Chapter 1: Awakened Potential
Am I good enough? The same question every generation of Shepard asks themselves. As soon as a Shepard is born, the galaxy places their expectations upon them. Andrew Shepard created a bar so high that no following generation could ever hope to match it. He united the galaxy against a threat that existed for millions of years. There's no more galaxy-wide threat to overcome or warring factions. Just peace.
But all of that doesn't matter. A Shepard becomes the best he or she can be. They push themselves beyond their own limits not due to the expectations hefted upon, but because fighting for what's right and being the best they can be is in their blood. Though not as literal, since no Shepard actually has his blood or genes. No. It's a feeling, a force, inside all of them that drives them past their limits.
Lucas Shepard wiped his fingers across the plaque on Andrew Shepard's statue. He sighed while doing so. Around his statue were the statues of his whole crew during the Reaper war: Garrus Vakarian, Tali'Shepard vas Normandy, Urdnot Wrex, Ashley Williams, Kaidan Alenko, Liara T'Soni, Thane Krios, Mordin Solus, Kasumi, Urdnot Grunt, Jacob Taylor, Miranda Lawson, Zaeed Massani, Legion, Samara, Jack Zero, Tarlon Nal'Karlish, and Jeff Moreau. These statues were place in a circle with each of them facing outwards in a heroic position.
This was Shepard's Garden on Mindoir. A place filled with vegetation and flowers. It was a place tourists frequented for this beauty and to get their pictures with the statues of Shepard and his crew. There were three other Shepard's Gardens in the galaxy. One on Mindoir, one on Rannoch, and one on Earth. A fourth one is going to be built on the new Citadel that is still in construction. Despite the many locations of the Garden's, one thing remained consistent between all of them. Garrus Vakarian and Tali'Shepard were always side by side with him.
Despite not sharing Shepard's blood, Lucas bared a remarkable likeness to Andrew. He turned away and walked. His omni-tool beeped. Shepard lifted his arm and answered the call. "This is Shepard." A small holographic screen popped up showing an Alliance officer.
"Shepard, this is Admiral Yadav"
"Sir, good to see you." Shepard gave the Admiral a salute. He continued walking.
"Likewise, Commander. I'm sorry to say, but I'm going to have to cut your shore leave short."
"I'm sure there's a good reason, sir."
A grim look briefly came across the Admiral's face. "There have been some colony attacks in the Minos Wasteland and we want you to look into it."
Shepard stopped moving. Why cut his shore leave for colony attacks? He quickly moved to somewhere more secluded. "Is something unusual about these attacks?"
"Yes..." he reluctantly replied. "The colonies that have been attacked did not have a chance to send out a distress call. They go quiet and by the time we send someone to investigate, the colony is gone."
"What do you mean gone?"
"Wiped off the planet. Colonists either dead or missing and all structures were razed to the ground. They were destroyed with an unknown weapon."
The color in Shepard's face faded. "Sir, it can't be..."
"Reapers? I would say that's it's too soon to speculate that horrific possibility, but we still want to be sure. So I'm asking you to head to Pietas' mining colony. They're the last colony in Minos Wasteland not to get hit."
"Will I get some support?"
"We have a couple of soldiers who will be joining you. The SSV Kraken Troop Transport will be picking you up at 0900 tomorrow. You'll meet them then."
Shepard carried his duffle bag, filled with his belongings, over his left shoulder as he approached the SSV Kraken. He entered the airlock which immediately began its cycle. Shepard wore his newly issued Alliance Dragon Skin armor. The armor was painted black with white stripes down the arms and chest. His submachine gun rested on the magnetic stripe on the small of his back, his grenade launcher down the center of his back, his pistol on the side of his right thigh, his sniper rifle on the right side of his back, and his katana was in its sheath that was attached to the left side of his back.
"Cycle complete," the VI announced. "Welcome to the SSV Kraken, Commander Shepard."
He was greeted by two crew men. "Welcome aboard," one of them said. "It really is an honor to have you aboard, sir."
"Thank you," he replied. "Are you two the soldiers the Brass mentioned who would be joining me down at Pietas?"
"Sorry, sir, no," the other answered. "We're just security. The two spectres are waiting for you down at the Comm room."
