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Soldier's Legacy

Chapter Text

Kenna Peirce’s eyes grew large looking around the holding dock, after being there for days she was still getting used to it. There were so many different species, much more than what she had seen on Bekenstein, which had been primarily human colony. She lost track of the other adults and children from her evacuation shuttle. Many had been picked up by family or had left to find someone they knew. Kenna’s parents had not come yet, but they promised they would. She just had to wait, but it was getting more and more difficult. Every day there were more frightened people fleeing for safety, often there were fights over food or a place to sleep, and already she was learning who to avoid. The batarian priest wasn’t too bad, but some other batarians would say mean things or try to take her food saying she owed them since it was her people who destroyed their relay and families.

As if by thinking of the mean types, the worst human appeared to be heading her way. Darner Vosque was always ogling the girls and tried to talk Kenna into getting a job with his merc group, Blue Suns, as what she would be doing he didn’t mention but she wasn’t too young to recognize the look in his eyes. Panicking she looked around and spotted a turian officer at Citadel Security desk. Well, when in trouble, cops were supposed to be there to help right? Hopefully, he could scare the asshole off. She walked over and waited quietly by his desk trying to look like she was there for a reason.

The turian looked over at her expectantly, he was one of the regular patrol officers and she had seen him dealing with disputes before. “What’s going on here?”

Kenna put her hands behind her back to keep from fidgeting, telling herself keep it simple, “I’m waiting.”

The officer quirked his head to the side and asked, “Waiting? Waiting for who?”

Kenna kept her voice light, “For my parents. They put me on the rescue transport and said to wait for them here. They’ll come find me as soon as they can.” She took a moment to glance over her shoulder. Vosque was frowning but didn’t come any closer.

“Well… I guess this is a safe enough place.” He replied awkwardly looking past Kenna he spotted the merc watching them, then leaned on the desk, his yellow eyes more on her level, “Look. If anyone bothers you, let me know. I’ll take care of them, okay?”

She smiled; he seemed genuinely nice, even if he looked scary, “Sure thing, sir. Thanks!”

-

Kenna was walking around the holding dock, not much to do but that, when she heard a deep dual toned voice call out to her.

“Hey there.” It was the sandy colored turian with the yellow eyes. Paying more attention to him she saw he had a set of red markings along the sides of his face and forehead that went past the top of his fringe and out of sight. He was the one who helped her with the leering merc a couple of days ago.

Kenna tried not to look disappointed or a second she’d hoped it was her dad or someone she knew from home, but no such luck, “Oh, it’s you. Hi.”

He kept his distance, looking uncomfortable, “Your parents get here yet?”

Every time Kenna heard a shuttle was on the way she’d wait by the exit, hoping to spot them and was always disappointed. “Nope. It’s okay, I mean – They’ll get here. They always keep their promises. They… The next shuttle was probably just late or something. That’s all.” She had to keep hoping.

“I’m sure you’re right.” He sounded as convinced as she was, which wasn’t much, “I look forward to meeting them. I’m Aeneas Vizrak by the way; if you need anything let me know.” He nodded and went back to his desk area. For the rest of his shift he seemed to keep an eye on her, and for the first time in days, she was able to relax a little.

-

The first time Kenna met Lieutenant Vega he seemed scary, he had tattoos like the mercs and he was huge for a human. But all the kids soon learned he was a fun loving guy who normally had candy for them. Any time he came to the Citadel he would play some rounds of cards and then round up all the bored kids. The young ones would play games with him, and he showed some of the older ones simple ways to defend themselves. Like pulling mandibles, kneeing crotches, or poking sensitive eyes. Other times he would tell them stories of working with Commander Shepard and all their adventures, curing sickness, helping the misunderstood geth. The stories were fun and gave them hope, even if they seemed too crazy to be true. Even fourteen year old Kenna needed something to hold onto, even if they were fairy tales.

Once while Vega was catching up with Kenna, Aeneas came on shift and spotted them. He stomped over and got in Vega’s face, “You need to move along. She doesn’t need any trouble.”

Kenna quickly jumped in, “Aeneas, its ok. Vega is an Alliance soldier.”

Vega nodded, and straightened to attention, “Luietent James Vega, assigned to the Normandy. No worries here Officer, just checking in with the kids.”

Aeneas looked Vega over carefully, “Alright then, thank you for your concern.”

Often, after that introduction, Kenna would catch the two sharing info on the refugee children, wanting to keep tabs on everyone. But as the days and weeks went by, only Kenna and a couple others remained. They seemed to band together, none of them wanted to face the reality of the situation, but took solace in each other.

-

One day while they were talking about Aeneas’ military service and all the worlds he’d seen he stopped as he saw a red headed woman walked by. She was speaking to the batarian priest, seemed to be giving him something, making the old male smile softly. It was the first time Kenna had ever seen him somewhat happy.

“What’s the matter?” She asked.

Aeneas continued watching the woman make her rounds. “That’s Commander Shepard. I’ve never seen her in person. They say she is working on getting the turians and krogan to come to a peace of sorts.”

Kenna perked up, by now she had learned about the Rachni wars and the krogan rebellions after and the remaining tensions, though Aeneas seemed to be more politically correct than many other turians. Shepard had moved on to talk to a tall pale turian whose face was heavily scarred. “I’ll be damned. Young Vakarian too.” Kenna’s face must have shown her confusion because he started to explain. “His father was in C-Sec, pretty high up before he retired. Garrus Vakarian joined, but was a bit of a hot head and dropped off the map for awhile. He was leading a special Anti-Reaper team on Palaven before leaving to rejoin the Normandy.” She could see he had more to say on that, but again kept it to himself, Aeneas wasn’t one to rock the boat.

“Wow, any chance she knows about Bekenstein evacuation?” Kenna asked hopefully, Vega never gave her a straight answer but she hadn’t seen him yet today.

Aeneas shook his head, “Sorry but I think she is focusing on the offensive in this war.” He seemed pained to point it out, and Kenna tried not to pout. It wasn’t his fault, but he was right.

Kenna thought about the Commander, not sure how anyone could face such impossible odds. No one liked talking about the war to Kenna and the other kids but there were news vids running everywhere, and some of the refugees would whisper their stories to each other when no one could sleep. Kenna heard it all. Her eyes followed the woman and said out loud to no one in particular, “Must be a lot of weight on her shoulders.”

Chapter Text

“Hey!” Kenna called as she came up behind Aeneas.

He looked up from his terminal, he’d been keeping an eye on the news for any word he could give the young human and be disappointed that again he had nothing new to tell her, “Oh. Hey, it’s you. Still waiting, I see. Any news?”

She looked down, he knew it was getting harder for her to wait. Spirits knew he was happy he did not have to worry about family at a time like this, but he couldn’t help but feel for the girl. “No, but… they promised, right? They’ll get here soon.”

“I’m sure they will.” Thinking of something he could do to get her mind off things Aeneas asked. “I’ll drop by later to check in on you if that’s okay?”

“Okay.” She still sounded down as she wandered away.

-

Aeneas was able to clear it with his supervisor. Normally the refugees were not allowed past the holding dock without proper paperwork and clearance, but he was only planning on taking Kenna to the C-Sec shooting range. In their passing conversations he’d learned she was fourteen years old, she would be headed to boot camp soon if she were turian, but she had never been taught any defense before coming to the Citadel. Maybe learning to handle a pistol would provide some escape and comfort for her in these dark days. It would make him feel better about her safety. He entered the holding area in his armor even though he was off duty, some refugees did not always take kindly to C-Sec.

Looking around Aeneas spotted her light fringe or hair he guessed. “Hey there!”

Kenna turned, green eyes looking wetter than normal, “Hey…”

Concerned Aeneas took a step closer, giving her his full attention, “Looking mighty low today. You okay? Has anyone been bothering you?” He knew there were some undesirables around, but most seemed to be leaving her alone after he dealt with the merc. Stories of his arrest must have gotten around.

“No, it’s not that. I’m fine.” She put her hands in her pockets, not wanting to elaborate.

“Ah. I see. So… um, any news?” Aeneas hated sounding like that was all he cared about, but it still seemed like the right thing to do, to get her to talk about it.

“No. They just – Their shuttle must be real slow, that’s all. Do you think they’re okay? They promised they’d come get me, no matter what they had to do. But it’s been so long.” He could see the stress was getting to her, she had lost more weight and her eyes kept straying to the mural wall, filled with photos of other missing loved ones.

Rubbing his neck, Aeneas was honest, “I don’t know, kid. I’m sure they’d be happy, knowing you’re safe…”

“It’s just… I miss them. I miss them so much.” Kenna got quiet and the liquid started to tumble out of her eyes.

Not sure was to do, he touched her shoulder with a large gloved hand. “You’re doing all you can, they would want to look out for yourself and do your best.” She sniffed and wiped at her face and nodded. “Listen, I’ve got permission to take you to C-Sec office, you could use some time away from here.”

She gave him a small smile and nodded. Afterall, who wouldn’t want a chance to explore the Citadel.

-

Seeing more of the Citadel, even if only from an elevator perked Kenna up, and she also enjoyed the shooting range. It felt good to break something and be doing something other than reading the news or looking at photos of the lost. Kenna didn’t even have a photo of her parents to put up there, and she couldn’t bring herself to put up a drawing like the younger kids. It soon became a regular pass time to spend time in Aeneas’ office when he wasn’t in the holding dock. She would practice shooting, do some school work he got her, or sleep behind his desk knowing that no one would sneak up on her while he was there watching over her.

During one nap she was roughly shaken awake. There were worried voices and rushing stomp of boots. “Quick, get on your feet. Stay with me, and do as I say.” Aeneas ordered in his officer voice.

Getting up she shook off sleep and stayed a couple steps behind the C-Sec officer as they filed into a conference room. Up front was Commander Bailey, a nice older man who always made a point to say hi to her when she visited the offices. He was already addressing the room, “… with the arms closed we can’t tell the hell where we are, but we have confirmed the Citadel has been moved. We are assuming this is a hostile situation, you will be assigned a location, go there, and keep civilians calm. Prepare to evacuate however you can.” He started listing names and wards. Aeneas was assigned to the holding dock and to get the refugees ready to leave.

Aeneas guided Kenna toward the door, not listening to the rest of the assignments, they made their way to an elevator and started the long climb, looking out the window Kenna couldn’t see the Widow Nebula, only the twinkle of lights from the different wards, much closer than normal. Before their stop, the elevator jerked to a stop inside one of the dark shafts and main lighting went off and emergency lights came on. Kenna stumbled into Aeneas but he caught her elbow. “You alright?” He asked she nodded, “Okay, guess we climb from here. Should be able to get to service ducks from the shaft.”

Looking around Aeneas spotted the hatch, using he reach he was able to knock it open. Then jumping he scrambled on top of the lift. Leaning over the opening he reached for Kenna taking her arm and lifted her up easily. She was shocked at what little effort it took, turians were so strong.

They started to climb the ladder up the side of the shaft, Kenna focused on not looking down, not wanting to slow Aeneas. After what felt an eternity, they made it to another hatch that gave off a red glow of emergency lights. Aeneas kicked it open and climbed in. He leaned out again and hauled her in. It was short enough that they had to crawl, Aeneas had much more trouble with his bulky armor. Soon they hit another shaft and ladder and again climbed. It was hard to make out anything in the low light, but she managed to keep his silhouette in sight and could hear the click of his boots.

When Kenna’s arms and legs started to tremble with fatigue they reached the level he was looking for. She could make out more emergency lights ahead along with the scent of stale air and copper. When they reached the end of the tunnel, Aeneas turned completely blocking the next room from sight. “Kenna… Kenna, you mustn’t look around the next room. You need to stay focused on my back or the ground. You can’t make a sound alright, just focus on following me across the room.” His yellow gaze almost seemed to glow gold in the red light as he looked hard at her.

Kenna swallowed as she felt a wave of nausea at the thought of what that copper smell was.

She nodded, Aeneas had to get to the other refugees to help and protect them, and this was just a sign of how bad the situation was. She couldn’t slow him down now. Crawling up and standing behind him she held onto a piece of his back armor and tried not to look around. Some movement caught her eye and she looked, the room was filled with dead bodies, all human looking, and the movement was a Keeper dragging one of the bodies out of the way to clear a path. She swallowed her shout, nothing she did now would help the poor woman, she was missing half her face. Kenna took a shaky breath and looked back at Aeneas’ back.

Continuing quickly through the room, she had to let go of him so he could pull off another grate. Crawling in Kenna was relieved to see they were heading toward fresh air and the stench of blood left her nose. Aeneas punched through one more hatch and they entered part of the holding dock. He gave her a hand standing up, “Good job Kenna, you did well back there.”

Trying not to remember the sound of the body being dragged, she asked breathily, “So what now?”

-

Aeneas looked around in the dark; it looked like a lot of them panicked and overran the security point when the power went out. “We gather whoever we can, get aboard the ships available and wait for the arms to open.”

“And if they don’t open?”

“We’ll worry about it when we get there,” he said trying to sound confident. Going toward the sounds of people, he called out in a loud voice. “This is Officer Vizrak. I have been ordered to evacuate you to any remaining ships.”

An asari came up to him and asked, “What good is being on a ship going to do, we can’t go anywhere.” She waved a hand at the dark windows, pointing out the obvious.

“We will wait for the arms to open, if they don’t, we make a hole.” Turning to the rest of those gathering. “We aren’t sure what is going on, but I can tell you remaining on the Citadel is not safe. Once we leave we will make our way to another Council planet.”

There was grumbling but most seemed to agree, better the ship you know than some ancient technology that kept doing unusual things. Working with the ship owners present he was able quickly gather up the refugees on Dextro and Levo based ships so they wouldn’t have to worry about food supplies. Once everyone was set up and started loading he looked to Kenna, who was still at his elbow.

“I am needed to pilot the turian vessel, theirs ran off. There is still room on a Levo ship, or you could join us.” He wasn’t sure why he asked, over the weeks he had grown a soft spot for the girl. She was bright and followed orders, and when she was alone and afraid she had sought him out for help. It felt good to protect and help her, it is why he joined C-Sec after finishing his tour with the army. He couldn’t do that if she was on another ship.

“Can I stay with you? I don’t really know any of them.” Her green eyes lit up in the amber light, as she looked up at him hopefully. He nodded and talked with an asari to get her some levo emergency rations. Spirits knew how long they would be on the ship.

Once they were all loaded up Aeneas took the helm and assigned another turian as a navigator. It was simple cargo vessel that had been converted to an evacuation ship, really it was only meant for two workers so everyone else was sitting in the cargo hold trying to get comfortable. Kenna though did not want Aeneas out of her sight, in this nightmare he must have been the only thing familiar, so she tucked herself into the corner of the cockpit behind his seat where she was out of the way. The navigator was a little surprised and looked at Aeneas when he spotted the girl curled into a tiny ball, but the officer shook his head silencing the question. He didn’t have to explain her to anyone.

The group stayed near the dock and engines were ready, soon they started receiving messages from other groups that had managed the same thing. Those who had room went to pick up more were flying all over the Citadel to find other s trying to flee the station. After a few more hours the arms started to open and everyone made for the light. It was complete chaos trying to avoid other transports and then the armada fighting just outside. Aeneas was able to weave his way through while shouting at his navigator; they needed to know where they were so they could make their way through a mass relay and to safety.

The Navigator spoke up sounding confused. “Sir, looks like we are in the Sol system, somehow the Citadel was dragged to Earth?”

In the midst of the every known ship design, all locked in battle the Reapers he could see the bright blue planet below. “Don’t think about the how right now, just find that mass relay,” Aeneas growled making sure to clamp down on his panicked subvocals. They needed to stay on track, last minute instructions went out to make their way to Palaven.

“Sending you the heading now, calculating jump for when we arrive.” The order had shaken the other turian of his fear and the navigator focused on his task.

As quickly as possible Aeneas made his way to the Mass Relay, and started the jump. There was a blue glow from the view port and then they were at Palaven. It was still on fire like in all the news reports, but there seemed to be less combat around it. He moved the ship off before they got hit by another incoming group of escapees and sent a message to Palaven and whoever was listening. Turning his seat around he looked to Kenna, she was holding on to her legs pulling them into her chest, but she gave him a trembling smile, he flared his mandibles in return. He did it, he got her out of there but chances of her ever seeing her parents were well and truly zero now.

Chapter Text

They had been stuck on the small transport for days while the Palaven government dealt with relocating refugees and getting an idea of what was exactly what happened in the Sol system.

Comms had been tied into the ship's PA system for everyone to hear. No one quite understood how the Citadel was the key component to whatever weapon the Council was building, Shepard had led a devastating force against the Reapers and appeared to be one of the few to make it back to the Citadel from Earth’s surface. After that something was triggered, anything or anyone with ties to the Reapers was destroyed. Reapers exploded, husks burned out, indoctrinated people drowned in their own blood while screaming. Even the Relays suffered damage but initial reports sounded optimistic about future repairs.

Aeneas tried to keep Kenna distracted, teaching her about the ship systems, she had a real knack for technology. But nothing could draw her away from the screen when reports about Bekenstein came in. All signals were dead, it appeared to be a complete loss. Why the Reapers would attack a nonmilitary manufacturing planet no one knew, they didn’t even try to harvest anyone. At least they could take comfort in the fact her parents probably died quickly and did not have to go through the horrors of being turned into a husk.

Finally, Aeneas was tired of waiting, they all stunk and Kenna was running out of food. Frustrated he started calling anyone on Palaven’s surface until someone would listen. After some arguing he got officials to agree to let them land and not shoot them down.

-

Leaving the ship and finally breathing fresh air Kenna looked around. They had to land in a special indoor area since she couldn’t withstand the harmful rays from the sun and there were no enviro suits that would fit her on the ship. The windows outside showed a mountainous area with large trees and lots of vegetation but it was all silvery not the lush green she knew. She was happy to be inside though, it looked hot out there.

No one seemed too surprised by Kenna being the lone human, all the rest were on an asari transport that had been directed to another landing area. Mostly everyone looked tired but focused on whatever their work was. The Citadel refugees were all lead to the mess that was mostly deserted and given food, while she was getting tired of protein paste and rations, and it looked better than the blue meat Aeneas was eating. Everyone at the table was quiet, having only enough energy to focus on eating. Finally, she couldn’t keep her eyes open and started to sway. Without thinking about it, she leaned over and fell asleep on Aeneas to ensure she wouldn’t be left behind.

-

Aeneas felt bad about having to wake Kenna up, he didn’t think the armored shoulder was a comfortable pillow but she made do. However, they were being called up in front of the general who gave them permission to land. She blinked at him looking confused but got up without question, she must have been very tired if she was this quiet. Normally nothing could stop her curiosity. Or perhaps still coming to terms over never seeing her parents, he didn’t look forward to that conversation.

They were brought to a room that was busy, turians were running from terminals to maps and back again, all while reading their data pads. In the center of it was General Taris, barking out orders moving from one topic to the next. He spotted the arrivals and held up a single talon to stop the flow of questions coming at him from all sides. “I almost didn’t believe it when I was told a group of C-Sec officers toting refugees and Citadel survivors were orbiting Palaven. We apologize for delays, but we are assuming indoctrination may still be a threat.”

Falling to attention Aeneas replied, “General, sir, I apologize but we were told to get them to safety and I wasn’t sure where else to go and we were running low on supplies.”

The general waved a hand is dismissal his subvocals quiet but approving, “You chose correctly,” he sighed, “As far as we can tell, the Reapers stole the Citadel when they realized we would need it for the prothean weapon. I’m sure you’ve been listening to reports. We have been receiving messages of victory and started repairs. The Hierarchy is making a call on all citizens to duty during emergency time so you can consider yourself military again, the Citadel will not be needing your services today. You will stay here until you are assigned a post and all others will be arranged for depending on their government. Same for any other previously serving turian officers. Arrangements for refugees with be handled by my people. Dismissed.”

Kenna sighed and started to follow the others out the door. Aeneas watched the girl worriedly, her world was gone, along with her only family. As far Aeneas had learned during their talks, while she loved them, they only saw her as an heir of sorts, cared for her like any of their other investments. She had mentioned she was adopted, meant to fill the role of prodigy to a successful couple. Even though it was nannies and teachers that raised her she would feel more alone now.

Then Aeneas leaned over and grabbed her shoulder keeping her in the room as he looked to the general. “Sir, I have a request.”

General Taris turned, surprised looking between the odd pair. Not many would interrupt him at a time like this. “Yes, Officer?”

“I have been looking out for this girl, her parents’ shuttle never made it to the Citadel and she did not find any other family. Given the state of things, I would like to take official guardianship of her. I have no one to pass my clan name to and would be willing to officially accept her as my own.” He wasn’t sure what spurred on the decision, but after all the destruction he saw, Aeneas didn’t want to see her young life added to that list.

Kenna stared at him, he could vaguely read the many emotions flitting over her face but he did not know what they meant as well as his own people’s subvocals. The general seemed just as shocked, “I have never had this request. I will have to research into it. And you should explain all it entails to her before she agrees.”

Aeneas let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. “Yes, I will. Thank you, sir.” And he saluted and turned motioning for Kenna to follow.

They were led to the barracks and given a change of clothes and shower things. When left alone, Aeneas turned to her. “Kenna, I am sorry if I overstepped my bounds, but I couldn’t leave you on your own. Go get freshened up and I’ll answer all your questions.”

-

Kenna tried to take a quick shower but it felt so good to finally be clean and she ended up staying under the hot water a long time. She did think over the offer, there were so many questions but given the choice of another camp of strangers and her large friend who made the past few months bearable? Well, there wasn’t a choice. She turned off the water, and pulled on the ill fitting tunic, she stepped out to find Aeneas also changed waiting in the hall.

Pushing off the wall he stood straight, “We can use the General's office for more privacy.” He led her back down the hall into a clean and clutter free office with large windows. Outside two moons were rising over the tall mountains. Aeneas strode in stiffly, rubbing his talons nervously. “So, questions?”

“I have no idea where to start, I guess what would taking official guardianship do?” She asked looking out the window at the alien world, also feeling nervous.

“Well, you’d be a member of Vizrak family, my daughter so to speak. You’d also be considered a turian citizen on the same tier as me, it is a mid level tier but if you finish a term of service to the Hierarchy it comes with certain privileges. Although I am not sure if they would require you to serve in the military, there are many ways to serve.” He said sounding uncertain.

“You said you started training at fifteen? Would I have to start so soon?” She was just getting ready to learn to drive before the evacuation to the Citadel, and now she’d be learning war? Especially if the Reaper War hadn’t truly ended as they all hoped.

“I think I could get them to put it off since humans aren’t considered adult until eighteen. You could always opt to not do it; no one would really know the difference and you could eventually go back to a human world.” Aeneas stared at his talons, still nervous. He seemed to be preparing himself for rejection, she had learned of the First Contact war and even today tensions ran high for some of the older members of their species, many humans and turians did not get along. She also knew that to not complete one's service in the Hierarchy was a major taboo and would, in the long run, harm his clan’s status, not that were many left. And hurting Aeneas was one of the last things she wanted.

Turning to him fully, “I would love to be a Vizrak, and would do anything to repay you and your people for taking care of me.” Walking over she hugged him, “Thank you, Aeneas.” She meant it, her adoptive human parents saw her as a legacy more than their child. Only the finest schools and clubs for her, to help prepare her to take over their business. But that had been all she had until now.

Aeneas wasn’t like that, he would expect her best but he would love her as family. He did this because he cared for her, not because it was of any benefit to him.

Looking at her, his mandibles flared in a grin and he returned the hug. “It will be an honor to have you as a daughter, I’m sure you’ll do both our races proud. It will be hard, but I’ll always support you.”

The door slid open as the general walked in; the two stepped away from each other and he was grim as he spoke. “Yes, it will be difficult. After the dust settles your fickle government may think this improper, and turians may find it laughable but after all this, I don’t care. Any happiness after this war will be a Spirit's blessing.” He sighed and sat heavily in his chair.

Aeneas had fallen into a comfortable parade rest out of habit, and Kenna heard him chuckle as she tried to copy the stance out of respect. “Sir, I would like to point out that Kenna is fourteen years old, but I think she should wait until eighteen before she can join the military or other Hierarchy services as is a human tradition.”

General Tares nodded, “I agree, there is no real training facility to send her to anyway. However, I cannot let you out of service to take care of her.” He raised his talon to cut off their protest. “I know you are doing this so she is not alone. So you will keep her with you as an assistant while on duty. You’ll be able to prep her for service if you’d like.”

The two let out a breath and grinned. The general continued, “Vizrak you are being put in charge of a task force that leaves as soon as the Relay is repaired. Report to Kryuri tomorrow and she will set you up with all the information and equipment you need.”

On instinct, Aeneas saluted the general then asked, “Sir, if I may? When can we complete the joining ritual?” Kenna had no idea what it entailed and felt a little apprehensive.

“I don’t see why we cannot do it now,” He pulled up his omni tool, “Varlos? Please bring the supplies that were delivered earlier.” He looked back at them, “I took the liberty just in case she agreed so we could save time.”

Soon a dark female turian with bright white markings came in with a jar and a data pad. She stopped short seeing Kenna but gave a barely their shrug and continued forward to place the items in front of the General. Taking a breath he stood and started to read from the pad.

“Spirits are what keep our world alive and beautiful. The better the group, stronger and brighter the Spirit. Some Spirits have less and must adapt to grow or be lost. Today we are doing that, Aeneas Vizrak is accepting McKenna Pierce and all she brings into his family, building the Spirit’s strength. In return, she will receive all the respect and duties expected of a Vizrak. Please apply her new marks and join your blood lines.”

Reaching for the pot, she recognized the red color that decorated his face. Dipping a talon he started painting her cheeks and forehead in a way similar to his. He had some trouble with the tips that went into her wet hair line, making her giggle. When done, he put down the pot and cleaned his fingers.

Kenna’s eyes grew large as Aeneas calmly cut one palm with a talon, allowing blue blood to well up. Dipping his finger tips in it, he lifted them to his forehead making two downward strokes ending them above his eyes. He then turned to her and held out a hand to her. Shaking a little she placed her hand in his and he made a similar cut as quickly as possible, his talon was so sharp and she barely felt it but could not tear her eyes away as she watched the red blood flow. Guiding two fingers from her other hand Aeneas dipped them in her blood and lift them to her forehead where she repeated the mark he’d made on himself.

Carefully Aeneas held Kenna head still and brought his forehead to hers. When skin met plates she could feel where the blood touched. He held the position for a minute, eyes closed breathing calmly, and she could feel more than hear a slight vibration come from him. The other two turians watched, but if they were making a similar sound she had no idea.

Pulling apart General Tares spoke again. “Alright, just sign these documents and Kenna Vizrak will be officially recognized by the Hierarchy.” He pushed the pad toward them.

After signing the two left the room, Kenna’s head slightly spinning at the suddenness of it all, both ignored the smeared red and blue blood on their foreheads. Back at the bunks it was late, and everyone appeared to be sleeping, Aeneas motioned for her to sit on the bed and he pulled disinfectant and bandages from a med kit. He was on level with her when he kneeled and spread a tiny amount of the cream on her palm and wrapped it. “I’m sorry I can’t do more, it’s tradition to let it scar as a reminder to both of us of our duty.”

Kenna nodded and stopped him from applying it to himself and worked on his hand just like he did hers. “I think it’s a scar I wouldn’t mind having. By the way, what was that vibration you did earlier? It was almost like purring?”

Aeneas stared at her, head quirked while she worked on his hand, “I suppose normally it’s too low to hear it, but turians don’t use facial expressions as much as humans to convey feelings. We use another set of vocals called subvocals to put more meaning behind our words. I was very happy during the ceremony and I was expressing it. I had no family after my father died so it meant a lot. Even the general and his assistant returned the sound showing their happiness too.” Sitting on the bed next to her, “I suppose we will have to teach each other a lot about each other’s customs. I would hate to kill any future mate of yours because of a misunderstanding.” There was a chuckle behind his words as Kenna blushed.

They said their goodnights and he climbed onto the bunk above her. The bunk was larger than a human bed and the enormous amount of pillows made it easy to fall asleep.

Chapter Text

The next few days were busy; luckily Aeneas was able to find Kenna asari commando fatigues to wear, so she wasn’t running around in an ill-fitting turian tunic. He also got her a new omni tool and pistol, she tried to tell him it was too much but he insisted it was his duty as family to provide. She would be needing the equipment anyways as she took on duties to help him.
Other turians were taken aback by the colony markings she wore after Aeneas instructed her in how to apply them. But they were all too tired and concerned about real issues to cause her any trouble.

Soon Kenna fell into her new role. She would keep notes of all Aeneas’ meetings, research any possible upcoming questions, and keep tabs on their current supplies, soldiers assigned, and time tables. Aeneas soon grew used to her as his blonde shadow that always supplied information when needed; she hoped to make his new task easier to manage. She also helped maintain his equipment, most of the time she could figure out how it worked on her own, she really was good with her hands. He did insist on continuing her pistol training and started to teach hand to hand combat. Kenna could have sworn he seemed upset when learning she never had self-defense lessons before Vega on the Citadel, and started a brutal training regime that ensured she was exhausted by the end of the day.

Every night though, no matter how tired Kenna was she would have nightmares filled with the bodies from the Citadel. Sometimes they had her human parents’ faces, other times people from the holding docks, but every time she looked for help, she was alone and Aeneas was not there. She would wake shuddering and crying, and Aeneas would be there to comfort her. On the really bad nights, he would let his arm dangle to the lower bunk and she’d fall asleep holding his talons, a physical reminder she wasn’t alone.

After a few weeks, repairs to the Relay were finished and they had collected all they would need to take to Oma Ker. More reports were coming from everywhere, the Reapers were gone and all called Shepard a hero. They even confirmed the Normandy and her team survived, once they were found. Everyone felt a pang of sadness, Shepard had not been found with them, last reports say she disappeared into some sort of gateway to the Citadel, just after that the Citadel opened releasing their ships and docked with the weapon. Soon after it triggered the weapon blowing itself up in the process.

The Commander may have been brought back from death before if the rumors were true, but everyone doubted she could do it again. When it was announced, everyone in the room stopped for a moment in silence, remembering the great woman. Kenna thought back to the times she’d seen her around the docking bay. All the good she did, all the jobs that weren’t too little to handle herself while saving the galaxy. A lot of them could learn from her, and Kenna made sure she would. At least now Shepard had some peace, now that the galaxy was safe.

Collecting up their gear they went to the Vigilant, the ship instructed to take them to Oma Ker. While Aeneas was in charge of security for Oma Ker’s station rebuilding, he had to double as a navigator for the trip. This also meant that Kenna did not have much to do but stand and observe the cockpit. She didn’t know enough about the ship to help Aeneas, and she wasn’t officially in the military so she couldn’t work in any other section.

One day Aeneas had to work a double shift and sent Kenna to go have dinner, there was no point in both being hungry. So far she had gotten to know most of those who were on the rebuilding team and even gotten to know some of the permanent ship’s crew. Sitting alone she tried to convince herself the levo protein paste was better than it looked when a young turian sat down with her. She recognized him from the cockpit, he wasn’t the pilot, but he seemed to be getting trained for it, like her lessons with Aeneas. He was fairly tall with dark red brown colored plates and caramel colored hide. Sharp green eyes looked out from a face that was covered in elaborate white colony markings. He was young, long limbs still filling out, he must have been just starting his tour of service for the Hierarchy.

“So, I hear you were adopted by Vizrak?” The new comer commented digging into his meal.

Giving him a wary glance, Kenna confirmed the thought, “Yea, he helped me off the Citadel, looked after me when my parents didn’t make it.” She got asked about this a lot once they got over her being human.

“Hmm, he’s a good soldier. Worked under my father hunting pirates. I’m Caelus Kyrik by the way.” He added, reaching out a hand.

She raised a brow and accepted the huge hand, not many other species learned human customs like hand shaking. “I’m Kenna. I’ve seen you before, up in the cockpit. Training to be a pilot?”

“Yes,” he stated straightening and chest puffing out a little. “I could easily fly this ship, but have to start the bottom. When we get to Oma Ker I’ll probably be assigned to shuttles.” He sounded a little down at that thought.

“I feel you… Aeneas got them to agree to wait until I’m eighteen to join the military, which I liked at the time. But now I’m his assistant, there is so little to do but read, take notes and train.” She sighed, maybe she could talk him into letting her join early instead of having to train all over again.

“Sorry to say, it doesn’t get better in basic. If you’re lucky you get to test out of really boring stuff,” he said with a small flare of mandibles, his way of smiling.

“Oh joy,” she said sarcastically. Standing up, “Well I have to go. Aeneas is working and I wanted to get him some tea.”

“Alright,” he almost sounded disappointed. “See you around?” She nodded and left.

-

The next morning after her sparring lesson Kenna was stretching out. At first sparring was frustrating but finally, it started to click and she was getting better, but she was still nowhere close to beating Aeneas. More like holding him off for longer and getting tossed around less. Kenna did find out that stretching was important; else she could barely get out of bed the next day.

She glanced up at the sound of someone approaching and saw Caelus, he was staring at her oddly. She sat up, legs still folded in front of her. “Hey, what’s up?”

“How… How do you do that?” He pointed down at her, and she looked down confused.

Aeneas walked over, “She is flexible, like asari but even more so. You get used to it. Kyrik right?”

Like all good turian soldiers, the young turian went to attention, “Yes, sir.”

“Relax, I only wanted to say hello. Your father was a good man. One of the best to represent the turians in the Spectres.”

“Thank you, sir,” Caelus replied quietly.

Spectre? Kenna thought. It wasn’t uncommon for a turian to join the Spectres, but she hadn’t thought to look up Caelus’ family name. Caelus did mention his father knew hers, she wondered what it was like working with a Spectre.

Aeneas was still talking to the Caelus, “If I remember correctly you just finished basic right?”

“Yes sir, it was an accelerated course because of the war, but now I’m continuing specialist training to be a pilot.”

“Good, Kenna could use another sparring partner, someone closer to her level. You should join us.” Aeneas sounded amused.

“No offense to Kenna,” The dark turian looked down at her confused. “But aren’t you afraid I’d hurt her?”

“Actually I am more worried about her hurting you. As long as you cover your talons there shouldn’t be any issues.” Aeneas explained waving his gloves for example. “Be here tomorrow 0700.”

Kenna smiled and dropped her head to her knee, loving the stretch in her back and glutes. Caelus knelt next to her. “So he calls you Kenna?”

“Yea, some people do, it’s a nickname, short for McKenna. Why?” She had been getting odd looks from other turians when she introduced herself. Her human parents hated the nickname, but it never mattered to her.

“You know those silver flowers on Palaven?” She nodded. “Well, their local name is Kenna, I guess we don’t often shorten names so it never occurred to me it wasn’t your given name.”

Kenna smiled softly; her nickname suddenly became more special to her.

Chapter Text

The next day father and daughter met with the young pilot in the sparring area. Kenna wore a tank and tight shorts, Caelus was only wearing pants and gloves to protect her soft skin from his talons.

Kenna was a little nervous at the thought of fighting him bare chested, she had gotten used to the common showers. Turian plates hid everything so they didn’t care about nudity, but now she would be touching his bare hide and plates. She shook her head to clear the line of thought, this was a test, Aeneas spent a lot of time training her and she needed to prove that it stuck. She took a few calming breaths and felt herself fall into position. Feet spread, knees bent, and arms up prepared to attack or block.

