888: Normandy High – Chapter 18 and Chapter 19 part 1Posted: November 18, 2014
E: He’s still being quiet?
C: Yeah, haven’t heard anything from his room in hours.
N: He’s got food and water in there right? He’s not going to die. His vitals are still coming in strong. Let’s just stay outside the door and leave the speaker on. In the meantime starting with any author’s note.
For any of those reading the little spat between me and another “author” (I would call it a hissy-fit more than anything else) I would just like to clarify: I did NOT say all writers who disagree with my story are second rate. I have great respect for multiple authors who gave my scathingly negative reviews. I appreciate them, and use their criticism to better improve my writing. The only person I was referring to in this instance was the person mentioned above, mainly because it is my own personal view of her writing. That being said, you want to have an argument with me, do it over PM. You’ll look less idiotic, and might make more of a point in the debate. I apologize if this interrupts any readers, I felt the need to defend my words. As a writer, I’m sure many of you understand the value of personal speech, and how important it is to get it right.
E: Oh for fuck’s sake. “I felt the need to defend my words.” I really hate it when people pull the freedom of speech argument every time someone tells them they’re saying something stupid. Oi! Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences! I’m not buying the whole having respect for people who criticized his work thing either considering the tantrums that he threw earlier.
23 flew across the room, landing in a large collection of monitors. The glass within shattered, and electricity sparked, throwing blue and green hues against the nearby walls.
C: I guess Stephen left his collection of monitors lying around the workplace again.
47 regenerated her structure once more, and started to motion towards 23. He climbed from the wreckage, running at her. The punch he threw was blocked, and 47 returned the favor. The blow caught him in the chest, pushing him back a few feet.
Gasping, 23 slowly started to recover his armor.
N: Wait, what happened to his armor? It was never established that it was damaged. EXPLAIN SHIT!
Beth was too strong, and his attacks did nothing to her, as she simply recharged after every skirmish.
C: You punched her once! How is that…oh god damn it, was there a bunch of fighting that happened off screen?
He moved towards her again, this time with his blade extended. A roar of anger came from 23, and propelled him farther. He was disappointed however, as 47 caught him once more.
“Something wrong, 23? Can’t hold it together?”
E: NO MY PENIS ISN’T SMALL! SHUT UP!
They stood apart from each other as she held him by the blade. 23 fought desperately to push against her.
“Damn it Beth, just stop! We don’t have to do this!”
N: Uh, you’re the one who instigated the fight jackass. Sure she was taunting you, goading you on, but you’re the one who threw the first punch. You can’t start a fight and then say “Wait, we don’t have to do this.” Twit.
47 pushed outwards, shoving 23 against the wall. The impact caused the metal to buckle violently. Beth screamed at him shrilly.
“I had the chance to be happy. You left, and I died. You let them take me. You led them to me! This is your fault, and for that, you will die!”
C: Fuck’s sake Beth is painful to read about. She’s basically a hysterical woman with more murder. And while that’d be funny to watch in a dark comedy in here it just makes me want to groan. All of her pain is because 23 wouldn’t stick his dick in her more, everything in her life has to do with him, and it’s just…guh. And question, what’s stopping 47 from murdering all of the Cerberus operatives and running off? She doesn’t seem to have any kind of restraining bolt keeping her from doing that. Proving once again that Goeth is smarter than these people.
G: Implant on the third vertebrae down! Works like a charm!
She ran towards him, slamming a vein-covered hand into his chest. The sound of ice cracking echoed like a gunshot. 23 felt the pressure on his body greatly increase, and he knew he couldn’t take much more damage.
N: Wait what damage has he taken? Oh Christ, did we miss all the scenes where 47 was kicking 23’s ass? Fuck’s sake.
Unexpectedly, the veins on Beth’s arm started to writhe along the appendage, moving closer towards his face. Her fist was pushing farther into his chest, and he could feel the blood covering her hand pulsating.
E: Wait what? How the fuck does that even work? Her veins can extend out of her body? Is this because of water too? I just…ugh. Ok, add to the list of people that 47 rips off. AC DC from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
C: I thought 47 was supposed to be weaker than 23. She seems to be doing a lot of stuff he can’t.
She was trying to rip through his armor.
23 struggled to throw her back, but the veins had made it to his body, wrapping themselves around his appendages.
C: *Sigh* So, is she through the armor or not? Christ this fight scene is so half assed.
This was it.
He couldn’t move. Trapped, the veins climbed around his head, blocking out all sight. She would rip through his armor soon, and proceed to add his blood to her collection. He almost sighed from the irony of the situation.
N: You don’t know what the word irony means.
Giving up, 23 accepted his fate. 47’s voice was the only thing he noticed.
“I look forward to watching that Quarian slut drown from her own blood.”
E: You know, I recall writing something like this. A dumbass person who says a line that pretty much exists to piss off someone who goes on a heroic rampage. I don’t consider it to be a high point of my writing. It’s just annoying because not only is Eezo making a villain one dimensional through the use of the word slut still hypocritical, of course the villain is a shallow one dimensional asshole who wants to murder the main character’s love interest. Why does she even care about Tali? Is she jealous? If she’s jealous then why is she killing 23?
N: Oh Christ, she really is like ACDC in that she gave 23 a wedding ring that will murder him.
He couldn’t fight the image. It appeared in his head before he could avoid it.
47 standing over her body.
