Mass Effect: Earthborn

Based on the popular Mass Effect universe, this story begins 2169 where it follows the series protagonist, Commander Shepard, during her years in the ghetto of New York City, before she joined the Alliance. It details how a 15 year old Shepard navigates her difficult life, dealing with school, love, her friends and her affiliation with the 10th Street Reds gang.

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8. A New Acquaintance

 

Chapter #08

A New Acquaintance

 

 

 

 

 

2.34 p.m., March 18th, 2170

Shane Duffy’s Apartment, New York City.

 

It was a peaceful morning for once. No alarm clock, no roommate who forgot that we slept in a bunk bed and any movement she did could be felt on my end, and no teacher who poked me and told me that I had fallen asleep in the middle of class.

I looked up at the open sky and watched the clouds silently gliding past the skylight.

Skylight?

I looked around and saw that I wasn’t in a familiar place; I was in a penthouse that probably was bigger than a small house.

I was covered in white sheets and my clothes were spread out across the floor next to the bed, and then the previous night returned to me; the drinking, the flirting, the dancing and at last, the fucking.

That last part made me remember that I probably wasn’t along in the bed. I looked to my right, and saw Shane lying on his stomach, face down into the pillow. Just from looking at his back, I could see that the guy had more tattoos than someone who had done time in a Mexican prison.

I smiled at the thought of what we had done in the bed, and on the couch in his living room, and for a brief moment, in one of the toilettes at Black Hole. Then the smile disappeared, not because I was ashamed, but rather because I was annoyed.

The annoyance wasn’t because of what we had done in his apartment, but because of what we had done at Black Hole’s toilettes. But after another thought, I didn’t care since he was just a one-night-stand.

I looked at the holographic clock on the nightstand and sighed at what I saw: it was 2.37 in the afternoon.

Without making a noise, I crawled out of the bed and put my clothes from last night on. Once that was done, I could smell the club on me; the booze, the smokes and the sweat.

As I was about to sneak out of the bedroom and into the living room, I saw Shane’s jeans on the floor.

My eyes peered at Shane’s sleeping figure, just to check that he was still unconscious, so I picked up his jeans and took his wallet. I looked at the photo ID, and according to it, he was Shane Duffy. I went through the other small compartments of the wallet, and found a credit chit used for physical transactions. I looked at it, and luckily for me, it still had 326 credits on it.

I took the credit chit, and made sure that Shane was still sleeping. Then I snuck through the giant penthouse with the white walls where art was hanging.

I went into the hallway and walked towards the elevator.

As the elevator drove down, I turned away from the door and looked out over the city. From what I could see, I was somewhere on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

The looks I got from the people on my way out made it clear that they knew I was on a walk of shame, but I didn’t care, after all I had things that needed to be done that day.

The cold air was refreshing on my face as I walked out into the streets.

I steered towards the nearest subway entrance and took the subway to Brooklyn where Hansen & Co. Storage was located.

It was Hansen senior that was on duty today, and I just went straight to the elevator and rode it to the fourth floor. There, I quickly went into my storage unit.

I looked around; I had added a few more items apart from just my Viper. There was also fresh clothes, a work bench with different tools and components and if I couldn’t go home to Little Grace, there was a bed here.

After changing to some more practical clothes and having picked up the Viper, I went back to the subway and took a train to Harlem where the Hideout was.

On the way, I got a cup of coffee from a nearby café. It had been like a daze since I had left Shane’s penthouse. Maybe the black gold would cure that.

As I walked into the basement, everything looked the same: people playing video games, watching TV, playing foosball and just generally hanging out because they had nothing else to do. Several of them were hung over, that much was clear.

I looked over at the spot where I had gotten the snot beaten out of me back in November. No one had bothered with cleaning up my blood, probably because they didn’t care. It had taken on a darker color than I spat it out.

“Yo?” I asked.

“What is it Shep?” one of the guys in front of the TV asked.

“Any of you seen Cross somewhere? He said he wanted to speak with me.”