Caelus gave her suddenly calm stature a wary look and both started moving cautiously around each other. Kenna came in close, giving him an opening. When he lunged, she side stepped inward so his hand shot past her, with a swipe of her leg she managed to unbalance him. He managed to roll away before her fist came down where his head was. His mandibles fluttered with excitement. Things were looking interesting, she had never been able to do that to Aeneas in an actual match only in drill practice. Jumping back to his feet he started to take her more seriously.

Soon they were trading blows neither slowing down. He tried to use his reach against her but she would turn his weight against him to unbalance him. But such motions took a lot of energy and neither could keep it up for too long without a break. Both were running on adrenaline, Kenna was excited to go up against someone closer to her level instead of being used to wipe the floor and he seemed pleased with how well she was keeping up. Kenna tried to flip some of the sweaty hair out of her face but slipped and his sharp elbow plate caught her where her shoulder met her neck and cut deep.

The next thing Kenna knew she was pinned to the floor by the tall turian, Caelus was focused on the blood hard and tongue lashing out to help scent the air. Worriedly she gave the signal to stop the match, “Alright, I yield.” But he didn’t move, didn’t even seem to hear her. A large set of talons wrapped around his cowl and Aeneas pulled him off her with a hard jerk.

“Kenna, go to our room, clean that up.” She tried to protest, it didn’t hurt, but Aeneas didn’t take his eyes off Caleus. “Kenna, do as I say,” he snapped. She got up and turned to go as he approached Caelus, who was sitting on the floor and refused to look at either of them.

-

After Kenna cleaned and applied medigel the cut, Aeneas came into their cabin. He looked over her carefully, “Sorry, I should have thought more about setting you two up as sparring partners.”

“What happened? I thought it was going great.” She hoped Caelus was alright. He was one of the few here close to her age and she liked having him as a friend.

Aeneas grew still and thought for a moment, thinking before explaining, “You two were doing very well. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for how young he was.” Shifting uncomfortably, “You see, he is becoming an adult and the urges that go with it. Like mating, which similar sparring, it is a form of stress relief for us. He is new to these feelings and became confused during the fight. The blood must have set something off and he got lost in his primal self. I had to stop him before he hurt you.”

Now Kenna was blushing, he had gotten turned on by the fight and blood? By her? She was trying to embrace the turian culture that adopted her, just like Aeneas tried researching human holidays and customs. Now though, it looked like she would have to do some more research to avoid awkward situations. She wasn’t looking for a mate, human or turian. “Oh… I’ll be more careful I swear!”

Aeneas sighed and ruffled her hair. “I know you will. We can continue sparring with Caelus. Just need to be more careful. I felt a little sorry for him, he is terribly embarrassed and worried he upset you.”

“I should go talk to him…”

She turned to the door but was stopped by a hand on her arm. “Our shifts are all starting, let him do his work then find him after.” She nodded and continued getting ready.

-

Later she found Caelus in the mess, eating alone. When she approached he looked up and glanced around worriedly.

“It’s ok, just me,” she said with a smile. “I wanted to apologize; I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable this morning.”

He starred with his intense green eyes looking confused, “I should be apologizing. I lost control.”

Kenna shrugged not wanting to make it a big deal. “It was an accident. I’m taking steps to prevent it happening again.”

“Again?” Caelus asked perking up a little.

“Yea, this morning was fun and challenging. You’re a more even opponent, Aeneas is too advanced for me to handle in an all-out match.”

“Is that so,” he leaned back, his usual smirk returning. “Well, maybe next time I won’t go easy on you.”

“Try me,” She returned a fierce smile and relaxed as they fell into their usual banter

-

Finally, the convoy reach Oma Ker, the damage wasn’t as bad as they feared. The space station was destroyed as well as some of the major installations on the surface. Casualties were remarkably low as well, and with the supplies, they brought they should be able to start rebuilding quickly. Now they were off the ship Aeneas was able to take over his duty of security for the station they were rebuilding. Kenna could be found at his elbow taking notes while they were led around, she was proud of him, it was a big promotion for the C-Sec officer and she would do her best to help him succeed.

After moving into their new suite on a temporary port someone set up, Kenna left to go find Caelus, he was carrying his footlocker and disembarking with a large number of the others from the ship. He spotted her and waved in greeting.

“Caelus! Where were you assigned?”

“Shuttles for the equipment transfer to the surface.” He smirked down at her.

“Great, I won’t have to hunt you down for a rematch,” She was relieved, while most turians were civil to her, none were as fun as Caelus.

“Right because you have a chance in taking down someone twice your size.” Caelus raised a brow plate at her mockingly.

“Hey, I’ve grown 2 cm since Palaven! And I am getting better every day.” She tried not to stomp her foot like a child. “We’ll have to wait and see when we get some free time.”

-

But they never had time after that. There was always something to be done and they soon found Kenna had a talent for programming and building hardware. So alongside her homeschooling, Aeneas insisted she needed, she was working with the engineers rebuilding and improving the station.

Each day brought in more news, other places in the galaxy were rebuilding as well. Even the Sol Mass Relay was rebuilt and soon hungry turians made their way back to dextro friendly worlds. Luckily the station was functioning but it was far from done, again they had to move to their more permanent quarters on the station. Seeing that many in the military were no longer single or childless, the designers decided to add some rooms families to use if stationed there. Kenna was ecstatic because in for the first time in over a year she would have her own room. Thankfully the nightmares were not as frequent, but Aeneas never complained if she woke him, too scared to sleep again.

Kenna tried to find time to spend with Caelus, but often they were exhausted and didn’t have the energy to spar. Mostly they would start to watch a vid and pass out. Aeneas would come home to find both sprawled asleep on the couch. He was happy how close the two of them had grown, he was worried Kenna would have trouble integrating into turian culture and would be lonely. He hated waking them but they had jobs and need a proper night’s sleep in order to do them.

In the end, Kenna was grateful that her service start time was pushed off, it gave them time to explore their new family, something to look forward to with all the destruction around. She was still growing, she had grown at least ten cm since they’d met, yet she was still small for a human and downright tiny compared to a turian. She also started to start filling out in her chest and hips, she didn’t think much of it until she started attracting stares from males turians and asari. One morning she woke to blood in her underwear, she had been afraid when this would happen, with all the stress she wasn’t sure when she would finally get her period. How did one explain to their alien father that you are bleeding and it’s normal?

When she walked out into the living area Aeneas looked up from his reading looking at her carefully. “Kenna, are you alright? I smell blood.”

Kenna covered her face, feeling it heat up with a blush. “Spirits this is embarrassing… Umm Dad, how much do you know about human biology?”

“Just emergency medical information, why do you need bandaging?” He moved to get up to go for a med kit.

She threw up her hands. “No, uhh, see human women bleed on occasion. It’s our bodies preparing to reproduce. I’m a late starter, stress I guess. But I need some supplies.”

His eyes grew large, and she could see the gears turning as he thought about it. Quickly he shook his head, seeming to focus on her last statement, “What do you need? I can push my meetings.”

“I’ll forward the items to you, hopefully, they’ll prevent the smell, it would be too embarrassing to explain this to anyone else.” She pulled up her omnitool and his pinged with the information.

-

It took some effort finding what Kenna had requested, a visiting Asari seemed to have a great number of human products and understood how they worked. The merchant gave Aeneas a pitying look, “Oh, you are in for a rough week. You may want to stock on pain killers and human chocolate. I am told it helps with the cravings.”

“You know about this human trait?” Aeneas hadn’t had time to find reading material on it.

“Yes, sometimes the hormonal changes are as rough as the ones young turians have. But the humans tend to get upset and cry or throw things if really rough. Or sometimes nothing happens. It differs from person to person.” She explained that the last lover had a teenage daughter and she would cry at the drop of a hat from the cramping. She also mentioned getting a contraceptive pill for Kenna, not necessarily for protection since there were no humans on the station, but that it might help the girl with the hormone fluctuations.

“Spirits, I’ll remember to duck.” He hurried and got the all the items and rushed them to their quarters.

-

Kenna laughed a little at Aeneas panic that resulted in buying everything, she would have enough for at least a year. And she did appreciate the chocolate, even she didn’t realize that’s what she was craving. To top it all, Aeneas gave her the day off for sick leave just in case.

Kenna was very grateful; she hadn’t been prepared for the pain of the cramps. It felt like someone punched through her lower belly, grabbed her spine and squeezed hard. She took the pain meds but they only helped a little. Perhaps it was good she had the day off.

-

In the afternoon Caelus showed up, he was worried that Kenna out sick and decided to stop by. He didn’t expect to find her curled into a small ball on the couch.

“Kenna are you alright?” Caelus asked quietly and slightly touched her back.

She pushed into his hand harder, mumbling something about the warmth, before cracking an eye open. “Yea, just cramps. It’s normal human thing.”

“Pain is normal?”

“In this case, hopefully, it doesn’t happen every time.” She looked up at him, “What are you doing here?”

“I heard you were sick but we had planned on watching that vid today.” He looked at her concerned. “If you’re not well enough now, I can come back.”

“No, I can watch it. Just let me lay here.”

They watched the vid, but once in awhile, she would shiver. Caelus was a loss at what to do, instinctively he reached out to rub her back. He could've sworn Kenna almost gave off subvocal purr like a turian and inched closer, her head on his thigh and moved his hand to her stomach. That seemed to relax her more and she started to doze. Caelus wasn’t sure what was happening but it seemed help so he tried to watch the vid and as the human fell asleep in his lap. It was difficult, he was unsure of his reaction to her the first time they sparred, but it was always lurking back of his mind and having her head so close to his protective plates was very distracting.

When Aeneas strode in he seemed surprised by Caelus’ predicament. At first, Caelus was afraid he was doing something wrong that the older turian motioned for Caelus to remain still. He guessed he was doing the right thing. Eventually, Caelus picked up the sleeping girl to put her to bed and she tried to bury into his warmer body, tucking her head into his cowl. Caelus didn’t want to let her go but knew the bed was more comfortable than his plates. He left her, hoping she would feel better in the morning, and left more confused about his feelings.

Chapter Text

Kenna stretched as she entered the mess, it was late and she was hoping there was still something for her to eat. Luckily the cooks on the station had gotten better at cooking levo food so it wasn’t often she had to resort to protein paste.

She spotted on cook closing up, “Hey, any chance of there being leftovers?”

The pale turian looked up and stared at her, freezing for a moment. Seemed like they had another round of transfers, which meant another group to get used to her. “Sure, just let me heat it up.”

“Thanks!” Kenna gathered a tray and utensils. Soon the smells made her mouth water, some work days that went late meant she wouldn’t have a hot meal.

The cook passed her the plate, too distracted with his grill to look at her, “I have to close up now.”

“Sure thing, I’ll just take this up to my room. Thanks again.” Kenna made her way to the elevator.

Outside the quarters she found Caelus waiting. “Sorry to keep you waiting, I was craving real food tonight.”

He gave the asari fish stew an odd look, “I don’t know if I’d call that real food, but whatever helps convince you to eat it. I have that new vid I was talking about, want to watch it?”

Kenna nodded and let him in. He set up the movie while she started digging into her dinner. It was some asari dish she never had before. It was edible but not her new favorite.

Soon her throat started to get dry and tight. Kenna coughed, trying to get rid of the itch, but it just got worse. Water did nothing to help either, and soon the coughs ripping through her chest made it impossible to hold the glass. Something wasn’t right, but she couldn’t even get the words out to explain. Caelus looked at her worriedly and she gave a turian military hand signal for trouble. Seeming to understand he stood picking her up and ran for the door. His long strides go them to the medical bay in record time.

-

Aeneas came running into the room, scanning for Caelus. The young dark turian quickly approached. “Sir, she’s fine. They were able to stop the reaction, you can go back and see her.”

A nurse came out and showed them the way. Seeing Kenna sitting on a medical bed, Aeneas forgot all proprietary and hugged her closely, relieved that she seemed alright.

“Dad, I’m fine. You can let go.” Her embarrassed voice muffled by his chest.

The asari doctor stepped into the room. “She is cleared to go home. Just a bad reaction food allergy.”

Aeneas let her go looking worried, “Allergy? Did she eat dextro food?” Turning to his daughter, “Kenna you know to stay away from it.”

“While there was dextro protein in her food, that’s not what caused her reaction” The doctor explained calmly, getting the worried parents attention back on her. “Turns out Kenna is allergic to an asari spice. She is one of the few not allergic dextro proteins, she can eat it but it will not be able to support her nutritional needs.”

Aeneas let out a relieved sigh, one less thing to worry about, but it did raise some questions. Anaes quirked his head at Kenna, “Interesting, but why risk it?”

“That’s the thing, I had an asari dish. There shouldn’t have been dextro meat in it.” Kenna had a serious look in her eye. He knew she wouldn’t risk her health on a whim, which suggested an accident or something worse.

“I will have an investigation started. Such carelessness is not acceptable.” Aeneas calmed down and fell back into a security role. Turning back to the doctor, “If we are all set, we’ll be off.”

“Of course, but I did have one non-related topic I wished to discuss with you.” Caelus excused himself, and Aeneas sat in the chair next to the bed. “I have been developing technology for an elective surgery. The implant would greatly increase the range of hearing. For example, it would be possible for a non-turian to hear turian subharmonics. A few bonded asari have used it with great success but I haven’t been able to run any tests on humans. With Kenna’s unique situation she would be perfect for the study.”

Aeneas was shocked. Kenna would be truly able to hear him? It was tempting but ultimately her decision. Turning to the teen, he asked in a neutral voice, “Well, Kenna is this something you want?”

She took a moment to think, her face showed she was excited but ever since the Citadel she had become more cautious, thinking through every option. Kenna was no longer a child, and being his assistant these past couple of years had matured her thinking. “Yes, I do.”

-

The next day Kenna went in for the surgery, it would only take a couple of hours and Aeneas and Caelus would be there when she woke.

Slowly she came too, the first thing she noticed was the sound of the air from the vent and a quiet whining noise. Opening her eyes she found a pair of yellow eyes watching her worriedly.

“Dad… Hey.”

“Hey there. How do you feel?” Aeneas asked and the whining grew louder.

“Groggy but fine.” She tried to sit up, “Is that whine you?”

His mandibles flared in a smile and the whine turned into a high pitched trill. “Yes, I was nervous. Subvocals are hard to control.”

The doctor came up to her and ran a few tests. “Perfect. You are good to go. Take it easy, your overall hearing has gotten much better and may be disorientating. As for understanding subvocals, practice makes perfect. It’s like reading body language. I’ll send you the check up info the study.” She left and let in Caelus.

Aeneas gave the young male a happy trill and Caelus looked closely at Kenna, “So it’s not a joke, you can actually hear us?”

She nodded with a large smile. “Yup, no more communicating behind my back.” All laughed at that. “So any news on why there was dextro meat in my food.”

Aeneas let out a growl much deeper and richer sounding now, “Yes. Turns out the cook was cleared for work before fully recovering. He was on Earth during the final battle. Now he blames humans for the whole thing. They sent him here thinking there weren’t any humans, that he’d have time to adjust.”

“Damn, he tried to kill me but now I feel bad for him.” Kenna hugged herself, conflicted over the situation.

“He’ll get the help he needs, and the officer that approved this will be disciplined.” He offered her a hand to help her off the bed.

“Why the officer?” Kenna asked, confused.

Caelus shrugged and explained, “Turian way, it wasn’t the cook’s fault he was sent out too soon, but the officer that said he was ready and didn’t think to check that this was a human free space.”

“Enough. Let’s go celebrate. At least one good thing came out of this.” Aeneas subvocals filled the room with his trilling excitement.

-

It took awhile to work her way through all the new sounds, but soon Kenna was able to filter the background noise and focus on tasks and conversations. She did pick up on sub vocals and their meanings pretty quickly. The most surprising thing was how much she was missing just from those observing her, especially when working on close combat training. She would hear chirps of interests and low rumbles of desire or hums of general curiosity, it took her awhile to realize they were directed to her. She asked Aeneas about it, he told her he just ignored them, and so should she. Most of the station considered the daughter of the Security CO off limits but would admire the view.

Caelus did not take it as well, every now and then she would catch him growling back at some of the ones who came too close. She tried to ask what his problem was, but he would try to pass it off as nothing or else he claimed he was looking out for his friend and the none of the interested parties were good enough for her.

It wasn’t long before Kenna became accustomed to the new sounds and meanings. However, she decided to keep it between her and her two favorite men. She was still coming across resistance with some of the workers. Mostly because she was human but with full turian rights. If they knew she had augmented hearing too, they might claim she was a spy or some such nonsense. Plus it felt good to catch on to their surprise when they saw her skills, proving that she could pull her weight as well as any of their own people.

Chapter Text

Kenna woke to her alarm, and let out a sigh. Today she was eighteen and about to join the Hierarchy military for at least the next fifteen years. It was hard to believe what all had led to this point. Sure she missed her adoptive human parents, they cared for her but didn’t love her like Aeneas. He saw her as the only family and wanted what was best for her not for his own glory. He cared for her because he could; he saved her from the Citadel and kept her with him instead of passing her off like everyone else did.

The day before her father, Caelus, and she had off and spent the day doing whatever she wanted. They started with sparing, a little last minute shopping, cooking, and vids on the couch. She fell asleep on Caelus’ thigh again, and at the end of vid he picked her up to take her to bed, laying her down she woke up and was able to convince him to stay. After some arguing and debating how comfortable sharing a bed actually was, he relented and stayed. It was their last time together before her first leave and she didn’t want to miss a minute.

Behind her, Caelus shifted and pressing his back closer to her. At first, Kenna was a little mortified that she had forced him to stay, but there hadn’t been an awkwardness while they slept and they had managed to share the bed comfortably. Luckily it was cold and she appreciated his heat, but she did have to get up and get ready. With a little difficulty, Kenna managed to untangle her legs from him and the sheets, small feet quietly hitting the floor. She took a quick shower, dressed and had to stop herself from picking up her colony paint.

Looking in the mirror Kenna admired her new permanent marks. As a legal adult, she was allowed to choose to keep them and had the asari that helped with her subvocal hearing, applied the tattoos and the hair coloring.

After almost four years Kenna was able to fine tune the marks that framed her face, even permanently dyeing the corresponding chunks of hair so when pulled back it looked like it should on a fringe. Nowadays the marks did not look so odd on a human face and could clearly be seen as the Vizrak’s colony’s marks. Now it looked natural to have the red marks framing her face. She heard a chuckle and looked up to see Caelus leaning in the doorway watching.

“I remember when I got mine done. Just be glad you didn’t need plate layers removed to get to the epidermis. I couldn’t touch mine for a month.”

She smiled, “Another point to the soft and squishy races.”

He grunted, “I can’t believe you won’t be on base to keep me entertained or make sure I actually go to the gym.” Caelus often teased her of being his personal trainer, now on permanent piloting duty it was harder and harder to get his ass to the gym.

Turning around Kenna pointed out, “You will be too busy as a lieutenant now, and flying something bigger than a shuttle.”

“Still, as soon as you know when your leave is, pass the word.” There was a slight whine to his subvocals, all jokes aside they were going to miss their time together.

“She will.” Aeneas voice came from her room. “Give us a minute.”

Caelus stepped out into the living area. Aeneas spread out his arms and Kenna threw herself into them, her smaller frame barely shaking him. “Hard to think our time is up. But I wanted to say, I am proud and honored to have been your father.”

“Oh Dad, you’ve given me more than anyone else has.”

Aeneas pulled away and showed her an old turian medallion. “This was my ancestor's ID tag. She was part of the First Battalion and one of our finest soldiers. Keep it safe, and do well in your training.”

Kenna’s eyes started to tear up like when they first met, she looked down. Tears tended to make turians uncomfortable. “I will just wait and see.”

All too soon they were off and Caelus flew them to the training base planetside. Before the war, Kenna would have gone to Palaven but there were still many repairs needed. For now she was going to a temporary camp on Oma Ker. Still, she wouldn’t be allowed to leave without permission and her father and friend wouldn’t be able to visit. They all said their farewells and she dragged her footlocker to sign in desk.

Luckily the officers all seemed to know who Kenna was, but some of the other cadets were taken by surprise. A couple even seemed offended by her presence. One dark female with purple colony marks stomped over to speak to her. “Why the hell are you wearing those marks?”

Kenna had been prepared for this, others had asked similar questions but luckily being the daughter of a CO had scared off too many from being this rude about it. “They are the markings of my family’s colony.”

“Even if you were born on a turian world, it doesn’t mean you are turian.” She was snarling now, her sub vocals rumbling angrily.

“I wasn’t, I was adopted into the Vizrak family.” This female would not know Aeneas, but most would recognize the surname. They were an old military family.

“So a Vizrak heir took pity on a human. Well, they chose badly, you’re so small, I bet you won’t survive a week.” She tried to shove past Kenna but at the last second Kenna stepped aside and the female stumbled not touching her. Those watching let out quiet chuckles.

Another female, a sandy color with white marks down the center of her face approached Kenna next. “Sorry about Javis, her parents got big promotions during the war and I think the higher tier went to her head. The shuttle here was a nightmare.” Reaching out a hand, “I’m Marren Errick.”

“Kenna Vizrak, nice to meet you.”

Just then a drill sergeant came out and started shouting instructions. They were shown the barracks, mess, supply rooms, and then testing started. They had to bring an asari medic to check Kenna, none of the turians knew much about human physiology. She was dark blue with white colony markings.

She winked at Kenna, “ The first month is the hardest. Once they see you can keep up they’ll forget you're human. I’m Keera, I was brought into the Hierarchy by my father after my mother was killed.”

“Really? I didn’t know there were other non-turians serving.” Kenna stepped on a scale while the medic ran a wand of another instrument over her.

“Few and far between, normally asari's. You might be the first human. Hmm… Do you have a biotic parent?” Keera looked closely at the readings.

“No idea. I was adopted by my human parents, from earth originally but grew up on a colony. I never had information on my birth parents.”

“Well, you have certainly been to more worlds than most being this young. You birth mother must have been exposed to eezo before you were conceived. But you don’t have enough to be considered for Biotic training. And thankfully the red sand testing ended so they won’t try that.” She finished filling out Kenna’s sheets.

“Well once I give you these shots you are good to go, just stay away from seni spice. Looks like you are allergic, and turian food won’t give any nutritional value.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Kenna rolled up a sleeve.

“Please, just Keera. I’m still a maiden and we non-turians have to stick together.” And the two smiled conspiratorially.

-

Scores from ability testing came back. There weren’t too many surprises, Kenna passed the technical with flying colors, showed to have a knack for tactics. Before leaving the testing areas the lead of the engineering group hunted her down and brought up options for her. Word of her projects on the station had reached him, and he was looking forward to having a hand in the labs for his personal projects.

At the end of the day, they still had to test in hand to hand combat. Kenna was tired, but not worried. She knew her father had prepared her, this shouldn’t be too different.

They were paired off and of course Kenna found herself paired with the female, Javis, that gave her trouble earlier. Kenna smiled, this was going to be interesting.

As soon as the signal came the turian charged her, which Kenna prepared for and was able to use the momentum sending the female flying and she landed on her back. Sub vocals hissing Javis got up and kicked out at Kenna. This time Kenna grabbed the foot, used it to pull her within reach, and gave a few quick jabs to her unplated side before lifting the leg up and unbalancing the inflexible turian.

Again on her back, Javis roared in anger. Getting up, Kenna recognized the feral look in her eye. Shit, the instructor might not stop ragging female if she took the gloves off and came at Kenna with talons. She had to end it quick. When charged again, Kenna remained still until the last second stepping to the side and swinging her hand down aiming for the soft neck that was now visible.

The right hit could stun a turian, make them only focus on breathing while everything went numb and useless for a moment. Aeneas made sure she knew this, just in case a turian she was up against lost control. It was one of the first things he taught her after the incident with Caelus. She didn’t use it often, only for emergencies like this.

Javis dropped like a dead weight, and the instructor stepped in, “Halt, not bad, cadet. Class this is a prime example of why you do not expose your neck or lose your temper. Emotions distract when fighting you must focus on the surroundings and opportunities.”

Others pulled the woozy female out of the ring. Marren joined Kenna, “Careful, I think that bitch won’t be happy when she wakes up.”

Kenna shrugged, “So much for just getting through day one without trouble.”

-

Their second day included arms testing. Kenna was a little worried, she had been trained on the pistol and was decent but today they were being tested on everything. She had become used to turian built things being larger than human equivalents, but their weapons were designed to cause damage. That meant they were large, powerful, and had a wicked kick back.

The shotgun almost fell out of her hands, barely able to recover her grip. The assault rifle danced so off target, those farther down range complained that she hit their targets.

Most embarrassing was the sniper test. They were told to kneel with the heavy gun and use the firing range barricade as a prop. Kenna’s head barely cleared the top, and she was very unbalanced. Even before firing, those around were sniggering. The Javis loudly whispered, “What idiot let the dolly pick up a gun. Damn thing isn’t a toy.” And even more, laughter rang out before silenced by the drill sergeant.

Taking a breath, Kenna lined up the relatively simple shot, pulled the trigger… And found herself on the ground in pain, surrounded by howling turians. The damn kick back nearly broke her shoulder, and it was only a practice model.

The drill sergeant was trying to hold back his own amused subvocals, while he reached down to grab the back of her collar and lift Kenna back on her feet. “Nice attempt, but fighting roles aren’t for everyone.”

Kenna could feel her face heating up, she hadn’t figured being a human would hold her back so much. Part of her assumed she could follow in Aeneas’ foot steps. Being an engineer wasn’t anything bad, but normally you were stuck doing the same things day in day out and she had enough of that on the station. But if she couldn’t even handle anything more than a pistol, how would a commander ever take Kenna on a mission?

-

After showering, Kenna sat on her bunk, poking the dark bruise from the sniper gently. Marren dropped on the bed next to her and let out a hiss of pain. “Spirits, and I thought I was bad out there. Well, at least I won’t be alone doing the lead engineer’s grunt work.”

Kenna dropped her head in her hand with a grunt of deffeat, “I have been doing that for the past couple years, I was looking forward to shooting somethings.”

“Maybe you could talk the sergeant into getting you human weapons.” Marren suggested.

Kenna shook her head, laying down herself, at least the too big bed was comfy. There were some pluses to turian styles. “Not an option. When the camp CO agreed to let me come, part of it was I did everything the turian way. He ok-ed armor and food of course.” Shrugging, Kenna did see the reason, “If I have equipment failure in the field, I need to be able to use standard weapons. Else people could die.”

Marren cursed, and was quiet for a moment before flipping onto her side, toward Kenna, propping, “What if you altered the weapons to work for you?”

“Again it can’t be anything that I can’t recreate out in the field.” Quickly her brain started going through how the weapons were built. “But if I could hack the software…”

Marren made a curious chirp, “What, change the settings?”

Kenna sat up again pulling up her omni tool. “Not exactly. All guns have built in motors to collapse them for storing right?”

“Yes,” Marren moved over to her bunk to look at the screen. “But they are normally locked open or closed.”

“What if I override that so it helps take some of the kinetic energy out of the kickback?” Her fingers were flying through the code.

“Then you could at least make the sniper usable with the longer time between shots to reset.” Marren pointed at a bit of code. “You could tie in a subroutine with the trigger commands. If you wouldn’t mind I would like to work on this too, might show engineering I can take on bigger projects.”

And for most of the nights following the two of them were up coding, annoying many of their barrack mates with the light.

-

Kenna was standing in formation, waiting for the drill sergeant to finish his assignment lists, today was the last of testing to finalize everyone's training schedule. When he called her name, Kenna swallowed and stepped forward interrupting him.

Even the stoic sergeant couldn’t hold back his surprise at the insubordination. “Sir, I would like another chance to test for the sniper rifle.”

He hummed for a moment, before commenting quietly, “Vizrak, as entertaining as your first attempt was, I doubt a few nights sleep will make a difference in your case.”

“Sir, I have been working on something to level the playing field so to speak.” Kenna kept her head up and straight forward.

She was also surprised as any when Marren stepped forward too, “You should give her the chance, Sir.”

“Alright, it just better be good Vizrak.”

The whole group made their way over to the firing range, and another drill sergeant pulled his sniper so Kenna could use his firing lane. Taking a moment she uploaded the software patch to the practice weapon and prayed that this would work.

Taking the position, she found a more comfortable way to sit and took her time aim. Once she was ready, she took another steadying breath, and slowly squeezed the trigger. This time, the kick of the weapon was still strong but no longer bruising, and she did not fall over. Looking at the target she was pleased to see her shot was within a hand width of the center.

“Impressive Vizrak. Clever software you made.” Her drill sergeant commented.

“Thank you, Sir. Errick helped with it.” Kenna made sure to mention her friend’s name.

“Alright, you can actually fire it now. Finish the clip.”

Kenna couldn’t help but smile as she fired another nine rounds. After the third, all of them were within the inner ring.

Standing she turned for her sergeant's decision.

“I will bring it up with the CO. If he allows it I will move you into sniper training. I know the tactics instructor will be happy to have you.”

Not even Javis’ rude comments of a pyjack learning new tricks could get to her.

-

Kenna got her assignment a few days later, she made it into the special forces infiltrator training. Her tech skills and combat scores were high enough, only she and one other male turian made it in, and as far she understood she was the only non-turian to make it into that program. She got a schedule which included tactical and physical training in the morning and hardware and software in the afternoon.

Marren was assigned as an engineer so they had training together in the afternoon. And Javis Orik, turned out to be a biotic adept and joined the Cabal group, so Kenna wouldn’t have to interact with her much.

It was hard to keep in touch with her father and Caelus, with her full days it was difficult to stay awake at night to write. Kenna hoped neither felt ignored, but they had been in the same position and probably understood. Most nights she fell asleep in the middle of any chats and would try and resume it the next day.

To say Aeneas was only pleased for her was an understatement. He was extremely proud at how she rose to the challenge and was proving her worth to the rest of the galaxy. But to be honest he would have been happy if she’d only ended up as a cook. He promised that the first chance they would go out to dinner to celebrate but to stay focused for now. Luckily, that was all Kenna seemed to have time for these days.

Chapter Text

It didn’t take long for Kenna to fall into a pattern, an exhausting one, but at least a standard routine. Mornings were filled with physical training and drills. Afternoon was dominated by technical classes. She had even more than the Cabal units on her plate, juggling engineering assistant for tech classes, small group tactical classes, and snipping practice. There was some trouble getting her fellow cadets to take her seriously, but Caelus had given her an idea to prove herself.

It was almost an expected tradition to pull pranks on the higher commanding officer and instructors. Most were little things. Equipment failure, doors missing, and swapping furniture in the rooms trying to convince the higher ups they were going insane. Everyone knew it had to be a good prank, getting caught could mean a more embarrassing punishment. But if you could get them to laugh, it wouldn’t be too bad. One squad who stole the door had to share the duty of a stand in door until the original was returned. For a month if anyone went to that sergeant's room they had to knock on the cadet's forehead and said cadet then mimicked a door being opened and closed. Everyone found a reason to speak with that officer when word got around.

Kenna was one of the best software specialists of her year, so she would have to make her prank epic, especially if it was to prove to the others she could in fact program. And even if she wasn’t caught word would get around and help her status among her peers. That meant pranking the CO and any other of the possible officers.

It took weeks to work out. Anything Kenna did would have to be impossible to dismantle and be obvious to the entire base. She got the idea after the cadets caught watching snippets for Azure. While it was expected for hormonal young adults to find for extra fun, getting caught with such material was free game to be made fun of. Well, two could play that game.

First, it started off as just sending out a virus to change the backgrounds of any terminals with whatever porn was most recently watched. But then Kenna came across the settings file for the bases VI. Similar to Avina from the Citadel, the base had its own turian VI, Daisuke, fashioned after the ideal turian male. With a few added subroutines, its setting files were easily manipulated.

-

Kenna had been waiting all morning, barely able to keep the grin off her face. Today was a parade day when they would be put on show for the CO in front of everyone on base. At this point, no one was too nervous. They had done this multiple times, and if anything a few of her group were still asleep on their feet, waiting for the CO to begin.

The CO had gone through two other companies already, and Kenna was a little sad he hadn’t called up the VI yet. According to her omni tool her program should have gone active ten minutes ago. Stopping to speak with her drill sergeant, the CO was questioning some of the reports, pausing he barked out an order to Daisuke.

Only the tall almost monotone VI did not appear. Instead, there was a rather voluptuous Asari, barely clothed and looked remarkably like one of the actresses from Azure the cadets had been caught with. With a breathy voice, she replied, “The report showed a total improvement of eight percent, sir.”

The entire parade ground was silent as the CO and other officers looked on mandibles slack. Sputtering for a moment, he demanded, “What is the meaning of this?”

“What is the matter, sir. Are you displeased with this form?” The VI asked in a pouty voice. It perked up, “Maybe this would be better.” And with a brief glitch, what little she had been wearing was gone.

The sniggers began, as others realized what was going on.

The CO glared at the lead engineer, before gesturing at the very naked asari, “Fix this, now!”

“Yes, sir.” Stepping forward he pulled up his tool. “Daisuke, run diagnostics.”

There was another glitch, and the VI switched to a human male, muscles bulging, and little left to the imagination as he was in a gold lame thong. The laughter only grew, as the engineer was quickly scanning through the code.

For a moment, it reset once again, and the usual male turian returned for a moment before a small turian female took his place. “Sir, I am attempting to take on the most pleasing form possible.”

And so it went one, switching between different sexes, species, and states of undress as different officers tried to fix it.

The laughter was so loud now, the VI’s voice was completely drowned out. Finally, the CO had enough, and his voice rang out over the noise, “It’s clear regular PT and sparring isn’t enough to reign in your hormones. For the next week, you will all be required to undergo more hand to hand combat training each evening after dinner.” Dismissing the now strip teasing asari, he continued with the inspection.

-

That night while everyone was showering off the extra grime from the sparring session, the sex VI upgrade was still the topic of discussion. The virus still had yet to be wiped, for which Kenna was extremely proud of herself, not that she told anyone who was behind it. Now that everyone had a chance to try it out, they were all curious who was the mastermind.

“Must have been one of the tech heads.”

“Of course it was, idiot. You could barely get your program to read “Hello world” in class.”

“Marren, you must have some idea?”

Kenna’s tall friend finished cleaning her teeth and shrugged. “Wasn’t me, if I could see a snippet of the code I could probably hazard a guess from the style.”

Kenna kept her chuckle silent, but Marren’s sharp gaze locked on her shaking shoulders. Walking over to their bunks, she leaned closer. “I will say, I only know of one person who is capable of this level of skill…”

Shrugging Kenna only commented, “We’ll have to wait and see. I’m sure they’ll track it down eventually.”

Eventually ended up being three weeks, when the programmed fail safe ran and made the virus easier to track. It was only by good timing it happened while in their tech class. The Engineer lead was muttering in the corner, cursing Kenna’s program to hell and back, when he suddenly let out a bark of laughter.

Looking at her he yelled over the group discussions “Really Vizrak? Better than Porn is what you called it?”

Beaming, Kenna nodded, “Not often we get the interactive shit.”

The room was so quiet you could hear the gears turning, the others started to piece it together. Then it exploded with noise as everyone rushed forward with questions. How had she bypassed the systems, how did she get into all the personal stashes people kept on the omni tools, and most importantly, did the CO really watch Azure? Most of it Kenna deflected, but it didn’t take long for the entire base to realize that the human just pulled the best prank they had seen.

