September 1st 2186
Sheaprd's Unconscious Mind
It was a sea of sand stretching as far as he could see. He had no idea how long he had been walking or how long he had been here. All he remembered was pushing into the conduit. Every once and awhile he would pass an area full of visions. His past came to life, and he made every effort to avoid those memories. After some time he began to see the faces of his squadmates through the desert haze. At first he had run twoards the illusions believing them to be real. One of those had been of Tali but her image dissapeared in front of him. He began to feel tired and intolerably lonely.
He was contemplating on stopping when the blue sky above him became filled with storm clouds. The wind began to pick up and kick the sand into a sand storm. He still pushed forward. Lightning flashed through the sand and then the rain came. The sand quickly turned to a wet morass and he felt himself having trouble walking through it. Rain pelted his face while lightning and thunder flared overhead. Finally his legs gave and he fell into the sandy mud. He was exaughsted. He lay there for what seemed ages until he began to see faces.
Kaidan materialized out of the darkness of the storm. His chest had bloody holes puched through it and blood was pouring out of his nose and mouth. Shepard was paralyzed by the awful sight. He glanced at the ground trying to hide the image of Kaidan when he looked up again Kaidan was joined by others, many others, the casualties of the past 4 years, and the casualties of Akuze. They closed in around him and he stood up. He buried his face in his hands. The guilt, and feeling of loss now magnified. He looked at Kaidan and his eyes lit up as he reached out to him. Finally he could take no more. He Yelled at the top of the voice against the din of the storm.
Instantly the aparitions dissapeared. He was alone again. Soaking wet and tired. He gazed up into the storm. He thought he could keep these thoughts at bay, he believed he could push the nightmares away. However he was only human. He shouted into the storm as another flash of lightning streaked acrossed it.
Shepard: "I..Don't know what to do anymore...I didn't even make it to the Crucible..."
He thought this was purgatory, that this ungodly place was his eternal punishment. He felt guilty that he had died. All the people counting on him to save them. He felt the tears he rarely had but he kept them away. He sat down into the wet mire around him. The storm began to slacken up and suddenly the rain turned to mist and the storm to red twighlight. He did not seem to notice. He finally said:
Shepard: "I guess...this is what the end is like"
Then a female voice came out of the mist:
"No, It is the beginning"
He was startled. He spun around twoard the voice. The mist began to part a bit and to his astonishment Tali stepped through it. He was shaking and wet as he got up. He stood there looking at her. She didn't have her mask on and her eyes were glowing...at him. She smiled and he felt her warmth fill the despair and the darkness around him. The mist began to dissapate. She spoke:
Tali: "I know you believe you have died but,....your not Shepard...we won. The war is over because of (Points at him)...you!"
He felt something grow inside of him. The feeling of finally knowing. He stuttered his speech in shock.
Shepard: "Tali...Won?...I'm not dead?...what of the Reapers? What is this place?"
Tali walked up to him and she smiled as she stared into his eyes.
Tali: "You have questions I know. You made it onto the Crucible and set off the weapon that killed every single Reaper, but..."
Her smile faded and she looked away. He felt the sudden urge to reach for her...to hold onto something that was good. He reached for her hand and he grasped it. Tears came welling up as he realized she was not an aparition. She was real. Tali looked back into his face and she had tears as well. Suddenly she pressed herself against him and he pulled her into a wet hug. The sun came out and the wet mire was now a beach with a calm sea to the side. He was too shocked to cry so she did it for him.
Tali: "I love you...have always loved you"
He held her tight. And he told her with all his heart.
Shepard: "You mean so much to me..."
After a minute she pulled away and looked at him.
Tali: "You've been in a coma for two weeks...you still are."
She motioned around her
Tali: "This is your subconscious, where every memory is stored. Where your dreams and nightmares ...become reality."
He suddenly understood everything that had been happening. Then he realized with shock maybe Tali was a part of his subconcious but she shook her head knowing what he was thinking.
Tali: "No, I am not a part of this...I.."
Then another deep voice came out of the sea.
"Tali'Zorah vas Normandy I will handle this"
Tali looked twoards the ocean and nodded. He felt so confused...
Shepard: "What was that voice? Who is..."
The sea suddenly parted and a colossal Reaper...no it wasn't a Reaper...he had seen this thing just recently in reasearch documents...it was a...:
The Leviathan hovered above the ocean and then two others came out of the disturbed sea. They moved close. they were colossal beings, all three were over 1,000 feet high. The Leviathan closest to him spoke with a voice that echoed through the area.
Xie: "I am Xie. Yes we are Leviathan's. We have come bearing a message you will take well to heed."
He felt the anger suddenly flare inside of him. He knew these creatures were responsible for over One Billion years of death and destruction. They had built the Reapers. The sea began to churn up and the sky began to turn red. Tali looked at him concerned. He pointed at Xie and he felt the blood rush into his face.
Shepard: "You! You think you can come to me after what your brutish creations have done to billions of people! I have a message for you!"
He reached for his pistol but then he realized he had none. Tali beside him put a hand on his shoulder.
Tali: "Shepard...I feel your anger and frustraition. The Leviathans are not here to fight us..."
Another Leviathan spoke on Xie's left.
Kaz: "I am Kaz. She is right...let us speak for we wish to make amends that are long overdue"
The third Leviathan spoke now:
Zad: "I am Zad. We know our sins cannot be forgiven...but at least we can set things right. Let us speak and we will reveal everything"
He suddenly felt the anger subside. He dropped his hand and the sea returned to its calm state and the sky turned blue once more. He knew they were sincere. He felt Tali's hand. And he had a question for her.
