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Rise from the Ashes

Chapter Text

It all started off as a normal day. Woke up in the morning as the sunlight lit up my room turning it into a magnificent orange colour. It would have been beautiful if it wasn't so blinding. God, I really have to learn to close my blinds but the way the moonlight lights up my room helps me to relax and sleep only to make me regret in the morning. Oh well.

"John" my mom knocks on my door hoping to wake me up. "It's time to get up. You have work."

"I'm up" I reply back as I drag myself out of bed and practically throw myself into the shower. One of the disadvantages about living on a small remote farming colony is the fact that we have to farm. Farming so boring I want to be out with my friends playing sports or sneaking off to drink. I can't wait till I'm old enough to leave this planet. I mean come on there is a whole galaxy out there to explore with a different type of aliens. From what I've heard Turians are army people which is why their fleet mostly guard the citadel and is one of the council races. However, due to the first contact war in 2157 most humans and Turians don't get along. The citadel is home to the citadel council which also includes the Salarians who are probably the smartest race out there. Or at least that's what was taught in school. The last member of the council is the Asari and all-female species who are the most technological advanced species in our galaxy. Of course, there are other non-council races like the volus elcor quarians geth hanar Drell krogan and the batarians. I've learnt less about these races since they are not a part of the major three. Well, that and the Geth haven't left the Perseus Veil in over 200 years after they forced the Quarians into exile where they now roam the galaxy so not many people interact with them. The drell all live on the hanar homeworld Kahje after they used up all the resources on their own plant which almost led to their extinction and the hanar are an aquatic race so they're mostly remain on their planet. Krogan are either on their planet or selling themselves out as mercenaries after the Krogan Rebellions where the Turians and Salarians unleashed the genophage to quell their numbers. So, the chances of running into these races are rare compared to the council races. But one day I will meet every one of these races. I just know I will.

Another race we learn about in school are the Protheans who vanished 50,000 years ago Only their legacy remains the mass relays and the citadel. Nobody really knows how or why they disappeared but the way I see it is the galaxy works in cycles. I mean Earth had dinosaurs then they were all wiped out then the ice age where they were all wiped out. Nature seems to have a balance. Empires shall rise and Empires shall fall it's just the way of life. Kind of like a cycle. Of course, when I told my friends this they just laughed and asked how I was. In all fairness I was slightly high at this point because yes, I'm an 'edgy' but who cares it's a good idea.

Once I'm showered and dried and pull on a Seattle Sorcerers biotic ball shirt and a light blue pair of jeans. Heading down stair's mom had already put breakfast out on the table. Pancakes with blueberries and bananas. They are my eight-year-old sisters favourite. And mine. Speaking of my sister she is already tucking into the pancakes stacked on to her plate happily munching away. taking one look at us and you can tell we're siblings. We have the same feature and the same dark brown hair and deep blue eyes. My mom says as blue as the sea but I've never seen the sea in real life so I'm not sure if that's true or not.

"Lucy remember to chew." My mom says while passing me a plate of pancakes. Lucy starts chewing slower.

"Sorry." She says once she's swallowed what was already in her mouth.

My dad also joined us at the table and we all had breakfast together. The conversation was light as we mostly talked about our plans for today. Once we're done mom and dad started the washing up and Lucy tugged on my sleeve. "You still going to take me to watch the sunset tonight right." The excitement is barely hidden in her voice has she practically tugs on my sleeve. I laugh at her excitement. On the outskirts of the settlement, there is a big hill that overlooks the whole colony and when you are at the top you can watch the sun come down over the town. It's beautiful and I normally time my daily runs so I can be at the top of the hill to watch it before taking off again.

"You bet I am Lu," I promised before the following day out for a day of working on our farm. The rest of the day was being laboured work on the crops and looking after the animals. The latter part is really the only part that I really enjoy. We have cow's sheep pigs' chickens and goats. Me and Lucy renamed every one of them when she was about five. When I wasn't working, I was chatting with the other farmhands. My dad says I can make friends with just about anyone which is sort of true since I know everyone in our town and frequently talk with them. Hey, I just like talking to people everybody had a special story of their own and I enjoy listening to them. In other words, I'm just nosy.

The end of the day rolls around fairly quickly and before I know it me and Lucy are packing up some treats to eat up on the hill. "Don't stay out too long Lucy's bedtime is at eight o'clock." my mom reminds me.

"Yeah yeah I know. We'll be back before then." I bend down allowing for Lucy to jump on to my back. The fastest way to get there is for me to run while giving her a piggyback ride.

