DISCLAIMER: Bioware owns the concept of Mass Effect and all of its characters. This fanfic is for entertainment and no profit what-so-ever.
AUTHORS NOTES: I've gotten some extensive aid from a reader who has an excellent grasp on real-world science and physics and has helped me understand the real-world applications of a gravity leveler, which is a far cry from the cinema-effects of the same device used in Ultraviolet which I have borrowed. I have taken extreme liberties with real-world science but then so do many sci-fi writers, after all explosions as seen in Star Wars / Star Trek / BSG/ Star Gate/ Mass Effect can not truly happen in the vacuum of space. Oh yes and due to the events of ME2 obviously this is very much an AU. However some elements / scenes / characters of ME2 will make it into here so I guess there will be some spoilers.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Rising From the Ashes
By Elizabeth Carter


Chapter 29
Memories Converging

Fog swirled once more, another memory surfaced.

A lavender skinned asari sat across the table from a lanky fourteen year old Sam. A live rose bush was placed before her. "A biotic need not always rely on flesh and bone to tell them what the universe is like. Others do not know what it is to see beyond the physical." Her mentor stroked the red petals. "Touch it."

Sam obeyed.

"This is how most sentients know their universe. They touch the flower, their nerve impulses travel up their arm to the brain and in their mind they sense the moisture of the petals, the texture of the leaves the sharpness of the thorns. And they think they know what it feels like. But they do not." While her mentor was speaking Sam continued to run her fingers over the rose. A purple hand reached out and gently pulled the human's hand away. "Now touch it."

Sam gave her mentor a very curious look.

Her mentor smiled kindly. "Reach out with your thoughts. Feel it for the very first time."

Sam's lips once more curled into a playful smile.

"Think of nothing but the flower." The asari said.

"The goal not the task" the girl said.

Her mentor nodded. "It is the only object in the universe. Know it. Know it in the way only a biotic can."

Sam obeyed. Her vision changed! The colors of the petals becoming more vibrant - richer, redder.

"It's more than touching! I can feel it. I know it!"

"Yes. To know something is to control it. This is psychokinetic manipulation of matter. It is the foundation of all biotic abilities. You are beginning to know your biotics my student, and you will control them."

Her next lesson was somewhat different.

Her mentor replaced the rosebush with a single metal cup filled with tea. Once more they sat across the table from each other

"In your mind visualize your hand. Now reach out with that hand and grab the mug. Reach out with the fingers of your mind, grasp it. Do you have it?" the voice was smooth, gentle and authoritative.

"I can feel the handle, the texture of the metal. But I can't move it." Sam admitted.

"Don't try to move it. Just take a drink from it."

Sam looked to her mentor then back to the cup before her, concentrating her will upon it. Slowly it shifted to one hand. She gasped delightfully. "I don't understand I didn't try to move it."

"No you just tried to drink from it. And what would you do if you wanted to take a drink from it?"

"I'd reach out and pick it up." The teenager said easily.

"That is right. But you would not be thinking about picking it up, you would simply do it. And that is what you have just learned. Focus on the goal, not the task. When you wanted the tea it came to you. I know you are tired but I want you to try one more thing."

Her mentor took the cup and replaced it in the center of the table. "It is cold. Would it not taste better if it were hot?"

Sam smiled uneasily trying to comprehend what was being asked of her this time.

"See past the liquid, not with your eyes, with your mind. What your eyes show you is only the surface of reality. Look deeper. There is no liquid. There is no cup. There is only a collection of molecules and atoms—moving, vibrating."

Sam concentrated on her mentor's voice, on what she was saying. She found the image of the brown liquid in her mind.

"I see them, they are barely moving." Sam said a little in awe.

"That is because they are cold. How would you heat it up?"

"With a fire."

"Yes. With the fire of your mind."

"How do I do that?"

"Focus on the goal not the task. Do not think about creating the fire, just use it."

