Short disclaimer: Neither is the Pokegirl Universe or the Mass Effect universe mine, and I'm not trying to make any money from them.

As always, reviews are encouraged.

[Events are set in what will later be known as the Forest League, during the time of the Revenge War]


[Armstrong Nebula, Grissom system; 00:32 hrs SOL time]


“Sir, we’ve received an urgent call from the Alliance” Sergeant Cadiz, spoke through the Comm “It’s from Admiral Hackett”


The captain’s gruff tone was harsher than usual “what do they want now, Sergeant?” neither him nor his crew had any love for the Famous fifth Fleet from the Human Alliance, all of the missions they’ve been handed were damn near suicide and it had only been his leadership and the crew’s overall sturdiness that saved them.


“It says and I quote: ‘All ships report back to the Local system to defend the Crucible; the artifact has docked with the Citadel, but we have to buy time for the ground team to activate it.’ It seems the war will be decided over Earth.”


Arlen secured his helmet on his head and waited for half a second while it activated all systems before answering through the Integrated Communications Module (ICM) “Cadiz, set course for Earth; Rodriguez send our answer to the Fifth Fleet: ‘Project Phoenix coming to the Rescue’”


Their eager answers were almost swallowed by the increasing hum of the engines. Their dreadnaught was the most ancient piece of machinery the Alliance have been able to find them and, when on full power, it’s Element-Zero Reactor’s noise could keep the full crew awake on a ship a 100 miles away.


At least the main gun still worked, otherwise, they would have been sitting ducks.


When he walked out of his cabin –improvised from a storage room– the Captain felt the same disconcerting tingling on his fingers he always got when being shot through a Mass Relay.


“ETA to Sol system 20 minutes, Sir.” Cadiz reported.


“Well done Sergeant. Send word that I wish to meet every officer in War room in five minutes.”


“Aye aye.”


He was passing the Training room when the door opened and a woman stepped out, wearing the black-and-red slacks his team usually wore when off-duty. The colors had been picked by them after escaping Cerberus and Joining the Alliance for the War against the Reapers.


However, what he noticed wasn’t the colors, but how her curvaceous body fitted inside the clothes, which clung to them thanks to the sweat she’d worked out.


He smirked inside his helmet.


Outside, and unknowingly, the woman returned his smile with a sly one “Enjoying the view, Sir?” she crossed her arms under her breasts to push them up.


Things were always so with Alizeé… ever since they met in Omega, where she had been living-off  on the streets and he had recruited her for Cerberus.


In their early years they had shared an easy camaraderie –with slight flirting–, which later transformed into a more complicated relationship –full with pent-up sexual tension.


“I would love to do more than stare, but apparently some idiotic machine saw fit to take over the Galaxy, and now it’s us who have to convince it to stay away from home. Preferably with bullets. So why don’t you save that sweet ass of yours for when we have our next leave?”


Alizeé pouted “Not even a little fun in the closet? I promise not to scream too loud this time.”


“I’d prefer the screaming to take place at my quarters; that would, at the very least, save me the embarrassment of being caught in camera… again.”


“Yeah” she agreed with a growl “I swear I will cut Rodriguez’s balls off if he doesn’t give me that tape once and for all.” Her aggressiveness faded with a sigh “So what is going on Arlen?”


He sighed too “Earth. We must prevent the Reapers from reaching the Crucible before it fires.” He felt a small ‘thump’ on his chest from when her head hit his breastplate.


“I’ve never even seen Earth”


Inside his suit, his lips twisted in a pain-filled smile “I have, and it was more beautiful that what I could describe with words… I loathe seeing what the damnable Reapers have done to it.”


Alizeé placed a hand over where his heart was supposed to be, and only then remembered that he was fully clothed and in armor. “I need to get changed”


He nodded “Get your armor on as well, we’ll be arriving soon enough. I’ll see you and the rest of the Team to the War room ASAP.”


Her playfulness evaporated and her militia persona was back in place, she offered a brisk salute “Sir!” and was off… her hips moving in a way that made his armor stretch around his crotch.


<-o o->


[Slip-Space; 00:50 hrs SOL time]


Arlen had just finished briefing everyone when the pilot’s voice sounded through his ICM again.


“Captain, we might have a problem”


The man’s tone gave him goosebumps “What is it Sergeant?”


“I think it’s better if you see for yourself”


“I’m on my way” he ran through the ship, up a flight of stairs to the bridge, where he didn’t pause but to open the door that led him into the cockpit. “I’m here, what is it?”


“We’re not sure, Sir” Rodriguez, the co-pilot answered, making a holographic chart appear over the top of his screen “We detected an increase in the energy on the other end of the Mass Effect, specifically on the gate we’re supposed to use for our exit.”


