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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2. And Power Corrupts

 

Chapter #02

And Power Corrupts

 

 

 

 

 

2.59 p.m., September 13th, 2169

Brooklyn Rooftops, New York City.

 

The rooftops weren’t tall in this region. Even though it was 2169, there were still urban areas that weren’t filled with skyscrapers, Brooklyn for example.

I was running over the rooftops, using the environment to bring me forward. A three feet tall wall that separated two rooftops wasn’t an obstacle, not if I just ran towards the side of the other building and placed my foot on that wall and jumped over the small one. There was a gap before the next building’s rooftop, but that wasn’t a problem since there was a horizontal pipe of some sort that was hanging over my head right before the gap, so I just jumped up and swung myself off the pipe to the next building without sacrificing my momentum.

There were some old videos on the extranet where the title called this parkour. I didn’t care what it was called, I just knew I liked it; running on the rooftops like this made me feel alive. I could smell the fresh air and feel the cold wind as it blew through my short red hair. It was like living on the edge of the world.

I was almost where I needed to be.

An air vent was covering the most of the next rooftop. It was too large to jump over, even with a wallrun, but it was so far off the ground that I could glide under it. So I already knew what I was going to do when I landed; utilizing my momentum, I let myself hit the ground while still keeping my speed, I then slid under the vent and quickly got on my feet again while still in a running speed.

I was here now.

A quick look over the edge of the building I was standing on now let me know that I was five stories up. I looked around and saw the building’s roof access door. Like it was arranged, a small brick had left the door open, so I quickly went in.

The apartment I was looking for was 5-12 which meant that it was basically apartment number 12 on the fifth floor.

The building was at least a hundred years old, but still standing, partially thanks to a few renovations, but you could still see the original wooden floor and the red brick walls.

I quickly found the metal door with the brass numbers 5-12 screwed onto it.

Before going in, I reached for the heavy pistol I had in the back of my pants. A M-77 Paladin. A durable weapon originally designed by law enforcement. It was made for undercover cops who needed a weapon that was easily concealed yet could pack a punch. It was the same reason for why I liked it and never went anywhere without it. I even designed a VI program for my omni-tool that could fool the schools metal detectors.

The small yet powerful gun felt right in my right hand, so I opened the door to apartment 5-12 and went in.

Inside there were five guys and they immediately started pointing their weapons at me. Three of them were wielding classic Predator heavy pistols, one had a Tempest submachine gun and the last had a Katana shotgun.

“Who da fuck are you?!” said one of them, a black guy with the Tempest. He had a red bandana on his head, a tight t-shirt that showed off his muscles and brown cargo pants.

“The Ice Queen” I immediately said.

They looked at each other like they were about to burst with laughter.

“You?”

“U-huh.”

The guy with the submachine gun walked over to me. “Where’s yar tat?” he asked while still pointing the deadly gun that could fill me with 150 bullets in 10 seconds, at me.

While still pointing my Paladin at the leader, I pulled up the left side of my tank top to reveal the Reds’ insignia, tattooed on my left side.

He then smiled and pulled away the Tempest. “Alright, it’s cool yall. This gal actually is da Ice Queen.”

“It’s Shepard” I said as they all lowered their weapons.

“Just Shepard?” the leader asked while shaking my hand.

“Just Shepard. And you are?”

“Jake Two-Two” he said.

I walked over to the window that faced the intersection while I heard the others talk about me.

“Daymn! Did you see dat ass?”

“If she’s da Shepard, I wouldn’t mind spending some time with her in the hay.”

“Alright fellas, relax” Jake said.

I turned back towards the room and the Reds. “Which one of you boys wanna play lookout?” I asked while smiling.

It was decided that one of the guys named Sammy would be lookout. I had shown him a picture of the guy I was looking for: Kenny Stings, a rival from the Razors. Stings was the Razors’ main weapons supplier. He had a pretty good deal going with the Blue Suns: every once in a while, the Alliance would send a weapons shipment out to the colonies in the Skyllian Verge. When that happened, the Blue Suns would raid the shipment, and a part of that shipment would go to the Razors. The bad thing for the Razors was that Stings was the only guy that had the contact to the Suns.

So if Stings get a bullet in his head, the Razors don’t get any more guns. No new guns mean that the Reds would have an easier time making a power play against the Razors.

I put the bag I had brought on the dining table in the old apartment. I could hear their surprise when I unzipped the bag and revealed my M-97 Viper sniper rifle.