Sam concentrated, just as her mentor asked her to. She saw a fire in her mind, the effect heat has on liquid, how it bubbles and froths. In her mind she saw the molecules moving faster and faster, as if each molecule had erupted into tiny balls of flame. They were spinning now-- erratically. The tea in the cup came to a rapid boil!

"I see it now! It's so simple!"

"Yes." Her mentor smiled. "However child, that is enough for today. Go eat and meditate, you must rest. Tomorrow, I shall take you to the next level. You will NOT do this exercise unless you are under my direct observation. Do you understand?"

"Yes ma'am." Sam bowed her head in respect. She was a navy brat, she knew discipline and knew far better than to disregard an order. Sam looked up to see her mother lurking near the doorway of their quarters smiling proudly at her accomplishment. Sam swelled with pride. She had worth again.

The images of the vinculum grew clouded for a moment the garden in which the teenage Sam and her mentor sat became blackened with swarms of insects.

Monsters of Id come to taint the pure minds. The harvesting...the collecting of bodies. There was no avoiding the swam…

"NO! Samantha, you were almost there. Don't lose yourself now!" Liara pleaded. "Our own daughter, our little Sparrow needs her Arda, her Mamma. I'm not letting you go…we are not letting you go. Do you hear me?!"

Liara pushed harder pulling at a memory that lingered deep within Samantha's core that was a precedent for many of her decisions and actions since then. It was the foundation of the soldier she was now. Elysium. In resonance it mirrored much of the Regent's memories, the regret of the inability to save everyone. Once chose not to, one desperately tried to.

Hours that felt like days yet passed swifter than thought leaving her to work on instinct and muscle memory. Twenty-eight hours of bombing, the death toll a catastrophic fifteen thousand. One million two hundred thousand injured. The butcher's bill…it lingered in the background of Samantha's thoughts, as did those who fell in the Battle over the Citadel. She recalled the name of every Alliance ship that fell, the number of humans who died so the Council could live. She never forgot the name of a soldier who died under her command. Elysium was the first, thus the most prominent and easiest to recall. Liara grasped it: pushed to the forefront of her bondmate's mind, forcing her to relive it.

She closed her eyes once, whispering a prayer to the Goddess Danu before ascending the steps, whatever was topside, she was most likely going to face it alone. A Whole damn swarm of pirates. Time to face it.

Shepard sprang through the outer door of the hidden bunker into blanket of deep fog… no not fog; it was smoke billowing up from the wreckage of half a dozen destroyed ships. To the east opposite of the setting sun a red glow boiled the sky, more smoke choked the world.

Shepard nearly faulted as she stood on the warehouse rooftop. How to stop it? Overhead dozens of airships bombarded the city. The primary defense grid was faltering, not even the main turrets or AA towers would hold out for long. If the secondary defenses fell the entire city would be laid to waste. This position had to be held.

*LT!* Corporal Uriagus called over the radio. *We're half a klick from your position. We picked up some civilians along the way. We neutralized three squads but more are coming. Ma'am if they continue the bombardment…*

"I know. I need you and your team here. Step-two corporal, I need you here. We have to hold this warehouse. It's paramount."

*Yes ma'am.*

Instinctively Shepard flattened her body against the roof when an exceptionally close explosion sounded not two hundred yards from her position.

'Seekers. Frack! I hate smart-bombs if I'm not the one letting them loose.' The young woman cursed. "Any time now corporal, those sons-of-bitches are using seekers."


"Good objective assessment, Uriagus." Shepard scanned the area, keeping a sharp eye out for invaders. She knew they had come here. The utilities and defense systems were closed circuit. To shut them down it had to be done manually. It was only a matter of time before they stormed the place.

Movement from the opposite direction Uriagus was supposed to be coming from. Thermo-imaging on her helmets HUD displayed nine warm bodies. By their body language they were hunting.

"Not tonight boys." Shepard wasn't a sniper, but she was a level-three marksman. She whipped out her heavy pistol, let the auto-targeting system get a hard lock not at the men advancing but at something that caught her attention at Tail-End Charlie's rear right flank, a fire extinguisher. She wasn't sure what type-yield it didn't matter, Compressed water, Co2 or dry chemical either the canister exploded in shrapnel or erupted in one tight little chem-bomb. Either way it worked in Shepard's favor. She slowly squeezed the trigger.

