Jane sat on her sleeping pod looking at her lunch now laying in a puddle on the floor as the data pad lay sparking in the corner of the room. Tears stung her eyes but she fought them back, she had seen death before but had never seen someone take their own life. “How much pain was he in if that seemed like a good idea?” The thought repeated itself over and over in her mind, finally she stood up grabbed a towel and cleaned up the mess she had made. Once that was done she went over grabbed the data pad and tossed it into the garbage. She checked her watch and saw she still had five hours before her next training session with sir sunshine. She wondered if Hayden was off duty, but she knew he wasn’t so she decided to get some gym time in before her next training session. Besides it would help her get that damn vid out of her mind and that was all she really wanted to do.
Shepard’s dreams had become more and more insane and this current one was no different, as he lay sleeping on his bed covered in a coat of sweat that caused his bare chest and face to glisten under the small red light that stayed lit when the lights were turned off for sleep. His head turning from side to side every once in a while.
“You died” a child’s voice said in his head.
“You didn’t” another child answered a back.
Shepard was falling down a deep black void the voices repeating over and over. “What is happening?” He screamed out to no one.
“Death” answered one child.
“Life” answered the other.
“Who are you?” He yelled out, but no response. Suddenly he could see the ground rushing up to meet him and he braced. He landed are his teeth snapped together and blood filled his mouth as one tooth snapped from in impact. Pain made him put his hand to his mouth his fingers came away red. His lower was split and two front teeth were now snapped at the gum line throbbing and bleeding. Shepard spat and red spit hit the white floor with a splat. He was in a hallway now, hospital from the looks of it, and he could hear a faint sobbing sound at the end. The tiles of the floor where a polished white and the walls the same, doors lined each side their green color caused the eye to seek them out. Each door had a name on it but Shepard couldn’t read them his translator must have been damaged. His mouth filled with the salty taste of blood and he spat again this time less blood came out. Slowly Shepard walked toward the sound of crying at the end of the long hall. Looking at each door, “KILL” the word boomed in his head when he looked at the door to his left. Flashing images of dead and dying filled his thoughts his head pounded with them. Dismembered and dying soldiers, civilians, friends and my God family. He closed his eyes and the images stopped. He opened his eyes and “KILL” boomed again the images flooded back until he looked away.
“What the hell is this?” He said out loud to himself.
“Pain” answered the child.
“Pleasure” answered the other.
Shepard walked forward looking at the floor, but the green doors pulled at his eyes they willed him to look they wanted his gaze and he looked at another this one on the left. “FEAR” was the word this time and instead of images this time his heart leapt into his throat and started to race. Screams all around him from a million voices “WHY?” They asked, they begged and he had no answer for them. Willing himself he looked back at the ground and the voices stopped.
“Victims” one voice said unprovoked this time.
“Prey” said the other only now it didn’t sound like a child at all and it sent chills down Shepard’s spine.
“SHUT UP!” Shepard screamed his voice echoing down the long hallway but all he heard again was the sobbing. “I won’t look at any more he told himself” and began walking again. He made it past four doors wondering each time he didn’t look at them what they would have shown him and it tore at him each time he didn’t look up. Finally, he had to look something wanted him to see these and his will was pushed too far now. Looking at the last door on the right hand side nothing happened. No word no horror show, if only that were true he knew it wasn’t in his heart as sweat fell down his brow stinging his eyes.
“SEE” the child’s voice said.
“See what?” Shepard responded.
“SEE HIM!” the evil voice said “SEE HIM! SEE HIM! SEE HIM! SEE HIM! SEE HIM! SEE HIM! SEE HIM! SEE HIM! SEE HIM!” It repeated over and over.
Shepard covered his ears but it was no use this voice was inside his head, he shut his eyes but voice got louder.
