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The Zeppo Effect: A BTVS/ Mass Effect Tale

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Zeppo Effect". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: A series of oneshots and vignettes about our favorite White Knight's quest to show the galaxy's newest hero how battling extinction level apocalypse is done with style ... well style and a little help from a few very, very powerful friends.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Sci-Fi > Mass Effect Trilogy(Recent Donor)BHRamsayFR153293,77129193114,33618 Sep 119 Jan 12Yes

UNC: Cerberus

Twelve light years away, a small vessel skipped through the eternal void. At the controls was Cerberus Operative Miranda Lawson and she was not happy.

Her enhanced mind ... thank you Father for forcing that on me along with all the other myriad upgrades she had to her body ... could calculate down to the half-credit the cost in time, effort, and resources that had gone up in flames following The Normandy crews sudden and violent assault on the research facilities in the Voyager Cluster.

"Thank You Commander Shepard." She hissed. and cursed again.

One would think with Saren running around attacking human colonies, the Citadel's newest Spectre would have more important things to be doing then kicking in doors on isolated research worlds.

A bleeping sounded through the pressurized cabin signaling the real time call she was trying to setup was ready to go. She flicked a switch and the static ridden screen resolved itself into the weathered face of the Illusive Man - the head of the vast organization called Cerberus - and her boss.

A man of few words he was straight to the point, "Miranda, what news do you have for me?" As always he was smoking. A brand made with tobacco grown only on the Earth. The Illusive Man took his commitment to humanity and the Earth seriously.

"Our outposts in the Voyager Cluster have been destroyed and assuming the reports of Normandy being in Styx Theta Cluster are accurate then its only a matter of time before they find the Sigma 66 depot."

"Unfortunate, still we did get valuable research data. We now know the Rachni are useless unless we can secure and control the Master Control Unit."

"...and that's on Novaria," Lawson replied. "... assuming it isn't in Saren's hands already."

"Ah Saren, the gift that just keeps on giving. His activities make Cerberus' claims seem much more legitimate. The Systems Alliance can hardly pretend the alien agenda is a benign one when Saren attacks us - seemingly with the approval of the Citadel Council." Was that bitter cynicism, in the Illusive Man's voice? Miranda wondered.

"We are going to have to do something about Shepard soon. This can't go on." Miranda insisted.

"With Sigma 66 gone, I think Shepard will find the trail goes cold."

"How can you be so sure?" Miranda asked, She was both committed and loyal but she was not blind and definitely not stupid.

"Because I saw to it that all the personnel I suspected might be disloyal were transferred to the the Supply Depot or the Voyager Cluster, I'm sure it will not come as any surprise to you Miss Lawson that the locations of both found their way into the hands of the Shadow Broker; his mole, whoever it was, will be dead now."

"You wanted Shepard to do the house cleaning for you." Lawson mused, "tactically sound - if a tad ruthless."

"Miranda if we want to remain an Illusive Empire then we have to make sure our secrets stay secret."

"I'd like to repeat my objection to your use of Operative Kai Leng to deal with the Admiral, I could have approached him. This might even have been handled discreetly, instead Kahoku's death just served to spur Shepard on."

"You were right, words I am sure you never tire of hearing." The Illusive Man replied with a chuckle in his voice.

"Then you will let me clean up this mess?"

"Shepard's attack has provided an unexpected side benefit. Corporal Toombs escaped containment."

"Do you want me to retrieve ... Mister Toombs?"

"Not just yet," The Illusive Man answered, "Mister Toombs escaped with some project data, names, locations of a few assets, If a few questionable elements are winnowed out of the organization; then his escape might even prove useful in the long run. What I would like Miranda, is if you could keep an eye on the situation and should the opportunity present itself see that Commander Shepard is allowed to find out about the determined Mister Toombs."

"If you are trying to arrange a scenario to deal with Commander Shepard I can find you assets more reliable then a traumatized soldier."

"Miranda, it's not always about Shepard, in this case it's about her crew specifically one Alexander Harris."

"The soldier who survived the Akuze Incident? Why?"

The Illusive Man paused then smiled, "...Because Mister Harris likes keeping secrets. He needs to learn what happens when you keep secrets ... and I intend to be his teacher."

The Illusive Man broke the connection and Miranda Lawson was left to wonder, what was so special about Harris that warranted the Illusive Man's personal attention? Fortunately Miranda had the most important tool for satisfying her curiosity, a great deal of high level access.

Miranda brought the Ship VI online syncing it to the extranet. "VI, run a secured search across all the usual sources - including Cerberus databases. Give me a full workup on Alexander Harris. Everything he's done, everywhere he's gone, every person he's ever spoken with."

The Vi buzzed, "Alert, alert viral infection detected - any attempt to access this data will result in viral infection do you wish to continue?"

Miranda was intrigued now. "Source of viral infection?"

"Any attempt to access this data will result in viral infection do you wish to continue?"

"Nature of virus?"

"Virus sets up trace programs within infected units allowing third party access as well as deletion of any files related to database query."

"So asking about Harris opens my machine to external access, by whom?"

"Any attempt to access this data will result in viral infection do you wish to continue?"

"How is it you can tell me about this attack?"

"You requested a secured search?"

So if I had just done a normal search for Alexander Harris, my system would be infected right now?"

"Correct."

"Vi, are there any other individuals with this specific kind of protection?"

"Yes."

"Is there anything you can tell me about these people anything that connects them ... a word in the database."

"One phrase can be found in all database search strings ... torchwood."

"What is a Torchwood?"

"Torchwood -- old earth broadcast vid entertainment. circa early twenty-first century

"What does an old earth tv show have to do with Alexander Harris?" Miranda asked.

"Any attempt to access this data will result in viral infection do you wish to continue?"

If not for Miranda's obsession with security, her system would be compromised but she had to know who it was that was so determined to protect Alexander Harris. Then she had a thought and a wonderfully evil idea.

She opened another protected line and waited, soon enough a haggard looking older man picked up the line.

"Miri," the man said with a yawn, "is that you? it's three in the morning here."

"Sorry to bother you so late Niket but I need you to do me a favour."

"What is it?"

"Run a background check on someone for me - Alexander Harris. Don't do it now under no circumstances use any system you have regular contact with or can be traced to ... unless you can mange to use Father's computer."

Niket snorted, "You think He lets me anywhere near his system Miri."

"Just do what you can and store what you find on a closed system with no extranet access. I'll contact you in a few days."

"Miranda ... What's this about?" Niket asked."how are you. are you in any kind of trouble?"

"I'm, fine Niket," she wasn't very good at this type of thing, the personable stuff that other people took for granted."...I'm just doing a favour for a friend. By the way could you do me one more favour track down all known episodes of an old TV show its called Torchwood "

That one will be easier, one of the guys in the office is mad for those old TV programs and their ideas of what aliens are like."

"Did any of the programs have anything to do with hacking or viruses?"

"Torchwood was a secret organization. On the show, they maintained that secret by creating a virus that would edit any mention of the characters or the organization itself from the world wide web ... of course to do that sort of thing today you'd need a pretty sophisticated AI

"As I said I'll contact you in a few days." Miranda said before cutting the line. She sat back to gaze into space.

"Who are you Alexander Harris," Miranda murmured to herself, "who are you and more importantly Who is protecting you and why?"
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