The instruments, if Arlen was reading them correctly, proved that his co-pilot’s description was far too plain to fully describe the event. The long-range scanners had detected a sudden, immense pulse of energy that would reach the same Relay they hoped to exit through (a few kilometers shy of Mars) in less than a minute.


“Its speed surpasses us –even in Slip-Space– 3 to 1; that’s roughly 30 times the speed of light.” Cadiz looked up to him “What do we do sir?”


What could they do? They couldn’t evade it, not in slip-space, where even the tiniest deviation of course could prove catastrophic once they exited the stream –imagine exiting right into the core of a sun, instead than a million kilometers away!–. “Secure everything in the Cargo and Armory! Bring the Blast-barrier over the observation decks and cabin and power the shield to full!” he watched them hesitate “NOW!” he hit the emergency button and used the general comm to address the crew “Everyone brace for impact!” the words had just come out of his mouth when his whole vision was tainted with red and he had to look up.


The blue-white energy field of slip-space was replaced by a beam of energy with a red-green hue, and right in the center of it the blackness of space seemed to bend and turned white and colorless.




The ship and the beam collided head on, sending Arlen flying against the wall which bent due to the force of the impact.


A second wave of something hit them and everything around him became transparent and then multi colored, as if everything was made of glass with pieces of rainbow inside, before it exploded in a shower of lights. He saw Rodriguez’s body be torn from his seat and turned into ashes which painted the wall beside him, while Cadiz’s body melted into the machines and his seat was tore from its base to slam Arlen in place.


He felt his armor give and his bones break, but even that pain was nothing compared to what he felt when yet another wave of light hit them. This one was a bright, unending white light and he felt his eyes water and burn from the sheer brilliance despite the protection given by his visor; his insides felt like mush, and he saw what appeared to be a multitude of translucent spirits and forms pass through him –making him hot and the incredibly cold- and the bridge, as if they weren’t even there. Then, as sudden as it had happened, everything disappeared.


He felt nothing; he was floating on space along with the other spirits, only that he was a being of pure light with a chain of silver light connecting him to a dark spot in front of him. For a moment he saw and knew everything, including that if he didn’t –somehow– get their ship away from its course, all of them would die.


It was something he couldn’t allow.


The thought of his crew, his friends, his family in danger made his spirit tremble. Seeing them free of the dangers that plagued the galaxy had always been his motive, his cause; and he wasn’t going to let anyone, let alone anything deter him from that goal.


Team Phoenix had suffered the worst the Galaxy –and Cerberus– had to offer, they deserved a good rest and peace.


He would see to it, even if it cost him his life.


Suddenly he felt a hard tug on the chain that connected his spirit with his body –he now knew what it all was, and that others were still alive–, one that apparently had moved the whole ship as he got closer. He then willed his spirit to return to reality, and before he knew it, he drew a shakily breath.


He was back inside his own body, fighting to breathe inside his broken armor, where little air could be had anymore. Darkness surrounded him like a warm embrace, tempting him with oblivion. But he couldn’t, he wouldn’t give. His muscles felt like lead and his bones like embers, every single movement was an agony, and yet, he managed to pry his helmet off his head and draw a ragged breath, which filled his lungs with more ash and smoke than air.


His insides were moving by themselves, re-arranging; his brain totally blank… even as he felt something changing inside.


Had he died?


He didn’t think so, death was supposed to be a release, and he was feeling too much pain for it to be true.


As his eyes adjusted to the low light, he noticed the charred remains and ashes of everyone else in the bridge either sprawled on the floor, having been torn from their seats, or their burnt bodies hanging awkwardly from their places; their seat-belts burnt but still working.


Nothing moved in the whole room when he finally fell on his back, trying hard to remember where he had last seen the emergency bags of medigel.


He coughed and saw ash come out of his mouth, as well as a blob of his own blood.


Perhaps he wouldn’t survive this one, as he had thought before.


He lay there for what felt like hours, his awareness fading and coming, until the fire in his bones subsided and his flesh returned to normal. Only then did he dare to move, pulling himself, little by painful little, through the debris that filled the room; his insides aching every time he moved, pain flaring stronger for every inch he gained. And still he perseverated; he had to make it out of the room before there was no more air to breathe.


He had to get to the door.


Several times he fainted and awakened cold and aching, until his arms gave and he couldn’t move any more. He had barely advanced a few meters from where he had first fallen… it had felt like miles.


Tears welled up in his eyes once he realized that this was it. He would die here, now, alone. Nobody at his side to tell him there was nothing to be afraid of; no warm hand to hold his, nobody to say goodbye to.


His life was so pitifully lonely and he couldn’t even summon the energy to erase the tears of shame from his eyes.