"Be careful you two." My dad adds on

"Always," I reassure him that I will be careful with Lucy. "You ready Lu," I ask moving her around a bit so I can best run with her.

"Let's go." She shouts with pure joy which causes me and my parents to laugh. Playing Jonsi 'Where No One Goes' on my Omni Tool to add so flaw and fun to the trip I take off running. This song is also one of my favourite running songs. As I'm running watching the buildings fly past me and Lucy listening to music I feel at peace. I guess one of the advantages of living n Mindor is that it's just so peaceful. I bet we can give Eden Prime a run for its money.

After about ten minutes of jogging, we finally reach the bottom of the hill where Lucy claims off my back. "How about a race Sis," I ask knowing she enjoys our little competitions. "Winner gets first to pick of the chocolate."

"I'm going to win." She declares racing off up the hill. I let her get about half the way up before I start running. That should put is on equal footing. Sadly, she just managed to beat. And I totally didn't slow down so she could win. I would never let her win. "Johnny, Johnny I win I win."

"Yes, you did." I laugh picking her up and spinning her around as she also explodes into laughter. "We'll make a runner out of you yet," I shout before pulling us both to the ground which I'm pretty sure will leave grass stains. We spend the next few minutes laughing. It's a warm summer's day so I doubt either of us will get cold by being without a jacket. It's still a little too early to watch the sunlight so we just lay there soaking in the sunlight lying on the soft grass. Everything seemed so peaceful as my Omni tool plays more music. Then it happened.

One minute it was silence the next loud bangs were going off in the distance. Immediately I shoot up to my feet. More loud noise starts appearing from the settlement. Those noises are gunshots. Quickly I run over to the edge of the hill so I can look at the town we just came from and there is no mistaking the large ship and many shuttles raining down on the settlement. Looking at the this the first thought that goes through my head is We're under attack.

"Johnny what's going on," Lucy asks nervously from next to me. The sounds of gunfire and screams ring louder in the air and make Lucy more and more scared. "Johnny." her voice cracks and something inside of me reacts.

"We have to go," I shout desperately bending down and picking her. Her legs wrap around my stomach and arms around my neck. She starts to cry and buries her head in my neck. Once she secures, I take off running again as fast as I can away from our home. As I'm running, I remember what my mother told me. She is a Communication specialist for Mindor and taught me out to send out a distress call just in case we were ever attacked. Opening up my Omni tool I do exactly what she told and after a few seconds someone answers.

"This is the Einstein." A women's voice comes from my Omni tool. It's the Alliance. I hope they are in the area. "We read your distress call and are on route to your position. What is happening." the voice is calm and it brings me hope that we will survive this attack.

"I, I don't know I just hear gunshots and screaming. There are multiple shuttles inbound and one large ship." I tell them. Mom always told me to be calm and give as much information as I can. The more they know the better the chance of them handling it faster will be." Lucy was whimper as I spoke and that combined with my voice must have alerted the women answering the distress call that I'm not a part of security.

"How old are you." She asks quickly

"Sixteen," I reply. "My sisters eight." I hear the sudden intake of breath.

"An alliance team is ten minutes out. Are you both safe." She asks.

"No," I admit. Which causes Lucy's grip and crying to increase.

"Can you get somewhere safe." The women asks.

"No." I just trying to get as far away from the main settlement as I can. I know there's a small woodland area in this direction maybe if we get there we can hide.

"What are your names." The women asks. She's probably keeping us talking so she can monitor this situation and try to keep us as calm as possible.

"My names John Mason and my sister's name is Lucy." I'm breathing very heavily and am starting to slow down. I'm pretty sure adrenaline is the only thing that has kept me running so far.

"I'm Hannah Shepard." She women replies. "You're very smart and brave for a sixteen year old sending out a distress call."

"My mom taught me. She's a communication specialist." As the words leave my month the wood area comes into sight. At the same time, I can hear a shuttle flying overhead. Well shit. "There's a shuttle after us," I tell Hannah. Luckily, we reach the wood area and I hide Lucy in a bunch of bushes. The sounds of shout behind me tells me that the shuttle has landed and they are searching for me. "Lucy. Lucy "I say getting her attention and tearing her grips from me. "I need you to stay quiet. Ok." Hannah also has gone quiet to assure the situation. I pass my Omni Tool to her. "I need you to stay here and be quiet. Don't come out until the Alliance soldiers are here ok." It takes a bit of calming down and promises before she agrees. "I love you, Lucy," I tell her giving her a quick hug and kiss before moving away from her and closer to the invaders.