"Yes, sir. According to the Brass, the Council is concern about these colony attacks. So they sent the Yin Yang Sisters."
That made Shepard raise a brow. "The Yin Yang Sisters?"
"Yes, sir. You shouldn't keep them waiting. You know what they're like."
"Thanks for the heads up." Shepard immediately made his way to the Comm room. It was weird for there to be so few people around. At best they had a skeleton crew.
The doors of the Comm room opened revealing the two sisters waiting patiently. The Yin Yang sisters: Asari twins. The both had a long history. They were once Eclipse mercenaries and were there during the Battle of Ragnarok. Soon after that battle, they joined the military and became two of the most efficient and deadly Asari Commandoes. They worked together in a union that became famous throughout the galaxy. Alliance soldiers gave them the nickname Yin Yang due to their polar personalities. The one sister was violent, brutal, slightly crazy, and acted as the powerhouse of the two. The other sister was merciful, brilliant and acted as the conscious of the two. They complimented each other. The nickname Yin Yang quickly spread throughout the galaxy as an appropriate metaphor. It got to the point where the sisters adopted the names Yin and Yang. The symbol of Yin and Yang was painted on their armor. Yin wore white armor and Yang wore black armor.
The two looked away from a holographic display of the Pietas colony.
"He's here, Yin," Yang remarked.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Commander Shepard," Yin said as she approached him. She held out her hand, to which Shepard shook with a firm grasp.
"An honor to meet you two," he said. "I've heard a lot about you two."
"Thank you. I'm sure Admiral Yadav filled you in."
"Yes," he answered with a nod. "Pietas is the last colony not to get hit in Minos Wasteland. And we're investigating if this is a slaver attack or... something more."
"The Reapers," Yang said bluntly. "I doubt it. Yin and I were there for Ragnarok. Your ancestor blew the whole system to hell with that Supernova. No Reaper escaped through that relay. We even sent a probe right after the explosion to make sure. Andrew Shepard took them all out. It's most likely slavers... But we don't want to take any chances."
"Alright. Is that everything?"
"One more thing. The reason why you were called to join this mission... It's for an evaluation. You have been selected as a candidate for the Special Tactics and Reconnaissance branch. We'll be working together while we evaluate you."
Shepard raised a brow in surprise. "Well... I'll be sure not to let you two done. Thank you. I'm going to go down to deck 3 for some training, if you need me."
Deck 3 Training Room
Shepard moved around the room waving his katana in various patterns. Form Manipulators needed more training than the regular Biotics due to the massive need for focus and power. Swipe. Stab. Downward thrust. Upward slice. The blade acted as an extension of his body and his Biotic powers. Dark energy swirled around the blade as he sliced through a block of steel.
Shepard looked back to the entrance of the room to see Yang walk in.
"I've never met a Form Manipulator before. I've heard rumors about their power. Looks to be true."
"Something you need?"
She licked her lips. "How about a match?"
"Hand to hand?"
"I don't use Biotics for sparing, m'am."
"Come on," she pleaded. "I'll go easy on you."
"I rather not."
Yang pouted, but her eyes widen when she looked at Shepard's things. "What's this?" She picked up a silver submachine gun.
"Put that down!" Shepard growled.
"Is this...The Kassa Locust?"
"I said put it down."
"It is! The gun that killed two Presidents and a Reaper."
Dark energy surrounded the gun and was ripped from her hands. It flew into Shepard's outreached hand. He grasped it and checked the gun. "This gun is a family heirloom."
"So now you're showing some fight. Show me what you can do." A ball of warp energy appeared into her hands. Yang threw the ball at Shepard. He charged the blade with dark energy and sliced the ball in two, causing it to destabilize and dissipate. "Impressive."
"I don't wish to fight."
"Too bad." Yang charged forth with another ball of warp.
Shepard dodged the attack and used throw against her. Yang went low and lunged at Shepard. He was on his back with her on top. His blade was up against her throat and she leaned forward with a devilish grin. "I always liked it rough." She licked her lips again. "How about you and I head to our quarters for an extended one-on-one?"
"You not really my type."
"Yang!" Yin yelled while walking into the room. "Off! Now!"
Yang rolled her eyes and reluctantly got off of Shepard. She mumbled something Shepard couldn't hear.
