In the end, I made the only choice that I possibly could. Though my life would be forfeit, everyone else, including EDI and the Geth would survive, not just the humans and other organics but all life, artificial and otherwise. Though it was not the ending to my life I had hoped for, it was the only one that would keep everyone I loved and cared about alive. The Reaper threat would end today and the battle for life would end. I couldn’t ask for anything else… except… to say goodbye.
I looked at the AI child standing next to me, waiting for me to make my decision. I smiled sadly at him knowing that he was the reason I was in this mess to begin with. All I wanted to do was raise my gun and fire into his little head, but he was nothing more than a hologram and the bullet would just phase through him.
"I hate you." I frowned at the little monster and turned my back to him. Opening up my omnitool I hit record. Even though my friends were fighting for their lives, when this was all over they would want an explanation of what happened up here and I was not going to be around to give it to them. This was the only way they would know the truth. I cleared my throat and tried to paste a smile on my face.
Back on earth
The reapers began to retreat. Kaidan wasn’t sure if it was because Shepard had made it to the Catalyst or not he hoped for their sakes that she had and was responsible for the reapers leaving earth. He and liara ran through the streets shooting remaining husks as they ran. He contacted the Normandy for extraction they needed to get to the citadel and get Shepard out of there. She was his only thought.
Joker came across the com his eta was only a few minutes. Steve Corso picked him and liara up halfway on their retreat to the Normandy. Kaidan was anxious, he still hadn't heard anything from Shepard yet and it was making him nervous. He drummed his fingers against his thighs as the shuttle docked with the Normandy. He barely felt it when Joker hit hyper-speed as they exited earth's atmosphere. Silently, liara and Kaidan road the elevator up to the CIC, only the sound of the elevator moving filled the closed quarters.
"There is a video message from Shepard for all crew members. She specifically asked that Kaidan and her team head into the com room," EDI's voice chimed. "I will upload the audio for the rest of the crew to hear at their stations."
Kaidan and liara glanced at each other worry and curiosity etched into their features. They all but ran to the communications room. Tali and Garrus were already there, his arm wrapped protectively around her shoulders. Javick paced the room; obviously upset by something, Kaidan ignored him. The Prothean did the same. James lumbered in behind Kaidan and liara, his body armor still caked in blood and sweat. He was a bit astounded that everyone had made it off earth alive. How many good men and woman had he watched die yet somehow miraculously Shepard's entire team had made it out alive.
The console flashed red, and he watched it blink with trepidation. EDI stepped into the room touching him gently on the shoulder as she passed to the light and waited.
"Jeff?" she called.
"All cued up and ready to go," his reply filtered over the intercom. She inclined her head once and then pressed the play button.
Shepard's image flashed in front of them, her hologram flickered slightly, She was beaten up pretty badly both eyes had dark bruises forming under them, there was a cut on her nose and blood ran out of her nose and the corner of her mouth. She swiped the back of her hand across her face wiping some of the blood off. They watched as she pulled herself together and pasted a sad smile on her face.
"Hey guys, I just wanted to tell you all what an honor it was to serve with you all these last 3 years. I wish I could be telling you this in person but unfortunately, that isn't possible. See the crucible wasn’t what we thought it was. It's not a weapon of mass destruction. It is something else entirely; I don’t think I can go into extreme details without getting this message deleted. But, I can tell you I was given a choice, one I won't regret because I know all of you will live on without me there. Everything we have accomplished these years together will change the universe, but what I am about to do will ripple unto eternity."
She stopped talking and looked to the right of the screen angling the camera to show a green beam of light. The crew watched quietly as she moved the camera back to herself. "That right there is going to help make synthetics and organics one race. There will be no more division of the two. It will also make the reapers coexist with us peacefully. The only thing is to make it work it needs something that already has synthetic and organic fused together."
Her eyes pierced the camera and Kaidan swallowed past the lump in his throat, his heartbeat pounded in his chest dreading what would come out of her mouth next.
"It needs ME."
"No," he whispered moving closer to her hologram wishing he could touch her, to talk to her.
