Game: Mass Effect
characters/pairing: Male John Shepard/Kaidan Alenko
Disclaimer: I own nothing besides my own playthrough of the games. ... Sadly, I don't make money out of it.
Kaidan wasn't really surprised about the fact that Cerberus had put little to no stock in his and Shepard's trickery.
Either that or they were just extremely paranoid about the situation, which Kaidan could also understand.
They had just lost a great number of men to a significantly smaller force.
Either way, they had come to the security station via the tram and had almost immediately opened fire.
Probably because of the lack of troopers waiting for their arrival, but they had gotten the result they wanted.
The tram was here, ready for them to hit the Archives.
The trip over would prove just as difficult, but Kaidan wasn't really surprised with that either.
Not only was the storm picking up even more, but Cerberus had placed a bomb on the tracks, which efficiently hindered their journey as well as sending another tram with more troopers towards them.
In retrospect, that had been a mistake on Cerberus' part. If Cerberus had stuck to the bomb, the trio would have been stuck out there, wasting valuable time on getting to one side or the other. With the troopers coming in on another tram, Cerberus had served the three of them another chance.
The group of troopers had been easily dealt with and as soon as Shepard shot down the last man standing, the three of them boarded the new tram.
"They will probably be expecting us," Kaidan said while quickly counting how many clips he had left.
Only two... He would have to play the rest smartly.
"Well, lets not disappoint," Shepard replied, quickly reloading his own rifle. "Since we seem to be the guests of honour."
"I could do without that honour," Liara murmured wearily, but Kaidan could tell that she was not about to give this up.
That girl had never been a quitter, that was for damn sure.
The remainder of the trip took seconds at most and soon they were safely docked onto the other platform. That was, the tram stopped without a hitch.
But just like Kaidan had suspected, there was an entire group of Cerberus troopers waiting for them, giving them a warm welcome as they immediately started firing upon them.
"Just how many are they," Kaidan grunted, trying his best to conserve ammo as he worked on aiming more precisely on the troopers.
"Do you really want to know," Shepard asked, quickly disabling one of the troopers shield with his omnitool.
"Not really," Kaidan confirmed while ignoring the voice of reason at the back of his head, activating his biotics and flinging out a singularity for good measures.
He supposed he should be grateful for the fact that his amp had a slight cool down on it to prevent him from just unleashing everything he had, but it was never going to actually shut his biotics down.
That was one of the many perks of having been to BaAT and being a L2. No restrains.
He had to create those himself.
Again, it was no hard challenge to actually get rid of the troopers, but it cost them valuable minutes.
Minutes that Cerberus were using to their advantage.
Kaidan had realised early that the troopers weren't necessarily meant to kill them, even if that was Doctor Eva had commanded, but to hinder them.
Buy them enough time to break into the vault and get the plans for the weapon.
After quickly snatching up a few clips from the downed troopers, the trio headed through the security post and towards a closed door up front.
"It's just in there," Liara murmured, shifting her grip on her gun as she looked at Shepard.
Shepard just nodded and quickly hurried to the side of the door, crouching down.
Kaidan and Liara followed his example, pressing themselves towards the door so they had cover.
Shepard looked at them, not saying a word, but the gesture spoke volumes to Kaidan, who nodded back at his Commander.
He was ready.
Shepard nodded back before shifting enough to open the door, letting the large metal panels slide open.
As soon as they were up, the three of them appeared in the opening, guns lifted and ready.
What they found was what seemingly an empty Archive.
Empty and silent.
It made the hair at the back of Kaidan's neck stand up.
Without lowering their guns, they slowly moved further into the archive while looking around.
As they came closer to the middle, Shepard looked towards the Major. "Kaidan."
Kaidan just nodded, knowing what Shepard wanted him to do. Secure the perimeters, see if there was anything, or anyone, hiding.
Liara was needed by the consoles to get the data and Shepard needed to cover her back, just in case.
They had barely reached the console and gotten their helmets off before a hologram flickered to life behind Shepard, taking the shape of a man that Kaidan had never seen before.
The look on Shepard's face though showed that the Commander had, and he was not happy to see the person again.
"Illusive man?" Liara asked after whirling around, her gun lifted towards the hologram.
"Now we know why Cerberus is here."
"You don't know the half of it," the man in the hologram said in a calm voice, lifting a cigarette to his lips. "The Protheans left us these archives, a wealth of information, and it's been squandered."
"What do you want," Shepard said, having an impatient look on his face.
The last time Kaidan had seen that look on the Commander's face was the last time they had seen the council together.
The Illusive Man didn't answer. Instead, he looked up towards the large beacon that was standing behind them, illuminated in the middle of the room.
"What I've always wanted," he finally said, as if the answer was obvious.
Maybe it was to Shepard, Kaidan honestly didn't know.
"The data in these artifacts holds the key to solving the Reaper threat."