It didn’t take long before she was pulled in front of the CO for a reprimand, but even he was too impressed or embarrassed to be too hard on her. Kenna’s punishment ended up taking on extra work to help plug the holes she used to pull it off. Even those off base heard about it. Her father only chuckled, saying it did the officers good to be brought down a peg or two, and Caelus was in a state of giggles until she mentioned a few titles she found in his search history. Bargaining she got him to agree to get her a real steak dinner if she didn’t look anymore, which made her wonder, of everything she found so far it had been pretty tame so what was he hiding? But she was a good friend and kept to the promise no matter how difficult it was.

There were a few not happy with the outcome. Specifically Javis, whose male turian VI had been seen wearing some rather extreme outfits. The end result ruined a few of the relationships she had been juggling. Apparently, not all of the turian army was fearless.

One night, when Kenna had kitchen cleaning duty, she found herself alone, telling the cook that she could finish cleaning the evening meal prepping herself. Her head was in a pot, scrubbing the slight brunt sauce they had, when a loud bang of a door startled her. There was a sharp pain as her head made contact with the rim of the pot.

Hissing and rubbing at it, Kenna looked up to see Javis standing in the room, eye’s fixed on her and hands glowing with biotic power. “What do you want Javis? You know there is no eating after the kitchen is closed, even for Cabal members.”

Javis ignored the comment, “You think you're so clever pijak… Airing out everyone's dirty laundry, while you come away a hero.”

Kenna winced, to remain undercover she had programmed the sex VI to respond to her as well. But she hadn’t really watched much porn. After not seeing humans for so long, the sight of them fucking just seemed odd and didn’t do much for her. So normally the VI would default to a bare-chested human male. Nobody thought much of it, but it was very tame compared to the leather harness Javis preferred her males in.

“Not my fault you have more exotic tastes. You should be upfront with your sexual partners.” Kenna went back to scrubbing, only wishing to get to bed.

There was no warning when a pan, thrown with biotic energy, came flying at her head. Stunned Kenna could only curl up on the floor to protect herself from the fist that followed.

-

The CO had yet to say anything. He only sat at his desk, talons tapping slowly on the metal. Kenna tried to stand at attention, but couldn’t help but hold onto her aching side. She focused on a spot above his head, preparing for questions.

“Who attacked you, Cadet.” It wasn’t a question, but more of an order.

One she had no intention to follow. The VI had already rocked the boat enough, if she gave up Javis, Kenna risked losing all the good favor she had managed to build.

“Attack? I’m not sure what you mean sir.” Kenna remained focused on the wall.

Stopping the tapping, the CO looked over a datapad, “A concussion, a broken nose, a swollen eye, a broken finger and three cracked ribs… And another person or more did not cause this?”

Taking a shallow breath, the ribs prevented a deep one, Kenna replied calmly. “I was alone in the kitchen sir, I fell down after I tripped over a pot.”

“And you expect me to believe that?”

Kenna broke her stoic face with a smile, “What can I say, I am just a clumsy human, and the other pots and pans fought back.” It wasn’t too far from the truth, she did fall, just after getting pummeled with kitchenware. Kenna could only be happy that Javis did not think to use the knives available.

The CO let out a sigh, “You aren’t doing yourself any favors by not tell me who. Though I may have a feeling who it was, given the state of the room afterward. Get patched up, light duty until the doctor says otherwise. Dismissed.”

With a salute, Kenna turned and made her way to the infirmary. It was late enough, no one saw her limping across the compound. It was embarrassing that Javis had gotten the drop on her, and now that the turian female had her amps and practice with the biotic power, Kenna would have to be even more careful.

Finally making it, Kenna was greeted by a familiar pretty blue face.

Kira gave her a dazzling smile until she saw the injuries. “Goddess, Kenna, what happened.”

“I got so fed up with the kitchen and challenged it to a match.” She hissed as she sat on a medical bed.

“And I take it the kitchen won?” Tsking, Kira ran her omni tool. “You know you don’t have to prove how tough you are.”

Kenna let out a sigh, as the medic started to apply medigel. “But I do, and I won’t stoop to tattling. The problem isn’t worth it.”

Kira shook her head but proceeded to treat the wounds with gentle hands. As she finished up, “You’ll have to stay the night, make sure you don’t snap one of those ribs and puncture a lung. Light duty for two weeks until you clear a check up. And that includes sparring with inanimate objects.” She helped Kenna lie back and brought a blanket. Before leaving, she sat on the edge of the bed. “This isn’t how I imagined asking, but since I have you at my mercy, I was wondering if you’d like to go out sometime? Dinner perhaps?”

Kenna almost started coughing as the salvia she swallowed went down the wrong pipe. Only not wanting to feel her ribs complain and upsetting the medic stopped her. “Uhh...” Kenna hadn’t been expecting the proposal, “Sure… Dinner would be nice.”

Kira let out another beaming smile, “Good, let me know next time you have leave.” And she swayed back to her station.

Trying focus on sleep, Kenna had a minor panic attack. She had just been asked out for the first time… And by an asari?

Chapter Text

Caelus smiled as he stepped off the transport, it wasn’t often he finished a run to Palaven early but now he was grateful. It just so happened to line up with one of Kenna’s rare free weekends. After hearing of her latest stunt, he was looking forward to getting more details over a beer.

Entering the training base, Caelus checked in with the on duty officer, who confirmed Kenna had left the base. Not wanting to ruin the surprise he looked around for one of the other cadets, perhaps they knew where she had gone. It didn’t take long to spot one female with striking purple colony marks, watching him. He knew he was good looking, and not against using it to his advantage.

Swaggering over to the female, he smiled, “Hey, could you help me out?”

The young female purred, placing a delicate hand on her waist, drawing attention to it. “I might be able to, what do you need?”

“I’m looking for another cadet, Kenna Vizrak?” Caelus would be the first to admit to using his looks to get what he wanted, but today he was looking for his friend, not a bed partner.

But he didn’t expect the disgusted look that crossed her features and echoed in her subharmonics. “Really? Well… I guess she ran off to some asari diner. But what would a strapping turian like you want with that squishy thing.”

Caelus dropped his smile, no longer interested in keeping up the pretense. “Just stopping in on a good friend.” Turning he ignored her calls and pulled up his omni tool to look up possible restaurants.

-

Kenna was finally starting to relax, so far the date had been nice, but somewhat stiff feeling. Not that Keera was doing anything wrong, she was her usual smiling self, just more gentle touches every now and then. A touch on the back of her hand to get Kenna’s attention, pressure on her lower back when they went through the door. But Kenna wasn’t sure how to act on a date, almost embarrassingly it was her first. And she never saw it being with an asari.

Keera did her best, and was able to lead the conversation to safe topics, like the difficulties growing up with a different species parent. Of course, that had been farther in the past for Keera, the age difference was just another thing to get used to, Kenna guessed.

They were enjoying some asari wine waiting for the main course to come out when she heard a familiar dual toned voice, “Kenna!”

Looking around, she found Caelus making his way through the tables, and couldn’t help the large smile that crossed her face. Jumping up Kenna hugged her tall friend, and only when they parted did she remember her date.

Shit.

For once Keera wasn’t smiling, but instead looking between the two with a slight frown. Trying to save the situation, Kenna started the introductions. “Keera, sorry. This is my friend from the station, Caelus. Caelus this is Keera from the base.” Kenna was unsure of what to describe Keera as, while this was a date, they weren’t exactly in a relationship.

After a moment Keera smiled and greeted Caelus with a handshake. “Oh, yes, Kenna was just telling me about her time on the station. What brings you here?”

Caelus smiled, “I had some free time and I had promised Kenna a meal after her prank on the base. But looks like you are already set for tonight.”

“I’m sorry Caelus, I don't suppose you’ll still be here tomorrow?” Kenna asked, not sure what she would do, they hadn’t seen each other in months and who knew when the next chance would be.

“Sorry, but we ship off tomorrow, and they kind of need a pilot to fly.”

Both started to frown, but amazingly Keera smiled at them, “Well how about you join us?”

Kenna was surprised but happy she wouldn’t have to turn him away.

The rest of the meal went much faster as the friends got caught up. By the time dessert came out, Kenna was feeling guilty. Keera had tried to stay in the conversation, but it became clear that there were just too many inside jokes and stories to keep up. Kenna did her best to steer the conversation back to topics Keera would be interested, but it was just so much easier to speak with Caelus.

When the bill came, Caelus paid his part and paused as Keera made to pay for the rest. As they got up to leave, he pulled Kenna aside.

“Kenna, was this a date?” He asked in a hushed voice.

Not sure what to say, she only nodded, biting her lip in worry.

“Spirits Kenna, I’m sorry… I really fucked up crashing it.”

Kenna placed a hand on his sleeve, “It’s alright, but you still owe me a steak dinner.”

“Ok, well I’ll fuck off so you can save this night. I contact you next time so you don’t have to do this again.” He gave her a hug and left.

Turning Kenna gave Keera an apologetic smile. “Sorry, it’s just been so long since I’ve seen him.”

Keera cut her off, “I understand, but it wasn’t going much better before he came was it?”

Kenna sighed, “No, I guess not.”

Keera gently placed a kiss on her cheek and gave her shoulder a squeeze. “Worth a try, but I don’t think I am your type.”

“Huh?”

The asari only laughed, “You’ll figure it out.”

-

Kenna fell face first in her bunk with a groan, not bothering to remove her shoes.

Marren looked over from her bunk, “Aww young love.”

Flipping over Kenna shot her a glare. “Not really… It was a bit underwhelming, and then Caelus crashed it, not realizing what we were doing.”

Marren slapped her talons over her face, “Ouch, and the third wheel took over the date.”

“Basically. I am just happy Keera wasn’t too upset, doubt we’ll try again though.”

Getting up, Marren patted her shoulder. “Probably for the best. Even with Javis campaign against you, there are a few rumors of other admirers.”

Groaning, Kenna shook her head, “Honestly dating to is too stressful on top of training.”

“Well, who says you have to date? You could just blow off some steam.”

Kenna considered it for a moment before shaking the idea off and grabbing her shower bag. “Honestly even that would just add to the destruction. I’ll stick with my inappropriate pranks.

-

Word of the date spread, and of it being the one and only spread even faster. Kenna had a few more of the cadets approach her, all to be turned down. Most understood, but Javis just used it against her.

The biotic would make digs at what a prude she was, that there was no way she came up with the idea of the sexy VI. And Javis took every chance to be caught in the act at the worst times. At one point Kenna even found her having sex on the bed near her bunk. God, she hoped the smell didn’t linger too long.

But Kenna decided to not give her any notice. It wouldn’t do any good, it wasn’t like Javis could get in trouble. Kenna just prayed that they wouldn’t be on the same team for any tests, she wasn’t sure how they would be able to get anything done with stupid bickering like this.

Thankfully Keera took the whole thing well and made sure to keep up their friendly chats. Part of Kenna was sad that it hadn’t worked out, but given the fact, she’d be sent off on her own tour to who knew where it was for the best. She had a hard enough time keeping in touch with her father and Caelus and she hadn’t even left the planet yet.

Deciding to throw all of herself into her work, Kenna found the smell of sweat and gun oil permanently stuck in her nose, and her dreams were filled with code and strategy. Soon she outpaced others in close quarters combat.

On the plus side, she was now working at the engineering lead assistant and the martial art assistant. But it meant she was often working with the new cadets. One of which, a Ducra Cane decided that Kenna was the girl for him. It seemed she could hardly move around the base without his pale face watching on, and made one too many inappropriate jokes about going out with him.

In the pit one day, she had to work on his technic. Struggling in her head lock, “I see how it is Vizrak, can’t keep yourself from touching my fringe.”

Holding him for a minute longer, just because she could. “Sorry Cane, but you're not that pretty, and still haven’t hit your last growth spurt.” It wasn’t uncommon for male turians to still be growing, but even now he did loom over her like most turians. Releasing him, he managed to fall again as her foot made contact with his back leg.

“Come on Vizrak, you are filled with an overwhelming attraction for me.” He grunted as she dropped on his back, pinning him into the sand.

“The feeling is overwhelming, but it isn’t positive. Get over yourself Cane.” Shoving his face into the sand she got up, only to hear Javis call out.

“Even a proper turian can’t tempt the ice queen. What kind of turian do you call yourself?”

Kenna counted to five, getting her temper under control. “One who can actually focus on the task rather than my hormones like you lot. I am honestly in fear of my life that you are too busy humping rather than fighting.”

There was a deep rumble being her, and Kenna tried not to tense up as her drill sergeant's voice came out. “Vizrak has a point. Five miles before dinner might cool your tempers. Shut up and finish your drills before running.”

Javis sent her a glare but kept the mutter to herself. Cane quietly got back to his feet, glancing at Kenna, “Sorry.”

Sigh Kenna faced off with him again. “It’s not your fault. Javis just has a problem.”

She could only hope that the end of boot camp would mean the end of this childishness.

Chapter Text

Soon all the cadets were too tired to even flirt, much to Kenna’s relief. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could have held off from Cane’s attempts. Not that he wasn’t good looking and funny, she just had higher priorities. Like her end of training engineering project. Now that the engineering lead had a better idea of her capabilities he gave Kenna, her own advanced project. A cloak that would last three times longer than previous models. The only way she managed to do this, was not to be completely invisible but to be more of a shadow. It resulted in her being almost impossible to spot by the naked eye if she was careful, and still be completely invisible to tech monitoring. In the end, she could maintain it for up to thirty minutes if she managed the power usage carefully.

All of their work would come into play for the final war games that would mark the end of their training. Here they would work in cadet only teams, and focus on completing a mission. The scores would detect where they would eventually be assigned to. For Kenna, it was to prove to everyone she belonged here as much as they did.

The goal this year was to provide surveillance and hunt down a group of their trainers who were playing the enemy. They were dropped into a remote part of the forest nearby, with all the usual supplies. The teams themselves were a mixed group, hoping to simulate strike teams that were favored these days.

Kenna was the only sniper, their leader, Pendrus would send her out to scope the area and give them a heads up for any movements. She liked it; it gave her a chance to get away from Javis’ glares. Javis was also on the team as a biotic support, the Hierarchy was attempting to get rid of the cabal units and mix biotics with other teams like the human forces. Unfortunately this only really worked if the team actually got along.

On the third morning, Kenna came across a colony pop-up warehouse. It was easy to put up and take down, lightweight and ideal for initial settlements. However, there wasn’t supposed to be anything there. She backed tracked to a cliff and started to climb. At the top, she hid low in the undergrowth and watched. There were Blue Sun Mercs standing guard, others were moving crates. Crates marked with Hierarchy military symbols. Pulling up her comm Kenna tried to contact her squad leader, but found it jammed. She was tempted to take a shot, but knew it was stupid when she didn’t have back up.

Kenna made her way back in record time, gasping hard she made her way to the squad leader. “Sir, Blue Sun’s, 5 kilometers north. Looks like they are stealing military goods and storing them.”

“What, nothing is supposed to be out there.” He looked down at her in shock.

Javis came up, sneering. “How do you even know they’re mercs, and Blue Suns at that? It could be a new storage facility, our own men but she wouldn’t know. She’s just human.”

Feeling her fists clench hard, Kenna turned to the Pendrus looking him dead in the eye. “Sir, I have met Blue Suns while on the Citadel, everyone in that group was wearing their armor. Also, there were also a couple of humans in their group and as far as I know I am the only human in the Hierarchy military so they couldn’t be ours.”

The icy sound of Kenna’s voice made Javis take a step back, and the leader looked at her more seriously. “Alright someone get command on the comm, we need to give them coordinates.”

A couple minutes later one of the engineers came over, “Sir we’re being jammed, we can’t get through.”

“Alright, we need more information before we head back. Vizrak, Javis, and Delarus, you’re with me. We’ll go scouting and confirm Vizrak’s report.” Kenna made sure to grab more water and then led the team out.

Getting there was a little slower; they didn’t want to be completely out of breath when they got there, and turians couldn’t run as long as she could. Another positive to being squishy and iron blood that carried oxygen more efficiently.

Up on the cliff, the others were able to use their binoculars to confirm what Kenna had reported. There were at least twenty mercs in and surrounding the building. Pendrus gave a signal to start retreating, but as Javis turned part of the cliff edge gave way and everyone started to slip down the face of the cliff. Kenna tried to grab a bush, but the damn thing pulled from the ground and down she fell as well.

Luckily the slope of the wall was shallow enough to slow them down before they broke anything. Bad news, there were shouts coming from the warehouse. Chances were they were spotted. Pendrus ran to cover and started giving orders. They would hold their position, clear out mercs as they started leaving the building. Pendrus, Javis, and Delarus would fire down the center, Kenna was to pick up any that tried to flank them from a small ledge that would give her a height advantage.

Kenna could feel her kinetic shield take a couple of shots for her. Thank Spirits they grabbed the live ammo, it looked like they’d be needing it. Already the mercs were coming towards them trying to figure out what came down the mountain. Kenna waited until she got the signal from their Pendrus and picked out a target. There was one far to the right by himself.

When the hand signal came down the group let loose. Following a steady pattern, Kenna started taking down stragglers, would reload and fire again. She was used to the continuous firing and was grateful the regulated kick back of the gun no longer made her arm go dead. Once the enemy knew they were being fired on they started taking cover. One biotic tried charging Javis while she was cooling down and Kenna was able to drop him before reaching the female. Kenna saw the turian stare over her shoulder and hoped she realized how close to death she had come, and it was the human who saved her. Maybe then she would stop making comments about Kenna’s ability.

The last of the mercs fell back to the warehouse that offered better cover. The leader called Kenna back down. “You have a tactical cloak Vizrak?” She nodded, “Right there should be four more inside, and looks like they have a rocket launcher. Can you get in and take them out quietly? Or at least get the jammer down so we can get reinforcements before they do?”

“I should be able to get something to work. If you haven’t heard from me in fifteen minutes something is wrong.” Kenna pulled up the tactical cloak and ran to the side of the building. The Blue Suns had their eyes front and not on a small side window, and completely missed the shadow that slipped in.

Inside Kenna found more crates, again all their supplies; it looked like a big heist. On the catwalk near the front, she heard two arguing over taking down the jammer and calling for help or waiting the two hours for pick up.

Leaving those two to debate she went in search of the others. One was a turian, kneeling and looking outside at the woods. He was nervous, quietly Kenna stalked up and hit the sweet spot on the back of the neck and caught him before he fell and laid him down quietly. The second was pacing the parameter, a human, a quick hit with the butt of her sniper and he was down too.

The other two were harder, they were still talking so Kenna couldn’t attack one without alerting the other and a grenade would damage too many of the equipment and crates. Kenna stowed her sniper and pulled out her pistol, grabbed the humans Striker and made her way up the catwalk. Once she was near the last two, two turians, bare faced, she dropped the cloak and pointed both guns in their faces. At this range, it would guarantee the death of either.

“Right boys, your two buddies downstairs aren’t going to be of any help. I’m I taking two prisoners or four?”

Chapter Text

After debriefing Kenna only wanted a shower and a real bed. She was happy the two mercs surrendered, now she only had to think of the eight confirmed kills she had. In the field it hadn’t bother, but now she wasn’t sure what to think. She knew she would have to kill, as a soldier but knowing and doing were different things. It would be something that would probably always affect her.

After the fallout of stumbling across the smugglers their instructors were surprised but very happy with their actions and very impressed by Kenna’s skills. Although a couple questioned not just killing the last two, but she still got the job done. It turned out there had been a major theft while their group was out patrolling and superiors thought all the teams had gotten the message, not knowing about the jamming signal. As a reward everyone was given a full week off before end of basic ceremony and excused from the rest of the final tests. They had shown what they could do in a live situation, that was good enough for the drill instructors.

Before reaching the showers Kenna finally felt the grusome affect of having killed. She barely made it to the toilet before the meager EMR she had came back up. While she was preoccupied with her head in the toilet, a trifingered hand reached down to keep her hair out of the way.

Leaning back on her heels Kenna found her saviour was non other than Javus.

“Ohh, thanks,” was all she could get out.

The dark female shifted from foot to foot. “Hey, I just wanted to say thanks for watching my back with that charging biotic. I shouldn’t have questioned your ability.”

Kenna froze, she didn’t think anything would change Javus opinion about her, let alone help her in a moment of weakness. “Oh, sure thing. That’s what a team is for, right?”

She nodded, obviously happy it wasn’t being dragged out or thrown in her face. “Right.” She turned and continued on her way like nothing happened.

Finally Kenna got her shower, and she relished in it, making sure to rinse the acid taste from her mouth. Eventually she got out and found a message from her father. Aeneas already got word about her little exploit and was coming down to the surface to take her out on the town the next day. He’d be taking the week off to spend time with her.

There was also a message from Caelus, apparently Aeneas already contacted him. He was proud of what she did, and was already thinking of falling of cliff related jokes. He was still on duty but would be off that evening. He even left the message on a cliff hanger… She should never have given him those old Game of Thrones vids to watch. He also mentioned an invite from Marren and would be meeting up the party on the surface as soon as his shift was over.

Marren found her and told her they were going out to celebrate. Kenna was tired, but it would be good to get out of the compound, she hadn’t had a break in weeks, and she’d be able to have some good times with her best friend Caelus. She waited outside the base gates; Marren was still rounding up people.

“Excuse me, soldier.” Kenna turned to find a human female with dark hair tied back and darker skin. She was in civilian clothes and had a datapad. “You were involved in the accidental raid on the military supply heist right?”

“I was involved in a military altercation. That’s all I can say.” Kenna stiffened; she hadn’t spoken to a human in years. Not many came to Oma Ker.

“Of course, but you’re McKenna Vizrak? Right? The human in the turian army?” She seemed very excited.

Kenna gave her a flat look. She was in her fatigues and clearly human, it was a stupid question. “Yes, may I ask who you are?”

“Oh, sorry, I’ve travelled so long to meet you. I am Sarah Billings, reporter from Earth. We got rumors of a turian adopting a human and thought it would make quite a story.” She was already typing on her datapad.

“Sorry, I’m not interested in a story. But like my record says, my parents died while evacuating Bekenstein. I was adopted into the Vizrak family after the final battle. When I turned 18 I joined the Hierarchy military like all other Hierarchy citizens do when they are of legal age.” She spotted Marren. “Good evening ma’am.” And she left to join her friends, but couldn’t shake the weight of the reporter’s stare. Turning she saw the woman had vanished.

Kenna had fun with Caelus, Marren, and the others, they went to dinner than to the popular night club Nebula’s. The music was loud and infectious, being added to by the flashing lights and fog rolling around. It was like walking into a gaseous nebula. Many drinks were bought, though none by Kenna because everyone else wanted that honor. She was careful to pull herself away from the bar to have time to handle the alcohol, even with all the muscle she had managed to put on she was a bit of a lightweight when it came to drinking. She also needed to get away from Cane who had snuck out and spent most of the evening trying to get her on the dance floor.

Kenna made her way to a quieter and cooler part of the room, a small platform that overlooked the smokey dance floor that was filled with many turian and asari customers. She was watching Caelus chatting up another female when she caught movement in the corner of her eye. She just about jumped when she found a very colorful reptilian male standing to her left watching the patron filled room as well.

Drell, that’s right, he was a drell. His scales were mostly gold that turned into oranges and purples, with blue frills on his neck and along his jaw. He was slender and his leather pants and jacket left little to the imagination. What really captured her attention were his large dark colored eyes, they seemed to see and understand everything around. Turning slightly toward her his full lips quirked slightly.

“Tired of the celebrations?” His voice while light, had a deep rumble lining it.

“Uhh, yea. Basic Training ended a little early for some of us.” Kenna couldn’t talk about the smuggling ring they broke up, or main details about upcoming orders to be shipped out. But there was no denying they were celebrating.

He turned to lean a hip on the railing next to her while crossing his arms and fixing those dark eyes on her. “To be expected, especially after you managed to stumble upon a large scale smuggling ring before the Shadow Broker had a chance to sell the information to the local government.”

Kenna took a step back, he was a Shadow Broker agent. They weren’t known to be friendly and it sounded like she had stepped on his toes. Not hiding the suspicion on her face, she asked, “You’re an agent? Well, it’s not my fault if you were slow on your sales pitch. What do you want?”

His double eyelids blinked calmly. “Information is a valuable commodity, Kenna Vizrak. McKenna Pierce before that correct?” Before she could answer, “You can call me Feron, I only wanted to meet you. I have a hard time believing a deal was ruined by a cadet falling on top of the mercs, quite literally I hear.”

Kenna crossed arms as well, gods was everyone going to harp on about the cliff thing. “The fall wasn’t even my doing. But it sounds like you’ve already seen my file and the report, so I have nothing to say.”

Feron chuckled, “Quite the spitfire… But I guess you are not the type to lie to get ahead, or to buy information to make yourself look better.”

That sent another spike of anger into her, “Someone would honestly accuse me of risking hiding such vital information to claim credit? To put my team in danger?”

He shrugged. “It wouldn’t be the first time, either way the Shadow Broker will want to know why we had to offer more information to get the data they wanted.” He broke off his dark gaze and looked over the room again. For the briefest moment his froze then faced her again, his body language become more relaxed, more like a man trying to chat up a woman as he leaned closer to her. “Unfortunately you are very unique and easy to find. Even the mercs’ friends have tracked down your merry band.”

“What? We didn’t get them all?”

Before Kenna could look around Feron stepped in closer a hand coming up to stroke her cheek, keeping her facing him. “They’re at the bar, and probably looking for some pay back. Come with me outside, it’ll be easier to deal with them.”

Kenna didn’t pull away, it would look suspicious if he was telling the truth, and she almost didn’t want to any way. He was almost hypnotic looking with his large eyes, they actually was a dark green iris in their inky depths. “Why should I trust an Information Broker.”

“We had the same goal, stopping the operation. I just wanted information in return instead of fulfilling a duty.” He lowered his face the short distance to her’s, his fingers dipping down her neck making her shiver slightly. “They could decide to follow and attack you, or they could start a fight here and possibly harm an innocent bystander.”

Kenna tried to ignore the smooth finger tips playing across her skin. It was only to throw off anyone watching. If he was telling the truth then yes, getting away from the crowd would be best. But to go off into the night with an agent of the Shadow Broker who obviously had read her files? It was risk but she felt confident enough her hand to hand skills to protect herself. If he was carrying a weapon it was small and she’d be able to disarm him. “Fine, lead the way.”

Feron gave the briefest of nods and his hand dropped to hold hers and pulled for her to follow. He led her through the dance floor, careful not to approach any of the other cadets that had come in. Without looking around she did see a trio leave the bar and started to follow them, she couldn’t turn to get a better look without giving them away.

Outside Feron picked up speed and started taking every turn, cutting off line of sight while keeping hold of her hand. When he turned down a dark alley he swung Kenna around so her back was to the wall, face pressed into the crook of his neck. He didn’t have to say anything, her pale skin and bright hair would stand out in the shadows. Trying to ignore the body heat and his earthy scent, she listened for the mercs to go past.

“Damn it. Where did they go?” One flanged voice asked.

“Maybe the drell has a room in one of these buildings?” A human female replied.

Peeking, Kenna saw two male turians and a human woman looking around the road but their backs toward the dark alley.

The bored male spoke up, “Just leave it, it was their fault for getting caught with their pants down by a bunch of fledglings. Let her get laid, I wouldn’t mind finding a nice warm bed for the night either. Might as well have some fun before the boss finds another stupid job.”

“Oh, shut it. You could always have fun with the girl once we catch her. Show her not to mess with the Blue Suns and brag about it.”

Kenna silently face palmed. She hadn’t bragged, it must have been some of the other group. Idiots, that’s why these things were classified. Feron slowly stepped away and pulled a pistol from his coat. He motioned for her to stay but she shook her head. She was never defenseless. Her father saw to that.

Quietly the pair walked up to the group, Kenna positioned herself in a prep attack aimed at the upset turian male, while Feron kept the pistol trained on the woman. They were the two dangerous ones of the trio. When he gave the signal, Kenna leaped onto the turian, wrapping her arm securely around her target’s neck, avoiding his fringe while he twisted this way and that. Once locked on she only had to hang on until his crumpled to the ground from lack of air.

Feron had the woman down with a shot to her thigh and refused to look away from the lazy turian who shook his head and raised his hands in surrender. “Spirits I need another drink to deal with this shit.”

The drell held out some tape to Kenna, “Do me a favor and bind them. I’m sure the authorities will want to talk with them. Confirm any information they were able to obtain from the others.” What he really meant was to confirm whatever he sold. But that didn’t matter, only the fact that Kenna and her friends were spared from the attack mattered now.

They left the would be attackers there in the road, coordinates already off to the nearest patrol. Feron insisted on walking Kenna back to the bar. Just in case there were others. There was still one thing that was bugging her, he was an information broker, they did nothing for free. Everything had a price, or at least that is what she had been taught.

“Why do I feel like I owe you for this?” She watched Feron from the corner of her eye. His scales catching the moonlight, looking paler than before.

“While this could be considered a very overly done pick up method, I honestly did it because it was the right thing. I have been at the mercy of my enemies before…” His next words were rushed, almost emotionless. “Wake to pain. Still restrained. Alone this time. Easier to fall into memories. Escape until death is finally permanent. I wonder when the next witness will be brought, when the next round of shocks will be given? Will this be the last time..”

Feron had paused his steps and shook his head. “I am sorry. Drell can never forget and sometimes get lost in the memories. Anyways, I will not let others suffer as well.”

Kenna was taken aback. He had been tortured? It was difficult to imagine. “Sorry for making you relive that.”

“Yes, perfect memory can be a curse.” He sighed as he came to a stop near the club. Looking at her he tilted his head a fraction. “But maybe there is a way you could repay me. A good memory to equalize the bad?”

“How so?” Kenna didn’t like the idea of sharing anything about herself to someone who might use it against her.

Raising a hand, Feron’s fingers pushed under her chin and he leaned down. Their mouths met softly, his full smooth lips forming to her own. He held her there for a breath or two before letting go not trying to deepen the kiss or hold her.

Smirking and taking a step back, “I believe it is customary in you culture for the damsel to bestow a kiss on the knight in shining armor.”

Trying to get her mind to jump start again, Kenna took a step away and growled, “Technically you stole a kiss.”

He barked out a laugh and before disappearing into the shadows he replied, “Good thing I am more of a rogue.”

And Feron was gone. Kenna found Caelus and the others searching for her. Someone had seen her run off with Feron, she only said it was an acquaintance who wanted to get some fresh air while they caught up. The group bought it, but Caelus gave her an odd look, he always knew when she was lying.

When the party started to break up, and others left to get some shut eye, Caelus managed to pull Kenna away. Much to his female partner’s disappointment, she had probably been hoping to continue spending the evening with him.

Caelus drilled into Kenna until she let up and told him what actually happened. To say he was upset was an understatement. “So instead of coming to your best friend for help, who has been in service three more years than you, you waltz off with a stranger who could have been lying through his teeth.”

Kenna felt her hand clenched in anger, “I could protect myself if had he lied and if he hadn’t you could have been taken by surprise and hurt. Your CQC is not that spectacular Caelus, I could knock you on your ass before starting basic.”

Caelus’ mandibles twitched but he switched tactics. “Well, what was he even doing here? I didn’t think information agents partied.”

Kenna felt her cheeks heat up, even though it wasn’t a clever ruse to try to pick her up, she couldn’t help feeling just a little giggly and girly for once, imagining that was his plan. But she couldn’t let Caelus know that part, already he wanted to hurt Feron and it would only give him more fuel to tease her with. Her dating record was less than impressive. “Just to see if the raid had really been an accident.”

“Kenna… What else did he say.”

Turning away Kenna saw they were coming up to the barracks and her freedom. Only cadets were allowed there, so Caelus would have to give up the interrogation. “Just that. Nothing new. Night Caelus, see you tomorrow!” she yelled, as she hurried away. At least then her father would be joining them on the impromptu camping trip.

Chapter Text

When Kenna and the other new recruits were finally finished with the ending ceremony she couldn’t help but feel pride. Research had shown her that while she wasn’t the first human to train with the turian military, she was the first to participate solely in their basic training and not as a short term exchange program.

On top of that Kenna’s team was able to show what they could do in a surprise situation without an experienced officer commanding them. Recovering the missing supplies had come with the thanks of the Commanding Officer, much to the satisfaction of their drill sergeant. Not that the grumpy old bastard would ever tell them, but you could hear it in his sub vocals when he was debriefed them.

Kenna had done something right, only a few days into the camping trip with her father and Caelus she got her orders. She had been specifically requested to join the turian Special Ops group, they were well known for their more covert attacks against smugglers or pirates. It would mean a lot of time in in space and on other remote planets, gathering information or clearing out bases. Aeneas wasn’t too surprised, he admitted to looking up her evaluation and it was filled with high remarks for her marksmanship and tech skills which made her perfect for the part.

Caelus was not as happy, he was proud of her accomplishments but was sad at the prospect of growing even farther from his friend. But they had their duty to the Hierarchy and on the bright side this meant they would have a chance to meet more on other worlds. The idea of exploring other worlds together perked up the moping turian.

When Kenna reported for duty she had a whole new field combat language and rules to learn. Spec Ops couldn’t run like a normal large battalion, they had to make more judgment calls and tended to work in smaller and more independent groups. Once her CO felt comfortable with her in the sims on board the ship she was allowed to take part in the strike teams. Most of the soldiers in the group were already battle hardened from the Reaper war and used to working with other races in the field, but they were uncertain of her age. A couple weren’t that much older but they already had close to five years of service, but once they heard of the final test and got to see her work in the sims or on hacking data they felt they could rely on her. And again Kenna would have to thank that doctor, without the auditory implants she would have no idea how they felt. Many turians were so reserved compared to other species, not as many facial cues for moods. She did find it was best to keep to herself she could hear their emotions, it tended to reveal to her how they truly felt.

Soon months melted into years, and true to her word Kenna and Caelus were able to find common shore leaves and spend the time exploring new worlds and cities that had been rebuilt since the Reaper War. Sometimes they were both so tired they would find a comfortable beach for him to lay on the warm sand and laugh while she dove into cold waves.

It was a bit easier to find time to see her father, still being on the Oma Ker station meant Kenna could normally arrange some time to drop by when her ship was in the system. She was happy to learn Aeneas had even been dating, deciding he should have a mate before he got any older. Out of a couple of females, he had made a connection with he insisted on having Kenna’s approval. She said she liked everyone of them, but if they gave any hint they did not like the idea of a human daughter Aeneas would find himself too busy to continue the relationship. Hopefully one day he would find someone to love, she thought he deserved a true family, not only someone's late teen years.

Overall it felt good to be out in the galaxy doing her part, giving back to Aeneas and his people for saving Kenna on the last day of the war. Although taking down a red sand storage wasn’t as big as killing a Reaper with a Thresher Maw it still felt worthwhile, something to help build the future after it was almost lost. Some worried she would lose nerve at firing on other humans when it came to fighting the merc groups. But it didn’t matter to her, turian, human, asari. If they were bad they’d be stopped, and for the most part, she would try to wound and take prisoners. If she couldn’t they would die from a head shot, something quick and painless.

After two years Kenna was given extended leave to recharge and even managed to line it up with Caelus’ break. So now they were spending the next three weeks on Palaven, exploring the cities that had been rebuilt and the surrounding mountains. Today they had yet to get out of the room. Caelus had decided Kenna was a much better pillow and had his head on her thigh dozing while she watched the news hoping to hear of something interesting happening in Cipritine today.

