1532: Normandy High 2: Cryogenic Boogalo – Chapter FourPosted: September 15, 2016
Title: Subject 23: Cryonics
Author: The Eezoman
Media: Video Games
Topic: Mass Effect
URL: Subject 23: Cryonics: Chapter 4
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck
Hello folks, and welcome back to Normandy High once again. I’m your host Herr Wozzeck, and we are back in the fray for more shitty, shitty action with the world’s worst-written Marvel superhero.
Well, after seeing the way it fucked Zaal’Koris’ canon characterization in the ass for drama, what else can really be said about this fic so far? You know, apart from “well, shit, it’s more of the same stupid”, anway.
Well, let’s find out, shall we? Here we go!
We predictably start with an author’s note:
Man. I’m so happy with this. This was a benchmark chapter, believe it or not. Hope you guys enjoy it. Also, please review. Every time.
Bitch, we still remember how you acted around any kind of criticism whatsoever. What the hell makes you think a review will help you, apart from stroking your ego a bit?
Go ahead, and feed my ego. Just do it. (Nah, you don’t have to)
Hey, at least he’s honest about it this time.
Hope you understand 23 a little better now.
That implies there was anything more to understand than “homicidal Gary Stu”. Which, you know, you haven’t entirely strayed away from.
*Edit (I fixed the line breaks. Sorry, I forgot about them. I’m tired, so yeah. Anyways, Enjoy)
Wait, so you’ll go back to fix line breaks, but not the actual story?
There are nowhere near enough quips in the world to describe how stupid this is… Especially when you consider he doesn’t put the line breaks between the author’s note and the story proper.
No, really, he segues into this with no line break:
23 sighed, sinking into the co-pilots chair. The entire mission was a failure. Maybe if he’d explained more. Maybe if Tali let him use the data. Maybe…
–Maybe if Koris wasn’t a bastard, it wouldn’t have turned out like this–
Hey, don’t blame Zaal for this series’ shitty writing in general! He was just roped into the “23 is awesome and anyone who disagrees must be bashed” problem this fic seems to have!
The final thought stirred an angry noise from his throat. It surprised even himself.
–I’m growling? Jesus, maybe I’m turning into a Turian–
OH GOD NO, DON’T EVEN GET US STARTED WITH THAT! DON’T EVEN GET US STARTED WITH THAT!
[Scene Redacted for Extreme Violence]
Jesus Christ, don’t even go there. The last time any fic had anything to do with people turning into turians… That’s just bad news bears all around…
Zaeed sat to his left, piloting the shuttle. The mercenary didn’t say anything for a while, just causally glancing over at the stewing assassin. The shifty looks were noticed by 23, who wasn’t in the mood to deal with such things.
“You got a problem, Messani?”
Well obviously: remember, 23, he was pretty much the only person who had any kind of sanity in the previous fic.
Zaeed didn’t say anything for a second, judging the situation. Finally, he responded, his rough voice emphasizing the point.
“I’m wondering why you’re up here in the cockpit moaning like a bitch, while the only person on this damned shuttle who has reason to complain is sitting in the back all to her lonesome.”
I don’t even care that Zaeed adopts a daddy tone that’s totally OOC for him, I’m just glad he’s finally calling this little shit out on something!
Cole narrowed his eyes, ready to retort before the words died in his throat. Zaeed was right after all. Here he was complaining when really, Tali was the one who had just lost everything. Then again, she had just lost everything because it seemed that 23 was incapable of helping the people he cared about. It only served to add to his depression, which then turned to anger towards himself.
And it’s so cute that you think we’re so stupid that we need to have it spelled out for us in such explicit terms. Yes, so very, very cute.
Also, yay: let’s take Tali’s pain and make it all about how butthurt it made 23 that he couldn’t save his little princess in distress. Good to know this fic still likes to insult our morality by making its love interests’ pain all about the protagonist once again!
*headdesks onto buzzer*
Gary Stu Count: 34
“She’s not alone. Kasumi went back there to help her cope.”
I’m pretty sure Zaeed would not accept such a shitty excuse.
Zaeed merely grunted.
Oh, right, I forgot: Subject 23 is an epic Stu. The epic Stu cares not for such things like logic!
The conversation came to a close, allowing 23 to review his mistakes.
–Let’s run down the list, shall we? First, you let her father get killed. Second, you let her convince you to delete the data. That was stupid–
Cole frowned, his mind creating a counter-argument.
–No. She wouldn’t have ever forgiven me. I couldn’t….–
You couldn’t spear people’s heads on pikes? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, man, but that’s not actually that hard to do.
He yelled at himself.
