1562: Normandy High 2: Cryogenic Boogaloo – Chapter SixPosted: October 13, 2016
Title: Subject 23: Cryonics
Author: The Eezoman
Media: Video Games
Topic: Mass Effect
URL: Subject 23: Cryonics: Chapter 6
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck
Hello ladies and jellyspoons, and welcome back to the Library of the Damned. I’m your host Herr Wozzeck, and we’re back into the fray with more self-insert bullshit. How bullshit does it get?
Well… let’s find out, shall we? We’re only two chapters away from the end of this shitty sequel!
We start this week off with this:
*Edited: So, the Doc manager wasn’t working. Now it is. This chapter was a little longer, but it was such a blast to write, I don’t even care. Please leave a review, mainly because this chapter is…well…you’ll see.
Oh honey, we already know this chapter will be filled to the brim with bullshit. You don’t need to tell us that.
The water rushed across the floor of the hangar, the sound filling the large space. Rising steadily from the pool were columns of ice, each about the size of a person. After filling themselves in, they solidified, ice appearing behind the wall of water. The sound of the ice cracking echoed like gunshots as the columns re-arraigned themselves, limbs and heads starting to form. Cole stood in the center of it all, his attention drawn to the knives on his arms.
–Twelve combatants. All unarmed. Four behind, eight in front–
—and it was then that 23 wondered when the fuck this became a Hunger Games crossover.
Anyway, take a wild guess as to what he does next.
The water stopped flowing as the statues finished icing themselves over. Silence filled the hangar once more. 23 breathed in and out slowly, lowering his heart rate. Closing his eyes, he used the water in the air to sense them. He cracked a smile.
He moved, barely more than a flash of blue and green. He attacked the left-most side, his knife cutting the head off the statue. The momentum carried him into the next, where he closed his fist and smashed through the center of the ice. The figure crumbled into pieces as 23 spun, bringing his opposite arm into the head of the third statue. Regaining his balance, the twin blades sprung from his wrist, where he stabbed forward, gouging the eyes from the ice column.
–A little workout never hurt–
Yep, it’s another action scene. And this one doesn’t even have stakes, because what the fuck is going on?
Well, actually, the rest of this scene is pretty meh, so I’ll skip most of it. Anyway, one of the columns actually manages to grab a hold of 23’s neck, and then his water powers stop working because… well, what else, really? So then these things seem to get close to killing him, and then…
–Cole…you seem scared–
It was getting harder to keep his eyes open. The figures surrounded him, raising their blades. He couldn’t find the strength to move.
–You can’t scare me. You can’t hurt me–
–I can hurt you, Cole. I can hurt you worse than Cerberus did. Do you feel it, 23? Do you feel the cold grip of fear tearing into you? Stop me, 23. Get angry. Protect yourself–
–No. I won’t le–
–Fear me, 23. Attack–
–I won’t. I’m done with that–
–Release your anger. SAVE YOURSELF–
He yelled, the last of his energy used by the simple command.
“Go to hell!”
The voice screamed.
The statues plunged their javelins, spearing Cole. He cried out in pain.
And that was… That was a dream sequence, right?
Cole bolted upright, his armor and blade flooding over him as he ripped the sheets off his body. He nearly yelled out in anger, until he realized his surroundings.
And that sounds like “Overdone Fanfiction Clichés” for $500, Alex!
Anyway, he ponders about the newness of these nightmares, and talks about how all his other nightmares have been about his backstory. You know, because clearly 23 wasn’t tortured enough already. And after that, he—
–Maybe it’s because I’ve solved all my other problems. Maybe it’s a good thing my mind has to make up it’s own horrors–
Wow, okay. “Maybe it’s a good thing my mind has to make up its own horrors”. I don’t know what exactly is up with all this here, but you know what? I’m starting to think that that’s Eezofuck’s voice here.
Like, really think about what’s happened with this fic so far. We’ve had Tali’s loyalty mission, and… that’s pretty much it. The rest of the fic so far has been spent faffing about without direction, spending way too much time on the romance angle. And that’s it. The only thing that’s dealt with the overhanging arcs from the last installment has been the whole “47 is still alive and killed Miranda” thing and that’s it. Since then, not a peep, and curiously there has been nothing of note from the Illusive Man.
And you know why I think that is? To be honest, I think that’s Eezofuck’s idiocy about Cerberus at action again. See, it’s a common Talimancer thing to talk shit about Cerberus and say how much better off Shepard would be without it. So their reaction? They make moves to cut their Shepards off from Cerberus earlier in Mass Effect 2. And they then are like “take that, Cerberus”.