“Yo, where did you get hardware like dat girl?” Jake asked.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” I asked and cracked a smile.

The rifle was from a weapons container that was originally supposed to ship out to a marine training camp off-world, but due to a glitch in the system, the containers ID disappeared from the records. And since it was lost in transit, it would’ve been irresponsible of the 10th Street Reds not to raid it for everything that was in it. On the inside, we found 100 standard issue M-8 Avenger assault rifles, same amount of Predators and M-4 Shurikan submachine guns, 50 Katana shotguns, 10 Viper sniper rifles and 100 standard issue Alliance Marine Onyx armor.

According to the manifest, the sniper rifles were intended for a team of scout snipers. I would call it a windfall: those marksmen would wait a week for a different shipment and I got a Viper.

I checked everything about the rifle: barrel, trigger, scope, internal targeting computer, everything. Like always, it was in pristine condition, because I kept it that way.

“Alright Sammy, move aside.”

“Sure thing girl…” he said with a slurred voice. I wasn’t sure if he was ogling me or the Viper. Personally, I would be looking at the gun, but I doubted he was as interested in sniper rifles as I was.

After attaching a bipod to the rifle, I placed it in the window and looked down the street. About 200 yards down the street there was an intersection, and on the corner there was a bar, a bar that was frequented by Kenny Stings.

I took a couple of deep breaths, let myself settle in to this position, I let myself be comfortable with the Viper. Then I activated my omni-tool and called the number that the boss had given me. Supposedly, whomever I was calling, was tailing Stings.

“Yea, hello? Who’s this?” I heard someone on the other side of the line, say He sounded jumpy.

“This is the Ice Queen. Who are you?”

“It was about time! He’s about to leave.”

“So he is inside the bar?” I curiously asked.

“Yea, he is just finishing his drink now” Finch said. “And he is walking towards the door. He is outside in 3, 2, 1 and now.”

After Finch had counted down, I saw Kenny Stings get out. Just as on his picture: Caucasian, black hair, blue eyes, dressed in a cheap suit since he was the one who dealt with some of the ‘white collar’ activities of the Razors.

The one peculiar thing about this man was that he was security conscious. Not enough to hire bodyguards, but enough to have a kinetic barrier running at all time. That was the only thing that had stopped me from killing him before today; my Viper wasn’t strong enough to penetrate the barrier and kill him in one shot, and even though the Viper was semi-automatic, the first shot would cause people around him (and himself) to scatter so I couldn’t take a second shot.

In my mind, I sent a small thank you to the good Lieutenant Raynes of the 103rd Marine Division. He taught us about an ability that was popularly named ‘Overload’ where you hack the kinetic barrier so that it (obviously) overloads. The shield would recharge after a minute or so, but that minute was all I needed.

Unfortunately for me, the street was crowded, so I would have to be careful with my shot. I took deep and calming breathes, I did my best to slow down my heart rate, even though the information in the scope said that it already was around 55 BPM.

“Yellow,” he moved through the crowd, “Yellow,” he was still not completely free of the crowd, “Red,” he moved behind a couple that was holding hands, “Red, get clear you son of a bitch,” he was moving towards the traffic lights. As he stood there, waiting for it to be green, he was completely exposed, “Green.”

First, I made my omni-tool use the Overload ability, and then, without hesitation, I squeezed the trigger of the Viper, and in the exact moment that the bullet left the barrel and the rifle recoiled back into my right shoulder, I remembered the first time that I had fired this weapon, and how it felt like the recoil had nearly shattered my shoulder because I wasn’t prepared for it.

The flashback had barely begun before it ended, and saw how the bullet hit Kenny Stings head and made the blood spatter out on the window of the car that was waiting right next to him.

Panic.

First, one women was screaming, and then everyone was. As I packed my rifle down, I saw how over a 100 people scattered in the streets, looking for cover from additional shots that would never be fired.

I put the Viper back into the bag and put it back over my shoulder.

“It was a pleasure meeting you gentlemen” I said and then left apartment 5-12.

Once outside, I finally let my heart speed up, I let myself feel the rush when the adrenalin made my blood rush from my heart and into my legs, my arms, my feet, my hands and my head. It was amazing.

As quickly as I could, I ran towards the rooftop where I entered the building. While I still had the high, I started to run and I left the building with apartment 5-12 the same way I got to it.

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