"I've seen your solution," Shepard barked, taking a step towards the hologram. "Your people are turned into monsters."
"Hardly," the hologram answered, as if they were talking about a cake-recipe that he had ruined. "They're being improved."
"That's what separates us, Shepard," the Illusive Man replied, gesturing towards Shepard. "Were you see a means to destroy, I see a way to control, to dominate and harness the Reaper's powers."
The cigarette was brought to the man's lips again before a holographic cloud of smoke was blown out from between the man's lips.
"Imagine how strong humanity would be if we controlled them."
"You've gone too far," Shepard interrupted, gesturing towards the hologram. "The Reapers will kill us all if we don't stop fighting one another!"
"I don't expect you to understand, Shepard," the Illusive Man replied in a calm voice, looking directly onto Shepard. Challenging him.
"And I am certainly not looking for your approval."
A holographic hand pointed towards the Commander, the smoking cigarette still locked securely between two fingers.
"I needed your help once, just as you needed mine."
Kaidan frowned a little as the Illusive Man seemed to look behind himself for a moment, then inhaled sharply at the man's next words.
"But just like the rest of the relics in this place, your time is over."
"Enough talk. Liara," Shepard said, looking towards the Asari.
Liara just nodded and hurried back towards the console, quickly working the keyboard as she searched for the plans.
"Don't interfere with my plans, Shepard," the Illusive Man warned, eyes back on Shepard.
"I won't warn you again."
"Duly noted," Shepard said dryly, giving the Illusive Man a look that clearly said that the conversation was over.
"Shepard," Liara called out as she stared at the computer-screen in disbelief, lips slightly parted.
"What?" Shepard quickly turned around, missing the smirk that played on the Illusive Man's lips moments before the hologram turned itself off as the man on the other side broke the connection.
"The data. It's not here."
Shepard hurried over to the panel and together with Liara he watched the destruction of the one spark of hope they had.
"It's being erased," Liara cried out as she frantically started typing, trying to stop the progress before it was too late.
"Damn it," Shepard growled, starting to work the keyboard along side with Liara as he tried to find a way to block the progress as well.
"How's he doing it?"
"It's local," Liara said, eyes on the keyboard as she worked.
"Someone is uploading the information."
Kaidan was barely within hearing range of both Liara and Shepard as he continued to scout out the area, having been taken a bit aback by the sudden appearance of the Illusive Man to really do anything.
That's when he heard it.
The faint sound of typing.
Frowning, he silently moved towards one of the three information-boots, rifle lifted up.
That's when he saw her.
The woman from the vids.
The inside man, or woman, as it were.
"Hey," he barked, pointing the rifle directly at her. "Step away from the console."
The woman stopped the typing and straightened up slightly, but she didn't move away.
"Now," Kaidan warned, eyes locked on her as he tried to evaluate her moves.
The woman had been ruthless, clever, as far as Kaidan could tell by her actions so far so he didn't want to risk being thrown over by her.
When the woman still didn't move, Kaidan took a step towards her, reaching out to grab her by the arm.
That's when the trap was sprung on him.
While he was more than aware of just how strong a woman could be, Ashley had wiped the floor with him more than once in close combat when they were training together on the Normandy, this woman hit and kicked like a truck.
When her foot connected with his chest, Kaidan could feel how his armour vibrated from the impact before he was sent almost flying onto his back, landing with a grunt.
"She's got the data," he called out as he quickly got himself back onto his feet and set off after her, the culprit having taken full advantages of Kaidan flailing around so she could escape.
Shit, the woman was fast!
Shepard and Liara was instantly after her as well, with Shepard taking the lead out of the two.
"Stay close," he yelled as he ran, trying to shoot a couple of times after the woman, but soon he gave that up. The woman was simply too fast, too irregular with her movements.
"We can't lose her!"
That was easier said than done, as Doctor Eva would prove.
Not only was she fast, but she seemingly had some very interesting equipment as well, boosting not only her speed, but her ability to jump as well.
Kaidan and Liara feebly tried to slow her down with the use of their biotics, but for some reason, she seemed to be able to avoid their attacks.
Heck, by the sound of it, she even had the time to turn around and shoot at Shepard, since he was the one closest to her.
When the case lead them towards one of the many exits towards the outside, Kaidan let out a small curse.
Chasing her in the middle of a storm could be bad, not to mention that she would have more places to hide or get away.
Shepard was nothing if not persistent though, giving her little to no real opportunity to slip away, even with her attacking them from time to time.
Still, the storm ruined every bit of communication between them and the ship as well as them and James, something that was more than clear from Shepard's feeble attempts at making contact.
The fact that there also was a shuttle flying around outside, providing more firepower to aid Doctor Eva just made the chase all the more harder. The storm was a positive thing in that regards though, preventing them from actually landing and picking the woman up.