But the problem is, they then forget that The Illusive Man being your boss was kind of critical to how the plot of the game unfolded. He gives you missions, he tells you where to go… he provides the game a sense of direction, and it’s a sense of direction that the game needs up until the Collector Ship. Once you get to the Collector Ship mission, you pretty much have all of your mission parameters: you know where to go, you know what you need to do to get there, the only thing left is to get that Reaper IFF. But even that is information you need to get from The Illusive Man, though EDI might be able to tell you yourself. Possibly. I don’t think she can.
And one of the things TIM sent you to? The Collector Ship itself, which he brings you to by way of false transmissions. But Subject 23 had that whole stupid betrayal arc before they could get to the Collector Ship. So with no way to stop the Collectors, what does Eezofuck do? “Shit, let’s resolve the love plotlines!”
This isn’t new to Talimancer fanfiction. You remember InHarmsWay of Parallel Realities fame? One of is pre-PR projects tried to kill Miranda off midway through the Freedom’s Progress mission. But it ended up receiving no updates after the Horizon mission, likely because IHW wasn’t able to write his way out of the issue of needing TIM to tell you where the Collector Ship went after Horizon. (And besides, he was having difficulty writing around his new premise anyway (to the surprise of absolutely nobody who actually read the ME3 arc of that piece of shit), so that didn’t help either.) Eezofuck has just hit the same conundrum here, and now the fic is just faffing about because of it.
And this is the whole problem with the Talimancer side of fandom: they make such loud proclamations about how they stand about factions in-game, which is fine. But when they then write wish fulfillment to make those opinions have bearing on the ME universe, they lose sight of things like plot structure and characterization. Eezofuck has been displaying that all throughout this fic, and now the plot itself is paying the price.
Oh, and need I mention how it shows their inability to plan a story beyond “let’s blindly regurgitate plot”?
When I tell people that this fic embodies everything wrong with the Talimancer side of fandom, I mean it.
Anyway, he then thinks about—
As he stood there, armor covering his body, he suddenly realized how long it had been since he had showered.
–Not since Italy. Before all of…this–
Because of his genetic condition, he didn’t really need to. The sterility of his skin cells had taken care of disease, as well as any unpleasant “side-effects”.
And his skin is sterile now.
Because Water Count: 20
Though I guess it would explain that whole stupid quarian cure thing. Doesn’t make it any less moronic, but hey, there it is.
Yet, Cole still felt the need to maintain his appearance. It helped make him feel human.
–Nice play to think, the shower. Besides, it might be time to get some fresh water–
Wait a second, that’s another thing, isn’t it? 23 made this whole big deal about Shepard giving him a water tank on the way to Tali’s loyalty mission because it’d keep him at his max potential. But for whatever reason he doesn’t need to shower, and he hasn’t showered. Even though, of course, the water would help him recharge his abilities. So why the fuck hasn’t he showered if the water from the shower allows him to recharge his abilities?
And now my brain is starting to hurt trying to comprehend 23’s logic behind all this, so I’ll just stop here and go on with the damn story.
So then he strips, gets in a towel, does his ice thing, and then walks off to the bathroom. On the way, he bumps into the crew, and they have a brief bit of inoffensive banter before he goes into the bathroom. Of course, as he steps in, he hears the conversation.
“Did you see his arms? Oh man. He certainly isn’t all ice.”
“Quit starin’ woman. Honestly, you sound like a schoolgirl with a crush.”
“Hey! I can admire. Besides, it’s not often you see a guy with a body like his. I hate the models on the extranet. They’re all bulk.”
“You’re tellin’ me things I don’ want to know, girl.”
You know, Eezofuck, Jack only started eyeing the commander for sexytimes after the loyalty mission because she was expecting that Shepard wanted something out of her, right?
*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*
God, you know you’ve fucked up when even Jack is turning into a hormonal high school girl.
Thankfully, we don’t get the rest of that conversation, and he takes a shower and… nothing happens.
When he steps out, he bumps into Kelly, and she ogles him for a bit (and I will give Kelly that, because she’s the only one on the Normandy who might actually check folks out). After 23 grins at that, Kelly tells him that they’re docked at Illium to pick up weapons and recruit Thane and Samara. Of course, they make reference to Liara, and Kelly says:
According to Garrus, she’s been making a good living as an information broker, and with our current situation, we might need one.”
Yes, because a single information broker running her own operation that was small enough that she needed you to give her intel that The Illusive Man had passed on to you in order to find the Shadow Broker will surely be able to tell you where the Collector Ship is at this moment in time.