Blood flowing from her mouth, as she tried to move away, weakly pulling herself along the dead grass.
Beth’s cold laugh echoing over the landscape.
C: Oh for god’s sake, what landscape? This story is becoming more vaporous with each passing sentence.
He couldn’t explain it. Some part of him, some unnoticed aspect of his person felt it. Even if he didn’t know it, he loved her.
C: OH YOU DON’T SAY! Thanks for the revelation that everyone with a quarter of a brain figured out was going to happen from the first scene where Tali and 23 talked to each other!
The image in his mind allowed that small piece of himself to grow, triggering something he wouldn’t naturally be able to do.
Roaring with anger, 23 ejected what ice he could outwards.
E: Outward out of WHAT!? His armor? Why couldn’t he do that before? Inside his body? Why couldn’t he do THAT before. Also ow.
Ripping through the veins covering his body, he brought his arms to bear, slashing whatever he could. There was no time for precision, or lightning accuracy. Instead, he ripped through whatever he could, desperate to get away. After the initial shock of his attack, 47 worked to contain the outburst, but she was too late.
C: Wait, she was shocked? Why and how. CHRIST!
After cutting through enough flesh, 23 stabbed straight out, cutting into 47 with his ice covered blade.
N: Cutting her WHERE!? The way this passage is worded it could be her throat, her pinkie toe, and everything in-between.
A shrill shriek of pain was heard, and the veins surrounding him dropped. He didn’t waste time, jumping past Beth, running towards the door. He threw himself through the threshold, slamming the security door down behind him. The glass view-screen allowed him to see what was the cause of the cries of pain. Looking through the port, 23 saw 47 shaking, various blood-riddled veins falling to the ground around her. After a few moments, she fell to the ground, covered in blood. All was silent.
C: And she gets up in 3…2…1…
Then, a nudge.
23 couldn’t believe it. She was still there, underneath the monstrosity.
She sat up, her body rising as sections of her fleshy shield slid off her. The blonde hair he had remembered her for was there, even with the lack of color it had once been. She raised her blue eyes to look at him. They locked glances. 23 stared as the blood pools around her started to gather, forming themselves together as they moved closer towards 47. They climbed up her slender figure, and continued to cover her body once more. The stomach wound where 23 had stabbed her was slowly filling with the gore,
E: Oh so THAT’S where he stabbed her! Way to inform me a few paragraphs after it happened! Also nice to know that the horficifc killer is still pretty. Gives us nice memories of 23’s past. You know, the one we never saw.
while continuing it’s journey north.
C: If it was going north it would’ve been moving away from her in the direction of the magnetic pole. You twit.
The transformation looked painful, and soon, 47’s screams echoed through the experimentation wing.
23’s eyes widened. Turning, he ran towards the exit. Activating his earpiece, he yelled at Kasumi.
“Seal the door! Seal the door now!”
+23, what’s wro-+
“DAMN IT GOTO, SEAL THE BLAST DOOR!”
C: I swear, we’ve seen that same song and dance done in response to 23 so often it’s pretty surreal to see it happen from the other end. Also 23 you can’t criticize Kasumi for not having lightning fast reflexes considering that you were standing there slack jawed while you watched 47 play human jigsaw.
Kasumi’s fingers flew over the controls, and the sequence for emergency containment started. She brought her hand up to her ear, and spoke to the assassin.
“Hurry 23. If you don’t make it through, I won’t be able to open the door again.”
N: I guess the door runs on magical bullshit.
+Good. Kasumi, we don’t have much time. Is it possible to sever the experimentation wing’s connections to the main hub from where you are?+
The thief frowned.
“Yes, but you do realize that would cause the wing to break off from the station? Maybe you’ve forgotten that this place is built over a valca—”
+Volcano. I know. Listen, do it. I need to destroy this place, and I can’t let anything get out alive. Disconnect it+
“23, if you don’t make it to the blast do—”
+I know. Do it+
E: I’d cross my fingers and hope that he yes fried, but frankly I know better by now.
Pausing for just a second, Kasumi started the sequence. Warning lights flashed up in front of her on the screen, and she muttered to herself before hitting the activate button:
“It’d better be a real emergency…”
N: It is! We’ve got two out of control monsters fighting each other!
The sound of grinding metal caught 23’s attention, and he glanced back at the emergency door. The entry way buckled heavily, which left silence hanging in the air. A monstrous screech, one that came only from a true abomination, filled 23’s ears. The door gave way, and the blood soaked monster ran towards him.
23 didn’t think.
C: Nothing new.
Turning back towards the exit, he sprinted with the speed and determination he had picked up during his travels. The door had already started to close, and he was still a good distance away. It didn’t help that 47 was gaining on him. He ran faster, reaching the very limit of what his current state would allow for. The emergency door was halfway down.
-C’mon, C’MON! You’ve got a mission to finish. Don’t let her stop you from doing what you’ve worked so hard for-
E: REVENGE MURDER! That’s why you need to live. To kill the whore Miranda!
He wasn’t going to make it.
N: Oh enough with the fucking false drama, of course he is.
The emergency door was only open with a clearance of two feet. Realizing this, 23 dropped to his knees, sliding along the metal. To aid his movement, he liquefied his armor slightly, making him glide frictionless across the material.
C: Slightly? So what, it’s only kind of a liquid now?
As he slid beneath the large metal barrier, the door just scraped slightly on his head, leaving some chipped ice. Finally, the seal shut, and 23 heard the pressure increase. A voice came over the loudspeaker.