“SEE HIM! SEE HIM! SEE HIM…” it continued
Not thinking Shepard pushed his shoulder into the door and it gave way easily and he was falling landing hard on the ground. The voice stopped and Shepard scrambled to his feet and wiped the sweat from his face. The room was dark except one small bed and a light over it, the light flickered off and on but Shepard could see the bed clear enough. He walked toward it and the sobbing began again louder than before. As he got closer he could see it was a hospital bed and it had a body on it under a white sheet. The sheet had been pulled over the person’s head and the sobbing grew louder.
“Am I going crazy?” He said out loud.
“Crazy” the child agreed
“Mad, insane, nutty, loony, lunatic” It liked that one “LUNATIC, LUNATIC, LUNATIC, LUNATIC, LUNATIC, LUNATIC! Oh yes, batty, demented, one card short!” The other voice said now sounding high pitch and shrill.
“Finally agreeing?” Shepard said, but there was no reply this time.
The sobbing started again and Shepard thought he knew who was under the sheet. “Just turn around, you don’t need to see it.” He said to himself but he knew that was wrong, he had to see it and with an arm that felt too long, too stretchy he grabbed the sheet and pulled it back. Looking back at him with dead eyes was his own face only the eyes were red and scars were on his face they were glowing red as well.
“You died.” The child said.
“Ah, but you live!” The other voice said with a laugh.
In a flash hand clasped around Shepard’s neck and the dead body pulled him down closer. Shepard fought but it was no good fighting for air and purchase he slammed his fist into the bodies face but it did nothing.
“Obey!” The dead Shepard said.
Shepard could feel his world slipping, turning gray and in a moment black. His heart pounded in his chest his ears were ringing. With all of his remaining strength he put all of his weight into the hospital bed and for a second he thought it would hold and the life would be choked from him. Then with a sudden lurch it gave and soon the two men where tumbling to the cold floor below. In a moment the grip was lost and Shepard rolled to his left to get away gasping as he did trying to regain his breath. Adrenalin was now pumping through his body and he tasted metal in his mouth. The world slowed and he regain his feet instinctually bringing his hands up to defend against next attack but none would come. He saw that the other man was no longer there, he spun around expecting to see him and for a moment he thought he had but that was only his imagination. The room was empty and silent except for the beating of his heart in his chest. Shepard turned looked at the bed one more time to make sure there was still nothing there. Turning back toward the door cold hands grabbed him again and Shepard snapped awake in his cabin the sheet from his bed wrapped around his neck.
Anima sat at the mess hall table sipping coffee she hadn’t slept much since seeing her mother, who basically told her all her worse fears were true. Not only that but she wanted her to rescue he little sister. As if that was even possible at this point, Anima was not a Captain any longer and just flying off to the Cerberus facility wasn’t an option. She would have to go through her father and hope that Cerberus didn’t change him. She still thought of him as her father it was hard not to though he was much younger now closer to hear age but still older then she was. She guessed Miranda had liked this age when she cloned him. Miranda was always around him and Anima wasn’t sure how to get the two apart but she had the beginnings of a plan though it would need a lot of things to go right for it to work. She didn’t like leaving things to chance but what choice did she have at this point. In a few days they would be going after the original virus or cure or both and this may be her only chance.
Xen sat at her desk overlooking the data from the latest tests the light reflecting off her mask which she always wore now. Human children were filthy beasts and she wouldn’t breath the same air as them. All but two have been purged the girl being the only viable choice but the boy seemed to calm her down when she got out of control so Xen had relented and allowed him to stay. They had names but Xen didn’t care she only cared for data, for the discovery, and of course the weapon that little bitch would become. Xen turned off her Vid Screen and stood up, she walked over to the door paused for a moment then opened it. Laying on the bed inside was her new toy a blonde haired young human lay sleeping his naked body was splendid to look at. “So young, you have all the exuberance of youth but you certainly lack stamina.” Xen thought as she picked up the man’s pants and tossed them into his face waking him up.
“Waaa what… oh, ready for another go?” the man said as he wiped the sleep from his blue green eyes.
“No, you can go back to your own sleeping area I won’t be needing your… skills any longer.” Xen replied walking back out and sitting down at her desk again. She had a busy day and the sooner this pet leaves the sooner she could get started. She was excited to see just how far the girl had progressed.