So then he’s like “sure”, and as he heads out:
“Alright. And, 23?”
He turned back face her.
“Make sure you put some clothes on. We don’t need the Asari trying to kidnap one of our crew.”
23 rolled his eyes, and stepped back into his cabin, Kelly’s quiet chuckles echoing in the hallway.
Scottie Nell Hughes, move over: Kelly Chambers is giving your “locker room talk” excuse a run for its money!
Anyway, we cut to Kasumi and Tali, where Tali tells Kasumi she’s gonna get some engineering supplies. Kasumi tells her she can’t come along because she’s going with Shepard to get Samara, and of course:
Kasumi gave a tricky smile.
“You could always invite 23.”
Tali crossed her arms at Kasumi, who had burst into a small giggle at the end of her sentence.
“I’m going to ignore that.”
And you really think that’s gonna work? I mean, knowing everything else that’s happened in this stupid little fanfic, it’ll find a way to be about 23 eventually. I’m just saying.
Anyway, they have a bit more dialogue, and we then cut to 23 about two hours later. He complains about the heat a bit, and—
Walking down the street, he noticed a weapons dealer, and casually made his way over to him.
–He better have good merchandise. I might have to return to the Normandy empty handed–
Hey, if Eezofuck’s knowledge of weaponry is anything like Kye!Stu’s, I’m not taking any chances.
Cole was surprised at the lack of quality weapons. Someone must have just come through. Maybe a gang, or military group.
That, or all the merchants experienced an unusually high traffic of shitty fanfiction self-inserts. Hey, you never know!
The Turian merchant didn’t look too helpful, which gave away just how many weapons he had sold recently.
“Excuse me. I’m looking for some equipment.”
The Turian glanced up at him, a look of boredom on his features.
“What kind of equipment?”
23 didn’t like the merchant’s attitude.
Why, because he was bored? Dude, calm the fuck down: you already have broken superpowers and those hidden blades, and the weapons already on the Normandy. I don’t think you need to worry about being armed in this case!
He placed his hands on the desk between them, leaning closer to the man.
“The kind that makes people think twice when they see you.”
Leaning back, the Turian nodded, realizing 23 meant business.
“We’ve got some great weapons from the ERC. Sounds good?”
Cole rolled his eyes. He knew how “reliable” ERC tech was.
“No thanks. I think I’m wasting my time.”
*sighs in relief*
Oh good, we didn’t get the whole demonstration of how shit his expertise on weapons is. Thank Christ for minor miracles.
But I do have this:
Way to be a shitty customer, 23!
So of course, he hears shouting, and he walks over to see what the deal is. At that point, we cut to Tali, at which point…
Tali browsed over the engineering catalog. Picking out some plasma coils that looked good, she called over a store manager, hoping to set-up delivery. The Asari approached her, a look of contempt in her eyes.
“And how can I help you, Quarian?”
Tali nearly started at the “Quarian” comment, but refused. She had dealt with racism before.
Oh yay, here comes the required racist asshole who hates quarians. Because we clearly needed one of those to show up at some point.
“‘I’d like to purchase these items and have them delivered.”
The employee glanced at the equipment, which rang up a heavy cost. Turning an eye back to Tali, her voice sounded suspicious.
“And your method of payment?”
Tali brought up her omni-tool, displaying the Normandy’s account number. The Asari didn’t even bat an eye.
“I’m sorry, Miss. We don’t allow credit transactions this high unless you have the cash on you.”
Tali took a step backward, the ridiculousness of the rule catching her by surprise.
“Who would carry that much money around with them? They’d be asking to get robbed!”
The Asari crossed her arms, eyeing Tali even more intently.
“You’d know all about robbing people, wouldn’t you, Quarian.”
You know, as much as I want to dock this stupid shit for being over the top with its racism… I have seen worse portrayals of racism. Trust me, I know that’s hard to believe, but believe me, at least this asari isn’t loudly announcing her racism for the world to know, unlike a certain hair-dyed border collie written by a talentless hack who has no understanding of how racism actually works…
The words hit her like a wall.
–She doesn’t trust me because of the suit?–
No, Tali, she doesn’t trust you because she’s busy rooting out Islamic terrorists.
“You think just because I’m a Quarian, I rob people? You’re unbelievable! How do you run a business like this?”
Probably for the same reason Trump got so many white supremacists to endorse him in the primaries.
The woman twitched, her frown more prominent. Raising her voice, she hoped to subdue Tali with words.
“I run and keep my business because I’m a honest, hardworking woman. Not some vagrant running around trying to steal engine equipment!”
See? This woman would be a regular Trump supporter!