Kenna wasn’t paying that close of attention to the vid, just some high ranking volas visiting the capital city for a conference. Outside the radiation protected window was the bustling city and she could just make out the sun rising over the jagged mountains and dense forest. Still as beautiful as when she’d fled here all those years ago.

There was a ping from her omni tool, and made to get. Caelus, who had been sleeping on her this time, grumbled when she pushed his head away, replacing her thighs with a pillow. “Why are you awake? Any normal person would sleep for a day after yesterday’s hike.”

Kenna couldn’t help but smile at his drowsy voice. After a long hike they came back to enjoy the hot tub and ended up drinking just a tad too much, he was still recovering. “Because I have gotten used to little sleep, and this might be Dad’s call. I did tell him we were staying here.”

But the face that greeted her was not a sandy brown plated one with red marks. It was a rainbow colored drell. One she hadn’t seen since her time in basic. “Feron?”

That woke up the sleepy turian with more speed than she would have thought. He got up and walked over, clearly visible over her shoulder. Feron spoke, his louder than normal voice sounding worried, “Kenna, please tell me you aren’t in the Cipritine Grand hotel?

“Sorry to ruin your day Broker, but we are.” She frowned at the screen, Caelus’ sub vocals were making it clear he didn’t like what he was seeing. The turian learned to let the argument from that night go, but he still felt angry that Kenna ran off with the drell alone without any support from her friends. Feron took a second too long while he stared over her shoulder before replying, obviously he could hear the tone too.

Something was going on and the last thing Kenna needed for her vacation was some major incident involving a Shadow Broker agent or a pissy turian.

The dark eyes turned back to her, “You have the worst luck in timing. You need to get out, there is a merc group on the way and they are heavily armed.

“Why?” Kenna couldn’t help but feel a flutter of fear. After all these years the Blue Suns couldn’t still be sore over the smuggling incident. Hell, since joining Spec Ops she probably pissed off a lot more important people.

There is a volas ambassador there, he is the target. But you need to get out now, they’ll be cutting communication any minute.” He sounded almost frantic, his eyes large and unblinking.

The visiting volas, the anti war profiteering conference. He was here? “What about other guests?”

Feron shook his head. “I only just saw your name on the hotel guest list. There isn’t time, but Blackwatch is headed there now, they can deal with it.

Kenna growled. “Still wasting time haggling for the best price and costing lives?”

A hurt look passed over his face, “You don’t understand.

“I understand my duty. The people here need us to do our jobs to protect them. We aren’t leaving.”

Don’t do any—“ But his raised voice cut out and the image went black as the vid screen showing the news went to static.

Turning, Kenna ran to her foot locker and started pulling out her armor. Behind she heard Caelus give a trill of approval while he moved to his bags. “Guess we aren’t going to get that chance to sleep in are we?” He tried to make the situation lighter.

“Doesn’t look like it.” Kenna was especially happy she brought her weapons, the only reason she had them was to do some target practice. Which meant no explosives or specialized mods unfortunately. Looking at Caelus, “What weapons have you got?”

He winced, “Just a pistol. Pilots normally use whatever is on the gun rack in the shuttle.”

“It’ll do. You’re going to be ok taking my lead?” He technically was the superior officer here.

In response he lifted his hands in a shrug motion, “This is your area of expertise, just tell me what to shoot at and let me do any driving.”

Nodding Kenna finished putting on her gear, making sure not to forget her helmet in case this went outside, Kenna didn’t need to deal with radiation poisoning along with any combat wounds. She started hacking the hotel security system. It was a shambles, half the systems were down from neglect or attackers, but she did get a layout of the building at least. There was only one area the conference could be taking place. A large auditorium behind the main lobby.

Caelus went to check the door, “Problem Kenna. The door doesn’t have any power.”

She checked no time to try and reroute it. “Alright, vents it is.” She looked up at the grate. It was fine for a turian’s height but well beyond hers. She looked pointedly at Caelus who was trying to repress a smile.

“Yes, ma’am?” Caelus asked, his amusement still showed in his subharmonics

Kenna tried to restrain her annoyed tone, short jokes got old years ago. “Just give me a boost, will you?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Luckily the vent was plenty big for him to follow and she heard a hum of approval. Looking over her shoulder she asked, “What?”

“Nothing, just glad to have some cover,” Caelus said hurriedly.

“Operation Meat Shield is a go then. Just don't get distracted.” And she continued forward, they just needed to get to the stairs or elevator shaft.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got your ass covered.” She paused and gave him another look, and he started to stutter, “Wait, that didn’t come out right.”

They ended up finding a service elevator, good. That meant they couldn’t be seen through any glass like the fancy main elevators. Crawling out onto the ladder she had to take a calming breath.

Caelus heard and asked in a concerned voice. “Is everything ok?”

Kenna focused on getting her feet moving down, “Yea, just- this reminds me a lot of the shaft Aeneas and I had to climb when escaping the Citadel.”

Caelus whispered an oath but didn’t push for details. After so many nights camping together, he knew she still had nightmares of that day.

Carefully focusing on taking the next step down, Kenna found herself at the ground level before the nightmares could swallow her. She took one look at the closed door and called out to Caelus, “Alright muscles, get down here and be useful.”

“Not my fault you're weak, height deficient, and squishy.” He said in a good natured voice as he dropped to the ledge trying to get his fingers into the crack and started pushing it open.

“Want to say that again when I have a gun in my hand?”

“Nope” he replied, straining to keep the door open for her to slip in.

Kenna pulled out her pistol, “Good. Now stay quiet and follow. We have to find the target and get him and any other civilians to safety.” He nodded and they began searching.

But they weren’t the only ones searching. A couple of times they had to duck under cover to avoid being caught by the Blue Sun mercs who were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Good, that meant they lost the volas too. She was able to take a few out quietly, stuffing them in closets as they went along.

They did run into some hotel workers who were hiding, Kenna gave them instructions to go to areas they just cleared and get out, get word to someone they needed help. There was still no sign of Blackwatch and no way the two of them could end this on their own, but damn if they weren’t going to do their best.

Hearing a large group approaching, Kenna and Caelus exchanged worried looks and dived for the nearest door, which turned out to be the kitchen. It was still early and not much food out and seemingly no workers either. They ducked behind a far counter when a merc stuck his head in but didn’t bother coming any further. Kenna had to fight not to squeak when she came face to face with the wanted volas. The round little male was cowering under a prep station hiding among all the large pots and pans.

Swallowing the girly sound she asked in a hushed whisper. “Din Korlak?”

“Yes.” It was impossible for him to be quiet with the damn respirator.

“Thank Spirits. I’m Second Lieutenant Vizrak and this is Flying Lieutenant Kyrik. We just found out about the attack. We’re here to get you out.”

Again his breathing was deafening. “Thank you Earth-clan, I thought I was going to be shot.”

Kenna bit back the retort about her technically being part of the Hierarchy, and not Earth forces. It didn’t matter in the long run. She motioned for him to follow, leaving the kitchen they tried to quickly make their way to an exit, but Korlak’s stride was so damn short. They found themselves up in the main lobby but the place was full of the mercenaries. Spirits, how many did they go after a single volas, Kenna boggled at the group below. Then in her ear, she heard a comm chirp and then a voice.

Lieutenant Vizrak, can you hear me?

Motioning for the group to duck into the main office overlooking the lobby. “Yes, this is Vizrak.”

This is Commander Ponvis with Blackwatch. We got word that you are aware of an attack on Ambassador Din Korlak?

“Yes, sir.” Damn, Blackwatch was actually contacting her directly? They were an elite group that looked after Palaven solely, even though she knew they were coming, interacting with them was different. “The attack is under way at the Grand Ciptine hotel right now. I have the Ambassador with me but the exits are blocked and we are low on ammo. We are in the manager’s office above the lobby.”

His deep dual tone voice was calm as a commander was expected to be, “Alright. Top priority, keep the ambassador safe. We are on our way and will clear a path for you to get out. As soon as you see a way, get out, get to a skycar and leave. Any questions?

“ No, sir.”

Ponvis out.

Caelus had situated a barricade for the volas in the corner of the room. One stray bullet could rupture his suit and paint the walls with his guts. This way he would be safe from the brunt of it. “So sit tight until the bad ass guys show up?”

“Pretty much, or bolt when we see a hole.” Looking out the window she saw a group huddled around an omni tool and one was pointing up to the office. “Looks like things might be getting livelier than we hoped for.” She added with a groan.

The next moment the windows exploded and the room filled with shouting from outside. Belly crawling the edge Kenna pulled out her sniper and started shooting anyone who tried to get near the stairway.

It was even more powerful than the first one that had knocked her on her ass in basic, but it her dampening program was working like a charm. Caelus was behind a pillar firing at anyone who tried to take pot shots at her. Kenna’s concentrated fire soon made them wary of trying to get up the stairs.

There were just so many, even when she had to hack a few of their drones to distract those carrying missile launchers, but they just kept coming. Again, how much fire power did they need for a volas for Spirits' sake. But then again, in any misson involving the Blue Suns, they had proved to be anything but subtle.

“Kenna bad time to mention it but I am running out of ammo.” Caelus growled to her, blowing out someone’s knee.

“Same here. Can you hold the fort?” She slowly pulled back from the ledge.

“Yes, but where are you go-“ Before he finished she pulled up her tactical cloak and shimmered from his sight. “Crap.”

Carefully she made her way out of the office toward the attackers, into her comm, “Alright big guy, let one of the mercs make it up the stairs. Preferably one with a nice big ammo pack.”

After a minute one man started running up the stairs. Whipping out her omni blade Kenna managed to cut his throat before he saw the shadow of the cloak. With quick practiced movements, she searched the body for his assault rifle and spare ammo. Even found a good number of flash bangs. Going back into the office she tossed the rifle and ammo to Caelus before taking up her position.

Covering while he prepped the weapon, she noticed another sniper's laser lining up on the mercs. One from outside. “Caelus, I think Blackwatch is here.” As she spoke a couple of the attackers fell. Thinking of the flashbangs, she looked carefully at the stretch of lobby between them and the door. “I have a plan, once these fucks realize their backs are exposed we are going to make a run for it. But you’ll need to carry the ambassador.”

“What?” The volas cried, finally speaking up. “That is – ridiculous.”

“Sorry sir but you can’t run very well. Caelus go get him, I’ll prep the flash bangs. Keep your eyes closed ears covered until you hear the bang.” Kenna watched and waited as the group below went into more chaos. Finally, they started to pull to cover on the sides of the lobby, leaving a clear path to the door. “Here we go.”

Kenna threw out the all of the triggered flash bangs and waited with eyes closed and ears covered. The moment they sounded, muffled by her hands, she threw herself out the window trusting her kinetic shield to take the brunt of the fall. She was up and moving when she heard the thump of Caelus following behind, holding the volas like ordered. There were groans from around them the mercs all shaking their heads trying to get their vision and hearing back.

Hopefully, Blackwatch wouldn’t shoot them as they left. Outside her eyes adjusted to the blazing sunlight and she spotted a skycar nearby. “Caelus your time to shine.” Hacking the doors and ignition they piled in.

“Where to?” The pilot asked.

“No idea, just away from here,” Kenna said as she took the assault rifle from him and looked for anyone following. “Hopefully the mercs call it off when they realize he isn’t there anymore. I’m sure Ponvis will probably contact us once we’re flying.”

Kenna had to grab onto whatever she could to stay in the seat as the sky car leaped into the air, Caelus was a fantastic driver, but when you asked him to go all out he took it seriously. And these seats were too big for her, even in armor, she was constantly bouncing around.

Vizrak, what the hell did you just do? You blinded our sniper.” Ponvis’ voice came over her comm sounding upset.

She cringed, great job pissing off Blackwatch Kenna. “Sorry I saw an opening and took it. We were able to escape with the ambassador. We left in the red sky car from the front. Where should we go?”

There was a grumble on the other side, “I’m sending you coordinates, get there as soon as possible.

Kenna set up the coordinates and let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. “Well, there goes our shore leave.” Caelus couldn’t hold back his laughter as he took a sharp turn.

Chapter Text

Kenna and Caelus were lead to an unmarked but clearly military building, though there were many of those on the turian homeworld Kenna realized, this one belonged to Blackwatch. There were heavily armed guards out front that didn’t bat an eye at the skycar being left parked out front and waved the trio in. Inside the guards directed the ambassador away, the little guy didn’t even say thank you. Probably still getting over the shock of the past couple hours or at least that’s what Kenna told herself. She could feel the adrenaline leaving her system and her stomach was already complaining that they missed breakfast, finding some chairs she sat down and tried to ignore the growls coming from her midsection. They weren’t going anywhere soon.

Caelus joined her. “So is this how your missions normally go?” While he tried to make the question lighter, there was a whine of concern in his sub vocals.

Without cracking an eye she tried to exude calmness to relieve his fears. “Normally we have more notice and a bigger team. But we did well considering we were going in blind. Although, I might have really pissed off an operative of Blackwatch, so watch out for any sniper laser points.”

“Surprised yes, truly upset no.” At the deep flanged voice, Kenna jumped in her seat, eyes flying open. Standing behind them was an almost black Turian who wore no colony marks. He nodded to the two of them, “Vizrak, Kyrik. I am Commander Povnis. Come with me for debriefing.”

He led them to a hall full of small integration rooms, “Kyrik you will speak with Troft. Vizrak I will be handling your report personally.”

Caelus stiffened at the order; given the time they had, he was probably feeling a bit over protective. He was a hot head, a fantastic pilot but not the best soldier. As little as possible Kenna shook her head, signaling that he did not push the issue. It made sense to separate them to make sure all the stories matched up, it was standard procedure.

Caelus backed down and watched as she followed Povnis into another room before turning to his own.

There were no obvious monitoring devices but she knew she was on camera and mic as soon as they came in the building, this room would not be any different. Blackwatch would not do anything by half. The commander motioned for her to sit and pushed a tray of water and Levo ration bars to her. Sighing she removed her helmet finally inside and safe from the sun and dug into the food. “Thanks, didn’t even have breakfast before the shit hit the fan.”

Povnis kept his face still but she heard a quiet rumble of subharmonic laughter, most turians found human idioms funny in translation. “I am curious how a human Hierarchy citizen managed to get notice of this attack almost the same time as my own people.”

Kenna chugged the water washing down the fruit and nut bar. She’d gotten used to eating them while in the field. Not as good as a real meal but better for her than dextro rations. “Caelus and I were on shore leave and I got a call from an Information Broker, I met a few years ago. He found out last minute I was staying the same hotel and tried to convince us to leave. Once he gave a few details as to why we should have left the comm line was cut. Caelus and I couldn’t just leave and the civilians or let the mercs get away with the hit. So we grabbed what gear we had and searched for the target.” There was no point in hiding Feron’s involvement, chances are he was the one that sold them the information.

“Interesting. You handled yourself well, this was your first mission leading and with only a pilot as back up.” He didn’t sound practically thrilled about Caelus.

Kenna frowned at the barefaced Turian, “Caelus did a damn fine job considering this isn’t what he normally does. Hell, it was even a first for me like you said.”

He held up one hand palm up giving her an apology for the tone, “Very true. I am curious. You are the only human currently in the Turian military, we’ve had some train in our programs but not that any ever stayed. Even compared to your peers you have done very well. But why do you push so hard?”

Kenna sat up a little straighter. He wasn’t saying she shouldn’t be there, just acknowledging it was difficult and wanting to know why she there. Aeneas had her explore other noncombative roles, many of the engineers for the station said she’d have a good chance at joining the Engineering Corps, but she loved being out on the battlefield. “As you’ve seen in my file I was adopted by Aeneas Vizrak right after the end of the war. I was a refugee on the Citadel, waiting for my human adoptive parents, he looked out for me and didn’t just pass me off to the next person. Getting a home after the war, joining the service was the least I could do. It would not only honor my father but also allow me to pay back the people who saved me.”

For a few long moments he watched her, and Kenna refused to lower her gaze or blink. There was no question in her loyalty to the Hierarchy and nothing would stop her from helping it, even if she wasn’t turian.

Povnis slowly nodded to her, “Thank you for the explanation. Once we’ve verified your stories with the others and any security vids, we’ll see what happens.” He got up and left her alone in the room.

Kenna let out a breath and sagged in the chair. Was it too much just to be shown to a bed for sleep? Wasn’t this time for some R&R? She didn’t hear the footsteps but she did hear the door shut. Opening her eyes she was greeted by a pair of dark eyes staring down at her concerned.

Kenna forced herself to relax. “God, are you even supposed to be here?”

Feron blinked both eyelids slowly. “My apologies, I had to make sure you were ok.”

Lifting up her hands Kenna gestured down her body. “Clearly I am just fine, even managed to save some of the civilians you seemed to forget about.” It was a little harsh, but with holding information for private gain? Hadn’t he accused her of it before?

Feron winced a little and sat in Povnis’ chair, crossing his arms, “This time the information was time critical and given before the terms were agreed on. We had only learned of it right before the attack.” He looked away, brow drawing down, “I only had time to find and reach you before the networks went down.”

Pausing Kenna looked at him. He had come off so suave the night at the club. Now he was genuinely agitated, rubbing at dull scars, strips of missing scales from his forearms. “There was a possibility another friend of the smugglers would have been there and recognized you.” He continued.

Leaning back, Kenna made her tone a little more gentle. “I’m a soldier, I will piss people off but I still have a duty to protect.”

“But does your duty require you to suffer if it can be prevented?” His eyes grew shaky, no longer focused on anything. “Sharp bursts of pain. I scream. Must remember, Shepard, Liara. Only way. Fall into memories. Escape.” Shaking his head to clear it. “I won’t let anyone else suffer that way.” His voice was quiet.

Kenna watched him carefully. “That was a memory, wasn’t it.”

He nodded, “During that time… I had to fall into memories more often, to deal with the pain. To find peace, but it was a hard habit to break.” He rubbed at the smooth marks again.

Kenna decided to give Feron a break, he hadn’t withheld information on purpose this time. He was just trying to help her, even if it didn’t turn out the way he wanted. “Well, thanks for the heads up. And no matter what Feron, I will always help those I have sworn to protect. Nothing you could have said would have stopped me.”

He gave her a small smile. “I guess not. The Broker will be less than pleased I broke protocol but I’m sure they will be forgiving.” Getting up he took her hand, stroking it. “You are quite a remarkable woman.” Turning on her omni tool he inputted some information. “Keep in touch, it would be nice to spend time with you when bullets aren’t flying.”

Feron kissed the knuckles of her hand before leaving. How he would get past the guards Kenna had no idea, her knuckles still tingled distractingly. Caelus stepped into the doorway watching the drell leave, turning toward her, “What was that about?”

Kenna turned to focus on her friend, “Just clearing the air. So what are we doing this evening?”

-

It took them most of the day to sort it all out, but finally, Kenna and Caelus were released and the hotel was in disarray and lobby full of bullet holes and scorch marks. Even with the damage, the management was grateful for helping their people and stopping the attack. In thanks, they up graded the room to one of the pent houses, but honestly, the two were too tired to really care and just made use of the private hot tub and slept.

Kenna was surprised when she got word from Aeneas that he was being called to Palaven and soon after they received an invitation to a formal dinner celebrating the success of the conference. Kenna groaned and fell back on the couch. “Why must others keep upsetting our plans of lounging or camping?”

Caelus chuckled, “As much as I like that idea, I think they want to thank us for saving Korlak. They can’t do anything too official, it was originally a Blackwatch project.”

“Yea and I showed them up. The highlight of my military career, this is not going to look that great on my record.”

Caelus shrugged sitting next to her, letting her lean on his arm. “You never know. Do you even have any formal wear?”

“Hell, no,” she threw an arm over her eyes. “Fanciest places I have ever been to were the bars my squadmates recommended. I only have fatigues and gym clothes here.”

“Guess that means shopping for both of us. We should be able to find at least one Asari shop in the city.”

-

And they did. Caelus seemed to enjoy it more than Kenna did, insisting she try on almost everything in the store. He claimed it was out of cultural curiosity since her clothing was so different from turians, however she suspected it was more to embarrass her. But it was hard to find something that was comfortable and to find a color to go with her colony marks, red streaked blonde hair, and green eyes. Plus there was the price. She wasn’t going to blow a whole month’s earnings on one dress.

Finally, Kenna picked a dark blue long dress that hugged her tightly, shoulders made of a sheer material but went all the way up to the chin, leaving the arms bare and skin still visible through the fabric. Caelus especially liked the long slit up one side making it easier to move around in, only when she moved or sat could you see her muscled leg. The store clerk also sold him on heels, that gave her feet a turian flare and he just about begged that she get them. But she drew the line at any jewelry or hair accessories. With marks it really only worked if she wore her hair up in its usual ponytail and she didn’t want to be fidgeting with bits of jewelry all night. Shopping for Caelus had been much easier. They found him a handsome red and blue suit that was long enough even for his limbs. And she had to admit, it looked damn good on.

That night they spent catching up with Aeneas, he was shocked to learn how their vacation had been thrown for a loop. At one point the father and daughter found themselves alone, “Kenna you’ve been putting up a brave face, but I know something is bothering you. What’s going on in your head?”

She shifted not meeting his yellow gaze. “We had to go down an elevator shaft. It brought back memories of the Citadel, but this time I wasn’t the little girl hiding. It felt good to be able to protect others, not be a useless lump focusing on not screaming at the piles of dead. But what if it hadn’t worked out if Caelus or someone innocent had gotten hurt?”

Aeneas placed a large hand on her shoulder, “You did well, there is no use at looking at the what ifs. And you were never useless, just untrained.”

Finally, Kenna met his gaze. Who would have guessed such alien eyes could offer so much comfort? “Thanks, Dad.”

-

The formal dinner was filled with many high tier turians and volas who were all involved in the conference or gave support to the anti-profiteering laws. There was a small thank you mentioned at the introduction for Kenna and Caelus’ help without going into too much detail. They were expected to stay and mingle afterward, give politicians a chance to fawn over the heroes. Once the curious guests got over her being human with colony marks no one paid her much attention. Older military types wanted to speak with Aeneas about the progress on Oma Ker and younger females were flirting with Caelus. While he did seem to be giving them the attention they wanted he didn’t seem to be as enthusiastic as he normally was. Maybe he was more tired than he let on earlier since the hotel saw to it they were given the penthouse with private rooms, privacy wasn’t a concern.

Kenna excused herself to go get another drink, she couldn’t wait to get out of these shoes and hoped alcohol could help distract her from the pain. Caelus owed Kenna for making her get them. Ten rounds in the sparring ring would do it, or a foot massage.

She jumped slightly when she turned to look over the room and found Povnis at her elbow, someone his size should not move that quietly.

“Uhh, hello Commander. Enjoying yourself?”

The dark turian studied her intently and she tried not twitch. Finally, he spoke, “As much as I can at one of these events. And you?”

“Well enough, but really just want to get back to our plans for shore leave.” Kenna didn’t try to hide the longing in her voice.

“That’s right, you and the pilot were visiting together.” Povnis didn’t seem surprised by their friendship, both looked and found a few of the females chatting to Caelus were shooting her withering looks. He must have turned them down saying they had plans already, it wouldn’t have been the first time her friend used her as an excuse to get rid of females.

Povnis cleared his throat, and drew her attention back, “Well, I wanted to inform you that I have put in a recommendation for you to be tested for Blackwatch Operations. After your debriefing, I looked into your mission files. I believe you have the potential to be a strong operative even with how young are.”

Kenna froze, never had she expected anyone to do that. It made this dinner and calling her father back to Palven more sense. Chances were Aeneas had been interviewed as her private instructor before joining up officially. “Oh, uh... Thank you, sir. It is an honor to be considered for the position.”

“Hmm. If you do get the offer please do your best, I do have a bet with one of the other officers.” With that, the commander nodded and disappeared into the crowd.

Still feeling a little a little stunned from the news Kenna made her way back to Caelus. “So what did the proud Commander want?” He asked raising a brow plate.

“I must've done something right. He put my name forward for Blackwatch.” She said quietly.

“Spirits, Kenna that’s amazing! I don’t believe any non-turian has been accepted. Although ever since the war they have been more involved in operations not directly on Palaven.” He was right, the group used to be solely for Palaven but after helping in the war they had taken a more galactic role. They weren’t as free as the Spectre’s but they were almost as well respected. Quite a few Turian Spectre’s had been scouted from their ranks.

Leaning over Caelus breathed quietly in her ear. “Aeneas just gave the all clear sign, I think that means we can finally leave this place and get away from all the politicians.”

Kenna nodded and let him drag her away, but her mind was far away still trying to comprehend what had happened.

Chapter Text

Kenna checked her omni tool for the fiftieth time, rereading the request and the following orders. The recommendation Povnis mentioned went through, and she received a message asking if she was interested in participating in a test to be accepted into Blackwatch. With her father’s and squad leader’s assurances that she would do well, Kenna accepted the invitation and orders were sent to take a transport to an uncolonized planet in turian space. There was no mention of what she would find and all data on the planet was listed as classified. She was going in blind.

Getting to the drop point Kenna found a temporary base set up in a dense forest. It was just the type of place Caelus would have found for a camping excursion. The guard took her to Povnis without making any small talk. Povnis fixed his dark gaze on her and said, “Good, you made it. Follow.”

He led her to a small room with a cot, locker, and a small box. “What do you know about why you are here?”

Kenna fell into the natural feeling parade rest and answered like she would with any superior. “To test for my candidacy to join the Blackwatch group, sir.”

Povnis gave a short nod. “Yes. Blackwatch used to protect the heart of the turians, our home world. We are known for our ability to adapt to any situation, surviving extremes to take down our enemies. Similar to your Spec Ops but with more delicate and critical missions than just clearing out an illegal base. But the war showed us, its not only our home world we need to protect but all of our people. We need more soldiers who show this drive. You have shown it as a cadet, a soldier, and even during your much deserved shore leave. Your limits will found here.”

Turning the window he directed her to come alongside him. “Tomorrow you will be taken deep into this forest with bare minimum food and water and whatever is in this container. You have to survive for four weeks. But besides the local wildlife you will have to deal with a Blackwatch squad hunting you as well, and they will be in full gear. You can avoid them, trap them, or incapacitate them. Questions?”

“Yes, full gear, sir? Are there safety precautions?”

“Of course, the bullets are holographic and will register the amount of damage you should have taken. Even if you do not pass you are a capable soldier who will be an asset to the military. I ask that you do the same for our men.”

Kenna nodded feeling better, “Yes sir, I’m allowed to know about the local plants and animals?”

Povnis crossed his arms, seeming to relax a fraction and pleased with her questions, “It’s Levo based, but seems to have developed a nasty chemical defense that will act as a hallucinogenic for you.”

Kenna raised an eyebrow. “So unless I want to be found naked, dancing, and singing Die for the Cause I shouldn’t eat anything here?”

Povnis let out a deep laugh, “No, that would not be advisable.” He turned to the door. “Rest up Vizrak, you’ll be set loose at first light and will be given a full day cyle’s lead.”

Kenna stepped after him, “What if I manage to take out your men?”

He paused, studying her. “It will end earlier. But it hasn’t been managed since I completed my test.”

She smirked feeling like a challenge was leveled. “Not yet, sir.”

His mandible fluttered in excitement, “You better do well, girl. I have more than a few credits riding on you.”

She gave a salute, “Of course, sir.”

-

Povnis heard Starric come up alongside him at the monitors. “So you're serious about checking out this human?” He growled.

Povnis nodded not bothering to look at the bulky male next to him. “She has a quick thinking and devious mind. She could be a good squad member that can adapt on the fly.”

Starric’s sub vocals hissed, “She can’t possible keep up with our brothers and sisters. So she has a few clever tricks, she is so small we could accidently step on her.”

Povnis sighed, he did not care about species difference unless the could be used to an advantage. “First off you know she was adopted by Vizrak? Do you think he wouldn't teach her his knowledge of combat? They are well known for their hand to hand skills and service to the Hierarchy. And humans are the top of their planet’s natural order, developing much faster than us.”

Starric huffed, “Only because they are skilled in tech like the salarians. They die just as easy.”

“Still, the real reasons they succeeded as a primitive species is due to their tool building and stamina. Their iron based blood is far more efficient with using oxygen then our copper based blood, and their evaporative cooling system is second to none.”

“You’re telling me that foul smelling liquid they make, makes them dangerous?”

Povnis laughed, knowing how ridiculous it sounded. “They are scent blind, they have no idea how bad it can get. But that combination is dangerous, then can physically out last many species. They hunt with persistence hunting, they run they prey to exhaustion or until they are tired and stupid enough to be trapped. I'm sure she will surprise all of us.”

The brown turian only growled as they watched her disappear into the brush.

-

Kenna took a moment to listen to her surroundings after the noisy transport left. She needed to find some places with crevices or preferably caves. Easy places to hide. Which meant water. She couldn't risk drinking it with the local vegetation but it was marvelous at carving the ground and the sound would help hide the noise of her movements from the turians hunting her.

Once she found a suitable place she’d have to set up some traps, when they did find her she would have to move on, but at least she’d have time.

Listening carefully there was the gurgle of water to her right. Well better start now, it may take all the remaining daylight to find anything of use.

It was only a hundred meters to the small stream, following it for a couple kilometers or so when she found its source, a large rushing river. Following it downstream she found a couple small hiding spots in tree hollows, caves, and even a small crevasse that was partially submerged. The last one would be cold but turians hated water and cold so it would be a useful deterrent.

Hearing roaring she found the river turned into a waterfall a good fifteen meters over a lake. Kenna made sure to make careful mental notes of all of it. Her knowledge of the land could get her through this.

-

Povnis couldn’t help smiling to himself. Looking at the monitor he watched his candidate setting up her next trap. Vizrak was truly ready to join Blackwatch. She looked like hell now, cover head to toe in mud, hiding her pale skin, red colony marks, and yellow fringe. It was several inches shorter, on the first day she cut hunks of it off before covering the glow of her head with dirt. The first few operatives sent were tricked into snares after spotting the bright strands and forgetting to watch their step. Good, the girl didn’t have vain side to her. The number of young soldiers he had to beat to a pulp in order to convince them a strong thick waist was worth more than a slender more attractive one was too many.

Once they were trapped Vizrak had been able to filch their own water supply, not seeming to trust the water there. She also was careful to space out her food, but he almost called an end to it when she started eating some dextro rations. However, she showed no signs of a reaction, checking her medical record he confirmed she did not have an allergy. She was just trying spread out her rations and not feel hungry. Also noted was a elective surgery for an auditory implant. Devious human indeed, never let on she could hear his sub vocals. Normally he was careful to watch them around fellow turians but didn’t bother with most other species.

Povnis knew Starric would be furious. Vizrak managed to goad his last operative into a hand to hand fight, and her adoptive family’s talent showed through. While she would lose if a turian ever was able to get her into a wrestling match, she was just too fast. Whenever the operative threw a punch she would seem to swim the the air around them landing her own hits in sensitive areas. At the end she had managed to flip back and put some distance between them. The male was frustrated at this point, he roared before putting his head down and charging her.

Vizrak did not move, she stayed still and waited. Once he was in arm's reach she stepped to the side and brought her hand down in a chopping motion landing on the back of his neck. Povnis winced as the male ran into the tree before he dropped to the ground. He would have a nasty headache. Vizrak crouched next to him and started rooting through his pack already looking for supplies she would be needing.

Leaving the monitoring room he came across Starric who was reading over messages. Povnis didn’t say a world, knowing that the other commander would be getting the update soon. He started making a hot drink and waited for the blow up.

“What? How is this possible?” Cried Starric and hand slamming on the metal table.

Povnis did not bother to turn. “Your operative lost his cool and left his neck open to an attack. Looked like she planned it. If I remember correctly that is the last of your squad so I guess she passes?”

“Not so fast. Technically I am part of my team, so she hasn’t taken us all out. I still have six days to hunt her down.” He was already turning to leave the room to go out after Vizrak.

Povnis sighed, most of the test squads leaders didn’t bother to go out themselves. He believed the human was capable, but he knew that Starric would not hold back and could cause her some serious harm. But it was within Starric’s rights to go so Povnis would have to wait and see.

-

Kenna sat quietly in her tree enjoying the dextro bar. Sure it wouldn’t help her calorie intake but they tasted good and made her stomach stop growling. She was exhausted, filthy, could feel several large bruises and cuts, but felt very much alive.

After her first day Kenna had been able to use her hair as a distraction and caught a few of the operatives. Others after were harder, but she was able to lead them over pits, or tired them out enough to win a close combat fight. If they hadn’t been carrying water she would be in trouble, alive but dehydrated. If she was able to remember correctly most of the squad was down now and she only had six more days to go.

Closing her eyes for a cat nap, Kenna let her hearing focus on the surrounding sounds. The river, the birds, the snap of wood. Her eyes snapped open. She had yet to see signs of any wildlife large enough to break a branch. There was another attacker out there. She slowly pulled her legs up so she was crouched, huddling close to the tree’s trunk and turned her eyes to the ground.

Not fifteen meters away had to have been the biggest turian she’d ever seen. Caelus was still taller, but this male could have ripped his arm off with muscle alone. He obviously cared more about bulk than a thin waist. Judging by how he was moving, while heavy with mass those muscles could explode with speed.

Spirits he was going to take forever to tire out, and Kenna could feel the exhaustion from days with only naps keeping her going. She was lucky to have a moment to study him before he caught her scent, she tried to rinse off in the river but it would only do so much and she wouldn’t wash her fatigues in worry of being caught naked.

As if the thought was said aloud his head snapped up, with a flare of smug mandibles he swung up his weapon and fired.

But Kenna was already leaping and reaching for the next branch. Making her way down and away, only thinking enough to find the next foot hold. She could hear the holo bullets hitting her shield but not the tell-tale sounds of them hitting her.

Hitting the floor of the forest she took off toward some of the areas she had set up. The turian was crashing through the undergrowth behind her. Damn he was moving fast on longer legs. But he was wasting ammo on a moving target. Maybe she wouldn’t have to get the gun away but let him waste it all.

For now she focused on her breathing and keeping as many trees between them as possible. When she heard the warning of overheat from the rifle she let out a happy whoop as he cursed. “Just fail human, you’ll never be able to make it with us.”

Kenna didn’t bother to say anything, not replying seemed to piss them off more, and angry people made mistakes. But she couldn’t take him on, she was too tired, but she couldn’t shake him. Kenna needed a way to get him off her trail.

Then she heard the waterfall. That’s it. Maybe she could jump in or convince him she jumped in. Either way a cliff would separate them. Kenna slightly changed her route and flat out sprinted for the sound. As soon as she broke the tree line she dived for a bush to the right. Maybe he would be convinced she dove in and waste time climbing down.

What she hadn’t expected was for his mass to be too great to stop in the short distance and watched as he slid off the edge and with a cry hit the water.

“Fuck!” She yelled. Turians were terrible at swimming and this one would sink faster than most. She kicked off her boots, took a deep breath and dived for where there were still ripples in the water.

Damn the water was cold, Kenna had to take a moment to remember not to turn back to the surface or cry out from the shock. Forcing her eyes open she caught the flash from lights on his armor as he sunk below her. Kicking hard she tried to ignore the sharp pain of the icy water creeping into her limbs. She finally wrapped an almost numb arm around his neck. Her lungs were screaming for breath and he was limp unaware he was still drowning.