“Oh, okay.” The man said getting dressed “Maybe I’ll see you later?” He asked knowing the answer when Xen was done with you she was done.
“I doubt it, but you never know.” Xen said coldly.
The man took the hint pulled a shirt on and decided to put his shoes on in the hall, he quickly hurried outside almost slamming the door as he left.
Xen let out a small laugh and turned on her Omni Tool. “Tell me the Merc is here.” She said
“Yes ma’am, he got here an hour ago… He is um…” The female voice replied.
“He is what?” Xen snapped.
“Drunk ma’am.” The voice replied.
“No matter, as long as he can walk and talk. I am on my way, wake the girl and have the boy standing by.” Xen said turning off the Omni Tool.
Xen stood up and left her room, laughing again as she saw the young man still dressing outside her door. Shaking her head, she made her way to the end of the short hall to the elevator. Once inside she pressed the button that said lab zero and waited, a few moments later the door opened revealing a bright white laboratory full of lab equipment and staff members wearing scrubs.
“Report” Xen said as she exited the elevator.
The staff knew the drill and Xen’s assistant rushed over to her. She was a young woman in her late twenties. Her brown hair pulled back into a tight bun her bright knowing brown eyes completed her face. Xen noticed more than a few of the men have taken to her, but unless they turned blue and female they were barking up the wrong tree. Xen happened to know that Amanda was infatuated with the Asari, however she didn’t know if Amanda had acted on those feelings with any of the Asari staff. Xen decided she didn’t really care as long as she did her job which she did well enough.
“Jen is ready in the testing area.” Amanda said handing Xen her data pad.
“Jen? We naming our pet now?” Xen asked looking over the pad.
“She seems to like it and it is shorter the Genetic enhancement number 5.” Amanda said.
“Right… well Jen it is then. Where is the Merc?” Xen asked still looking over the data.
“He is sitting over there; I gave him some coffee.” Amanda pointed to the Merc sitting across the room. He was a bald human man wearing what looked like blue sun armor a pistol and combat knife at his hips.
Xen walked over to the middle aged man. “I trust you are as good as your bio said.” Xen said as she got closer to the man.
The Merc looked up to reveal one light blue eye, the other eye was missing a dark hole was all that was left where the matching eye once sat. “I hope you can bloody well pay the amount the contract says” The man said hoarsely. “Don’t get to thinking you can pay me in lab equipment, though we can work out a payment plan if you want to offer up your sweet arse.” He said laughing deeply.
Xen decided she didn’t like this man but since when did that stand in the way of discovery.
“You’ll get all you were promised and more I am sure.” Xen replied. “I hope you can still shoot with one eye.” Xen said pointing toward his pistol.
“Ha, I can.” With that he drew is side arm quickly aimed and shoot hitting a scientist in the skull. A red mist exploded as he slumped to the floor. “There you have it, now I know you are thinking why not get one of those implants. Well I am not paying for something I don’t need besides the whores never care about my missing eye only the credits in my account.” He laughed again and put his side arm away.
“Shame to waste him on this.” Xen thought she could use a man like this she knew. “Did you come alone mister…?” Xen said.
“Mister? Ha that is rich, do I look like a mister to you girl? You can call me Bear, and no I didn’t my pilot is over there.” He said pointing toward a young man sleeping on the floor in the corner.
“Very well Bear, I need your pilot to take your place I have other plans for you.” Xen said.
“I still get paid?” Bear asked.
“Of course, though your pilot might not live through the test.” Xen said.
“What do I care? You want me to stay I don’t need him anymore do I?” With that Bear grabbed his empty cup and threw it at the young man striking him in the head waking him up. “Oy Boy, get your lazy arse over here this sexy thing has a bloody job for you.” Bear said laughing. “If I am not fighting I require a drink, wine will do.” He said.
“Fine, Amanda get our new friend here some Asari wine.” Xen said and Amanda did as she was told.
The young man walked up to Xen and Bear. “What do you need?” He asked.