"Commander Shepard, we approaching Pietas. Thought you should know."
"Thank you. I'll gear up."
"Agent Yin we're detecting something in orbit around the planet," the pilot announced over the ship's Comm.
"Are the stealth systems activated?"
"Yes, m'am. The ship doesn't match any known silhouette and is not transmitting an IFF."
Upon hearing those words, Shepard rushed to get his gear together. It took less than five minutes before he was up in the cockpit. Shepard exchanged unpleasant glances with Yang. They could see a large vessel that stayed above the planet's atmosphere. The vessel's body was a long column with a balled end. The front end resembled a dish with eight claw-like appendages. Green lights covered the ship.
"I have never seen a vessel like that before," Yin muttered in a shocked whisper.
"A new race?" Shepard guessed.
"Maybe. We should go ground side and investigate what they're doing."
Already they could hear screams and gunfire. The three rushed forward to the mining facility. They could see the facility over the purples hills before them. A civilian ran towards them from the facility. His face was pale. "Help!"
He reached the three. "They're killing everyone!"
"Who's killing everyone?" Yin asked.
"Things. Monsters. I-I... They consuming everyone. I watched one of them grab my wife and absorb her." The man fell to his knees to cry. "I-I can't let that happen to me!" He jumped to his feet and pulled out a pivot gun. "Not to me!"
"No wait!" Shepard yelled.
He pressed the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Even Yang was shocked. "What was so horrifying that he would kill himself to avoid it?" she asked.
"Come on," Shepard said. "There are more civilians who need our help."
They ran over the hill where they could see the chaos that took place below. Security guards were being overwhelmed by humanoid creatures that proceeded to pummel them.
"What are those things?" Shepard asked out loud.
"I don't believe it," Yang muttered. "Husks."
"Positive. I've fought plenty of these things. But that ship in orbit looked nothing like a Reaper. Why are there Husks here?"
"I've read reports of a nearby planet that had an Indoctrination device," Yin answered.
"Still doesn't explain that ship."
"Come on, we won't find out anything here," Shepard interrupted.
"Yes, sir," Yang mocked. They entered the facility area where the miners were already dead. The Husks looked up from their victims and moaned. Shepard pulled out his pistol with Yin and Yang. The Husks charged them. There were at least a few dozen.
Yang charged her arm and made a upper cut arm movement that sent a shockwave towards the Husk swarm. Shepard fired a few shots from his pistol and sent a throw field to take down a half a dozen Husks. Yin used pulled field on the remaining Husks. Yang charged up an unstable warp and threw it into the ball of Husks to finish them off. Husk body parts were scattered throughout the area.
"Been over 500 years since we fought these things," Yang yawned. "They were always so easy to take down."
"Do you have to sound so casual?" Shepard chided.
"What is that thing?" Yin pointed out.
A creature slowly walked out of the main office. The creature did not resemble the husks. It was a couple feet taller than a human. Its body was pure white with blue and green lights that ran down its spine, arms, chest and legs. It had three fingers and a thumb that were long slender. Its palm was long in length as well. It had no mouth, ears or nose. It head was featureless with just two glowing red eyes. The creature looked to the three soldiers. It slowly walked towards them.
"These things must have a death wish," Yang quipped as she charged up a ball of warp energy. She launched it forward. The ball of energy splashed harmlessly against the creature. She jerked her head in surprise. "What the-?" She threw another ball of energy. Again the same result. Yang moved closer.
"Don't get close to it," Shepard said while raising his submachine gun. He fired a couple rounds which hit some sort of shield.
"Yang, stay away from it!" Yin yelled.
"I'm okay!" She charged up one last ball of energy to get the creature at close range. Before she could throw it forward, the creature reached out and grabbed her by the throat.
"Yang!" Yin tried to run forward, but the creature's left arm rose up and transformed into some kind of cannon.
"Look out!" Shepard screamed as he tackled Yin to the ground. The cannon fired a beam of green energy that barely missed the two. Shepard noticed that it looked similar to a Mithanix shot.
Shepard and Yin got off of the ground to see the creature bring Yang closer to its face. It face rippled. A form appeared out of it to give it a face. It looked like a cross between a Vorcha and a Salarian. "Such power," it said in a slow ghostly voice. "We shall assimilate you into our order."