"There he is." One of them shouts before I spot them. Bullets come flying but I somehow manage to duck behind a tree. Sneaking a peek at who the invaders are. Batarians. Oh, Dear God. One of them try to move forward and grab me but I flare my biotics and throw him backwards away from me. That action saved me but it only delayed what was coming. I'm out numbered and they all have guns. Maybe I could make a run for it and use the trees as cover but I doubt I will get very far. All my would be plans are destroyed when I feel something hard hit against the back of my head and everything suddenly turns black.

I'm not sure how long I was out for but when I wake up, I'm lying down in a cage. Around me are other cage and many dead bodies. And I know every single one of them. My ears rang from all the screaming. The Slavers were just shooting people and throw others in to cages. Those who had already been in a cage were being loaded on to shuttles. Minutes flew by and more and more people were taken. I just sat there waiting for when I'm dragged off to god knows where. After what seemed like an eternity a batarian sporting what I think is a bruise on his head makes his way over to me. He seems very angry and all that anger is directed at me. I guess this is the guy I hit with a biotic throw. Well. This just got a whole lot worse.

"You think you're tough," he shouts as he grabs me and pulls me out of the cage before throwing me to the floor. "Pathetic Human," he shouts landing a hard kick to my stomach. Which rolls me on to my back. He goes to kick me again and I don't know what I was thinking but I as he came to kick me I rush up and using a biotic punch, punch him with as much force as I could muster in the face. As I'm punching him I barely hear a snapping noise and the batarian fall to the grow never to get up again. I killed him. Oh my god. Oh my god, I just killed someone. Other batarians in the area had watched the whole exchange now had their rifles pointed at me. Oh God, they are going to me be. They line up the shoot and start pulling on the trigger. I close my eyes and wait for death to greet me.






All these shots go off but not one bullet reaches me and when I open my eyes the batarians are lying on the ground dead and the Alliance soldiers are charging in. It's about time they got here. Quickly they secure the area killing any batarians around. However, they won't fast enough to stop the barbarians from escaping with a lot of our people. Not that I blame them or anything. Once everything settles down my first thought is Lucy. I ask one of the soldiers if they found her. A Guy called Zabaleta said she is with Hannah Shepard and he would take me to her. I nod and start following him before I remember something and take off running in the direction of my house. I can hear him running after me calling out my name. Busting through the door I am greeted to the sight of both my parents lying down in pools of blood. I freeze as reality starts to set in. My parents are dead. Tears stream down my face but I try to bury my feelings as Lucy needs me now more than ever. So, I walk my parents' blood and up the stairs int Lucy's room. Grabbing her favourite teddy bear a stuffed puppy before heading back down the stairs through my parents' blood again. Zabaleta just watches me before nods and escorts me to a shuttle.

The ride over to the Einstein is filled with a tense and sorrowful silence. Many survivors are unable to contemplate the events that's just unfolded and all our loss. Even the soldiers look like we do. They are mourning in our shared loss. Twenty minutes later we land on the Einstein everyone slowly makes their way off the shuttle but not me. Not because I'm scared or trapped in my mind but because my ribs are killing me. It hurts to breathe and moving them will only increase in the pain. My absentness is noticed as a woman with dark brown hair like mine climbs on to the shuttle looking for me. "John," she asks gently probably trying not to spook me. I recognise her voice. She's the women I was speaking to when I fled the settlement. Hannah Shepard. She slowly makes her way over to me and sits next to me.

I take a deep breath before I start talking. "One of the batarians killed me hard in the ribs," I tell her holding my stomach in vain attempts to dull the pain. "It hurts like hell."

"That's ok," she says moving to stand up. "I'll go get a doctor and be right back." she moves to exit the shuttle but stops just before and turns back towards me. "Your sister Lucy is currently with our Captain. She's safe because of you." Her words are meant to be happy and encouraging and they are but I only reply with.

"That batarian is dead because of me." My words come out hollow and haunted. She opens her mouth to say something but decides best not to say anything and moves out of the shuttle to get that doctor. I feel numb. I know everything is going to hit me later and that is something I am not looking forward to. For now, I just aim to breathe with screaming out in pain. Hannah shortly returns with a doctor in tow.