Well, if this was the end of things, then he would at least go in his own terms, not crying like an old buffoon. He had been a warrior from the day he was born in the crowded, perilous streets of Omega, and had lived to the best of his capabilities. He wouldn’t die with regret in his heart; so he closed his eyes, and tried calming his breathing, relaxing into the idea that he had done everything in his power to stay alive and only an impossibly strong force had defeated him.


A curious metallic boom interrupted his breathing exercises, distracting him for a moment. It was followed by some type or murmurs that made absolutely no sense to him; he discarded his thoughts again and concentrated on breathing. The noises repeated a couple of times in the span of a minute; followed by a gritting sound that was like nails on a window, then by a flash that blinded him for a moment.


The murmurs became more coherent, and he could almost discern the voices.


His eyes opened towards the source of the light and saw that the charred doors of the bridge were being pried open by a set of hands. His ears hurt with the noise and his eyes with the light, but he wouldn’t be able to remember one single moment where he was happier than when the small figure of Alizeé entered the Bridge through the gap on the door.


She stood rooted on the spot, barely believing what her eyes were seeing; tears shining under her perfect sky-blue eyes, widened by fear… until they came onto him as he raised a hand to call for her attention.


“Someone’s here!” she shouted through the crack on the door and people outside doubled their efforts on trying to pry it open; her feet moved clumsily over the dead bodies, tears now falling down her face. “Arlen, is that you?”


“Aye” he croaked, tasting blood on his mouth “help.”


As fast as she moved, she appeared to have materialized, kneeling at his side “Oh gods.” She gasped taking in his pitiful form and the bloody path he had left while crawling to the spot where he laid.


Broken as he was, Arlen still managed to smile at her “hi”.


Her face was paler than what he had ever seen her and tears fell like rain on his face “Hang in there babe, help’s coming.” She turned to the door “Bring the Doctor, Hurry!”


Arlen could hear movement, curses and shouts coming from the other side of the room, but paid them no mind, for all his attention has set on Alizeé’s face, her teary eyes and he rosy lips pleading him not to give up, that the Doctor was close and that he would heal him.


But none of that really mattered to him “You’re so beautiful” he whispered, provoking her to take his armored hand and place it over her cheek.


She bit her lip and offered him a teary smile “If you really think so then don’t give up. I don’t want to lose you.”


He tried returning her smile, but it turned into a grimace once he found out that even his mouth hurt “Fat chance, that.”  He finally rasped.


“Idiot” her gentle hands caressed his face, and he found out that if he concentrated in her touch,  the pain became almost bearable.


“Anyone else made it?”


A lonely tear smeared her smile “Yes, a dozen of us made it. The rest… the ones near the main engine, the battery or the bridge” she looked around “everywhere else is like this” suddenly her eyes illuminated, and she looked down at him in a whole new light “how did you survive?”


How had he survived anyway? Arlen looked up at her, noticing his hand covered by a dark matte surface and an idea struck him “must have been the armor.”


“And an incredible amount of luck.” She shook her head and leaned to softly place her lips on his


He enjoyed the kiss until it finished, right when Dr Stallone appeared in his field of vision.


“Miss Chaussier I appreciate your efforts on keeping the good captain alive; now, if you’ll excuse me, you’re in the light.” the stern man gave her a look and she moved a little away allowing a clear beam of light to fall on his body. “Damn” he cursed “Stevens, bring me a stretcher from the Med Bay; wounds like these…” he shook his head


Arlen smiled “You can say it Doc, I’m a mess.”


The older man’s stern face dissolved into a confident smile “Never mind that Captain, I’ll have you as good as new in no time.” He nodded in Alizeé’s direction “Do you have fine and sensible control over your biotics?”


The surprised girl nodded.


“Good. Where is that stretcher?!”


Stevens’ voice rang from somewhere inside the room “Here Doc!” Alizeé moved over his head to allow Stevens’ face into the picture “Damn!” he paled when he noticed Arlen’s body on the ground, looking up to his face he added “Shaken but not stirred, Sir?”


Arlen chuckled and grimaced “Damn you Stevens, it hurts to laugh!”


“Sorry sir.” Someone cuffed him in the head, Arlen suspected the Doctor, but Alizeé’s glare could have meant something too.


“Now, Miss Chaussier, if you please help us lift the Captain’s body without disturbing it too much.”


Alizeé nodded, took in a deep breath and moved a hand over him; instantly he felt weightless, and watched as the stretcher was placed under him. When she let go of her biotics, he fell softly on the bed.


“Good, now Mr. Chambers, Mr. Stevens, if you please”


Arlen was surprised to find his Yeoman, Rick Chambers, with a bandage covering most of his head, as he came to carry him into the Med bay “Hey captain.”


“Hey Chambers,” he croaked, coughed and spit a mouthful of blood “any chance we can put off that meeting about your leave of absence for a few more days?”


The red-headed man chuckled “Of all the-” he was interrupted when the Doctor harrumphed, “we’ll talk later, Cap.”