"Wh-What?" Yang cried out.
The skin of its hands wrapped around her body. Her screams were muffled by the unknown material.
"Yang!" Yin cried out. She tried to run forward, but Shepard grabbed her arm.
"It's too late!"
The mass inside the skin shrank in size until the skin retracted back into the creature's hand. "Your power is now ours." It looked to Yin and Shepard. Yin was on the brink of falling apart as tears flowed out of her eyes. Shepard held her arms to stop her from joining her sister while staring at the creature.
"What the hell are you?" he yelled.
"We are eternal," it replied. Its face constantly shifted into other faces, even briefly showing Yang's face which made Yin look away. "We are many. We are Deific."
"Yin we need to fall back now!"
She looked to him and nodded. They moved backwards while firing rounds at the creature. Their weapons were having no effect on the abomination. Shepard pulled out his grenade launcher and fired a grenade at the creature. The explosion caused it to stagger back. Its skin was visibly damaged. Shepard fired another round. The damaged skin opened revealing an inner weaving of glowing green tubes. The third grenade shot hit the opening damaging the inner workings. Its eyes flashed and it screamed. Yin grind her teeth and launched a warp into the vulnerable spot. The inside melted. The creature screamed again and then dissipated into green light.
"Deific?" she mumbled in sadness.
"Sleep..." a quiet voice behind them said. They turned to see another Deific right behind them. Shepard tried to pull out his pistol, but was overcome with fatigue. "Sleep..." Yin and Shepard fell to the ground, blacking out.
Shepard couldn't tell how much time passed by. His eyes open to see the Deific standing over him. Its index finger turned into a syringe. "You will become a Host..." He couldn't move anything. Shepard felt a stab in his neck. "The procedure is almost complete..."
Its other fingers transformed into various tools. It reached forward, but before it could start, a shotgun was raised to its head. The gun fire sending the Deific flying.
Shepard could feel his body again. He jumped to his feet and pulled out his grenade launcher and fire several rounds at the injured Deific. The Deific dissipated in green light. Shepard looked to who fired that shotgun round. It was a Quarian woman. She wore blue-color cloth around her body and over her head as a hood. Her skin was a light purple with dark purple horizontal striped that started at her forehead and went over her head. "Are you alright?" she asked.
"Yeah," he replied. "Thanks for the help." Shepard looked over and saw Yin still unconscious. "Is there anyone else?"
"No," she replied. "They're gone. Those things took them all."
"What's your name?"
"I'm Kaila'Ila nar Neema."
"I'm Commander Lucas'Shepard vas Rayya."
"That's not funny," she said disapprovingly.
"Who's laughing? I had my own pilgrimage and I completed it before joining the Alliance."
"Wait. Shepard as in THE Shepard?"
"Oh, wow. It's an honor to meet you."
"Likewise." He looked to Yin. "We should get her back to our ship."
Kaila nodded. Shepard lifted Yin up in his arms and made his way to the ship. The two talked on the way there.
"So what brought you to Pietas?"
"Well, I'm on pilgrimage. I heard rumors of the Geth homeworld and it brought me here."
"You're looking for the Geth homeworld?" he said with a slight chuckle.
"Hey don't laugh! The Geth just disappeared 500 years ago and no one knows where they went. I wanted to see if I could find it."
"How did you survive so long here?"
"Well I did get some combat training before heading out, parents were in the military. I also have my tech skills and Biotics."
"You're a Biotic?" he exclaimed.
"Yes," she replied quietly. "But there aren't any Quarian biotic trainers, so my skills are very low."
"Have you tried other trainers?"
"Well, most biotic trainers are Asari and they still retain... certain prejudices."
"That's too bad."
"Though why did you go on Pilgrimage?"
"Well as most know, Andrew'Shepard bonded with Tali'Zorah. Since they could not have any kids, they adopted. A Quarian girl and a Human boy. Tali'Zorah or Shepard in this case wanted to raise their daughter traditionally, including Pilgrimage. But it wouldn't seem fair that the daughter was the one to go on Pilgrimage and not the son. So the son was sent on Pilgrimage as well. Since then, it became tradition among the human side to go on Pilgrimage."
