The extended crew of the Normandy were proud of their service on the vessel, but at the moment they couldn't wait to get off the ship and back onto the Citadel. It had been a crazy day, even by their standards right in the middle of their shore leave, Garrus had sent them all urgent messages about a group of mercenaries who had lured Commander John Shepard and his pilot Jeff "Joker" Moreau into the fanciest restaurant in the wards, before storming the place and opening fire on the unarmed pair.
Somehow Shepard had fought his way out, destroying the restaurant in the process, and had successfully escaped back to a new apartment Admiral Anderson had recently gifted to him. Then they had hatched a plan to infiltrate the most popular casino on the entire damn Citadel, run by a bonafide mobster, and interrogate said mobster for clues about the group's identity and motives.
Ocean's 11? He was greeted by blank stares from everyone in the room, human and alien alike. After muttering something about philistines under his breath, he had wearily agreed to go along with the plan.
Joker's comment seemed to affirm itself as events progressed like a story right out of a brainless blockbuster. After infiltrating the casino, they'd found the casino owner dead in his swivel chair. Then a mysterious voice had appeared on the telephone, making vague threats to the crew.
Returning back to the apartment, Liara greeted them with the news that the mercenaries hunting John were part of a reclusive group only known as "CAT-6". Ashley Williams snorted the second she heard the name, drawing everyone's attention towards her. That's what we're up against? You're shitting me. They're about a tier above rent-a-cops on the threat scale. We still haven't identified that voice on the telephone. Just then, EDI's eyes lit up as her internal supercomputers absorbed and processed the information that was relayed to her.
There's maybe 30 people in the entire galaxy who can get in.
Whatever CAT-6 is after, if they're in the archives, that's where we need to be. Wrex jumped in first. The Normandy crew gunned their way through waves of CAT-6 mercs without breaking a sweat "Toldja, punks and losers", Vega yelled out in the middle of the fight until they had arrived in the middle of a circular room.
As the last crew member entered the room, the doors sealed shut behind them. The sound of rifles clicking rang throughout the enclosed space as snipers emerged out of the shadows, focusing laser dots on the he of every crew member, preparing to fire at a moment's notice. The Normandy crew formed a circle, trying to cover every angle of the room between them.
John cleared his throat and called out towards the darkness. The crew's jaws dropped almost in unison as the man who had been hunting them revealed himself. All eyes shifted to the krogan warlord. I'm not just a clone. I'm better. I'm John Shepard, taken to his full potential. The unstoppable lone wolf you were always meant to be.
Instead, you made us place our lives and future in the hands of aliens. You've spent so much time among these You've forgotten your duties! Every single member of my crew would lay down their lives to save us all, and you will address them with respect! Your time's done. We lock you in one of these archive chambers and throw away the key.
It'll take them 8 hours to slice through the door and free you. Unfortunately, you only have 30 minutes of air left. Empty threats.
The last thing they saw as they were sealed into the room was the widening grin on the evil Shepard's face. A deathly silence filled the room for agonizing seconds before Tali spoke up. Her eyes were clamped shut, and she seemed to be squinting with intense focus.
Are you alright? She extended an arm to try and tap the android on the shoulder, but Garrus caught her by the wrist. She's doing some electronic thing. Each crew member tried to remember where they'd heard that sound before.
It was Liara who made the connection first. EDI opened her eyes and nodded her head. We needed an ally who could break us out. It was not easy to contact Glyph from across the Citadel without a direct connection to the Normandy, but we finally made contact. John and his crew barged out and began running out of the archives as fast they can.
We cannot let him steal the ship out of the Citadel! As they left the archives, they found Joker waiting with a pair of hovercars. After squeezing every member of the crew into the cars, they departed for the Normandy dock, just as the ship's engines were starting to fire up. They're going to take the ship!
How come they can just gun the engine and go? As he entered the vessel, he almost collided into Samantha Traynor, who was wiping tears from her face as she exited the bay doors. Traynor gaped at Shepard. But you were inside and now you're outside how? Traynor glared at the asari archaeologist. I didn't even have time to grab my toothbrush before he kicked me out!
You have to believe that. Traynor blinked. There's an evil clone Shepard trying to steal the Normandy! How hard is this to understand? Samantha looked back to Shepard, a bewildered expression on her face. It's got tiny mass effect fields that make it vibrate and everything!
Roll with it. How do we get into the ship after the doors are locked down? It'll be a tight fit, but you can move through the tunnel and come out right in the middle of the ship. Opening a grate in the floor, they charged out in unison, gunning down the stunned CAT-6 mercs before they knew what was happening.
Fighting their way through the ship, they eventually arrived at the shuttle bay.
The clone Shepard was stunned to see they were still alive, but he quickly gathered himself and ordered his troops to attack. Both sides opened fire, but in the commotion, the real Shepard broke free and dashed forward, tackling the clone to the ground. The two Shepards wrestled for dominance as they rolled toward the end of the hangar, whose door was wide open as the rushing wind threatened to snatch fanfiction both away into the night. The crew had finished effect down the mercs, and were watching the two Shepards toss punches and kicks in a blur of motion.
It was impossible to tell which one was real and which one was the clone. As they rushed toward the end of the hangar door, the evil Shepard headbutted the real Shepard, breaking his nose and knocking him out onto the ledge. He grabbed onto the edge of the ship for dear life, as he dangled in danger of an foot drop onto the streets below. Hearing the footsteps of the crew approach, the adult Shepard's heart pounded as he prepared to make a play that would mass change everything, even if his original plan at the archives had failed.
As Garrus rounded the corner, the evil John yelled "You took my name my face my identity but you will NOT take my ship! Bringing his foot down on the fingers of the real Shepard, he watched with unfiltered glee as the original John plummeted down to the ground, colliding with the hard streets of the ward and meeting his end.
The champion of the galaxy was dead. The clone exhaled and wheeled around to face his crew. He could tell that they were unsure if he was the genuine article, so he smiled to put their minds at ease. The Normandy's ours again. Garrus walked ahead to speak to his comrade-in-arms. For a second there, I was worried this was some kind of human shore leave ritual. As the crew left the ship, they were greeted by Joker, who thanked Evil John a thousand times for bringing his baby back safely.
Just as the clone wondered what his next step would be, Joker piped up. You need to throw a party, Shepard! Stupid cripple, the clone thought to himself. Miranda and Zaeed and Samara and everyone else from back when we were fighting the Collectors? I've contacted them, and they can get here for the party!
A party won't kill you!
Right now, however, he had to act like he was the real Shepard, and so he grinned at his crew. Spread the word. Party at my place. Starts at 10 PM, goes on till we can't see straight.