They lifted him from the ground and moved him down one level and into the med bay, where the doctor placed him under general anesthetics while he worked on cutting his charred armor apart in order to get to his body.


<-o o->


When he finally woke, a good twelve hours after the surgery, he opened his eyes in the Med Bay with Alizeé sleeping on a chair by his side and Chief Engineer Ewan McKenzie lying on a bed in front of him, reading a booklet.


However, his most amazing discovery was the fact that the pain had subsided dramatically, and that he was still connected to a few machines.


“Hey Cap!” McKenzie saluted from the other side of the room, putting down his read “How you feelin’?”


“Better” he answered “What happened to you?”


The engineer shrugged “An ammo crate fell on top of me leg during The Event –that’s how people be calling to what happened– Doc said it will be a few weeks until I get the full use of it.” He looked at Arlen for a moment before adding “What really happened up there, sir? Everyone be telling tall tales of how it is that ye survived, but truth be told, we donna even know what we survived.”


Arlen shook his head, his hand fumbling numbly for the button that would help him raise the bed to a sitting position. “I’m not sure myself. Cadiz and Rodriguez found a– well, something akin to a beam of energy that got shot through the Mass Relay and directly in our path…” he shook his head vehemently “I really have no idea.”


McKenzie must have noticed something in his face, because he immediately relented “Be it as it may, sir; ya better get some rest. Doc said so as well.”


Not finding the stupid control, he used his hands to push himself upward. The pain shot back through his system, even if lessened, and he couldn’t help but groan, waking Alizeé.


“Wha-? Cap you-?” she spied him seated on the bed “What do you think you’re doing?”


He smiled tiredly “What does it look like? I’m getting up. There’s much to be done.”


“Oh no you don’t” she glared at him for a moment, before turning to McKenzie, who wisely put up his hands in the air.


“I donna do nothin’! I swear!”


The woman turned back to the captain, who was still fighting the dizzy spell “As if” she shot up from her chair and pushed him by the shoulders until they were back on the mattress. He tried to struggle, but he had spent much of his energy simply trying to sit up.


Arlen glared back at her “Let me go, woman! I’m the Captain here, I’ve got duties to-”


“Your only duty is to rest, according to the Doctor; and it so happens that I agree. Now shut up and lie back. Sir.”


On the other side of the room, the engineer chuckled.


“I’m not a child for you to patronize, Miss Chaussier. I-“


“Then stop acting like one!” on one deft move she placed his struggling hands on her breasts and leaned into him, movement that left him in shock “Good boys get rewards”.


Blind, stupid or deaf, any man knows when admitting defeat is much more profitable than continuing an argument; this was one of those moments.


He glared “Fine!” Grudgingly and yet gratefully –because he truly was weaker than what he had thought at first–, Arlen relaxed onto the cot, allowing Alizeé to drape a warm blanket over his body. “Since you’re not going to let me out of here, then you will have to answer my questions.”


Somehow, her smile was both saucy and pained “Alright.”


“How many casualties?”


She sighed and murmured something that sounded suspiciously like ‘should have known’ “Stevens, Laura and Rick have been going about the bodies for close to eight hours, their estimate is near 40”


Surprise, anger, pain and resignation flashed through him like a lightning bolt, leaving him scorched and numb. McKenzie whispered “Good god!


“Tha- that’s-”


“I know” she whispered, pain plain on her face as she took a seat by his side on the bed and took his hand in hers “Only twelve of us survived.”




“Well, Stevens, Chambers, McKenzie and the Doc you’ve already seen, there is also Eve from engineering, and that trainee pilot Laura; then there’s Piper, Robert and William, Private Lannister and, of course, there is us.” The inflection she gave to that last word couldn’t be missed, and provoked him a want that was all too familiar and uncomfortable, at the time.


Arlen rubbed his face with his hands “Damn!” muffling his curse. He took a deep breath and decided that he better moved onto safer topics. “Do we have any idea where we are?”


She nodded enthusiastically, eager to change the subject as much as he was “Yes, Laura said that we’re a few kilometers shy of our initial Exit mark; but we’re drifting, since there is no power and no way to bring the Eezo Core back online without risking the entire ship.”


“Tell Eve to salvage what she can to build a distress beacon, hopefully someone will see it and find us.” He paused once he noticed the face she made “What?”


“I think It better if she and Laura explained things to you… I’m really no good in these space metrics they use so often.”


“O...k…?” he turned to McKenzie, who, once again, raised his hands in the air.


“Donna look at me cap’n. I know no more than she does.”


“Why do I have the distinctive feeling that I’m not going to like the news they give me?”


Alizeé opened her mouth to say something, only she was interrupted by the calm voice of Dr. Stallone, who was walking into the room at that moment.