"You said you were kicked in the ribs." The new women asks in a British accent. I nod. "Do you mind if I take a look," she asks holding the bottom of my shirt. I shake my head. It's easier than talking. Carefully she lifts my shirt up and starts poking at my ribs. I let out a hiss of pain at each jab. "three of your ribs are broken." she tells me picking up some bandages from her medkit. "I'm going to wrap your ribs in place so they can." I nod as she slowly wraps my torso. "My Name's Karin by the way. Karin Chakwas." She gives me a small smile before pulling down my shirt. "I would recommend not doing any physical activates for a month to let your ribs heal."

"Thank you, doctor." I manage a small smile in return for her efforts. And with that, she leaves ready to move on to the next batch of injured civilians. "Thank you too," I say looking at Hannah who seems shocked at my thanks. "For saving my sister."

"Come on we should probably go see her now." I nod and with her help stand up and walk off the shuttle into the captain's quarters where he and my sister are chatting. She doesn't seem scared but sad. It seems the captain has just informed her of our parents' deaths. However, the moment she see's me her face lights up and she rushes towards me jumping on me.

"Johnny." She shouts desperately hanging on to me. "You're ok."

"I'm fine. Lu." I hold her tightly.

"Mommy and daddy." Her voice breaks and bursts out crying.

"I know Lu. I know." my voice wavers but I have to be strong for her now. I'm all that she has left. "I got you Mr snuggles" I pull up the stuffed dog to which she grabs hold off. "Everything's going to be ok Lu. I promise." Her crying slowly dies out and I realise it's because she's fallen asleep. Not sure what to do I Look towards Hannah who looks towards the Captain. "You two can take my Cabin for now." He offers before walking out the door. carefully I lift Lucy and lay her down in the captain's bed. Pulling the blankets over her I walk over to Hannah and take a seat. She follows my lead and sits down next to me. "I'm sorry about before." She takes hold of my hand giving me some comfort and allowing me to speak my mind. "Killed one of the batarians. He was the one who broke my ribs. he went to kick me again and I just reacted. I only meant to punch him. But I used too much force. I heard his neck snap. I heard people screaming in pain. I heard people dying. I saw my friends die. I walk through my parents' blood. So many people died. And one by one the batarians dragged us away. All I could do is just sit there and wait for them to take me away." I couldn't help but break down as I spoke. Hannah just held me as I cried everything I had been holding in into her arms. And for the first time since I heard that first shot, I felt at safe.

In the days that followed everyone had returned to Mindor. The Alliance held a funeral for all the souls that had been lost in the slave raid. Three hundred killed. Two hundred taken away as slaves. one hundred of us remain. The streets were cleared of bodies blood and damage. As were many of the houses. Now everything seemed empty. No one was around. All friends were either dead or trapped with the batarians. Mindor will never be the same. Me and Lucy have spent all this time with Hannah. She's been kind and supportive of us. But today is the day that the Alliance team that saved us has to pull out and move on. Which means Hannah has to leave. Without us.

Please don't' leave us." Lucy begs as Hannah tries to say goodbye. I want to beg her to stay too but she's a soldier who has to leave to protect other people. Stop the horrors that occurred here from happening somewhere else. Lucy is crying and holding on to Hannah for dear life. Hannah doesn't seem to want to leave us but we both know that she doesn't have a choice.

Every step I take towards Lucy and start pulling her away breaks my heart. "Come Lu Let go. Hannah has to go and save people."

"Like a superhero," she asks.

"Just like a superhero." this has the effect I aimed for as Lucy lets go.

"I'll call you two every day," Hannah promises as she pulls in to one last hug before heading off to the shuttle. I hold my sister as we watch her walk away. It's painful, to say the least.

Not long after the Einstein left me and Lucy were put into child services and a foster home on the Citadel as neither of wish to be back on Mindor. Too much pain for both of us. We're barely keeping it together. It's not until a month and a half later when we're told somebody has decided to adopt us. When I heard the news, I thought who the hell would adopt an eight year old and a sixteen year old who has just been through so much trauma. We're not exactly at the top of anyone list in terms of having a family. Well, I guess someone is crazy enough to pick us. Lucy was excited about leaving this place. Not that I can blame her. Which brings us to now walking to meet the person that decided to adopt us dragging ours belongs with us. I have no idea about the person who decided to adopt us but when we finally meet face to face, I knew straight away that we would be just fine. I knew this because Hannah Shepard had returned and she was now our new guardian. And for the first time in a long time, I felt happy. I won't ever forget the horrors from Mindor but I know that I can rise from the ashes of the pain left behind. Looking at Lucy who seems overjoyed I know we both can.