Short yield blast mushroomed into the air. Panic seized the squad those not caught in the razor rain of shrapnel, dove for cover scattering. Exactly what Shepard wanted.

"Uriagus, heads up I'm sending a few people your way."

*Heard the blast ma'am, suspecting that you?*

"Roger that." Shepard affirmed taking her time to aim to guarantee her shot was accurately lethal. The shrapnel should have depleted shields, shredded armor leaving the remaining pirates vulnerable.

Pop. Pop. Pop. Three heads shots. In the distances the staccato beat of automatic fire. Strange thing it still wasn't in the direction of Uriagus team.

*Operations Chief Bossa of the Five-oh-Twos. We took care of a couple of strays you lost. Descending on your position now, we'd appreciate it if you didn't shoot us."

By the time fifteen marines came into view, Shepard was already on the ground.

"Lieutenant Shepard: SSV New Deli. Chief, give me a SitRep."

No one saluted. In a battle situation in case the enemy was watching, if you saluted the enemy knew who the leader was and could very easily snip them. Of course the blood stripe on her N7 armor was a dead give away as to who was in command making the In-Theater-no-saluted reg almost moot. Still regs were regs.

"DINTS: IFF recorded three hundred and sixty-four bombers/troop transports, five hundred and fifteen airships, hundred and thirty-three cruisers. My troops were running civilian evacuation when Governor De Govia informed me to rendezvous with you here. We ran into some raiders, lost five of my men trying to neutralize them on our way here. Ma'am if I may say so you sure left a trail of explosions behind you."

"Only feasible way to insure the enemy stayed pacified, Chief." Shepard said not defending her actions.

"LT this is full scale invasion force. What the hell is going on, Ma'am? That's way too many birds to be a simple snatch and grab." A female serviceman said.

"They mean to take the city. Full scale slave drive complete with a fire-sale." Shepard answered. "They're not finished with bombardment; it's going to get a whole lot worse. You think I left a trail of explosions, we haven't seen anything yet.

"Shit." One of the marines behind Bossa cursed.

"Who are these guys? They can't all be batarians can they?" another asked.

Shepard lifted her shoulders to ease the tension building up in her neck and spine. "Why don't we find out." She moved past the 502's towards the corpses at ground zero of her impromptu bomb, from the legs, number of fingers it was humanoid. Without ceremony she removed one of the full faced helmets from bodies wearing blue and white Blue Sun merc armor.

'He's… he's human!" Bossa's voice betrayed his astonishment. He kicked the dead man in the head, hard. "Sonofafuckingbitch traitor!" Again Bossa kicked at the skull this time shattering the jawbone.

"Humans working with batarians?" said the same young man who had spoken earlier. "I don't get it."

"They're from the Terminus Systems." Shepard said. "Who ever organized this has a hell of a lot of clout. A lot of power. Lots of money. Think about it, big criminal organizations are run by whoever has the most power, the most pull, the most guns, the most toys. The guy running this show is no mere merc; he knows the right kind of people to get the right kind of things done to shut down a metropolis."

"So you got any bright N-Seven ideas to stop that from happening?" Bossa asked.

Shepard smiled behind her helmet, "A few."

At that moment, the whole city went black. Sixteen hands went to sixteen helmets activating their night-vision HUD.

Several voices cursed. Only one was even and unshaken. "Now Bannon!"

*Copy that, Shepard.*

"They took out the fucking defense grid!" Bossa exclaimed, "Shepard, we're sitting ducks."