+Warning. Experimentation Wing damaged. Minus 5 seconds until station disconnection+
E: Well give the guys who built this some credit. If I was to build a dangerous research facility with detachable parts, I’d want the parts to start falling seconds after I pushed the button. So it’s efficient at this lone thing if nothing else.
47 made it to the door, slashing at the locks. The barrier stood, despite the punishment. 23 sat on the floor, breathing hard. The seal only had to hold for 5 seconds, and then he was safe. His enemy wasn’t making those five seconds any slower, as her attacks increased in speed and power. A piece of the hardened material gave way,
N: AH-HA! A thing!
leaving a large dent in the metal. 23 reached for his light pistol, only to be disappointed.
-Must have fallen off earlier. Damn it-
C: Oh yeah he has pistols. I honestly forgot. Wasn’t there some wet dream between him and Jacob about them finding out he could carry five guns or something? So much for that.
Finally, the five seconds ended. Thanks to the solid construction of the door, 23 was safe.
47 however, was not.
+Disconnection cycle now complete. Goodbye+
Beth’s voice sounded through what cracks existed in the door. Her anger carried along the waves.
“Damn you! DAMN YOU! I’ll kill you! Do you hear me 23? NOTHING WILL STOP ME!”
E: I’m like you, revenge is really the only personality trait I have aside from being a murderous asshole.
Before he could respond, the sound of metal shearing was heard, and Beth’s shrieks of anger were cut off. Sound tore through the blast door as the racket of what sounded like a ship engine took control of 23’s senses. After a few moments, he climbed to his feet, staring out the small window.
N: Well, at least she’s dead for certain.
C:…Um….*Shows Nora the sequel*
N: OH FUCK YOU!
The experimentation wing was gone. Glancing down into the hole that was left, he saw the large component still falling, close to reaching the core.
23 leaned back, sighing. He was tired, weak, and close to running on empty. Checking what ice he had left, he made sure his armor was still surrounding him. Turning around, he noticed another door. Glancing at the ground, he grimaced.
This was it.
-I’ve got a meeting with Miranda. Hate to disappoint-
E: I know I’m running on empty but…fuck it, since when have I ever been rational?
He walked forward, the pain and anger building within him.
C: She said she DIDN’T WANT THIS you selfish prick! You can delude yourself, but don’t lie to the audience. You’re doing this for yourself, pure and simple. Ugh. After that we smash cut to Miranda
Miranda pointed through the trees, directing the two guards towards the shuttle.
“We can escape with that. Wait. What are you doing?”
The two men behind her quickly pulled their weapons free, arming the heat sinks. Bringing the rifles up, they aimed at Miranda. Corporal Rowe spoke first.
N: Was…this guy’s name mentioned before? I don’t recall it being so. Well maybe he’ll be likable.
“Sorry Lawson, but this isn’t your show. Never was. We’ve just gotten orders from Obediah to make sure you don’t get out of here alive.”
N: A gal can dream can’t she?
(Smirk Counter: 14)
“Call it his insurance policy.”
E: An insurance policy is something you take out in advance in order to take steps to prevent bad things from happening long before they actually happen. Not AFTER!
Miranda stared at the guns being pointed at her. Was this really how it ended? Quite anticlimactic in reality, yet she had no intention of going peacefully. She made a slow movement towards her gun, Durand fired, leaving a small hole in the ground next to her.
“Don’t move. We’re not stupid, Lawson.
C: I mean 23 will totally not kill us if we give him you. It’s not like he’s killed nearly 2000 Cerberus personal already.
N: I thought Cerberus was a 300 person organization.
E: That’s in the Codex, which the games are kinda bad at following.
I do have to say though, it’s been nice working with you. Say goodnig-“
E: Ok, if they were going to kill her, why did they fire that warning shot first? Is ANYONE logical in this story?
Two shots rang out, which were followed by two bloodstains on the ground in front of Miranda. Rowe clutched his throat, eyes bulging out. Blood leaked from between his fingers. Durand fell lifelessly into the dirt, the cause of his death was soon attributed the back of his head missing.
N: Attributed by whom exactly? A first year forensic science major trying to earn some extra credit?
Miranda barely noticed the two dead men, instead, focusing on the source of the shot. Scanning to her left, she spotted the familiar purple fabric she had associated with someone she considered to be a waste.
Stepping out from behind the tree, she brought up her pistol, aiming it at Miranda’s head. Walking forward carefully, Tali took special notice of the surroundings, just in case she needed some cover.
C: So she’s not shooting Miranda. What, does she want to capture her and force feed her to the wild animal she calls lover?
Lawson’s eyes bulged, and she prepared to assault the Quarian as best she could.
But then, she realized something.
-She isn’t here for me. She’s here for that monster. I can get out of this-
“I didn’t expect you to come by yourself, Zorah. Given my previous encounters with aliens, they tend to avoid confrontation with their betters.”
E: I’M RACIST! DID I MENTION I’M RACIST!? I’M RACIST!
Tali gritted her teeth. She knew that killing Miranda was a bad idea. This was 23’s thing. However, the operative wasn’t making it any easier.
C:…Oh Christ she is. *Sigh* I can’t even pretend that this is Tali anymore.
“You’d be surprised by what we aliens can do. That’s not why I’m here though, and I’m sure you know why I am.”