–Couldn’t what? Give up your friendship for her happiness? For a future with her people, her family, the people who cared for her? What the hell kind of reasoning is that?–
Reasoning that we really don’t care about because who the fuck really wants to hear this bitch prattle on about shit most of us really don’t want to hear?
He closed his eyes.
–I cared for her. I STILL care for her. I could…I could give her everything–
Yes, but could you have given her the starlight?
Right. Note to self, never try to use an Ivor Novello reference ever again…
His eyes shot open when he thought that. Was he really going there? After what had just happened?
–Goddamn it. I can’t do this. I can’t do that to her. It’s not safe, it’s not a sure thing, it’s not-
Oh for fuck’s sake, this again? Fuck off with your fucking ship tease, you cunt. This is ridiculous! You’ve been ship teasing Tali and 23 as a couple since Tali’s first appearance with your stupid little “I’M GONNA DIE NEVER KNOWING WHAT LOVE IS” bullshit that you had Tali think in the first installment! Hello!
What the hell is wrong with this fic?
His romantic side pushed through, the heart talking to the mind.
–It’s not what? Natural? You sound like Lawson. You know how you feel about Tali. You know what she did for you–
What, you mean she did things apart from fawn over him for no reason?
He grimaced outwardly.
–I know what she did for me. I know how I feel about her. How I want her. But I can’t. No matter what I want to give her, no matter how much I care for her, I can’t. I let her down. It’d be a mockery to share my feelings when I can’t even save her from her own people. She deserves better–
You’re damn right she deserves better, but I’ll let you in on a secret, 23: it’s not because you let her down. No, she deserves better than a murderous cunt who can’t let his hate boners go who somehow manages to make her pain all about how tough he has it like a spoiled brat.
She deserves far better than that, and I’m only sad you will never realize that.
Leaning against the chair, his internal conversation fell silent, the note of finality implied at the end of his monologue. However, his heart wasn’t done.
–She made you better. She protected you. She helped you. She saved you–
In what way, showing you that you can still be more entitled than ever?
Good fucking Christ. This fic loves to make a big deal about Cole’s supposed inferiority complex in love, but he’s done so many shitty things in the past I find it impossible to take seriously. When the hell will fic authors learn, you know what I mean?
He wanted to scream at himself.
Funny, so do the rest of us with functional fucking brains.
–I couldn’t save her!–
–You still can!–
And it will be corny as shit because what the fuck does she need saving from?
“So It’ll take us about nine hours to reach the rela-”
23 bolted out of the chair, the voice surprising him. Zaeed turned, startled at the sudden movement.
“What the bloody hell is wrong with you?”
At this point, it’d be easier to ask what isn’t wrong with him…
Cole glanced around, realizing he’d been deep in thought.
“Er. Nothing. Just…Nevermind.”
Can someone please keep this chapter from slowly turning into a goddamn standstill already?
At the finish of his sentence, the door to the shuttle opened, revealing Kasumi. She stepped into the cramped room, stealing 23’s seat. She looked exhausted, as well as sad. Cole looked at her questioningly.
“Tali is…She’s alright, but…She’s hurt. I watched her put together and take apart a heating unit that was working just fine. She swore there was something wrong with it, but…you need to talk to her, 23. She just needs someone there for her, and it can’t be me.”
Oh, for—we’ve already had this conversation! What the fuck is Kasumi going to do that Zaeed cant?
Cole opened his mouth when she resumed.
“She needs you.”
He closed his eyes, mentally preparing himself.
–Go on. You can do it–
Yes, because you’re a fucking Gary Stu and there is nothing you can’t do, right!?
Was this how she had felt? When he stormed off to the cargo hold after flashing back to the Rebirth, was she thinking the same thoughts?
No, because Tali wasn’t on the ship at that time, 23, you thick bint!
Seriously? How do you forget continuity like that? Tali came to the ship after that massive rampage in the second chapter!
–You owe her. Show her she still has something–
23 sighed, straightened his posture, and stepped into the cramped compartment. For the first time since before all this had started. Since before he had lost himself to this new reality, he felt butterflies in his stomach.
Oh finally, we get to have him stop going all “woe is me” and actually doing shit about his problems for once. Glory Halle-fucking-lujah!
Of course, before we can get that, we cut back to…
The clicking of holo-pad was fast, calculated, and efficient. Garrus stood at the console, his three-fingered hand flying over the buttons, while he refused to move, dedicated to the task.
His mind however, was a different thing altogether.
