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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6. With Friends like These

 

Chapter #06

With Friends like These

 

 

 

 

 

11.03 p.m., November 23rd, 2169

10th Street Reds’ Hideout, New York City.

 

“This used to be a funhouse, but now it’s full of evil clowns. It’s time to start the countdown. I’m gonna burn it down, down, down, I’m gonna burn it down.”

The song came to an end and so did my singing. Some of the other Reds were listening, others were just watching the TV and some were playing foosball.

I pushed a button on the guitar, and the intricate mechanics made the guitar fold itself into a more compact size.

I looked around the dirty basement. There were about thirty of us down here, but since it was so big, we were nowhere near cramped down there.

As I found a pack of smokes in my pocket, I looked around the room. These guys were my ‘family’, of sorts. While my friends from school were loyal to me, I doubt that any of them would have my back in a shootout. But then again, my friends from school wouldn’t steal from me, which was something that couldn’t be said about the Reds. They all had their own qualities and their own weaknesses.

As I lit my smoke, I saw Timothy and Tina walk to me. The two twins bore a striking resemblance to each other. The most obvious difference was that Timothy’s blonde hair was cut short while Tina’s almost reached her waist.

“Yo, why are you here Shep?” Tim asked with a little anger laced on top of his voice.

“I am Red, aren’t I?” I asked and lifted up my shirt to show my tattoo. I suddenly regretted having it put there, but that also had certain qualities; people wouldn’t know I was one of the Reds by looking for a tat on my arm.

“Sure you are girl, he’s just being an ass today” Tina said while giving me a hug. Tina and I used to be couriers together for the gang, but as we got older, we got different assignments, mainly because she couldn’t keep up with me after I began freerunning.

“Why is that?” I asked while offering them a smoke.

“His girlfriend dumped his ass” Tina said while smiling and taking a smoke.

I reached into my pocket for my Zippo lighter again. “The tramp you met at Black Hole last month?”

“Two months ago” Tim said, defending his honor.

“She was a skank Timmy” I said.

“Mhmm, listen to her bro.”

“Yea, like I need to take love advice from the Ice Queen herself.” He scoffed at me.

Usually, it takes a lot to piss me off, but it had been a bad month, starting with the email from ‘BW_SharpShot1212’, whoever that son of a bitch was.

I took another drag of the smoke. “Well, you know what Timmy-boy? Go fuck yourself” I said and flicked the remainder of the cigarette at him.

Immediately after, Timmy’s fist connected with my face and I flew back into the boxes I had been sitting on.

Before he could make another attack, I kicked him in the groin.

As he bended over in pain, I spat some blood onto the concrete floor, but when I looked up again, Timmy was on his feet again.

His right fist stormed towards me again, I dodged to my left. I heard the groan of pain as he connected, this time with the wall. I quickly threw in a few punches to his right flank, trying to break a rib.

Before I could react, Timmy’s elbow was swinging towards my face, and when it hit, I hit the floor hard.

For a brief second, I noticed that the other Reds in the basement (including Tina) had gathered in a circle around us, chanting “Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!”

I was drawn back into the brawl with a jab of pain: while I had spent one second looking at the other people in the basement, Timmy had kicked me in my right side.

As I looked up, I saw that he was getting ready for another attack, but this time he was going to stomp on me, so I rolled to my left, and kicked him in the back of his knee.

He was disoriented as he fell to his knees, and I used the small window to get up and spit out some more blood.

Unfortunately, Timmy recovered faster than I did, and while I wasn’t looking, he charged me, and before I knew it, I was pressed against a wall with his muscular forearm over my throat.

That was a prime example of why I preferred sniping or sneaking up on someone from behind rather than have a straight up fight. While my brain kept me on my feet for a little while, it was only a matter of time before the brawn got the upper hand.

I struggled for air as I was pressed up against the wall and I desperately tried to find the ground with my elevated feet.

I was sure that Timmy was going to kill me as my sight slowly blackened and my limbs went numb.

What saved me was a shotgun.