"We would if we didn't have the secondary node. It's been isolated." Shepard started stripping the nearest bodies of grenades, thermal clips and weapons, most of which she handed over to the 502s. "The rest of you do the same." She ordered. "We have to hold this position. To shut this node down they have to come here personally. We're going to have a lot of unfriendlies coming here very shortly. We draw them into a horse-shoe ambush. From our vantage point its better it's a bird's nest, giving us a three-sixty degree view. We've got height advantage, and multiple vantage points. We bottle-neck them and weed them out in a defensive perimeter. We engage and destroy. Consequently we need to level the warehouse over the node's bunker and the three others surrounding it."

"Lieutenant?" Bossa stared opened mouth. "You want us to hold this position, but you want to destroy it?"

"Exactly. We keep the bunker secret by not acknowledging it. We make it unimportant. Destroying the warehouses above makes sure it stays that way."

"Ma'am we don't have enough munitions to hold position and blow up those buildings," one of the men protested. "And what of those stationed below? They'll be trapped."

"They're two-hundred meters below the surface, all they might feel is a little rumble. After the attack is over the rubble can be cleared, besides there is a concealed secondary entrance. They are in no danger; in fact they will be more secure than anyone else on this planet. The how… easy. I have a barely operable transport I liberated from the pirates. We crash it with its fuel line exposed. I believe the rest is self explanatory." Shepard smiled.

Uriagus and his team finally made a show, given the details of the mission and were ordered into the bunker along with six of the 502s. They were the bunker's last stand. She also gave them the codeword alerting Bannon to give them access.

"When you said deceiving the enemy you weren't kidding," Uriagus said. "That's one hell of a ruse ma'am."

Shepard only nodded. "It's the only way. You'll have water, light, food, air, and most importantly security. Corporal you hold that bunker."

Forgetting the regs about not saluting during battle scenarios, Uriagus snapped a crisp salute.

"Jarhead! You want the LT shot? You never salute in battle." Operations Chief Bossa snapped. "Or are you just a simpleton?

"No sir. I… I forgot."

"Just make sure you don't make any more stupid mistakes while down in that bunker."

"No sir."

Positions were taken upon the rooftops of the surrounding warehouses, in a horseshoe formation just as Shepard had wanted. She however wasn't on the roof rather in the troopship. Her task: crash the ship into the warehouse.

Shepard wasn't actually thinking at this point. A surreal moment of mental separation left her able to function on some buried instinct and at the same time take a step back and observe every action. Autopilot locked on Shepard abandoned the captain's chair, opened the airlock, and took a deep breath.

"Chief. Light it up."

*Roger that, LT.*

From her perspective she watched the chief lift a rocket launcher. At that moment she clung to the threshold of the airlock and jumped just as Bossa took aim at the transport's starboard wing causing the craft to go into a wild tailspin.

Her jump was timed perfectly with the strike to the wing and landed her on the window ledge of the adjacent building. Momentum flung her from there to a fire-escape ladder that was more rust than metal. The moorings held for mere moments before with a heartstopping groan abruptly snapping, sending the young woman swinging like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. Shepard let go of the ladder railing tucked, rolled and landed several yards away.

Fire flashed intermittently through the smoky ruined carapace of the building. The noise was deafening—screaming, ripping metal, explosions so loud they felt like a biotic punch in the gut.

*Shepard!* A frantic voice. *Shepard? Come on LT, come in!*

Shepard stared up at the burning sky, her head dizzy, her body incredibly sore. But hey she was alive. She hit her helmet's radio in what seemed to be slow motion even from her own perspective. "Shepard here. Five-by-five, Bossa."

*Thank God. Damn Shepard you have the devil's own luck either that or you're insane.* Bossa said. "What you did… was impossible."

"Yeah. I get that a lot." Shepard murmured wearily. "Give me a moment, I think I lost my wind and stomach somewhere along the way." All she heard on the radio was laughter.

Moments later she rejoined her squad. Just as Shepard predicted the explosions very much caught the attention of the pirates. The bird's nest horseshoe formation couldn't have gone better. The ambush was a perfect set up; the batarian and human insurgents came investigating the multiple explosions just as Shepard said they would. Bossa's squad had three snipers; all were marksmen, three biotics including Shepard made it four. And they had her resolve, her tenacity and art of thinking on her feet. Bottlenecked whole squads of pirates were cut down; fair to say it was a slaughterhouse.