–She betrayed me. Shepard. How could she? I had him in my sights. All she needed to do was move–
Oh, so Shepard the Shitty Leader actually went ahead and prevented Garrus’ revenge? Funny: with the way she facilitated 23’s revenge on Miranda, I was convinced she was gonna let Garrus take the shot. I wish I could be glad, but um, isn’t consistent characterization supposed to be a thing?
He remembered the feel of the trigger against his finger, the scope to his eye. He nearly opened fire when he saw the familiar colony marks approaching, the face just as strong a reminder.
–I had him. I was ready. She had no right to choose to let him go–
She talked to him, asking his name. The air around him almost stopped, his breath slowing for the shot.
–My soldiers. My team. My mission. She ruined it all–
He could still remember the look she gave him, the Turian voice on the other side of the mike, apologizing.
–Damn him. Damn her–
You’re not getting to the point, fic…
There wasn’t anything to say on the flight back to the Normandy. Shepard had bought the biggest lie possible.
He slammed his hands down onto the desk, the hologram disabled.
Calm your tits, Garrus: that’s gonna cost a lot of credits, you know!
He breathed hard, the anger seeping into his mind again. Calmly, he resolved to push out of this. Despite his rage, he could maintain himself. They still had a mission to do.
Okay, now can we please get something else?
The sound of the battery doors opening caught his attention, but he refused to turn around. He knew who it was.
Thank you. Good God, that took way longer than was actually necessary.
Shepard’s voice was softer than normal. She way trying to comfort him. He shrugged off the effort, not speaking to her. She tried again, with a more direct approach, the slight annoyance creeping into her tone.
“Officer Vakarian, are you busy?”
He barely raised his voice over a whisper, trying not to let the anger slip in.
“Can it wait for a bit? I’m in the middle of some calibrations.”
Oh hey, it makes the requisite calibrations line, and not as a joke. Huh, what about that.
Alicia sighed, leaning against the door.
“No. I need to talk to my XO. Please Garrus.”
Still, he didn’t turn around, refusing to acknowledge her. Deep down, the Turian soldier in him screamed, yet he continued to rebel.
“I’m afraid they can’t wait. I’m sorry, Commander.”
And watch, Shepard the shitty leader is gonna take it lying down, right? I mean, she’s taken other shit lying down, why the fuck should that change now, right?
Shepard narrowed her eyes. She was friends with Garrus, and in all the times he had ever called her that, it was with respect and admiration, even care. Yet, this time, it was different. Angry, almost mocking. She wasn’t going to let that slide.
She walked up to him, grabbing him by his armor’s collar. Spinning him around, she threw the startled Turian against the wall, holding him up by the neck with her arm. The move happened so quickly, Garrus couldn’t respond. Shepard spoke, the anger obvious in her voice.
Also, wow, when did Shepard the Shitty Leader become Taren!Sue? I mean, I know we’ve been bitching about how passive Shepard the Shitty Leader is, but this is way on the other end of what I expected her to do when she finally got her shit together! I mean, throwing her subordinates around? Who does that?
Glad you agree!
Shepard the Shitty Leader Count: 34
“Don’t pull that shit with me, Vakarian! You think I wanted to let him go? I know what he did to you, and trust me, I’d have been willing to pull the trigger. But this wasn’t about me. It was about you.”
“It was about me and him! You would-”
She pressed harder, cutting off his words. Alicia could hardly believe she was holding him up, but something was stirring inside her, letting her body ignore that small fact.
Well, at least she’s finally not taking shit from people. I guess I should be thankful for that.
“Yeah. I let him go. But you think I didn’t have my reasons? You haven’t had to see your best friend lose it while hunting some shadow. I know what’s got you, Garrus. I know how you feel. It’s that feeling I had when I lost Ashley.”
Garrus narrowed his eyes, but remained silent.
“Sidonis betrayed you. Your team, your family, was killed. I understand. But if you really wanted him dead, then why didn’t you kill him when he walked away from me?”
*raises finger, pauses, then puts it down*
Wait, could it be…?
He looked up, away from Shepard. Why hadn’t he? She wouldn’t have been able to stop him. It was a clear shot. What had stopped him?
“You didn’t want to kill him, Garrus. You don’t blame him. You blame yourself.”
He opened his mouth, ready to respond, but stopped. Alicia continued.
“I wasn’t going to let you make that mistake. You needed to stop trying to turn it into another mission. You need to realize, that it wasn’t your fault. It was them. The mercenaries. I could never let someone I love make such a horrible mistake. I’m sorry.”
Huh. Shepard the Shitty Leader actually brings up a really good point for once. And for once in this stupid fic, it didn’t require the Stu to intervene!
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a Christmas Miracle!
She slowly let him down, his feet hitting the floor solidly.
