Tali walked into the Armory where Jacob was cleaning a Vindicator assault rifle. He heard Tali's light footsteps and looked up. "Hey, Tali. Need something?"
"Yes, I can't seem to find Shepard anywhere. You know where he is?"
"I believe your boyfriend is in the cargo hold doing his Biotic routine." Tali jumped a little at the boyfriend comment. This only made Jacob laugh. "Well, go ahead."
Tali made her way to the elevator, blushing at the comment. The elevator took several minutes before the doors opened at the cargo deck. She gasped at the sight. Dark energy surrounded Shepard as he lifted half a dozen crates. They moved through the air slowly. One by one they were placed on the ground. Shepard placed three of them side-by-side. He then placed two on top of the three, side-by-side. The final crate was placed at the top. The dark energy that surrounded Shepard dissipated.
"That was incredible, Shepard," Tali finally mustered.
Shepard turned around and smiled. He was breathing heavily from the exertion of his routine. "Hey, there." Tali walked over to him to hug him, but he put a hand up saying, "Hold it a sec!"
She stopped, feeling almost hurt. Shepard crouched down and placed his hand on the metal ground. Static electricity came from his hand. He let out a groan from the pain. "Sorry. I need to discharge my body after using my Biotics. While most times these discharges are just mild shocks, when I use higher level Biotics for a long period of time the charge gets higher." He smiled again. "I didn't want to shock you."
Tali laugh while giving him a hug. "Your abilities are amazing. I can't even imagine what's it's like to have powers like that."
"Well, when Cerberus brought me back, they changed my damaged L3 implant with the new L5x implant. This made my abilities even stronger."
"Still I remember when we were hunting Saren, your abilities were still incredible. I remember when we first met in the alleyway and you used one attack to take down that Turian assassin. Your people back on Mindoir must have been really impressed by your abilities when you were young."
A sad look came across Shepard's face. "Not really..."
"What do you mean?"
He sat down next to a generator. Tali sat across from him. "Human Biotics are not exactly... Treated well in Human society."
"But I hear about Biotic Alliance heroes all the time! YOU'RE a hero among the Alliance."
"That's the Alliance. It's different in public. When you're a Biotic you have two choices in life. Join the Alliance or keep your abilities to yourself. In Human society Biotics are seen with suspicion. A lot of rumors are made up dealing with us. Such as we can read minds, or we can control people, or we're cheaters and thieves who use our abilities for personal gain. If you join the Alliance, you'll gain some lenience from the public, because they assume you're under control of the military."
These rumors reminded Tali of the rumors that surrounded her people. "That's terrible. Becoming a Biotic wasn't even your choice."
"No. My mother was exposed to Eezo dust when she was pregnant with me. Some ship crashed near our farm releasing the stuff. A dozen other children develop cancerous tumors from the exposure. Among humans the chances of developing good biotic abilities is one in ten. There's a fifty percent chance you'll develop tumors. I was the only person to develop powers from the crash."
"How did you first learn you had abilities?"
"Most humans develop abilities around the age of puberty. Twelve years old in my case. I was working on the farm when I saw the tractor's emergency brake give away. It was charging downhill towards my dad who was unaware. I ran to him. When the tractor got within about... Twenty feet of him I found myself pushing forward. Dark energy came from my hands and pushed my father out of the way. I stood there dumbfounded, my father as well."
"He must have been shocked."
"He was, as was my mother. They contacted an Alliance representative about me. I felt like I became a huge burden on them."
"You a burden?"
"See we were just farmers. We don't make that much money. A Biotic user requires a huge intake of calories and electrolytes just to keep 'em going. Since my abilities were on the higher end, my caloric intake was around 11000 calories per day. This would result in high food costs. All just to keep me alive. So the Alliance rep came in to do some medical tests to just see how developed my eezo nodules were. In some cases, biotic abilities could be temporary and can just disappear. Not in my case. He found my nodules to be very well developed. According to them, I had incredible potential to become a powerful biotic. He booked an appointment for me to get an L3 implant. He also said that in exchange for joining the Alliance, they would cover food costs, recruitment bonus and even bring in a tutor to train my biotic abilities and even get me ready for the Alliance."