“Good evening Captain, how are you feeling?”


Arlen shrugged “Better, that’s for sure. The pain is mostly gone.”


“Good. Now be a good patient and stay in your bed for a couple more days. With injuries like the ones you suffered, I’m sure it was only your stubbornness what saved you.”


The other two occupants of the bay chuckled


“Gee, thanks Doc.”


Uncharacteristically for him, the man smiled “Now, I suppose that Miss Chaussier has already briefed you on the complications we found during your surgery-” he took in his confused face and amended “Then again, perhaps not.” He sighed.


“I thought it was only a few broken bones” Arlen’s hand flew to his chest, but he couldn’t feel anything wrong


“It’s not that, your chest is fine and will heal soon enough. However we, that is Miss Chaussier and I, found some strange development; It might have been triggered by The Event, or by the fact that you survived what no other did.” He shook his head “However, what I’m more worried about is that none of the instruments could find the Activator in your brain.”


“Come again?”


At his confusion Alizeé intervened, her eyes teary “He means your LX-5 Implant. It’s gone.”


“Gone? What you mean gone?” his hand flew to his head, but there was nothing wrong there, not even bandages.


The doctor raised a hand as if to calm him “It could be that it was destroyed by whatever hit us, but since nobody else was affected in such way, I am led to believe otherwise.”


“So? Come on doc, don’t leave me hanging!”


Dr. Stallone sighed again “I loathe speculating, but I would seem to me that what happened could be the same that happened to Mr. Cadiz and his console.”


“Oh.” Arlen blinked, remembering how Cadiz’s body melted into the machines “Should I try my biotics, then?”


“NO!” Alizeé and the Doc chorused, and he put his hands in the air, surrendering. The doctor continued “I’m still unsure of the consequences of this happening, but since it is what probably happened to the rest of your body, then we will be able to wait and see how things turn out.”


Now it was time for Alizeé and Arlen to gape at the doctor.


“Didn’t I mention it?” he blinked “Oh dear. Well, as it happens, it seems that all the procedures and ‘augmentations’ that Cerberus did to you, Captain, have disappeared into your body. It’s likely that they were absorbed into your system; however, only a deep scanning would reveal the truth… and currently we lack the energy to do one.”


Arlen blinked, turned to Alizeé, blinked again, and fainted.


<-o o->


The next day came with other, stranger, news.


And He had been right before, he wasn’t going to like it.


A gathering was called to the Med Bay, where Arlen could hear everyone and direct them to solve their current predicament; inventories had been good and easy, but issues started once Eve took the floor. “It’s no use” she had been outside, checking on the ship’s heavy armored plate and guns “The whole front of the ship’s melted, and I’m still unsure as to why the Cockpit’s windows didn’t explode from the excessive heat.”


“You can blame that on the Captain’s good luck” Stevens joked, earning a chuckle from most everyone; however Arlen noticed that he had grown in their eyes, as if he was some kind of miracle worker.


The strange circumstances of his survival, the visions he had shared with Alizeé and Chambers, and the oddities the doc had found in his body were already common knowledge. All that worked to create a mythic aura around him, one he wasn’t comfortable with. “So the ship’s useless?”


Eve shook her head “I didn’t say that. The core is stable for now… or will be until it cracks; so we should use the hull as cover against enemy fire while we move in the shuttle or the Hammerhead, we could even use the hull as a bomb, if we place a few explosives around the core and push it towards the enemy.” She shrugged “But that’s not what I wanted to report.”


Arlen rolled his eyes. Eve was a damn good engineer, but she had the defect of being easily distracted. “What was it then?”




The captain barely resisted the urge to do a facepalm “the thing you wanted to report, what was it?”


“Oh, right. It’s nothing.”


He very nearly growled “First you tell me that there is something more important than our ship being no better than a flying brick, and now you tell me ‘it’s nothing’?”


“But that’s just it, sir. There really is nothing out there. No reapers, no crucible, no ships. Not even debris.” She let the words sink while everybody stared at her wide eyed “There’s no sign there was ever a battle here.”


“You mean the message was a decoy?” Alizeé asked, she had remained at his side the whole time, hell she hadn’t even let go of his hand but to go to the bathroom.


Eve shook her head “No, the message was real, the alliance VI recognized it as such when we received it. The thing is that there really is nothing out there.” She shook her head, not knowing what else to say and turned to Laura with a hopeful tone “could it be possible that we ended somewhere else?”


The pilot shook her head “No. I ran the calculus three times already, we’re in the Sol system, the galactic charts confirm it.” Her tone was final and angry “Didn’t you think I checked?”


“Easy there” Arlen intervened before things got out of hand “nobody is doubting your capabilities Laura.” He produced a smile that served to ease her a bit “Could it be that this was the epicenter of the event?”


