Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Love is the Tenth Wave

It was a hot day when we landed on Tuchanka. Firebase Giant was the name of our location, according to that elusive of a shuttle pilot; elusive, I say, because the guy was in an awful hurry to disappear off the face of the planet. He left us with only a simple set of instructions: important artifacts, find and secure them!
I assume some high ranking no gooder off some forsaken species decided some artifacts retrieved from a highly radioactive world might help us fight the Reapers. Don’t ask me how; I’ve been in this business of retrieving war assets and clearing out enemies from middle of nowhere slime holes for dozens of sorties by now, and they all amount to the same: we come, we hurt, we kill, we go away to come back another day. If that is the meaning we give our lives, what is the point of living anyway? Perhaps we should let the Reapers get on with it and show ourselves out in the name of having a conclusion to our story?
Maybe it’s weariness accumulated over centuries that brings this defeatist thoughts to my head. I don’t know. What I do know is this: when I have a problem, I like blowing it on the head. With a mallet. The Reapers are a problem, and me? I am in the vanguard, blowing their heads off to the best of my ability and hoping someone’s life, in some parallel universe, has just been made better.
At least I’m not alone. I hate going out there alone: sure, it could be fun, but most of the time I find myself back on the shuttle ahead of schedule in rather too tattered a form. It’s good to have a team to back me up, even if I’m the one who is always at the front.
I may have not been alone that day but I sure felt estranged. Accompanying me were a reclusive Salarian struggling about with his gigantic sniper rifle and a human armed to the teeth and covered with so much armor I needed to check the Internet to make sure he was a male sample. Majnoon, I said to myself, this one is going to be a hard one, with only three of us strangers to cover the whole base.
What do you know? Just as I was wondering about the party we will soon be having, Cerberus decided to drop in – literally. As they usually do, come to think about it. Only the Goddess knows how they, or one of the other types of galactic scum, always manages to show up exactly after we do. It is as if they are there just to give us a hard time! Count on me – once I find that traitor who tips them I’m going to turn all electric blue on their ass. Then they’ll see just how not so soft Asaris are!
Enough with the chitchat. A wave of troopers was upon us, disembarking on the other side of the base, and I wasn’t about to let non founding Council species take all the glory. I charged… then I charged, hitting the first Cerberus squad with so much force three of them never knew what hit them; the rest were crying about their casualties, helping me locate them for one charge after another. Whatever got left off after my charges was taken care of by my Piranha shotgun.
Wave after wave these fascist humans came at us, and stronger and stronger they grew each time around. Engineers setting up their lethal turrets, sentinels with their shields, well hidden Nemesis snipers, giant Atlas mechs, even elusive ninja Phantoms – they threw it all at us, but to no avail. Between us three we chopped them into little pieces, and easily so. Sure, I had to lob a grenade or two to get away from a nasty situation here and there, but we were doing fine. We had Cerberus on the run.
Then came the tenth wave of attacks. My sisters in arms found themselves cornered; they managed to take an Atlas with them, but that was their last hoorah for a while. The rest of the attack, the strongest thus far, had just one subject to focus on: me. Worse, if I was to succeed in our mission, I needed to quickly collect four data transmissions distributed all over the base. Vastly outnumbered, under a tight deadline and with no one to cover me, I did what us Asaris do best: I ran.
Off I went, seeking relative shelter, trying to attract the stray Cerberus agent to follow me; in a one on one situation they never stood a chance. Lucky for me, there was always one to fall for the trap; once they did the result was always the same. First there was the sound of my biotics charging, second came the sound of that dark energy released as I hit my enemies across the battlefield with the full might of my biotic charge; and with those strong enough to survive that initial assault, the loud clanking of my gun soon followed to provide the third and last hurrah.
Grenades proved their worth in releasing me from potentially tight corners, taking care of huddled groups of enemies. Yes, I took hits, but I was quick on my guerrilla style, always retreating to charge my shields up and look for more grenades. I did well; clearing one transmission area after the other, I managed to get all four. I killed more than 75 of Cerberus’ best that wave, 50 of those with biotic charges alone. I survived.
That last engineer and his turret, I took them with two grenades. The first one missed, doing minor damage. The second, however, was a point blank hit. With that, my squad mates were able to re-join me after what must have seemed to them like an eternity.
Another wave came, perhaps even more ferocious than its predecessor, but our objective was already complete. Our shuttle was on its way and all we had to do was hold on for a couple minutes more. We did, and then some; all three of us were successfully extracted.

It might have been just another mission for everyone else, but it wasn’t for me, though: that tenth wave, that insurmountable mountain. I doubted I would ever come back from that one, all on my own. But I did, and that made all the difference.

Yes, I love Mass Effect, and yes, I thought I might try my hand with posting some fiction. Despite, or perhaps because, I am crap at it (writing fiction, not Mass Effect; well, maybe both).
I had to start with “it was a hot day”, because I started one of my first school essays (was it 5th grade?) with those very words. The rest of the story is there to tell of an above average exciting night of playing Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, a night where – unlike many past experiences – I was left alone to carry the burden of the whole team and actually managed to pull it off. It’s exciting; it’s the stuff of legends.

Since the above is nothing but Mass Effect fan fiction, I would say its copyrights belong firmly with Bioware.

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