Miranda smirked, close to laughing at Tali.
N: Fuck you.
(Smirk Counter: 15)
“Not entirely surprised. Then again, I didn’t realize it was possible for someone like you to…”
“What’s best way to say this…”
Miranda widened her smirk.
E: DOUBLE FUCK YOU!
(Smirk Counter: 16)
“Get hung up on a walking monstrosity?”
C:…Erm…she’s got a point there Tali.
Tali fought the urge to shoot the Cerberus operative right there.
“How could you. What did 23 ever do to deserve what happened to him? How can you possibly justify what you did?”
N: Completely unrelated to what she just said. She just went off on a tangent so we could hear about 23’s tragek past for the 59th time.
Miranda took a few steps forward, waving her head back and forth as she walked. Tali tightened her grip on the pistol.
“We did what we had to. The alien threat was too powerful, and we needed a weapon.”
Once again, she paused, hoping to emphasize a point.
E: The point being what exactly?
“And that’s all he is. Trust me, Quarian, there is nothing worth saving in that frozen shell.”
E: Again, has a point.
Tali spoke, her accent covering the emotion in her voice.
“You don’t know what he’s capable of. What kind of person he is.”
“Please. I know him better than you could possibly begin to. I know what hurts him, I know what he wants, what he dislikes, I even know what he fears. Face it Tali’Zorah, you have no idea who he is.”
C: Eezo, when you are writing an asshole villain, the reader should not be nodding their heads in approval to everything she says.
The operative narrowed her eyes, doing a fair job at piercing Tali’s protective mask with her gaze.
“I only wish I could savor the pain you feel. What do you think he’ll do when I’m dead? Settle down and hold you in his arms? We ruined him, Zorah. He won’t ever rest, won’t ever find peace. Lyla was just one small pawn in everything. He’ll burn himself out on hate and rage, and you’ll get to watch helplessly as he does it.”
E: Do you need me here story? You seem to be doing a good job critiquing yourself.
Without Tali’s knowing, Miranda activated her biotics,
N: Considering biotics make you glow bright purple, I’d like to know how she pulled that off.
focusing on a tree to the left of the Quarian. She gave one last small smile.
“I’ve won, Tali. 23 is dead. Now, you can join him.”
Miranda gave a small shriek, ripping the tree towards Tali. Bark and shards of wood flew at whirlwind speeds, which would have impacted the angered woman, had she been standing there. Luckily, Tali had dived out of the way, due to the small energy reading she had gotten from Miranda’s amp.
C: So much for not noticing it. Fuck’s sake, the narration is just outright lying to us now. I mean it always was, but at least it kept it regulated to character traits before.
The move wasn’t entirely successful though, as the gun she had before was now pinned under some debris. Climbing to her feet, Tali turned, hoping to find Miranda. Instead, she saw the tight-suited woman disappear into the trees.
-You can’t run forever Miranda. This ends here-
With that final thought, Tali ventured into the artificial forest, unsheathing her knife, ready for combat.
E: *Sigh* Taking all bets. Will Tali need to be rescued, or will she need to be rescued? End of chapter and onto the next one.
Well. Here it is, the chapter you’ve all been waiting for. I would just like to say, I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support. I would like to thank a few people, who made this entire journey possible. If you find your name below, just realize that you helped me out in more ways that I thought possible.
Thunderfury12124 (One of the best beta’s in town. You’re gonna like the way he works. I guarantee it)
Shadow Master Seek
Made Nightwing (Yeah, that’s right. A Mirimancer. Just goes to show how people can get along)
Note: These aren’t in any specific order. THANKS AGAIN, GUYS.
E:…I…but…you guys decide what to think of this, I’ve got nothing.
Kasumi’s fingers typed swiftly while her eyes scanned the monitor carefully. Searching thoroughly, she glanced at various files in the database. According to the info, this Cell was a major data trove, and was often a spring-board for giving reports directly to the Illusive Man.
C: That is stupid and makes no sense and is only here for wish fulfillment.
From what she could tell, Cerberus had performed quite a large number of demented projects on almost all listed alien species, ranging from unlocking Asari biotic strength in humans, to creating poisons capable of getting past Turian skin. As Kasumi searched, she noticed an unmarked file. Driven by curiosity, she opened it, reading the contents. After a few seconds she let out an audible gasp. Bringing the mike to her head, she contacted Shepard. She would want to know about this.
N: Oh boy. Five bucks says it’s something stupid.
The squad moved silently, their footsteps muffled by the alarms blaring overhead. Garrus turned, checking each room they passed. Shepard glanced back at him, motioning for him to move to the front. She guessed that the rooms had been empty for a while, and she wanted to get to Miranda before 23. She still didn’t like the idea of him torturing her, and she figured Tali could hold her until they made it.
E: Who the Hell is she? Oh right Shepard. LEARN HOW TO USE PRONOUNS!
Finally, they reached another door. Shepard carefully accessed it, preparing for what could lie in the room ahead. She raised her hand, notifying the squad to be alert. After a few seconds, the access panel turned green and opened. Immediately, Alicia ran forward, gun raised. Taking cover behind a desk, she popped her head over the shelter, checking for targets. She waited, and nothing came. Climbing back to her feet, she turned to her team, who were lowering their weapons, aware that no threat existed at the moment. Mordin’s eyes caught hold of something however, and he approached a desk. Pushing the dead Cerberus agent from the chair, the doctor took a seat, accessing the screen. Shepard was about to ask what he was doing, when Kasumi’s voice sounded in her ear.