The girl nodded “It could very well be so. It would also explain why, even when it hit us so, we still reached our destination in one piece.” Suddenly her demeanor changed and she began to bounce with excitement “Of course! That would mean that is simply disrupted our travel path, affecting one of our four dimensions” her hands motioned to him “You said so didn’t you? You said that you felt the ship shift during The Event. That would actually make sense!”


Arlen raised an eyebrow at Chambers, who had the decency to look contrite, since he had been the one to run his mouth about what Arlen had seen during The Event.


Chambers added “perhaps you could explain this new theory to the rest of us?”


Laura’s eyes went directly to Arlen’s “I’d like to make some calculations before, but I can try to explain it now, if you want Captain.”


He shook his head “Make your calculations, and once you figure out what happened, then we’ll call another meeting.”


“Yes sir!”


Stevens shook his head “Am I the only one that thinks that no Reapers is good news?” he shot to his feet “Who cares where we’re at as long as there’s no more chance of us getting Harvested or turned into Husks.”


“He’s got a point there, sir” Piper added


There were a few murmurs of agreement, especially from the Phoenix team.


“There’s nothing I want more than agree with you” ‘it’s a nice dream, after all’, Arlen thought. “Still, we can’t throw caution to the wind just for the sake of hope. Let us work under the assumption that there is still a war to be fought until we find evidence to the contrary” the faces around him were all hopeful, something he’d scarcely seen in his life.


At the beginning of the conflict, Arlen swore he’d see these people, his friends… nay his family through the war. In that respect he had already failed to 43 of them, something he wouldn’t do again. He’d keep them alive even if that made him seem paranoid or negative. “Anyway, there’s still much to do before we reach Earth and we can confirm our suspicions. Our priorities right now are to get communications and the Long Range scanners up-and-running.” His eyes went to McKenzie “Are you fit to help Eve in this?”


The man smiled “You won’t find me jumping up and down cables like a monkey in a few days, but I’m able to fix anything while sitting.”


“Good. If at all possible, try working in shifts to get the most out of the time we’ve got. Also, take Piper and Lannis to help you out.”


“Will do, sir.”


“Now for the rest of us… Chambers, I want you and Stevens to salvage any equipment in working order –or any that can be easily repaired to be so–, from the main battery, bridge and cockpit. If you need help, talk to Robert and William.”




“Doc, yours will be the task to make an inventory of all your supplies and working equipment. And if there’s equipment to be repaired, Eve will help you.” His eyes bore on the young engineer “Make the request from the doc a priority, we don’t know how soon we’ll need those instruments again.” After a moment of insight, he added “Lannis, you help the Doc”


“Understood Captain!” Stallone, Eve and private Lannister chorused.


“Robert, William, until Chambers or Stevens call you, yours will be the task of making an inventory of the armory. See what can be used and dispose of the rest.”


“Yes, sir!”


“What about us?” Alizeé asked, motioning to them both


We get the hard task of identifying the dead, place them on coffins and prepare the service.”


Every voice died then, all eyes downcast, as each and everyone remembered the lost comrades.


Arlen waited for a minute before speaking again “Alright people, let’s get moving.”


People nodded and left the place in twos and threes, until only him and Alizeé remained. Once everyone was gone, she turned to him with an embarrassed/impish smile “Say…”


He raised an eyebrow, pushing himself into a sitting position, thankfully the Doc’s treatments and whatever that had happened to his bones during The Event had accelerated his healing. Barely a day had passed since his surgery and he was now able to stand on his own, he might not be able to walk yet, but the estimate was that he’d be back in working order in a couple of days. “What?”


She bit her lower lip “How are your ribs healing?”


He shrugged, “That was I was thinking about just now; Doc said that I should be at my 100% –bar the biotics, until he can get the deep tissue scanner running– fine in a couple of days, why?”


A spark appeared in her eyes and she gave him a coy smile “Good. ‘cause there’s one more thing you have to take care of, Captain”


“Really, and what could that be?”


She straddled him, her legs at each side of his hips, and drew his hand under her pants, where he could feel her over-heated, wet folds “Me.” She licked her lips and leaned forward, using her free hand to cup one of her breasts.


The need that shot through him was almost painful.


His finger played and caressed her folds until she began rocking her hips against them, and her mouth came to assault his.


“Doc made me promise I’d wait until you felt better” she half-gasped, half-moaned against his lips.


Her disposition made him grin and tease her entrance with his fingers, until both her hands flew to seize the arm that was connected to the hand under her pants; he took advantage of her new position to sneak his other hand under her shirt and feel her bare breasts. Alizeé reacted by instinctively pushing herself into his hand, even as her legs inadvertently closed around him, grazing his ribs and sending a shot of pain through his system.


His hands paused so suddenly that it registered through the veil of desire that clouded her brain and her eyes opened, hazy and unfocused, until she caught the grimace on his face “My god” she gasped, pushing herself a little away from him “What did I do?”