Tali raised her arm, pointing at the Asari.
“How dare you! I’ve never stolen from anyone!”
“Maybe not on this planet!”
“You racist Boshtet!”
And of course, this is when 23 comes in and solves the problem. Because Tali obviously can’t solve her problems on her own, right?
The sound of a new customer sounded, and the two women turned, surprised at the new arrival.
23 scanned the store, finding a familiar Quarian standing at arms-length with an angry looking Asari.
There he is!
Alright, so what’s he gonna do? Is he gonna give her the verbal smackdown? Is he gonna slap her? Shoot her?
“What seems to be the problem here?”
The Asari turned, her facial expression changing rapidly.
“Thank goodness you’re here! This thief was just about to rob me!”
She ran up to 23, grabbing him. Cole froze, the situation taking him by surprise. Tali rolled her eyes.
“So this Quarian is robbing you?”
The woman nodded frantically.
“Yes! Please, stop her!”
Cole removed the Asari from his arm, and approached Tali. Giving her a wink, he grabbed her arm gently, making it look as though he was apprehending her.
He’s going to deal with it by escorting her out of the store. You know, the thing the racist bitch would’ve wanted him to do anyway.
“Don’t worry ma’am. She’s not going to hurt you.”
He carefully lead her out of the store. Turning back, he changed his tone, his anger obvious.
“Although if you ever discriminate like that again, I just might.”
He turned, walking out of sight. Tali merely stared at the stunned Asari, enjoying the sight before following 23 into the street.
Yes, because one quip given while doing exactly what she wanted you to do in the first place will totally show her who’s the shit.
God, you’re an idiot.
Anyway, they walk out of that store, and they realize “shit, I’m hungry”. So they decide to head off and eat stuff, and they start talking about various things. The first thing that comes up? Scariest enemy, which allows a bit of a spotlight on Tali’s arachnophobia.
Hey, considering everything else he’s fucked up about her character, I’m surprised Eezofuck remembered to think about that.
So they go on, Tali talks about that a bit, and then Tali asks 23 for his best moment. He starts by saying he doesn’t understand the question, and Tali says:
“Like, the best moment you’ve ever had. Or the best feeling.”
“Perhaps you can start with… what was it an old President of yours called it, ‘locker room talk’?”
Cole felt a smile creep onto his face. It wasn’t often when he thought of happy things.
We get it, we know he’s tortured. Now can you maybe drop that at some point, please?
Turning to the side, he glanced out the window, watching people casually walk past.
“I don’t know. Before all of this, back in my world….I saw some pretty beautiful things.”
Tali gazed at him longingly, her silver eyes casually scanning his face.
“What was it like?”
Cole smiled, leaning back in his chair.
“It was sunny. Warm. I’d go outside and enjoy the world for what it was. It wasn’t threatening, or scary. I had friends, family. The good things in life.”
Oh hey, 23 finally decided to stop being an edgelord for once and just talk. Man, isn’t that a relief?
Anyway, Cole is like “it was actually pretty awesome there, but I’ve gotten used to it…
With the people I care about.”
He looked up at her, a grin on his face.
“Someone needs to make sure you don’t go killing racist shopkeepers.”
Says the guy who went on a murderous rampage trying to kill Miranda in the second chapter of this trainwreck.
Anyway, they decide to walk back to the Normandy, but they get sidetracked by the sunset, so they decide to take it in. And of course, their shoulders touch, and Tali tells him…
“Whenever I get to see them, I think about the home world. I imagine what it looks like from the surface, watching the warm sun slowly sink over the horizon.”
Their eyes lulled as Cole smiled casually.
“What kind of horizon do you think about?”
Under the mask, she smiled.
Which is remarkable considering that Tali has spent a vast majority of her life in ships that don’t have sunsets on them, but hey: it’s the thought that counts, right?
There was a silence between them as they enjoyed the sight. Tali quietly battled with herself as she considered saying what was on her mind next.
“Sometimes I wonder if I’ll be alone when I watch it set.”
“You won’t be alone Tali. You’ll have someone.”
Hang on. Is this actually…?
Her voice carried with emotion as the sight in her mind appeared. She spoke, her voice filled with a gentle warmth.
“I want it to be you.”
The pleasant silence continued. Tali’s mind realized the words had slipped out unintentionally. The fear gripped her, and she turned to Cole, horrified at what she might see.
He turned to her, his eyes gazing at her intently, while his expression carried no emotion.
She needed to stop him.
–I’ve got nothing to lose! Say something before he does–
He closed his mouth, all of his attention on listening.