"How could they have done that? You were only twelve! And yet you were to decide whether or not to join the Alliance."
"It's better than what most biotic children of poor families get. Remember Pragia?"
"Yes... Jack mentioned how some of the kids were acquired."
"Yeah. I didn't want to be a burden on my parents so I agreed. I would be completely covered in terms of food and education. Though I begged him to keep this all quiet so no one on the colony would know about it. I wanted to at least have a normal life before joining the Alliance. For a while it was good. My family never had to worry about food expenses and I was really doing well with my biotic training. Everything was pretty normal for me. That is... Until that one night when I was fifteen."
* * * * *
The moon of Mindoir was over the hills in the distance from the settlement. Shepard was jogging towards the hills to complete his exercise routine. Lt. Jackson drilled this exercise routine into his head. Shepard wanted to beat his time for reaching the hill and getting back to his pre-fab unit. The skies were clear of clouds giving a good view of the stars. He wondered if Earth is like this.
Screams were heard in the distance. Shepard ran as fast as he could to find its source. The screams became more coherent. "Stop! Leave me alone!"
Shepard climbed over some rocks to see Jane from his class being attacked by Sheldon, Jack and Michael.
"Come on," Sheldon pleaded. "Why did you think we called you here for?"
"We told you we would have some fun," Michael added.
"Get away from me!" she cried. Jane tried to run but was tackled by Jack.
"I got her! I'll turn her over, you two hold her arms." Jack flipped Jane over and held her shoulders down.
Shepard jumped down from the rocks and roared, "Let her go!"
They looked to him and laughed. "And what are you going to do, Shepard?" Sheldon asked. "Talk us into not doing this? Words won't help you here. Get out of here before we get angry."
"I said let her go," he growled. "I won't repeat myself."
Sheldon and Michael charged at Shepard. Remembering the CQC training from Jackson, he blocked their attacks and knocked them to the ground. Jack released Jane so he could join in the attacks. Shepard continued blocking and countering their attacks, but Sheldon rolled behind him and punched him in the kidney. Shepard screamed from the painful jab. Michael landed a punch to his stomach. Sheldon and Jack grabbed Shepard's arms and held them while Michael let out a barrage of punches to Shepard's face and stomach.
"This is what heroes get! After we kill you we'll go after Jane. No one will know about this!"
Anger built up in Shepard after each successive punch. Dark energy surrounded him. Michael stopped punching him. Energy blasts came from Shepard's hands, sending Sheldon and Jack flying across the ground. They were both immediately knocked out. Shepard's eyes glowed blue. He pushed both his hands forward, launching Michael into the ground, knocking him out.
* * * * *
"I sent the three into the hospital with multiple fractures and concussions."
"Well, Jane must have been very thankful," Tali said in a cheery voice.
"She was completely terrified of me," Shepard replied in a ghostly tone.
"But you saved her!"
"That didn't stop her from fearing my abilities. Sheldon, Jack and Micahel were arrested for assault and battery, and sexual assault. I begged Jane not to tell anyone of me. She did anyways."
"How could she do that?" Tali yelled. "How did the others take it?"
"About as well as I thought they would. I lost all of my friends. I was also kicked out of the basketball team. Many thought I would use my powers to cheat. All the awards we won during the basketball championships were revoked. You can understand how popular that would make me."
"I so sorry, Shepard."
"It just kept coming. During that year, I was accused of reading other student's minds while doing tests or other assignments. I've had parents accuse me of controlling their children into doing evil acts such as vandalism and stealing. I basically became a scapegoat for everything that went on at the colony."
Shepard's life started sounding worse and worse as he told it. But she had to listen. This was Shepard's life. She's a part of that life and she has to know the pain he's undertaken.
"Parents who lost children to the eezo spill were also angry at me for being the only survivor. 'What makes you so special?' 'Why did my child die slowly and painfully, yet you get superpowers?' My school's principal was one of them. Once again my life changed when I was sixteen."
* * * * *
Shepard was in the front of the class trying to ignore any glares he was getting from the other students. A siren went off.