They had finally hit the bottom. Kenna hadn’t realized the lake was this deep. Summoning up the last of her oxygen she kicked off the ground pulling the operative with her. Kicking wildly for light. It seemed to be an eternity before her head broke the surface. Her lungs now burned with the much desired air. It hurt but felt amazing. Rolling on her back she managed to keep his head out of the water, but between his size and armor she struggled from sinking again.

Kenna spotted the nearest section of shore and started to make her way over. Once her toes could touch the ground she started walking his body up. His legs were still in the water, but his head would remain out of the water. Reaching down she started undoing the armor blocking the softer lower and softer part of his chest and started pumping hard. He had to cough up the water, but he was so damn big and it was notoriously hard to clear turian lungs. Standing she managed to get better leverage and the force needed pump the water out of him. With a sudden jerk he started coughing up water before falling back weakly, breath shallow but there.

Kenna sat back and panted. There was no way she could run now, whatever was going to happen was going to happen. Stupid turian, she cursed to herself, trying to swim.

Before either started to speak a shuttle landed nearby the door opening medics ran out, one for each of them. In a more leisurely manner Povnis exited and made his way over before stopping, crossing his arms and looking between the two them.

“Well Starric I think that counts as her win since you would have died if she hadn’t of jumped in after you. You now owe me money and her your life”

The muscled turian groaned, finally sitting up and refusing to look at her. “Shut up Povnis. Your freak experiment worked, no need to rub it in.”

Povnis let out a faint rumble of amusement with a flick of one mandible. Reaching a hand down to Kenna to bring her up to her feet. “You did well, even managed to make the test squad’s commander fall off a cliff like a fledgling.”

“Sorry sirs, I speak from experience that sucks quads. At least this time there was water to break the fall.” Kenna said quietly remembering her training days.

Everyone was silent for a moment and Kenna felt like kicking herself. But when the two commanders shared a wide eye look they let out booming laughs and even the medics joined in. When the semi drowned one stopped coughing, “You’re right, she does learn.”

Chapter Text

Caelus got off the transport still confused over how the hell he was there. His leave wasn’t supposed to be for another three weeks but some paperwork came from Kenna’s Squad leader pushing his time off forward. The only message he received was information on where to find Kenna and that she would be needing him. The whole thing put him on edge, something had happened.

He had been apprehensive about their original plans for leave. Since her start with Blackwatch their coinciding leaves were fewer, Spirits, it had to have been over six months since he last saw Kenna in person. They were supposed to go camping, and he had already found the perfect spot. He was also going to come clean with Kenna, for a long time now he had been seeing her as more than a friend but between not wanting to lose her and worried she would only remember his playboy tendencies of the past he feared nothing would come of his confession. But he hadn’t been able to date or see anyone since the time they saved the volus ambassador. Caelus didn’t want anyone else, he wanted to be with his best friend.

Getting to the hotel his sense of dread skyrocketed, the desk clerk said that while Kenna had checked in she had left almost immediately.

“And you don’t know where she went?” So far she had ignored all calls and messages.

The asari considered him a moment but seemed to believe he was alright to inform. “She asked about nearby bars. This isn’t the best part of town, I did tell her the better places but she wanted something closer. Eezo Trap is just down the block but not really the type of place one should go alone.”

Caelus gave his thanks and took off. This was unlike the Kenna he knew. Sure she liked to go out, dancing if there was a group, but going out to a dangerous bar for drinking was odd. She didn’t hold her liquor well and tended to avoid getting wasted even while in basic.

Entering the bar the pilot saw what the clerk was talking about. The room was filled with hazy smoke and rough looking characters. Slowing Caelus searched for the gleam of gold hair streaked with red. The panic went up another level as nothing turned up, but before he ran out getting ready to search the whole city he saw a lone human female sitting in a booth with a hood up. Looking closely he saw parts of her red colony markings.

But Kenna wasn’t actually alone. Leaning on the table was a small and clearly drunk human male. Coming closer, Caelus could hear his attempts as trying to get her to talk, but no matter the pickup line or question Kenna kept her eyes fixed on the glass full of amber liquid in front of her. There was a twist of jealousy in his gut, and Caelus took a little too much joy in gripping the man’s shoulder hard and pushing him away from the table, “She’s not interested.”

Before the drunk could complain or make any rude comment he lost his balance and fell onto a krogan’s lap. The krogan didn’t take to kindly to that and quickly threw the human out the door. Turning back to Kenna, Caelus flared his mandibles in a grin. “Good thing your bodyguard is here, don’t want any riff-raff messing with you.” But she hadn’t moved, she was still staring at the glass, completely still and empty looking.

Sitting down, Caelus moved the glass further away from her. The movement finally broke her trance.

“When did you get here?” She asked quietly, not with her usual smile he knew by heart.

Caelus shrugged, “Your very kind commander though you might need some entertainment for this R&R and I drew the short straw. So what’s up with this place, it's not quite you.”

Kenna sighed and didn’t meet his eyes. “I don’t know.”

Well, Caelus couldn’t let her stay here. He didn’t want to deal with any more pickup lines and whatever was going on this wasn’t the place to deal with it. Picking up her hand he pulled her from the booth. “Come on, let’s get you back to the hotel. Drinking is done for the night.”

Caelus tugged Kenna along but she didn’t really put up a fight, she just seemed tired. At the hotel he took her room key and decided to forgo getting his own, he couldn’t leave her alone until he found out what happened. And it wasn't unusual for them to share a room or bed if it was an expensive place. Stepping into the room he saw her footlocker dropped next to the door like she only had enough time to put it down before going to Eezo Trap.

Once inside Kenna stepped over to the window and looked out at the traffic, Caelus decided to put the luggage away, hoping that time would help her open up. Finally, he got a water glass and made her look away from the window.

“Drink.” He ordered, pushing the glass into her hands.

A very small smile flickered over her lips, “I wasn’t actually drinking.”

Caelus’s brow plate rose. “Really?”

She took a sip of water and moved to the couch. “Really. People seem to get so happy or even able forget when they drink so I ordered it, but couldn’t bring myself to drink it. It felt wrong for me to forget what I did.”

Carefully Caelus sat down next to her, “What happened? I don’t think it's classified, Povnis is the reason I’m here. He wanted you to talk to someone.”

Sighing, Kenna leaned forward looking at her hands without seeing them. “It was set up to be simple, there were raiders and they were heading to their base. We got there before them and set up a trap to get them right after they landed. We thought we managed to drop everyone when a woman ran out of the base. She was never on the ship.” Rubbing her eyes she continued. “She had a weapon and was running to our advance group who were looking for survivors. I fired, and hit. Didn’t notice the little girl until she ran up and tried to turn the woman’s body over.”

Caelus was unsure what to say, he thought he understood what she was saying but didn’t understand why she was upset. Yes, it was a tragedy, but it wasn’t often raiders kept family with them. Reaching to rest a hand on her shoulder, “You did what you were trained to do..”

Kenna flinched, voice harsh. “I orphaned a little girl. Killed her mother right in front of her.”

“You don’t know that they may be able to find more family. And who is to say she would have been better off. They were bad people, now she has a chance at something normal.”

Her hand slammed down on the arm of the couch. “No, I don’t know. My mother didn’t bother to make it work, at least this one did. Loved her little girl enough to keep her through everything. Until me.”

Caelus was missing something, “What are you talking about, your parents were killed trying to evacuate during the war. It wasn’t their choice.”

Some blonde hair fell out of her hair tie as her head shook side to side and he resisted the urge to push it behind her ears. “They were my adoptive parents. I was given up by my birth mother, not even given a name or a reason why. She didn’t want me. The woman I killed probably would have done anything to stay with her daughter.”

It was the first he’d really ever heard of this. Caelus wasn’t sure how to feel, while his father was often away on Spectre business, his own mother had been there to raise him. She died just before he started basic during the war, like so many others. It was difficult to imagine hating a parent, even though his father was gone most of the time, they spoke often enough through messages.

Tears were now coming, and Caelus wrapped an arm around her. “Kenna, you don’t know all the details. But I know that little girl is going to grow up in a much better place than in a raider base. That mother was selfish, no one should let their child be in that much danger. Aeneas would never have done that with you. He was given other opportunities, in more active areas but he wanted to keep you safe and decided to turn down the promotions to stay with you on Oma Ker. That is what a good parent does. Your mother may have been in a similar situation, but because she gave you up, you’re here now. Who knows if you’d even be alive after the war if she hadn’t.”

Kenna seemed to hear him but didn’t seem able to process it so she curled up into a ball and leaned into him. Any other day he would relish being this close to her. Now though, he only let out a subharmonic cry to echo her sadness, intent on holding her through this storm.

-

When Kenna had fallen asleep Caelus moved her to the bed and thought about what she said. It was hard to see her this upset. When he first met her, she was shy, learning how to act in an alien world. As time went by they had become best friends, sharing everything. Or so he thought. The idea of giving up a child to strangers was odd for a turian. Their families tended to be very close-knit. Is that why she never told him? It didn’t matter to Caelus but it seemed to be still affecting her after all these years. Killing that mother had only brought the issue to the surface and he had no idea how to help.

His omni tool beeped and Caelus looked at the message’s sender, feeling that jealousy rise again. It was from Feron. The drell who seemed a little too attached and attentive to Kenna for his tastes. Information Brokers were dangerous, and her life was risky enough as it was. But who could blame him, Kenna seemed to draw others with a pull like gravity.

To: Caelus Kyrik
From: Feron
Subject: Help a Mutual Friend

She isn’t answering my messages. I have information about the last mission she was on. It may help.

Take care of her.

Caelus felt a little satisfaction at the message. Kenna had ignored his calls too. Somehow that made him feel better. After reading the attachment he felt torn, this information would help with the more immediate concerns but it meant he owed the drell.

He decided to let her sleep, hopefully, in the morning she would be a little better.

-

Kenna woke long before the sun came up, but didn’t bother moving until the light shone into her eyes. Her mind just kept going in circles, maybe a shower or something would give her a reprieve.

Looking around she saw that Caelus was spread out on the couch looking very uncomfortable. Odd, he normally he would sleep in the same bed if it was big enough. Most turian beds were much too large for her so they were often able to share. Leaving him to sleep in, she went to the bathroom.

Unfortunately, the burning water of the shower didn’t wash the feeling or memories away. When Kenna’s skin was numb and red from the heat she got out and dressed. Outside she found Caelus awake and attempting to make her coffee. While it was hard to find in turian space, it was inevitable that she would discover it and what magic power it had. He even put in cream and handed it to her.

“I still think drinking some other creature’s infant food is weird.”

Kenna couldn’t help a small smile while taking a large sip, “You don’t know what you are missing, and this is totally the fake stuff.”

He shrugged and followed her to the couch, sitting down he turned to her. “So I got this report last night. It may clear up some of what happened.” He held out a datapad.

Kenna started reading, it seemed like a usual report, but it wasn’t translated turian. There was an Alliance symbol in the corner. It was a medical report, a young female with nutrition issues, bruises, general signs of abuse and negligence. Finally grasping what it said she looked up at Caelus, “Where did you get this?”

He looked like he debated telling her. “I would love to say I found it myself, but no. Your information broker sent it.” Grasping one of her hands, he said, “Even with all that happened, you and your team got her to safety. She has a chance at a better life now.”

Kenna gripped his hand back letting the data pad fall. “Thanks… Just, with all of this, it brought up a lot of memories. I thought I got over my own mother, but no luck.”

“Hey, stuff happens. But some good came of it. You have Aeneas… and me.” His subharmonics trilled nervously,

“I suppose I do don’t I?” She let herself show a real smile, feeling a knot in her stomach loosen and he returned a turian grin.

-

Later that night Caelus managed to convince Kenna to drag out some of her nicer civilian clothes and let him take her out for a night on the town. Where he found levo and dextro based restaurant that could actually make a burger was beyond her, and watching him attempt to eat a version of it safe for him was hysterical. About half of it fell out of his mouth before he got the hang of it. The evening was filled with their usual catching up and fun stories since the last time they hung out.

Instead of going into the hotel Caelus pulled her toward a small park with a winding footpath around a pond. It wasn’t much like the recreational areas on Oma Ker which were more for function than for looks and it wasn’t anything like the industrious Bekenstein she knew before. Taking a deep breath of fresh air she looked across the garden and the bioluminescent blooms.

“Humans have a saying, ‘take a moment to smell the roses.’” Kenna commented when she turned she found Caelus’ green eyes fixed on her.

He didn’t seem to be taking in the scenery and took a second to think about what she had said, “Sorry, smelling flowers? Aren’t you scent blind?”

Giggling Kenna shook her head. “It means taking time to enjoy the small things. No offense to the Hierarchy, but they kind of fail at making things pretty.”

Caelus took a step closer, “Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them.” His tri fingered hand came up and gently stroked her shoulder. He lowered his face slowly to her level and Kenna froze. Caelus had never done anything like this before when his mouth plates brushed her lips her mind stopped completely. He nipped gently at her bottom lip making she gasped, but as quickly as it happened he pulled away.

Opening her eyes, Kenna found him searching her face intently. “I’m taking a shot here, I don’t want to lose our friendship, but I would like to know if we could be more.” Kenna panicked unsure what to say, but Caelus took her hand and continued, “I’m not asking now, but we did plan to go camping. If you're interested, meet me at the vehicle depot, if not I’ll be back in a couple days and it’ll go back to the way it was before.” With that, he turned and left the garden.

Kenna was stunned, watching him go. What the hell just happened?

Chapter Text

Kenna was up for most of the night. She went back to the hotel room, thankfully she found it empty and all of Caelus’ stuff gone. Not that she didn’t want to see him, but she was worried she’d have to evaluate what happened with him sleeping in the same room. She needed some time alone to think.

And that night of thinking led to her rubbing her hands nervously while she searched for Caelus’ familiar form at the vehicle depot. Could this end badly yes, but she trusted their friendship could make it and what they could gain if it went well would be worth it.

Finally, Kenna spotted him looking as nervous as she was, searching over the crowds. At his side was a turian female, from the looks of it, she was trying to get his attention. Kenna wasn’t jealous or upset but it did make her take a moment to study Caelus. He truly was a handsome turian, slender waist, rich colored plates. And he wanted her? A human?

Caelus’ bright green eyes landed on her, and his mandibles dropped a fraction. Apparently, her showing up wasn’t just a surprise to herself. Pushing off the flirting female he quickly strode toward her, stopped close enough she could feel the heat off of him without touching. “You came.”

It was more of statement to a question. Kenna shrugged, “Well I figured why the hell not, we’ve managed to stay friends for this long. If getting shot at didn’t put an end to this I figure nothing would.”

His mandibles flared in a huge smile, grabbing her bag with one hand and her hand in the other, “Well, then, let’s go!”

Caelus dragged her over to a turian sized ATV, dumping her bag on the rack with his, he got on.

Kenna eyed the vehicle, “Must you always drive?”

“Yes, because anyone else will make me motion sick and you are too small for the controls.” Motioning behind him, “Now will you get on? It’ll take awhile to get there.”

Smirking she got up behind him and teasingly stroked his waist through his thin civilian clothes as she went to hang on. He shivered, subharmonics voicing his desire. “Down girl,” he grumbled and tore out of the compound.

-

Usually, Kenna and Caelus took turns finding things to do while on leave. This camping location was Caelus’s choice. And man could the turian find a beautiful place. After a couple hours of driving, he pulled into a small valley in the foothills of a nearby mountain. The valley was full of soft grass and flowers and had a stream running through that fed into a small lake. With as warm as it was Kenna only wanted to jump into the clear water. But first, they had to make up camp.

Even with how awkward the day had started, they soon fell into their usual pattern. Setting up the tent, sleeping bags, fire pit. The only difference was the lingering touches when she came close enough, or the heated looks when Caelus placed the bags closer together than normal. But maddeningly he did not try for anything more. If anything he seemed more nervous than the night before.

The afternoon heat started to get to Kenna, she managed to talk Caelus into going down to the small lake. His harmonics trilled in surprise as she stripped down to her underwear and jumped into the lake. The icy water was great with the heat of the sun, and she swam around enjoying the combination. Turians were notoriously bad at swimming, so finding a swimming pool was difficult.

When Kenna surfaced she spotted Caelus removing his own clothing, and in just his shorts he wadded into the more shallow water. That was unusual, at most he would put his feet in and make fun of her antics. He truly was a sight, his dark plates shining like the water under the sun. He knew it too judging from his rumbling harmonics at catching her admiring his form. He could be so vain at times.

“Come over here, you know turians sink like rocks.”

Kenna turned and floated on her back closing her eyes, letting her body lay on the surface in easy view. “Not my fault you’re full of metal, plate head.”

He growled and she heard some splashing. When she felt a taloned hand wrap around her ankle, she gave a yelp and she was pulled closer to him. He was standing as close as possible, water up to his chin, with an intense look as she now wadded in front of him. They were at eye level for once and he closed the short distance to kiss her. This kiss was much more than the brief nip the night before. His mouth plates were flexing to her lips, and soon his tongue slipped into taste. She tried to remember to kick her legs and not sink but gave up and wrapped her arms around his neck and legs around his waist. His harmonics grew louder and he buried a hand in her wet hair the other kneaded her ass, pulling her closer, only thin clothing separating them.

Kenna couldn’t get enough of his almost spicey metallic taste or the feel of his rough tongue on her mouth or skin. It wasn’t her first time with a turian, she had found hookups with the occasional human or local turians, but this was different. This was Caelus. She broke the kiss, and trailed her mouth down the soft hide of his throat, kissing and nipping it. Her hand reached up to stroke the spot under his fringe, nails digging at the softer hide. His chest rumbled and the vibrations went straight to her core.

Holding her to him, Caelus walked them back to the shore where he laid her on the soft grass. He knelt with her and started to explore her body, talons sweeping over her skin softly, finding spots that would her sigh, groan or shiver. She returned the attention, stroking his soft waist, little fingers found the paths between his plates. As he nipped at her collarbone he couldn’t hold back and sliced her bra and underwear with his talons. She squeaked in protest at the loss of the clothes. He looked up at her and growled, “I’ll buy you more.” It sent another shiver through her. Normally he was all jokes, not this determined male with his eye on the prize.

Caelus soon removed what was left of his own clothing, and unlike all her previous times, they went slow. Exploring any point that would cause a moan or a hiss. Kenna knew her way around a turian body, and he seemed to have some idea of what he was doing, she only had to redirect him once when he found a particularly ticklish spot. It made her wonder, as far as Kenna knew Caelus had never been with a human, but it was clear he’d done his homework. While physically it was just as satisfying as any other time, it was much more addictive than with anyone one else.

After catching their breath they found their clothing and went about preparing their evening meals, sharing casual touches that lingered more than before, both hyper-aware of the other. When the sun set they leaned into each other and played a game the normally did when camping. Turians didn’t have named constellations like humans, and once Kenna had explained it to Caelus and her father it became a tradition whenever they camped under the stars. They’d name their own constellations and telling the stories that went with. It wasn’t long until Caelus started nipping at her neck and they found themselves in the sleeping bags, moving a little faster this time, more sure of themselves.

Curled in Caelus sleeping embrace Kenna waited for some sense of panic to come. Only to find it didn’t come. She had moved this fast with her one nighters but this was different, this was deeper and more lasting. And Kenna was ok with that, in fact, she loved it. She’d always loved Caelus, and now he just meant that much more to her.

Sighing, she burrowed more into his side and warmth and closed her eyes, floating off into her own dreams.

Chapter Text

The rest of their leave went quickly, Caelus seemed to make it his mission to keep Kenna too busy or too tired to brood about her last Blackwatch mission. They stayed in the valley for a few days, only leaving to hike the nearby ridges. When they returned to the city, they found a little better hotel and caught up on all the vids that had come out. It was all the same yet not. Kenna caught Caelus watching her more often, a hand that would stray out to touch her as they walked, and how he seemed to wrap around her when on the couch. To be honest it was nice.

There was one thing she hadn’t told him. After calming the girl down, Povnis’ team had to take her to human authorities, which meant she had stayed on the ship for a few days. Her name was Sarah, and she was frightened and unsure of her future, and blamed it all on the turians. Sarah hadn’t seen Kenna take the shot so it must have been one of the big scary aliens. To Sarah, Kenna was the only familiar thing. Everywhere Kenna turned there were those big brown eyes looking to her for comfort, not realizing her hands were stained with blood.

Kenna waited until Caelus finally finished giving her a goodbye kiss before contacting Feron. While she had become friends of a sort with the drell, she didn’t want to upset Caelus by contacting for more help during their limited time together.

She had sent a note asking to speak with him by vid call before she also had to take a transport back to her squad, and hadn’t expected him to appear from nowhere with a warm smile.

“Hello, Kenna,” he greeted, leaning over the back of her bench.

“Feron, you’re here?”

With a chuckle, he came around to sit with her, “After you didn’t reply I found some work that brought me in the neighborhood in case your little turian couldn’t cheer you up.”

Kenna couldn’t help but laugh, “Caelus is hardly little and would hate you calling him that. But yes, my boyfriend did manage to cheer me up. Your information did help a little, thank you.”

Feron didn't miss the new title, sighed and sagged, “I see he finally made his move. I won’t lie that part of me hoped he wouldn’t but oh well.” Draping an arm on the back of her seat he smiled, “Just more ways I can annoy him I guess.”

“You’re terrible, but I did have another favor to ask.”

He tipped his head, dark eyes watching carefully, and asked in a coy voice, “And how will you be paying for this favor?”

In a smooth motion, she removed the arm, “Nope, I’ll have to owe you down the road, but we are not going there.”

He shrugged but continued smiling, “One can only hope, but if I can I will try.”

“Can you keep an eye on Sarah?” His smile faded, and Kenna continued, “Someday she may have questions about what happened, and I don’t want her to go through life hating the people who did save her. She has a right to know what really happened to her mother, and I want to be able to tell her myself.”

“Sometimes you are more dutiful than the turians in your hierarchy. That is commendable, Kenna, but could lead to more trouble for you. But I will keep an ear out for her.”

“Thank you, Feron.” He stayed with her and talked until her transport came, avoiding the topics involving Sarah or Caelus. When the time came for her to leave he managed to keep his farewell to a simple handshake.

-

“Sir?”

Povnis looked up from the data pad, “Vizrak, good. We have been given a special assignment and I would like to you and Rolk on it.”

Kenna tried not to show her wince. Those on the squad before her had learned to trust her and treat her as any other teammate. Rolk was new and still questioned everything the human did. Kenna had become used to the feeling, being the only non-turian on Blackwatch made it a common occurrence, not that she allowed it to affect her performance.

“He needs the one on one time with you and you need more chances at leading teams,” her CO continued. “We have the Urdnot clan leader Wrex visiting for territory discussion with the Primarch and they need more security. I know it sounds like babysitting but this agreement might be huge and it has been seen he is more comfortable with humans than turians. I also know you won’t let him bully you.”

“Understood sir, but aren’t you worried Rolk would be a little too xenophobic for this?”

Povis leaned back, tapping his talons on the desk. “Which is why you’ll be there to set him straight. He has to learn at some point. Be ready for transport in thirty minutes.”

-

Rolk was fidgeting, he still hadn’t learned to relax when given a chance. Finally, the shuttle landed and one of the biggest krogan Kenna had ever seen stepped out. He towered over his companions, sharp red eyes taking in his surroundings. His heavily scarred face turned to her and Rolk. Differing to the heavily muscled turian, “So you got stuck with guard duty.”

Before Rolk could speak, Kenna stepped forward. “Clan Leader, I am Lieutenant Vizrak and I’ll be in charge of your protection duty.”

Kenna kept her eyes steady as he decided to invade her space glaring down at her with slightly unnerving blood red eyes. He was trying to get a feel for her and krogen liked those who stood up for themselves rather than relying on a tier status like turians. Kenna remained stoic and almost bored looking, after a moment he snorted, deciding to take her seriously. “Alright girly, lead the way.”

His suite had already been swept but Urdnot Wrex insisted his men do their own check before sending them away. He tried to send Blackwatch away as well, she told Rolk to take a break but she remained silently by the door. Wrex gave up trying to make her leave and started muttering about green-eyed stubborn human females before placing a call to Tuchanka.

Kenna tried to focus on the environment but hearing a feminine voice she couldn’t help but look over. Female krogen, even after the genophage cure tended to stay on the homeworld or colonies. Hearing her tone with the leader made it impossible to keep a straight face.

“Wrex, if it wasn’t for your fool ideas about pregnancy and travel you could have let me run this negotiation. Now you must play nice.” Kenna could only make out the females yellow eyes behind the veil, they sparkled with intelligence.

He shrugged. “I don’t trust the turians. Victus hid the bomb from us when trying to broker a treaty. Why should he give us anything we want?”

“It is called compromise, mate. And if you want your next brood to have ships, we need those mining rights.” Wrex only made a noncommittal sound, and her eyes shifted over his shoulder to Kenna. “Human, what do you think? I know you’ve been given information.”

The clan leader turned to Kenna as she cautiously stepped forward. “I understand you are trying to get access to an uninhabitable planet with high amounts of minerals and eezo deposits?”

Both nodded. “What are your views on what Victus will do?” The female asked.

Kenna thought about it for a second, the relations with the krogan were still rough and this was way above her pay grade. But Povnis stressed that this was important to the Hierarchy if it succeeded so she would do what was needed to see it through. “Victus is a fair man, but he must do right by his people just like you. He will be advised by the volas I’m sure so if you offer a good business deal they’ll seriously consider it. My home colony Oma Ker is owned by the volas but they don’t have a use for a dextro world. So the offered it to the Hierarchy in exchange for small planet-wide tax. If you were to offer a portion of the resources it would bring them metals and eezo without the start-up costs they may take the deal.”

The female chuckled, “See Wrex even the woman knows more than you. That is what must be done. As close as the planet is to Tuchanka it is still theirs and they deserve payment of some kind.”

Wrex threw up a hand, brushing the comments away, “Fine Bakara, you’ve proven your point.”

“Good, now bring back a deal for your children,” And she ended the call before he could say anything.

Turning to Kenna, Wrex laughed himself, “I love getting her riled up.”

-

Kenna sighed pulling off her undersuit. Convincing a bored krogan to stay in his room without destroying it had proved to be a challenge, but luckily he liked cards and old human scifi movies with evil aliens. Now was her break and she looked forward to a long hot shower. But before for she could turn on the water there the was a loud bang and rattle outside her door. Grabbing her pistol she disengaged the lock and looked out. Wrex ’s door had been blown, Rolk laying inside, his face looked like blue ground meat. The doorway had a couple of human men leaning to chuck a grenade in.

Not thinking, she ran out shooting the thrower in the head before kicking sideways at the other knee, feeling a satisfying crunch under her foot. She heard the click of the explosive arming and ran into Wrex’s room, diving behind a couch. “Down! Down!”

The clan leader was already crouched behind the couch, a large shotgun out and loaded. Giving her a glance he clicked his tongue. “Bad choice of dress for this party Vizrak, but I do like the color.”

Kenna looked down and groaned. She was still in her underwear, armor sitting on the floor of the bathroom. And it was not her standard utilitarian black sets, today was a red lace pair Caelus had thought would be appropriate replacements for the ones he ruined. She had to wear them seeing all the other stuff was dirty. She already had issues with people taking her short form seriously, now she was prancing through a firefight in lingerie… In front of a world leader!

Kenna had to push the thoughts away, the doorway had filled with more human attackers. This time they had to try and avoiding pistol and shotgun fire from behind the couch. But Kenna and Wrex were low on ammo. Looking around she searched for an exit. But there was only the one door and from the sounds in the hall, it was completely filled with more attackers. She saw a biotic blue flash from Wrex as he threw a warp at an aggressive human biotic. She turned to the window, pulling up the hotel layout in her mind, she remembered the grounds outside.

“Clan leader?”

“Oh hell, just use Wrex. With that much skin visible you could say I know you on a personal level.”

“Wrex, can you decelerate your fall with biotics?”

Wrex looked warily out the window. “Not enough to stop from smashing my head on the ground. My plates aren’t that thick.”

Kenna managed to get the attacking biotic in the leg with her pistol while he was distracted, he let out a painful and furious scream. “Not exactly what I had in mind. Can krogans swim?”

Wrex took a moment to look down and laughed at the sight of an ornamental lake. “Well enough.” Without warning he turned the shotgun on the window, the glass took three direct shots before shattering.

“I’ll cover you, jump and get away. Backup should be here soon.” Kenna ducked, the biotic was standing again, yelling orders.

“Not leaving you here, girly. Would make me look bad to leave you behind to cover my ass, and no one from clan Urdnot is a coward.”

Before she could argue the attacking biotic flared sending out a blast of energy, and the couch pushed her and Wrex out the window.

Always with the falling Kenna thought to herself as the wind whistled in her ears and her stomach dropped. She felt a large hand on her arm and a sudden jerk and blinding pain. She managed to regain her sight in time to see the water rushing toward her but not enough time to curl up. It felt like her body had been slapped all over, her shoulder still screaming. She was pulled up and pushed toward the edge and lifted up out of the water.

Wrex was grumbling but handled her gently while running for cover. Kenna tried to get her breath back, but every jostle caused more pain and she could only focus on staying on her feet and keep hold of her gun. For a moment she felt her stomach drop seeing the sun, but remembered, the dome, the hotel wanted to protect its non-turian guests. “Sorry, I dislocated your shoulder,” Wrex rumbled.

Kenna coughed and shook off the comment. He had taken them away from the sight of the window. Just then her comm beeped. “Blackwatch are you there?

The voice was familiar, “Caelus?”

Kenna, of course, you’d be here. Give me your location. Is Urdnot Wrex with you?

She confirmed and in a minute a shuttle landed nearby their hiding spot. Kenna was able to walk but was holding her arm loosely to prevent jostling it. “Spirits Kenna what happened,” Caelus shouted, helping them into the shuttle.

“Fell out the window. Had a floating krogan and water to break the fall this time,” She sat heavily, it was freezing on the shuttle. God between the lack of clothing and the water her nipples were hard and even more visible in her bra. Could today get any worse?

“Not the first time you took a fall?” Wrex knelt looking at the arm.

Dryly Kenna replied, “First time out a window. I’m convinced I can fly, if I do then I don’t have to put up with him,” she nodded to the pilot.

Wrex grabbed her arm firmly. “This is going to hurt.” She nodded bracing herself. Without warning, he pulled. Her vision blew up with white light, after a moment the arm throbbed but was moveable. She could hear Caelus subharmonics, he was upset and Wrex was chastising him. “Calm down whelp, she’s fine.”

Kenna looked up and thought to distract him, “Caelus, get me a blanket.”

He set the shuttle on autopilot and walked back, “And here I was enjoying the view.” Relief was evident in his voice, his eyes doing a quick look over to make sure she was alright before handing her a blanket.

“Such a perv.” She smiled, wrapping up in the thin shiny sheet.

-

Caelus managed to get them away to a military ship without anyone following. All the attackers who survived the shootout seemed to just disappear. They had confirmed Rolk’s death, he wasn’t the first to die on the team, but the first while under her watch. It bugged Kenna a lot now she had time to remember his body.

When they arrived she was brought up in front of Povnis. Still in her underwear and wrapping in a sheet, focusing on the facts she repeated what had happened.

Povnis nodded, “Even with your flare for falling off high ledges you’ve done well. And now this talk will be on a military ship, like I originally told them to. If it doesn’t start a war you may get a medal.”

“To be honest I don’t think I deserve it. They got the drop on us and killed Rolk.”

Povnis cut her off. “We were not expecting a force that large. If you had been standing in front of that door it would be your father I’d be writing, not Rolk’s People are lost, those left behind learn from it and keep going. And when you get a commendation you’ll remember that not many would have the quads to run into a firefight practically naked.”

“Yes, sir.” Kenna saluted and left finally being able to hunt down that shower and real clothes.

-

Kenna finally got to her shower, having the whole room to herself since it wasn’t the usual downtime for the crew. Not that she was alone for long. Just as she stepped under the hot water Caelus stepped into the showers.

“Hey you,” she said in greeting, no longer feeling awkward with her lack of clothing in front of him.

“Not how I imagined seeing your new underclothes, but they did look as amazing as I’d hoped.” He started removing his own uniform, clearly planning on joining her.

Stepping into the stall, he sighed as the heated water heat his plates, making them darken slightly. “Still have a hard time believing your delicate skin can handle the heat of a turian shower.”

Kenna let out her own sigh as he leaned down to nip at her neck, and take the soap from her, lightly rubbing at the part of her back she couldn’t reach with her bad arm.

“When will you realize I am not the delicate flower you imagine?”

He let out a huff of laughter, “Hard not to, when you have the name of a flower. Sorry about your squad mate.”

Kenna looked down, watching the soap bubbles drain away. “Unfortunately that is the reality of this work.”

Caelus remained silent and stilled, looking up, Kenna could see the gears turning. He was probably imagining she had been lost today. Turning she brought him down for a kiss, proving just the opposite.

After a moment, he mirrored her own passion, pushing her into the cool metal wall. Only to pause as she broke off the kiss with a hiss of pain when her shoulder was bumped. “Sorry, guess you’ll be out of commission for awhile.”

Seeing the tension in his plates, Kenna knew she couldn’t leave him like this, there was too much stress from the last minute evac. Then a thought occurred to her. Switching their positions, she knelt in front of him, stroking his waist and pelvic plates to get him to loosen up. “Doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun.”

And Caelus learned about humans oral fixation. It didn’t take him long to lose control, hands twisted in her hair. Kenna remained kneeling and nipped at his hip spur, and was rewarded with another shiver. “Spirits,” was all he could get out, tension receding from his plates.

“Any other complaints about soft humans?”

“Spirits, no.”

-

Kenna was requested to be part of the guard to see Wrex off. The talks had gone well from the rumors, another alliance to bring the two species closer. And having Blackwatch save Wrex helped with relations. Standing at attention Kenna watched the large scarred krogan lumber by.

It was only by pure reflex Kenna managed to catch the rock he threw to her, “Bakara sends her thanks for pulling my ass out of the fire, girly. And next time, remember your damn armor.” He didn’t break his stride and she didn’t have time to reply or ask any questions. Looking at the stone she found it to be a dark red crystal, the size of her thumb.

Povnis let out his version of a whistle, as he leaned over her shoulder to look at it. “I doubt if the Primarch will give you such an honor on this occasion.”

Kenna looked up, brow wrinkled with confusion. “Sir?”

“That is a Tuchankan Blood Stone. Only given as thanks for a service to a high-ranking krogan shaman.” Then Kenna remembered Bakara, the female krogan Wrex spoke with. Holding it tight, she tried to let go of Rolk’s dead image, instead remember his face after completing his recruitment test.

A few days later Povnis prediction came true. She was sad Caelus was still escorting Wrex’s convoy but at least her father had made it back in time to see her stand proudly and receive the medallion of service to the Hierarchy. It was the first ever for a human and the first in many generations for the Vizrak. Aeneas could not be prouder, and insisted on taking her out on the town, enjoy an evening like they hadn’t been able to in years.

Chapter Text

Garrus,

We need to meet as soon as possible. I have come across some information that you will want and may need your help. I can’t say anything more than it involves Shepard. I know the Council doesn’t have you on any active missions so meet me at the coordinates below.

Let me know your ETA.

Liara

Garrus read the message a tenth time. As a Spectre, it was handy to have the Shadow Broker as your good friend but damn if it didn’t lead to some mysterious messages. “EDI how much longer?”

One hour, sir.

