Entry 1, Cerberus Outpost, 2185
I awake to a face. Beautiful, angelic, surely I am dead? But the medical room around me, the sleek grey walls. This cannot be heaven. I hear incessant beeping, a man stammering in concern, and the angelic face returns, a woman. She’s the last thing I see before I faint.
Her voice rouses me from unconsciousness. I sit up on a table, ribs creaking with pain. I do not understand what is going on, but I am perfectly aware of what I must do. The woman’s voice tells me to find a pistol in a nearby locker. I glimpse a firefight outside the room’s window, as I stagger over to the locker to retrieve the weapon. It feels good to hold a gun again.
According to the nameless voice, someone has hacked the station’s AI and is intent on killing me. I am merely thankful to be alive, returned from the dead somehow. I will not die again. I battle my way through abandoned rooms and corridors, furniture piled into impromptu blockades against the waves of hacked mechanised crew. I glimpse a JOTUN mech behind security glass.
I encounter another solider in a foyer. He’s a man and seemingly as alive as I am. He tells me his name is Jacob, a biotic. He refers to me as a “work in progress”, but won’t answer my questions until we reach the shuttle and escape. Drones pile onto an adjacent balcony, but my combat-skills have shed their rust, and Jacob is a worthy companion.
We follow a distress signal to a man named Wilson. He’s injured, his leg seemingly broken, and won’t cooperate until he receives medical assistance. I apply a medigel pack to his leg, and this loosens his tongue. He claims to have been attempting to halt the mech’s progress, despite lacking the requisite security protocols.
We’re assaulted again by mechs. We manage to defeat them, but I am growing tired of all this secrecy. I force the answers from Jacob and Wilson. They tell me about the Lazarus Project, a radical procedure that brought me back from the dead. It was funded and pioneered by Cerberus, an elitist pro-human organisation. Jacob tells me the person in charge of the project was Miranda. I remember the face I woke to, so beautiful I believed myself to still be dead.
We reach the shuttle bay, but just as we are about to escape, Miranda arrives. If she is an angel, she is surely the Angel of Death. Wilson is as shocked as I am to see her, even more so when she shoots him in the chest. She claims Wilson “betrayed us all”, overseeing the mech rebellion. I do not trust this woman. She’s shifty, not to mention a Cerberus operative. And Cerberus cannot be trusted. This is a certifiable fact.
Miranda tells me her boss is eager to meet. I am in two minds. Whereas I know I cannot trust Miranda or her organisation, I am thankful for what they did. Any soldier would be grateful for another chance to continue their campaign. I am aware of who runs Cerberus. The ‘Illusive Man’, a shadowy figure who has little to no records, but frightening power and knowledge. I agree to meet this Illusive Man, but let Miranda know that I am no fool. I know when I’m being set up, even if the methods are unconventional.
We reach the shuttle, and flee the space-station. From the window, I watch the station disappear from view. It’s strange to think I was brought there, dead, but am now leaving there, alive. Born again. I wonder, ironically, if I should change my date of rebirth.
The shuttle engages its FTL drives. I sit back in my chair, beside Jacob, Miranda across from me. She considers me with her beautiful eyes, and I am reminded of the lions that once prowled Earth’s plains. Beautiful, patient, and deadly.
The shuttle shoots away. I am now in the Illusive Man’s grasp.