“You saved me on Haestrom. I was going to die, and you just…appeared. You carried me to the shuttle, you saved my team. Cole, you…I don’t know how to explain this, but…I…”
Her voice cracked, and she let everything go.
“I love you. I love you, and I can’t even…I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never had these feelings before. You’ve been everything to me for so long, I couldn’t lose you Cole, I couldn’t. On Horizon, at the trial, you were there for me. No one has ever…I….”
Oh my God, the shiptease is finally over! It only took an entire fanfic of foregone conclusions to get to this point! Jesus fuck, now we don’t have to be annoyed by this fic’s constant insistence of keeping the “will they or won’t they” going when we all know they will! Thank fuck, we don’t have to deal with the same predictable shit!
Though, knowing this fic, it’ll find a way to manufacture more conflict before they finally give in.
And… well, Tali gets all embarrassed and shit and says she’ll leave, but before she can run off 23 stops her. And then we get…
Cole took a step forward, standing right in front of her. They looked into each other’s eyes, brown meeting silver. Tali couldn’t say anything. Couldn’t move, or think. Anything that could ruin this brief, happy moment was a death sentence for her.
He raised his hand, placing it softly on her neck. There was no ice between them.
She distantly wondered if she should put her hand on his arm, the glove hovering slightly over his shoulder. Finally, she placed her hand, and upon reaching contact, clenched his arm tightly.
They looked at each other, never breaking sight. She raised her other arm, hoping to connect it with his chest. She succeeded, and he placed his arm around to the small of her back. Tali breathed in, the air drawing a nervous, ragged breath.
–This…This can’t be happening. It’s a dream. I’ll wake up, and we’ll still be in the shuttle, or the Normandy, or…–
And they just stare into each other’s eyes. Great! Wonderful! Can something actually happen please?
Something dropped between their eyes. Floating lazily through the air, it twinkled like a diamond, shimmering gold and red, and yellow. Tali’s eyes followed it, and it landed softly on her gloved hand, resting for a moment until melting into a small wet drop.
They looked at each other once more, and Tali saw the smile on the edge of his lips. Raising their heads, they looked up. Tali felt the gasp escape.
Thousands of diamonds fluttered from above, the gold sunset catching them in a sparkle of light. The reflections danced around, encasing them in a shower of color and brilliance.
She didn’t understand what was happening, until the past conversations briefly flashed into her mind.
“It’s supposed to be pretty warm today”
“Are you trying to convince her you can affect the weather? Give it a rest, 23.”
“It turns cloudy when you’re depressed? Ok, I’ll bite, what about when you’re happy?”
Tali looked down, meeting Cole’s eyes again. He was smiling pleasantly at her, his brown eyes twinkling in the brilliant light.
You know, when I started this sequel, I was expecting it to pull off all sorts of stupid. But this? I just… I’ve never seen a more poorly-executed rip-off of Edward Scissorhands in my life! I just…
*headdesks onto buzzer*
Because Water Count: 21
God, the cliché storm… It’s so fucking strong with this fic! And now I think it’s literal, too…
He gently pushed back her veil. Leaning in slowly, he drew close to her neck, placing his lips on the side of her suit. She breathed in, the closeness of the situation catching her off guard. Even through the material she could feel it.
Hey, that NerveStim Pro had to be good for something, right?
His lips felt smooth, and relaxing. She closed her eyes for a moment, enjoying just the feel of him. Pulling away, he gazed even deeper, his grin genuine and loving.
You know, apart from all the homicidal tendencies.
Tali giggled, all inhibition gone. She jumped at him, wrapping her arms around his neck. She heard his laugh, noticing not what it carried, but what it didn’t. The pain was gone, replaced by a bright, warming note.
–He’s happy. He’s happy that I’m happy. Keelah–
They spun, the frenetic snowstorm increasing the beauty of the two. Coming to a stop, they slowly turned back to the sunset, the magical sight highlighted by the blizzard. She pushed herself against him, her head resting peacefully on his shoulder while he held her tightly with his arms.
They refused to move until sunset finished it slow journey down below the horizon, the snowstorm of light and passion never ceasing.
And meanwhile, anyone who passed them while this whole thing was going on probably reacted like this:
Like, I’m wondering how bad the mental scarring would be on the poor soul who walks in on that shit!
Anyway, we get another author’s note, but it’s mostly harmless this time, so I’ll leave it off. I’ll also leave it off and say that this fic only has one more chapter to go! Yep, it’s been deadfic for two and a half years at this point, and the next time we snark this we’ll finally have put it to rest!
So I’ll see you all next week, when we end our run through all those shitty Mortal Kombat lemons!