+Shepard. I’ve found something you should take a look at+
E: Oh boy. Well lay it on us. What’s the stupid?
Alicia brought her hand to her ear, listening.
“What is it, Kasumi?”
+Well, I was searching through some Cerberus data, and I’ve found some classified files on the remains of the Cryonics Cell. Something tells me you’ll want to see it+
“What’s in it?”
There was a pause over the mike.
+I…I don’t think I should say over comms. It’s too important, Commander+
N: Oh come the fuck on! Stop padding it out and just tell us what the fuck it is!
E: “I have something important to tell you!”
C: “What is it?”
E: “I can’t tell you!”
She sighed, nodding her head.
“Well, ok. Send it to EDI, and make sure it’s secure.”
+Copy. Also Shepard, I don’t think it would be a good idea to tell 23 about this. You’ll understand why when you read it+
C: VAUGE BULLSHIT VAGUE BULLSHIT VAGUE BULLSHIT!
Alicia narrowed her eyes questioningly.
“Kasumi, I want to know exactly why 23 shouldn’t know about it. I don’t like to hide information from my teammates.”
+Let’s just say that this is bigger than 23 originally thought. It wouldn’t be safe for him to know. At least not now+
N: I’m deliberately being as unhelpful as possible!
The communication cut, and Shepard lowered her gaze to the ground.
-It’s always something else. I should have known Cerberus wouldn’t end it so easily-
“Shepard! Come look. Have found some interesting research data.”
E: “Really? What about?”
N: “Can’t tell you.”
Alicia turned, walking towards Mordin. Leaning over the table, she started to scroll through the list of items that Cerberus had been researching. Scanning through them, she noticed one that stood out to her.
“Omni-blade? What is that?”
C: Ah. I guess this story was written when the information for Mass Effect 3 was coming out. A lot of stories liked to introduce the omni-blade as a prototype weapon that was being developed towards the end of ME2. A harmless idea in concept.
Mordin took control of the panel, pressing various buttons to find more information on the weapon. After finding his target, the scientist carefully read through, while Shepard kept her eyes glued on the screen, taken with the orange weapon.
“Interesting. Blade designed for close quarters use, without the need for physical weapon. Useful for getting around shields, and mildly effective against armor. Essentially a program for an omni-tool. Works standard like any other tech. Could be useful in a pinch.”
“Mordin, take what you can. This kind of data is going to be very helpful later on.”
E: Hey, that scene actually made sense. Find a valuable tool that doesn’t seem like a complete ass pull and use it to your advantage!
Alicia stood up, checking her rifle. The rest of the squad had taken up defensive positions, but acted more relaxed, as they knew the resistance against them would be small.
“Hurry up Mordin. We have to start moving again.”
She glanced at the next door, wondering how far away she was from the arboretum. She needed to get there before things got out of hand. The familiar gut feeling she got when nervous crept into her system. She didn’t like to leave her squad members to fend for themselves, and it was even worse, given how vulnerable 23 was at the moment. She hoped that Tali knew what she was doing.
N: Is it just me or has Shepard’s role in the story been reduced to worrying about things a lot and then never doing anything about it.
(Shepard the Shitty Leader Counter: 28)
While Alicia could understand her friends reasoning for going after Miranda, it didn’t mean she agreed with it. She was worried that Tali was placing herself in a dangerous situation, and Alicia sincerely hoped that she could get her out of it in time.
E: Not gonna call her and tell her to back off or anything. That’d be really hard.
(Shepard the Shitty Leader Counter: 29)
“Shepard, all data is uploaded to the Normandy!”
Checking her rifle once more for good luck, she turned to her team.
“Lets go. We don’t have much time to get to Miranda before 23, and I’m not letting him torture her if he does.”
C: Are you gonna stop him or just weakly protest like the last few times? Oi. Back to Tali and Miranda.
The trees swayed gently on artificial wind. Green leaves danced back and forth, while the grass created patterns with the waving. Everything about the serene landscape created an atmosphere of peace and quiet.
Until two gunshots sounded in the forest.
Miranda breathed hard, lowering her gun slowly. The smoke from her pistol wafted gently upwards, filling her nostrils with the smell of burning ozone. She knew Tali’Zorah was near, and the flash of purple she saw was even more evidence.
N: So just to clarify, Tali lost one gun, for some reason doesn’t have a back up, and is now trying to take on someone that has a gun. Fuck’s sake Tali.
Carefully, the operative looked both ways for an exit from the green prison, yet no path was found. Without warning, another snap of a branch was heard. Before she could blink, Miranda spun towards the direction of the sound, firing a shot into the base of another tree. The shot impacted the bark, leaving a small smoking hole.
Cursing, she loaded another shot into the weapon, searching for her target.
E: Loaded a shot into a pistol? Oh for fuck’s sake…
This was a bad situation, and she knew it. The Quarian was nowhere to be found, and she was starting to run low on ammo. While she wouldn’t admit it, Miranda was scared. She didn’t have much time before 23 got there, and with Tali blocking her every attempt to escape, she was getting more and more frantic. Abruptly, the idea popped into her head, and Miranda figured it was the best plan she had.
-I need to make her come to ME-
Lowering her gun, she started to smirk,
N: We get many more smirks, the plating on the station is gonna start to buckle.