“Try the living room.”

The living room was bigger than the basement, but the only people that usually inhabited it, was a lookout who would warn everyone downstairs of the blues were coming. Now, however, there were three people: the lookout, Cross and… Shane Duffy.

Dumbstruck, I was only able to stand there and wonder why Duffy was there.

“Finally, there you are Shepard” Cross said. He was smiling, which was unlike him.

“Kate?” Duffy asked as he turned around.

“Shepard” I corrected him, still confused.

“You two know each other?” Cross asked while staring from me, to Duffy, back to me and then to Duffy again.

“Yes.”

“No.” We both answered at the same time.

“We have an intimate knowledge of each other” Duffy said and smirked. I balled up my fist and swiftly punched him in the stomach. Though he didn’t move much, I smiled when hearing him cover his groans and a couple of coughs.

“Who is he, Boss?” I asked to draw his attention away.

“Shepard, meet Shane Duffy. He’s part of the Reds in Dublin.”

“He’s a Red?”

Duffy answered that question by pulling up his sleeve and revealing the insignia on his upper arm, almost hidden between other tattoos.

“Born and raised as one, sweetheart.” His thick Irish accent was clearer now that I wasn’t drunk, but I still answered myself the question of why I hadn’t noticed his tattoo.

“He’s your new partner Shepard” Cross blatantly stated, as if it didn’t mean anything to him.

“What?” I asked in disbelief and walked a few paces forward to face Cross. “I work best alone.”

“Yea? Why is that?”

“Yea, why is that sweetheart?”

“Stop calling me that” I told Duffy and turned back to Cross. “I am faster; he won’t be able to keep up.” I tried to explain it rationally even though this was making my blood boil.

“Remember last week? You almost got capped because you didn’t have someone to watch yo back” Cross said.

During that job, I had gone into a building to get to the roof, what I hadn’t noticed was that three Razors had followed me. The only reason that I wasn’t a corpse in a morgue, was that the first one of them to pull a gun missed, and that gave me enough time to spin around and pop all three of them with my Paladin.

“But-“ I said, but was cut off.

“I don’t wanna hear it Shepard!” Cross said and held his flat hand up to stop me. “If he slows you down, either you slow down with him, or you make him go faster.”

Duffy was just standing there with a crooked smile and an arrogant look in his eyes. He had seemed so charming the night before, but now he just seemed like an ass.

I sighed. “No Boss.” I realized that if I was to get rid of Duffy, a head-on approach wouldn’t do the trick.

“I actually have a question” Duffy said. Cross nodded at him and he continued. “Where can I get a gun?”

“If you go down into the basement, there should be some pistols in the weapons cabinet” Cross said, still with a voice that signaled indifference.

“What kind?”

“Predators” I said.

“And it’s free?”

“You’re a Red” Cross said. “That means your family.”

Duffy smiled and nodded, and then he went down into the basement to get his weapon.

“Why is he here Boss? I know that you didn’t pull him all the way from Ireland, just so I can have someone to follow me around.”

Cross disregarded the condescending part of the question and answered. “Things were starting to heat up for him in Dublin, apparently he pissed off someone from a different gang, and they sent him to us so things could cool down for him on the other side of the pond.”

I shook my head. Anyone who had enemies like that wouldn’t fit in with my MO since I liked staying out of the spotlight. Then I suddenly remembered that I was in a similar situation.

At that moment, Duffy reentered the room from the basement, while checking out his new pistol.

“So where are we going today?” he asked after holstering it.

“Shepard can tell you” Cross simply stated, again with indifference. “You ready?” he asked, this time directed at me.

“If asshole here” I said and pointed at Duffy with my thumb, “Is ready, then yea.”

“Then get going. I want this done today Shepard, you feel me?”

“Yea, yea I feel ya Boss” I said and fist bumped Cross.

While Duffy was still looking at Cross, I walked past him towards the front door. “Come on Mick, we got a job to do.”

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