So they turned into bricks on the way down? That’s… um. Huh. Right.
Shepard looked at him, her eyes a little more tender.
“I’d rather not lose someone like you, Garrus. Can you forgive me?”
Garrus looked at her.
–How could she…She had no right to…to…–
His internal self slapped the part of his mind that was still angry.
“I…You’re right, Shepard. But you aren’t the one needing to apologize. I am.”
See? There you go. That is how you get to the point. Now can you just get to the point with the other two love birds on this ship already? Jesus, the way they continually dance around it is starting to get annoying as shit!
Shepard smiled, taking his hand with hers.
Garrus took his eyes from the floor, looking at Shepard again.
“Heh. I surprised myself. Talking back to a commanding officer. Lucky this isn’t a Turian ship, or they’d toss me out the airlock.”
“That can still be arraigned, Officer Vakarian.”
How the hell can it be arraigned? There’s no actual courthouse outside the airlock, is there? Because I would be very shocked if there was.
She started to turn, ready to leave, lest she give in and kiss him. The situation had gotten to her more than she expected.
As it did for the rest of us, too. Seriously, this may be the only completely decent scene we’ve got in this fic so—
She was almost out the door before she heard him.
“I’m a little curious though. What exactly did you mean by love, Shepard?”
Oh for shit’s sake, of course it would pull that right after I say that. At least this time she actually did say it.…
She froze, the words playing in her mind again and again. He had heard it. Turning, she smiled nervously. He stood there, arms crossed, a stupid Turian eyebrow raised.
She was livid with herself. No man alive had rendered her incapable of speech. She needed to think fast, or the gig was up.
–The gig’s already up. He knows–
Honey, we had it figured out ages ago. So can you not take a cue from the Stu here and just admit it already?
It was obvious from his stance that her mind was right. She had two options now. She could run away, and hope he didn’t come looking, or…
Shepard dropped the nervous smile, eyes sinking darker with lust. Her breath drew it heavily, and she stalked towards him quickly. She was on him before he even knew what hit him.
She kissed him in full, the momentum she had built carrying them back into the battery. The door shut as Alicia wrapped her arm around his neck, pulling herself closer to him.
–It’s all or nothing now–
Thank you. Good God, it’s about time one of these fucking couples stopped dancing around the elephant in the room…
Turians weren’t natural kissers. Garrus didn’t know exactly how to react, but the few vids he had seen did teach him a few things.
He brought his arms around her back, pulling her even closer. Next, he pushed his head forward, effectively returning the kiss. Moving his mandibles, he was able to imitate some sort of lip movement, which earned a quiet sigh from Shepard.
Finally, they pulled apart, their arms still wrapped around each other. Garrus looked down at her, a happiness starting to swell in his chest. Shepard was wearing a silly grin, her normally orderly demeanor now disheveled all to hell.
And what the hell does that mean? Does that mean her hair got all frizzled? Does that mean her eyes went red? Did she start telling St. Olaf stories? What, fic? What!?
“How long, Shepard.”
“Since you forgot that you’re supposed to use question marks in questions, not periods, dumbass!”
She leaned into his armor, resting her head against his shoulder.
“Since the clinic. Took me long enough, eh?”
The clinic… in which she met Garrus in ME1? God, I hope not!
Garrus nearly lost it right there.
“The clinic? Damn it Shepard! You had all those opportunities to tell me, and you have to go and die before I find out?”
Good fucking gilchrist, Shepard the Shitty Leader really has turned into Taren!Sue!
She smirked at him, wiping a lose hair from her forehead.
“It wasn’t just me, Vakarian. You had a choice as well.”
He turned away from her, clearing his throat.
“Er…That’s true. Sorry Shepard.”
Sure, except knowing this fic’s track record with stuff, it would’ve been the dude who would’ve been expected to pipe up first. But hey, you know. Gotta disguise the fic’s sexism somehow!
They stood like this for a few minutes, simply enjoying the turn of events, and each other.
“Where do we go from here?”
Shepard smiled at him.
Oh! I know just the thing!
“Do you like kissing me?”
Garrus lowered his head to hers, bumping softly against her.
“I like a lot of things about you, Shepard. Kissing included.”
She leaned towards him, ready for another kiss. He almost made it too, until she went past his mandible, and for his ear.
“Then we go from here, to my cabin. Ten minutes.”
She stepped back from him, running her hand down his face. Even with her soft skin, it felt warm.
“Don’t be late, Officer Vakarian.”
With that, she walked off, leaving a very nervous and excited Turian standing there, watching her hips sway casually.
Well, at least they won’t be dancing around the damn point for much longer.