(Smirk Counter: 17)
hoping that wherever she was, Tali could see.
“Before you kill me, Zorah, there’s something you should know.”
C: Oh boy, are we going to go down the people blabbing poorly thought out insults and people loosing their shit within three seconds?
There was no response. This came as no surprise to Miranda.
“When we finished modifying 23, we had to pick destinations that had high alien inhabitance. ”
The sound of a blade dragging across a tree trunk was heard, but the operative held strong.
N: Tali. One, you’re dulling your knife blade. Two. You’re giving away your position. THINK WITH YOUR BRAIN NOT YOUR EMOTIONS!
“Our targets were Palaven, Thessia, and Illium. However, since I was the project leader, I picked the location. Everyone thought it was a brilliant idea, and it would solve two problems.”
The sound stopped, and Miranda knew she had Tali’s attention.
“The first. We could take out an entire race.”
Miranda’s voice cut the words with an unmatched sneering tone.
“The second, well. Doing so would save the sighted galaxy the burden of looking upon another Quarian mask ever again.”
-The Migrant Fleet-
E: RaCIST raCIST raCIST I am oh so raCIST! It’s pretty much the only identity I have. RaCIST raCISt Racist I am oh so raCIST! Human beings just don’t act like this!
The pause of silence was almost audible in the forest. Miranda had forsaken breathing.
N: So if I stop breathing, then she won’t be able to hear me! This is the best idea I ever…why can’t I feel anything?
Instead, choosing to be as quiet as physically possible. A gentle wind started up through the small clearing, and created a false sense of calm.
C: Wait wind? WIND!? Do I even need to go into the list of reasons on how wind on a space station makes NO FUCKING SENSE!
Suddenly, the near in-audible sound of a blade whistling was heard, and on instinct, Miranda lunged to the left.
Tali had attacked from behind, hoping to spear the operative through the torso. The blade missed its intended target however. While Miranda had dodged the knife, she hadn’t moved quick enough, letting the sharp edge leave a gash along her upper arm. She gave a grunt of pain as she spun to assess her attacker.
E: Assess her attacker, the working in this story really cannot get anymore awkwardly worded.
They stood in the center of the clearing, eyes locked. Tali carefully surveyed Miranda, aware that she still had the gun. Choosing to attack first, the Quarian ran at her opponent, blade high. Miranda, expecting such a move, brought her gun up quickly. Tali however, had anticipated this, and opted to bring her weapon down on the gun, knocking it loose from Lawson’s grip.
N: I know that you know that I know!
The operative stumbled back, keeping her eyes on Tali’s blade. Moving side to side to avoiding the Quarian’s swings, Miranda looked for an opening. Finding one, she brought her leg up hard, planting a firm kick to her opponent’s stomach.
Staying focused, she then proceeded to move towards Tali, hoping to crush her windpipe with a single blow.
C: With what? Another kick or with her pinkie?
Thankfully, the engineer had been expecting this.
E: Oh shut the fuck up.
Blocking her punch, Tali then swung her elbow wide, knocking Miranda in the side of the head, causing her to lose balance and fall to the ground. Miranda kicked upwards once more, hoping to catch Tali off guard. It didn’t work, allowing the Quarian to pounce,
C: Why didn’t it work?
holding Miranda’s arm, while bringing the knife down towards her face. However, the operative wasn’t going down so easily. Using her injured arm, Miranda held back the knife, pushing it away.
N: Held the knife back HOW!? Did she grab the blade? The hilt? Tali’s arm? FOR FUCK’S SAKE!
They struggled over the weapon, both determined to succeed. Tali had forgone all hope of peace, as she was swearing at Miranda in Khellish, trying hard to kill the Cerberus scum.
E: Insults. Narrative. Keep out of!
Miranda however, was attempting to escape the situation. Yet in the back of her mind she knew that killing Tali would bring some joy. Anything to cause 23 pain was acceptable to her.
C: She changes back and forth from “FUCK RUN RUN RUN RUN” to “MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” so fast I’m getting fucking whiplash.
She didn’t know exactly why this particular Quarian was giving her such a hard time. Lawson was quite good at killing, especially aliens. For some reason, Tali’Zorah was putting up a stronger fight than she was used to, and the idea that she would lose to an alien of all things drove her mad.
Feeling the pulse at the base of her skull, Miranda started to draw on the energy there. Pushing it, she gathered it in her hand. Tali noticed the familiar blue glow, causing her eyes to widen. Miranda gave a yell, throwing all her weight behind her hand, propelling Tali off of her, against a tree.
The wood behind her shattered, throwing splinters into every direction. Tali felt the air leave her lungs, and the impact blackened the corners of her vision.
N: Cue 23 being a hero in T-minus five minutes.
Miranda climbed to her feet. Without hesitation, she brought her hand up, biotically grabbing Tali once again. She turned, throwing the Quarian as hard as she could against the opposite tree. Tali held up her hands to protect her mask, yet they did nothing to protect against the hard surface. She hadn’t even recovered from the first assault, which led the second to be even more devastating. Miranda wasn’t done, however.
It went on for another minute, with the biotic throwing the injured Quarian every which way. Finally, Tali fell to the ground, while Miranda held her head gingerly.