Shepard: "How did you get here?"
Tali looked into his eyes.
Tali: "It's a long story and I'll tell you when I see you in person. Just please listen to them..."
Shepard nodded and then he turned back to the three Leviathans. What choice did he have. He walked twoard them till they towered over him. He looked up at Xie.
Shepard: "Very well...what do you want? Why are you here?"
Xie spoke and his voice echoed through the area.
Xie: "First we must go back for you to understand."
Suddenly the beach around them vanished and it turned into a room. The walls showed images of Leviathans. He walked toward a picture of a family of Leviathans. Xie Spoke:
Xie: "One billion cycles ago...our race was in its glory. We had control over the entire galaxy, and the minds of every known sentient species besides ours...that was however our first mistake. We became Pridefull and ignoring all dangers. We believed that expansion would bring eternal peace and prosperity. However we needed an army to help us achieve those aims."
The pictures turned to Leviathans and pictures of other sentient aliens building the Reapers. Kaz Spoke:
Kaz: "Harbinger was the first guardian we built. We embodied it with our genes, our history, and our morals. We gave all our synthetic guardians free will. That would be our second mistake. Within several generations the Guardians numbered us equally. Harbinger took its rightful place as the head of our military. For the next few generations peace continued as did expansion. We were unstoppable....as we so fondly believed..."
The pictures changed into images of Reapers in battle formation. Zad spoke:
Zad: "Then came the day Harbinger came to us bearing questions. It questioned our motives and our morals. Harbinger had begun to believe that expansion led to chaos and disorder in the natural order of the universe. We had not forseen this kind of response from any of the Guardians let alone our General. We however made our last mistake...we tried to arrest Harbinger and and deactivate him out of fear that it would cause civil unrest. After we took Harbinger the rest of the Guardians marked us as the enemy and so began the war"
The pictures turned to Reapers firing on Leviathans and other worlds. Xie spoke:
Xie: "We were overwhelmed by the firepower our guardians brought. They had on their own accord upgraded their weapons. They set Harbinger free and within A few cycles Harbinger and the other guardians had reduced all other sentient organic life to nothing. For the first time the Galaxy went silent. So began the cycle that would continue for One Billion Cycles till now. Me, Kaz, and Zad were the only 3 left alive on our homeworld by the time it was all over. We found other survivors and sent them to nearby dwarf galaxies but we could not escape. Harbinger soon cornered us above a frozen world named Azan. He used Indoctrination to steal our minds and implant them into its mind. Then he destroyed our bodies."
the pictures faded and the room went back to the beach scene. Kaz spoke:
Kaz: "Harbinger used our minds to unlock the secrets of organic life. He then used that information to predict when organic life would become sentient, and then go and wipe it out. They also turned our Warps; or as you call them "Mass Relays" to gain the upper hand each time. Indeed...you have the right to be angry. If we had not built Harbinger or had been so consumed with pride and greed none of this would have happened..."
Zad: "That is why we are here. To make amends. Harbinger is dead because of you Shepard, because of Tali, because of all organic life. You and subsequent civilizations built the Crucible that finally ended it all. However in doing so you neutralized the Warps."
"War is coming Shepard. If you do not get the Warps back on Shepard the war will consume the galaxy and sentient organic life will cease to be and Harbinger will have its wish."
Shepard squinted his eyes at Xie. He was confused.
Shepard: "What war? Isn't it over?"
"Civil War, Revolution, Genocide,...without leaders the people you left behind will kill themselves and chaos and disorder will consume the galaxy for generations till nothing is left. Killing our guardians is not the end. You must return home with the other leaders with haste, or you will return home with nothing left but ash."
Shepard felt something drop inside of him and Tali looked upset. He glanced at her.
Shepard: "Tali..did...did they already tell you this?"
Tali nodded with a sad expression.
Shepard looked up at Kaz.
Shepard: "How long do we have and how can we get them working again?"
Kaz: "You have little over a year to get them working. We have the plans for the Warp system and we will encode them into your minds."
Kaz and the other two Leviathans lifted their bodies and suddenly beams shot out of their heads. The beams joined above the sea and a 3-Dimesional blueprint of the Mass Relay System formed. The print then launched into the sky and then implanted itself acrossed it. Shepard looked up in awe and he suddenly felt lightheaded. He gripped his head and fell on his knees. Tali wobbled on her legs and then fell to her knees as well. He looked at her through the haze of a headache.
Shepard: "What is happening?"
Tali tried to look at him
Tali: "I..I don't know"
Xie: "The encoding is finished...we will be watching your progress Tali, and Shepard. You both hold the key to what happens now. It is a burden for more than one person to bear. We will now send you back."
Shepard tried to get up as he gazed up at Xie:
Shepard: "W-What!..I have questions!"
Xie spoke as the beach began to fall apart around him.
Xie: "And you will find the answers you seek in time"
Shepard hastily looked at Tali and he fell as a sharp pain bore into his skull. He saw Tali struggling twoards him. As She gazed a him through her pain she said:
Tali: "I'll come find you I swear!"
The sand began to give under Shepard he reached his hand out to her and said through the pain:
Shepard: "I...love you.."
As he fell into an abyss he heard other voices this time he didn't know them:
"He coming out of it Doctor!"
"Good! get me Lieutenant Karlain. I want messages sent to Hackett when he is fully conscious"
He began to feel the pain of his injuries and the abyss was now his closed eyes. He was too tired to open them and he realized that by a miracle, he had survived. He had a mission.