She took a deep breath a single teardrop falling down her face. "So this is my goodbye. You are the best group of people I have ever known. Thank you for everything I will never forget you and I'll see you all on the other side." She smiled sadly one last time. "Kaidan, I'm sorry I couldn’t keep my promise to you," tears flowed down her face freely. "I love you so much that the only part I regret is that I won't be there with you. Promise me that you'll move on though, this time find some girl and settle down cause I'm gonna look in on you and if you don’t I'll haunt your ass." Her voice broke as she spoke. "I love you."
With a final salute, she took off down the walkway towards the green light. They watched in horror as she limped/ran towards it and jumped into the light. Kaidan could feel arms around him as he tried to reach for her. They pulled him back and held on to him as he fell to his knees screaming her name. They watched as the light flowed through her and then the video cut off.
"Shit…" joker's voice announced."We have a fucking pulse wave chasing us." Too shocked to move none of the crew besides EDI moved from their positions, she hurried to join Jeff.
He felt numb Shepard was gone. She was really gone this time; there would be no rescue at the citadel. He felt himself being pulled from the floor and led from the room. He couldn’t remember who did it they walked him to the CIC but he walked blindly unable to see anyone around him. He could not think past the fact that he was never going to see her face again. Never see her smile or feel her touch. He could almost feel his heart shattering in his chest, the next few minutes or maybe hours passed in a blur. He didn’t snap out of his haze until the Normandy crashed on some unknown terra nova like planet. He along with Shepard's crew survived the crash but the ship had taken massive damage and it would take a while to repair before they could return to space.
The crew worked together to make the repairs as Kaidan tried to reestablish contact with Anderson and Hackett. With no success, soon he began trying anyone in their immediate area that would respond back. He worked with fervor, even though the mass relays had been destroyed he knew he had to get back to the citadel to civilization. He had to find her body for himself this time, if only to lay it to rest. She had said her final goodbye to him it was only fair that he said his to her.
It took days, but they finally pieced the Normandy back together and got her back into space. Even though the planet they had landed on would make a perfect new home for them all of the crew were anxious to find their way back to their friends and families. To see who had survived and to say goodbye to those who hadn't. Much of the crew supported Kaidan's decision find Shepard's remains; he walked past the memorial board his eyes finding her name amongst the list. His heart bleeding as he waited for the elevators doors to close so he wouldn’t see the reminder of her. Not that it mattered; he had taken over her quarters and surrounded by things that reminded him of her.
He tossed his jacket over the office chair and kicked off his boots as he threw himself exhausted on to the bed. He closed his eyes remembering their last night together.
His eyes flew open at the sound of his name. He rose up on his elbows looking around the empty room. He could have sworn he heard her voice. He laid back down staring up at the ceiling at the stars as they passed by. 'soon,' he thought, 'they would be home soon.'
"So this is what death felt like." Shepard thought. She could not remember the last time she died only waking and then finding out she had been mostly dead for 2 years. How Miranda had brought her back still was a mystery to her. There was no coming back from this and that was okay she had died so others can live. So many soldiers made that sacrifice every day; she had sacrificed her life proudly knowing that he would live. "Kaidan," she whispered aloud. She ached at her loss of him if her heart could beat it would break knowing how he mourned for her. If she lived again and had a chance to see him again, she would never let him go.
"Open your eyes damn you; I will not have two years of my life thrown away because you had to save everyone Shepard."
"Miranda?" Shepard thought. "What are you doing here?"
"Wake up Shepard, Your duty is not quite over yet."
"Samara? You’re here too? What's going on here?"
"Fuck it Shepard, you better get your ass up now. I will not be responsible for my actions if you don’t come back to us now."
"Jack you’re here too? Are you dead as well? Why can I only hear you and not see you?"
"Thane," I whispered. "Where are you?"
"Siha, you must wake up now. It is not your time to join me across the sea."
"But I am dead why can't I join you?"
"You're not dead Siha that is; you won't be if you wake up."
"Wake up? How"
"Merely open your eyes."
"Thane, I'm afraid."
"Know that when you open your eyes you will be surrounded by so many people who love you and need you. That the one whose heart beats in time with yours will find you soon."
"I don’t want to leave you here alone."
"Ah Siha, here I am no longer alone. Here I have found my soul again."
I smiled, "I'm glad you found her again."
"Go in peace Shepard."
I took a deep gasping breath and opened my eyes against the brightness of life.