” Moreau switched the audio from his ear piece to the ship wide comm.
“It has been an honor,” she said.
“My pleasure,” he replied.
The SSV Normandy, nose pointed at Sol, made her last jump.
A jump into the light.
Conclusion in A New Cycle.