Chapter 2: Grissom Academy

Edition 2.0

“Get back in line, we’re going again.” Jack said instructing her students.

“Alright Rodriguez, show me your stasis field!”

Jack was testing out her student’s abilities on herself in the padded sparing room at Grissom Academy. For a long time the Academy trained some of the Alliance’s best Engineers, Biotics and Soldiers. Soldiers who graduated the program joined the ranks of Alliance’s elite and exclusive N7’s. Engineers joined on board the ships in the Alliance fleets. And the Biotics, well they were a special breed of humanity. Biotics are individuals with the potential to create and manipulate mass effect fields. They’re able to move objects with their minds and inflict great bodily harm with their attacks. The primary use of biotics are in the military. However more recently the academy opened up the Ascension Project to any gifted civilian student. Because of the possible unintentional harm biotic individual’s could inflict on themselves and other people in everyday life, the goal of the Ascension Project aimed to train biotics in each of their skills and integrate them safely into society.

For all students at the academy, military or civilian, it was a high honor for every student studying here to even be considered for admittance. Once, the Alliance recruited any and all humans with biotic potential for the program. Now due to overcrowding only the most gifted students were selected and the criterion for acceptance made entry even more exclusive. Potential applicants were required to present gifted levels of ability in training or combat in the field. Additionally, soldiers that displayed exceptional courage and self-sacrifice in the service were given entry. The rest would have to perform well during their placement exams. It was a long hard road for each student-prodigy to get to this point. It was only fitting that they would train with an equally exceptional teacher.

“You call that a stasis field?” Jack questioned Rodriguez, the young woman with brunette hair and standoffish attitude.

“Do you really expect me to master it in one day?” She said sarcastically to Jack who was held to the ground by her last attempt at a Stasis field.

Jack slowly pried her right boot out of the half-formed bubble that held it to the ground. Jack was young, good looking, covered in tattoos from head to toe and possibly the most powerful human biotic in existence. She also had an attitude to match.

“Under my training? Yeah. First you’re going to have to do a hell of a lot better than that.” Jack replied pointing to the bubble on the ground. The other students who had already completed the test laughed.

“And second, yes. Of course I do,” Jack said, “try it again.”

The young trainee stepped back in position on the floor, held up her hands and formed a white glowing field of biotic energy between her palms. When the energy had built up she cast the field in Jack’s general direction.

“Ok. That time you missed.” Jack said frustrated.

“I’m trying ma’am.”

“Try harder.” Jack had no sympathy for her. Rodriguez had worn out Jack’s patience long ago.

Rodriguez was getting upset, “If I can aim it, it’s too weak. If I make it stronger, I can’t control it. Maybe Stasis isn’t one of my powers.” Rodriguez explained.

“What do you mean by that?” Jack didn’t like the sound of her student’s response, while the rest of the class laughed.

“I mean I’m good at other things.” She said.

Rodriguez’ attitude really got on Jack’s nerve. When Jack failed a test in her training as a girl much younger than Rodriguez, she was beaten senseless. It was the cruelty of her kidnappers courtesy of Cerberus. Whereas Rodriguez gets to complain to no end.

Jack grit, and spoke through her teeth, “It’s because you’re good at other things, that I know you can focus and be good at this.”

“It’s not that simple.” Rodriguez protested.

“Yes it is. Look at me,” Jack said making eye contact with an aggressive expression. “When I count to three I’m going to charge you and knock you back with a biotic throw. If you don’t manage to stop me in that time your next excuse will come from the flat of your back looking up. The Alliance doesn’t pay me to train half a commando. Do you understand me?”

“Yes ma’am.” Rodriguez acknowledged.

Jack often used this tactic on her students. Cruelty aside, aggression is a powerful tool to biotics. It helped them with the little extra focus they needed. Jack aimed to trigger it in her students without abusing or degrading them. Rodriguez, about 15 meters away from Jack, began to charge her field. Jack took a few steps back and began to count,

“1…2…3…” Jack was hit with a very stong stasis field that knocked her off balance. Unfortunately, the field only immobilized her from the waist down and she had already charged her throw field in her hand. Jack was unable to stop herself from releasing the throw when the stasis field hit her. The forward momentum of her upper body channeled Jack’s residual biotic energy and made the Throw a lot stronger than she anticipated or ever intended to use. Jack always held back on her students and normally
discharged her residual biotic strength in an inert field around her. But this time Rodriguez was hit hard with the bulk of Jack’s energy. It picked her up clear off the ground and blew her back 20 meters onto the mats behind her. Breaking free, Jack ran up to Rodriguez and extended a helping hand to lift her up off the ground.

“Holy shit, are you ok?” Jack asked.

“Yeah, but that’s going to cost you 5 credits in the swear jar,” Rodriguez said getting up.

“Whatever happened to drill sergeants being able to swear like sailors?”

“This is an academy, not a boot camp.”

“Well I still think it’s Fff… fubar.” Jack paused herself.

“Nice recovery ma’am.” Rodriguez said.

“Same to you. Oh and you want to create a wall with your Stasis. Not a projectile like Throw.” Jack said returning to her instructor mode.

“That is if I can spread it evenly enough.” Rodriguez still lacked the confidence Jack tried to build in her.

