Bargaining with the Devil

Posted: March 1, 2015 by writingsprint in Science fiction, We've Got Your Back
Tags: , , ,

Part 6 of “We’ve Got Your Back,” a Mass Effect fan fiction. This story has spoilers for the end of Mass Effect 3.
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“Life must be preserved. Our purpose is the preservation of life through ascension,” the shining boy said.

Shepard kept working. He felt cold, and he had to lean on the console to stay up. He moved glyphs with both hands, placing them on instinct. The puzzle looked like a fractal unfolding in front of his eyes. He could almost feel the floor vibrate with the building power.

Through the transparent display, he saw two Reapers wither and stop moving under massive bombardment. Bits of them floated aimlessly. Shepard would have cheered, but a dozen ships from the fleet died just where he was looking. Beyond that, he could see a patch of Earth burning. It looked like everything between Berlin and Paris was on fire.

He swallowed. His breaths even felt cold. “Why don’t you talk to me in that satanic rumble you usually use?” he asked. He already knew the answer: because a boy’s life mattered to him.

Harbinger continued, “That which you call Reapers were created to bring an end to chaos. Organics create synthetics to exceed their physical limitations. Synthetics evolve and surpass their creators. By harvesting organics and synthetics, we prevent their loss from existence, and allow new life to flourish.”

Now it wanted to talk. After millions of people had died, now it wanted to talk. “Brilliant. You have an orderly cycle of armageddon. We wouldn’t want it to be messy. Did it occur to you that we’re all dead either way?”

“Not dead. Ascended. We harvest genetic and synthetic life. Your bodies, your knowledge, and your creations are reborn in Reaper form.”

Shepard would have made a fist if he could spare the time. “You make ‘reducing our bodies to goo’ sound so vulgar.”

His vision hazed over again. Shepard grabbed the console before he fell down. He coughed, and the act hurt so bad that he cried out. It was all he could do to stay on his feet. Shepard moaned.

“You are an anomaly. Your presence here creates an opportunity. You can create peace between synthetics and organics.”

Shepard forced himself to breathe slowly. Push, soldier. Push! Stand up!

“You can end the cycle, and succeed where we have not.”

He came back to his feet. Shepard stared at the puzzle. He could see similarities in between organic and synthetic radiation. Either he was hallucinating, or Harbinger was telling the truth.

“How?” Shepard asked.

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