“Keep me posted.” When it was time he got ready to meet the Shadow Broker and figure out what was going.

At the airlock, he was surprised to see EDI, Joker, Vega, and Hilary all waiting. EDI and Joker came with the Normandy, given to Garrus as his personal ship. Vega was now a Major and N7, he’d been on leave visiting when Liara’s message came and requested to come when hearing Shepard’s name.

Hilary was Normandy’s newest addition, a year ago EDI came to Garrus requesting to attempt to procreate. At first, Garrus was unsure of what she was getting at, but she had plans to make a new AI for the Normandy with new improvements. She would consider it her and Joker’s child because she was going to base its personality matrix off a randomization of both of their personalities. It would also not be completely formed and could simulate biological learning, coming off as more childlike. Overall, EDI felt, would be good for Joker and add to her own experience exploring her life’s purpose.

And that was how Hillary came to be, she had her mother's dedication to trying to understand organics and her father's mischievous humor. Garrus doubted he ever met a child that would set up pranks on all of the crew, but insist that she had to follow a strict bedtime like all other little girls. She could fly the ship like her mother but her favorite thing to do was sit in her father's lap while he flew. She was a year old technically but currently, her platform had the appearance of a six-year-old EDI.

Garrus nodded to the group and turned to the door, it showed the decontamination was almost finished.

The door opened to show the cute little Asari, one of the few he knew with freckles. Part of her charm was her almost academic innocence. But he knew better, on the battlefield she was a formidable woman, he shuddered to think of what she would be capable in 600 years when she became a Matriarch. Even now, she had barely left her Maiden years and she was one of the most powerful people in the galaxy. She grinned stepping forward and gripped his arm. “Garrus it’s good to see you.”

Turning to the others she embraced EDI, gave Joker a gentle kiss on the cheek not wanting to risk a hug, and shook Vega’s hand giving him a little biotic shock, a friendly reminder not to underestimate them. Liara leaned down to pick up Hillary to place on her hip and the little AI gave her aunt an exaggerated sounding kiss.

“It’s good to see you too Liara, but to be honest I am more interested in this information you found.” He tried not to get his hopes up, Jane returned once from the dead and had to save the galaxy, and as much as it still pained him to think it, she more than deserved her rest.

“Of course, let’s go to the meeting room. There is a lot to tell.” She walked forward remembering the way, Glyph floating behind and the others following. She put Hillary down and without having to be told the little AI wandered off, knowing this was a confidential discussion. It was unnerving to remember she wasn’t a normal child.

In the room, Liara turned to Garrus and the others. “We probably knew Shepard the best. Did anyone know about her time before the Alliance.”

Garrus shrugged, “Only she was an orphan, on the streets. Joined the Alliance as soon as she was old enough.” Everyone else nodded, Jane never talked about Earth, or before the Alliance. “There were a few drunken night’s she hinted at her time with a street gang, mistakes made. That kind of thing.”

“Well, I have found information suggesting that she actually had a child during that time, which she gave up for adoption before joining the Alliance. Her child ended up on Bekenstein at the start of the war, one of the last evacuated but her adoptive parents didn’t make it. She was on the Citadel as a refugee, by the goddess we must have all walked by her.”

Everyone looked at each other in shock. Garrus was at a loss, Jane never once mentioned she’d had a child when they talked about what to do about their own future, children of their own. Could this have been that mistake she brought up that one night after drinking an entire bottle of rycinal? He thought the kid she kept mentioning in her dreams was the one she watched die while escaping Earth. Had she’d imagined her child’s face in those dreams.

Vega took a step toward Liara, “Wait, what was her name?”

“McKenna Pierce at that time.”

“Dios, I did know her. A little teenage girl that I taught some self-defense to, she was all alone on the station, determined to wait for her parents.” Vega shook his head in disbelief.

“Well, the good news is, she made it off. She was with a group of others who made it to the Sol Relay and Palaven before it was damaged. And there she was adopted by a C-Sec Officer, Aeneas Vizrak. She lived with him at Oma Ker, where he was in charge of security on a spaceport. Now she is part of the turian Blackwatch.”

Joker smiled, “Great, little Shep lived and is following in her mother’s footsteps. Hell, Garrus could tell all of us that being in the turian military is nothing to turn your nose up at. Why are we being called in? Family reunion?”

“It’s not the information itself that has me worried,” Liara admitted. “It’s who was looking for it.”

Garrus looked up sharply, “You weren’t looking for her?”

“No, I was tracking Maya Brooks, the rogue Cerberus agent who worked with the Clone. She escaped after they took her into custody. Hacked her cuffs and stole a train.”

Joker tilted his head, confused, “Stole a train?”

“Yes.”

“One on tracks?”

“Yes.” Liara rolled her eyes.

“So how could she escape, the train only went one place.” Joker was chuckling.

“The whole train disappeared with her on it.” Liara sounded dead serious.

“Christ that woman is nuts, and way too smart.” Vega shook his head.

Liara nodded in agreement, “From what I can tell she is rounding up anything Cerberus left before being destroyed or captured. Resources, mercs, scientists, they’re all disappearing. The scary part is, there is no manifesto like the Illusive Man released, not even a peep. I can’t find anything of what the ultimate goal is. All I found recently is that she has an interest in Shepard’s daughter, digging through all the records that survived the war.”

Garrus stood up from his spot. “Well then, we can’t let that happen. Joker, EDI set course to Palaven, Blackwatch is based there. Liara are you staying on board?”

“Yes Garrus, I think we all feel the need to help.” Everyone in the room nodded in agreement.

“Hey Scars, what’s the plan?” Vega called out.

Garrus gave a flick of his sacred mandible, “Simple we protect her, and try to get Brooks or one of her agents when they try to go after McKenna.”

-

Again Garrus was looking at his terminal trying to sort his thoughts. This time he was reading the Hierarchy file on McKenna Pierce now Kenna Vizrak. For a long time, he just stared at her photo. She looked startlingly like her biological mother, same lively green eyes, and smirking mouth. But instead of the fiery hair, hers was blonde and her face decorated by red Turian colony marks.

It hurt Garrus a little, he always thought about what Shepard would look like wearing his blue ones. But these ones suited Kenna. As far as her skills went, Garrus was happy to find she was quite like himself. She was a crack shot with a sniper rifle, and a good engineer even before joining. She already had some accommodations for her work on the port and her designs that improved current systems. Not to mention her accomplishments while in Special ops group and later Blackwatch.

Garrus, we’ve arrived at Palaven and will be docking in the Cipritine port soon.” Joker’s voice came over the comm.

“Good, contact Vizrak. We need to speak to speak to her ASAP.” Garrus closed her file.

Spectre, I have sent a message already. They are refusing to put us through, saying there is some sort of investigation going on.

“Put me on,” Garrus hated having to pull the Spectre card, it sometimes changed people's stories too much for his liking.

A turian appeared on his screen, “I am sorry, I cannot put you through as of now. Please leave a message, we will pass it along to her CO.”

“I’m Spectre Vakarian, I need to speak to Vizrak as part of my investigation.” On the other hand, it also got results.

“Oh… sorry Spectre, we did not know it was you. I apologize but I still can’t put you through, all I know is that the Major Vizrak is at the Memorial Hospital. Kenna Vizrak’s CO is there too.”

“Thank you.” Garrus cut the connection, “Joker we need a shuttle to the hospital in the Capital.”

-

Within an hour Garrus, Liara, EDI, and Vega were walking into the hospital. Walking up the desk, the group caught the attention of the male turian behind it. “I’m Spectre Vakarian, I was told I could find Major Vizrak and Commander Povnis.”

The turian leaned back in surprise, “Let me go get my supervisor, sir.”

He came back with an asari and dark barefaced turian. The turian started to speak in a harsh quiet tone. “What do you think you are doing? This witness is under protection, why are you waving his name everywhere?”

Garrus cocked his hip with his pistol out, knowing it would draw everyone's eye to the fact he was armed, “You don’t understand, I am a Spectre in the middle of my own investigation and I need to speak to the Major and his daughter. Now I have been shuffled around a lot and I am starting to lose my patience. Obviously, something happened, now will you fill me in?”

The other male’s mandibles fluttered and for the first time, a tiny subharmonic of worry leaked out. This was a man normally in control of everything, and that reaction did not bode well.

“Ah, well… Last night the Major and his daughter were attacked. He just got out of a 12 hour surgery.”

Garrus froze, “You need to explain carefully what happened, and do not leave out anything.”

He shifted on his feet, “Kenna was given medical leave after receiving her medallion of service, it looks like the two of them had gone out to celebrate. The major was found in an alley, with multiple gunshot wounds, he is currently stable but in a drug-induced coma. Kenna’s blood was found, but not enough to suggest she is dead. There was no other sign of her.”

Chapter Text

Garrus saw blue, they were too late. Kenna had already been snatched and she was their only way to get to those responsible. And she was gone, maybe even dead. He started to focus on his old C-Sec training. “Do you have witnesses or vid feeds.”

The Commander Povnis shook head negatively, “All the camera feeds were down in the area that night and no witnesses have been found.”

Garrus stopped himself from cursing. “If I were you, I would lock down all ships coming and leaving, and get a list of ships that have left since the attack. I would appreciate it if you forwarded anything you find. Now, I need to speak with Vizrak.”

The asari doctor now stepped forward, “That won’t be possible, even if he were to wake, he is so drugged up he wouldn’t be of much use.”

“Doctor, I need to get whatever I can from him. He is the only witness and it sounds like they wanted him dead. There must be a reason.”

The doctor thought it over then nodded, Garrus was happy to not have to pull rank here. “Fine, follow me, just you though, less excitement the better.”

Garrus followed, in the room the major’s sandy-colored hide was pale and it looked he had taken a shotgun shot to the face, one side was heavily bandaged. He would probably lose that eye. More of him was bandaged, and pieces of his fringe had been broken off. It was truly amazing he was still alive. The asari stepped up and injected the comatose patient with something. “He’ll be awake for a little bit, but don’t expect much of it to make sense.”

“Fine, please step outside. I need him alone.” Garrus watched, waiting for him to wake. The asari shot him an angry look but left.

Slowly one yellow eye blinked open, and it lulled around the room not focusing on anything. He coughed and Garrus leaned over. “Aeneas Vizrak, I’m Spectre Vakarian. What happened to you, to Kenna? What’s the last thing you remember?”

Vizrak opened and shut his mouth a couple times. “Dinner, went out to dinner. Celebrating.”

Garrus knew he wouldn’t have long before Vizrak passed out again and tried to make it quick. “What about after? You were attacked.”

“Walking. Heard a cry, went to investigate. Kenna was grabbed.” He started coughing weakly.

“Who did you see, could you describe them.”

“Tried to stop them. But too many, and her shoulder was useless. Not turian, no uniform.”

Spirits, this was going to be difficult. “Thank you Vizrak.”

Garrus was about to turn to go when he felt a hand on his arm. “Find her, please?”

“I will do everything I can.” Garrus stared at the major hard, what was it about Shepard women that got this kind of loyalty?

The major nodded and passed out again.

Garrus stepped out and motioned for the doctor to check on him. He turned as he heard a commotion from where he left his team. Striding back quickly in he saw a tall dark red turian with white colony markings of someone from a mercenary colony. He was demanding admittance and trying to shove past his team and the local guards. Picking up the pace to a run, Garrus dove into the struggling mass, latching onto the young male and kept going until he slammed into the wall. The younger turian was taller than Garrus, but didn’t weigh much and wasn't wearing armor so the breath was knocked out of him and stunned him long enough for Garrus to speak.

“Today isn’t a good day to be messing with me. Now who are you and why are you here?” Garrus growled, his day was shit and he wanted to take it out on someone.

Trying to get Garrus’ grip off his cowl he ground out, “Flight lieutenant Caelus Kyrik. I’m trying to find the major and Kenna, I know they are here but no one will tell me what happened.”

“Why are you looking for them?”

The young pilot started hissing, “We were supposed to meet, I just got back from duty.”

“Who are they to you?” Garrus hadn’t read anything about this male in Kenna’s files.

“Friends for years and I’m seeing Kenna.” He gave Garrus a warning look and rumble of a courting male.

Garrus lowered him down, he could be of use. Looking to the team he barked out orders, “Liara and Vega go collect Kenna’s belongings. I will be interviewing the Lieutenant on the Normandy. You can reach me there, EDI you’re with us.”

The Kyrik looked at him sharply. “The Normandy… Who are you?”

“Spectre Vakarian, now you’re coming with me.”

-

Kyrik was pacing the meeting room while Garrus watched from his favored leaning spot across from the door. “So, are you going to fill me into what happened or what?”

“Depends. Will you answer my questions?” Garrus tried to be reasonable.

Kyrik thought for a moment, “Sure, why the hell not.”

“Last night Kenna and the Vizack were attacked. He barely made it and Kenna is missing.” There was no point in going to into why he was looking for her, to begin with.

“What? Was it the Blue Sun’s? Are you after them?”

“I think I know who took her but not why or where. I will help her, I owe her mother a few favors.” Garrus didn’t know if he could trust him so kept the mother's name to himself. “Why would the Blue Sun’s be after her?”

“She took out a warehouse where they were holding stolen goods from the base when she was a cadet. Stopped a major assignation of a political figure a couple of years ago. And this week she saved the Urdnot clan leader from a group we haven’t identified. Not to mention the ships and bases she’s cleared out over the years.” Garrus saw Kyrik stand a little straighter, he was proud of the girl. “That’s why they were celebrating; she had just gotten the medal of service from the Hierarchy and a Tuchankun Blood Stone.” He stopped and leaned on the rail, gripping it hard. “And now she’s been taken.”

Garrus had to admit, the Blue Sun’s might be an option, but he was pretty sure Brooks would be working with her own people. She had bad experiences with mercenaries last time around and it had not turned out well. The merc group was not known for being so thorough in their escapes. “I’m planning on getting her back, but I am not sure if it was simple payback. I need you to think carefully, was there anything odd that she told you about over the last couple of weeks.”

He shook his head, “No, she has always been focused on her training and duty” Growling he added, “There was an information broker, a drell who showed a little too much interest in her. A couple of human reporters looking for a new story. That’s about it.”

“We’ll need their names.”

EDI’s voice came over the comm, “Dr. T’Soni and Commander Vega have returned.

“Send them to me,” Looking at Kyrik, “Thank you for the information; I’ll have my people escort you out.”

He turned to lead him out when Kyrik grabbed his shoulder. “Please, let me come. I can’t just wait here. I need to go after her.”

Garrus glared at the hand before shrugging it off and studied the male’s face and body language, he knew they hadn’t bonded but he had a feeling it was a matter of time. He also knew what happened to himself after he lost Shepard to the Alliance penal system. Not as bad as Omega but at least he had meaningful work to throw himself into. Kyrik seemed hot-headed and angry right now, left alone he’d do something stupid. At least on the Normandy Garrus could keep him out of the way and potentially find a use for him. “Fine but you take orders from me. This is not a pleasure cruise.”

Out of habit, Kyrik saluted him, “Yes, sir.”

Then Liara and Vega walked in. “We collected her things but I couldn’t find anything that hinted at what happened” Liara sounded stressed. If even the Shadow Broker came up empty handed they were screwed.

“We may have a lead with some reporter names. And we need to find a fellow Information broker.”

Liara cocked an eyebrow, “Really, that will be interesting.”

“And the rest of us, Scars?” Vega asked from the back.

“Keep monitoring ship movement coming from planetside. Vega you can show Kyrik around, he’ll be working on the shuttles.”

-

Liara agreed about the Blue Suns theory, the merc group wasn’t good enough to pull off this kind of kid knapping. But if the ports monitoring system was not able to pick up a suspicious ship leaving they would be left with little clue of where to go next. Which meant hunting down Maya Brooks and her newest group, hopefully, Liara could find more information.

After reading more of the details Kenna’s dossier, Garrus was impressed by the girl’s skills, she did a remarkable job throughout her career, even if she made the mistake of falling off things. What he wouldn’t give to have seen Wrex go flying out a window. The girl had a flare and creativity that her mother had, but applied in a different strategic sense, distance work instead of a charging biotic. He got up and decided to stretch his legs and check with EDI and Joker if there had been any word about outgoing ships.

“Joker, EDI, any word from the Povnis?”

“Looks like they are following your orders but nothing has come up.” Joker sighed, he hated the waiting as much as anyone else.

EDI turned to the Spectre, “I have been monitoring transmissions and nothing unusual seems to be happening.”

“Damn, probably means they were gone before we got here.” Garrus got quiet as he saw the newest crew member walk up with Vega and Hilary trailing behind.

Vega had spread his arms out, “And here is our very own Joker, the best damn pilot I’ve ever met. Joker, say hello to the new guest.”

Joker turned his chair, “What did I say about swearing in front of…” His eyes grew large. “This has got to be my worst nightmare.” Looking at the others, “I thought Nihlus was dead?”

Kyrik paused and tilted his head at Joker, “Nihlus? You knew my father?”

“He had a kid? Jesus, you look just like him.” Joker glared at Garrus, “A little warning next time would be greatly appreciated. You know, to avoid any possible heart attacks.”

Garrus looked at the turian, again this young male had surprised him. “You’re Spectre Nihlus Kyrik’s son?” It wasn’t that uncommon of a name, it never occurred to him to ask before.

“Yes, and I’ve heard about you Joker,” Kyrik said giving the human a look of wonder. “In one of my father’s last letters he mentioned he’d met a good human pilot with an odd name, said I could be as good as you with a little practice.”

Joker’s mouth dropped open in shock, “Darn it, now I feel bad for hating the guy. He never gave me that kind of praise. Well good to meet you.”

Kyrik looked around the consoles, “Good to finally meet you too. So, any chance I can fly this?”

“Ah, he--.” Joker glanced at Hilary who only watched with a raised eyebrow, “-heck no. The Normandy is my baby, only me or EDI can fly her.”

Garrus chuckled, Joker saw the Normandy as being part of EDI. He put up with jokes of how many had been inside of her technically, but no one else was allowed to fly her. Much too personal.

Kyrik’s shoulders drooped, “Back to shuttle piloting then.” And the group all laughed at sullen turian.

“Right, Joker, be ready to leave when we hear from the port or if Liara finds something.” Garrus turned and went to his cabin.

Chapter Text

She slowly blinked her eyes, everything was dry and gummy. Her mouth was dry and ashy. The room itself was bright and an irritating the headache pounding at the base of her skull. Eventually, her eyes focused on the room, it looked like some medical room. She was on a bed in the center, and couldn’t see anything that gave a hint of where she was. Hell, she couldn’t remember anything before here. Fuck, not even her name came to mind, where she lived… Anything. Her headache just got worse.

The door opened and a balding man in a lab coat was followed by a dark-haired woman in a tight light armor. Seeing her awake the man rushed to her and started shining lights in her eyes and checking her vitals, and not doing anything that helped with the pain. The woman gave her a reassuring smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.

“Good afternoon Anna. How are you feeling?” The woman asked and watched carefully.

“Like shit. Is Anna my name?” She asked, before growling a little at the man, she was tired of being poked and prodded. He backed up for a minute, eyes wide in surprise at the sound.

“Ah, we were afraid you’d lost some of your memory. Do not worry, I am Agent Lilium and I am here to make sure you get a full recovery.” She waved the scientist out of the room. “Let’s start with what you do remember.”

“Nothing, everything is just light and sounds. Nothing definite.” Anna rubbed her aching head.

“Well, maybe I can fill in some gaps. You are Anna Shepard, a soldier who we just rescued from the Turian Hierarchy.”

“Turian,” Anna said, the word felt familiar.

“Yes, an alien race who claims peace with humanity. They have kept you as a prisoner, they were hoping to use you against your mother. She was a Spectre agent for the Council.” Lilium sat down on the bed beside her.“We only just got you, had to infiltrate the facility to get you out, but now you’re safe.”

“And who is we? The human government?”

“No, they were the ones who handed you over. They are all in the turian’s pockets. We are an independent group looking out for the safety of humanity. Stopping human slavery, searching for potential technology to improve the race.” A dark look entered her eyes. “Your mother was one of our best, saved the galaxy. The turians were going to use her as a puppet to take control of the Council and undermine humans, expand their Hierarchy’s control, but she died. They were most likely keeping you in hopes of using you in some other power play.”

Hardly any of this made sense to Anna, she knew the words and their general meaning, but they didn’t match what Lilium said. Turian felt like something that was home, not her jailers. But it seemed as though they were a danger to her. “So what now?”

Lilium smiled again, “Well, for now, you get better. Then your training starts.”

“Training? For what?” She tilted her head in a familiar questioning motion and got an odd look from Lilium.

“For fighting of course. The Galaxy may be safe from the Reapers thanks to your mother, but now many have the eyes set on destroying humans and earth. Many blame us for the Reaper War. We have to make them think twice before coming after us.” There was a harshness to her voice, “You are so like your mother, you could lead us all to the top.”

“And if I don’t want to? What if I just want to disappear?” Anna had just found out her name, she wasn’t ready for someone else's war.

Lilium face went dead, “Then we hide you, although with the Shadow Broker looking for you that’s hard. You’d probably have to stay in a room like this until we succeed or are destroyed. Needless to say, it would take years if not decades.”

Anna scowled, so the choice was to join up for the cause or be a prisoner … Again, apparently! “Fine, you’ll have your soldier. Can you at least get me something to drink?”

-

Recovery wasn’t too bad; Anna was in great shape it seemed. More physically fit than those around her. She figured being a prisoner would have meant poor treatment, but obviously the turians wanted her healthy. She was tested on several subjects and had uncanny skills with pistols, sniper, and tech. Although Anna felt like the weapons seemed to be weak and subpar, but they would work. She didn’t know how she knew, she just did everything on impulse. In fact, if she tried to remember where she learned it, or who had taught her, she would get a debilitating headache.

Lilium oversaw everything with her fake cheer. Anna knew she was fake; everything she did was too perfect to be real, she was always too cheery and smug for her to be totally telling the truth. Lilium did fight with her about her potential Biotic ability. Anna didn’t see the point, sure she had a port for an amp but none of her previous instincts had any idea what to do with it. But Lilium kept pushing to develop the skill. They exposed her to some eezo and installed an L-5 Amp, but she could barely form a Warp and could only miserable version of a Throw when she was talked up into a rage.

After those tests, Lilium would lose her pristine niceness, at least until Anna walked in the room. One particularly bad day Anna had collapsed and decided to stay on the nice cool floor and let them figure out she was not dead while she let the coolness relax her hot trembling muscles. Lilium stormed in, yelling at the doctor, “Why is this so difficult? Her mother was a very powerful biotic, even as a child. How could this girl do so badly, she’s even been exposed to Eezo.”

The scientist sounded scared, “I’ve tried to tell you, the exposure method works best on unborn children or babies, not full grown adults. And there is still much we don’t know about it, genetics may not factor in.”

“Well, I need her as powerful as possible, that includes biotics. We talked about Red Sand earlier.”

“Yes, but it is dangerous. It may give her the bump in power, but there will be side effects.” He sounded worried.

Lilium voice was drifting out the door, she must have been leaving the room. “As you’ve explained, it’s a last resort but it looks like we need it.”

-

Anna sat on the bed frowning at Lilium and the doctor. “Why won’t you tell me the side effects?”

“Because they are so small they won’t matter. Trust me, just the occasional headache.” Lilium was starting to show the strain of always being questioned.

Anna growled in frustration, in highly emotional times she often found these almost animal sounds best expressed herself, and they annoyed Lilium which she counted as a plus. She knew Lilliam was downplaying the side effects, but she couldn't bring herself to call her out on it. “I already have terrible headaches, why should I even do this? It’s obvious I suck as a biotic. Just let me focus on combat and tech. Why do I need it all?”

The dark woman spoke through tight lips. “Don’t you want to be the best? Do you wish to allow someone to have the upper hand against you? Just let us put this device in and it will give that little push you need.”

Anna stared out the window at the jungle beyond, she had yet to be outside this lab and medical rooms. There were always windows taunting her captivity. Lilium’s sing-song voice came out again, “If you can’t look after yourself, then we’ll have to put you somewhere safe.” Anna turned fast and stared at Lilium with murder. Again imprisonment as a form of protecting you threat. How could they be bad guys? Wasn’t it for her own good?

“Fine. Do it.”

Chapter Text

After the implant was put in Anna felt sick. One moment she’d be on top of the world with her biotics actually responding, still nothing major but at least she could Throw and Warp easily. Then she would get headaches and became nauseous and people were lucky not to be attacked. But Lillium was happy, it was progressing and finally, she gave permission for Anna to be released from the medical center and go to active duty.

First few days, Anna stayed in her new room on the terminal. For once she wasn’t being monitored, and she needed answers. After removing the bugs from the room and disabling the monitoring software from the terminal so she could access the extranet. Unfortunately, most of Jane Shepard’s files were confidential. She was an N7 Commander in the Alliance, became a Spectre, saved the Citadel from a rogue Spectre, was thought dead, somehow stopped the abduction of human colonies, arrested for destroying a Mass Relay, and then with her team got the Galaxy to unite against the Reapers. No one knew quite how Shepard got the final weapon to work but she did and presumed dead after all these years. Like Lillium pointed out she was a power biotic, on level with asari and way above Anna’s skills.

One thing Anna had a hard time wrapping her head around was how many aliens Shepard kept on her teams. For someone who was pro-human, she had very few on her ground teams. Any interview vids since her initiation as Spectre showed humans, turians, Krogan, asari, quarrian… Even a drell in one security clip she found.

In every vid after becoming a Spectre there was always a large pale Turian with blue colony marks. Why would she always have him with if they were forcing her with her child’s safety to work for them? Was he a keeper or spy? Then why would they allow so many humans and other non-turians, why would they only have one? His record showed him as Garrus Vakarian, ex-cop, Reaper advisor, and now Spectre himself. Maybe one day Anna would figure it out or maybe get a chance to kill the bastard.

For the most part, Anna was expected to keep up with her exercises. The biotics was her least favorite, a big part of it being the new ups and downs she got in her moods since getting the implant. She looked forward to sparring but was always disappointed with the choice of competition. No one was challenging and even though she was one of the smaller opponents, she was too fast and somehow knew just how to keep them off balance. She easily rose in the ranks and remained undefeated, not that many matches were challenging. Then there was the shooting range, where she could focus on the target and clear her mind. It was the only place she wouldn’t get headaches and didn’t have to speak with anyone.

Anna was also forced to speak with a shrink, to help her get past the lost memories and reintegrated into normal society since being a captive. Chambers was sickly sweet, but at least she seemed more honest than most of the others around here. She also didn’t try painting every non-human as an enemy, that got old after a while. She also had some good suggestions, like finding a happy place as counselor put it.

It didn’t take Anna long to figure out how to bypass the security systems and get outside the base. She took to exploring the planet outside the compound; it was a dense jungle with plenty of mountains and ravines to explore. Not that Lillium liked her going out alone, but she hadn’t found a way to prevent it yet. But the jungle was the only place she could breathe and let go, her hearing seemed more sensitive than those around her and out here there was no whirling machines and buzzing electronics. Just birds, bugs, and running water.

Anna often caught herself going out at night, star gazing. Making patterns and stories about them. She caught herself speaking out loud like someone should have been there listening. It was lonely, but better company than what she had at the facility.

One evening Anna was approached by one of the men she had wiped the floor with earlier in the week. Anna was used to being left alone and preferred it that way. Everyone here seemed to want something, even Chambers wanted to comfort her. This man had done horribly in the ring, hadn’t even lasted five minutes. He was too cocky in fighting and in personal interactions as well it seemed. “So, Anna, since I took it easy on you the other day, how about coming with me for a drink?”

Anna rolled her eyes and continued picking at her food, nothing here tasted right. “Fuck off Smith, it's your own fault you passed out from a simple choke hold.”

He reached over grabbing her wrist. “Now there, missy. You really should be a little nicer to those around you. We could have some fun, you know.” He was leering at her now.

Jerking her wrist away, Anna quickly turned and left the room heading for the showers. She had to get the stink of him off her now. He wasn’t worthy to even look at her, he didn’t make her burn like the man in her dreams. The one who filled her with desire every night. The memory of glowing green eyes and deep voice were all that remained in the morning. Smith’s were dull brown, nothing lively in them.

The showers were empty and she quickly stripped out of uniform and turned on the shower to its hottest setting. Another thing everywhere here was too cold, she could never get warmed up outside the ring. Even with the running water, she could hear the door open and someone stepped in. She froze waiting for them to pass and start their own shower, but they slowed to stop behind her stall before opening the door. She almost growled when she heard Smith’s voice.

“Now then, let’s start this again. Don’t think I didn’t notice you grab a feel on the mats. It's time I returned the favor.”

She waited, hearing his boot hit the water she turned and closed lined him. His arms pinwheeled around as he slipped on the slick tile. Her fist followed him down and hit him square in the nose. He cried out in pain, eyes filling with tears as blood came gushing out.

Anna got in his face and hissed, “You fucking pijak… I am not interested and will never be. You are not enough.”

She stood up, turned off the water and calmly walked around the growing pool of blood while wrapping herself in a towel. She heard him shuffle to his feet, sniffling through a broken nose, and again he charged toward her roaring. Sighing, Anna turned last minute bringing up her hand for a chopping motion and instinctively brought it down on the back of his neck. She heard a crack and he fell to the floor, not moving. Deciding to not check for breathing she continued to her room and sent Lillium a message to check the showers.

-

Anna stood stiffly with her hands behind her back and concentrated on the foliage outside while Lillium and Chambers talked.

Lillium was complaining to Chambers, “How can I assign her a team if she is disrespectful, angry, and now a risk to their very lives!”

“Ma’am, you cannot blame Anna for protecting herself. She gave him plenty of warning, he attacked her.” It was the only time Anna every heard the sweet woman angry.

“Yes, and I understand that. But some of her warnings included a bruises, broken bones, even a death.” Turning to the silent Anna, she asked, “Well, Anna, what would you do if someone under you disagreed with an order?”

Anna kept her voice flat, “Listen to them, if they have no new information to change the situation then say fuck off.”

Lillium threw up her hands in frustration, “See, she can’t really work with a team. And she is always angry, everyone is scared of her.”

“Listening is more than most would do,” Chambers pointed out. “Anna, have you considered trying to spend time with others, outside of work? It may help them to see you loosen up.” She gave a small smile.

Gods, Anna thought, she is really too cute and innocent to have lasted this long with this group of xenophobic humans. “I’m sorry but I don’t feel very sociable, miss.”

Lillium was about to say something when Kelly raised a hand, “Anna after I was abducted by the Collectors and Commander Shepard was able to save me, I didn’t want to be around others. I was confused, felt alone. Wondering how I could help others if I couldn’t help myself. But soon I learned that helping them would help me.” Touching Anna’s shoulder, “I can’t imagine not having any memory of my past, but maybe it’s time to focus on memories of now, and they’ll be better if you let some people in, to share them with.”

Anna looked into her eyes, how could she say no to her? It would be like kicking a puppy. “Alright, what do you suggest?”

Chambers smiled, “Try different things until you find something you like. There are recreational places for sports, even a lounge with dancing. Just go somewhere not work-related and have a good time.”

Lillium leaned on her desk, watching the interaction, “And, Anna, if you can’t work on a team we cannot let you work solo.” The threat of protective confinement loomed heavy in the air.

“Yes, ma’am.” Turning on her heel she left without waiting for a dismissal.

Chapter Text

The Lounge and dance floor was packed. Bailey looked around at the crowd, a few new faces since he was last there. Hunting down the salarian scientists' research had taken a long time but it was good to get out after being cooped up when healing his wounded leg. He was still livid the stupid krogan and woman managed to hurt him so badly and still escaped. At least he got a show of it, with her in just her underwear. But being back here did mean he could have fun of a different variety, he was excited to learn what new women were available on the base. Not many could hold his interest for long. Grabbing a beer he heading up to a booth on a riser that looked over the dance floor. Martinez came over to shake his hand and joined him in a booth.

“So what have I missed?” He took a swig enjoying the beer.

“A bit, we have a new recruit, some personal project of Lilium’s. Man, she is a piece of work. A wicked shot and best hand to hand I’ve ever seen. Maybe better than you.”

Bailey glared and asked, “And what makes you say that?”

“Well, a week ago she killed Smith with her bare hands when he attacked her in the shower. Seems he couldn’t believe there was one person not interested in him.” Martinez smirked, no one liked Smith that much, few would be torn up over his loss.

“What a shame, I liked giving him bruises, but again doesn’t prove your claim that she could beat me.”

Not meeting his gaze, Martinez became nervous, “She has gone up against everyone here and is undefeated.”

Martinez knew that would drive Bailey nuts, only he was undefeated on the station and proud of that fact. “Hmph, so who is she?”

“She’s the blonde dancing on her own,” Bailey looked, damn, she was good looking. Blonde, small and all hips. “Her name is Anna Shepard…” He gave his friend a questioning look, “Yes that Shepard, but man this woman is a mental case. She is pissed all the time and will do anything to get people to leave her alone.”

“Well, she’s here. Maybe she is tired of pushing people away.” Finishing his beer Bailey made his way down to the dance floor.

-

Anna found she did like to dance, it was lonely since most tended to avoid her, but she could normally lose herself in the music and not care. She was following Chambers advice and Lillium’s order, but she was no closer to any of the others in the facility, scientist or combat specialist of the organization. The group didn’t even have a name or acronym, Anna couldn’t help but feel it showed a lack of team unity. But they had given her some sort of freedom.

Anna was pulled from her thoughts when someone was suddenly behind her, too close and following her movements. Turning quickly she brought up a fist to punch them only to have it caught by another’s hand. The man gripped her hip, pulling her closer and made it harder for her to get in another hit.

He was tall, even if Anna wasn’t short, blonde close cut hair, and green eyes. She did not remember meeting anyone with eyes like her and her mother's, except for her dream man. Anna just stared, trying to understand what was going on.

He gave her a smirk with his thin-lipped mouth, “Well, is that any way to greet a potential friend?”

Anna furrowed her brow, “Who says I am even looking for a friend?” She put as much venom in her tone as possible to help scare him off.

Sighing, he started moving them in a dance again, keeping her close. “A lovely woman is dancing by herself at the club. She must be looking for something. If not a friend, then maybe a good time?”

He whispered the last part to her, she could feel herself getting goosebumps. Something was familiar about this man. She didn’t like him, but apparently, her body did. Pushing that feeling away, she focused on discouraging him, “I’m only here of the music.”

Giving her another smirk, “Well, we can enjoy it together at least. I’m Bailey.”

“Shepard.”

With that he flipped her around, pull her back into his chest and they danced. At first, Anna wasn’t sure what to think. She was pretty sure Bailey was looking to get laid but he was going about it different from the others. Now, she just wanted to enjoy music and heat coming off of the tall man. This she could deal with, if he wanted more she could always deal with him like Smith, fuck whatever Lillium had to say about it. At least she was trying to be social.

Eventually, Anna pulled away and headed to the bar, he let go of her but followed closely behind. The section of the bar she came up to suddenly emptied, she didn’t give it a second thought, it meant getting service was easier. Before she could order, Bailey behind her spoke loudly over her head. “Two whiskeys, Jim”.

The bartender’s eyebrows shot up as he looked between the pair and Anna turned to glare at Bailey. “You understand that I don’t want whatever it is you’re after. And I killed the last guy who pressed the issue.”

He held up his hands in surrender, “Christ girl, I just got back from a mission. All I want is a drink and a chance to talk to a new face. Lighten up.”