Several dozen pirates ended their lives in the deadly crossfire. Marines took what they gave. Two dead, three wounded but not critically. Medigel made all the difference between death and a flesh wound.

Even with all of this, Sam felt deep in her gut it wasn't going to be enough. The marrow of her bones told her, it was going to be a lot worse before the cavalry arrived. Even with the secondary defense node now secure under a ton of rubble the rest of the colony was still very vulnerable. Turrets, combat drones and LOKIs were not going to be enough to hold back the raid.

Their positions now given away, the element of surprise was no longer theirs but the tactical advantage still was. The 502s continued to hold position. Across the city more fires were burning as pirates tried to break into the bunkers. Shepard knew she had to draw more attention to their position, to draw them off the civilian population.

Bunkered down behind generators, pipes and utility grade air-conditioning units the marines dug-in and held their positions. Grenades were dropped, rockets lunched, biotics warfare engaged and more pirates fell. For a time it seemed almost one sided. That was until the pirates paused took stock of their dead, then took to the air.

The roar was undeniable. A gunship was bearing down on them. The cacophony of battle noise intensified.

"Looks like they called in reinforcements." Bossa said. "You know ma'am being here with you is like standing on top of a mountain top in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armor yelling at the top of my lungs. 'All gods are idiots!'"

Shepard smirked. "Try standing in my shoes, Chief. Think about this for a moment, the more attention we get here, the less they give the civilians. Bring them all on." Shepard wasn't speaking out of bravado, but out necessity for the mission. Protect the colony.

Shepard and the 502s scattered, scrambling for new cover. The gunships weaponry ripped holes into the roof surface, tearing into the industrial and maintenance units.

"Stay down!" Shepard shouted. "Concentrate all power on that mother."

Nine guns raised, firing repeatedly into the hull of the gunship, concentrating on the engine air-intake – the easiest way to destroy the vessel.

Shepard saw an opportunity, when the gunship banked to the left out of the range of assault rifles. She wasn't sure it was going to work, but she had to take the chance.

"Fire in the hole," came a shout.

Her body flared in blue light as she summoned massive amounts of dark energy within her. In one desperate attempt she flung all she had into a singularity into the gunship's engines.

What followed was in a word: unbelievable. The ship spiraled frantically; the engine moaned an inorganic cry of metallic pain as it was ripped apart. The air above them exploded in a starburst.

"Incoming!" Shepard screamed out, diving for cover under rows of piping as massive amounts of metal plummeted to earth. Chaos will spread like an Olympic event

Over her shoulder another cry, this one very much having from an organic origin. Shepard looked up to see one of the 502's pinned to the roof by a chunk of the gunships hull.

She scrambled on her belly to his side as quickly as she was able. There was nothing she or any of the others could do. The boy was impaled through the chest, he was already dead.

"Fuck!" Sam's voice faltered for a moment. "What the hell were you thinking?"

The boy of course gave no answer.

She hung her head, breathed deeply for a moment centering herself again. "What's our status?"

"Two seriously wounded, three hurt but still able to hold a gun and pull a trigger. Morale… not so good." Bossa said truthfully. "We're running low on medigel good news we've got plenty of thermo clips."

Shepard pulled away from the others; she looked at the bullet ridden body of James Olmos. He was under her command now as were the other two who had died. She loathed losing people under her command. She felt as if she let them down, let their families down. That she failed in her command. She knew she could not afford to be sentimental at this time; she had to push it all to the hindbrain. She vowed never to forget a soldier under her command, ever. Their names forever burned into her mind, into her memory. Like her mother she kept a tiny journal of the names of those under her command… of those she lost because she wanted to remain human, not a machine of war. She prayed she never had to turn a page in the 'Book of Blood'. She prayed never to become indifferent to death of her people.

The destruction of the gunship had blocked off passages from the main avenue the pirates had been using to attack the district causing it to become more of a chokepoint.