“You’ll get the hang of it,” Jack insisted. “Keep practicing and-”

She was cut off in mid sentence by the PA system through the station. Kahlee Sanders’ voice came through the loudspeaker, “Students and faculty of Grissom Academy, please hold all current activities. Fifteen minutes ago I received a message from Admiral Hackett. At roughly 10:30 this morning according to galactic standard time, Earth was invaded by the Reapers…” Kahlee’s voice faltered as she delivered the news.

Jack’s class erupted into a noisy mess of audible grumbles and chatter during the break  in the message.

“Quiet down. Quiet all of you!” Jack shouted restoring order. Kahlee continued, “As of this moment all classes are cancelled today. Please return to your dorms and limit activity in the mess hall. The Extranet buoy’s are still operational if you want to pay attention to the incoming reports or try to get in contact with your family please feel free to do so. Thank you.”

Jack was struck by the news. As were her students. The only family she had other than the people in front of her, were on Earth with Shepard and the Normandy.

“Class dismissed,” She said. The students left in a noisy rush. Jack put her hand to her head, she didn’t know what to do with herself. Rodriguez stayed behind to talk to her. “Are you ok ma’am?”

Jack was surprised she was still there. “I’m ok, yeah. I’ll be fine. Why don’t you run along to your dorm.”

“Ok, if you’re sure.” Rodriguez gave her a chance to change her mind.

“Yeah, I’ll just pack up here and put the equipment away. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Jack said.

“If there is a tomorrow.”

“Rodriguez…” Jack had to keep herself from overreacting.”Don’t talk like that.” She said in a superior tone.

“Yes ma’am. Sorry ma’am.”

 ***

Late that night in the faculty wing, Jack walked down the long hallway towards her quarters carrying her gym bag. Fatigued from staff meetings and tired of the nonstop stream of news coverage, she had to work off some steam in the sparing rooms. Even there she couldn’t get away from the monitors displaying the sights and sounds of the invasion. The news vids gave her a headache. Who were they to commentate on the invasion? She thought to herself. And would they just stop fucking advertising! That’s what really pissed her off, people were dying and the networks were making a mint off the scene.  There are assholes among every species. Can’t expect people to change just because we all face a universal galactic threat. Idiots.

 Jack stepped up to her door and fumbled through her bag for her keycard. Unlocked, the automatic door opened and she tossed her bag on a small couch in the living area. She didn’t have much use for it, she rarely had visitors but the furniture in the luxury quarters was standard issue for the in demand teachers. Jack put on a pot of tea to wind down. She wasn’t much of a tea person but she’d do anything to get rid of this headache. Even though she used an L5x implant, instead of the faulty l2’s that are plagued with crippling headaches, whenever biotics got headaches they always had a certain extra sting to them. The emergency staff meetings brought it on. Four hours spent discussing each students’ abilities, aptitude and readiness for combat. It was hard for Jack to admit that after months of training Rodriguez was her only student that she said wasn’t prepared for combat. Pouring her cup Jack leaned back against the counter. She felt like  she sold Rodriguez out, or short. So many of the other teachers had complete faith in their students, except for a few, and now because Jack said so, Rodriguez was one of them. “I don’t have time for this shit.” Jack whispered. She turned around the corner of her kitchenette and sat down on her couch with her tea.

She tried to relax but her mind couldn’t stop replaying the events of the day. She was worried about her students, they would all see action soon. Their lives depended on the training she gave them. It was as if their deaths would be in her hands too. It was all too heavy for her, she never expected to connect emotionally with them. But the responsibilities she had made the feelings much more real.

Jack spent the next hour trying to clear her head, but it was all a mess. Eventually she gave up and went to bed. She knew she’d need her rest for tomorrow and she was careful to wear herself out in the gym. Mercifully, she fell asleep before insomnia could set in.

The automated defenses of Grissom academy spiked for about 2 seconds as it detected activity through the Mass Relay at the edge of the Vetus system. The ship registered as a turian cruiser, non-hostile and the defenses of the station settled down. The cruiser plotted a course for the station. It was unscheduled and there had been no contact with the ship prior to its arrival but the Academy was capable of refueling military ships and performing limited repairs. Given the altered state of war in the galaxy the Alliance instructed the station to do everything to help their allies. So the administrator thought nothing of it when he sent out a hail to the approaching ship.

“This is Administrator Mark, please proceed to docking bay 14. What is the nature of your arrival?” He asked whether the ship would need refueling or repairs. Or even perhaps more urgently: medical assistance.

He thought it odd when only a text message came in response, it read: Heavily dammaged, comm systems failing. Requesting medical attention.

“Acknowledged, triage teams will meet you at the gate. Welcome to Grissom.”

It was late at night but the two doctors on station grabbed their portable gear and rushed down the hallways to the docking ring. They waited nervously recalling all they knew about turian physiology. They were quite well trained and the review only took a moment in each of their minds. As did the time it took for the Cerberus troopers to gun them down in cold blood. It wasn’t a turian cruiser in need of assistance. It was an attack.

Chapter 3: A Knife in The Dark

Navigation: Chapter 1: Resistance Earth, Chapter 2: Grissom Academy, Chapter 3: A Knife in The DarkChapter 4: Smoke and ShadowsChapter 5: Cold RevelationChapter 6: London CryptChapter 7: Ghosts From Shadows PastChapter 8: SkyfallChapter 9: Apparatus DeusChapter 10: The Devil WithinChapter 11: Hades’ DogsChapter 12: TranshumanChapter 13: Phenomenon,  Chapter 14: AeonChapter 15: EndgamesChapter 16: FracturedChapter 17: ClosingEpilogue.

Advertisements