The drinks were brought over. Anna did need to get Lillium off her back and this guy didn’t act like Smith, “Fine one drink.”

Bailey winked picking up both glasses, “That a girl.” And started walking to an empty booth.
Anna watched him, intrigued and annoyed. She followed and sat directly across from him, trying to keep distance between them. He pushed the glass toward her, “So little Shepard, how did you end up here?”

Anna took a large sip. “Don’t start slow do you? Well, apparently Lillium and this group broke me out of imprisonment and wants me to join the cause. Not sure what to believe. I don’t have any memories before waking up here. What about you?”

“Navy brat but father insisted on us living on Earth. He wasn’t around much, but when he got out of the service he decided he’d rather spend the majority of his time babysitting the aliens on the Citadel. He never let my mother and I move there. Probably had some asari whore on the side. When I was old enough I joined up but the Alliance was interested in trying to save the aliens, not their own people so I went AWOL and was approached by one of the operatives.” He knocked back the rest of his whiskey. “What do you do?”

“Training, learning to control my biotics. Not assigned to any team yet. Lillium and Chambers want me to work on social shit.” Anna grimaced, she wasn’t sure why she was telling him so much. His green eyes just watched and waited, looking familiar and wrong at the same time. She felt the need to fill the silence.

“Ah, so that’s why you’re talking to me.” There was his damn smirk again, “I’m homework. Well, haven’t had that excuse since high school but I could help tutor you.”

Anna tilted her head, “I’m not nice, and have already threatened to harm you and have already killed one person here. Why are you so happy about it? After Smith, no one’s tried to approach me.”

“I like blondes, what can I say.” Signalling for another drink he continued. “I also didn’t like Smith so I won’t hold that against you.”

Anna stared for a bit, this man was different than the others here. However, under it all there was something dangerous, and she wasn’t sure if she wanted any part of it. “Right. Well thanks for the drink.” She got up to leave and Bailey snagged her wrist. It wasn’t a hard grip and she didn’t immediately feel the need to break it.

“What are you doing tomorrow? Figured you’ll need more social tutoring than this.”

Anna shrugged, it wasn’t that big of a facility, he’d find her eventually, “Sparring in the morning.” She didn’t want to mention her possible hike later, she needed that alone time.

His smile became like a predator and sent a shiver to her core, “Ah, then I’ll be seeing you later.”

Anna pulled her wrist away and booked it out of there. Turning she saw a smaller man approach Bailey, speaking excitedly but Bailey’s eyes remained on her. She would have to be careful of him, he was determined to get close to her.

-

The next morning Anna limbered up, preparing to hunt down any challenging matches. There was one girl who gave Anna a run for her money, and she did like the opponent’s dry sense of humor. While not friends, they did respect each other.

Touching her toes Anna spotted Bailey watching her. He too, was in sparring gear and he was talking to a few others, but his eyes never left her. Standing up, she suddenly self-conscious of the weight of his gaze. He waved the others aside and approached her, stopping within arm’s reach and crossing his against his chest, that damned smug look on his face.

“Morning. I hear you’re going after my record of undefeated?”

Anna scowled at him, “I don’t know anything about a record, but I am only trying to find a worthwhile opponent. Everyone here is too slow and weak.”

An eyebrow rose, “Well then, how about trying me? Only rules are no permanent damage, go until one of us calls mercy? And no biotics, need to keep it far.”

A fire shown in her eyes, and she for once smiled, “Sounds perfect, I hate using biotics anyway.”

The two made their way to the ring, and everyone stopped their own tasks to watch. They had all seen both in action, but never against each other. As soon as the signal was given they ran at each other. Fists and kicks were thrown too fast for anyone to keep track of. There was an audible gasp as one of Anna’s kicks landed and Bailey wasn’t prepared for it. Bailey grunted and smiled as he trapped her leg to his waist and dove back it, trying to use his height to his advantage.

Anna was not surprised; it was the go-to option for most. She managed to unbalance him sending him flying to the floor. However, he managed to grab her shirt and bring her with him. They hit the floor hard, and while still trying to figure out where she was, he was on top of her pinning her down. Staring with those green eyes burning with need, a need to conquer her. It was all too familiar but she whimpered as her head exploded in pain and then was surrounded by darkness.

-

Slowly she started to hear people rush around, and vaguely hear someone calling Anna. It sounded familiar but seemed to be wrong. Why she didn’t know. She was able to open her eyes and saw a flash of green that filled her with happiness but stopped when she recognized the eyes belonging to Bailey.

He mistook her smile and returned it with his own white one, “I thought we agreed until someone gave in, not passed out.” Anna groaned and tried to pick herself up, “Hold on, wait until the medic gets here.”

Lillium and her doctor came running in, “What happened?”

Bailey fell into attention while the doctor started looking at Anna and reported the situation. “We were sparring after Shepard fell I managed to get a hold on her. She cried out and then passed out. She just woke up.”

“Doctor?” Lilliam shot the man in the medical coat a sharp look.

Looking up at the patient he replied, “I’ll need to take in for some scans, perhaps an implant flared up. But she looks fine.”

“Good, come on Anna. You’ll be in the med bay for the rest of the day.”

Anna groaned. She hated the med bay, every time she came away feeling worse.

-

Bailey stood in Agent Lillium’s office. He never had to work with her before, only knew that she was working with Shepard, anything else was above his pay grade.

She watched him for a moment, “Bailey, you seem to like Anna. You’re the only one who has been able to approach her without it resulting in a fight.”

“She seems different, but if you go about it the right way she doesn’t seem that bad. She is also one of the better hand to hand fighters I’ve gone up against. I suspect she has had some non-human training.” He recognized some very turian attacks during their match, it wasn’t often that type of knowledge was found in their human-centric group.

Lillium looked up at his last statement, “No matter her training, you seem to be able to handle her. What would you say to take her out with your team? A live field test?”

Bailey stiffened. “I may like her, but if Anna can’ t follow an order I have no use for her out there.”

“Just one test, see how it goes. Besides sparing she is an excellent marksman and tech person. Something your team is lacking.”

Bailey grimaced; his last mission had not been a full success. They got the target but all the information was fried before they could grab it. If they had a sniper they could have remained undiscovered and would have gotten the data. “Alright, I’ll give her a try but I have the final say if she stays.”

Lillium smiled, “Deal.”

Chapter Text

“This should be a simple grab mission, but there appears to be turian activity down there. We need to assess the situation, get any tech we can, and blow the place. We all get an A+ if we can take the skull faces with it. O'Neil, Cavallo, and Rooney, standard sweep and clean. If we can let's sneak in and let the bombs do the work.” The team nodded to Bailey and he turned to Anna, “Shepard, you’ll be the eyes in the sky, take out anyone you see in windows or guarding outside as quietly as possible until hell breaks loose. And please try not to hit one of us.” He added with a smirk.

Anna was focused on her rifle and in a serious tone, “No promises.” The others started shifting uncomfortably, “But you do have a bit of a fat head Bailey.” She added with a small smile. She needed this mission to go well if she was to have any chance of getting out of the damn facility.

The joke seemed to work, and it broke the tension, getting everyone laughed. Anna continued smiling but didn’t add anything to the following conversation. It was good to be leaving the facility, with a commander who only expected her to be a good soldier and not micromanage her like Lillium. Hell, maybe she’d enjoy a little music while looking through her scope and relax.

When they were dropped Bailey lead the others into the undergrowth and Anna belly crawled onto the edge of a cliff. Going toward the edge she felt a flutter in her stomach, like fear or apprehension. Odd, while climbing trees she never felt this. She soon forgot as her head started to pound and she decided it wasn’t worth thinking about. Instead, she focused on making a comfortable sport on the semi-frozen ground. So much for relaxing, she had a hard enough time the temperate climate of the facility, this would ensure she spent the next few hours in a hot shower.

Sighing she brought up her scope and listened to the others over the comm channel. They had spread out and started giving a head count of the turians they could see. Anna brought up a map on her omni tool and started to confirm the headcount. From what she could tell it was an old run down lab of shorts, and the turians had made a temporary base inside its parameter. There were a dozen guards roaming about in black armor that sent a thrill through her. They looked dangerous, heavily armed and all focused on the surroundings. Honestly, it was only because of their small number her team hadn’t been spotted.

The other turians seemed busy running from terminal to terminal, comparing notes, looking over worn equipment. And anytime someone went into the lab itself, a large countdown timer would read, and the turian would be back before it ran out.

“Bailey, what exactly are they studying down there?” Anna asked over the comm, speaking for the first time.

I believe this may have been a batarian site that was rumored to research something code-named Leviathan of Dis. Reaper-related.

Well, that explained the timer and strict protocols. “You need to stay out of the building as much as possible. If there is Reaper tech in there, we can’t risk long-term exposure.”

O’Neil’s slow drawl joined in, “The Reapers are gone right, why do we have to worry.

Anna rested her head on the ground for a moment. While she did not remember her past, she remembered the fear felt in the Reaper wars, and after one too many nights of waking from dreams filled with the dead, she researched as much on the subject as she could find. It also was to help understand her mother, but nothing seemed to help her issues much. “Because, meathead, no one knows for sure if it was all destroyed or only dormant. We can’t risk more indoctrinated.”

Oh, right then.

Anna lifted her scope again, mouthing the dumb reply. Bailey may be capable, but some of his team were idiots.

Noted, Shepard, keep an eye on the clock for us. Everyone else, scan and watch your corners. We can’t risk getting stuck in here because of a firefight.

Anna double checked the mission clock, they been inside for ten minutes already, and from turian displays, they were only letting their people in for twenty minutes at a time. On large black armored male turian approached a smaller female, one of the scientists. The female waved him over to a terminal and both removed the helmets and leaned over the screen.

Blinking a few times, Anna, refocused the lens on their faces. She didn’t know either of them by name but something was familiar. The male was huge, and a chocolate brown color, and from the insignia on his arm, the commander of the group. The female was a pale sandy color, and although not visible in this light, Anna was sure there would be white colony marks.

The comm chatter broker he concentration.

Sir, we’ve been able to grab a few things, but several more of the turians just entered. It’s getting harder to move around.

Before Bailey could give orders, O'Neil interrupted. “Sir, I just shot one that tried to sneak up on me. I think his friends might figure out sooner than we hoped.

God damn it, O'Neil,” Bailey muttered, and started to give instructions for arming the bombs.

The order made the bottom Anna’s stomach fall out. Looking at the pair of turians, again they seemed completely unaware of the danger. Clenching her teeth Anna saw the mission timer out of the corner of her eye. They would have time to finish arming anyways, but they couldn’t start a fight either. She would have to force Bailey’s hand. Taking aim, she fired between the two in her scope, hitting the mug of liquid behind them, shattering it with a sense of satisfaction.

Instinctively the big male, pulled the female down and out of sight. Soon the whole place was swarming like a kicked anthill.

“Bailey, get out now, they are preparing out here, I think they know you’re there.”

The team leader cursed and gave orders to retreat. Anna also moved, knowing that they would follow the path of her bullet before long. When they met at the shuttle, Anna did not step into the line of fire when Bailey went off on O'Neil. He wasn’t the one who had alerted the forces of their presence, but he did make a good scapegoat. She kept telling herself she had done it because she didn’t want to deal with an indoctrinated team and not because of the two turians who took their helmets off.

-

Garrus looked over the pop-up base carefully, for a place that was a prime target for Brooks and her people it was in good condition. This was one of the few times their forces had found an old facility of pre-Reaper war times that hadn’t been rated. The only clue they found of Brooks involvement was the trail of bodies, some even tortured. Here though, there was only one death, and a single sniper shot that gave the attack away. Odd to say the least, but Garrus needed any advantage to catch up to Kenna.

It didn’t take long before the commander in charge, a turian who was close to Wrex’s size came forward and saluted Garrus, “Spectre, I am Commander Starric, Blackwatch. Povnis filled me in on your interest here. We’ve been planning this trap for that raider group for weeks now, but it didn’t match their usual MO.”

Garrus nodded to the man, “Good, I am sorry to hear you lost someone. What can you tell me?”

Starric nodded his thanks, “We were lucky, only lost one person. One of the engineers, their team lead is taking it hard. Marren Errick, she heard us speaking of Vizrak. Turns out they were friends in basic.”

Looking around, he found Marren looking at the broken cup and pool of liquid with a confused expression. “But the one killed wasn’t by the sniper?”

Starris shook his head, “No, he was found inside, shot from close range. According to our sensors, the only shot fired by the sniper was the one that took out the cup. Went right in between Marren and me.”

Together they walked closer to the engineer. Garrus watched her carefully, “How are you holding up Marren?”

Quickly she looked up, eyes bright with intelligence, mandibles fluttering, “Alright I guess. It just…”

“Just what?” Garrus asked.

“Well, it brought on a feeling of… What’s that human saying, deja vu? I didn’t think about until Starric said Kenna’s name, but this seems a lot like one of the tests we did to test her programming.”

Garrus crossed his arms, “Explain.”

Marren scratched the top of her head, gathering her thoughts, “I’m sure you know how small Kenna is, well in basic the CO insisted she use all turian equipment. You can imagine she had trouble with the weapons.” Garrus had to stop a chuckle, he had to stop her own mother from using his rifle or else she might have broken her shoulder bones. “Well, she was determined to get a combat role, so we worked on some software that would make at least a sniper rifle more manageable. Once she started getting good with it, we set up trick shots. One was a glass of water between two targets. Sounds silly now, but I was only fifteen, and she was eighteen at the time.”

Garrus nodded, mind thinking. He hadn’t considered that Brooks had gotten the girl to join her madness. But if that was the case, this may not be the happy ending they hoped for. Why she wanted Kenna to join her team he wasn’t sure. It seemed a lot of trouble for an ace sniper. While not rare, they weren’t uncommon enough to resort to kidnapping. Maybe Liara would have an idea. “Thank you, Marren, if you or Starric remember anything else, please contact me.”

Turning he went back to the LZ.

-

The pilot focused on bringing them into the bay and the quiet conversation. There wasn’t a sure sighting of Kenna, but there was an odd sniper in the group that previous evidence showed was a new addition. He could only thank the Spirits that Marren was safe, this was the first group to survive the deadly strike team.

While everyone got off and stored their gear, Caelus ducked into the lift with Vakarian. “Sir, I have a request.”

The older Turian gave him a wary look, “Yes?”

“I might not be a Spectre or information expert but there has to be more I could do to help find Kenna.”

“You’re right, you’re not any of the things that would be helpful.” He stepped out and Caelus knew he would be heading to Liara’s quarters.

“No, but I know Kenna. I can give you more insight there than anyone else.” Caelus grabbed the older turian’s shoulder to stop him, “I know I was a suspect early on, but you’ve had time to see I am on your side. If I am to help I need to know what you are keeping to yourself.”

Vakarian glared at the hand a started to growl, turning slowly when Liara’s voice broke the tension, “Garrus, he’s right. And I could use his help narrowing down some of these leads.”

Vakarian shrugged the hand off, “Fine,” he walked into Liara’s quarters, turned back to Caelus who waited unsure outside the door, “Well, are you coming in or not?”

Caelus quickly stepped in, staring at all the screens and the floating VI. From his seat on Liara’s bed, Vakarian started to remove his gloves and upholstered his weapons. “Well, Liara, you’re the information specialist. You fill him in.”

Liara shook her head at her old friend as if she disapproved of his attitude. “Caelus, you remember that we said we had come as a favor to Kenna’s biological mother?” He nodded, he’d known Kenna never knew the woman’s identity, she was still upset she never knew why she had been given up. “Well her mother was Commander Jane Shepard, Kenna was born before she joined the Alliance. Shepard couldn’t take care of the baby and put her up for adoption.”

Caelus jaw and mandibles dropped in surprise, his Kenna, related to the savior of the galaxy? Liara continued as if this was an everyday discussion, but for her, he guessed it was. “Well, Shepard had many enemies and one such person discovered Kenna. This woman is one of the best at disappearing. From what we’ve been able to collect she is a higher up or even possibly in charge of Cerberus’ replacement. All we know is that they are collecting various genetic research, implant designs, and new weapon and armor schematics. We don’t know what she has planned, but for some reason, she wanted Shepard’s daughter too.”

“Kenna wouldn’t work for anything like Cerberus. She’s completely loyal to her family and the Hierarchy.” Caelus couldn’t have imagined this is what those on the Normandy were hiding.

Vakarian spoke up in an angry tone, “If they are anything like Cerberus they’d have ways to change her mind. Control chips, indoctrination, hell weave a good enough conspiracy story and she may see them as the good guys.” He looked at Liara, “There were a few odd things from this attack. The way I see it, the sniper gave away their position to get the Blackwatch to move before the attack or before the bombs had been armed. And one person down there knew Kenna, commented the shot the sniper took reminded her of Kenna in basic.”

Liara brought a hand over her mouth as she thought. “It's possible Brooks is planning to use Kenna. A lot of people would put Shepard’s reputation onto her daughter just because they are related.”

Garrus nodded, “That would explain why there hasn’t been any ransom.”

Caelus growled, he didn’t like the implication of it, “I’m sure that Kenna would never agree to something like that. How can I help prove that.”

Liara gave him a gentle look, “You know Kenna, no matter what they’ve done to her. It’s possible she is out in the field working for them. There will always be things she does, quirks that only she has. You may be able to recognize something, some inconsistency that she would do. Even if she is indoctrinated the same way as the Reapers did, it is early enough she will still have her subconscious free will. I’ll send you some reports, read through them and see if anything sticks out to you.”

Caelus nodded, “I can do that. And thanks, Liara, Vakarian.”

Liara smiled and nodded, but when Vakarian seemed to be more interested in his pistol she gave him a little shove. “Yes, well hopefully you find something. I’m getting tired of hunting mercs. And you can just call me Garrus, everyone else does.”

“Yes, sir,” Caelus saluted and left.

-

Liara glared at Garrus, “What is your problem with the boy?”

Garrus shrugged, “He reminds me of me when I was in the military. He is hot-headed optimist. It’s a dangerous combination that could get himself , us, or Kenna killed.”

Liara gave him a small sad smile. “Garrus, he needs guidance, not ignored and left out. He is more likely to do something stupid without all the facts. If he knows everything and trusts us, he will come to us before running off like a vigilante we all know.”

The Spectre chuckled and stood to grab his things to leave. “I suppose you’re right.”

He paused when Liara’s voice came out quiet. “Things might have turned out better if I had told you about Shepard’s body. Maybe Feron wouldn’t have been captured, you wouldn’t have wound up on Omega, wouldn’t have been hurt.”

Garrus turned back to her and age her a light hug around the shoulders, “Liara, you were following the Alliance officer's recommendation. They couldn’t have anyone find out they helped Cerberus get her body. Hell, if I had known I might not have let them take her for their experiments. You did right and Shepard got us all out in the end. A few more scars but still alive. If you hadn’t the cycle might have started all over again.”

Liara blinked back tears, “I miss her, I know I wasn’t as close to her as you were. And you were a better companion for her. But I wish I could have done more.”

Garrus moved to leave again. “I miss her too, but I have to make sure I have some stories for her before I meet her at that bar. You too I imagine.”

Chapter Text

“This should be a simple grab mission, but there appears to be turian activity down there. We need to assess the situation, get any tech we can, and blow the place. We all get an A+ if we can take the skull faces with it. O'Neil, Cavallo, and Rooney, standard sweep and clean. If we can let's sneak in and let the bombs do the work.” The team nodded to Bailey and he turned to Anna, “Shepard, you’ll be the eyes in the sky, take out anyone you see in windows or guarding outside as quietly as possible until hell breaks loose. And please try not to hit one of us.” He added with a smirk.

Anna was focused on her rifle and in a serious tone, “No promises.” The others started shifting uncomfortably, “But you do have a bit of a fat head Bailey.” She added with a small smile. She needed this mission to go well if she was to have any chance of getting out of the damn facility.

The joke seemed to work, and it broke the tension, getting everyone laughed. Anna continued smiling but didn’t add anything to the following conversation. It was good to be leaving the facility, with a commander who only expected her to be a good soldier and not micromanage her like Lillium. Hell, maybe she’d enjoy a little music while looking through her scope and relax.

When they were dropped Bailey lead the others into the undergrowth and Anna belly crawled onto the edge of a cliff. Going toward the edge she felt a flutter in her stomach, like fear or apprehension. Odd, while climbing trees she never felt this. She soon forgot as her head started to pound and she decided it wasn’t worth thinking about. Instead, she focused on making a comfortable sport on the semi-frozen ground. So much for relaxing, she had a hard enough time the temperate climate of the facility, this would ensure she spent the next few hours in a hot shower.

Sighing she brought up her scope and listened to the others over the comm channel. They had spread out and started giving a head count of the turians they could see. Anna brought up a map on her omni tool and started to confirm the headcount. From what she could tell it was an old run down lab of shorts, and the turians had made a temporary base inside its parameter. There were a dozen guards roaming about in black armor that sent a thrill through her. They looked dangerous, heavily armed and all focused on the surroundings. Honestly, it was only because of their small number her team hadn’t been spotted.

The other turians seemed busy running from terminal to terminal, comparing notes, looking over worn equipment. And anytime someone went into the lab itself, a large countdown timer would read, and the turian would be back before it ran out.

“Bailey, what exactly are they studying down there?” Anna asked over the comm, speaking for the first time.

I believe this may have been a batarian site that was rumored to research something code-named Leviathan of Dis. Reaper-related.”

Well, that explained the timer and strict protocols. “You need to stay out of the building as much as possible. If there is Reaper tech in there, we can’t risk long-term exposure.”

O’Neil’s slow drawl joined in, “The Reapers are gone right, why do we have to worry.

Anna rested her head on the ground for a moment. While she did not remember her past, she remembered the fear felt in the Reaper wars, and after one too many nights of waking from dreams filled with the dead, she researched as much on the subject as she could find. It also was to help understand her mother, but nothing seemed to help her issues much. “Because, meathead, no one knows for sure if it was all destroyed or only dormant. We can’t risk more indoctrinated.”

Oh, right then.

Anna lifted her scope again, mouthing the dumb reply. Bailey may be capable, but some of his team were idiots.

Noted, Shepard, keep an eye on the clock for us. Everyone else, scan and watch your corners. We can’t risk getting stuck in here because of a firefight.

Anna double checked the mission clock, they been inside for ten minutes already, and from turian displays, they were only letting their people in for twenty minutes at a time. On large black armored male turian approached a smaller female, one of the scientists. The female waved him over to a terminal and both removed the helmets and leaned over the screen.

Blinking a few times, Anna, refocused the lens on their faces. She didn’t know either of them by name but something was familiar. The male was huge, and a chocolate brown color, and from the insignia on his arm, the commander of the group. The female was a pale sandy color, and although not visible in this light, Anna was sure there would be white colony marks.

The comm chatter broker he concentration.

Sir, we’ve been able to grab a few things, but several more of the turians just entered. It’s getting harder to move around.

Before Bailey could give orders, O'Neil interrupted. “Sir, I just shot one that tried to sneak up on me. I think his friends might figure out sooner than we hoped.

God damn it, O'Neil,” Bailey muttered, and started to give instructions for arming the bombs.

The order made the bottom Anna’s stomach fall out. Looking at the pair of turians, again they seemed completely unaware of the danger. Clenching her teeth Anna saw the mission timer out of the corner of her eye. They would have time to finish arming anyways, but they couldn’t start a fight either. She would have to force Bailey’s hand. Taking aim, she fired between the two in her scope, hitting the mug of liquid behind them, shattering it with a sense of satisfaction.

Instinctively the big male, pulled the female down and out of sight. Soon the whole place was swarming like a kicked anthill.

“Bailey, get out now, they are preparing out here, I think they know you’re there.”

The team leader cursed and gave orders to retreat. Anna also moved, knowing that they would follow the path of her bullet before long. When they met at the shuttle, Anna did not step into the line of fire when Bailey went off on O'Neil. He wasn’t the one who had alerted the forces of their presence, but he did make a good scapegoat. She kept telling herself she had done it because she didn’t want to deal with an indoctrinated team and not because of the two turians who took their helmets off.

-

Garrus looked over the pop-up base carefully, for a place that was a prime target for Brooks and her people it was in good condition. This was one of the few times their forces had found an old facility of pre-Reaper war times that hadn’t been rated. The only clue they found of Brooks involvement was the trail of bodies, some even tortured. Here though, there was only one death, and a single sniper shot that gave the attack away. Odd to say the least, but Garrus needed any advantage to catch up to Kenna.

It didn’t take long before the commander in charge, a turian who was close to Wrex’s size came forward and saluted Garrus, “Spectre, I am Commander Starric, Blackwatch. Povnis filled me in on your interest here. We’ve been planning this trap for that raider group for weeks now, but it didn’t match their usual MO.”

Garrus nodded to the man, “Good, I am sorry to hear you lost someone. What can you tell me?”

Starric nodded his thanks, “We were lucky, only lost one person. One of the engineers, their team lead is taking it hard. Marren Errick, she heard us speaking of Vizrak. Turns out they were friends in basic.”

Looking around, he found Marren looking at the broken cup and pool of liquid with a confused expression. “But the one killed wasn’t by the sniper?”

Starris shook his head, “No, he was found inside, shot from close range. According to our sensors, the only shot fired by the sniper was the one that took out the cup. Went right in between Marren and me.”

Together they walked closer to the engineer. Garrus watched her carefully, “How are you holding up Marren?”

Quickly she looked up, eyes bright with intelligence, mandibles fluttering, “Alright I guess. It just…”

“Just what?” Garrus asked.

“Well, it brought on a feeling of… What’s that human saying, deja vu? I didn’t think about until Starric said Kenna’s name, but this seems a lot like one of the tests we did to test her programming.”

Garrus crossed his arms, “Explain.”

Marren scratched the top of her head, gathering her thoughts, “I’m sure you know how small Kenna is, well in basic the CO insisted she use all turian equipment. You can imagine she had trouble with the weapons.” Garrus had to stop a chuckle, he had to stop her own mother from using his rifle or else she might have broken her shoulder bones. “Well, she was determined to get a combat role, so we worked on some software that would make at least a sniper rifle more manageable. Once she started getting good with it, we set up trick shots. One was a glass of water between two targets. Sounds silly now, but I was only fifteen, and she was eighteen at the time.”

Garrus nodded, mind thinking. He hadn’t considered that Brooks had gotten the girl to join her madness. But if that was the case, this may not be the happy ending they hoped for. Why she wanted Kenna to join her team he wasn’t sure. It seemed a lot of trouble for an ace sniper. While not rare, they weren’t uncommon enough to resort to kidnapping. Maybe Liara would have an idea. “Thank you, Marren, if you or Starric remember anything else, please contact me.”

Turning he went back to the LZ.

-

The pilot focused on bringing them into the bay and the quiet conversation. There wasn’t a sure sighting of Kenna, but there was an odd sniper in the group that previous evidence showed was a new addition. He could only thank the Spirits that Marren was safe, this was the first group to survive the deadly strike team.

While everyone got off and stored their gear, Caelus ducked into the lift with Vakarian. “Sir, I have a request.”

The older Turian gave him a wary look, “Yes?”

“I might not be a Spectre or information expert but there has to be more I could do to help find Kenna.”

“You’re right, you’re not any of the things that would be helpful.” He stepped out and Caelus knew he would be heading to Liara’s quarters.

“No, but I know Kenna. I can give you more insight there than anyone else.” Caelus grabbed the older turian’s shoulder to stop him, “I know I was a suspect early on, but you’ve had time to see I am on your side. If I am to help I need to know what you are keeping to yourself.”

Vakarian glared at the hand a started to growl, turning slowly when Liara’s voice broke the tension, “Garrus, he’s right. And I could use his help narrowing down some of these leads.”

Vakarian shrugged the hand off, “Fine,” he walked into Liara’s quarters, turned back to Caelus who waited unsure outside the door, “Well, are you coming in or not?”

Caelus quickly stepped in, staring at all the screens and the floating VI. From his seat on Liara’s bed, Vakarian started to remove his gloves and upholstered his weapons. “Well, Liara, you’re the information specialist. You fill him in.”

Liara shook her head at her old friend as if she disapproved of his attitude. “Caelus, you remember that we said we had come as a favor to Kenna’s biological mother?” He nodded, he’d known Kenna never knew the woman’s identity, she was still upset she never knew why she had been given up. “Well her mother was Commander Jane Shepard, Kenna was born before she joined the Alliance. Shepard couldn’t take care of the baby and put her up for adoption.”

Caelus jaw and mandibles dropped in surprise, his Kenna, related to the savior of the galaxy? Liara continued as if this was an everyday discussion, but for her, he guessed it was. “Well, Shepard had many enemies and one such person discovered Kenna. This woman is one of the best at disappearing. From what we’ve been able to collect she is a higher up or even possibly in charge of Cerberus’ replacement. All we know is that they are collecting various genetic research, implant designs, and new weapon and armor schematics. We don’t know what she has planned, but for some reason, she wanted Shepard’s daughter too.”

“Kenna wouldn’t work for anything like Cerberus. She’s completely loyal to her family and the Hierarchy.” Caelus couldn’t have imagined this is what those on the Normandy were hiding.

Vakarian spoke up in an angry tone, “If they are anything like Cerberus they’d have ways to change her mind. Control chips, indoctrination, hell weave a good enough conspiracy story and she may see them as the good guys.” He looked at Liara, “There were a few odd things from this attack. The way I see it, the sniper gave away their position to get the Blackwatch to move before the attack or before the bombs had been armed. And one person down there knew Kenna, commented the shot the sniper took reminded her of Kenna in basic.”

Liara brought a hand over her mouth as she thought. “It's possible Brooks is planning to use Kenna. A lot of people would put Shepard’s reputation onto her daughter just because they are related.”

Garrus nodded, “That would explain why there hasn’t been any ransom.”

Caelus growled, he didn’t like the implication of it, “I’m sure that Kenna would never agree to something like that. How can I help prove that.”

Liara gave him a gentle look, “You know Kenna, no matter what they’ve done to her. It’s possible she is out in the field working for them. There will always be things she does, quirks that only she has. You may be able to recognize something, some inconsistency that she would do. Even if she is indoctrinated the same way as the Reapers did, it is early enough she will still have her subconscious free will. I’ll send you some reports, read through them and see if anything sticks out to you.”

Caelus nodded, “I can do that. And thanks, Liara, Vakarian.”

Liara smiled and nodded, but when Vakarian seemed to be more interested in his pistol she gave him a little shove. “Yes, well hopefully you find something. I’m getting tired of hunting mercs. And you can just call me Garrus, everyone else does.”

“Yes, sir,” Caelus saluted and left.

-

Liara glared at Garrus, “What is your problem with the boy?”

Garrus shrugged, “He reminds me of me when I was in the military. He is hot-headed optimist. It’s a dangerous combination that could get himself , us, or Kenna killed.”

Liara gave him a small sad smile. “Garrus, he needs guidance, not ignored and left out. He is more likely to do something stupid without all the facts. If he knows everything and trusts us, he will come to us before running off like a vigilante we all know.”

The Spectre chuckled and stood to grab his things to leave. “I suppose you’re right.”

He paused when Liara’s voice came out quiet. “Things might have turned out better if I had told you about Shepard’s body. Maybe Feron wouldn’t have been captured, you wouldn’t have wound up on Omega, wouldn’t have been hurt.”

Garrus turned back to her and age her a light hug around the shoulders, “Liara, you were following the Alliance officer's recommendation. They couldn’t have anyone find out they helped Cerberus get her body. Hell, if I had known I might not have let them take her for their experiments. You did right and Shepard got us all out in the end. A few more scars but still alive. If you hadn’t the cycle might have started all over again.”

Liara blinked back tears, “I miss her, I know I wasn’t as close to her as you were. And you were a better companion for her. But I wish I could have done more.”

Garrus moved to leave again. “I miss her too, but I have to make sure I have some stories for her before I meet her at that bar. You too I imagine.”

Chapter Text

The flight back the base had not been pleasant. Anna sat in the corner by herself ignoring the grumbles accompanied by the sound of an armored fist hitting the wall of her team. If you could call them that. To be honest they seemed a bunch of bloodthirsty bandits, who only kowtowed to Bailey because he wasn’t afraid to use his biotics to discipline. All the more reason she wouldn’t admit to giving them away.

They unloaded and quickly got out of their gear, leaving her alone in the locker room. Anna took her time, hoping to slip away before Lillium called her in, to see how the field test had gone. She had just removed her skin suit when she heard a scuff of a boot behind her.

Turning quickly, Anna found herself pressed against the locker by Baileys muscled form. She bared her teeth in warning, but he ignored it, only staring down at her darkly, hands pressed to either side of her head.

“I’m not sure what you think you were doing, but you're an idiot to think I don’t keep track of every round my team fires. We left with full ammo and came back with four mission. O’Neil only fired three. Care to tell me about the fourth?”

Anna’s blood froze, she thought she’d gotten away with it. No use in lying about it now. “I knew you wouldn’t leave and once they started fighting, they wouldn’t stop until their bloodlust was satisfied. We couldn’t risk any effects from the Reaper tech.” Although some deep part of her knew the two turians she watched played some role in the decision, she just didn’t know how yet.

Bailey considered her for a moment, before visibly relaxing. He kept her trapped, but Anna no longer worried about seeing a spark of blue from his hands. “Unfortunately you were right. But that was my call. I don’t take kindly to being overridden. But I will allow you this one mistake.”

One hand reached down to stroke her waist, reminding her that is was only in a bar and compression shorts. She knew he was touching the unknown scars she had there. They were scars from old scratches of large claws, from what she had no idea. “To be honest, I wondered if there was another reason you didn’t want us to kill them. You claim to have been their prisoner, but these tell a different and more intimate story.”

Anna felt another growl forming, but cut it off. “I only know what I am told, but I don’t like the accusation…”

His face lowered, coming close to her own. “Just want to make sure I’m not chasing after some freak. You’ve been a lot of work to get to open up, I’d hate for it to go to waste.” Before his lips could touch hers, both their omni tools pinged with a signal of a new message.

Pulling away with a sigh, he brought it up. “Alright, get dress, your keeper wishes to speak with us.” He turned away, finally giving her room to breathe.

Quickly, Anna got dressed, pushing aside the panic of the altercation. She’d think about it later when she finally got alone time.

-

Bailey wondered off instead of coming with her to Lillium’s office directly. Lillium herself wasn’t there. Anna took a moment to look around, curious what Lillium was working on. Sitting on her desk was a stack of datapads with notes on Anna’s progress. They didn’t say anything new, implants were working, biotics were still below the expected level, and social skills were dismal. Amongst the pads she found a chain with turian military tags. They were round instead of oblong, with a blackbird and turian writing.

The symbol and writing were recognizable, but she had no idea what the meant. Along with them was a much older one, with similar symbols and many scratches from wear and tear, and a dark red stone. Her continuous headache flared, Anna flicked a wrist bringing up her boitics and felt the click of the red sand implant as it released some into her system. This time it worked to ease the pain so she could continue studying the necklace.

Without warning the door opened again to show Lillium being followed by Bailey. Lillium stopped short, eyes darting between Anna and the chain in her hands. Quickly moving over, she took the chain and data pads, shoving them all into a drawer and locking it. Turning she glared, “I would hope you would have had the manners for not snooping through other people's things. I guess that was one thing the turians failed to teach you.”

Anna shrugged before sitting heavily in a chair, in front of the desk. She also made a note to take a closer look at it later. There was something there Lillium didn’t want to share.