"That's the Raiders siren, children!" The teacher announced. "You know what to do. Take cover and hide."
The shutters on the door closed shut, sealing the room. Just before they closed, Sheppard could see a shuttle land in the field next to the school. The students crouched along the wall. Shepard was forced to the back, away from the others. Gunfire erupted outside of the school, along with screams, both human and batarian.
Several of the students tried to hold backs tears. A couple couldn't. Shepard could hear whispers. "Please, please, don't let them find us. Please..."
"Empty the classrooms!" a Batarian in the hallway yelled. "The children are what we're after."
Shepard's class could hear the screams of children as they were dragged away by the slavers. Again he could hear children whispering in fear. Begging an unknown force to not let their voices join the others.
"Is that all of them?"
"No. There's one more room."
The class could hear the slaver's footsteps. They stared at the door. It was locked during the drill.
"Damn thing's locked. Must be something inside."
They could hear some beeps go off before the holo-symbol on the door turned green. The door opened and the slaver stepped in. The faint odor of urine of students pants could be smelt. The batarian wore crimson armor and held a scimitar shotgun. He smiled. "There's a whole room filled with them!" he called out to the others.
The teacher stood up. "You get out of here! Haven't you caused enough trouble? Haven't you taken enough people?"
"We're taking the whole colony," he replied. "We're fortified here so the Alliance can only sit on the skirts of the city and watch as we take everyone."
"Leave these kids alone!" she screamed while slamming her fists into his shoulder.
The Batarian groaned and lifted his shotgun. The blast blew the teacher's head into a pulp. The students in the room screamed and cried.
"I don't want to be here!" one of them cried.
The slaver picked up Jane and held her arm tightly. "Leave me alone, you goddamn blink!"
"You'll get us a pretty penny. Probably be sold into sexual slavery. Seventy thousand credits at least."
The military and biotic training Shepard received kicked in. He stood up with a look of a soldier ready for battle. "Let her go."
"Another trouble maker? Just sit down and wait. You may live long enough to be sold as a mine worker."
"Let her go. I won't ask again."
The Batarian lifted his shotgun and fired a round towards Shepard. The pellets were stopped by a blue barrier.
"What the-?" the Batarian stammered. "Shields for a kid?"
Dark energy flowed around Shepard.
The Batarian smiled. He stuck his head out of the room. "Hey guys! We have a biotic here! We're going to make millions here!" He went back into the class and saw the build-up of energy increase. "Just stand down. I'd rather not kill you."
"Funny," Shepard quipped. "I was about to say the same thing to you." He launched his hand forward sending a warp towards the slaver's head. It was disintegrated.
"You hear that?"
Two more slavers came into the room and saw their dead comrade. They looked to Shepard. "You little bastard!" They fired of their rifles. The bullets were stopped by Shepard's barriers. Shepard moved his hands again send a throw field which knocked the two Batarians into the wall at hurricane force. Their bones were cracked and their lives gone.
Shepard looked at his hands as the dark energy dissipated. The thought of his parents entered his head. He has to save them! Shepard picked up the assault rifle and rushed to the doorway and looked out to check for slavers. The halls were clear. He dashed out but was stopped when someone grabbed his arm. Shepard looked back and saw Jane holding it, with tears coming from her eyes.
"Where are you going?" she demanded.
"My family may be under attack," he replied. "I have to help them!"
"What about us? We can't go out there without being killed and other slavers will find us if we stay here. We need you."
Shepard's right eye twitched. "You need me?" he addressed the class in an irritated tone. "All of you! All of you...! All of you made my life a living hell for this year. Every time you did something terrible I was the one to get the blame, claiming I was controlling you! Every time I did well on an assignment or test you claimed I cheated by reading your minds. You all bullied me and scolded me for being different." Shepard's eyes turned to Jane. "And you. I begged you not to tell anyone about my abilities. I thought it was the least you could do after I stop Sheldon, Michael and Jack from raping you. But you told everyone anyways. You joined in on the torture I endure for the year." Shepard looked to his class. "And now that you're all in trouble, you expect me to abandon my parents to protect you?"