One single shot was fired into the roof, and the chanting stopped, so did Timmy who immediately stepped away, leaving me with a two foot fall. I landed on my knees and I choked blood up and spat it out on the floor.

Parts of my body felt numb, while others just ached as hell. Timmy had gotten some good punches into my face (twice), my ribs and my throat. I touched my nose slightly, and it felt broken. The same went for my ribs.

“What the FUCK is this?!” someone yelled. I couldn’t distinguish the voice yet. All I noticed was that someone hit Timmy and he stumbled without falling. Then two people lifted me up under my arms and dragged me away without me resisting. “What ya looking at? Get back to whatever the fuck you were doing before you lazy bastards!” the voice yelled again.

I was put down on a hard table and as I looked up, not only was my vision blurry, but someone was shining a fucking flashlight in my eyes.

“Hey! Shepard! Can you hear me?”

I coughed once. “Of course I can hear you idiot…” I said and tried to push whoever was holding the flashlight, away while instinctively shielding my right ribs from anymore blows.

“Attitude is fine boss, but two of her ribs are cracked and her nose is broken.”

“Is it something medi-gel can heal?”

“Sure, the medi-gel will help with the ribs. They will heal faster and she can still move around.”

“Good, slab some on then.”

I felt someone lift up my shirt and I instantly gripped their arm. It was a man’s arm, thick, but not strong.

It was around then that my vision returned. At first, I didn’t understand why everything was white, but then I turned my head away from the lamp. Next to the kitchen table I was lying on, stood the Boss.

Really, his name was Damien Cross (apparently his parents had seen The Omen and had a sense of humor), but we all just called him the Boss. He was as much brawn as brain. He was wearing a black leather jacket as usual. He was the leader of the New York Reds. He was extremely devoted to the point where his tattoo wasn’t on his arm, but on the shaven ebony skin of his head.

“What the hell were you thinking bitch? Picking a fight with Timothy?”

“He pissed me off…” I croaked, still feeling throbbing from when I was almost suffocated. I turned my eyes to the Doc, an old-school Red with training in field medicine. His gray beard and low voice seemed familiar now.

I shivered as Doc smeared the cold salve called medi-gel, on the points where my ribs were cracked.

“Yea? Well why are you so pissed off girl? You got no reason to be.”

“I got one” I said as I felt the salve making a semi-hard shell where it was applied, and then entering through my skin and applying itself around the ribs. “Can you get someone to get my bag down in the basement?”

Cross waved at someone outside my sight. I had kept the email to myself because I wanted to make sure it was serious before I took it to someone else. Unfortunately, the only thing I was able to find out was that the email was sent from a random terminal on the space-station Omega. I hadn’t been able to find out if ‘R’ was actually a member of the Blue Suns, but if he was, I had already made the connection.

“The datapad” I said when the Cross got his hands on my backpack.

“What am I looking for?”

“Open the mail program, ugh, and find a mail from November 1st” I said while I felt the medi-gel heating up as it worked its magic on my ribs.

He looked over the mail at least five times before he spoke. “Who’s the ‘friend’?”

“Back in September, I got a job from Andy. The target was a guy named Kenny Stings. He was with the Razors, and he was their main gun runner, and he got his guns from the Blue Suns.”

Cross looked over it a few more times. “Shit… I assume that you waited with bringing this to me for a reason?”

I nodded slightly and tried to sit up on one elbow, but Doc quickly pushed me back on my back.

“I wanted to see if there was anything too it, Boss, but all I could find out, was that the mail was sent from Omega.”

Cross turned around and paced through the small kitchen. “Okay, listen here: I am gonna forward this to myself and then see what I can find out. If the Blue Suns are coming after you, they’ll have to deal with me first” he said with conviction and looked directly into my eyes. I saw no fear in his. 100 % loyal to the gang. I was a little ashamed when I realized that I probably wouldn’t be as loyal to him as he would to me.

“Good to know Boss, but I don’t think it’s the Suns,” I said. “It’s too personal. If the organization wanted me dead, they would just send a guy to do it, not taunt me before they do it.”

“Depends on how much Stings really meant to them” Cross said and looked into my eyes with a protective look on his face.

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