Anyway, we get another line break, and we cut to…
He watched her work, her hands moving quickly over the components, determined to find the small error in the machinery.
Cole wondered how to break her from her spell. He tried to talk to her, but she simply responded with quiet noises of approval, or disapproval.
Oh yay, we get to go back to the shittier couple and watch them dance around the point for a little more time…
“Tali, maybe you should take a break. You’ve been at it for a few hours.”
She didn’t even turn to answer him.
“I can’t, 23. This heating unit needs to be repaired.”
If this turns into the pottery moment from Ghost, I’m bailing. I’m just saying.
He glanced past her, at the wiring of the unit. It wasn’t connected to the ship, or anything secondary.
She just kept working at an exhaustive pace. He raised his voice.
She turned to him for a brief second, her annoyance obvious.
“I’m trying to work. If you want to bother someone, go talk guns with Zaeed, or…I don’t know.”
“Fuck my crazy ex-girlfriend who was not my girlfriend at all?”
“Isn’t she dead?”
“No, and I know that because water!”
“… That doesn’t even make sense!”
Cole sighed. It didn’t bother him that she had responded as she did.
“Tali, you need to take a break. Please.”
She stopped for a second, her hand hovering hesitantly over a tool. Cole tried again.
And why would that convince her to do anything? I mean, sure, we all know she has naked fantasies of you, but you wouldn’t know that!
Her voice was quiet.
“I can’t. I need to fix this. If I can…”
Her voice broke, and he could hear the pain start to slip out.
“If I can fix this, I’ll be happy. Please, 23. I just….I just need to fix this, and everything will be alright.”
Ah, yes, the classic “channeling my grief through fixing things” cliché. It’d be charming if it wasn’t already done to death by this point.
She turned away from him entirely, her hands working on the machinery in the wall.
He knew what has happening.
–How do I…Screw it. Worked for me–
If this means we get a call back to the hug that solved a million issues when Subject 23 went on and on about his oh-so-trajeck backstory…
He approached her, stepping over the unit. She didn’t notice him.
He walked up behind her, placing his hands around her waist. She felt him, and stopped her repairs.
What she should say: “… Is that your dick poking against my ass?”
What she actually says:
“Let me work, 23.”
He didn’t say anything, as he continued forward, wrapping his arms around her torso. He was against her now, and he placed his head in the crook of her neck.
“Yes, c’mon Tali. Stop holding back and just put out for me already!”
She was starting to tremble slightly. She knew what he was trying to do.
“I…Cole, please. I just…If I fix this, then…Please. let me fix this. I can do it.”
He didn’t say anything.
He whispered softly, his words barely picked up by her audio receptors.
“I’m sorry, Tali. I’m sorry.”
And cue the sobbing in three, two, one…
She dropped the tools, her hands lay at her side. Leaning back against him, her frame wracked with the silent sobs she had trapped. Cole merely held her tighter, reminding her that he was there for her.
She turned, facing him. She embraced him, her silent cries masked beneath her helmet. Cole refused to let go until she demanded it.
And she did end up demanding it once she realized how sappy and clichéd it all was. I mean, seriously, I’ve seen potboilers with less clichéd moments!
Anyway, that ends that scene. We get another line break, and…
Tali lay along the seat, head resting in 23’s lap. He was checking the arrival time, and slowly rubbing Tali’s arm soothingly. She looked up after a while, her silver eyes meeting his brown. Her voice still sounded a little sad, but it was different. Healed, almost.
He smiled softly.
“How can I help?”
She shook her head. Taking his hand, she held it with her own. Leaning her head against his leg again, she spoke, barely a whisper.
Does this mean these two morons will finally stop dancing around the point?
As they laid there in silence, Tali’s mind was abuzz. She had nothing left. No family, no mission, no reason. It suddenly dawned on her that she had nothing to lose. Coming to a conclusion, she finally made up her mind.
She was going to tell Cole that she loved him.
About fucking time. I’d complain, but really, I’m as sick of the telegraphing as the rest of you are, so any chance to do away with it is welcome in my eyes.
Next chapter is going to take a little longer. I did get this one up fairly quickly though, didn’t I?
Not that I really care either way, but hey, it’s whatever.
Anyway, that ends that supposed “benchmark” chapter. And for a “benchmark” chapter, not a whole lot seemed to happen. Except, you know, for stupid romance advancing things. Which don’t involve a lot of things, particularly since we skipped over Garrus’ loyalty mission entirely.
It’s almost like Eezofuck is still being disingenuous as shit. *slow claps*
Anyway… I’ll see you guys next week when we go back to shitty Mortal Kombat lemons. I’ll see you folks then!