At least that's what Kaidan thought before he climbed up yet another flight of stairs, only to watch as the shuttle came flying around them and land in front of Doctor Eva, said doctor leaping through the opening before looking at the trio as they gathered with a downright cold look.
"Damn it," Shepard cursed as he looked around. "James? Normandy? Anybody?"
Kaidan quickly ran up to Shepard, not really sure what to say, when he saw something in between the red clouds.
Something small that was quickly becoming bigger and bigger as it came towards them.
"... Shepard," he started before the shuttle they had left in James' care rammed itself into the shuttle Eva had escaped in, sending it spiralling out of control.
"Move," Shepard yelled as the shuttle quickly crashed down towards the platform they were on, jumping to get out of the way.
Kaidan didn't need to be told twice, quickly jumping out of the way, turning to land on his back just in time to see as the shuttle swooped over him and crashed a few feet away from him. He rolled out of the way as debris came flying in all direction when the shuttle scraped over the hard, metal surface before it came to a complete stop.
It had already caught fire from the impact.
Turning back to his stomach, Kaidan slowly pushed himself up, feeling the adrenaline pumping through his body from the initial shock.
He could see Shepard approach him from the corner of his eye, hand reached out to help, but he lifted his own hand and shook his head. He was okay.
His head was hurting and he felt ready to throw up, but he was okay.
Liara seemed a little worse off, having been closer to the crash-site, so as soon as Kaidan was on his feet, he moved towards her, picking up his gun at the same time. You just never knew what could happen...
"You okay," he croaked out, hoping he didn't sound as pathetic as he felt as he reached his hand towards Liara.
Liara just nodded as she took the helping hand, dragging her self onto her feet.
"Thank you," she whispered while Kaidan wrapped his arm around her waist, carefully easing her own arm over and around his shoulder so he could properly support her.
"Don't mention it," he murmured before looking up as James landed the shuttle firmly onto the platform.
Seemed like the Alliance shuttle was more or less fine, except from a few dents and scrapes in the paintjob.
Then again, the Alliance shuttles were built to take a beating, which probably beat the shuttle Cerberus had flown around with by a mile.
"Normandy's en route," James said as the larger man came jumping out of the shuttle, the pride auditable in his voice.
"They'll be here soon."
"We need the data," Liara managed to grunt out, still a little out of it from the experience.
"It's not going anywhere after that," Kaidan replied as he continued to guide Liara towards their own shuttle, only stop when he heard a strange banging noise.
Coming from behind them.
Frowning, Kaidan turned around and glanced towards the shuttle.
Surely nobody had survived that impact, especially not Doctor Eva. She hadn't worn any protective gear and a shield could only do so much.
At least that's what he thought before the door to the shuttle suddenly flew off its hinges and a downright terrifying image appeared in front of him.
It was Doctor Eva except... It was not. It was a robot. A robot blackened by the flames and heat, standing in the midst of the wreck, surrounded by smoke and flames.
"Move," Kaidan whispered as he nudged Liara away, quickly whipping out his gun as he placed himself in front of her.
He had no idea what he could do against her, but he had to do something and if they could get that data, then they needed Liara to survive to translate it.
Besides, Liara was Kaidan's friend, even if they hadn't talked properly for a long, long time.
He would not let that robot get her.
The robot didn't seemed to care either way as she suddenly charged towards Kaidan, leaving him no option but to fire at her.
He tried to activate his biotics, but his head or amp, possibly both, had decided to call it a night. Just trying to will anything up made his head pound so hard that Kaidan was surprised that he was still standing.
As he fired at her, he realised a little too late that he was simply no match. He was too tired. The metallic sound of the bullets hitting "her" metal body made his ear ring and he could do nothing else but flail as the robot grabbed him by the damn helmet and lifted him off the ground like he was nothing more but a sack of potatoes.
Everything was happening so damn fast, leaving him with little to no time to think. Gritting his teeth, he grabbed at her arm, trying to feel around for a weak-spot. That damn crash had to have done something to her!
He tried to kick out, he tried to wiggle out of the grasp, he even tried to use the armours shield to his advantage, but nothing seemed to phase her.
He couldn't see anything, thanks to the damn robot holding him like he was a doll, but he could hear Shepard behind him.
Shepard was coming for him.
"Let him go," the Commander said firmly, but the robot seemed more... Curious, than anything else.
The blue visor over her eyes flickered for a moment as she brought a hand to her ear.
Whatever the answer to that question was became evident a little too soon as the visor turned a harsh shade of orange and she turned them both around.
Kaidan made one last attempt to summon up enough energy to create a biotic discharge as he was lifted up further, but whatever concentration he had was quickly broken as she slammed him hard into the side of the shuttle, head first.
When his head banged against the back of his helmet a third time, Kaidan let out a whimper as his eyes rolled back into his skull.
Black dots danced in front of his eyes before he finally surrendered to unconsciousness, his last thoughts being 'Shepard... I'm so sorry...' before the world turned black around him.