The Knowledge of Eons

Posted: March 4, 2015 by writingsprint in Science fiction, We've Got Your Back
Tags: , , ,

Part 8 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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Frankly, Shepard was pissed off.

He had to brace himself on the console with one hand. His legs weren’t enough. “Tell me one of their names,” Shepard said.

Silence.

“A member of the lost civilizations. Do you know one of them? Just one?”

“Names are irrelevant.” Out of the corner of his eye, Shepard thought he saw a flicker of red in the boy’s shimmering color.

“You chose the name Harbinger. Your vanguard chose Sovereign.”

“If you destroy us the cycle of destruction between organics and synthetics will begin again.”

“I’ve got a synthetic in love with a human and the geth and quarians have made peace. Next?”

“You need us.”

“Like we need a hole in the head.”

“We have the combined knowledge of thousands of cycles.”

“You haven’t done jack shit with it.”

“You will destroy yourselves.”

“You first.”

“Through synthesis you can transcend your limits.”

“We like our limits, thank you very fucking much.”

“You can become stronger!“

“I’ll go to the gym.”

“Guide your own evolution!”

“I like surprises.”

“You would throw away the chance at defeating death itself!” Harbinger sounded enraged.

Shepard pointed at the Reaper child like he was putting an insolent brat in his place. “Or else what? You’ll kill us all?”

Silence.

Shepard’s hand shook. He couldn’t waste time like this. Outside, another nova flash of light announced the loss of a quarian ship.

“Fuck you. This conversation’s over. You’ve got a date in hell and I’m going to make sure you’re not late.”

Shepard moved the last pieces into place. He saw the alternatives.

He could control the Reapers. They would become his hands. His tools. Harbinger hadn’t even mentioned that one, of course. Shepard’s essence would dissolve into the system, overlay on top of this… thing’s… and he would become their master.

He could rewrite the DNA of every creature in the galaxy. Synthetics would gain the eccentricities, the millions of microscopic joys and flaws, that organics cherished. Organics would lose their shackling to mortal flesh, gain networked intelligence, and the ability to live beyond the limits of their bodies.

Or he could bring it all to an end. Wipe the slate clean. Including the geth, and EDI.

Shit. There’s always a price, isn’t there?

He said he wasn’t a murderer. Was synthesis truly their destiny?

The knowledge of eons. Limitless existence.

Shepard used to play baseball with his parents. On the day they died, after the tears, he had gone outside and thrown a baseball at a wall until his aunt came and told him it was time to go to bed. He’d kept that ball and mitt until the Collectors destroyed the Normandy SR-1.

What did he tell Miranda? We all have someone else’s DNA, but our choices are ours. Something like that. All our struggles.

Shepard thought of all things he’d ever wanted, that he’d never gotten. He’d wanted his parents back. The buddies he lost on Akuze. Kaiden. The things we never have define us as much as the things that we overcome.

Shepard thought of the combined knowledge of thousands of cycles, thrown away. He imagined a mass murderer offering him wine in a chalice made of gold.

A smile curled around his mouth. Actually, if they truly were just instruments of harvest, like Harbinger said, then the Grim Reaper offering him such a cup would be a more appropriate image.

“You don’t have a crystal ball on our future. And I don’t even like wine,” Shepard said.

He moved the last piece into place.

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