Arlen took a deep breath to ease the pain and said “nothing too serious.”


“I’m so sorry Arlen, I-” he shut her up by pinching her clitoris, hitching her breath.


“No you’re not, you little minx. And neither am I, by the way” his fingers danced from her weak spot to her entrance and back, on and on, until she shuddered on top of him, finally reaching her orgasm. “Now why don’t you go lock the door and shut the windows so I can fuck you properly?”


Even with her mind still floating in bliss, she complied, shrugging off her clothes as soon as she had done as he asked. “Come to me big boy, I want you in me now.”


Arlen got rid of the hospital gown he wore and made the back of his bed move up until he was half seated. The look in her eyes when he showed just how much aroused he was, was enough to know that he’d just signed up for a long, long night.


<-o o->


“We are here today to honor the fallen; they were all good people and great soldiers who gave their lives in the service of the Galaxy. They were freedom fighters, brave and caring, willing to risk anything and everything to save mankind from extinction against impossible odds and an unrelenting enemy.


“Let their sacrifices remind us why we fight; let our anguish and anger at the loss of our loved ones drive us further until our enemy lies broken at our feet.” Arlen paused, waiting until the wails and cheers and raging gave way to silence “Each man and woman before us died a hero; speak highly of them so that their deeds become the myths of the next generations.” Then he began reading the long list of the dead, which only got longer when he was forced to wait for people to grieve for their comrades, friends and loves.


He would say a charge and name and his or her awards, both official and unofficial, along with a short description of how that person’s life had been.


Usually others would add a quip or quote about the dead, but most stayed quiet during the 4 hour-long service.


Once it was done, everyone helped to move the 43 coffins to the landing bay and then retiring beyond the airlocks, while Lannis and Stevens, suit in their armors, manually pried open the outer doors, so that the coffins would fly out to space.


“Rest well, brothers and sisters, until The Divine see fit for us to be reunited in the afterlife” Chambers added the final farewell in his religion, as he stared at the unending space on the other side of the sealed doors.


<-o o->


For the following week, the whole crew –Captain included– worked around the clock to repair or salvage as much of theirs ship as they could, even if it would never fly again, the engineers had been able to repair the long-range scanners, giving them a much needed view of the area surrounding them; they also repaired the water and air recyclers, the force fields that allowed them to work on the broken parts of the ship without an armor on, and, most importantly, the lights and the rest of the Med Bay’s equipment. Giving Doctor Stallone a more ample view of Arlen’s body status.


“Well Captain, I feel I must congratulate you for being one of the luckiest men on the whole Galaxy.” The Doc said with a smile that was two parts curiosity and one part amusement “Not only did your body heal in top time, but I was finally able to determine why.”


Alizeé and Arlen both frowned “So… what was it?”


“Well, as opposed to what we thought in the first place –which was that your body would reject the forced integration of the implants Cerberus placed on you– it seems that, whatever The Event, did, it was not invasive… meaning that instead of rejecting the implants, it made them be integrated seamlessly by your system, in a way that made them part of your DNA.”


“Come again?”


“What I’m trying to say is that The Event restructured your DNA, allowing it to evolve to encompass every single enhancement you had. It may have even allowed some of your Armor’s system –curiously only those that would serve you in some way– to be absorbed by your skin.”


He blinked, confused “You mean that now I’m like one of those monsters Cerberus made from our comrades?”


The Doctor shook his head “No, forgive me if I’m not making much sense, but this could be very well the start of a new era for mankind.” He took a deep breath to relax his enthusiasm “Let’s just say that what The Event did to you, was, quite probably, the best thing that could have happened” His hands fell on Arlen’s shoulders, his smile reassuring “The things that Cerberus did to you, the implants and surgical procedures have all been integrated by your body, so that now you are naturally stronger, faster and more resistant than any normal human. You will still be at par with your other Fellow Phoenix team members, but it is likely that you will come to surpass them, given that you take the time to train yourself.”


“Does that mean his Biotics are back?” Alizeé asked, evidently still worried about his brain being adversely affected by what had happened. There was also the fact that Arlen was the only surviving member of the battle-telekinesis squad bred by Cerberus.


The Doc nodded, his face becoming sterner “I wouldn’t use them just yet, however. You see, it was easier for the changes to take place while his body healed. Unfortunately this is not true about his brain, simply because it wasn’t damaged and the changes may have not yet settled.”


“How long will it take?” Arlen asked, wondering if he’d ever regain his powers


“I have no idea.” The Doc shrugged “It may be a few days, or a week; it might as well be months, for all I know. That said, I’m still of the opinion that you should give your brain a few weeks to adjust to the changes, and if by then it hasn’t worked, then you have my permission to try and force them, just like they did during your healing.”