E:…Throwing her around. Throwing her around? She wanted to kill her and she’s treating her like a rag doll I just…
The pain was intense, as Tali’s entire being felt sore. She slowly realized that she couldn’t breathe, and that something was jammed between her ribs. Carefully moving her head down, she spotted a large shard of wood poking out of her torso. She immediately started panicking, hoping desperately that her suit wasn’t compromised. Moving her hand to the stake, she jerked it from her rib, causing a small whimper of pain to escape her lips. She felt the air return to her lungs, and after checking the area, Tali realized that her suit wasn’t breached.
Meanwhile, Miranda had gathered herself. Turning to her enemy, a thin smile stretched across her lips, acting as a warning for the pain she was ready to unleash on the injured engineer before her. Walking over to Tali, she grabbed the adorned purple veil, roughly pulling the girl into the center of the clearing. Tali, desperately trying to fight back, was reduced to swearing while at the same time trying to grab hold of something-anything, to prolong her life.
C *Looks at watch* Any minute now.
E: Wait, when did you get a watch?
C: Since shut up.
Throwing her to the ground, the operative walked over to her forgotten weapon. Picking up the pistol, she noticed a glint of light coming from the grass. Looking over, she noticed that it was Tali’s knife lying on the ground. For a moment, Miranda considered the possibility of killing her with her own weapon. Leaving her dead body on the ground, the blood covered knife next to her. It would definitely unhinge 23, causing him to become even more distraught. Miranda cast the thought from her mind though. After all, she wasn’t THAT evil. Turning, she walked back to the injured Quarian, ready to end her miserable life.
N: Jesus Christ, no one spends this much time thinking about how evil they can be. People don’t get up and say “I’m gonna be the biggest asshole I can be today and try to maximize mental trauma.” They have reasons behinds it that they think validate it. Or they’re like Goeth and they just do things.
G: *Barges in* Hide these in the floorboards and deny everything *Throws bags in and runs away*
Tali laid in the grass, her fingers moving slightly, gathering the small plant in her hand. It was simple, plain. Mud and dirt covered her mask, making it difficult to see through it, but she didn’t move to wipe it off. After all, what was the point? She knew that Miranda would kill her.
C: Not trying to do anything? Who the fuck are you and where’s Tali?
Lawson grabbed Tali’s veil once more, using it to pull the engineer to her knees. Lowering the gun to the top of her mask, Miranda fought the urge to laugh. In her attempt to stop Miranda from escaping, she had given the operative the one thing she needed; leverage. Even if that didn’t work, killing Tali would still make it impossible for 23 to keep his promise to his dead friend.
“Well, Tali’Zorah, it’s been interesting. I want to thank you for letting me kill two birds with one stone. After I end your miserable life, I’ll escape. Leaving your beloved 23 to deal with your death, along with my survival, and it’s all thanks to you.”
E: Oh for God’s sake, would you just pull the fucking trigger! If you were to indulge yourself anymore, you hand would be in-between your legs!
Tali didn’t say anything. She knew there wasn’t a way out this time. She felt a tear slide down her cheek, followed by a small stinging sensation. She must have had a small cut on her skin. Breathing in, she closed her eyes, waiting for the gunshot.
N: SAVE ME HUSBANDO!
“You shouldn’t be so sad. Heaven knows I won’t be. Say goodbye, Tali’Zor-”
There was a pause.
Tali waited for the sound, for anything, to happen. It sounded like Miranda had been cut off mid-word. Then she heard the voice.
“Put the gun down. Now.”
It was deep, familiar.
“Miranda. Put the gun down. It’s over.”
C: On the one hand the annoying bond villain monologues are over. On the other, now we’ve got to deal with 23 getting all self righteous.
N: You got anything more interesting to read in her. *Pulls out book* What’s this…the Rogue Trader rulebook?
E: I’m setting up a campaign.
N: I’ll take it *Opens book*.
Tali’s eyes flew open. She couldn’t believe it, yet there he was. Blue and green armor shining in the artificial sun, light reflecting off the ice. His back was arched, a single ice blade rested on his forearm, ready to fire. He stared down the length of his weapon, glaring with cold concentration.
23 was here.
C: To everyone’s shock except the audiences. Again, the only people that matter.
Miranda couldn’t think. She was sure she had more time. But he was here. Staring back at her, eyes as deadly as ever. The gun never lowered though. Gripping it tighter, the operative was aware that SHE was in charge.
“Stay back, 23. Or you get to spend the rest of your life remembering your failed promise.”
E: And now I can carry out my fabulous plan to hurt 23 and then get tortured to death…I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!
N: Ok…*Turns page*…Hm…
23’s voice changed, giving away his anger.
“It doesn’t matter, Miranda. You aren’t leaving here alive. You can try to do the right thing, or make it worse for yourself.”
“IT’S ALREADY WORSE FOR ME! I know what you plan to do, 23. If I have to take you down too, I’ll do it.”
E: “Take you down.” All you can do is inflict emotional torment on him, something he’s proven to be very resilient against for bullshit reasons. Really this isn’t an emotional confrontation as it is two emotionally unstable homeless people yelling at each other on the street.
Something in the back of 23’s mind spoke to him, explaining the situation.
-She’ll kill the girl. Stop her-
-How? I can’t reach her in time. My ice is weak-
The voice merely laughed.
-Your abilities don’t need as much power as you think they do. Hurry, tap into them. She isn’t going to wait for another minute-
C: Ok either 23 is schizophrenic or Lucifer from a few chapters back buried himself in 23’s skull.