"Fascinating." She looked around the see the Husk body parts all over the place. "Were those Husks that were running around?"
"Doesn't that mean the Reapers are involved?"
"I don't know. The Yin Yang Sisters were adamant that they were all wiped out. I think the Deific are just a new faction."
"It's what those white things call themselves."
"Oh. What will you do from here?"
"Well it sounds like they want to make me a Spectre, so they'll likely have me investigate these Deific."
"What will happen to me?"
"I guess that depends upon you. You'll need to come with me to speak to the Council, but from there... You have great skill to have survived this attack. Why not join me?"
"Really?" she said. Joy returned to her voice.
"Yeah. Also if I help you train your Biotics, you would be one hell of an addition to my crew."
Kaila looked to the ground and then back to him. "Alright. I'll join you."
Codex: Weapons, Armor, and Equipment: Dragon Skin
A new development in Alliance armor is a suit that is covered in small ceramic plates. This gives the armor a reptilian scales texture to it. Most Alliance soldiers give the suit the nickname "Dragon Skin" due to its texture. While not as good as hard plates (previous generation armor) at deflecting damage, the suit still is still able to withstand 85% of the damage needed to break a hard plate suit. Dragon Skin has the benefit of allowing great flexibility and agility to its user. This negates any issue with armor reinforcements.
Codex: Ships and Vehicles: Starships: Troop Transports
Since the defeat of the Reapers in 2186 followed by the union of galactic government, space warfare has decreased greatly. Most combat took place on the land by slavers, mercenary groups, or raiders. This led to many governments to rethink their military. The Alliance came up with the solution with a new class of starship known as "Troop Transports". These vessels are one-half the size of a cruiser and can carry 500 soldiers into combat. The drive core for a carrier is on par with a Dreadnaught to allow the ship to land on planet surfaces. Troop Carriers also have emission sinks to make it invisible to sensors. Troop Transports also have a training room for soldiers to use in between battles. Each Troop Transport in the Alliance navy is named after a Earth sea monster. Examples include: SSV Kraken, SSV Leviathan, SSV Hydra, and the SSV Jörmungandr.
Codex: Planets and Locations: Pietas (updated)
After being in courts for twenty years, Pietas was awarded to a human mining company. The company terra-formed the planet to make it habitable for future colonists. Methods include introducing cyanobacteria and flora. The process took over fifty years, but the end results paid for the process. Mining facilities were place around its surface to mine the precious planet. Since the construction of the mining facilities, Pietas has enjoyed an exponential growth in immigration of workers to work at the many facilities. Current population is approximately 2, 000, 000. Main exports include carbon and silicates.
Codex: Aliens: Council Races: Quarian: Biology (updated)
After being in their suits for a majority of their lives, Quarians lost a majority of the pigmentation of their skin giving it a light blue coloration. After the invention of Mordin Solus' implant and the return of Rannoch, the Quarian people have enjoyed absorbing the rays of their sun. After decades, their skin colors eventually returned to normal a variety of purple colors, though some do retain blue colored skin. With each generation of Quarians, the implant originally invented by Mordin Solus, has become weaker in order to slowly adapt the Quarians immune system back to its original state before their exile. It is predicted that Quarian immune systems will be back to its original state in 200 years.
Codex: Aliens: Council Races: Quarian: Culture (updated)
Despite being free from their suits, a small minority of Quarians will still wear their suits in public and only take them off in private, usually due to tradition or because of old habits. On Rannoch, many districts are named after ships from the Migrant Fleet such as the Neema, Rayya and Qwib-Qwib. This allows the continuation of the use of the status name "nar". Where a Quarian retains the name of the district they were born in. Pilgrimage is continued as a tradition among the Quarian people where they can prove they can contribute to their society as a whole. When they return they will present their gifts to the leader of a district. If accepted, the Quarian will use the "vas" status name, denoting them as workers or "crew" of that district. If a Quarian is born on a ship, they will retain the name of the ship.
Codex: Aliens: Council Races: Quarian: Politics (updated)
Since the Quarian people no longer are bond to the Migrant Fleet, the Admiralty Board lost all political power it once had. The Conclave became the Quarian's main system of government, making their government purely democratic, than the Marshall Law they were technically under.