'This is the battle of Thermopylae.' Shepard thought. 'Here we are just like the three-hundred Spartans against Xerxes and his horde.'

Scavenging from the dead pirates not only had the 502s picked up weapons, thermo-clips but enemy radios. Shepard had been monitoring their chatter since. Most of it complaining that the bunkers were too well fortified to break into, a great deal more about the firefight happening in the warehouse district. Shepard made sure they were given the information about the secondary node being in that area. She gave misinformation that if the bunker was seized, the core computer could be hacked and thus giving the all clear order to the bunkers and force them to open their doors.

Just as Sam knew more pirates were dispatched to pacify the resistance. Shepard's plan was to draw them further into the chokepoint, into the cargo processing plant. The place Shepard allowed the raiders to believe was where the secondary node to be located.

She looked to her troops and shook her head. Three of the eight were heavily wounded, two moderately and they were still fighting.

"Bossa, we need to the get the seriously wounded clear. We fall back to the cargo processing plant."

"They won't want to stand down ma'am."

"I wasn't asking."

"Aye, aye." The older marine went to carry out the lieutenant's orders. As the Chief said they weren't happy about the orders but they obeyed.

The marines maneuvered into the cargo processing plant. Shepard had the conveyor system destroyed thus blocking off the main cargo doors, it left only one access point a narrow loading dock. A small team could hold it easily.

The rest of the 502s descended into the emergency access tunnels leaving Shepard and Bossa in the main hub of the plant. They fell back guarding the entrance of the office until the men were away.

The blast originated near the cargo doors the shook wave sent both Shepard and Bossa flying backwards against the far walls: one against the wall in the office the other against the corridor bulkhead.

*Shepard* the voice was hazy backed by white-noise *Shepard?*

Shepard groaned, shaking her head trying to clear her mind of the fog. The ringing in her ears wouldn't stop. Weakly she tapped her radio. "Shepard here."

*LT… The emergency kinetic barrier sealed off the office. It will take time but we can shut it down…*

"No." Shepard climbed to her feet by using the wall to support her weight. "Bossa get below, seal the door behind you." Staggering to the office door the young woman met the gaze of the older marine. "Keep that bunker safe."

*Ma'am, with all due respect, you can't hold this position for long.*

"Long enough for the Alliance to get here."

*It's suicide! You don't even have the stockpile of weapons we've collected! They are on this side of barrier. Ma'am… I can't let you do this.*

"You have your orders, Chief. Carry them out."


"We hold the line, Chief. We hold."

Behind the barrier Bossa saluted, *Aye, aye.*

Shepard watched as Bossa vacated through the emergency hatch and sealed it behind him. She did the same to the office door then activated the holographic locks: green changed to red.

Now it was only a single marine against a whole platoon of pirates bound and determined to seize control of the defense system. They wanted the colony the only way to do that was to destroy the defenses; the only way to the defenses was through Lieutenant Shepard.

Another explosion erupted just outside the building. They were trying to smoke her out. The horrific cacophony was amplified by an ear splitting thunder of detonations.

They were trying to blow a hole through the emergency barriers. The same shield network that closed off the office from the main processing deck created barriers at all access points. It was a further measure to secure the plant from incursion. Shepard bunkered down behind a conveyer system. She had the perfect sniper position even if she was armed with only an assault rifle, heavy pistol and biotics.

Her only plan, shoot at anything moving until she ran out of ammo and her biotics drained, after that she'd start throwing chunks of metal and rock.

It began, bodies began to pile up as Shepard fired at first with her assault rifle then when that gave out she tore into them with biotics, shockwaves, singularities, pulls, lifts, throws, stasis anything to buy her more time, buy the colony more time. The dead were mounting up but there still seemed no end to the living climbing over them to get to her position.