It was true. Miranda was starting to lose it. Muttering to herself, she clicked the gun, grabbing 23’s attention.
“She dies now. No matter what you do to me, at least I’ll have my revenge.”
E: What fucking revenge? For not getting a baby?
-Help me, I can’t do it alone!-
-MAKE AN EFFORT-
“Go to hell, 23!”
N: Ok, I think we might need to exorcise 23. Clearly some shit is wrong with him.
She aimed at Tali’s head. He saw her eyes go wide, the silver orbs calling his name.
His body felt like fire.
He heard the gunshot.
23 gasped, trying to breathe the air. He felt too slow, too weak. Everything hurt. Falling to the ground, he pulled the water from the grass around him. It covered his mouth, letting the air enter his lungs once more. He didn’t hear anything. No scream, no body hitting the floor, nothing.
He looked up.
He wondered if Miranda had shot HIM. Blinking a few times, he tried to clear the images, which failed to disappear.
E:…MIRANDA DID A SMART!…How long till it gets turned on his head.
-The next stage in your ability. Remember it fondly. It is a power worthy of a Deity-
C: I don’t think Miranda shot 23.
E: Oh fuck me.
The color of the forest was gone. Replaced with a dark gray. He could see the silhouettes of the trees, and the grass, yet nothing moved. Blinking a few times more, he looked at the ground. Something was starting to emerge.
Slowly, 23 noticed the grass contained a glimmer of color. Lowering his head, he studied the small plant, touching it with his finger. Something jumped in the leaf, and a blue vein appeared. Soon, all the blades of grass surged with blue. Startled, 23 jumped to his feet. Before his eyes he watched the world shift into shades of blue. He noticed that they only glowed in the veins of the trees, making the gray a stunning contrast.
“I can see the water?”
-Correct. You have frozen all liquid around you, essentially stopping time.
E: WHAT THE FUCK! I just…he can freeze all the blood of everything now? Because of the powers of Lucifer? I mean…WHAT!? WHAT IS THIS DUES EX MACHINA BULLSHIT!
Admire yourself afterwards. I suggest you hurry-
23 frowned. What did it mean by—
Turning around, he saw them.
Neither of them were moving. Miranda held the gun towards Tali, who continued to gaze forward where 23 had been standing. It took the assassin’s breath away, the sight. The gun gave off a gray cloud, where it was obvious that Miranda had fired her gun just as he had done…whatever he had done.
C: He did the magical bullshit because of Lucifer.
Approaching the two of them, he glanced at Miranda’s face, noticing the blue veins crisscrossing her entire being. His eyes narrowed. He turned away from her, changing directions towards Tali while muttering under his breath.
“I’ll deal with you in a second.”
His first priority was Tali, and he slowly reached his arms around her waist, slowly moving her from the path of the bullet.
N: Wait wait wait wait…he didn’t just stop people, he stopped the bullet too? He stopped everything by FREEZING WATER! NO! THAT DOES NOT FUCKING HAPPEN!
(Gary Stu Counter: 30)
(Because Water Counter: 18)
Picking her up, he carried her closer to the edge of the clearing, placing her as far away from the danger as possible. As he lowered her to the ground carefully, something caught his attention. He couldn’t see Tali’s blue outline due to her exo-suit as expected, yet…
Looking at her mask, he noticed that the glow was almost visible. Her eyes lit up the gray around him, and he could almost make out the shape of her face. He stared a little longer, a strange feeling of relaxation coming over him. He felt lost in her gaze, almost as if he was being hypnotized. He would have stayed longer, if the voice in his mind hadn’t sounded it’s desire for revenge.
C: DUHHHHHUHUH! Pretty lady!
-Ignore the girl. Kill the operative. Fulfill your mission-
E: All right Lucifer, be quiet. I’ll kill the…wait why the fuck does Lucifer care about Miranda?
23 started to turn, but caught another quick glance at Tali. Turning, he spotted Miranda, still standing in her place, gun aimed down.
Breathing in, he started to calm himself. He felt the shift, the world start to speed up again. Closing his eyes, 23 heard time regain itself, ending with the finish of a loud bang.
His eyes flew open.
Miranda pulled her hand back, obviously confused. Searching for her victim, she found her lying far off to the side.
“What…What did you…how…”
N: Pact with Lucifer, you should try it.
She turned, and instead of finding her enemy in his previous spot, 23 was standing a mere inches away. His eyes met hers, and she nearly screamed. Underneath his mask, he smiled coldly. Speaking, his voice sounded like ice once more.
C: GET IT!? Because he uses ice!
He grabbed her gun, tossing it into the nearby forest. Next, he lunged for her throat roughly, yanking her into the air. She felt the oxygen in her lungs nearly leave her, as she struggled to escape. 23 laughed, causing chills to run down her spine.
N: Yeah, cold, cool, ice, chill, WE GET IT!
“What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?”
His eyes changed, looking far more serious.
“I hope you realize just how much you’re screwed right now, Lawson. All this time I’ve been looking for you, I’ve thought of all the ways I could make you scream in pain. I think it’s only fair, given what you did to me.”
His voice got lower, despite the lack of audience.
“What you did to Lyla.”
E: Great, we traded one monologuing douche for another. And honestly we’ve been dragging out this for long enough so we’re gonna have to stop here. God that was a bad chapter.
N: What was that?
S: I didn’t lose! I didn’t lose! I never lose to anyone.
C: Ah shit.