“Can you fire a gun?” Xen asked.
“Yes, I was Alliance until… well yes.” The pilot said.
“Until?” Xen asked.
“He got caught with is prick inside of some Admirals wife.” Bear exclaimed laughing as the young man turned red.
“I see, all you have to do is take this rifle and go inside that room there. Your goal is to last five minutes. Do that and you’ll earn yourself a hundred thousand credits.” Xen said handing him a Cerberus issued assault rifle.
“That’s it?” The man asked.
“Yes, now take this and go through those doors.” Xen said pointing to a set of doors at the far end of the room.
The man nodded and walked over to the doors and went in. Xen walked over to a large screen that showed fighting arena. It was filled with crates for cover otherwise it was empty. “There is only one target eliminate it or survive five minutes and you will have all the credits you need.” Xen said into a microphone.
Jen was dressed in a pair of scrubs but nothing else her blonde hair was starting to grow back from when they shaved her head. She couldn’t remember why Aunty Xen did that but she didn’t mind she loved her Aunt Xen and all of her new friends at the base. Sometimes they let her play with James in the playroom and that is the most fun, other times she has to go to school. She didn’t like school very much, today they said she needed to stop a bad man who wanted to hurt James and her. She asked why Xen couldn’t stop him and they said she tried. So Jen walked into a room full of crates and saw a man standing at the other end with a gun.
“Leave me alone! You can’t hurt James!” She yelled to him.
The man looked up startled and confused, he then raised the rifle and pointed at her. Jen darted behind a create just in time before the bullets passed by slamming into the wall small metal fragments landed in Jen’s blonde hair. “GO AWAY!” She screamed but the man didn’t answer.
He didn’t want to be here but one hundred thousand credits was a lot of money. He looked at the rifle it felt heavy in his hands suddenly he heard a girl’s voice.
“Leave me alone! You can’t hurt James!” The girl yelled.
He looked up “my god she can’t be any older than ten!” He said to himself, but he raised the rifle pointed and fired. “Got her!” he thought but he didn’t see the body or any blood.
“GO AWAY!” She screamed
“Fuck!” he said out loud.
“That’s a naughty word! You shouldn’t say naughty words! Go away I won’t let you hurt James.” The girl yelled.
“I can out smart a ten-year-old girl.” He thought. “It’s okay, I don’t want to hurt anyone… You… You just startled me that is all I am sorry I shot at you. Come on out so I can take you some place safe.” He said moving between the rows of boxes.
“Don’t make me hurt you!” She yelled to him.
“Hurt me? You are a ten-year-old unarmed girl, how are you going to hurt me?” He thought still moving along the row of boxes. “Just come out and we can talk, don’t you want to talk to me?” He said.
“No! I don’t talk to strangers and you are stranger.” The girl replied.
“That is okay just keep talking.” He thought knowing she was giving away her position each time. Then he saw her run to another row, he fired but missed “Son of a bitch!” he shouted.
“That is a bad word, and you shot at me again!” She yelled.
“She isn’t afraid, what that hell is this?” He thought as she stepped in front of him. He pulled the rifle up but his arms started to tremble. And what was wrong with her eyes? They are all black. Horrified he tried to pull the trigger but couldn’t, something no someone was in his head.
“Get…Out… of my… head” he managed to say before he went still dropping the rifle as his hands went limp to his side.
“I warned you.” A voice in his head said “Now you will have to be punished for being a bad man.” The girl’s voice inside of his head said.
Then he could feel his arms moving up toward his face, he tried to fight but each time his head would explode in pain. Suddenly his hands were at his eyes and with a quick jab his index fingers plunged deep into his eyes digging at them. He screamed in pain but was helpless to stop it as a loud wet pop sound came and his world went black. Blood ran from his eyeless sockets as she made him walk over to the wall. At her request he slammed his head over and over into the wall until a loud crack of his skull splitting open echoed in the room he then fell convulsing, until he died blood flowing from his eyes and now opened skull.
“I did warn you.” She said as her eyes went back to normal.