“So, Bailey says the mission went well, even if not as planned.” Lillium watched her carefully.

Bailey had come to stand behind her, and Anna had to make a conscious effort not to move. To be honest she was surprised he hadn’t told Lillium what he had found out. If she had known, she would have been livid. “I guess.”

“Well, I think it will be ok to let you out on more missions. Hopefully with more success.” Lillium pulled up her terminal, already making notes. “From now on you're assigned to his team. I’ll see you tomorrow for biotic testing.”

Anna didn’t need to be told twice that she was dismissed, and already out the door. She managed to get around the corner before Bailey followed. After today she needed time alone, outside if possible.

-

Anna fell back into bad habits. The only time anyone could find her was when she was required to be somewhere, and judging from the glares from Bailey he wasn’t happy. She also closed up to Chambers again. She had tried asking about the mission and her team, but Anna would stray from the topic or flat out ignore her.

Amazingly it didn’t prevent her from getting a message about a new mission.

It was another tech and information gathering mission, pretty regular thing from the way Bailey spoke about it. This though it was an old STG sight, abandoned during the war. The only risk now were scavengers or merc groups from what the scans showed.

Once again Anna was sent to high ground to keep an eye on things and take out anyone else that was there.

The buildings were full of krogan and vorcha, “Looks like we have an infestation of the Bloodpack,” Bailey announced to the group over the comm. Finding the few guards posted, Anna cleared them before the group arrived, giving them a chance to take the mercs by surprise. Inside all hell broke loose and a more traditional firefight began, and Anna started taking out any enemy who stepped into view of a window. All too quickly it was over and over the comm she learned they had one krogan as a prisoner.

Anna slowly made her way to the buildings, they needed her to grab as much as she could from the databases. It would be hard, given the state of decay of the building. And the number of shotgun holes they had left in the equipment. She tried to ignore the cries and howls of pain from the krogan. O’neil was attempting to peel its head plates to encourage it to tell the truth. It was obvious that the krogan wasn’t lying about scavenging, just as how obvious O'Neil was doing it to enjoy himself.

Entering the storage area, Anna stopped to find the group calmly watching the torture session. She had enough, this was getting them nowhere and it was almost painful to see the krogan bleeding and pleading for death. The strong proud race should never be left in such a state, it would be almost worse than death. Taking aim with her sniper, she aimed over O’neil’s shoulder and aimed for an eye. One squeeze of the trigger and the krogan was gone.

O'Neil jumped about a foot in the air when he heard the boom of her rifle echo in the enclosed space, while everyone else spun pointing their weapons at her. Bailey had a stormy look on his face. “What the fuck did you think you were doing, Shepard?” He asked.

“His yelling was aggravating my headache and it’s clear he already told you everything. I can probably get more for hacking his messages.” She leaned the gun against her hip and waited for the bickering to be over.

O'Neil turned to Bailey, “Are you going to let this crazy bitch get away with shit like this?” He pointed the bloody knife at Anna.

Bailey kept his eyes on Anna and stored his assault rifle. “I’ll handle it, continue looking for anymore working terminals.” He climbed the stairs, grabbed Anna roughly on the shoulder and steered her through another door into what appeared to be a small storage closet.

Bailey slammed Anna back on the wall and lowered his face to her level. “While impressive, I don’t take kindly to stunts that put my people at risk, Shepard. Do anything like that again, harm any of mine and your life is forfeit. Are we clear?”

Anna glared up at him, she knew she was playing with fire. He’d already warned her about interfering with his orders, inside her head, there was a war going on. One side demanded to follow her team’s leader, but another voice, equally loud stated it wasn’t the way to do it. “As crystal. But it wasn’t right, that torture wasn’t for any reason other than enjoyment.”

Bailey’s expression relaxed a little, “It was getting tedious, and the expression on O’neil’s face was priceless. Not to mention how lovely you look with that big gun.” He now leaned in and rested his arms on the wall and caging her in like he had in the locker room. “Let’s say we take this social training to another topic.” And he leaned down to kiss her hard. He mouth was demanding and with a bite of her lip, his tongue was able to gain entrance.

Anna was in shock, while the kiss did things to her, it didn’t feel right. The taste was off, it was too wet and soft. She tried to push him back, but he chuckled as he grabbed her hands pushing them to the wall. Pulling only a breath away, he said, “Let me help you, you’re frustrated and I can show you some ways to deal with that.” He started kissing down her neck, but again it didn’t feel right. She started growling but he took it as a sign of encouragement.

Suddenly there was a heavy knock on the door. “Sir, we found all the active terminals, we need Shepard to hack them for any useable data.”

“Alright,” then Bailey turned to Anna, heat in his eyes. “We’ll continue this lesson later.”
He pushed off and headed to the door. Anna shook herself, was she turned on? Yes. Did she think he could do anything about it? No. There was something off about it. But she decided to avoid the thought, it only brought on another headache.

They gathered all the information and called for their pickup, there was nothing else for them here but the bodies.

-

Caelus shuddered, looking around the room of death, his hand wrapped around the unfamiliar weight of an assault rifle. Not that it would be of much use, it was clear no one survived the attack. Forcing himself to look around, he noted that the bodies inside were mostly torn apart with shotgun blasts or biotics. Unlike the neat sniper shots outside, which took out each target with a hole, dead center of the heads.

He followed Garrus, who had found one bound krogan, and had to choke down some bile. Someone had attempted to remove his forehead plating. Caelus knew it was an archaic form of torture but had never seen it himself.

Garrus stood up and seemed unaffected. “Notice anything?”

Forcing himself to look again, Caelus saw that it wasn’t the knife that had killed the krogan, but a round that had gone through his eye. Given the violence of the other deaths, he was surprised this one had ended so quickly.

“Is it a sniper round?” He asked looking up at Garrus. The older male nodded, “It might be Kenna. She wouldn’t put up with this kind of abuse, and has always made a point of quick clean kills.”

Garrus nodded and turned leading them over to EDI who was searching the nearby terminals. “I think I agree. I’ve seen the reports on this group, they have never had a sniper before. The turian team we ran into is extremely lucky not to have fought them.”

Caelus shuddered to think what the people capable of this would have done to Marren.

“Garrus,” EDI called, “There isn’t much left, but it looks like there was virus research being done here.”

“Not surprising given it was STG, they like to work that way. I’m concerned that Brooks would be after it.” Sighing he looked around but didn’t find anything new. “Let’s head back.”

Caelus was never so happy to be leaving a place where he had the possibility to find Kenna.

Chapter Text

Feron normally could enjoy himself on Omega. So much life, so many secrets waiting to be discovered. But ever since the day he got word of Kenna’s kidnapping he couldn’t enjoy much. It all reminded him too much of the mercs who targeted her at the club years ago. But this time it was much bigger. But everything was with a Shepard.

Everyone still had trouble wrapping their minds around that, not that many knew. Sure Kenna was in bad hands now but if everyone knew who she was, all the nasty pieces of work would be looking for her wanting some part of Shepard. Whether it be payback or political gain. Kenna would never be seen as herself again, but some piece of a legend left behind. That made Feron angry, over the years he had kept track of her and she was an amazing woman in her own right.

Sighing he relaxed back as if enjoying the dancer on the table in front of him. This asari was the reason he was able to work on Omega and in Afterlife without Aria caring. He never tried to go after the queen herself but would watch those who came to visit. He would buy information from the young maiden dancer for very good rates and in return, she made it possible for him to hide in plain sight in the most popular bar in the Terminus system. He was sure Aria knew, but something kept her from stopping him. Probably the current Shadow Broker.

Feron could only hope his sources were right. Liara suggested this task force would use Omega as a watering hole, thinking they could stay out of the Shadow Broker's light. And if his duck rat connections were still good an all human and unnamed group just docked. Like any good soldier or merc they would beeline right for the bar and dance floor.

Speak of the devils, beyond the dancer he saw just such a group enter. There were a few large males and females, all in black fatigues. There were lead by a man with light hair and just to his side and a little back, surrounded by the others was a small female. She had a hood up, it covered her hair and darkened her facial features. He couldn’t be sure if it was Kenna but she was the right size. But she didn’t move right. Kenna was graceful and relaxed. This woman was giving off some sort of negative energy like if anyone came too close she would lash out. She seemed unstable, glancing around, never comfortable.

The group cheered as the leader got them all drinks, most being pounded down so they could move to the dance floor. The leader seemed to be speaking with the little female, trying to pull her to the floor as well, but she kept shaking her head and rubbing at a temple. He gave a frustrated look, ordered another drink pointing to her and left.

She drank down the first, odd Kenna always seemed to nurse a drink. The next to arrive was recognizable. Weeping heart, not only was it a strong drink, but also contained drell venom. It wasn’t poisonous but it could cause hallucinations. It was because of his venom he was so careful stealing kisses from Kenna in the past. He could easily lower her inhibitions, talk her into spending more intimate time with him, but he could never take advantage of her like that. This male though, really wanted her to relax and be more susceptible.

The woman did nurse this one, head swiveling around. She kept one eye on the dance floor while also taking in the rest of the room. At one point her eyes slid over his booth and Feron felt himself freeze. Did she recognize him? But she continued to turn and seemed to skip right over him.

Finishing her drink the woman found her merry group all had their backs turned. She quickly jumped off the stool and headed out the alley entrance.

Nodding to the dancer Feron got up to follow. Unfortunately, the club was packed and by the time he got out, she was gone. There was no way to be sure if she was Kenna until he got a better look. Looking both ways he opted for the more empty path.

As Feron passed a dark alley, a squeak of a boot was the only warning he got before a foot was coming up to kick him in the middle. With a grunt, he managed to block most of the blow. “Wait…”

Another kick lashed out, with a familiar light voice. “Why, so you can attack me? Thought it’d be fun to try capture the little human.”

A blue biotic fist came up with an uppercut clipping Feron’s chin. Shit, he wasn’t the best with close quarters combat but he couldn’t risk her bleeding out from a pistol shot. “I just need information, on a woman who went missing.”

She scoffed, “Missing or escaped?”

Escape? Was the woman an escaped prisoner? Was this the wrong group? Feron couldn’t take much more, crawling away, he feigned a hurt side and he palmed a small injection. It was a last resort to take down targets without death. She leaned down to grab his collar to lift him up, her teeth shining through the darkness, giving her a feral look. Going limp, Feron gave a false sense of security. It was just for a moment, but it was enough for him to get the injection in her neck. The next second she collapsed and he caught her in his lap.

Pushing back her hood Feron held his breath. The colony marks were gone, and her hair was one color now. But there was no doubt in Feron’s mind, in his arms he held Kenna Vizrak.

-

They had just gotten back to the ship from another dead end, no hint of the group they were tracking when Liara sent a message to his omni tool.

Garrus, I have just received word from Feron. There was a spotting on Omega.

Garrus didn’t bother stowing his gear. He was more comfortable in it anyways, even in the safety of Normandy. Making sure to leave Caelus behind he went straight to Liara. The fledgling had too many high running emotions to hear much objectively. Garrus wanted to hear it first.

Garrus closed the door behind him and nodded to Glyph as he gave his greeting. Yes, it was a VI but after working closely with AI it was hard not to give VI some respect. Besides one of Liara’s upgrades could easily push it to AI status and with all the information Glyph had, the Spectre didn’t want to risk offending it.

Liara glanced up from the screen, she had a vid call open and Garrus found himself looking at Feron. The only operative working for her to know the true identity of the Shadow Broker. “Garrus, Feron is going through the report now.”

Nodding he stepped alongside the asari and motioned for Feron to continue. “Like I was saying, I was watching for the all human group coming through Afterlife when I spotted a female who matched her description. At one point she left on her own and I followed. She must have unknowingly recognized me because she tried to attack me. I was able to tranq her and get her away. They have removed her colony marks, and I think her memory is not what it used to be.”

That had not surprised Garrus, “The marks would be too easy to track her down. Not many humans have them. How are you sure she has lost her memory?”

Ferons shifted from foot to foot, not looking either in the eye. “We have met on a couple occasions. Let’s just say I am sure I left an impression but she didn’t bring any of that up. Plus she now seems to have biotic abilities.

Garrus shot their resident biotic a look, "As far as her files said she didn't have any biotic training. Basic would have checked for any potential."

Liara was already pulling up files, scanning them. "Here is the report. The readings were enough to suggest a biotic parent, but not enough to be considered for Cabal." Looking at him worriedly, "I can't say why she has them now or why. We may need to contact someone with more expertise."

Garrus nodded, his experience with human biotics had been more comprehensive than most other turians, but there could be nasty side effects like Kaiden's headaches. He turned back to the screen and asked, "And you still have her?”

The agent nodded. “She is still asleep but should be coming to soon. I will try to get more information out of her.

“Just be careful,” Liara cautioned, “We have no idea what they have done to her.”

Feron nodded and signed off.

Garrus called out to the room, “EDI? Joker? We are going to Omega.”

-

Anna woke, for once her head wasn’t pounding but she felt the thick taste for a false sleep on her tongue. Thinking back she remembered the club, everyone was happy to get off the ship but she didn’t feel like celebrating. She wanted to get onto a real world again and enjoy some solitude. Being stuck on the ship with Bailey and his team had been trying. He was getting more and more pushy, even going as far as to order her to relax a little and brought her a strangely mixed drink.

She asked the bartender what it was after one sip. Weeping Heart, with drell venom. Asshole wanted to get her a little high it seemed. Well fine, Anna thought she’d at least go and enjoy the pretty lights far away from their little merry band of killers.

Of course, Anna had spotted the drell, he was not hard to miss and seemed to be keeping her in his line of sight. There was something off about him, something that made his face stand out from the crowd, and it wasn’t the bright scales that shimmered in the pulsing light. She left and hid in a dark corner and waited. Sure enough, she caught him following but she got cocky and the little sneak had injected her with something.

Now she could hear the traffic outside, feel an old lumpy mattress under her, and a smell of warm earthy scent filled the room. Opening her eyes she carefully looked around. It was a small studio apartment, she froze when she saw the drell who’d followed her standing in the kitchen with his back to her. But he was concentrating on something in front of him.

Anna tried to sit up quietly, but the mattress gave a loud squeak causing the drell to turn and fix his dark eyes on her.

“Good, you're awake.” His voice had a rough quality to it. It almost reminded her of a dream, but it fell through her fingers like water, it wasn’t a match but it was similar to the dream voice.

Surprisingly Anna hadn’t been tied up. He must not have seen her as a threat, odd. Without that drug she probably would have killed him in that alley. “Where am I?”

“Safe, I promise.” He handed her a warm cup of something that reminded her of tea. “This should help wake you up.”

Anna sniffed carefully, it smelled almost like an earthy honey and made her drool a little. “Why am I here?”

“You may be able to help me find someone. I was going to ask nicely when you jumped me.” He had a joking tone to his voice but was clearly not showing her any of his hand. “What is your name?”

“Anna.” She had to keep it simple, Shepard would be too easily recognized. She could have just lied, but her gut told her to give partial truths.

He seemed surprised by the name. “The people you were with, who do they answer to?”

“Couldn’t say, they just dragged me along for the fun.”

Quirking a brow he asked in a curious tone, “And what fun is that?”

“Mostly illegal stuff. Who is this friend you’re looking for?” The drink was amazing, but she had to keep track of the conversation. Try to get more out of him.

“She and her father were attacked and she was taken. Her name was Kenna.”

A flare of pain shot through her head, she almost forgot what he said. Hissing she pushed through it, her red sand pump kicked in and seemed to help. “Uhh. Sorry, no idea.”

He leaned forward, “Maybe we could jog your memory. Where have you been recently?”

But before Anna could say anything, her abnormally good hearing caught the sound of Bailey's’ voice through the thin walls. He sounded upset, barking orders to search all the rooms. Shit, she thought she’d fooled the tracker on her omni too but clearly, it hadn’t worked. She looked at the drell who sat on the edge of the bed watching her. She didn’t want him to be hurt, he was only looking for a friend. Must be nice to have someone to care about you like that, nothing owed. The sound of boots was getting closer. What could she do?

-

Feron watched her intently. Somehow she had no memory of her name, the confusion on her face made that clear. Although why she looked pained made no sense, if anything the drug he knocked her out with would have helped any pain, so would the tea he made her.

Anna turned to the door, was she thinking of bolting? He hadn’t wanted to restrain her, he wasn’t sure how she’d react, and he wanted to show that he trusted her. “What is -”

But before Feron finished his sentence found himself pulled down to the bed with her straddling his hips. Not lying to himself, he had spent more than a few nights imagining similar situations. She truly was a beautiful and interesting woman, he had been serious about pursuing her if the timing worked out. But the sudden change in her attitude left him in shock.

When her lips crashed to his, he couldn’t help but groan and let a hand go into her soft hair. Before it could go any further than a quick swipe of her tongue in his mouth the door gave out a harsh buzz as it was hacked and slid open.

“Anna! What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Came a deep, human voice.

With an annoyed sounding grunt, Kenna sat up pouting, but not moving to leave her seat astride Feron’s lap and stared at the intruder over her shoulder. “Oh, hey Bailey.” Her voice had an almost dreamy quality to it. Feron was still stunned, a lap full of a drugged woman was distracting. But wait, she hadn’t had time to process the little amount of venom she had from the kiss, and Weeping Hearts were never that strong. “I just liked that drink so much, thought I’d try out the special ingredient from the source. Want some?”

The human, looked to Feron a shuddered. “That’s just sick. Wouldn’t have gotten the drink if I knew drell venom was an actual thing.”

“Hmm, you don’t know what you're missing.” Kenna ground herself against Feron’s hips.

Voices of disgust came from beyond but Bailey silenced them with a look. “Enough of that. We’re leaving.” He gave Feron a scathing look and reached for his gun.

But when Kenna followed his order she sashayed over to him, hips drawing his gaze. “Oh come on, let's go have some fun. Lilium did say you were to keep to the schedule. We don’t have time to deal with him.” She leaned onto her toes and whispered something to him, her voice too low for the drell to catch.

“Fine let's go.” He turned pulling her behind them.

Kenna let out a little giggle and waved to him, “Bye-bye rouge.” It sounded odd from her lips but did mimic how someone high on drell venom would be if they had a low tolerance for it.

Feron sat up in a daze. Had she just covered for him, to protect him against her supposed teammates? Goddess, he couldn’t go after them now. He was outnumbered, and the Normandy was too far away. He wouldn’t even have time to take the vent system to put a bug on their damn ship. Growling he got up and went through the memory. What did he miss….

Wait. Kenna had not only saved him. She gave him names. Lilium and Bailey. With names and at least one face, an information broker could do a lot of damage. Some part of Kenna had seen him as a friend and let slip the details she was holding onto before. She wanted help, whether she admitted it or not.

And she had used the name rouge, Feron knew some part of her was still in there.

-

Caelus was wasting some time in the cockpit with Joker discussing some of the new models of sky cars to come out when the decon hatch opened. He had been surprised by the sudden turn to Omega, Liara must have gotten something. Part of him was screaming to get out there and look himself but there was no guarantee Kenna was on the station and Garrus would probably leave him behind thinking he would cause trouble on the criminal capital.

Looking up, he caught sight of the drell. Feron. The one who had always been a little too flirty with Kenna, who ruined their vacations, and made it his mission to drive him nuts. The male followed Liara and she led him back to the war room. As he left his scent floated to Caelus, and he stilled as he recognized something. Something he hadn’t smelt in months. Kenna.

At this point, he stopped listening to Joker ramble and left without a word following after the information brokers. It took all of his control not to run after them, but some part of him screamed that he had to behave. Entering the meeting room, he was closer and what he know realized was Kenna’s scent grew stronger. He hadn’t imagined it. With a growl, Caelus charged and slammed the drell to the wall.

“Where is she?”

Before he could do anything else stupid Caelus felt the tingle of a biotic field tingle as he was forced away from the drell, a force field now between the two. Feron fell to the floor coughing.

“Caelus, I talked Garrus into taking it easy on you. Don’t make me regret it.” Liara said coldly as she went to Feron to make sure he was ok while the turian paced like a caged animal, still in the bubble.

“Feron came on board to debrief us as to what happened. If you can calm down long enough and stay quiet, you may remain.” The asari gave him a frozen look. As much as Caelus wanted to take his anger out on the other male, he had the information they needed. Giving a curt nod he agreed and the shield fell, leaving a burning ozone smell in the room.

At that moment Garrus entered and paused nose plates shifting as he looked around and listened to the angry subvocals Caelus was still giving off. Taking in the trio he didn’t bother to ask. Everything was alright now. “Feron. Last we heard you had her, what happened?”

He had found Kenna? And lost her already?

Feron’s shoulders slumped. “I had started questioning her when she seemed to hear something in the hall. The group she had arrived with managed to trace her, how I am not sure. Her omni tool was free of any tracking software. She was hesitant before they came but then put on a show, that we were only messing around and got them to leave without hurting me or letting them know what had actually happened.”

The Spectre’s eyes focused on him, “How did they find her then? Did she signal for them?”

“No,” Feron shook his head. “Her omni tool was deactivated, there was no time to boot it up when I wasn’t looking.”

“They must have a tracking device installed inside her.” Liara pulled up implant schematics, one in a human. “If Brooks has any of Cerberus tech then she may have put implants similar to Shepard’s in Kenna, any of which could be easy to find if you know what to look for.”

Garrus turned to Feron, “What did you manage to get out of her.”

Feron crossed his arms, one hand reached for his chin, thinking it through first. “It was confusing, to say the least. She is not going by Kenna, but insisted her name was Anna and never met a girl named Kenna. Its like she has no memory of her pervious life.”

“How could you be so sure it was her?” The question was out before Caelus could stop it. Of course, it was her. He confirmed her scent.

Liara shot him a warning look, right, he was supposed to stay quiet. “Drell have a perfect memory, even without colony marks Feron could identify her.”

“During Kenna’s little skit to get them to leave me alone, she did say two names. I think she did it on purpose like she wanted to give hints as to how to find her without the others realizing it. Lilium and Bailey.” There was a small amount of hope in his voice.

Liara and Garrus shared a look, “Wasn’t Lilium the name Brooks used while working for Cerberus?” The Spectre asked.

Liara nodded, “Yes, Hope Lilium. If she is using that alias she may be trying to use the association with Cerberus. Maybe they are hiring those who survived the war.”

“And we should be able to find out more about this Bailey. Feron, make sure you provide a description. Go ahead and find a bunk, Liara let me know when you have an idea where we are heading next.” The specter turned and left.

Wanting to find something bad about Feron, Caelus stepped between him and the door. “How did she manage to convince them to leave you behind. On all their raids this group goes out of their way to kill all non-humans.”

Feron looked him in the eye debating. “She suggested she was only there to procure drell venom. Then seemed to offer something more to Bailey, some incentive to leave right then.”

Caelus growled again, but this time not at the drell. What the hell was happening to his girl?

Chapter Text

Garrus met Liara in the Comm room, she had made some progress and it was time to call an old friend. Liara had never worked with Miranda directly and felt Garrus should be there to help make her more forthcoming with any information.

The holo of the genetically designed woman came up. She still wore her preferred skin tight jumpsuit, not that it did anything for Garrus. Only Shepard could entice him, even members of his own species could not tempt him anymore and Garrus was fine with that, even if it meant a lonely life.

Garrus and Liara faced Miranda’s hologram. “Miranda, Liara says you might have news for us?”

Perhaps, if this has anything to do with the new Cerberus and Brooks.

Garrus nodded, “We’re not sure her ultimate goals, but she kidnapped Shepard’s daughter.”

Well there I can help you. Awhile back I started hearing rumors of another Cerberus, I am too well known to try and join so I have been working with Kelly Chambers. She managed to join up and was put into Hope Lilium’s group.

Liara quirked an eyebrow, “Who we know as Brooks.”

Yes, she is hiding that fact that she is the new director by remaining as an agent. Clever for sure. Lillium’s project has been the brainwashing and augmentation of humans, trying to create a group of obedient super soldiers. But recently she started to focus solely on one recruit, someone by the name of Anna Shepard. My colleagues thought she was a fake, Brooks trying to use a name that had some history. But while working on Lazarus I did find signs of a pregnancy which suggested Shepard may have had a child but I wasn’t sure if this was her child.

Garrus felt a little anger that Miranda kept that bit of knowledge to herself after Jane died, but there was no guarantee the child would ever be found in the shambles after the war. If he had known her daughter may have had a very different life. “So what does she have in mind for this super solider group?”

Miranda leaned back on a leg and crossed her arms, “Oh, the usual. Destruction of the Council Galactic government, humans as the superior and ruling race. Most of Brooks background has been destroyed or lost, but from what I can tell she is an extreme xenophobic with a dash of obsession. Any human based advancements she takes for her group, any other species based work is destroyed unless it can be turned into a weapon against the creator.

“And how was Cerberus any different initially?” Garrus asked dryly.

Miranda frowned, long ago she had agreed Cerberus was the enemy of the galaxy but at the beginning, it had good intentions. “Cerberus wanted to give humans every advantage possible and let them even the playing field with other species who had thousands of more years experience than humans. Also tried to protect them from unknown threats. They would never destroy information just because it wasn’t their idea. If Brooks gets the power this will be a genocide worse than the genophage.

Returning the discussion to the young woman in question, he asked “So she wants Kenna to lead this army of hers, hoping to draw on her mother's influence. But how is she managing to control the girl and remove her memories?”

Miranda shook her head. “From Chambers reports chips implanted that could block memories were created. However, she did send some good news, while Kenna hasn’t any memories she shows signs that she has an unconscious awareness of what’s going on. Apparently, she has been absolute hell to work with for Brooks and everyone else. By all means, it sounds like she has a worse temper than her mother.

Garrus took pleasure in that if she was anything like her mother they were in trouble. “I don’t suppose you have the locations she is being held?”

Why Garrus, do you think I would settle for partial information? I’m hurt.” Miranda gave a hungry smile, “I just sent you the location and information Kelly sent me. I won’t be able to get there as quickly as you, but I’m on my way. I should be able to remove the implants but there will be a lot of work to be done before she is back to herself. They have done more than just block her memories.

“Thank you, Miranda.” Liara said sweetly, “You should consider coming to work for me, I could get you more resources.”

Perhaps,” was all Miranda said before logging out.

 

-

Anna was hiding in her cave. She had found it weeks ago, Chambers would call it her happy place. As silly as it sounded, it was true. Here everything was quiet except for the waterfall nearby, and it was warm from a hot spring inside. She had been avoiding anywhere that Bailey would be. She finally gave in to his advances, in return for leaving the drell alone. Overall she was left unsatisfied, and more than a little worried that his brutality in the field was echoed in his bed. He hadn’t hurt her, but the things he had whispered left her feeling fear for once. Anna would have liked to handle it her way but Lilium made it clear no more team killing, especially after the complaints from O’Neil.

Anna thought of the drell again. There had been something achingly familiar about him that even with a small headache she didn’t feel like snapping at him. And he seemed to know her. As far as she knew from reading, drell were very rare off their homeworld and normally only worked for the Hanar Primacy, not the Turian Hierarchy. That didn’t rule out that he worked for the Shadow Broker, but in her scramble to try to convince Bailey not to kill him she let slip out the names. Maybe a small part of her did wish to get stolen away.

Here, Anna was conflicted, everyone kept telling her the worst of the galaxy but she didn’t see it. She saw war scavengers but that was natural, like buzzards stripping flesh from a dead carcass, it was bound to happen. On Omega she caught glimpses of normal life in a tough city, women dancing for money, those watching wanting to escape to something more enjoyable, even a batarian priest who voiced for more diplomatic views, that their people's wish for supremacy left them alone to fight gods and now they paid the price. But everyone here, except perhaps Chambers, felt all nonhumans were evil and only out for themselves, all hiding behind her mother’s image.

And now Lillium wanted Anna to become her mother, but without the political restrictions and fight only for humanity. But things kept coming to her that made her question that idea. Besides her dream man, sometimes she saw others. A volus hiding from a battle and the one shot that could kill him, a turian in the water no longer breathing, a proud krogan battlemaster chuckling in the heat of battle, a little human child with big eyes wanting to feel safe. And she was expected to ignore them? What if they weren’t like the other bad ones, did it matter?

To Bailey and his squad, it didn’t. And Anna had to work with them or be imprisoned. She was starting to question if all this pain and training had actually been worth her freedom. If one could call this actual freedom.

Sighing, Anna pulled her sniper out and to watch the wildlife, at least Bailey couldn’t track her anymore. She realized there must have been a device implanted on her he had used to find her on Omega, now she had a short range jamming signal to interfere with the damn thing. Now Anna could enjoy her solitude and explore this world. There wasn’t too much here, but like many jungles, it was colorful with its plant and native animals. It was lonely though, more than once she caught herself turning to point something out to someone who clearly was missing.

Some of the colorful flying lizards took off as an unknown shuttle came down into view. Anna jumped in surprise, damn thing must have been flying low to avoid detection. She took a closer look through the scope but didn’t recognize it. First instinct was to call it in, but she waited, watched it land in a clearing below her.

The door opened and she saw Garrus Vakarian step out looking around cautiously. The turian, who was kept close to her mother, her keeper was on the planet. He was older, lighter in plates and the angry facial scar had smoothed down some. She could pull the trigger and he’d be gone. The only thing that stopped her was the sight of the turian behind him.

Anna’s mind froze. He was as tall, if not taller than Vakarian, dark brown plates like chocolate almost glimmering in the light. His face was covered in elaborate white markings, and they and his green eyes seem to glow. As soon as she spotted him she knew he was the one she dreamed of, the one who touched her and brought out emotions Bailey never came close too. At the same time her head starting pounding, but none of the usual tricks made it go away.

Instead of shooting Anna waited and watched. Vakarian, a blue Asari, and a heavily armored man made their way into the trees, Vakarian motioning the other turian to stay. The dark one did not seem happy but agreed. Once the others were clear Anna made her way down, she needed to find out who he was, why he was in her dreams, and why they were here.

-

Caelus slowly woke up, back of his neck hurt like none other, and he looked around trying not to make the throbbing pain any worse. He was still in the shuttle, he tried to get on his feet but found his wrists bound with an omni cuffs around the hand grips of the passenger seats. Looking down his ankles were also bound to the poles on either side of the seat. Looking around he saw an armored human female in the doorway, biotic energy running over her fingertips.

Her muffled voice came from her helmet. “So you’re awake, turian. Gotta say I was a little disappointed how easy it was to take you down.”

He thought back, he’d heard something outside and went to investigate. The last thing he remembered was getting a scent of something achingly familiar and then blackness. She must have knocked him out and tied him up in here.

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing yet, but you’re going to tell me why you’re here.” With a flick, the blue light left her hands and she turned to him.

“Like I would tell you.” He spat, she must have been part of the terrorist group. Silently he cursed himself for getting caught and losing the one way off this damn planet.

“Well, what about Vakarian? Why is he here?” Spirits, she knew who Garrus was and saw him leave. Without any warning the team would return to a trap.

Caelus decided to stay quiet and figure out how to get out or get a message out. She took his omni tool, damn. “Alright, well he had a very pretty sniper rifle on his back and I know where all the best perches are. I bet I can find him.” With that, she lifted a pistol to aim at his head.

“Wait, he isn’t going to hurt anyone. We’re just looking for someone.” Being dead wasn’t going to help, and she hadn’t called in reinforcements yet.

She cocked a hip and rested her arm and gun on it. “Who? Anna Shepard?”

Not sure what else to do, he nodded.

“Why is he looking for her? Wanting to take her back to be a political prisoner I suppose.”

Caelus tilted his head in confusion, “Why would she be imprisoned? She was a Hierarchy citizen serving in the military.”

“No, she was a political prisoner being used against Commander Shepard. Vakarian was the Commander’s warden and now he’s after Anna.” She almost sounded like she was growling and hissing. From a human, it was a little unnerving.

“Jane Shepard was Garrus Vakarian’s bondmate,” Caelus spat angrily, this female knew nothing. Sure the old man was grumpy but he obviously loved and adored the Commander, any vid could show that.

That stopped her short, “Bondmate?”

Caelus rolled his eyes like a human, “Yes, as in married. He wasn’t her warden or whatever else. He was her husband and comrade in arms.”

“Why isn’t there any records?”

“Because they were in the middle a galactic war rallying the troops, there wasn’t time to file the paperwork for it. Let alone figure out who to send it to.” Caelus snorted, to be honest it was a common rumor but he never had it confirmed until he was up late one-night playing cards with Joker and Vega.

“She must have been forced by the Hierarchy.” The female was pacing now, not looking at him, gun pointing down. Quickly he glanced around for a weapon or tools.

“You can’t force a turian to bond, it’s not possible. Why is it so hard to believe? That a human and turian can’t care for each other? I love a human woman, and would do anything for her.” At these words, he spotted a tool that could break the cuffs but froze. The female was staring at him through the helmet, breathing hard.

“What’s your name turian?” She asked quietly.

“Flight Lieutenant Caelus Kyrik.” And looked on in shock as she fell to the floor with a howl of pain and a thump as she landed. After that, she didn’t seem to move, but he could see she was still breathing.

A minute later Garrus, Vega, and Liara came in armed and looked around the shuttle. Seeing the trespasser knocked out and Caelus who sat looking stunned and still tied up, they stowed the weapons.

“We came when EDI alerted us to another lifeform on the shuttle. Didn’t know you were into this kinky shit Shorty.” Vega came over and started untying him.

“With the right woman, maybe, but right now I’m just embarrassed. She knew exactly how to knock me out.” Caelus rubbed his wrists and looked over to Garrus who was checking out the female, removing her helmet. “Any idea who she is?”

“Spirits. Well, looks like we just got saved a trip.” Sitting back he showed Caelus her face.

For the first time in months, Caelus was looking at his lover’s face. She was very pale and large dark spots under her eyes replaced her colony markings but it was her. Running over Garrus stood and made him pause. “Remember, she isn’t the woman you knew on Oma Ker. Even if the surgery goes well she may be very different.”

Caelus met Garrus’ blue eyes, he understood the older male was speaking from experience. When Shepard was brought back from the dead many questioned if she was the same. Would Kenna be after so long believing such horrible things about her government and people? It hurt to think about, as far as Caelus was concerned he was bonding with her and if she didn’t feel the same, he would live a very lonely life. He nodded and picked up Kenna taking a deep breath. There were other smells, the burning of atmosphere, another being’s scent that set him on edge, but under it all was her unique smell. Carefully he laid her on a medical cot and strapped her in.

Garrus stored her weapons well away and motioned for Caelus to take the pilot's seat. Sooner they got back to the Normandy the sooner she’d get help.

-

As the shuttle took its low path back to the safety of the Normandy Garrus sat across from the cot instead of his usual seat. He didn’t say a word, just took in the sight of his mate’s child. One she never got to know, remembering that night of heavy drinking. She had made so many tough calls in the past he wasn’t sure which she was talking about them. When she mentioned that her only wish was for her to be happy with her family he thought she meant Ashley knowing her father had passed away, but now he was sure she meant her little girl.

Even with all the effort of trying to give Kenna a better life it seemed no Shepard was left unscarred by the war. But she had found another life, Garrus realized it every time he saw the sadness in Major Vizrak’s eyes or heard the sorrowful low sound from Caelus.

Looking at the younger looking Jane, Garrus knew she would have even more family now. She would never be alone again, she may not be his child but he would do anything for her like he did for her mother.

No Shepard without Vakarian right?