"We're sorry," Jane said. "Please... We don't want to die."
* * * * *
"What did you do?" Tali asked while leaning forward. The tale was captivating.
"I remembered a lesson Lt. Jackson told me. He referenced an old sci-fi movie and quoted a Vulcan."
* * * * *
The needs of the few are outweighed by the needs of the many.
Jane released Shepard's arm. He stood there with that thought. He slammed his fist against the wall. "God damn it!" He looked to the class, tears coming from his eyes. "I hate you all so much."
Shepard stood at the doorway, acting as a guard.
"Thank you," Gavin said.
Shepard raised his hand to wave the thought away, he was still upset. "Please, don't. Just don't."
He waited at the doorway cursing the class, the irony, the whole damn situation. It was about an hour before several more slavers came down the hallway. Shepard fired with the assault rifle taking down one of the slavers. They fired back. He took cover around the corner and waited for his weapon to cool down.
Shepard took a breath and went around the corner. He fired more rounds. His barrier flared as bullets impacted it. A bullet skid his side leaving a cut on the left side of his chest. Shepard went back into covered, gripping his wound and screamed from the pain. He pulled his hand away to see it covered in blood. Shepard moved his hand again to bring up his barrier. He charged up his dark energy and launched a singularity into the hallway opposite of the Batarians. According to Jackson, he was the youngest person to ever achieve a singularity. He could see why. It took a ton of energy.
The biotic attack caused the ceiling to cave in blocking the hallway. Shepard fired more at the coming wave of Batarians. A couple more fell. His barrier flashed as bullets were deflected.
Finally his barrier failed and a bullet went into his chest. Shepard fell to the ground, tired and in pain. He lifted his hand one last time to give one more attack. A singularity entered the squad of slavers. They screamed as the attack twisted them. The ceiling caved in from the ball of energy. The class and he were sealed in until the Alliance came. "I'm sorry," he muttered to himself as he dragged himself to the wall. "Mom... Dad... I failed you. I'm sorry."
A small explosion came from the hallway. Shepard glanced in the direction, upset that his last act failed his fellow students. Two human soldiers entered the class. "We're Alliance, are you kids alri-? Oh god!" The soldier ran to Shepard. A small pool of blood ran down the front of his shirt. "Don't worry, we have some medi-gel."
Shepard felt the gel enter his wound. It was painful at first, but then the anesthetic kicked in and the pain was gone. Still did nothing for his lack of energy and blood. Everything went dark.
Shepard woke up and saw a nurse checking his fluids. She gasped. "Doctor, he's up!"
The doctor ran in. "You had us worried, Shepard. You were out for a couple of days and lost a lot of blood. Your electrolyte level was very low as well."
"W-Where are my parents," he asked.
"I-I..." the doctor stammered. "I'm sorry. They were killed during the attack."
Shepard looked away. "N-No. N-No. No, no, no, no!" He started to cry again. "God damn it! Damn it..." Shepard crouched into a ball.
"The students told us what you did. That was... heroic of you."
"I don't care," he yelled. "I just don't care! Get out of here. Now!"
The doctor and nurse rushed out of the room. Shepard sat up in his bed and rested his face in his hands. The door opened. "I said leave me alone."
Shepard looked up and saw him. "Hey, sir."
"I came as soon as I heard about the attack. I'm sorry about the loss of your parents."
Shepard rubbed his face.
"I also heard that you stayed to protect your class. I know you felt like you failed your parents, but you didn't. You did the right thing, and they would've been so proud of you."
"Thank you, sir."
* * * * *
"I was released from the hospital after a couple of days. Lt. Jackson became my legal guardian until I turned eighteen when I joined the Alliance."
"I'm sorry you had to make a choice between your parents and a class of people who tortured you."
"Jane is currently the govern of Mindoir. As thanks, she used my likeness for the colonial seal."
"Do you ever regret staying to protect that class?"
Shepard looked to the floor and then back to Tali. "No. I'm upset that I was forced to make that choice, but I never thought, since then, that it was wrong. It was there my choice would determine what type of person I would become. I know I made the right choice."