A varren lunged at her; Shepard instinctively blocked the attack with her left arm. The pressure was immense, the armor not fully strong enough to stop her arm from being crushed, or her shoulder dislocated as the beast shook its massive head. Shock set in quickly, Shepard screamed even as its head was blown off at point blank range. Offal coated her once shiny armor; it was baptism by fire, by blood. She grabbed hold of the belt to her side arm with her broken arm to stabilize the injury and hopefully limit the damage in the long run.

She dug in deep, her body weakening from constant taxation, and pain, Shepard knew time was AWOL. Now she was left with only desperation.

"Shepards protect those who can not protect themselves." The young woman continued to fire in the maw of the advancing enemy.

" Shepards are guardians. The job description is in the name." Biotics hurled, the death cry of pirates a symphony of triumph.

"It's our sworn duty: a Shepard isn't a hero, we are guardians, protectors." Her body glowed pure blue-white light, she was beyond reserves, her skull pounding in excoriating pain. "It is why Shepards serve. No Shepard ever shirked duty, ever. No matter the cost, even if it means your death." Her words no longer shouts of defiance but whispered pleas to hang on for one last moment, one last second.

She felt her body grasped, hoisted into the air. Pain nearly flung her into unconsciousness.

"You want to die, human. You will." It was a krogan's voice.

Dizzy, fading quickly. Shepard only shook her head. Ripples of dark energy spiraled out from her as she used the last of her will. The singularity sent both human and krogan from the metal landing down a flight of stairs, into the bodies below.

Momentary blackness captured Shepard. Opening her eyes, she saw the krogan battle master recovering. She had lost her gun but a body next to her still held his. She took the submachine gun from the turian corpse, aimed at the krogan.

But missed.

"Looks like you die, human." He barked. "Elysium is now ours."

"Wasn't aiming for you." She coughed tasting blood in her mouth. She fired once more.

The krogan turned to see what the crazy female was trying to hit. His eyes went wide as he saw sparked igniting from one of the bodies that was half-in half-out of a window. Shepard had hit the pirate's grenade launcher still strapped to his back.


The blast of several grenades tore through the plant, shields, corpses and Shepard. She could no longer feel her left side, her eyes closed.

"Medic! Medic! We've gotta live one here. Barely. Sir, she's one of ours." The voice sounding tinny, and distinct: no way to tell if it was male or female or even human.

Shepard couldn't concentrate everything was various shades of gray. She felt something go for her neck, instinct took over. Her body pulsed a weak blue.

"Easy, Easy, I'm Dr. Chakwas. I'm only reading your dog tags. Take it easy, you're in no danger, soldier." There was a pause. "Lieutenant Shepard. Listen to me. You need to remain calm. You lost a lot of blood not to mention you're in shock and biotic overload. But you're safe, now. Trust me."

"Colony… safe?" Shepard wasn't even sure she spoke. She knew she thought the words, but felt disembodied, unreal… distant.

A new voice, though it was hard to tell. "Sure the hell is thanks you Shepard. I'm Admiral Hackett. Because of you the Fifth fleet is here and in time. You did the hero's work Shepard, we're here doing mop up. One hell of a job you did, kid."

"Sir I need to move her now."

"Dr. Chakwas...don't let that one die. We need her. Do what ever it takes to save her."

"Always do sir."

AN1: I have taken extreme liberties with real-world science. Oh yes and due to the events of ME2 obviously this is very much an AU. However some elements / scenes / characters of ME2 will make it into here so I guess there will be some spoilers. (I know ME2's Aria is actually Aleena if you put together everything she says you'll come to the same conclusion. She said she was a commando-mercenary-bounty hunter; she had been many things with many names. Besides how can you miss the 'better luck next time' or Patriarch wasn't the only krogan she pissed off or 'it is better to disappear than kill someone'…meaning Wrex. But my characterization was based solely on Wrex's story. For my own story continuity I'll have to stay with my depiction, though I'll add a bit of ME2's Aria in there.)

AN2: Elysium Blitz based upon events/ facts of the London Blitz. Number of nights bombed cut in hours, number of casualties cut to a quarter, number of enemy war-craft and injured remains the same.

Part 30

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