“I’m sure you could find someone willing to give you a good wack in the head… just enough to knock you out for a while.”


Silence reigned in the med bay.


<-o o->


The whole crew had gathered on the Observation deck, where Earth could now be seen in its full splendor. At their current velocity and angle, they would pass just a kilometer shy of the planet’s force of attraction.


“We could push the ship with the Kodyak, so that it remains in orbit while we descend.” McKenzie quipped, hopeful.


“Perhaps we will” Arlen said; as soon as he entered the room everyone stood at attention “At ease”, he stood at what had been his usual place before the chaos was unleashed. “So, what did we find?” his look was directed at Chambers.


“What didn’t we find” he sighed, then shrugged and started speaking “There are indeed no reading of Reapers or, Reaper-tech or any of their influence anywhere in the planet, according to our scans, and believe when I say that we’ve been through.” He activated his omni-tool to project an holographic display of the planet’s continents “As you can see, there are indications of severe continental drift, as well as faint reading of some kind of huge underwater creature that could be responsible of modifying the earth’s surface.” On the surface of the projected globe was a big red dot on the Pacific Ocean.


“How big is it?” Robert asked


“The readings are too faint to know for sure, but my guess is somewhere around half the size of the Reaper Sovereign.”


Whistles and raised eyebrows filled the already crowded space of the War Room “Is it alive?” someone asked.


“That’s also impossible to tell. It shows no movement, and yet the scans report it as being ‘alive’ My guess is that it is in a low energy state… hibernating.”


“Are there any other threats in this world?” the Captain asked, not sure if he should call this planet Earth, or not.


His yeoman shrugged “no more than there were on any other planet. However, we’ve found traces of a war being fought in most major cities of the world. As for whom the enemy is, we have no idea.”


“So is this Earth or isn’t it?” Lannis nearly screeched. Chambers made a face and turned to Laura and Eve, who were twitching on the other side of the room.


Arlen nodded in their direction and the pilot took a step forward “Well, it is and it isn’t at the same time.”


Murmurs of confusion and anger rose in the air, at which Arlen responded by slamming his fist on the table, bending it.  “Silence!” he motioned for Laura to continue.


“Well. I’ve done the calculus, and later when power was back I checked with each and every star Chart we had, and I’ve confirmed that the planet below us is, indeed, Earth.” She shook her head “But I also discovered a small and almost unnoticeable drift of some of the planetary systems around the galaxy, that were equivalent in time or shape, to different dates-”


“Is there any way you could explain all this plainly? I mean, for those of us who don’t understand scientificaleese?” Stevens asked, raising his hand


Laura blinked and blushed “sorry, I get carried away sometimes.” She took a deep breath and tried again “Captain, remember when you said that you felt the ship alter its trajectory during the FTL jump?”


Arlen nodded.


“Well, that was because we were sucked out of our original trajectory, the cause being, quite probably, the same cause that made the Eezo core emit a spike of energy in mid-flight.” She used her omni-tool to depict a chart of the energy the core had emitted during their flight, right at the end of it was a mountain so high it measured out the scale. “This here, is the energy spike, right before the engines failed, only seconds before we were ejected from the Mass Effect.”


“Alright, so what does this all mean?” he asked.


“It means that, somehow, The Event triggered a FTL jump within and FLT jump.”


“What?” was the general reaction, along with “Isn’t that impossible?” “I don’t believe this!” “Is this a joke?”


It took the Captain longer to silence everyone, for he too was stunned, but when they finally did Laura smiled at him before continuing. “It is actually quite possible, according to Einstein, at least. He said that if one were to turn a lamp on while traveling at the speed of light, the lamp’s light would still fly at the speed of light, ignoring its momentum. What isn’t known is the resulting effect of such an event.” She shook her head helplessly “I know how this sounds, and I know it seems impossible, but it should have also been impossible for the Captain to survive The Event when nobody else did… and yet here he is.”


Arlen sighed, knowing this would come to bite him in the ass someday, but he had to ask: “So, where are we?”


Laura shrugged “As far as I and Eve could understand, this is indeed planet Earth, but” she made a pause to look at everyone in the eye “It’s Earth as it was in the year 2001, which doesn’t really matter, because we’re not even in the same reality we were, this is a whole new Dimension.”


Oh yes, he could already feel the bite.


“Well, at least we don’t have to worry about the Reapers anymore.”


<-o o->


Just as McKenzie had suggested, they used the shuttle to push the ship into a sustained orbit around the planet, and waited until they located what they considered the best landing place for their forces, however, during a last-hour scan Piper found strange movement around the area. The readings appeared human, but so did husks; therefore they decided to land a shore party in the shuttle to clean the place before the other could land.


Arlen, Chambers, Stevens and Lannis were chosen for this task.




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